A public-private initiative to lure more tech businesses to Goleta has hired its first executive director.
The Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet, or GEM, appointed Doug Lynch to lead the group, which is a collaboration between the city of Goleta, the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and UC Santa Barbara designed to create and maintain a tech business hub centered around the university.
UCSB has spun out dozens of successful technology companies over the past two decades. Some of them, such as Citrix Online and the former Digital Instruments, have retained large workforces of well-paying jobs in the city.
In a statement, GEM said Lynch was picked from a pool of candidates and that he has ties to the South Coast business and technology community. In his new position, he is charged with completing GEM’s business plan and securing long-term funding for the position.
“It’s an important development for GEM to have an executive director,” UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas said in a statement. “It illustrates the commitment of the GEM partners to strengthen and enhance the connections between UC Santa Barbara — with its culture of entrepreneurship and innovation and its intellectual capital — and the businesses, resources and people in Goleta. In addition, it will help to grow and sustain a vibrant entrepreneurial community that benefits our regional economy.”
When the effort was first announced in May 2012, Goleta City Manager Dan Singer told the Business Times GEM’s goal is to retain Goleta’s reputation for punching far above its weight in terms of white-collar tech jobs. The quiet, semi-rural city of 30,000 has eight of the 25 largest office complexes in the Tri-Counties. “We’ve got room for businesses to not only start here, but to remain and grow here,” Singer said then.