The ERC needs to elevate it’s profile in the community as a visionary leader. The Loma Rica Business Park survey revealed that many business did not know the ERC existed, and it they were aware it existed what it’s purpose was. Ask anyone on the street, what is the value of the ERC? “What’s the ERC,” will most likely be the response. That has to change.
This community is in desperate need of a vision of what it wants to be in ten years. Even that time frame my be too long, given the current rate of change. Think back ten years, what was the big technology, what was the next great thing on the horizon. Nevada County did not get dial up slow speed Internet until 1995, just 12 years ago. Limited DSL arrived in 2000, cable broadband in 2005. All the emerging business that need broadband still do not have access. Yet, in a flat world every business needs to be part of a collaborative global network. The Internet has changed how business is done in just ten years.
Grass Valley is on the verge of approving some of the SDAs with out a clear vision what kind of industrial and business parks the community will need over the next ten years. In a flat world, it may not be the same kind built over the last ten years, they certainly need fiber optic broadband access. Lacking a vision of what businesses infrastructure will be needed over the next ten years, we are more likely to get more of the same because the City Council lacks a vision of what is needed. I think it is the ERC responsibility to define that vision for the City Council. Not as a single enterprise, but as the leader of community group to define where our local industrial base needs to be in ten years.
Is the regions economic engine going to be just retail and tourism? Should policy makers quit worrying about rebuilding our economic engine and become a bedroom community for valley based industry? Or, are we going to become a community that seeks out the creative classes and provides the infrastructure and a culture climate for a new round of innovation? Innovation that created our current business clusters. What is going to be the future economic engine of this community? It is a complex question that needs of a simple direct answer, well communicated to local policy makers.
Therefore, the greatest communications task for the ERC in the coming year is to lead the development of a vision for what our future economic engine, or engines should be ten years from now. It might be more of the same, but I highly doubt it with emergence of a truly flat world, where we have to compete with global communities that can capture our current video and communication technology engines and leave us with an empty shell. Nevada County’s strength in a global economy is our ability to innovate. We need to hone our innovations skill sets, and create tomorrows economic engine, or engines. Policy makers must make sure the infrastructure need by these future economic engines is in place. First the vision, then the actions need to make it real!