Business / Economy

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership names local business leader to its board

President and CEO of Marich Confectionery joins others to focus on regional economic development

The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), a new, nonprofit organization focusing on regional economic development in the Monterey Bay area, convened its first board meeting on April 13, and elected its Board of Directors, including Brad van Dam, president and CEO of Hollister-based Marich Confectionery. The board members come from a wide range of companies and organizations, representing the diversity of the region.

They include Dr. George Blumenthal, chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, Bud Colligan, founder and CEO of South Swell Ventures and co-chair of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, Ray Corpuz, city manager of Salinas, Larry deGhetaldi M.D., president of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Santa Cruz, Gary Griggs, Distinguished Professor of Earth Sciences and director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UCSC, Claude Hoover, owner of Veritas Real Estate, Lorri Koster, chairman and CEO of Mann Packing Company, Mary Ann Leffel, president of the Monterey County Business Council, René Mendez, city manager of Gonzales and co-chair of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, president of California State University Monterey Bay, George Ow, Jr., chairman and CEO of Ow Family Properties, Nina Simon, executive director of the Museum of Art and History, and Bruce Taylor, chairman and CEO of Taylor Farms.

“We are very pleased that so many distinguished leaders have come together to explore the opportunities and challenges in creating a vibrant regional economy with good jobs, education and quality of life for all residents,” said board Co-Chair Bud Colligan.

The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership was formed in late 2014, and consists of public, private and civic entities from the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. Its mission is to create a thriving region with quality jobs, excellent education, and a high quality of life for all residents, while preserving the natural beauty and healthy lifestyle we all share.

“I am impressed with the new MBEP Board and its very broad and regional representation, from education to health care, technology to agriculture, public and non-profit,” said board member Gary Griggs. “We not only have a representative group, but also thoughtful and respected people who are all good communicators.”

The Board of Directors designated workforce development and building the regional technology ecosystem as the two issues on which it will focus on during the next twelve months. The technology ecosystem, including a modern broadband infrastructure, is critical to all companies, organizations, civic entities and individuals in the region. Workforce development is seen as essential to enable our economy to flourish, lower the unemployment rate, and foster local jobs.

“The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership will focus on fostering new jobs, catalyzing local economic opportunities, and convening all stakeholders to find consensus solutions that move our region forward,” said Jennifer Dossett, president of MBEP. “In the next twelve months, we will focus on initiatives and projects around workforce development and the technology ecosystem.”

Each year, MBEP will host an Economic Summit in the winter and a State of the Region Conference in the fall. The first regional Economic Summit was held Jan. 29 in Seaside and brought together regional stakeholders to discuss the various the economic opportunities and challenges the region faces. The date and speakers for the first annual State of the Region Conference will be announced in the summer.

For more information on the MBEP, click here.


Lori King-Kocsis has over 20 years experience in corporate, not-for-profit and technology start ups. With a strong background in member and program development, fund raising and marketing in NY Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development organization and non-profit organization in Washington DC. She has led and been involved in program launches, has developed and grown nationally recognized Leadership and business programs including, Capital Leadership (Albany-Colonie, NY), CEOConnex and TechConnex. A transplant from upstate NY, Lori was attracted to San Benito County for its natural beauty and friendly community.