Posts Tagged ‘The Buck Institute’

MEF Newsletter January 2017

MEF Newsletter

January 2017

Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
Concentration, Focus and Habits

Happy New Year! This month we discuss concentration, maintaining focus, and the habits to achieve our objectives.

Concentration is awareness, the calling of attention and awakening of a motive. Focus is the fundamental resource used to arrive at an established goal. Habits develop at the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire.

Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, what to do, and the why. Skill is how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do.

Ask yourself, what is the one thing I can do, that in doing it , the rest becomes easier or unnecessary? Developing focus leads to discipline and good habits. The Organization of activities and establishment of priorities (important and urgent) are key factors in a strong plan towards a vital economy.

As seen below in the Chief Economist perspective, Marin is an affluent place, but poverty is a factor to watch. MEF strives to support a vital economy through engaging Marin’s key stakeholders to develop focus and the discipline of good habits. Change must be motivated by a higher purpose, by a willingness to subordinate what we think we want now for what we want later.

As the saying goes, “The distance between the dream and the reality is called discipline.”

Until next month, let us all develop focus through discipline and good habits to do that one thing, that in doing it, the rest becomes easier or unnecessary.

The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection. Visit to learn more about our collaborative efforts.

Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
Marin County and Post-Recession Demography: Part 1

Every year, the Census Bureau updates its database with a survey called the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is meant to be the Census before the Census, a rolling five-year window of Census-like data in summary form. The surveys are shorter and focused on major data items in four categories:

  • 1. Household Composition
  • 2. Economic Characteristics
  • 3. Housing Characteristics
  • 4. Demographics
  • This month, I look at some of the standout data that are in this survey for Marin County versus California overall, and also discuss what is missing. These data are an average from 2011 to 2015, the post-recession era to date. The data can be found at MEF is working on these data as quick graphs on our website; please see soon for our data pages. This is part one of a two-part series.


    These data describe how households (people living in a home) form that household. Some households are married people, some are a person living alone, some are people living together unmarried. In Marin County, 50 percent of households are married couples, 0.9 percentage points above the state average. 31 percent of Marin County households are someone living alone; for California, that number is 24.1 percent. 30 percent of households have a child under 18 years old in Marin County, where the state average is 36.1 percent of households. 33.9 percent of Marin County households have someone over 65 years old in the home versus only 26.3 for California.

    Economic Status

    Approximately 65 percent of Marin County’s population is in the labor force (working or looking for work). For California, it is 63.6 percent of the population. Marin County has 60.3 percent of the female population in the labor force, where California is 57.3 percent. A standout data point is that 10.1 percent of workers work from home in Marin County versus 5.3 percent for California overall; this data helps corroborate a long-standing hypothesis that Marin County has a large amount of home-based businesses versus the state. Further, 15.3 percent of Marin County’s working population is self-employed versus just 8.3 percent in California on average. Over 41 percent of Marin County’s working population works in professional or business services or education or health care versus just 34 percent for California overall.

    Two data points that lead to a lot of questions for me include median income and poverty data. For Marin County, median household income is estimated at $93,257 as an average of 2011 to 2015. California is $61,818. Marin County is among the highest median household incomes in the United States by county. In terms of poverty, 8.3 percent of Marin County’s population is in federal poverty conditions, while 16.3 percent of California’s population is estimated to be in federal poverty conditions. Marin County has the lowest poverty rate of any county in California with at least 250,000 residents.

    Final Takes

    These data are snapshots and should be compared to history. My intention here was to provide the current snapshot, as stated by the Census Bureau, but also provide a flavor of what is reported annually. Advocates, elected officials, government staff workers, local businesses, and some residents in Marin County have asked for these data over time, and the data are not comprehensive. There is more depth and comparisons available from the Census Bureau.

    The household composition and economic data suggest that Marin is an affluent place, but poverty is a factor to watch. While relatively low, 8.3 percent of the population living under the federal poverty line suggests that there are even more people living marginally in Marin County due to the high local cost of living. The federal poverty line in 2015 was an annual income of $24,250 for a household of four people. Poverty likely includes some older residents, and an aging population is something we will look at next month as we add housing unit characteristics and demographics.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Frank Borodic, Roundstone Inn
    Marconi Conference Center and Historic State Park

    Frank Borodic, MEF Board director and owner of Rounstone Inn (, is working to preserve a state historic landmark. The Marconi Conference Center ( and State Historic Park has a rich human history that dates back hundreds of years. From the pre-historic villages of the coastal Miwok to the farming communities of today, the Tomales Bay ecosystem has supported the livelihoods of thousands of people.

    As a treasure to the Marin community, Marconi Conference Center offers a distraction-free environment, professional-caliber meeting space, comfortable lodging, delicious and healthful meals and a conference staff that is skillful. Accommodating and guest-oriented, the lodging buildings are nestled around a garden courtyard that offers an ideal spot guests to relax.

    This historic state park is in need of renovations and the Marin Economic Forum is pleased to provide our services to assess the economic benefit and recommendation towards keeping this treasure alive for future generations to enjoy.

    Next time you find yourself on the Point Reyes coast in Marshall, stop by the Marconi Conference Center and Historic Park for a unique and beautiful west Marin experience.

    Upcoming Events
    Construction Development/Commercial Real Estate Working Group
    Wednesday, January 11, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Finance Industry Working Group
    Wednesday, January 11, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Board Meeting
    Friday, January 27, 2016, 8:30—11:30am
    Buck Institute, 8001 Redwood Blvd, Novato

    Visit for details.

