FFSC Chamber Opportunities in Motion: What's Next for Solano EDC & Travis AFB?
Ultimately, our economic future is shaped by the decisions we make today.
Fairfield-Suisun Chamber Good Morning Breakfast
Opportunities in Motion: What's Next for Solano EDC and Travis Air Force Base?
That was a strong message leaders from both the Solano Economic Development Corporation and Travis Air Force Base sent out to the community Aug. 7 during the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly “Good Morning Fairfield-Suisun” breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn.
“Opportunities in Motion: What’s Next for Solano EDC and Travis Air Force Base” included remarks from Solano EDC President/CEO Robert Burris, Col. Zachery Jiron, vice commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, and Sandy Person from both the Solano EDC and Travis Community Consortium.
Burris, the first to speak, kicked off his presentation sharing how the Solano EDC continues its implementation of the “Moving Solano Forward” plan, and its emphasis on business retention, expansion, and attraction. Now, more than ever before, Burris and the EDC are traveling outside of Solano and Northern California to market Solano County and its cities as a viable place to do business. They are attending statewide and national conferences, and events and investing in targeted advertising to key markets.
They want potential businesses to know there is so much more to Solano than the Interstate 80 corridor. It’s a much more affordable alternative to the Bay Area, with picturesque waterfronts and wine country, and a skilled work force.
“The perspective I’m trying to help people understand is they shouldn’t portray us as a space in between San Francisco and Sacramento, but instead, portray us as a space where everything comes together,” Burris said.
There are three industry sectors in particular that have found a great deal of success in Solano County over the last decade, both with investments and its pool of employees. Altogether, biotechnology/life sciences, food and beverage, and advanced materials have almost doubled the number of employees in the region.
“A big reason for our competitiveness is that we have sites in the pipeline, we have buildings ready,” Burris said. “If a company comes to us and says we are interested in half a million square feet, if you don’t have that coming out of the ground, they’re going to move on. So that’s a big factor for us, having properties that are shovel-ready.”
Travis Air Force Base is a “tremendous” generator of economic impact and economic stability, Burris added. Travis contributes $1.69 billion annually to the county’s economy, or roughly 10 percent of Solano County’s gross domestic product. It is also the largest employer, with 13,400 jobs. As Person shared in her presentation, for every 100 jobs at Travis Air Force Base, 138 new jobs in the county are created.
The base is also looking to the future. On the heels of its 75th Anniversary milestone, Travis released the “Travis100” report, outlining its economic goals for the next 25 years.
Travis100 is a vision that will foster effective and deliberate growth, Jiron explained. The report is divided into four quadrants – Northwest Development Area Goals, Base Community Goals, Installation Goals, and Airfield Goals.
- Developing a joint-use heritage center/community outreach complex
- Construct village-like airmen dormitories and muilti-family living quarters
- Continue to work with Travis Unified School District to renovate, expand, or relocate Travis Elementary School
- Provide alternative forms of transportation for base personnel
- Construct parallel taxiway as it is vital to increase the base’s operational capabilities
- Connect the pedestrian gate to the Fairfield/Vacaville train station
- Look to optimize or possibly move base entrance
“We’re not going to be doing any of these in isolation, many of you will be involved in helping us to plan it and put it together,” Jiron said. “At the end of the day, it has to be a symbiotic relationship. It benefits us to partner with you and it benefits you to partner with us to keep Travis strong for the next 100 years.”
- By Brianna Boyd