Leadership Santa Maria Valley- Business & Economics Topic Day
By: Wendy Robles-Garcia, Accounting Manager, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley
Leadership Santa Maria Valley (LSMV) had the opportunity to learn how business and economics impact the community. In order to make this day happen the planning committee included,Shelby McLean,David Hernandez,Olivia Bernal, Wendy Robles, along with advisors Edgar Gascon, Steven Funkhouser, and JD Scroggin. They organized a day filled with multiple business tours and local speakers.
The day started at Toyota of Santa Maria where the first speaker was Glenn Morris, President & CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. Morris mentioned that the health of the business community is impacted by all other sectors that may attract people to Santa Maria. To improve Santa Maria’s economy new and exciting businesses are brought into the community. When people move to Santa Maria it helps grow its business and economic development to accommodate the growth and retain the people here. Santa Maria should be a place that feels like a forever home to all those that move here.
Afterward, LSMV sat in on Toyota of Santa Maria’s weekly sales meeting. They start by sharing something positive about their day, week, or future plans. Afterward, they review a section from “The Power of a Positive Team “ as a team and each sales representative shares their thoughts. The weekly sales number are then shared with all sales members and what they were able to achieve. Once their weekly sales meeting ended we heard from David LeRoy, General Manager, on the company culture. He mentioned that the book review is a large part of the company culture and every department does something similar. Additionally, Toyota of Santa Maria partners with Allan Hancock College where most technicians are taught and recruited. They participate in a 60-day internship program and once they complete the program they can potentially be hired. Additionally, they contribute to the local economy by donating to local organizations and sharing their space to hold events at their facility when needed.
Jean Steel joined us in speaking about work environment efficiency and how to make employees happy within a business. She went over multiple techniques on how to engage employees to help increase productivity. If a business works on making its staff happy it will help motivate and encourage work efficiency since they would enjoy what they are doing.
LSMV heard from Jay Hardy of Hardy Diagnostics on how he started his business and the impact it has had on the community. Most staff members are hired locally, such as Microbiologists who are Cal Poly graduates, and line workers are trained in-house for about 6 months. All staff members are also owners of Hardy Diagnostics since they have an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). During COVID Hardy Diagnostics had an influx in their financial position since they were working to keep everyone safe. They were creating multiple products to combat COVID-19 such as rapid test kits. They also contribute to the economy by donating to multiple organizations locally.
LSMV ended their day at The Garden Mediterranean Restaurant and Cafe with the owner, Reda Kchik. He spoke about his reasoning behind opening a Mediterranean restaurant locally and how it has impacted the community. Since opening many locals have enjoyed his cuisines and the warm environment he has created. His goal is to provide everyone with quality food and a place they enjoy eating and having a great time. Although this did become difficult to do during the pandemic since he had to close his doors for a while. He had to get creative and find a way to keep business going and make his customers happy. He started by making meals for our local hospital which helped get him more local recognition. People looked forward to the day that he reopened the doors to his restaurant.
The planning committee would like to thank all our advisors, speakers, and local businesses. In addition, thank you to Toyota of Santa Maria for allowing us to use their facility and sponsoring breakfast from Santa Maria Burger and to Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley for sponsoring lunch from Efren’s.