    MEF Business Professional’s Collaboration and Education Group
    Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    Community Room, Drake’s Landing, Larkspur
    Visit for details.
    Annual Economic Forecast 2017
    Friday January 20, 2017, 8:00am—11:00am
    Yellen Conference Center, 101 Market St, San Francisco 94105
    Visit for details.

    Destination Management Working Group
    Wednesday February 1, 2017, 1:00—2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Innovation Working Group
    Wednesday February 1, 2017, 2:30—3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Finance Committee
    Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 10:30—11:30am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Issues Committee
    Friday, February 10, 2017, 8:30—9:30am, 10:30—11:30am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Visit for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    MEF Newsletter December 2016

    Michael Kadel

    MEF Newsletter

    December 2016

    Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
    Knowledge Age, Planning + Hope

    The late 20th century was a period of major social, economic and political changes. It was also a time in which there were big changes in knowledge – in how people see knowledge and how they use it. This period is now widely known as the beginning of the Knowledge Age – to distinguish it from the Industrial Age.

    The Knowledge Age is a new, advanced form of capitalism in which knowledge and ideas are the main source of economic growth (more important than land, labour, money, or other ‘tangible resources). New patterns of work and new business practices have developed, and, as a result, new kinds of workers, with new and different skills, are required.

    As well as this (and this is very important for education), knowledge’s meaning is changing. Knowledge is no longer being thought of as ‘stuff’ that is developed (and stored) in the minds of experts, represented in books, and classified into disciplines. Instead, it is now thought of as being like a form of energy, as a system of networks and flows – something that does things, or makes things happen. Knowledge Age knowledge is defined—and valued—not for what it is, but for what it can do. It is produced, not by individual experts, but by ‘collectivising intelligence’ – that is, groups of people with complementary expertise who collaborate for specific purposes. These changes have major implications for our education system.

    As schools prepare young people for successful lives in the 21st century, new skills and dispositions are being developed. This can’t be done simply by adding these ‘new’ skills and dispositions to the existing curriculum. To build a 21st century system, a new mindset is required that can take account of the new meaning of knowledge and the new contexts and purposes for learning this knowledge. ‘21st century learning’ is a shorthand term that draws together the ingredients of this new mindset.

    The changes discussed earlier are primarily economic and work-related. Education is, of course, about much more than simply preparing people for work. It has other important goals: for example, developing social and citizenship skills, providing equal opportunity, and building social cohesion. Expressed this way, these are 20th century goals.

    What might these goals look like in the 21st century context?

    The shift to 21st century society involves much more than the economic changes outlined earlier – major social and political changes are also happening.

    Guidance by Hope is good. Guidance by Planning is better. Guidance by Planning + Hope is best.

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection.

    Visit to learn more about our collaborative efforts.

    Until next month, MEF wishes you a new year full of good health and prosperity.

    Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
    What Next?

    While you may feel beat up from the September and October election rush, and worse due to the election results, it is now time to plan for what is coming. Generally, the economy is not affected by presidential elections alone or over the long-term; the combination of presidential and congressional elections resulting in consolidation of Republican control is concerning the Democratic party and many Americans on both sides of the aisle as to how the economy reacts and the long-term effects on national debt and our labor markets. Concerns are due mainly to uncertainty, and we have heard a lot of promises. With 2017 just around the corner, here are the key things I am watching (for now) as an economist.

    ACA unwind/De-regulation of Health Care

    After years of set-up, beta testing, preparing for change, and now living under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are rumblings that the Trump administration plans to engage in a “repeal and replace” agenda in health care. This may be part of a broader framework to change health insurance conditions for many Americans by reducing the current system’s availability and revert to a more market-driven system. How this allows insurance companies to reduce their costs, how it begins steps toward reducing regulations in health care and financial markets, and also exacerbates the actual, patient costs of medications and medical care generally depends on how the ACA is replaced. The implications could drastically change the economics of health care and how people use American health systems (or do not use them at all due to a lack of affordability).

    Immigration and internal labor markets

    One of the other marginally controversial topics from the Trump camp was what to do about immigration. From the election season, the idea that the United States needs immigration reform was generally accepted. The way that happens, how it changes family and labor dynamics, and its ability to be enforced well, are all open questions. As economists, the labor-market interference such a process begins -- even before any change based on actual legislation – can change the way in which small businesses hire, wages they face, and all this coming in California at the same time as new minimum wage legislation is to go into effect. The flow of people over US borders for work purposes is likely the first battleground: will companies be penalized for not using Americans as a workforce for goods sold in America? Recent events suggest a disconnect between rhetoric and reality here.


    Taxes were one of the major debate topics in 2016, and are a great way to buy political victories in the short term. Much like a tax cut’s cousin, more fiscal spending, there are both short and long term effects. In the short term, a reduction of tax rates and a “broadening of the base” (more entities, corporate or households) paying taxes increase fiscal deficits. Over time, if the base is broadened in such a way as to not detract the economic activity from which the tax is derived (for example, a national sales or services tax), tax revenues may rise. However, the risk that tax revenues may fall with lower taxes, that investment (the goal of lowering taxes if corporate taxes were to fall) would fall, and deficits and debt would rise, is high. Tax cuts do not have the same multiplicative effects on the economy as increasing spending specific to infrastructure, but are attractive political pawns to move.

    Infrastructure investment

    This is another point that both sides of the aisle and many economists feel is a way to sustain our current growth and prepare for two more generations of growth. The key to infrastructure investment by our federal government is the focus of that investment. The rhetoric has been to look at building a wall, or something that has the effect of an impermeable border, versus roads, bridges and dams as examples. Both would have the same, basic short-term effect; depending on the longer-term labor market effects of immigration reform. A focus on repairing and expanding infrastructure may also be regional and supporting older technologies (driving) versus new ones (wireless). Hence, how this would affect a place like Marin County is likely to be small, short of speeding up funding for the Novato Narrows, or more support for the SMART rail project.

