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Job creators tell their stories: Clubsource Development Partners, Enphase Energy, Horizon Air, Metier, Raydiance, TriVascular.

Clubsource focuses on new model of ‘community clubs’

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Jill Kinney, Managing Director, Clubsource Development Partners

Tells us about your company and the market you serve.

Clubsource is a developer and owner of athletic clubs. We have a full-service design team that has more than 50 years of combined experience in building and operating many of the leading clubs in the country. We develop our own clubs and provide design/development services to other club owners, municipalities and corporations.

Although we work on a number of club models, we focus our own new development projects on “community clubs.” These clubs offer a new approach to publicly funded and managed recreation centers and bring contemporary health and wellness facilities and programs to underserved communities. Members range in age from 6 months to 90 years and split evenly between men and women. Our average age is 44 and average household income is approximately $120,000. Members typically live or work within 10 minutes of our clubs but are attracted from as far as 20 minutes.

What are your plans in Sonoma County for the next 12 to 24 months?

We plan to build a new community club in Santa Rosa at Railroad Square that would open in 2012. We opened a club in Petaluma in 2009, and it’s done quite well.

What do you see as the main impediments to your local growth right now?

We have recently run into an obstacle with the SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) board that could prevent us from proceeding with our new club in Santa Rosa. We have had overwhelming support from the city of Santa Rosa and the neighboring communities and hope to overcome this issue soon.

If there was one thing that would help your company prosper locally, what would it be?

Ours is a complicated and expensive venture that requires a great deal of planning and experience to be successful. At this point the one thing that would help us the most would be for the SMART board to choose to work with us to overcome the challenges of today’s economy that seem to be common in many new real estate projects.

Is there something you would like to add?

I’ve had the opportunity to work in many communities throughout the U.S. and I’ve never had a more welcome, responsive environment than Sonoma County. From the politicians to the neighborhoods and the business community, Sonoma County is clearly working to attract and retain businesses that will enhance the area. It’s a real pleasure to work in this kind of partnership.

Enphase poised to grow; clean-tech focus an opportunity for region

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Bill Rossi, Chief Marketing Officer, Enphase Energy

Tells us about your company and the market you serve.

Enphase Energy is a high-profile, venture-backed company in Petaluma serving the solar industry. It was founded in 2006 by two Sonoma County natives.

What are your plans in Sonoma County for the next 12 to 24 months?

We expect to continue to grow the company as the solar industry grows over the next 12 to 24 months. We're over 100 employees today, and we hope to more than double our size in the next year. We'd like Sonoma County to be the heartland for solar and renewable energy innovation and plan to do our part in making that a reality.

What do you see as the main impediments to your local growth right now?

We're often trying to recruit talent from both within and outside the Bay Area to Sonoma County. It doesn't have a high-tech reputation like Silicon Valley or the emerging Media Alley of San Francisco.  However, it's a beautiful area and the more the community can do to promote affordable living, high-tech job growth, great secondary schools and an attractive lifestyle, the more successful we can be in recruiting a renewable energy work force.

If there was one thing that would help your company prosper locally, what would it be?

We love being in downtown Petaluma. It has so much to offer with a convenient downtown and a choice of attractive office space with free parking. However, it looks like we might outgrow our current location. We'd love to continue our success story in downtown Petaluma and grow to 250 or more employees either in our current location or another downtown option.

Is there something you would like to add?

I've worked in Silicon Valley my entire life. When I first heard of Enphase and its Petaluma location, I'll be honest, it was a negative for me. I remember Petaluma from 15 years ago, and I didn't exactly think of it as a high-tech center. But when I visited, I fell in love with the company and the location.

I think Sonoma County has an incredible opportunity to position itself as a must place to be if you're a clean-tech company and recruit the very best talent.

Horizon Air flights providing critical service for economy

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Dan Russo, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Horizon Air

Tells us about your company and the market you serve.

Horizon Air is a Seattle-based regional airline with 53 aircraft and 3,500 employees serving 45 cities throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Baja California Sur (Mexico), and British Columbia and Alberta (Canada). Horizon has served Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport since 2007 and currently offers five daily flights with nonstop service to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. Together, Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines serve more than 90 cities and are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE:ALK).

What are your plans in Sonoma County for the next 12 to 24 months?

At this time Horizon plans to maintain its current schedule of five daily flights.

What do you see as the main impediments to your local growth right now?

Growth in air travel is directly related to population growth. Since air travel is two-way, that includes the local population and the population of destinations served. To a lesser extent but still important is the state of the economy, which affects both vacation and business travel spending.

If there was one thing that would help your company prosper locally, what would it be?

Continue to emphasize the importance of using your local air service whenever possible. The more people choose to fly from STS rather than drive to SFO or OAK and fly from there, the faster STS air service will grow.

Metier CEO sees future propelled by attracting small firms

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Douglas Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Metier

Tells us about your company and the market you serve.

