Ontario: More than 900 people hear positive economic message from top executives at Ontario state of the city 2011
ONTARIO, Calif. 1 – More than 900 business and community leaders were in attendance at Ontario’s State of the City business event held March 16 at the Ontario Convention Center. Designed to provide a forward-thinking discussion of what the City and its businesses are doing to plan for the future, the 2011 event was no exception. The live business panel and video commentary from the City Council and top leaders from a wide variety of industries, all echoed a similar theme. City leaders are planning well for the future, investing in the right amenities, and that Ontario remains a positive place to do business.
The event featured a welcome from Mayor Paul Leon and a video presentation by Ontario City Council members and top executives of companies and organizations invested in the region such as: Hasan Ikhrata, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG); George Willis, UPS; Ed Huante, Toyota ; Andy Peykoff, Niagara Bottling; Dene Oliver, OliverMcMillan; Rudyard Coltman, Cinetopia; Ha Nguyen, Betsey Johnson; Chris Myers, Citizens Business Bank; Mat Holton, Chaffey High School District; Dr. David Quam and Greg Christian, Kaiser Permanente; and Jerry Rowley, Logan’s Candies.
Councilmember Alan Wapner highlighted that Ontario has always been known as the Gateway to Southern California primarily because it is a transportation hub that serves the whole region. “There are three major interstate highways going through the City, we have two railroads and, of course, we have our International Airport.”
Wapner added that Ontario is taking steps to regain control of Ontario International Airport to lower the costs of doing business and create jobs. The ultimate goal is to provide the airport capacity needed to protect one of the City’s most vital economic engines.
Additionally, Councilmember Jim W. Bowman emphasized that Ontario operates like a business. “We’re concerned about the bottom line, we’re concerned about service, we’re concerned about security, and we’re concerned about investing our money wisely with good partners in the business community. Ontario has the fundamentals to ensure that businesses succeed no matter what the cycle is.”
Councilmember Sheila Mautz discussed Ontario’s successful lifestyle element which encourages people to be a part of the community. Councilmember Debra Dorst-Porada discussed the strong education program that Ontario offers, which is a critical element to a flourishing city.
The video was followed by a live panel presentation with Moderator Larry Kosmont, President & CEO, Kosmont Companies, who was joined by; Keith May, President of Fletcher Jones Management Group; George Willis, President, UPS Southern California District; and Gerald McCall, Senior Vice President, Southern California Operations, Kaiser Permanente. The panelists presented an optimistic opinion about growth and future success in the City of Ontario and their commitment to growth for their companies and industries.
George Willis said, “The growth engine we see at UPS is through the Ontario airport. The uniqueness of Ontario is that it is our connection to Asia and British Columbia.” He added that now is a perfect time for not only UPS to grow but for Ontario to grow.
Gerald McCall talked about Kaiser Permanente’s state of the art, world class hospital and world class medical center that is opening in Ontario late this year. The $540 million facility, he says, will help support the current population in the area as well as what they see as a growing population who will need health care in the near future. “With Ontario you have affordable housing and infrastructure to support growth as well as a hearty workforce. I think we will see explosive growth and I think the recovery will be very rapid.”
Keith May added that there is a lot going on in the Inland Empire that attracts businesses to expand. There is a strong degree of infrastructure that has been built as well as key amenities such as the airport, convention center and sports facilities. “We see a lot of opportunity here.”
Ontario remains committed to developing a “Complete Community” for those who live and work in the City and to creating Southern California’s next urban center. Companies continue to see Ontario as an attractive long term investment. The City is committed to providing businesses a trained workforce, lifestyle amenities, and a variety of housing choices.
About The City of Ontario: The City of Ontario is Southern California’s Next Urban Center. Located just 35 miles from Los Angeles, Ontario is uniquely positioned as the “economic engine” of one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. Ontario is home to the LA/Ontario International Airport, and an incomparable transportation system of three major freeways and two railroads that provide access to the region, the nation and the globe. With a highly skilled local talent base and lower cost space than coastal counties, Ontario, California is the place to do business. For more information, visit www.OntarioThinksBusiness.com.