    Child care

    Due to Measure A’s defeat in Marin County’s election, and Donald Trump’s victory in the national election, child care support from the public sector has a strange future. I was shocked that Marin County did not see itself wanting to subsidize this activity, where children under five years old would have an environment as envisioned in “Strong Start”. Will the Trump administration see child care as a priority and complement to working mothers? We do not know, but if the vote in Marin County did not make it through, it is tricky to see a congressional deal happening on federal child care soon.

    In short, we have an election result we did not expect from a candidate that has no set agenda or political experience to date. The latter is coming soon, the former will need to come soon also if the American economy is to move forward less tentatively and guided by planning versus hope.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Chris Stewart, North Bay Life Science Alliance

    The North Bay Life Science Alliance ( was established by economic development and life science professionals, educators and public leaders across the region. Backed by an initial investment by the City of Novato and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the initiative will promote the region’s capabilities for advancing life sciences.

    Anchored by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and BioMarin, the North Bay is home to more than 200 life science organizations and hundreds of acclaimed researchers. In 2012, the Buck Institute alone attracted $40 million in national grants and the region drew in more than $10 million in National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

    California is the top destination for venture capital in life sciences, attracting more than the next eight ranked states combined. Not surprisingly, the industry is expanding beyond its traditional strongholds in the East Bay, the South Bay and the Peninsula. Providing access to the same resources as our neighbors, the North Bay has already emerged as an attractive alternative. More than 200 companies have chosen to base themselves in the region. In Marin County, life-science revenues are surging past $750 million and associated jobs are climbing toward 2,000. That activity is expected to grow and spread west on the basis of local success stories like these.

    Visit for more details.

    Upcoming Events
    Destination Management Working Group
    Wednesday, December 7, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Innovation Working Group
    Wednesday, December 7, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903
    Visit for details.

    MEF Business Professional’s Collaboration and Education Group
    Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    Community Room, Drake’s Landing, Larkspur
    Visit for details.
    Annual Economic Forecast 2017
    Friday January 20, 2017, 8:00am—11:00am
    Yellen Conference Center, 101 Market St, San Francisco 94105
    Visit for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Report: North Bay has potential for life sciences success

    North Bay Business Journal

    By Gary Quackenbush
    North Bay Business Journal

    The Life Sciences industry is among the fastest growing in the region, according to the North Bay Life Sciences Alliance annual report.

    It identified 94 businesses in Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties involved in global life science markets. But there may be as many as 470 businesses across 20 different life science sub-industries with headquarters or branch offices in the North Bay, the report said.

    There were 10,000 employed in life science jobs in the four counties as of mid-2015, the latest data in the April 30 document. That’s up by 100 jobs in life sciences, working out to generate more than $48 million in new-business income.

    The multiplier effect of those 10,000 workers is estimated a $4.8 billion, or about 7.3 percent of the $65 billion regional economy. Since 2010, the 30 percent expansion rate of life science workers makes this category among the fastest growing industries in these four counties.


    Top industry employers in the region include BioMarin, Medtronic, The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Ultragenyx, Genentech, Raptor Pharmaceuticals and Trivascular Technologies and Steris. Last year, Trivascular merged with Endologix and Steris with Synergy Health.

    Life science industries include biomaterials and bioprocesses, medical devices and therapeutics, agricultural biotechnology, animal health and nutrition, and nutraceuticals.The alliance was started in 2012 to monitor trends in employment, financing, commercial space and government support for life sciences businesses in the four counties.

    Life science industries include biomaterials and bioprocesses, medical devices and therapeutics, agricultural biotechnology, animal health and nutrition, and nutraceuticals.The alliance was started in 2012 to monitor trends in employment, financing, commercial space and government support for life sciences businesses in the four counties.

    Wanted: More life science, biotech businesses

    North Bay Business Journal

    By Gary Quackenbush
    North Bay Business Journal

    The North Bay can be a productive growth medium for biotechnology and life sciences companies, but it needs investment dollars, both public and private, and talent, say area officials working to grow the industry.

    “For us, the goal is how to use data to attract more bio/life science firms and researchers to the North Bay, as well as how to retain those who have chosen to come here,” said Jim Cordeiro, CEO of San Rafael-based Marin Economic Forum.

    He, along with a host of other life science industry leaders, attended the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco in June, where the consensus was that this industry is complicated — and not good at communicating its core messages.

    Founded in 2012, Marin Economic Forum is a nonprofit organization that collects, analyzes and disseminates information that affects local businesses while also collaborating with communities in which their employees reside. Industries targeted include biological and life sciences, agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing.

    “Our goals include building greater collaboration and communication by integrating information technology into life sciences,” Cordeiro said. “This involves the use of good story-telling techniques to create an emotional connection to engage the imagination and communicate what science is all about in basic terms.”

    The process begins with identifying the types of research being done today at the Buck Institute in Novato and other North Bay life science firms, as well as within the University of California system. Finding out what the life science industry wants is the first step leading to attracting capital and talent matching those needs.

    “Life sciences start with capital for essential research, and there is local and private capital here for generating initial research, before seeking venture capital,” Cordeiro said. “At the same time, measurable metrics are required, as well as a strategic plan for utilizing data being collected.”

    He said the end result will be a series of “product potential” models the forum can sell to life sciences firms, the community and investors going forward, as part of his organization’s plan to establish mechanisms for gaining funding support.