Metier leads the project portfolio management industry by enabling organizations to integrate their strategic business objectives to execution. Since 1998, Metier's suite of patented software and award-winning services has delivered substantial performance improvements for government agencies and Global 2000 corporations. Repeatedly named as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the nation, Metier continues to expand its influence through proactive engagement in our industry and steadfast dedication to help our clients and our team, workforward.

What are your plans in Sonoma County for the next 12 to 24 months?

Corporate priorities for Metier in the next 12 to 24 months include moving into permanent office space, completing rollout of the operational plans for the West Coast office and hiring top talent to join our organization.

What do you see as the main impediments to your local growth right now?

The lack of similar businesses in Sonoma County does not create a collaborative business environment from which Metier could be more engaging with the local business community. Attracting and hiring high-quality employees is currently our largest challenge to growing more of our business in Sonoma County.

If there was one thing that would help your company prosper locally, what would it be?

We would like to see Santa Rosa make their interest in attracting new businesses to the area into a formalized plan. For growing businesses like Metier, there is no network of comparable enterprises. In order for Santa Rosa to prosper as a business community, a targeted, measurable plan for inviting new business must be established. A formalized plan would institute realistic, measurable goals and a timeframe for execution. These goals would be based on demographic information and would be supported by the local government, business community and county residents for tax purposes.

For example, a commitment to secure “300 Tens” would focus on attracting three hundred new 10-person businesses to Santa Rosa. This concept suggests that Santa Rosa could bring more industry to the area by focusing on a more realistic goal of attracting a large number of small businesses, rather than trying to secure one large corporation, which would have different needs.

A large organization would want to negotiate a tax incentive package and need other resources from the city or county. However, small businesses could be attracted by an incubator office with access to financiers and bankers, who might wave guarantees or be guaranteed by the city. This would be easier to do for the city, requires fewer resources and be measurable within a defined timeline.

Raydiance on track to double size; confidence is key

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Bill Beyer, Chief Operating Officer, Raydiance

Tells us about your company and the market you serve.

Raydiance is the world’s leading developer of ultrafast laser solutions, a uniquely powerful form of laser light that enables the precise ablation of virtually any material without heat. By integrating fiber optic, computing and software technologies into its ultrafast platform, Raydiance delivered to market an industrial grade tool for (i) advanced manufacturing applications in medical devices, microelectronics and automotive, (ii) medical applications and therapeutics and (iii) defense applications.

Originally a DARPA (DoD advance research) project, technology visionary Barry Schuler, former chairman and CEO of AOL, spun Raydiance out of a university launching a private, commercial enterprise. Raydiance established a presence in the North Bay in 2005 and completed the relocation of its headquarters to Petaluma in 2009.

What are your plans in Sonoma County for the next 12 to 24 months?

Over the course of the next 24 months, Raydiance expects to more than double its staffing levels, as well as double its manufacturing capability.

What do you see as the main impediments to your local growth right now?

The overall sluggishness of the U.S. and global economies impacts our business. The Raydiance product represents a fairly substantial capital investment.   The Wall Street Journal recently reported that year-over-year capital spending declined quarterly between 10 percent and 30 percent during the six-quarter period ended December 2009.  Entering 2010, we began to see companies expand, adopting new technologies such as ours, and planning for measured but real growth.

If there was one thing that would help your company prosper locally, what would it be?

Sustained confidence in the macro-economy:  As mentioned above, the leading indicators of our targeted customers indicate signs of measured and real growth.  We expect that such an increase in confidence will spread geometrically, particularly in a well diversified economy like that of Sonoma County. Any given company, such as Raydiance, that begins to experience invigorated business demand influences other local companies in its purview.

TriVascular: global health care,  local growth potential

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Steven Harrison, Chief Financial Officer, TriVascular

Tells us about your company and the market you serve.

Dedicated to serving patients with aortic disease, TriVascular is committed to providing optimal solutions for endovascular aortic repair (EVAR). TriVascular’s initial product offerings are novel endovascular grafts focused on significantly advancing EVAR. Building upon partnerships with thought-leading clinicians worldwide, TriVascular’s products are designed to address unmet clinical needs and expand the pool of patients who are candidates for EVAR. Based in Santa Rosa, TriVascular offers highly talented, motivated individuals the opportunity to positively impact global health care.

What are your plans in Sonoma County for the next 12 to 24 months?

Continue to grow and expand our existing manufacturing capabilities via increased hiring and additional shifts.

What do you see as the main impediments to your local growth right now?

Inadequacy of the local airport, due to limited destinations. It is not easy to bring customers in. Connection to San Francisco would be helpful.

The light rail system would also be helpful to make the area more accessible for those closer to San Francisco.

Is there something you would like to add?

Although difficult to implement, helping startup companies and early-stage business navigate fast through local government processes would be beneficial. Also looking at all the indirect business taxes and requirements that are put on zero-revenue businesses and are based upon headcount, there is a great deal of overhead created on the businesses prior to revenue being generated.