A fond farewell to the Tri-Counties from Alex Kacik
I got into journalism because of former Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully.
My grandmother, an Italian immigrant, loved sports. She learned how to speak English by reading the newspaper, going to a community college class, and listening to Vin.
I’ve always wanted to tell a story like Vinny, and I’ve been fortunate to pursue that goal here via print, broadcast and online journalism. I will continue this pursuit.
Editor Henry Dubroff and Publisher Linda le Brock, the trust and the platform you gave me, along with the tutelage and support, made me a better writer and a better person.
Huddled around the computer screen shoulder to shoulder, we took a last look at the week’s paper – scanning the final proofs for last-minute copy edits before we sent it to print.
“It took you three months, Kacik, to start to get the hang of it,” Dubroff said.
I’d written two stories about Santa Barbara Motorsports and the Goleta Valley Athletic Club on Hollister Avenue potentially getting pushed out by Target and how the well-meaning, environmentally conscious intentions of LEED certification can turn into a publicity stunt.
It was March 2013, three months into my first stint at the Business Times, filling in for Dana Olsen. It was one of many fond memories I’ll cherish.
You helped me pay off the last of my student loans and earn my first fellowship via USC’s Center for Health Journalism. Some of my most fulfilling work was the healthcare series on the proposed Cottage Health and Sansum Clinic merger. I dove into the storied history of the community institutions and spent months finding and building sources.
Thank you Henry and Linda. And thank you to the residents of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.
You’ve welcomed me into your homes to share your efforts to raise cardiovascular health awareness. You shared your determination to educate others after losing your 1-year-old son to heart complications. You’ve spent your most emotionally vulnerable moments with me as you grieve the loss of your son’s best friend. You’ve shared your passion and entrepreneurial spirit that’s fueled your drive to start and grow your business. You’ve taken the time to keep me informed and trusted me with sensitive information. You’ve shown me how much promise and opportunity our region holds.
Thank you for sharing your stories, wisdom, guidance, expertise, understanding, passion, anger, emotion, sincerity and love. It’s a bittersweet feeling to have to leave after getting to know you so well, building trust and rapport, hopefully earning your respect.
But I am Chicago bound, to join someone you’ve probably read before – my girlfriend Gina Potthoff. I am leaving my SoCal roots and stepping into the cold, bustling, beautiful charm that is Chicago and all the opportunity and promise it holds.
You’ll be in good hands with Josh Molina. He’s a veteran reporter who I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. He brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and a strong reporting skillset featured at the Santa Barbara News-Press, the San Jose Mercury News and Mission and State.
I’ve been the Business Times real estate and finance editor for close to two years and helped spawn Mission and State prior. Santa Barbara has been my home since I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2010. I’ve been lucky to learn and grow alongside you.
As for commercial real estate, there is unique opportunity in areas like Oxnard, Santa Maria and Lompoc that have the available space, lower cost and potential investment opportunities. The region’s wine industry will continue to grow, under the proper regulation, as will CRE transactions surrounding the sector. 1031 exchanges will continue to fuel out-of-area investment.
The demand for industrial space will increase along with distribution networks spawned by e-commerce business.
Much-needed housing developments throughout the Tri-Counties will aid employers’ search for talent. More is needed. Additional senior-serving properties will come into the fray as the population ages.
Santa Barbara is poised to benefit from its downtown study, the Funk Zone and waterfront development, and the Hotel Californian project coming online. Goleta’s housing developments and hotel projects will bolster its economy for the long-term.
Growing tech companies in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo will demand more office space while SLO and Cal Poly have charted a path toward a vibrant and diverse community.
Working here has made it all more apparent to me that we are lucky to do what we do. Listen to people, absorb and try to convey in a way people understand. Spur discussion. Not to sell or persuade, but to inform. I hope I’ve been able to help.
This has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity that has left an indelible mark.
You’ve helped me create a lifetime of experiences while pursuing a dream.
I’ll see you again. In the meantime, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Josh at email@example.com.