NORTH BAY -- What will propel Sonoma County's economy in the years ahead? How will the region compete in an increasingly global market for innovation, labor and products? What conditions need to be in place to support economic vitality?

These are the questions the Business Journal's Oct. 19 Impact Sonoma conference aims to answer for the business community in these uncertain times.

"We have done dozens of conferences at the Business Journal, but I have never seen a group of business leaders -- entrepreneurs and innovators all -- quite like this assembled in one place, at one time," said Business Journal Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief Brad Bollinger. "And it comes at a critical juncture for job creation and the future of our region."

The program will feature special guest speaker Jay Abbe, former CEO of Optical Coating Laboratory, former president and COO of JDS Uniphase, and an active member of the North Bay community. A conversation with this seasoned veteran of the tech industry will focus on what it means to develop a competitive advantage on a global scale and how this is influencing job growth in the region.

Panel speakers from fast-growing and cutting-edge companies will further the discussion with an inside look at conditions that have supported them in creating and retaining jobs in Sonoma County.

With clinical trials underway, plans to add 100 jobs and the close of a recent $60 million in funding, Steven Harrison, chief financial officer of TriVascular, will share challenges the second incarnation of this biotech company has overcome as well as key decisions it made to be able to succeed and grow in the North Bay.

Originally a DARPA-funded project at the University of Central Florida, Raydiance was spun-out of UCF and headquartered in Orlando in 2003 to commercialize ultrafast laser technologies. Raydiance established a presence in the North Bay in 2005 and completed the transition of its headquarters to Petaluma in 2009. In light of the company’s plans to double its local employee base in another year, Bill Beyer, chief operating officer of Raydiance, will provide insight into Raydiance’s strategies and partnerships targeted for this expansion.

Petaluma startup Enphase Energy was first to market with a system to maximize energy harvest and simplify solar projects, attracting $44 million in funding in its first two years. The question now isn't how to keep growing, but how to grow fast enough.

Douglas Clark, chief executive officer of Metier, who will tell how Santa Rosa's economic development team succeeded in wooing this fast-growing software company to expand with a branch office here. With plans to grow its staff, find out what factors made the difference in bringing those jobs to Sonoma County.

Dan Russo, vice president of marketing and communications of Horizon Air, will talk about how Horizon's presence has impacted Sonoma County's job market and how this can translate to future opportunities.

Jill Kinney, managing director of Clubsource Development Partners LLC and co-founder of Club One Inc., will outline how Club One can change the landscape of a city center, providing not only a fitness venue but also community services municipalities are now hard-pressed to fulfill.

The event will be held Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the program runs from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $49 per person or $510 for a table of 10 and include continental breakfast. To register, contact Linda Perkins at 707-521-5264 or events@busjrnl.com by Oct. 15, or go to www.NorthBayBusinessJournal.com.