Grass Valley tech equipment
The Union has a feature on the new county Economic Resource Council chief, Ron Moser. It is largely superficial
, business reporting is not the forte of small-town newspapers, but I learned some details.
I was surprised to read that Moser — who is semi retired — found out about the job on Craigslist, not the first place I’d think of for a “C”-level job search for our county’s economic-development group.
Moser also said he plans to focus on luring high-tech businesses here. It’s a tall order and one that requires a big “Rolodex” file.
Moser has spent much of his career in Tehema County, not exactly the hub of high tech. He is new to our county, too, so he’ll have to learn the benefits of our lifestyle — and challenges — before pitching it to others.
Some, but not many, ERC board members have high-tech contacts — people such as Dave Perillo of Grass Valley, the digital broadcast firm.
When I was on the ERC board, I had many contacts in tech, having worked in the Valley for years (as chief tech writer for The Chronicle and a founding manger of CNET) but nobody tapped into it much.
The group’s focus is more provincial — a bus tour of Nevada County businesses was an annual highlight. It is a close-knit group, largely of western county businesses, often at the expense of Truckee and the eastern county.
Moser’s prececessor, Gil Mathew, and I, had some discussions about Silicon Valley, though.
Mathew was a founder of Benchmark Thermal, which is closely tied the high-tech world — both for customers and suppliers.
Huntington Labs components
Mathew largely was responsible for recruiting Huntington Mechanical Labs of Mountain View to our area after “pounding the pavement” in Silicon Valley and at big tech trade shows such as SEMICON
. The county helped finance Huntington’s move here too.
Keeping Mathew out of it, I got the scoop about the Mountain View firm coming here from my own Valley contacts — learning firsthand that lifestyle was a big lure for the management team.
Moser’s experience includes:
•EVP of Northwestern Carbon of Red Bluff, from 1985-2000. Northwest Carbon had the largest carbon absorption manufacturing plant in the Western United States. Northwestern Carbon was sold to Siemens Corp. — a plus for tech contacts but that was a decade ago.
•Northwestern Resources of Anderson, from 1980-1985. This included development and management of two small hydroelectric plants in Northern California.
•Chief executive of Tuscan Village Development Group, 2000-2007. It developed entitlements for a 400 lot residential subdivision and built luxury homes in Sunriver, Ore.
From 2000-2009, Moser worked with the University of the Nations campus in Kona, a Christian-based organization. It engages in a broad range of human services, including refugee work, orphanages and water purification.
I wish Moser and the ERC good luck in meeting their goals. It will be a tall order, with cutbacks in funding and a sluggish economy.
Bright spots include Grass Valley’s new ownership by San Francisco-based Francisco Partners, providing a needed “bridge” to Silicon Valley. The background is here. Other opportunities could include luring high-tech firms into the foothills from the Central Valley.
We also are still a hub for digital media. Moser did not mention whether reopening the Idaho-Maryland mine had merits. It’s a real mixed bag to the community, and some existing tech firms have objected.
Relatively high housing prices aren’t much of a problem now, so that’s a plus too, when it comes to recruiting. All told, we have an attractive lifestyle with real estate that has been “reset,” thanks to the recession.
The trick will be “pounding the pavement” and digging into the Rolodex file to find businesses that would be a good match. Time will tell.
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