• Leadership Santa Maria Valley: Expanding Economic Vision for Growth & Opportunity in 2020 and Beyond

    Noe Vergara
    Toyota of Santa Maria
    Leadership Santa Maria Valley class of 2020 started of their monthly meeting with breakfast provided by Moxie café and warm welcome from Jay Hardy, President of Hardy Diagnostics. Hardy Diagnostics is a major employer in the Santa Maria Valley with a big impact to our local economy. President Jay Hardy explained the expansion the company has had over the years to the point they out grew their local location and opened a new plant in Ohio. Hardy Diagnostics is part of the few great companies that are 100% ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) this means that the company stocks are entirely owned and operated by its employees. 
    The tour of Hardy Diagnostic was really impressive. You can see where science, hard work, and logistics come together to ensure their success. Every employee was truly concentrated on their individual task. One may stop to think if this is the impact an ESOP has on a company, bringing sense of responsibility to a higher level and distributing it equally to everyone in the company. Could other companies in our area benefit from an ESOP operation?
    Our Class made their way to Honda of Santa Maria conference room. During our time Honda and Toyota of Santa Maria provided a power point presentation of their new facilities that are currently being built here in Santa Maria. Project manager Jacob Weintraub and Nick Meads gave us a break down on the blue print of the new buildings and also shared a digital model of what the final product will be. In the presentation they explained future use of the current facilitates that these stores currently call home. Honda will be taken over by Kia bringing another brand of new cars to our city and Toyota will be transformed into a used car super store! With this growth comes the need of great people to fit their culture, job opportunities from sales consultants, service techs, service advisors, and much more that helps general managers like Fabian Zaragoza and David LeRoy in day to day operations.  Fabian general manager at Honda of Santa Maria and David general manager of Toyota of Santa Maria both born and raised in Santa Maria shared the foundation of each dealerships and how they work on developing their employees to promote from within, which both have benefited from making their way through the ranks of the dealerships.
    Patrick Cusack one of the masterminds behind the great success of Honda and Toyota of Santa Maria also took time to speak to our class. Patrick Cusack is a partner in the ownership group of these great dealerships and shared about his passion to grow and develop the local community. Being a huge business guru himself he is involved with many project in our valley two of them apart from the dealerships being a self-storage facility opening in spring and laundry mat that is also on its way! The bullish market in our area excites him knowing that with other business moving in comes growth and opportunity for everyone. “Our valley is still being discovered by other companies and with more flights being available in our airport it will attract others to come to our community and grow with us, once a person from Chicago experiences this weather I’m sure it will be very attractive place to move into”.
     After an amazing lunch provided by Nabil Fadel owner of Senor Taco, Pastor Rick Bloom shared some of his wisdom in leadership. Our class listen attentively as he shared what it takes to be a great leader, and why it is important to serve those you lead. Serving those you lead allows them to connect with you and it opens their mind and heart to your positive influence. Since leadership is influence. With this influence comes great responsibility for a leader must also cover and protect those he serves. A big way a leader can protect is by looking ahead, a great leader always looks ahead on how his decision will impact his team in 1year, 5 years, 10 years. Our class truly appreciated all Pastor Rick Bloom shared with us, hope we all continue our journey as local leaders with a servant mindset, and train our minds to think ahead.
    Next stop, ICE CREAM! Doc Burstein’s open their doors and gave us their history and vision for their ice cream chain and the expansion into other products such as coffee and chocolate. The humble beginnings of the company is a true inspiration to any small business in our community and a perfect example of what a great business model can develop into. Though Doc Burstein’s did not begin in Santa Maria valley they are still very involve with our community, offering book reading nights, and blood drives with “pint for pint” donations just to name a couple.  
    Our exciting day came to a conclusion at Hardy Diagnostics with a presentation by Suzanne Singh, Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director. The title comes with a large responsibility and a lot of communication. Suzanne plays an important role in not only bringing business into our beautiful valley but also works diligently in keeping companies in our community. She was a big part in bringing more flights into Santa Maria airport, and making sure it makes sense to our community to use our own airport. Suzanne really open our eyes to the behind the scenes of our local business and economics and the work it takes to make it all happened. 
    Our Valley has amazing companies that make up our local tax revenue and we are constantly growing and attracting more into our community. We thank all of our speakers for their insight and their contribution not only to our topic day but to our community. Companies and organization that their apart of make programs like Leadership Santa Maria Valley possible and edifying.