The Bay Area economy, to put it simply, has been booming. It has been undergoing a sustained period of growth and economic development. But just how good was it? Jim Wunderman, CEO of The Bay Area Council, joined me to take a look back at the San Francisco Bay Area’s economy for 2016, and also takes a look forward to what might lie ahead for the region in 2017.
Was 2016 the “best of times” for the Bay Area? What were some of the factors that contributed to the current state of the economy? What were some of the biggest challenges the region faced in 2016 and what will be the key drivers and issues going forward? The Bay Area has some of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country but, at the same time, has some of the highest costs of living in the world. Can people afford to live in the Bay Area and, if not, can companies attract and retain the talent needed to maintain its position as one of the leading centers of innovation in the world? Will inflation become a problem for the region in 2017 and how will the Donald Trump administration impact existing and future initiatives and policies? Jim covers all these areas and more in this special extended edition of the Bay Area Council Quarterly Update feature of my show, Bay Area Ventures.
Jim Wunderman’s organization, The Bay Area Council, is a public policy organization founded in the 1940’s by a Who’s Who of San Francisco Bay Area business leaders. The Council is focused on making the San Francisco Bay Area and the Silicon Valley the most globally competitive and economically productive region in the world. The Council’s membership is comprised of CEOs from hundreds of the top businesses in the Bay Area and Jim has been its CEO since 2004.
Before the Bay Area Council, Jim had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. He served as Chief of Staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank M. Jordan from 1992-95, responsible for overseeing all departmental and budgetary functions, and management of the Mayor’s Office. Earlier he served as Special Assistant to Mayor Dianne Feinstein, from 1983-1987, with his duties including oversight of the city’s utility, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Public Works. From 1988 through 1991, he served as Vice President and General Manager of two major waste collection, disposal and recycling firms in the Bay Area under its parent, Recology, Inc (formerly Norcal Waste Systems). From 1997-2004 he served as Senior Vice President for External Affairs at Providian Financial Corporation. Jim is also a Visiting Professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, teaching a course in Executive Leadership. You can see Jim’s full bio here http://www.bayareacouncil.org/people/jim-wunderman/
This interview was recorded on January 23, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. Bay Area Ventures airs live on Mondays at 4:00pm Pacific Time, 7:00pm Eastern Time. For a list of upcoming and past guest information, click on the Show link above.