Group presents a plan for job growth

Teknova Chief Financial Officer Richard Goozh stands inside the local biotech facility that manufactures biological media in the medical, biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

Just over a year ago, Richard Goozh, CFO of San Benito-based biotech company Teknova, stood up at a Hollister City Council meeting and declared the formation of the Independent Committee for San Benito County Job Growth.

Goozh invited members of the community to join him in addressing what he believes is a lack of job and business growth in the county. Now the committee has been formed, and Goozh has presented preliminary recommendations to San Benito County and Hollister city officials.

The presentation at the Oct. 15 council meeting included six recommendations: welcome new businesses to the county; create shared goals for growth among agencies; aim for 3 percent annual residential growth and 6-10 percent annual job growth; hire a marketing and intake director for the Economic Development Committee; improve city and county partnerships to reduce service costs for businesses; and invest in infrastructure.

The council’s reception of the presentation wasn’t quite what Goozh hoped it would be. However, he will continue to give the preliminary recommendations to the San Benito County Supervisors and come back sometime between January and March 2019 with the committee’s final recommendations.

Goozh told the Free Lance he had wanted to start the committee in an effort to get job growth to match residential growth in the county. He said, “Why is it commuters want to move to the county but businesses don’t?”

When creating the group, Goozh said he wanted the committee to find ways to bring more businesses like Teknova to the county.

“The greater the community of like-minded businesses, the greater the benefits for every member of that community,” said Goozh.

During the presentation, Goozh included graphs showing the intersection of job growth, traffic and government funds. According to Goozh’s graphs, when jobs increase in the county, traffic will be alleviated and more money will be able to be put back into county and city government.

“Job growth solves a lot of other problems,” said Goozh.

Goozh said current job growth in the county is about 1 percent annually, but his projections that maximize infrastructure and monetary benefits come from a 6 percent job growth rate.

“It’s a very aggressive goal,” said Goozh. “ I don’t want to understate that, but it’s not out of reach.

“If there’s more money in the community, then there’s more money for the community.”

While members of the committee act independently from the organizations they are a part of, the committee includes many prominent community members. Some of the members include

District 4 council candidate Marty Richman, current District 4 Councilmember Jim Gillio, City Manager Bill Avera, former District 1 councilmember Ray Friend, mayoral candidate and former councilmember Gordon Machado, former councilmember and lobbyist Victor Gomez and County Supervisor Mark Medina.

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