SANTA ROSA – Several months of collaboration among public and private sectors in Sonoma County are culminating in the first tech Supplier Fair on July 25.
“We wanted to find a way to increase local business purchasing dollars inside the county,” said Carolyn Stark, executive director of BEST (Building Economic Success Together), a public/private group operating under the umbrella of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.
According to Rich Schroeder, former general manager of General Dynamics in Healdsburg and now chair of the BEST Tech Industry Group, there are nine major tech manufacturers in the area and about 50 smaller suppliers.
“If we can capture just 5 percent of what the OEMs spend on out-of-area suppliers, it would be a significant boost for the county,” he said.
Earlier in the year, members of the Tech Industry Group – including Agilent, JDSU, L-3, General Dynamics, Medtronic, Labcon, TriVascular, and IDEX – met to create a matrix of needs such as fabricated metal, tooling of fabricated parts, inspection services and other special processes.
In collaboration with the manufacturing trade group 101MFG, the group is now ready to pair up local buyers and suppliers at the upcoming Supplier Fair.
“The goal is to assist original equipment manufacturers in Sonoma County to find suppliers and business partners quickly and easily by establishing local connections,” said Mr. Schroeder.
“The Supplier Fair is a perfect example of our mission to facilitate technology based industry collaboration and leverage resources to the benefit of local businesses.”
The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Redwood Credit Union Community Room, 3033 Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa.
Local manufacturers and suppliers are urged to visit www.sonomacountybest.com or call Amanda Saiki at (707) 545-1414 for more information and registration..
Suppliers will be evaluated to ensure they provide the appropriate services and/or components for the manufacturers. Each of the tech manufacturers will have a booth and the qualified suppliers will circulate among them.
“In addition to creating local partnerships to accelerate business growth, there are millions of dollars being spent outside of the county,” said Ms. Stark. “We believe there are opportunities to keep that money from exiting our local economy.”
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