    1,000 MORE JOBS

    Cordeiro’s plans for the forum include establishing a firm connection between increasing economic development and job growth in life sciences, including a related goal to add 1,000 more life sciences jobs in Marin by 2020.

    Read more at the North Bay Business Journal

    Marin Economic Forum names life sciences veteran CEO

    By Adrian Rodriguez
    Marin Independent Journal

    A life sciences and biotech industry veteran has been tapped to lead the effort to attract and grow new business in Marin.

    Jim Cordeiro, a co-founder of the now-defunct Oceana Technologies, a San Francisco-based firm, has been named CEO of the Marin Economic Forum, the San Rafael-based nonprofit.

    “Jim is a great hire for this job,” said Robert Eyler, the forum’s chief economist and founding CEO. “He had a life sciences-based company and he was CEO of that company — he knows the industry very well. Jim also comes with some nonprofit board experience, where there was a political advocacy piece of it.”

    Cordeiro, a 42-year-old Novato resident, succeeds Steve Lockett, who relocated to North Carolina after a half-year stint in the post, the forum announced last month.

    Cordeiro has 18 years of industry experience working as a leading scientist at Nodality, Affymetrix and other biotechnology and academic organizations.

    “One of the things the Marin Economic Forum is likely to do is get a little more involved in higher-level socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues in Marin County that affect Marin County business, and Jim has some experience in that, too,” Eyler said.

    Cordeiro has served as an adviser and on the board of directors for the Pacifica Education Foundation, which has a focus on 21st-century learning and technology.

    Marin Economic Forum’s $400,000-a-year budget is funded by the county of Marin, contributions from businesses and individuals, and revenue generated from economic reports prepared by the forum. The county provides matching funds up to $150,000 per year. Founding sponsors, who contribute a minimum of $10,000 a year, include Autodesk, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Marin General Hospital, Whole Foods Markets, the city of Novato and the county of Marin.

    The Marin Economic Forum has teamed with the city of Novato, the Buck Institute and other regional organizations to form the North Bay Life Sciences Alliance to promote further biotech development in the North Bay.

    “The focus of the economic forum is how we can build a sustainable pipeline in the innovation space and life sciences,” Cordeiro said. “Through partnerships and collaborative efforts we are working on with them to commercialize the intellectual property that is generated through them.”

    Marin Supervisor Judy Arnold, vice president of the forum’s executive board, said Cordeiro’s resume is impressive and he will serve the nonprofit well.

    “He comes from a focus in life sciences, and the Marin Economic Forum is focusing on bringing more of that to Marin,” she said. “We are very excited about the possibilities to grow and for Marin County to become more of a go-to place for businesses and work.”

    Cordeiro said there is room to grow in the existing industry, pointing out Marin’s biotech and life sciences leaders, including BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp. and Cytograft Tissue Engineering,

    “Life sciences is my background — it’s a passion of mine,” Cordeiro said. “These are the kind of jobs we want to make available, so people can afford to live and work here.”

    Cordeiro holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz as well as several patents.

    MEF Newsletter July 2016

    MEF Newsletter

    July 2016


    by MEF CEO Jim Cordeiro


    The BIO International Conference returned to the birthplace of biotechnology, San Francisco, for 2016. Bio2016 attracted over 15,000 biotechnology and pharmaceutical leaders for one week of intensive networking and partnering meetings to discover new opportunities and promising partnerships.

    The North Bay Life Science Alliance (NBLSA), in partnership with the Marin Economic Forum, held an important presence at the conference as part of the California Pavilion. NBLSA monitors trends in employment, financing, commercial space, and government support for life-science businesses in the NBLSA counties (Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano). Importantly, the North Bay is one of the global hubs of life-science businesses and finance in Northern California which, in turn, is a global hub for research and development in the field.

    Recognizing the impact of the NBLSA region, the California Life Sciences Alliance (CLSA) asked our chief economist, Dr. Robert Eyler, to be the opening speaker at the California Pavilion.

    Title of the talk: North Bay Life Sciences Alliance | Growing and Moving in the North Bay

    Following the completion of the conference, we co-hosted a morning session at the Buck Institute for media and senior executives who attended the event. Presentations were made by Chris Stewart, NBLSA COE and Chairman and Stelios Tzannis, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Buck Institute.

    NBLSA Annual Report

    NBLSA also recently published its annual report, produced by the Marin Economic Forum (MEF), which identifies 90 businesses involved in global life-science markets within the NBLSA counties, with as many as 470 headquartered and branch businesses stretching across different life-science sectors in the North Bay.

    As of the second quarter of 2015, the NBLSA counties accounted for 10,000 jobs in the life-science sector. For the entire year 2015, researchers were awarded $13 million in National Institute of Health (NIH) grants, primarily from the Buck Institute for Aging Research in Marin County. Venture capital trends are moving toward a larger proportion of life-science investment in portfolios. In Marin County, biotechnology is second only to software as venture capital investment since 2009.

    The Economic Value of Doing Good: BioMarin’s Impact on the Bay Area Economy

    MEF chief economist Dr. Eyler has produced a case study for BioMarin, using the Company’s revenue, employment figures, and aggregate wage data to construct an economic model of its impact on the overall Bay Area economy.

    Headquartered in San Rafael, BioMarin is one of the largest private-sector employers north of the Golden Gate Bridge. BioMarin’s presence leads to regional spending beyond its headquarters and operations in Marin County, and this ripple effect spreads to industries beyond biology research and manufacturing.

    Another highlight from BIO2016 was the keynote address by Dr. Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu and Will Smith. Dr. Omalu is a Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by examining American football players while working at the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office in Pittsburgh.

