Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Salute to our Veterans

April 25  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought….boarding a plane from Washington, D.C.  last week, I met a young soldier returning from Afghanistan to his small hometown in Indiana for the first time.

While he was heading home, he left behind his right leg, and much of his left leg as well. I have no knowledge of any other wounds sustained by this young warrior, physical or emotional, but I was impressed, inspired and humbled by his poise and positive attitude.

Silicon Valley, let’s appreciate our veterans in ways that are as tangible as their courage. Emulate companies like Brocade, whose CEO Mike Klayko combines proactive programs to both train and hire veterans. Engage Enscient CEO Shelly Kapoor Collins’ initiative to provide jobs and job skills to returning soldiers.

Yes, a humble thank you to our vets is appropriate, but a job and job training is even more tangible and appreciated.

Welcome home, Rex. America salutes you. So should America’s employers.

Just where is Silicon Valley?

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April 17  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Just where is Silicon Valley?

As the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, I am asked to define the borders of this fabled place more than any other question.

Since Silicon Valley is more a state of mind than an actual geographic state, I often hear quite diverse answers from others.

For a rare few, Silicon Valley is only Santa Clara County, and not even all 15 cities.

For some of those cities, there is almost a fight as to which one is “the heart” of Silicon Valley; with several municipalities claiming to be one appendix, body part or another of this center of innovation.

So which cities, and counties, should be considered as part of Silicon Valley? Nearly 20 years ago, none other than Bill Hewlett – who, along with his college friend David Packard co-founded Hewlett-Packard in their Palo Alto garage some 75 years ago – described the earth’s epicenter of innovation in this way: Silicon Valley runs from Santa Rosa to Monterey.

For some of us at the Leadership Group, that seems a bit expansive – but who can argue with the spirit of innovation that grows stronger every day – in San Jose, throughout Santa Clara County, San Mateo and San Francisco counties, Santa Cruz and Alameda counties? Whether high-tech, bio-tech, clean & green tech or nanotech – thousands of entrepreneurs; hundreds still tinkering in their garages like Bill and Dave, continue to capture and unleash the spirit of innovation of their historic predecessors from decades past.

Silicon Valley – from Santa Rosa to Monterey – and any community in between – we salute you.

Santa Clara County Housting Trust : Celebrating Success One Family at aTime

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April 11  |  Housing  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought – don’t be afraid to fail.

Recently, we celebrated the 13th anniversary of the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County. Created in the boom years of 1999, the Housing Trust was established to help first-time homebuyers, provide affordable rental homes, and – for our valley’s most vulnerable, assistance for the homeless.

Our ambitious goal was to raise $20 million in voluntary contributions, to leverage $200 million in private development, assisting as many as 5,000 families in this high-cost valley.

Well, those were not the numbers we achieved.  In fact, we exceeded them. To date, we’ve loaned out $45 million, leveraging $1.8 billion in private development, helping 9,369 families with safe, affordable, well-built homes.

When we launched the trust, a cynic stated that our efforts would be, quote, “The biggest failure in the history of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.” Yet in Silicon Valley, we are not afraid to fail. It is in our DNA to be bold in tackling even the toughest of challenges.

Undaunted, the Housing Trust was launched – and to date, nearly 10,000 families have been helped, and the voice of the cynics have been stilled.

To the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County and all its investors – we salute you.

Revenue or Reform?

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April 3  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s Food for Thought . . . Some of my Democrat friends think California needs more revenue. Some of my Republican friends believe California needs more reforms.

Who’s right?

Possibly both.

To keep and create jobs and attract employers, California needs serious regulatory, budget, governance and pension reforms. Simply stated, when it comes to a competitive business climate that can create and keep jobs, we are uncompetitive with most other states, let alone other nations. A great climate only goes so far.

To attract and prepare a world-class workforce, we also need to invest in physical infrastructure like roads and rail, energy, water and broadband – as well as human capital like pre-k, K-12 and Higher Ed, including Community Colleges, CSUs, UCs and private universities like Stanford and Santa Clara.

California needs to use each tax dollar efficiently and effectively. We need serious reform, additional revenue and restored trust that Sacramento will wisely use what we invest.

Revenue or reform? – I believe we need both. Not one or the other. And soon.