U.S. Treasurer Meets with East Bay CEOs

Shane Bond,
The Pioneer

Shane Bond,
Politics Editor
March 22, 2012

U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios (right) speaking with CEOs about the state of East Bay manufacturing.

The United States Treasurer Rosie Rios visited Union City Tuesday for a roundtable discussion with CEOs of East Bay manufacturing to discuss issues and solutions to America’s post-recession manufacturing field.

The roundtable was the second forum hosted by East Bay Manufacturing Group (EBMG) and East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA).

According to Karen Burns, co-founder of EBMG, these forums are essential to developing peer-to-peer networking among East Bay businesses for manufacturing growth and communication.

The roundtable was private and excluded any visitors not invited, that included media personnel.

Despite that, the treasurer, a Hayward native, took a moment to talk to journalists about American manufacturing.

The treasurer first cited the importance of the forum highlighting the potential to learn the East Bay’s manufacturing issues, discuss solutions and what the Obama administration can do to help facilitate success.

“When considering legislation and policies to help further success we need to have a dialogue that can help determine what those policies should be,” said Rios.

Rios spoke enthusiastically about East Bay’s manufacturing history, highlighting it’s breadth across different sectors including automobile, food processing and hi-tech manufacturing.

“The East Bay has a good employment base, great transferrable skill sets and a highly educated work force that is important to manufacturing,” said Rios. “We also have the nearby Oakland Port.”

The Oakland Port is a common talking point in the East Bay’s manufacturing arena that local government and business officials cite as a pivotal player in business growth in the Bay Area.

To overcome the faults of manufacturing, a work field reduced by outsourcing and economic upheaval, Rios highlights innovation.

“Innovation is going to be the key to manufacturing but we also will have to re-train and use resources to advance skill sets,” said Rios. “The president has proposed a few ways to support manufacturing, including tax credits.”

Rios first developed her roots in business and government in Northern California and became an expert in economic development through various work experiences in East Bay cities.

Rios was the former redevelopment agency manager of Union City and later a development specialist for San Leandro.

Karen Engel, executive director of EDA, added to East Bay’s viability, crediting its potential to sources of “innovation,” including UC Berkeley and national research labs (Lawrence Livermore Lab) and other related activities in technological strengths as evidence to East Bay’s manufacturing capacity.

Scott B. Peterson, deputy director of EDA, emphasized the importance of the U.S. Treasurer’s visit to the East Bay.

“The treasurer is the advisor to the president so it is very helpful to have the attention of the federal administration on the aspects of manufacturing that are affecting businesses here in the East Bay and help us give her insight on what is happening on the ground,” said Peterson.

About 71,000 jobs are in the manufacturing field in the East Bay and about half of those are specialty manufacturing in hi-tech manufacturing, according to Peterson.

According to Peterson about 15 CEO’s were present at the meeting including Patrick Kennedy, CEO of OSI Soft and Terry Clark, CEO of Finelite whose building was used to host the event.

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