    Dr. Omalu’s efforts to study and publicize CTE in the face of opposition by the National Football League were first reported in a GQ magazine article in 2009. The article was later expanded into a book, Concussion, and adapted into a film of the same name where Dr. Omalu, the central character, is portrayed by Smith. The movie’s production led to the creation of a foundation named after Dr. Omalu to advance CTE and concussion research.

    MEF Chief Economist Update

    by Dr. Robert Eyler

    Brexit and Marin County: Marin is Sound as the Pound?

    As Brexit was passed by voters in the United Kingdom, many questions remain and new ones are being raised. Locally (and regionally), there may be repercussions for Marin County, which has several companies who compete on a global basis. The three primary issues Marin County residents and employers need to consider are: (1) housing and financial market performance; (2) shifts in tourism flows, and (3) trade links to the UK as either a marketplace or a gateway to mainland Europe.

    The June 23rd vote in the United Kingdom (UK) is further proof that we are likely to remember 2016 as one of the most politically-focused years in this century, and perhaps in the last 25 years. While American politics are slowly building to a crescendo in November for the presidential election, the UK debated, placed on the ballot and voted to leave the European Union (EU). Because the pound sterling (the UK’s currency) is not part of the consortium of countries using the Euro, the unwind is more about how currencies are trading for each other and less about compliance. That unwind from trade and financial infrastructure based on EU membership will be a large enough headache.

    The EU is a group of countries that came together from the European Common Market of the 20th century, and began the move toward a common currency (which non-Euro countries, including the UK, backed out of in the 1990s). These agreements begin with free trade among members, then customs unions (harmonizing trade laws inside and outside the membership), and then common markets (trade flows free for goods, financial capital and labor). The latter issue became paramount for the UK as the flow of migrant workers from other EU countries increased to take advantage of strong currency and high wages in the UK. The EU countries otherwise are a mixed bag of recovery stories since the last recession, and migration issues were exacerbated by refugees from the Middle East seeking a new life.

    For Marin County, housing may be positively affected for two reasons. First, the outflow of capital toward the United States from the UK will further reduce pressure on interest rates; the Federal Reserve knows this and may now further delay interest rate increases to prevent the U.S. from becoming a magnet for UK wealth seeking the slightest of interest rate gains. Mortgage rates will remain stable and low, and housing demand will remain supported. Those residents with global investments may find losses from emerging markets that have ties to the UK (Indonesia and Malaysia are two examples); countries like Japan may be helped by this financially, though auto sales to the UK (and wine sales there for the North Bay region) may suffer.

    For Marin County businesses, trade and labor connections to the UK may be delayed due to connections toward other EU countries changing. UK and US trade and financial relations otherwise should be little affected if there are no direct connections outside the UK. Business such as Autodesk and BioMarin may need to consider the size and scope of offices and business branches in the UK if used to service Europe more completely. This is a major theme for US businesses using the UK as a launching pad for Europe). This may slow progress in life sciences generally, especially if global uncertainty is exacerbated by this situation.

    For tourism, we may see a flip of British tourism for Americans. Marin County residents may now plan trips to London they have delayed because the pound’s value falling suddenly provides a tax break for travelers. For UK travelers, they are facing a tax increase coming to Marin County, wine country, and the greater Bay Area. Businesses in Marin County, such as hotels and B&Bs and restaurants, may here fewer UK accents in the coming months, which could make for some marketing challenges given the summer has started. (DO WE KNOW IF UK TOURISM IN MARIN COUNTY IS SIGNIFICANT? THIS COULD BE A SUPPOSITION WITH LITTLE SUPPORT IN REALITY.)

    Under the assumption that global uncertainty ebbs a bit after the tidal wave of opinions and concerns is done crashing over news channels, Marin County should be economically good after this is all said and done. The UK has multiple reasons to sort the aftermath out quickly, and then we can prepare for November and more political zaniness.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Board Corner

    MEF Board Director Nina Gardner, 100MARIN/CORE

    100+ People Who Care: Marin County (100MARIN) is Marin County’s premier giving circle. The organization was created to increase the collective impact of its members’ annual dues, while helping to further the causes of deserving, local non-profits. Founded in January 2015, the group holds meetings twice a year, at which each attendee pledges $100. Five Marin-based non-profits then each make four-minute pitches, everyone votes for their favorite presentation, and the winner leaves with all of the pledge money. 100MARIN has been a fiscally-sponsored arm of the Marin Economic Forum since July 2015.

    Here’s how it works:

  • A group of individuals commits to an annual donation schedule, e.g. giving $100 2-4 times per year
  • They then convene on that same schedule to hear presentations form 3-5 local non-profits
  • At the end, a vote is conducted to determine which organization will receive the group’s pooled donations
  • The awareness and engagement opportunities for both nominated charities as well as non-profit community at large are increased
  • MEF Board Director, Brigitte Moran, CEO of Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM)

    Brigitte is dedicated to realizing AIM’s vision of building a pavilion focused on celebrating the region’s agricultural roots, supporting artisan development and the success of our 500 local farmers and food purveyors, as well as educating and connecting communities to local agriculture.

    The FARM FIELD STUDIES PROGRAM brings children and young adults from around the Bay Area to local farms. The goal is to empower young people to make food choices that will positively impact their long-term health. Knowledge of where food comes from is a powerful tool for teaching good nutrition. Experiencing farms first-hand can inspire young people to become active participants in a sustainable food system as consumers, and even as producers of their own food.

