Noting the new venue for Expo ‘14, VEA Chair Martha Diaz-Askenazy started the Board of Governors March 6 meeting by introducing Joe Titizian, General Manager of the Glendale Hilton. He and the Hilton got a warm round of applause for the successful event still going on in the exhibit hall, and the excellent service.
“We need your help,” CEO Greg Krikorian told Valley leaders. “We are relaunching our website, analyzing top economic development sites around the country to find out what works. We are developing a new app – The818 – as a marketing tool for our members.”
“We are working to keep businesses and students here in the Valley. This is an awesome place to start a business and raise a family and we need to be proactive.”
VEA Business & Workforce Development VP Ken Phillips reported he and staff made 845 in-person visits and 10,539 phone consultations over the past three years, resulting in more than 4,500 jobs saved. Phillips detailed results of the Advanced Manufacturing Executive Dialogue Survey on how businesses view talent, innovation, strategy, risk and other issues going forward. Strategic alliances and cost reductions are planned by more than half of respondents. All (100%) said there should be investments in community colleges and universities to support workforce development.
Phillips also highlighted VEA’s Industry Cluster Campaign – roundtables and summits with Advanced Manufacturing, Hospitals and Aviation are all upcoming.
The feature presentation of the meeting was a Bob Hope Airport major projects update. “The need is for a predictable future, and consensus is essential,” began Public Affairs Director Vincent Gill.
“The four pillars we are concentrating on are noise reduction, replacing the main terminal, ground transportation and traffic congestion, and property development,” Gill said. “We can’t build the transportation to the airport, so we need to be catalysts to bring investment from revenue sources such as MTA. What’s missing is east-west connectivity with transit – we need to close the loop and give people options.”
The Regional Intermodal Transportation Center will open in July of this year. Gill highlighted seismic isolators in the structure, which is dual-purposed as an emergency response facility in case of earthquake. A new pedestrian bridge from Burbank’s Metrolink stop to the Bob Hope Airport across the street is set to be built with $7 million in Caltrans funds. A $300-$400 million new terminal replacing the existing 83-year-old structure needs to be built and other connectivity plans are in the works. “We need to create a state-of-the-art airport, be a good neighbor and create consensus to build a ‘new front door’ for Burbank,” Gill concluded. He urged the audience to stay involved, sign up at linkBurbank.com, and speak at meetings with the community and elected officials.