November 1, 2022 Minutes-Derek Armstrong, San Bernardino County Economic Development Director-Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Carole Beswick, Rebecca Boydston, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Ken Coate, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Robert Nava, Bansree Parikh, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, Reggie Webb, Michael Wells, Ray Wolfe and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests:  Arnold San Miguel

Announcements:  1) The UCR Center for Social Innovation will hold their second annual Inland Empire Data Summit on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, from 10:30 a.m. -12 p.m. The summit will focus on the Inland Empire’s health & well-being. Rsvp:  2) The San Bernardino Community College District is partnering with the U.S. Census to hold a 2030 Census Planning session.  The event will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2022, from 11:00 a.m-12:50 p.m. Rsvp:  3) The CTC Holiday Reception sponsorship has been reduced from $1,000.00 to $250.00.  4) All representatives are encouraged to attend the biannual retreat that will be held Saturday, November 5, 2022, from 8:00 a.m. to noon at the Redlands Country Club to discuss and set goals for the next two years.

Motion by M. Burrows/Second/Passed: Minutes from October 25, 2022.

Union Pacific has requested a letter of support for the installation of battery charging stations at their West Colton Yard for planned use of battery electric locomotives (“BELs”).
Motion by D. McNaboe/Second/Passed: A letter of support will be sent to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Michael Rivera introduced Derek Armstrong, San Bernardino County Economic Development Director who joined us in person.

Derek Armstrong discussed the broad role of economic development.  Support of existing businesses to find the resources to stay open and grow are key but recruiting new businesses to help grow and diversify San Bernardino’s economy is also critical.  His department supplies entrepreneurial support helping startups, from staffing to assistance with permitting and planning.  They work closely with international partners to promote trade and investment in the County. Many companies want to be close to L.A. but not in L.A. and in addition to a focus on Mexico and Canada; there are many trade opportunities from Japan, China and Korea.  His office oversees the film permitting process for the County which issued over 70 permits last year and is expected to surpass that number this year with the increased interest they have experienced.

The good news currently for overall economic development is that growth in San Bernardino is outpacing the state and our County continues to grow with strong demand. However inflation is still outpacing wage growth.  He anticipates continued increases in interest rates for the short term and wage pressures continuing to rise due to inflation.

Upcoming major projects include:

  • Hillwood’s proposed commerce center development at the Fontana Speedway. The County certified the EIR on October 25, 2022.
  • BNSF has a $1.5B investment for a 4,500-acre intermodal facility with rail yard in Barstow called Barstow International Gateway.

Other projects will be demolition of the Carousel Mall for which the city of San Bernardino has pledged up to $10M and a much-needed new County Government Center.

Current initiatives such as the Micro Business Grants (for businesses with less than 5 people) have been extended to June of 2023.  Changes are expected at the beginning of the year, but this successful program has so far distributed more than $1M.

As required by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) they are working on their new five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (their current action plan expires in December).  They have hired a vendor and are now conducting surveys and holding focus groups.  He encouraged participation.

The County is diverse and has much to offer but to change the narrative the business community and stake holders must tell their story.  Considerations include video testimonials and the use of different media outlets.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.