Solano EDC announces new president

October 19 2017

The Reporter Posted: 10/18/17, 6:19 PM PDT | 

A veteran economic development and marketing executive has been selected to lead Solano Economic Development Corp., the public-private partnership that works to bring business, commerce and jobs to Solano County.

Robert Burris, who currently manages and oversees economic development activities for the city of Fairfield, will take the reins of Solano EDC Jan. 1, succeeding longtime president and CEO Sandy Person.

“We are ecstatic that we were able to find someone with the skills, experience and local knowledge we were looking to acquire,” said Louise Walker, president and CEO of First Northern Bank who chairs the Board of Directors of Solano EDC.

“Our organization is at a pivotal juncture,” she noted. “We are refocusing our mission to attract new enterprises that bring well-paying jobs, that diversify our local economy and that are innovative and looking to grow with us.”

Burris, she said, is well-equipped to “hit the ground running” thanks to his broad experience and his current role for Fairfield.

Before leading Fairfield’s economic development activities, Burris was deputy director and executive vice president of the Sacramento Area Commerce & Trade Organization, also known as SACTO, where he spent 15 years in its leadership team. He led the marketing and business attraction team for the entire capital region.

A college lecturer whose writing was often published in business publications, Burris was the voice of SACTO at domestic and international economic development conferences. He began his career as an associate with EPS, an economic and planning consultant group, before going to work as a manager for Grubb & Ellis Co., a major real estate brokerage firm.

“This is my passion, this is what I’m wired to do,” Burris said, “I really do eat and breathe marketing, economic development and strategic partnerships. And I love hitting the road to tell the story about why ‘Solano Means Business’ and why this county has so much to offer the next major employer looking for a new home or a place to expand.”

Burris steps in to lead an organization that recently launched Solano Means Business, an aggressive strategy with clear-cut tactics to attract new jobs and companies. He is aided by new investments from public and private members that funded a campaign to build a new comprehensive database website that sells Solano to those looking for expansion or relocation.

“Bob is a phenomenal economic developer and I am confident Solano EDC is in good hands,” Person said. “I will assist in the transition to ensure we build upon what we’ve accomplished during the last 25 years.”

Solano EDC Board of Directors in May endorsed a new half-million-dollar budget to fund enhanced business attraction efforts, including a comprehensive website that gives companies looking to relocate or expand a full description of developable sites available in Solano cities. It features extensive demographics of the county, its capable workforce, the quality of life in our communities and a host of other promotional messages.

While gaining jobs and attracting more employers are the top priority, Walker added, “While we are out there recruiting, we will not ignore business retention which includes support for Travis Air Force Base.”