Regional Economic Summit 2018 Recap

“I spent the day with staff doing follow-up from the wonderful Summit yesterday, and still am not done. So many great ideas and connections!  Kudos again to making good stuff happen in fun and professional ways for the community!” – Kirsten Liske, Ecology Action

When our region’s community, business and civic leaders come together at an MBEP event, good things happen. And last week’s Regional Economic Summit was no exception.

Economist Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics LLC, started us out with his phrase “The Great Disconnect” that hit home to many attendees –what we are worried about (e.g. media focus, Trump distractions, etc.) vs. what we should be worried about. Topping the list of the latter includes the number of workers (labor shortage), healthcare costs, wealth inequality, and unfunded government liabilities. We learned that “1 out of 6 jobs in the nation are in California. We are pushing the U.S. economy forward.” And we were needled by him too. “Come on, Boomers, suck it up and retire later!”

Always entertaining and often challenging the status quo, Chris also shared his insights on rent control. “If we are trying to help reduce the housing cost burden for low income households, does rent control do this? This is the question we should be asking. And the data shows that time and time again, rent control is not the answer.”  Chris’s story of his friend in L.A. who happily stayed in his rent controlled apartment for many years, leaving only to purchase a $1 million home, is not an isolated story.

And what would a talk on the economy be without touching on housing supply? “The supply of housing is a stranglehold on the economy. We need better land use policies!” Chris had the whole theater chanting, “Roofs, roofs, roofs.”

Author and investing expert, Morgan Simon, Managing Director of the Candide Group, told us that we all have more economic power than we claim or use. And that we could all do a better job “knowing where our money spends the night.” Companies, municipalities, foundations and individuals can exercise their economic strength by asking questions about where and with whom their monies are invested. She talked about keeping our monies invested in our communities as a way to build community capital. Banking with local institutions, such as MBEP memberBay Federal Credit Union, is a great first step.

Morgan also shared several impact investment tools and platforms available today, such as Transform Finance where capital is a tool for the advancement of transformative social change; Kiva Zip, where U.S. entrepreneurs can access 0% interest loans; and CuttingEdgeX, a Direct Public Offerings (DPO’s) marketplace, where investors can connect with social enterprises. You’ll find many more inspiring stories and examples in her book Real Impact.

The event closed with MBEP’s annual Public-Private Partnership award where MBEP member Hartnell College and its Agriculture Steering Committee were honored for their leadership and many contributions to the community.

We hope you enjoyed substantive interactions, gained new insights, and made new connections for future collaboration. We heard from many of you who left inspired and ready to work even harder to help our region thrive.

If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to complete our online evaluation . We’d love to hear from you. And don’t forget to save the date for our 4th Annual State of the Region event on November 30 in Seaside.

In gratitude,
Kate Roberts, President



Click here to download the Regional Economic Summit 2018 program.


Kate Roberts: Welcome and Introductions,
Chris Thornberg: Keynote Slides
Morgan Simon, Managing Director, Candide Group
Public-Private Partnership Award

Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors:


Gold Sponsors:






Silver Sponsors:


Media Sponsors: