Economic News – August 2021

August 23 2021

Economic News – August 2021

This newsletter was written by Solano EDC’s intern team.

Solano EDC Webinar: Index of Economic and Community Indicators 2020 and Beyond – Recap

On July 28th, Solano EDC hosted Dr. Robert Eyler, noted economist, to present the Solano County Index of Economic and Community Indicators 2020 and Beyond. During the hour-long webinar, Dr. Eyler provided data insights into the upcoming economic decade, presented changing industries in Solano County, and forecasted shifting labor markets. The good news, the current high inflation is expected to decrease as GDP growth occurs in the upcoming fiscal quarters. To watch the complete webinar, visit

Agenus Moves California Operations to Vacaville

Agenus Inc. is an immuno-therapy giant that has purchased a 120-acre lot in Vacaville and plans to build its own facility of 400,000 square feet. This comes nine months after the city of Vacaville launched a plan to attract biomanufacturing businesses that will provide 10,000 jobs and $2 billion in development. Agenus was founded in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1994, specializing in research and manufacturing for immuno-oncology, a study aimed at fighting cancer.

Covid-19 Economic Impact on Solano Economy

Non-farm jobs located within the County showed improvement with a growth of 2,500 jobs during the month. As shown in the orange bar, the most significant increases occurred in Manufacturing with an increase of 600 jobs, followed by Leisure & Hospitality, Trade, Transportation, & Utilities, and Construction, each netting an additional 500 jobs. Professional & Business Services was the only sector to see a decline in employment, with a decrease in jobs of 100.

The Non-Farm Jobs in Solano County March 2020 to June 2021 chart reflects the increase in non-farm jobs from the beginning of the economic impact of the pandemic to the most recent data reported for June 2021. The trend is relatively clear and reflective of the pandemic itself; gradual improvement from the trough of April 2020, then the winter “surge” of infections causing a secondary partial “closure” of many business activities, followed by a gradual improvement of conditions.

Sustainable Transportation Emissions Program (STEP)

The Sustainable Transportation Emissions Program (STEP) aims to reduce emissions in Solano County while offering alternative routes to work. STEP combines Solano Mobility’s Programs and the Solano EDC’s business savvy to help your workplace develop a transportation plan and commuter benefits package that meets the current needs of employers and comfortably transitions you to alternative modes. In addition, the STEP program includes human resources, financial, and public relations benefits for those who choose to participate.

Contact Solano Mobility about the STEP program for more information about participation at 1-800-535-6883 or visit

Solano County Vaccination Events for August 27th – September 24th, 2021

Call for Companies

Solano EDC is looking for local companies in the food, beverage, agtech and foodtech industries to profile for a company close-up. Our goal is to attract similar industry partners to Solano County and increase resident awareness of local employers, products and services. We’re looking to highlight cutting edge technologies, regional specialties and unique operations. To submit a business please email

Solano EDC President & CEO Named Treasurer of the California Association for Local Economic Development Board of Directors Executive Committee

This month, Solano EDC President & CEO Bob Burris was named Treasurer of the California Association for Local Economic Development Board of Directors Executive Committee. He will serve alongside tourism and economic development leaders from across the state.

Bob is also Chair of the Legislative Action Committee for CALED, where he helps empower communities to build wealthy, healthy, viable economies through legislative action. Learn more about Bob's roles at

Congratulations on your well-deserved accomplishments, Bob!

Thistle Now Hiring!

Thistle, a Vacaville-based food and nutrition company, announced a company-wide baseline hourly wage increase to $20 and several local job openings. Founded in 2013 and relocating production and packaging to Solano County in 2019, Thistle offers gluten and dairy-free prepared meals meant to nourish body and soul. They are currently hiring warehouse operations specialists, local drivers, kitchen staff, managers, finance personnel, and quality assurance techs. For more information about working for Thistle, visit

Meet our 2021 SEDC Interns!

Hannah Lesley

Hannah is a recent graduate of the University of San Diego who majored in economics and minored in finance. While growing up in Vallejo, she was involved with local community programs such as GVRD, Fighting Back Partnership, Humane Society of the North Bay, and Habitat for Humanity. Hannah is excited to be back in the Bay Area working as the Solano EDC social media intern. This summer, she’s researching unique businesses within the county to feature on our official Instagram and learning how to attract consumers and creators to Solano.


Sergio Maciel

Sergio is a rising junior at UC Davis, majoring in political science and minoring in economics. He has extensive experience lobbying and advocating for state funding and resources for programs such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Student Senate for California Community Colleges. Sergio is an intern with the Solano Economic Development Corporation, where he researches and develops reports on the economic status of Solano County. His responsibilities include reporting job growth, unemployment trends, wages, employment rates, industry-specific information, housing, and household demographics specific to each of Solano County’s seven cities.

Sergio is passionate about legislative advocacy and intends to build a career in government relations and public policy.

Our interns have been incredible members of our team this summer, adding enthusiasm and new energy in addition to solid value. We encourage any businesses who are interested in connecting with them about part-time or full-time work opportunities to send an inquiry through our Office Manager, Pat Uhrich, at

President & CEO Transition 

Bob Burris has spent the past several years moving Solano EDC forward in momentous ways. From bringing greater regional, national and even international recognition to the county, to attracting new employers and multimillion dollar grant funds, his efforts have put Solano on the map for biotech, agtech and other innovative industries. 

This September, Bob will move on to a new role. He has accepted a wonderful new opportunity with a statewide organization where he will lead special economic development initiatives affecting rural counties. Bob will remain instrumental in the transition efforts for a permanent new President & CEO for Solano EDC, as well as lending his continued expertise to companies who are currently in negotiations to locate in Solano. 

As part of this transition, we are excited to announce an Interim President & CEO, Sean Quinn. Sean is the former City Manager for the City of Fairfield, and has worked with Solano EDC as a consultant for nearly a decade. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and completed graduate coursework in business at the University of Chico. We look forward to welcoming Sean as our interim leader, and working with him in a continued consulting capacity once a permanent CEO is announced.

Solano EDC Chairperson Transition

Daryl Halls, Executive Director of the Solano Transportation Authority (STA), has completed his term as the Solano EDC Board Chair. As chairperson, Halls and his team worked to coordinate the annual meeting and partnered with the EDC to market the First and Last Mile and Commuter/Employer transportation programs. Halls, with help from STA, was able to match grant funds from the CARES Act to provide the EDC with over $500,000 in funding. The Solano EDC is appreciative of Halls leadership and service through the last year. Halls has been succeeded in the position of Chairperson by Dr. Celia Esposito-Noy, the Superintendent and President of Solano Community College District.

Dr. Esposito-Noy led the expansion and modernization of the SCC campuses, building the Auto Tech Center in Vallejo, the Biotechnology building in Vacaville, updating the infrastructure on the main campus in Fairfield, and with help from STA, instituted a reduced campus transit fee for students. She also serves as Chairperson of the Vallejo Education and Business Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports Vallejo student’s pathway to a higher education and serves on several statewide community college boards and committees. She has been a resident of Solano County since 1998. “My hope is that the EDC can support local businesses as they bounce back from COVID and encourage companies to see what Solano County can offer” said Dr. Esposito-Noy regarding her upcoming term. 

The Solano EDC is a private non-profit organization created to improve the economic health of Solano County. Solano Economic Resource Center (SERC) is a division of the EDC and provides economic research and marketing services for organizational partners, investors, and local jurisdictions in Solano and beyond. For inquiries, please contact Robert Burris at