Valley Vision

Dear Members and Friends,

Our March newsletter is exclusively devoted to coverage of the 2009 State of the Valley conference, held in San Jose last month. We are delighted that more than 1100 people gathered for a day spent in dialogue and discussion about our region’s most important issues.

We’re providing audio links to all of the plenary sessions here; we’re also pleased that our media partners at public stations KQED Radio and KTEH-TV have been rebroadcasting portions of the conference.

State of the Valley was made possible thanks to our lead sponsor, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. We also express thanks to our presentation sponsors, Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Accenture and Hewlett-Packard.

If you missed it, we hope you’ll make certain plans to join us next year when we do it all over again.


Russell Hancock
President and Chief Executive Officer

Table Top

In this issue:

The 2009 State of the Valley Conference

Silicon Valley business, government and community leaders packed Parkside Hall on February 20 for the 2009 State of the Valley Conference, where three presentations and six information sessions filled a six-hour program. Keynote presentations featured Better Place CEO Shai Agassi on the future of electric cars and Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria on Silicon Valley’s role in a “post-American” world.

The conference also introduced Joint Venture’s new Climate Prosperity Initiative with the support of a $300,000 grant from Applied Materials, and unveiled a “Greenprint” for Silicon Valley. Interactive panel discussions on workforce challenges and our energy future drew strong interest from the audience, who used their mobile phones to send questions to the stage.

The luncheon featured the presentation of the David Packard Award, Joint Venture’s highest honor, to Santa Clara University Chancellor Paul L. Locatelli.

Briefing Presentation: THE 2009 INDEX OF SILICON VALLEY

The State of the Valley Conference coincides with the release of Joint Venture’s annual Silicon Valley Index and Special Analysis, produced in partnership with our lead sponsor, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Index received extensive coverage this year in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomberg, the National Journal, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle and Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, as well as on radio, television and several international media outlets. (Click here to see some of the coverage).

Joint Venture CEO Russell Hancock briefed conference attendees on the major findings in the Index, which for the first time included data for all of San Mateo County.

Hancock reviewed data showing the nation’s recession and home mortgage crisis finally caught up to Silicon Valley near the end of 2008, as seen in spiking unemployment and foreclosures and reduced venture capital investment in most sectors.

He also showed that, at the same time, investment in clean technology grew 94 percent and jobs in the sector rose 23 percent since 2005, raising hopes for economic recovery through innovation in green technology and new, related business models.

The companion Special Analysis, produced as a separate publication for the first time, raised warning signs that the region is currently not producing enough talent to meet its workforce needs over the next decade as the industry mix changes and new skills are required.

Click here to read the Index news release.

Click here to download the entire report


Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Emmett Carson briefed the audience on the workforce challenges facing the region, pointing out that data in the Special Analysis shows the need for a strong system of workforce development to support adult worker retraining and transition. He also highlighted the crucial need for replacement jobs in our “community infrastructure,” which makes quality living possible, and supports our driving industries.

“The cost of inaction will undermine the region’s innovative capacity and overall competitiveness and with it, our regional prosperity and quality of life,” Carson said.

Citing numbers in the Special Analysis, Carson showed that the state is not in a position to meet its needs for college-educated workers and that this will be a limiting factor in the state’s economic growth.  Further, the state cannot depend on importing enough talent from other states and countries to offset the demand for college-educated workers.

“Our region now has the opportunity to innovate once again,” he continued. “For better or worse, how Silicon Valley adapts its social landscape to the shifting demands of global economic forces will have a meaningful impact on how the rest of the country chooses to adapt.”

Quoting the report’s conclusion, Carson said that Silicon Valley, long at the forefront of economic innovation, should take the lead in demonstrating social innovation that works to counteract the growing economic pressures creating a crisis in our communities,

Click here to download the 2009 Special Analysis.


In a thoughtful discussion moderated by Collaborative Economics CEO Doug Henton, El Camino Hospital CEO Ken Graham, California Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Barbara Halsey, Foothill-De Anza Community College District Chancellor Martha Kanter and NOVA Director Mike Curran offered their views on the most significant workforce challenges facing the region.

The panelists largely agreed that the current workforce system was fragmented and greater collaboration is needed between employers, educators and the workforce development community. Ken Graham argued for greater collaboration between hospitals and the region’s educational community and discussed some of the specific workforce needs in allied health, including positions as medical lab technologists and information technology professionals in healthcare.

Mike Curran discussed the growing need to develop individuals in Silicon Valley who can replace skilled workers in a wave of retirements coming over the next five years. These replacement jobs often provide essential services that are valuable to the region’s economic health but also support the high quality of life that we have come to expect in Silicon Valley.

Martha Kanter and Barbara Halsey discussed some of the challenges facing the region’s educational system and considered the role that the State of California might play in supporting the region’s workforce development system. The issues ranged from finding and developing qualified teachers to improving the funding of critical training and educational programs in Silicon Valley and across the State.

Click here to listen to this session.


San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Accenture’s California Managing Director, Chris DiGiorgio, co-chairs of the Joint Venture board of directors, rolled out Joint Venture’s new <Climate Prosperity Initiative> at State of the Valley with the announcement of a $300,000 grant from leading solar and semiconductor equipment manufacturer Applied Materials to launch the project. Applied Materials executive Jonathon Pickering made the grant presentation.

The premise of Climate Prosperity is that the climate crisis is an opportunity to build new industry clusters, create new classes of jobs at all income levels, and grow the economy even while reducing greenhouse gases, protecting the environment and improving the region’s long term sustainability.
In connection with the initiative, which Reed and DiGiorgio will also co-chair, Joint Venture unveiled a “Greenprint for Silicon Valley” – a comprehensive strategy for boosting the new green economy and reducing our carbon footprint.

