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Message from the CEO – April 2014 


Cecil Russell

Chamber CEO,
Cecil Russell

In this issue of Progress Magazine we will report on many important issues for our community. The Modesto Chamber is consistently working on economic development. We will continue to promote the need for shovel ready land that will attract manufacturing and industrial business to provide the much needed jobs to help with our chronic unemployment. Our hope is that after the city solves the issues surrounding the Wood Colony area, they will follow up with a comprehensive general plan update.

Important opportunities that set the future direction of our community take place virtually every day at some level of local or state government. If you believe, as we do, that a healthy business environment is an essential component of our quality of life, then a constructive business voice that contributes to these discussions is imperative.

Craig Lewis, chairman of our Economic Development Committee has written an article in this issue that speaks to the importance of the transportation tax that is currently being supported by our Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. This tax is proposed to be on the ballot in November of two thousand and sixteen, will create the necessary revenue to move our county forward with much needed transportation projects that will be the catalyst for economic growth.

One of the key transportation opportunities in our county is the proposed ACE Train connection to the Bay Area. This would be an extension from Stockton to Modesto, and then on to Turlock and Merced. Thomas Reeves, Manager of Public Affairs and Community Relations for San Joaquin Regional Rail, has contributed an article to this issue explaining the benefits of this opportunity.

Other exciting plans for Modesto include the Modesto Grand Prix, a professional kart race staged by SuperKarts USA. The city of Modesto has teamed up with SuperKarts USA to produce a three day event in the heart of downtown Modesto this coming August. Professional gocartgo-kart drivers from all over the country will compete during the 5th annual SKUSA Pro Tour Summer Nationals. This is a Pro Tour event. There will be over 300 professional racers competing to qualify for the SuperNationals in Las Vegas. There will be three big screen televisions, with pedestrian bridges over the race area and over 15,000 expected spectators. So mark your calendar for August 1st through the 3rd for exciting racing in downtown Modesto!

Your Chamber of Commerce is also supporting the new initiative by Tom Changnon, Superintendent of Stanislaus County Schools, entitled “Destination Graduation”. Susan Rich has constructed an article in this issue explaining the program, the program’s goals and how you as a business operator can support this important effort that will raise the overall impact of education in our community by increasing the area’s low graduation rates. Graduating more of our young people, preparing them for the next level of their education – be that college, vocational studies or on-the-job training – will create a more educated workforce across the board and will help create a better quality of life for our entire community.

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