    Calendar of Events


  • Marinnovation
  • Forecasting the Future
  • 28 — 100MARIN
  • MEF Newsletter May 2016

    MEF Newsletter

    May 2016


    by MEF CEO Jim Cordeiro

    Introducing Jim Cordeiro

    It is with gratitude that I begin my tenure as CEO of the Marin Economic Forum (MEF). Before coming to the MEF, I co-founded Oceana Technologies and worked as a leading scientist at biotechnology and academic organizations. I served on the board of directors for the Pacifica Education Foundation, leading efforts in fund development, 21st century learning and technology. My diverse skill set and strategic management provide the tools to guide business decisions, oversee and participate in all aspects of our community’s needs and wants. I am active in the biotechnology, entrepreneurial and nonprofit communities.

    MEF and its board acts as a source of networking and information about the Marin County economy, and the county’s role and connections in the North Bay. With the support of our Staff, Board of Directors and community, we will continue educating Marin about its economy and communities to strengthen economic vitality.

    MEF “working groups” facilitate us finding out more of what is happening on the front lines in Marin’s economy, and what questions are being asked by local businesses and non-profits. We are fortunate that Marin has an existing robust life-science community, from BioMarin to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and the North Bay Life Science Alliance (NBLSA).

    NBLSA 2016 annual report highlights Growth, Expansion Of Life Science Companies in North Bay Region. The life science Industry segment accounts for more than 10,000 jobs at 90 businesses. With San Francisco hosting the 2016 BIO International Convention in June, we will be well placed to showcase Marin’s accomplishments and advantages, as well as how we fit in the greater San Francisco Bay Area life science cluster.

    A good example of a creative approach to economic growth and sustainable development is the Buck Institute Solar Carport Project. The solar project was five years in the making and owes its success to Ralph O’Rear, a MEF board member, who recently retired as the Buck’s Vice President of Planning and Facilities. Best wishes to Ralph O’Rear in his future endeavors.

    I am grateful for this opportunity at Marin Economic Forum. We will use this platform to go beyond the basics and embrace the 4 C’s –- super skills for the 21st century: collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.

    MEF Chief Economist Update

    by Dr. Robert Eyler

    Life Science in Marin County: The Best Hope

    Between June 6 and 10, 2016, thousands of workers and scientists in life sciences are coming to the Bay Area for a global conference called BIO 2016. Over 100 executives from this industry are coming to the Buck Institute to hear more about why Marin County is a place specifically for this industry to grow and thrive. Marin Economic Forum recently produced an annual report on the life-science industry in the North Bay (Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties), where Marin County stands out. It does not have the most workers, but has the most identifiable set of businesses (though Genentech has a campus in Vacaville, Solano County is relatively new to the life science industry), and has assets – such as the Buck Institute –to act as an incubator for commercial science and a research center for learning.

    Marin County has employers that have over 1,900 workers in these businesses. Marin is home to over 3,200 people live in Marin County that work somewhere in the life science industry. Housing prices and the employment growth in this industry show a correlation since 2010, a sign that a growing economy helps housing prices and wealth. The age of these workers are mainly between 30 and 60 years, mainly due to higher educational requirements for scientists, but it is not exclusive. An important point is that as a life-science business grows, it will need sales people, administration, accounting, clerical, and other jobs that spread beyond science and have a wide array of requisite skills and possible wages and job growth.

    As these businesses grow, there are more economic impacts. The multiplier effect for Marin County has grown as Marin County’s recovery from recession has become an expansion. In 2014, Marin Economic Forum showed how one life-science job in Marin County generated over $470,000 worth of business income. One job in life-science supported approximately $473,333 of business revenue in Marin County. As of 2015, due to continued economic recovery, that number grew to approximately $491,000 per job. This seems like a large number and depends on taking the entire county economy into consideration, which is a $22 billion local economy in Marin County alone.

    Furthermore, the entire county economy being involved is important. A job in Novato has an effect on the City of Novato, approximately $250,000 per job. But because other workers live throughout the county and the indirect and induced effects (the “ripple” effects of that job) on other industries spreads its wings to all parts of the county economy, there is an additional $241,000 of business income supported outside of Novato. In some cases, a larger amount of the countywide total will affect just Novato; the $250,000 is an average effect. The key is that life-science jobs that come to any part of the county have an ability to affect the county overall.

    With the new Star Wars movie out on DVD, which is modeled after the first Star Wars movie (which was made to a certain extent here in Marin County), I thought I would write about the life-science industry in that context. The first Star Wars movie was titled precisely: Episode IV, A New Hope. For decades, Marin County has been striving to find a technology industry that will come and stay for a long time. Ironically, the digital film industry (and film’s supply chain, including sound recording) was seen as that in the early 2000s. We may have found that new hope in life-sciences.

    What To Watch

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    Board Corner

    Coy Smith, CEO, Novato Chamber of Commerce
    The Voice of Business in Novato

    A long and successful history of fundraising and working with non-profit businesses plus management experience are among the talents that Coy Smith brings to his position as CEO of the Novato Chamber of Commerce. He has been the CEO of the Novato Chamber since 2004. He received his credential as an Accredited Chamber Executive Graduate in 2007 from the Western Association of Chamber Executives. Coy serves on the Economic Development Commission for the City of Novato, and on the Board of Directors of the Marin Economic Forum, the Board of Superior Chamber Executives of Northern California.

    Prior to work in the Chamber field, Coy was employed in several capacities in the recycling industry of over 25 years where he received several state and national awards for his work. During that time he worked for the private sector, government agencies and the non-profit sector in various management capacities to implement recycling programs and policies. Coy was one of fifty individuals in the United States to be selected by President Bill Clinton to serve on a task force to develop a National Recycling Policy. He is one of the founders of the Novato Charter School and has served on numerous local state and national Boards of Directors over the past thirty years.

