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  • Kemble Pope

  • Denice Seals

  • Roger Niello

Viewpoints: Bayer's local expansion shows how collaboration can pay off

Published: Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 11A
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 - 7:53 am

The recent news that Bayer CropScience will be expanding its presence in the Sacramento region is further proof that we have the right ingredients to start, grow, retain and attract innovative companies with high-paying jobs. The cities of Davis and West Sacramento have much to crow about regarding the news, as does the region as a whole.

This most recent success story began in 1995 with the founding of the small startup company, AgraQuest, in Davis. The city was a nurturing home that provided several opportunities for growth and a high quality of life that attracted talented employees as the company grew to more than 200 workers. In 2012, the company's global successes prompted Bayer CropScience, a diversified, international agricultural technology company, to acquire it for $425 million. With an impressive number of growing companies and the world's No. 1 agricultural research university, UC Davis, that call it home, Davis continues to make its mark as an economic engine and fount of innovation and business prosperity.

Bayer's search for a facility for its next phase of development was a complex and complicated business analysis. Local business leaders, real estate and facility professionals, management teams and executives from all over the world came in waves to establish revised criteria and plans and ultimately decided to make a capital investment in an existing facility in West Sacramento.

That decision speaks positively about the future of West Sacramento, to be sure. It will result in new jobs, greater revenue generation and further illustrates to other businesses and industry sectors the opportunities that exist there. West Sacramento's central location also provides easy and direct access to markets throughout the Western states and the Pacific Rim that benefit Bayer's U.S.-based agriculture research and development center.

Bayer's expansion should encourage us to reflect on what this means to our region as a whole.

That a major player in the international agricultural technology industry started here and has chosen to remain – investing at least a half-billion dollars in our regional economy – speaks volumes about how outsiders view the greater Sacramento region.

The cities and unincorporated parts of the six-county area in the capital region all have their own unique benefits, strengths, weaknesses and challenges. Taken together, our region provides an attractive environment for investments and diversified job growth. On the heels of the Kings staying in Sacramento, the entertainment and sports complex and the adjacent development and commitment from various business sectors and successful business people from around the state who are interested in making our region their home, we are well positioned to make lasting strides toward economic prosperity.

The Davis, Sacramento Metro, and West Sacramento chambers of commerce are committed to collaboratively nurturing a business climate that propagates these kinds of successes. In concert with elected officials, community leaders, workforce development boards, educational institutions, and labor and community members across the region, we are implementing a blueprint for such economic growth called the Next Economy. It focuses on select business clusters to identify job and wealth creation opportunities, one of which is agriculture.

Bayer CropScience's decision to expand in our region, growing its footprint by nearly threefold and bringing new, high-paying and long-term jobs to our area, will yield positive results for years to come. It shows what can happen when a region collaborates: Our companies succeed and grow; we attract new businesses and retain existing ones; we appeal to investors, and we rise together by the successes of each individual victory. That's a picture we can all paint with pride.

Kemble Pope is executive director of the Davis Chamber of Commerce; Denice Seals is president & CEO of the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce; Roger Niello is president & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber.

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