The Climate Prosperity Project is a new national initiative by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Global Urban Development, a collaborative that brings together leaders in economic development and urban planning from across the country to find new, innovative, and practical solutions for the world's urban problems. They selected Silicon Valley as one of seven pilot regions, and chose Joint Venture to lead the project.

Click here to read the news release.

Click here to download the Greenprint. Partition
Morning Keynote: SILICON VALLEY AND THE WORLD’S ELECTRIC FUTURE - Shai Agassi, CEO and Founder, Better Place

With nearly every major auto company in the world now committed to building electric cars and President Obama focused on reducing oil consumption as a key part of his energy policy, Shai Agassi appears to be in the right place at the right time.

The CEO of Better Place spoke about his vision of building networks of battery-exchange stations in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia to increase the driving range of electric cars.

“I start with the question, how do you run a country without oil?” he said. “To get there, you need the number of electric cars coming into the market to exceed the number of gasoline vehicles. We can do something meaningful in the next fifteen years with electric vehicles.”

Agassi said the key to persuading more consumers to buy all-electric cars — rather than gas-electric hybrids that still create tailpipe emissions — is to build an extensive network of stations for drivers to plug in and “top off” and a much smaller number of automated, battery-exchange stations for range extension. Agassi predicted a typical driver would visit an exchange station less frequently than a gas station because they would have the ability to top off at home, work and elsewhere.

Click here to listen to Shai Agassi’s remarks.



Webcor Builders Vice President of Sustainability Phil Williams, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Partner John Denniston, Real Goods Solar CEO Tom McCalmont and CalCars Founder Felix Kramer took part in a spirited panel moderated by David Yarnold, executive director of Environmental Defense Fund.

This panel of experts from the built environment, venture capital, solar and plug-in vehicle sectors shared their thoughts on the current trends in renewable energy and Silicon Valley's position as a leader in green economic growth.

John Denniston noted that President Obama’s stimulus package includes $100 billion for renewable energy, including smart grid projects and loan guarantees to develop new solutions. “The main challenges is that green is more expensive than brown today,” he said. “We need more research funding and a fundamental breakthrough over existing technology.”

McCalmont said advancements in solar products are making it easier for individuals to make decisions about renewable energy choices, but urged continuing efforts to streamline connections to the grid. Kramer added that battery technology today is vastly improved for mass production and that the Bay Area has the opportunity to become the plug-in capital of the world.

Click here to listen to this session. 



Morgan Family Foundation president Becky Morgan (and Joint Venture’s founding CEO) entertained the crowd with stories about Paul Locatelli’s roots and upbringing, and then joined the CEO and co-chairs in presenting him Joint Venture’s highest honor, the David Packard Award.

Locatelli’s long history of public service to Silicon Valley includes serving as a founding member of the Joint Venture board, membership in numerous other civic organizations and immeasurable contributions of time, effort and wisdom to many community programs and projects.

Locatelli stepped down from the presidency at SCU recently upon being named Secretary of Education for the Society of Jesus, requiring more of his time in Rome, but he was quickly named Chancellor in order to keep him active with the university and Silicon Valley, where he will continue exerting his special influence.


Afternoon Keynote: SILICON VALLEY’S ROLE IN THE “POST-AMERICAN” WORLD – Fareed Zakaria, International Editor, Newsweek

Fareed ZakariaFareed Zakaria, Newsweek International editor, CNN host and author of the “Post-American World,” enthralled the audience with his afternoon keynote on the impact political, economic and technological trends are having on the global economy.

“The information revolution has created a world of powerful opportunities,” he said. Worldwide political stability has been strengthening over the past two decades as wars and terrorism have declined dramatically, he noted, in spite of the impression left by a 24-hour barrage of bad news.

In recent years, more than 100 countries have experienced economic growth of four percent or more, including China at more than nine percent. “We call this the rise of the rest of the world,” Zakaria said. “In other words, the natives got good at capitalism. There is extraordinary energy coming out of all parts of the world since 2007.”

“Future historians may write that the 21st century was when the nations of the world finally learned the lessons taught by America about the virtues of globalization,” he concluded. “Wouldn’t it be ironic if America somehow forgot to globalize itself?”

Click here to listen to Fareed Zakaria.


Article of the Month:

“Two Roads to Economic Appeal” – Robert Brownstein, National Journal

In a column posted from State of the Valley, National Journal writer and Atlantic Media Company political director Ronald Brownstein notes that President Obama’s stimulus package is “widely seen as complementary to the region’s own ambitious plan to extend its technological leadership.”

The president, Brownstein observed, has “tapped into the Valley's vision of a public-private partnership to promote growth … Obama is betting that the road to renewal is more likely to run through San Jose.”

In spite of recessionary woes, Brownstein wrote, the mood at State of the Valley “was anything but gloomy … Speakers bubbled about the Valley's prospects of igniting another growth spurt by developing clean sources of energy that can replace the fossil fuels linked to global warming.

"’It is certainly an exciting time to be in this business,’ exulted Jonathan Pickering, a vice president at Applied Materials Inc., a top producer of solar manufacturing equipment. That's a rare sentiment in America during this bitter winter,” wrote Brownstein.

Click here to read Brownstein’s column

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Joint Venture's initiatives, publications, events and regional expertise receive frequent coverage in the national and local news media. Our staff is always available to comment on economic trends in Silicon Valley.

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