    Coy has a BS degree from San Jose State University in Environmental Studies with a minor in Communications. He is married and lives in Petaluma with his two sons.

    Novato Chamber Of Commerce — Home of Novato’s Festival of Art, Wine & Music

    Founded in 1915 the Novato Chamber of Commerce has been a steadfast resource to the North Bay community for over 100 Years. The Chamber has a long history dedicated to service and advocating for business-friendly practices. However, even as the principle business advocate group in Novato, one of the Chamber’s primary missions has always been to promote the community.

    Throughout its 100 year history the Chamber has been instrumental in promoting the community. Less than fifteen years after its inception, the nation was hurled into the depths of the Great Depression. To mitigate the effects the Novato Chamber of Commerce drove in rail cars full of supplies and shelter for the struggling families of the North Bay. The Chamber would eventually endorse a major building project that would transform Bay Area economics forever. In the ‘30s and ‘40s the Chamber would be one of the first and only organizations to secure the bond measure for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Today the Novato Chamber of Commerce continues to support the community with large-scale community events. Every June the Chamber hosts Novato’s Festival of Art, Wine & Music; this annual festival has captivated residents and visitors for over thirty years. This is the largest free festival in the County with over 80,000 attendees. Boasting over two-dozen varietals of wine and dozen varieties of beer, this festival draws in huge crowds. Along with its many art vendors and margarita booths, there are two fully booked, live music stages. The Chamber’s festival takes great pride in bringing the community out and together for a weekend of fun celebration.

    This year the Festival takes place on June 11 and 12 in downtown Novato on Grant Ave. You can find out more about the Festival at

    The Novato Chamber of Commerce has proudly served the region for over 100 years. By supporting the Novato Chamber, you support an organization that stands for community and an organization that is dedicated to the improvement and sustainability of the North Bay.

    Calendar of Events


  • 11-12 — Novato Art & Wine Festival
  • 29 — NBBJ Women in Business Awards
  • July

  • 6 — Construction Development/Commercial Real Estate Meeting
  • 6 — Finance Industry Meeting
  • MEF Newsletter 12-15

    MEF Newsletter

    December 2015

    Perspectives by MEF CEO Steve Lockett, MBA
    Planning for 2016

    Happy Holidays Everyone! As we wrap up 2015 and make our way into 2016, I’m very excited about the work Marin Economic Forum will be doing next year. As you are probably aware, Marin Economic Forum has four “Working Groups,” each around specific targeted industries that get together on a regular basis to discuss issues and current affairs that affect the residents, businesses and communities in Marin. The four groups are: Technology Entrepreneurs; Destination Management; Construction Development / Commercial Real Estate, and; Finance Industry. Each Working Group includes members of MEF’s Board of Directors, as well as business representatives and individuals that are personally invested in the Working Group targeted industries areas. In 2016, each Working Group will be working on specific projects that will produce tangible outcomes that align with the mission of MEF. As the Working Groups determine their projects and goals in early 2016 you will be able to find these updates in our monthly newsletter and on our website.

    As I have mentioned in the past, 2016 will be a big year for the life sciences in Marin. We have a growing life science cluster in Marin, based in San Rafael and Novato, and Marin Economic Forum will be working diligently to promote and expand this cluster next year. We will be engaging with all of the life science companies, as well as those entities that support life science companies. And of course we will be actively engaged in promoting the Marin life science cluster at BIO 2016 in June.

    In 2016 Marin Economic Forum will be working to expand our outreach efforts, including speaking engagements, enhanced utilization of our webpage and social media outlets, and increasing the number of partners that engage with MEF. If you would like for someone from Marin Economic Forum to give a presentation to your business, organization or community group, please reach out to me at

    These are all efforts that will take a lot of work and effort from MEF staff, but our organization is perfectly positioned to accomplish these goals in 2016. We will of course continue to keep all of Marin informed of economic trends that affect our community, and will be working with our partners on issues that continue to be of the utmost importance to Marin, including workforce housing and transportation.

    I hope everyone has a happy Holiday season, and we look forward to working with all of you in 2016. I know that together we will accomplish wonderful things.

    Happy Holidays

    Feature Article

    Dr. Robert Eyler
    Chief Economist
    Marin Economic Forum

    As 2015 comes to a close, Marin County remains one of the most vibrant economies in California, regardless of size. Its mix of industries, income levels, education, housing, and aesthetics make this economy and place unique. The unemployment rate is in the low 3’s, a testament to both Marin County’s demography and its proximity to San Francisco. Marin County’s personal income level per capita is the highest in California by almost $20,000 per person; this means retail sales and home prices rival larger population counties. Marin County’s economy is continues its emergence from the 2008-10 recession and continues to be a place businesses of many types, mainly smaller businesses, want to locate. With global economic projections falling slightly and interest rates likely to rise a bit, Marin County remains in a great position to welcome new businesses from a more costly city to the south due to available space and an equally-skilled labor force.

    2016 is a year where momentum built in Marin County’s life-sciences industry will have a huge boost. The world conference of biological science, called BIO 2016, is coming to San Francisco in June of next year. This is a great time to showcase what can happen in the county economy in terms of supporting businesses that hire scientists, lab technicians, accounting, legal, administrative staff, and remain close to the world center of biotech and pharmaceutical research in the greater Bay Area. This is really Marin County’s best bet as a foray into technology-driven businesses, and the government and community partnerships (San Rafael and Novato have become models for this now in the United States) to support life-science business growth are great stories to tell.

