Several months ago I had the privilege of participating in a group tour of Agilent Technologies' sprawling and visually stunning Fountaingrove campus. When the tour was done, I felt for the first time in 25 years of following Agilent that I understood -- in a non-technical way, for sure -- what the company does in Santa Rosa. (Coincidentally Agilent is a winner of one of our Healthiest Companies Awards and is profiled in the Business Journal's Nov. 28 report.)

Put simply: Agilent's world-class work force designs and makes the testing equipment for products that make our lives richer and more fun. Agilent measurement equipment is used to make sure your smartphone can download video, that your cellphone call is completed and that the GPS system in your car is accurate. Agilent in Santa Rosa also, among other things, has developed software that allows engineers to precisely test the performance of an electronic device, reducing the time it takes to get a product into production.

So it was welcome news about two weeks ago that Agilent has added 50 new jobs in Santa Rosa. Today there are about 1,150 people working in Sonoma County. Meanwhile, Ron Nersesian, who has headed up Agilent's Electronic Measurement Group headquartered in Santa Rosa through a period of strong results, has been promoted to chief operating officer for the entire company.

With regard to the new jobs, the credit for creating and sustaining them certainly goes to Agilent. But the people and organizations that have increased the focus on economic vitality for the region deserve at least a tip of the hat for helping to improve the overall climate for job creation. Organizations like BEST (Building Economic Success Together), the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, the City of Santa Rosa and others have all elevated the discussion about the critical role job creation plays in the health of our communities.

And this is just the beginning, with BEST moving from fund-raising to execution on its plan to create 4,100 jobs in the next five years and the City of Santa Rosa and county both looking for tangible ways to improve the business climate.

That is something to be thankful for this holiday season....

Brad Bollinger is the editor in chief and associate publisher of the Business Journal, or 707-521-4251.