3rd Annual 2017 Regional Economic Summit

MBEP is hosting the third annual Regional Economic Summit at the Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz on May 4, 2017. The keynote speaker is Dr. Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner at Beacon Economics, who will provide insights into local, state and national economic trends. The morning session will consist of panels that will put a spotlight on jobs as the backbone of our economy. We hope you'll join us as we explore and answer these important questions:

  • Who is producing high-quality jobs in the region?

  • How do we create more of them?

  • How can we work together to move people into higher wage jobs?

Reserve your seat now. Click here to register.


8:00 – 8:30      Registration and Networking, Breakfast Buffet (Marketplace Open)
8:30 – 8:45      Welcome and Introductions
8:45 – 9:45      Keynote: Dr. Chris Thornberg, PhD, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics –
Regional, State and National Economic Forecast
9:45 – 10:45    Session 1:  Quality Jobs Fuel the Economy
High quality jobs are the backbone of our economy, enabling residents to afford the high cost of living in the Monterey Bay region, and providing a tax base for much needed infrastructure investment. Who is having success and what have they found to be the keys to creating new high paying jobs? How do we create more of them?
Moderator:  Bud Colligan, Co-Chair, MBEP
1.     Steve Packer, CEO, CHOMP  
2.     Kate Terrell, Senior VP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Driscoll’s
3.     Jessica Gonzales, Co-Founder and CTO, Heavy Connect
4.     Heidi Schriefer, VP People and Places, Looker
10:45 – 11:15  Break
11:15 – 12:15  Session 2:  Movin’ Up: Career Building to Better Jobs
We have a large workforce earning relatively low wages. How can we work together to move people into higher wage jobs? How do we create opportunities for upskilling, education, career laddering and career training to help people achieve higher incomes and more meaningful employment?
Moderator:  Kate Roberts, President, MBEP
1.     Ed Durkee, CEO, Goodwill Central Coast
2.     Reyna Navarrete, Personnel & Recruitment Manager, Tanimura & Antle
3.     Sabra Reyes, Human Resources Director, Seaside Company
4.     Jackie Cruz, Vice President of Advancement & Development, Hartnell College
12:15 – 12:30  Public-Private Partnership Award
12:30 – 1:30    Lunch (Marketplace Open)
1:30 – 2:45      Roundtable Discussions (relating to Session 1)
1.     The Role of Employers in the Housing Crunch - Matt Huerta, Housing Program Manager, MBEP
2.     Getting to Critical Mass - Creating the AgTech Ecosystem - John Hartnett, CEO, SVG Partners
3.     Staying in the Monterey Bay - Heather Putnam, Executive Director, Santa Cruz Works
4.     The Hiring Challenge: Finding Local Mid and Upper Management Talent - Marguerite Kunze, VP Talent Management & Organization Development, Plantronics
5.     Commercializing University Intellectual Property - Mohamed Abousalem, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Industry Alliances, and Tech Commercialization, UCSC
1:30 – 2:45      Roundtable Discussions (relating to Session 2)
1.     Mini Credentials and Badges for Building Skills - Jacob Martinez, Executive Director, Digital NEST
2.     How to Hire, Retain and Inspire Youth - Ken Whiting, President, Whiting’s Food Concessions
3.      Getting Job Ready!:  Career Coach & Internships – Larae Lindsey, Community Engagement Coordinator, The Bright Futures Education Partnership
4.     Show Me the Money! Helping Small Businesses Thrive - Griselda Gil Solis, Loan Manager, Opportunity Fund
5.     Farmworker Career Laddering - Juan Gonzalez, Operations Manager, Lakeside Organics
2:45 – 3:15      Break
3:15 – 4:00      Breakout Sessions Report Out
4:00 – 4:15      Wrap-up and Next Steps
4:15 – 5:30      Wine Tasting with Local Winemakers – Networking Reception (Marketplace Open)

Morning sessions: Our keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner at Beacon Economics, will provide insights into local, state and national economic trends. Dr. Thornberg will be followed by panels and audience Q&A that will put a spotlight on jobs as the backbone of our economy.
Roundtable discussions: After lunch participants will join a Roundtable Discussion of their choosing to delve more deeply into topics related to the morning’s panels. These discussions will be facilitated by subject matter experts to brainstorm solutions.

Marketplace: During the morning registration, breaks and the closing wine reception, attendees can visit the Marketplace, where community organizations will be sharing projects aligned with MBEP’s mission.

Bright Futures Education Collaborative • CSUMB’s Sustainable Hospitality Program • 
Digital NEST • El Pajaro CDC • FoodWhat?! • Goodwill Central Coast • Institute for Innovation and Economic Development at CSUMB • Opportunity Fund • Rancho Cielo•  Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History • Santa Cruz Warriors • Santa Cruz Works • The City of Santa Cruz • Your Future is Our Business

Reception with Monterey Bay Winemakers: At the close of the event, attendees will be treated to a wine-tasting reception with regionally crafted wines. Martinelli’s will also provide non­alcoholic sparkling cider.

Please email questions and press inquiries to admin@mbep.biz.

Check out past events:


Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors:

 Dignity Healt Domincan HospitalSouth Swell Ventures   


Gold Sponsors:

              City of Salinas     


Silver Sponsors:



Media Sponsors:

Wine Reception Sponsors:

Chocolate Sponsor: