Pasadena Chamber Business
and Economic Summit Offers Insight Into Our Economy
Leaders of business, industry and the community came together at the University Club on October 13 for the 8th Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Business and Economic Summit.
Organized by the Pasadena Chamber, the Business and Economic Summit featured speakers on the world, national, regional and local economies as well as Pasadena specific development and the growing life sciences industry in the region and the City.
Pasadena Chamber Board of Directors Chair Raphael Henderson of Wells Fargo hosted the event.
Guests at the Summit included Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo and Council Members Andy Wilson, Tyron Hampton and Felicia Williams. Newly appointed Pasadena City Manager Miguel Marquez was in attendance along with members of his leadership team. Interim Assistant City Manager David Reyes, Finance Director Matthew Hawkesworth and Public Works Director Tony Olmos joined Mr. Marquez.
Former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard attended, as did Rose Bowl General Manager Jens Weiden, Frank Miller, Executive Director of Hollywood Burbank Airport, George Falardeau Executive Director of Pasadena Media and Brian Wallace Executive Director of the Playhouse Village Association. University Club General Manager Cyrus Afshin also attended.
Mr. Henderson introduced fellow Chamber Board members, Don Schweitzer of Schweitzer Law Partners who serves as chair elect and chair of the Business and Economic Development Committee that organizes the Summit. Also in attendance from the Chamber Board were John Burt with Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching, Tom Daly of Lewis Roca, Immediate Past Chair of the Board, John Leano of Bryan’s Cleaners, Lisa Maurath of Parsons, Nerissa Sugars of Hollywood Burbank Airport and Chamber President and CEO Paul Little.
Board Chair Raphael Henderson of Wells Fargo emceed the Chamber Economic Summit.
Sponsors of the event were Help With My Loan, Verizon and Wells Fargo. Alice Juarez, region bank president for Wells Fargo was on hand to represent the bank. From Verizon, Erica Jacquez and Janelle Hartley were in attendance, as were Chris Karageuzian and Artinian, founders of Help With My Loan.
Board Chair Raphael Henderson welcomed guests and introduced local elected officials and others of note in attendance.
Mr. Henderson noted that, “The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is doing fine. Like everyone, we have had to weather the pandemic and make some changes in our operations and our expenses, but we managed that without losing staff.” He continued, “That is not to say there aren’t challenges. There are some significant financial issues we will have to deal with in the short term. But we are 134 years old and expect to be serving Pasadena and our business community 134 years from now.”
Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo welcomed guests at the Summit telling them, “Pasadena is resilient and in full recovery mode. The city is here to support you.”
Featured speaker, Economist and Wells Fargo Vice President Charles Dougherty discussed trends and indicators we are seeing in the US economy before declaring, “Many worry we are in a recession already. We are not. If you look at the economy right now, we are expanding.”
Economist Charles Dougherty gave an overview of economic conditions. Mr. Dougherty went on to discuss indicators and trends we are seeing in the economy, nationally and locally. He expects inflation to shrink as a result of government policies as well as supply chain issues being resolved. He noted that Americans came out of the pandemic with significantly higher savings that is showing up in increased spending for consumer goods and services.
“People want to go out, eat at restaurants and travel,” Mr. Dougherty noted. He also indicated that, although salaries are up in the U.S., they are not increasing at the rate of inflation.
Mr. Dougherty went on to say, “We are predicting a mild recession in early 2023 that will last for a short period of time but lead to a full economic recovery and a return to growth.”
Pasadena Economic Development Director David Klug pointed out significant economic development in Pasadena.
Pasadena Economic Development Director David Klug highlighted developments in Pasadena including hotel proposals in downtown and on east Colorado Boulevard, renovation and reopening of the Constance Hotel as Pasadena Hotel and Pool, Doheney Eye Institute opening at the former Avery Dennison site at Walnut and Orange Grove, renovation and rehabilitation of the former Bank of America call center on Marengo Avenue and the development at 10 West Walnut adjacent to Parsons Corporation.
Mr. Klug also noted some significant lease signings, including Scratch, a healthcare financing platform, Lucid Motors showroom in Old Pasadena, Erewhon Market in the former Borders Books store on South Lake and Amazon Fresh in east Pasadena.
Patrick Church and Alexandra Sesi of JLL provided insights into the Life Sciences sector. They explained the growth of the industry and how local assets such as Caltech, USC and UCLA help nurture the industry in the Los Angeles area.
Pasadena has seen the emergence of Life Sciences companies such as Xencor, which develops treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Alexandra Sesi and Partick Church of JLL explained the growing life sciences industry and why Pasadena is an ideal environment for them. They highlighted Xencor, a company developing treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, which is moving to east Pasadena from Monrovia.
Traditionally, life sciences companies have clustered in other parts of Los Angeles County and Southern California. Pasadena, with proximity to universities but also health centers and existing research facilities is becoming attractive, as well.
The challenge, according to Mr. Church, is our lack of appropriate and adequate space. However, property owners are creating floor plans and installing amenities to attract life sciences companies that do research into diagnosis and treatment of a variety of illnesses. Many are utilizing new technologies to either enhance existing tools and treatments or devising new methodologies and inventing new tools.
For Pasadena, this is a tremendous opportunity to attract and grow new companies that produce few, if any, negative impacts in the community. Proximity to research universities such as Caltech is seen as very positive by those in the life sciences industry. The Pasadena area’s highly educated population is also attractive as companies seek skilled and educated workers.
For Pasadena companies and individuals, the Business and Economic Summit provided a glimpse into the current state of the economy and insights into what will happen in the near future. Presenters also pointed out many positive aspects of our local community and potential for growth and expansion in our economy.
“I learned quite a lot today,” remarked Board Chair Mr. Henderson. “This was a terrific event for our community.”