Looking to counter raiding expeditions by high-profile elected officials from outside the state, California is about to embark on a recruiting effort of its own.
At a meeting expected to take place Friday in Thousand Oaks, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assemblymember Jeff Gorell, a Republican from the 37th District, are expected to announce a “Gold Team” effort to lure companies back to California.
In a phone interview with the Business Times, Gorell said he already has been compiling a target list of companies and is looking beyond his home turf of Ventura County to a bigger effort to recruit business.
So far, he said he’s been working with commercial real estate brokers in the region to find large buildings that are empty or parcels that could be appealing to companies in industries that are compatible with the strengths of the Central Coast. Those include aerospace, defense and biotechnology.
Gorell said he’s looking to biotech giant Amgen, which is hosting the press conference, to help in the effort. “Amgen has told me they’d like to see more of their suppliers with operations in the area,” he said.
Gorell said he expects unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to be part of the recruiting effort. “When I was in Afghanistan, it was obvious that UAVs are going to have a big role to play,” said Gorell, a Naval Reserve officer who returned from his tour this spring.
He said that when he returned he realized that he could do something to support the state’s economy beyond the passing and supporting of legislation. He worked earlier with Newsom on an effort to retain the headquarters of CKE Restaurants in California, even though it is based outside his district in Carpinteria.
“Having statewide officials involved is important,” said Gorell, who added that the governor of Massachusetts recently contacted officials at Silicon Valley-based Facebook in an effort to get the company to return some of its operations to Cambridge, Mass. where the company was famously started by Harvard University dropout Mark Zuckerberg.