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Economic Development in Solano County


A Conversation with Chris Rico: The Future of Solano County's Economic Development

In the latest episode of the Capstone Conversation, host Jared Asch sat down with Chris Rico, President and CEO of the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC), to discuss the future of economic development in Solano County.


Background and Journey to Solano EDC

Chris Rico's path to Solano EDC is as diverse as inspiring. From promoting rock bands in college to working in Hollywood, teaching special needs students, and running political campaigns, Rico's career trajectory has been anything but linear. He credits his eclectic background with giving him the unique skill set needed to lead Solano EDC.


Mission and Vision of Solano EDC

Rico shared that when he took over the leadership of Solano EDC, the organization shifted its focus from simply attracting businesses to creating a compelling narrative about the county. By doing so, they aim to demonstrate real accomplishments before sharing their story with potential investors.


Key Initiatives and Challenges

Solano EDC is focused on several key areas to drive economic growth:

1. Advanced Manufacturing: Rico recognized the need for local job creation and emphasized attracting advanced manufacturing companies to the county. The goal is to reduce the number of residents commuting long distances for work.

2. Housing and Urban Development: With a significant proportion of the county's large employers concerned about housing, Solano EDC advocates for more multifamily housing units and the development of dense, transit-oriented communities.

3. Power Infrastructure: The county's ability to attract and retain businesses, particularly in advanced manufacturing and life sciences, needs to be improved by power infrastructure challenges. Rico highlighted ongoing efforts to address these issues.


California Forever: Potential and Concerns

Jared and Chris also discussed California Forever, a large-scale development initiative backed by several investors. While the potential economic benefits are significant, Rico noted the importance of scrutinizing and holding the developers accountable to ensure the project addresses local needs and avoids unintended consequences, such as increased traffic congestion.





Nonprofit Capacity Building

Rico expressed pride in Solano EDC's work to support local nonprofits. By hosting capacity-building summits and securing funding for nonprofit leaders, Solano EDC aims to strengthen the organizations that provide critical services to the county's most vulnerable residents.


Final Thoughts

Chris Rico's visionary approach to economic development focuses on leveraging Solano County's unique strengths and addressing its challenges head-on. Rico and Solano EDC are working to create a more prosperous future for the county by prioritizing job creation, housing, and infrastructure.


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