Bringing its multi-sectoral network of members and partners together, MBEP hosted its 5th Annual Regional Economic Summit on May 2, 2019, at the newly renovated Monterey Conference Center. 350+ leaders from across the tri-county region and beyond came together to learn about important economic trends and compelling ways to grow and “recession-proof” their organizations.

Thank you to all of you who participated!  Our goal is to produce informative and engaging events that tackle the most important issues facing the Monterey Bay region. We’re glad you joined us and hope to see you at our 5th Annual State of the Region on October 25th, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. Save the date!

MBEP’s 5th Annual Regional Economic Summit opened with a soulful rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” performed by the local singer-songwriter and alum of season 15 of The Voice, Anthony Arya, followed by an engaging version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” that the audience sang along with. For more of Anthony Arya’s music, please visit his website.

Welcome from Kate Roberts

Following Anthony’s performance, Kate welcomed the audience with an economic snapshot of the region.  Click here to view the presentation slides.

Highlights from Keynote Speaker Bruce Katz

Arriving in the Monterey Bay region to deliver the keynote address, Bruce Katz was struck by the overwhelming beauty of the region. Yet beneath that lovely surface, he says, there’s a huge amount of transition, as the region arrives at a critical moment.

“In some ways, this feels like a paradise, and then you realize all the challenges that you’re facing because of where you’re located and because of the kind of vast economic restructuring that’s going on as you move from one kind of economy to another kind of economy.”

Katz, a Brookings Institution scholar, senior advisor to global leaders and author of “The New Localism,” described this as a critical moment for the region “to take responsibility for its future … really driving your future from the bottom up.”

MBEP – and its approach – is helping lead that change. “What this organization does, by focusing on the connective tissue between public, private, civic, university, community, is so fundamental,” said Katz.

 Click here to review the presentation slides.


Highlights from CEO Panel, Moderated by Lenny Mendonca

CEOs of some of the leading companies in the Monterey Bay region shared insights into the challenges and lessons of leadership during panel discussion moderated by Lenny Mendonca.

Chief Economic and Business Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom of California, Lenny Mendonca

Bay Federal Credit Union President and CEO, Carrie L. Birkhofer

Poly President and CEO, Joe Burton

Taylor Farms Chairman and CEO, Bruce Taylor

Mendonca, recently appointed as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Chief Economic and Business Advisor and director of the Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and a senior fellow at the Presidio Institute, endorsed a central message of keynote speaker Bruce Katz — that we should solve local problems at a local level. “The power is in our communities,” said Mendonca, “and we need to take that power and run with it.”

Watch the full video of the panel discussion below:

Public-Private Partnership Award

MBEP’s Public-Private Partnership award is given to impactful cross-sector partnerships that demonstrate a significant contribution to the well-being of our region and inspire others to take action. This year’s award was given to two recipients. The first was the Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center, which brought Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Taylor Farms, the City of Gonzales, and the Herb Meyer Family Trust together to bring the Center to fruition. The second was Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz, recognized for creating a vibrant new community hub in downtown Santa Cruz that promotes economic vitality.

Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center Award

Left to right: Matt Huffaker, Bruce Taylor, Maria Orozco, Jeff Wardwell, John Handel, Eduardo Ochoa

Abbott Square Award

Left to right: Matt Huffaker, Peter Orr, Lis DuBois, Nina Simon, Carlos Palacios, Bonnie Lipscomb, Eduardo Ochoa

A special thank you to our event sponsors: