The 48th Annual Business Outlook Conference (BOC) provided an opportunity to hear experts in manufacturing, technology, and innovation as they explored future trends and the challenges they face here in Ventura County.

BOC 2018 featured thought-provoking presentations by leading policy makers and industry experts, and structured to provide:

  • A comprehensive understanding of current policies that impact manufacturing and technology in the State of California, and here in Ventura County;
  • A discussion of how local manufacturers are addressing the challenges of business sustainability and expansion;
  • A forum to explore how local manufacturers plan to navigate anticipated future policy trends;
  • A moderated dialogue on the role innovation plays in those future trends. If today’s ideas are tomorrow’s technologies, how do we support innovation?


Photo (L to R): Paul Stamper, Rachel Linares, Sandy Smith

County Honored for Streamlined Permitting Process


The County’s Service Excellence Program has been honored for its work in the development and implementation of a streamlined permitting process and the creation of a Permit Navigator position to support businesses and individuals going through the permitting process. 

The Ventura County Economic Development Association presented its first “From Red Tape to Red Carpet Award” to the County Executive Office. Deputy Executive Officer Paul Stamper and Continuous Process Improvement Manager Rachel Linares accepted the award at the association’s 48th Annual Business Outlook Conference on October 5. VCEDA intends to present the award annually.

“It’s an honor to have VCEDA choose the County as the first recipient of this award, and Paul and Rachel are deserving of the recognition,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “They run our Service Excellence program for process improvement, which has led to $33 million in ongoing savings over the past 10 years.”

Linares, who has a doctorate in business administration, serves as the County’s newly designated Permit Navigator. The need for the position was identified during the community meetings held for the development of the County of Ventura Economic Vitality Strategic Plan. The Permit Navigator works countywide and across departments such as the Resource Management Agency, Public Works and the Fire Protection District to improve customer service, provide mediation and continuously improve permitting processes.

“VCEDA advocates for programs that stimulate business and support a vital economy,” said Sandy Smith, VCEDA Chair and a land use consultant for Sespe Consulting, Inc. “By streamlining the permit process and having someone to address problems, the County is making it easier for businesses to thrive here and for people to invest in their quality of life. VCEDA is serious about cutting red tape, and the County is doing it.”

The most recent example of an improvement to the permit process was the development of an expedited process for people who lost their homes to the Thomas Fire. The process is designed to speed up the reconstruction plan review and permitting process and to get an applicant through the plan check stage in just two weeks.

“Through the Service Excellence program, we’ve completed more than 1,100 improvements across our agencies and service areas,” said Powers. “As a result, we’ve shortened wait times, offered higher quality services and more online access to services, and extended hours of service. We’re reducing overhead costs and that translates into freezing or minimizing fee increases, freeing up resources to further enhance our programs and services.”

Views and opinions expressed by VCEDA are not necessarily shared by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.