Best practices panel will outline success strategies

NORTH BAY -- The Business Journal’s 2010 Construction Conference on May 19, titled “We’re ready: Laying the foundation for economic recovery,” will focus on taking action to build a plan for a healthy construction industry in the North Bay.

The first panel of speakers will lay out the steps needed for recovery. William Silver, dean of the Sonoma State School of Business and Economics, and Robert Eyler, chair of the Economics Department at SSU, will provide information on the North Bay economy and address what actions are required to improve the market. Cynthia Murray, president and CEO of the North Bay Leadership Council, will discuss how attention to commercial real estate absorption could spur new projects. Louise Mason, senior vice president of construction and real estate at Exchange Bank, will give a lender’s perspective on the industry and talk about what it will take to get project funding moving again.

The second panel will highlight best practices in permitting processes and entitlement facilitation that have proven successful. Hanson Hom, director of Community Development for the city of Sunnyvale, will demonstrate how the One-Stop Permit Center has streamlined plan review and permitting, with more than 90 percent of all building permits issued at the counter. Curt Johnston, economic development division manager for the city of Fairfield, which has nearly 500,000 square feet under construction now, will give an overview of tools the city uses to get projects of all sizes done, including business recruitment and retention efforts and gap financing. Keith Woods, CEO of the North Coast Builders Exchange, will moderate the discussion.

The event will be Wednesday, May 19 at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park with registration from 1 to 1:30 and the program from 1:30 to 4:30. A wine and hors d’oeuvres reception will follow. Tickets are $49 per person or $510 for a table of 10, including company name on the table. To register, call 707-521-5264, e-mail or go to by Friday, May 14.