Business & Real Estate

Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler named new CEO of SARTA

Kirk Uhler is a multitasker, and he is about to add another layer of responsibility.

The Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance announced Monday that Uhler, a longtime Placer County supervisor, will become the organization’s new CEO on Wednesday. SARTA said its board unanimously approved Uhler’s appointment. It declined to disclose his salary.

He replaces Meg Arnold, who announced in late July that she would step down Sept. 30 after holding the CEO position for nearly five years. At that time, Arnold said she plans to stay in the Sacramento area but not necessarily in the tech sector.

SARTA is a nonprofit that fosters growth of technology companies and tech-related jobs in the nine-county Sacramento region.

Uhler, 47, has served on the Placer County Board of Supervisors for almost 12 years and has worked with numerous businesses as owner of the Roseville-based Rensa Group, a marketing, communications and government relations firm. He’s also a co-founder of VidGage, a social media platform enabling websites to offer commenting on video content.

Reached Monday at a Washington, D.C., airport, Uhler said he “absolutely” intends to serve out his current term on the Board of Supervisors. His term expires in December 2016.

Asked about his goals as SARTA’s new CEO, Uhler said: “I hope that the combination of my (business) startup experience and my government experience will help to foster good business opportunities in a state that, unfortunately, is heavily regulated and difficult to do business in. ... I think we need to figure out new initiatives that foster entrepreneurship in the region.”

In a statement accompanying Monday’s announcement, Peter Van Deventer, SARTA’s board chairman, said the organization has “found an executive with an entrepreneurial spirit (who) is experienced in economic growth and has a plan to amplify SARTA’s mission to accelerate technology ventures throughout the Sacramento region.”

Uhler represented the 4th District on the Placer County Board of Supervisors from 1993 to 1996. Only 25 years old when elected, he was the second-youngest supervisor in California history. He returned to the board in December 2006 to fill the vacancy created when Supervisor Ted Gaines was elected to the Assembly. Uhler has since been re-elected twice.

Founded in 2001, SARTA concentrates its efforts in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Nevada, Butte, Solano, Sutter and Yuba counties. It has five full-time employees and more than 300 individual and business members.