On October 11 and 12, the City of Eureka and Upstate California Economic Development Council hosted a 2 day conference at the Wharfinger Building. This included a reception and dinner at the Sequoia Park Zoo. Representatives from the Governor’s Office, Counties of Shasta, Butte, Humboldt, Trinity and Tehama, Headwaters Fund, SBDC, Humboldt Made as well as local elected officials from the City of Eureka, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors attended.
The Upstate California Economic Development Council (Upstate CA EDC) was founded in 1989. Today, it is supported by the pooled resources of 13 Northern California community-based economic development organizations as well as the California Trade and Commerce Agency and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. It is a non-profit whose goal is market profit-making opportunities in the region to a global audience.
Upstate EDC has a new mission this year, focusing on food production activities, which is a growing business activity within the Upstate members. Presentations focusing on increasing growth opportunities for Ag related businesses took the forefront on October 11th.
There was an update by City Manager David Tyson and Consultant David Hull on the East-West Railway Project. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Upstate California Economic Development Council, The City of Eureka, Humboldt County and the Counties of Trinity and Tehama supporting a feasibility study for this project. “We are not proposing that we build a rail tomorrow,” said Tyson. “We are proposing we do a feasibility study. The port is very important to our economy and rail is important to it.”
Before Tyson spoke, Debra Lucero from Butte EDC had given an excellent presentation on the future of pulses processing and how that could benefit Northern California counties represented in both national trade and international trade. Debra also shared her innovative Agricultural Speed Dating Program that matches food processors with local and regional restaurants, and commodity based buyers.
Other featured presenters/speakers included GoBIZs newly appointed Deputy Director Leslie McBride, North State Super Region representative Dan Wayne and Stephen Wahlstrom. Also, present were TeamCalifornia the statewide marketing program experts, Mary Ingersoll and Tim Kelley.
The program concluded with the recommendation for the Upstate group to focus significant resources and effort on the small value added food processors in the region.