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COVER STORY
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Lucy dunn & the ocbc, continued ...Published: July 01, 2011


Orange County’s spreading reputation as an economic destination where innovation and capital meet is the result of many factors and individuals. But increasingly, and with a frequency that is hard to ignore, the OCBC has been at the intersection of business success in Orange County, especially during Dunn’s nearly six years at the group’s helm. In fact, the OCBC’s influence and importance as the county’s “voice of business” clearly widened as the recent recession deepened. Arguably the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the recession has created an opportunity for Dunn’s 11-member staff to shore up and advance the county’s position as a pro-business oasis in a state where it seems owning a business is a curse, not an opportunity.
   
“We live in a totally great county where nothing rhymes with Orange – we do things differently here,” says Dunn, whose reputation stretches from Santa Ana to Silicon Valley and the governor’s office in Sacramento. “There are other countywide organizations in other parts of the state that we partner with, but our model is rather unique.”
   
Thomas Phelps, a partner in the Costa Mesa-based law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and a longtime OCBC board member, is even more emphatic about the OCBC’s place in the business landscape. He claims the group “has become simply the most influential voice of business for O.C. and the region on federal, state and regional public policy issues. It is bipartisan, strategic and well-informed, and is focused on issues that are critical to business, not social issues or partisanship.”
   
Will Kempton, chief executive officer of the powerful Orange County Transportation Authority and former head of the California Department of Transportation, agrees: “The OCBC has played a key role in sustaining a reasonable level of economic development in a very serious downturn economically.”
   
It is high praise for an organization that is less than two decades old. Although the business council is an offshoot of the 118-year-old Orange County Chamber of Commerce, this is not your grandfather’s chamber that meets primarily to network.
   
Formed in 1995 with the merger of three groups – the county chamber, the Industrial League and Partnership 2010 – the OCBC has emerged as the leading voice in Orange County on issues of business regulation, taxation and legislation. The consistency and effectiveness of the group in shielding business interests in recent years has clearly elevated its profile – regionally and statewide. Today it’s almost automatic for Dunn and her team of researchers, policy experts and economic-development specialists to have a seat at the negotiating table when it comes to major initiatives in the region.    



O.C.'s not-so-secret weapon -- Go to page:
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

JULY 2011 COVER STORY PACKAGE
O.C.'s not-so-secret weapon  |  Q&A with Lucy Dunn
The Orange County Business Council through the years
OCBC Investors  |  OCBC Board Members

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