    We have elections coming in 2016 that may change the face of our local and national leadership, as well as change the way we pay workers regionally and the agriculture we grow. Drought continues to be a factor in our lives across the state of California, and Marin County has made many adjustments that are helping to conserve resources. Home prices are now up and conserving wealth, and we have emerged from the grip of recession. 2016 will be an intriguing year of continued growth (at least currently forecasted) for the state and national economy, rising interest rates for the first time since late 2008, and some socioeconomic challenges that will shape Marin County toward 2020. As an economist, I look forward to watching Marin County continue to grow and find niche in a burgeoning, regional marketplace.

    Calendar of Events

  • 9 — Destination Management Meeting
  • 9 — Technology Entrepreneurs Meeting
  • January

  • 1 — Happy New Year
  • 6 — Construction Development/Commercial Real Estate Meeting
  • 6 — Finance Industry Meeting
  • Sync or Swim Series #4

    Spotlighting the Best Marinnovations™ in Education
    By Michael Leifer, CEO Guerilla PR / Ecodads

    Spotlighting Marin-based Innovations in Education

    Something extremely exciting is afoot! It’s not Santa’s reindeer landing on your roof, or a contractor patching up a leak, it’s The Town of Novato, who are raising the bar on Innovation in Educational for all of Marin.

    I heard rumor that the Teen-focused Intel Clubhouse and the New Media Learning on 3rd street in San Rafael were moving because the building sold. That seemed tragic to me as this resource had brought amazing experiential and project-based learning in technology, media and crafts to an enormous number of students in Marin, building their competence and confidence. My curiosity overtook me; I needed to know what was up… So….I called John MacLeod who founded and runs the Clubhouse and New Media Learning (NML).

    When I caught up with John, he informed me about some really exciting news!

    Turns out, that John is forming a MAKERSPACE in Novato at the Hamilton Base, which is 1/3 larger than the NML’s previous location, and wherein they will move into during December.

    For this new space, John has been extremely busy forming a ground-breaking set of interdependent partnerships between The Novato School District, Marin County Public Library, the Marin County Office of Education, the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, Maker-Ed, The Buck Institute, and Autodesk, just to start with. Holy Guacamole!

    This group is going to call this improved facility the Community Education Center (CEC) and it includes three buildings – the Maker Lab, the Novato Unified School District Media Center and the South Novato Library – all set on beautiful grounds, abundant parking, trees, outdoor hangout areas and much more.

    The Open House festivity is scheduled for January 29th and 30th the time is TBD and shall be in all three buildings. Classes will start the 1st week of the New Year, times and dates TBD.

    The Makerspace Lab shall be a unique public community MAKER space for students, teachers and families developing projects and lessons to be distributed through Novato schools and within each of the 13 outlets of the Marin County Public Libraries. The new library at the CEC was just built. John envisions expanding into a larger space across the street within two years.

    All of the CEC’s Programs are meant to create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) and learning as a whole through making. The activities are meant to encourage community engagement with adults and families in a fun active place for collaborative work. There are seven program areas: The Intel Computer Clubhouse (focused on collaborative media production, social media, technology and content creation and curation), Making in the Classroom (which includes woodworking, metallurgy, sowing, fashion design and more), Adult Education, MCOE Regional Occupation Programs, Independent Study Sessions, Special Education Sessions and Family & Community Events.

    For clarity, here’s some background on each of the CEC Groups…

    New Media Learning and the Marin County of Education shall provide innovative, collaborative educational programs for the youth in Marin County. New Media Learning programs are based on access, media and technology. They provide engaging learning environments which foster collaboration for playing and creating at the Intel Computer Clubhouse. They’ve also built a very interactive social-networked style environment for youth to share media face to face, through the web, and across devices, through the creation of programming and shows, as well as via their teen publication called “Fastforward.” These students are part of the Young Makers and MAKER.ED Initiative, which has the mission to create more opportunities for all young people to develop leadership, confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making.

    The Intel Clubhouse Network is a project of the Museum of Science, Boston in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, and is excited about operating after-school programs for youth.

    The CEC will make use of NML and the Intel Clubhouse’s high quality computers, 3D printers, word working, metallurgy, textiles and sowing and are expanding this year into using laser cutters. This past Bioneers, this group of students produced the videos for the conference and the web sharing their work with 100s of 1000s of viewers.

    Making In The Classroom is a collaborative effort among Maker Educators and Teachers in the Novato Unified School District to bring hands on, project-based learning to students and professional development to teachers.

    This Making in the Classroom is considered a pilot project and shall present Maker lessons that satisfy California Common Core requirements and Next Generation Science Standards (as they become applicable). Maker lessons emphasize seeking innovative solutions to problems, using materials in unique ways, and preparing children for an ever-changing learning environment. Project times would include school day trips and after-school activities 3:30 – 6 pm, Monday – Friday.

    After 6pm and on Weekends, the CEC will provide an Adult Education program to retrain adults to learn the technology and skills needed to be active members in a society based on 21st century skills of communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.

    The Marin ROP Media Center as part of the MCOE Regional Occupation Program will have classes which allow high school students to earn high school credits, as well as articulating class work for community college credit. The curriculum will follow the STEM-A (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through Art) as its model. Each class is required to have an industry approved advisory committee for feedback on industry standards and employer expectations. These classes run Monday- Friday afternoons.

    John has also developed individualized (Independent Study) for STEAM and MEDIA learning for self-motivated and self-directed students in a project-based learning environment for high school students. These programs are scheduled throughout the week based on the individual students needs.

    And on specific weekdays (TBD), the CEC is also offering Special Education STEAM and MEDIA classes for youth with leaning differences.

    Finally, the CEC will have fun Family & Community Events on select evenings and weekends.

    As the Community Education Center is just forming this truly innovative cross-sector educational startup, please consider contacting John MacLeod at to get involved.