The Economic Resource Council is negotiating with the leader of a regional job creation organization to become the outfit’s new executive director.
Jon Gregory, co-founder and managing director of Innovate North State in Chico, would be the fourth leader of the ERC since January 2012 if he is hired. Incoming board chair Lisa Swarthout thinks he’s the man to stabilize the organization.
“Jon Gregory has the skills, experience, the connections and the overall wherewithal that we need as an organization,” she told The Union. “He is a seasoned economic development professional.”
Innovate North State was established in April 2012 to create jobs in the area by helping spur the growth of young, innovative companies. The organization’s Web site doesn’t list any success stories, but that may be because it has been in business less than two years.
And that raises an issue with Gregory. His extensive resume indicates he never stays one place very long, hardly the kind of person to create the stability Swarthout claims to want.
On the positive side, Gregory has experience in angel financing, the funding of companies in the early stages of development that gives them traction and a chance to succeed. But that assumes we can get innovators to come here in the first place.
Local boosters constantly talk about the attraction of this area to young entrepreneurs looking for a place to raise their families. But new evidence suggests they aren’t in touch with reality.
A national survey conducted earlier this year by the Urban Land Institute found that 58 percent of Gen Y workers–the 18- to 34- year-olds who are creating most of the new wealth in the Bay Area these days–prefer to live in the suburbs or medium to large cities.
The total is 56 percent for Gen X–workers 35 to 47. Only Baby Boomers–48 and up–prefer small towns and rural areas (53 percent).
Highly educated workers are clustered in a small number of cities. In 2010, more than 43 percent of Americans with bachelor’s degrees chose to live in 20 metropolitan areas, primarily tech hubs, according to research from the Brookings Institution.
Nearly 200 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the top 50 cities, and others are opening high-profile satellite offices in nearby cities. Startup companies are following suit, according to the land institute.