Winning Together: Every Vote Counts

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July 17  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Not until four weeks after the November 2008 election, was it determined that “Measure B,” a one-eighth of one cent sales tax to fund the operation and maintenance of the future BART extension for Silicon Valley had been passed by the electorate.

On Election Night, four weeks earlier, it appeared – to some – that we had lost.

Four long weeks later, once every absentee ballot and provisional ballot had been counted, the yes votes slowly gained momentum to meet and exceed the required two-thirds threshold.  Yes, out of nearly 700,000 votes cast, Measure A earned 66.78 percent of the vote, winning by the razor-thin margin of .11 percent of the vote.  


Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: A Labor of Love

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July 14  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

It’s Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2007, when the call comes in. Governor Schwarzenegger asks the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to serve as one of only nine appointees to the powerful California Transportation Commission, which has also been tasked with allocating most of the $19.95 billion “Proposition 1-B” funds for transportation improvements throughout California. The answer is an enthusiastic “YES.” For only the third time in the history of the “CTC,” a representative from Silicon Valley has a seat at the transportation table. The first Commissioner was former Leadership Group CEO Gary Burke, and the second was former County Supervisor Dianne McKenna.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Five for Five.

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July 13  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Under the bold leadership of action hero turned Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the unfailing direction of California Alliance for Jobs CEO Jim Earp, five infrastructure initiatives are placed on the November 2006 ballot.  Propositions 1-A; 1-B; 1-C; 1-D and 1-E are simultaneously placed before voters, to fund vital improvements for water, levees, education, housing and transportation.  The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is named one of only seven Statewide Co-Chairs for the entire package of improvements, and one of only two State Co-Chairs for the Housing Bond (Prop 1-C).  All five pass on Election Day.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

We’re Talking Turkey . . . Turkey Trot, that is!

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July 12  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

San Jose Fire Chief Jeff Clet crossing the finish line at the 2004 Applied Materials Turkey Trot

It’s Thanksgiving morning, 2004, when CEO Carl Guardino and his wife Leslee wake up to a radio report by Jim Taylor of KCBS, talking about “20,000 people gathered downtown, walking and running to help feed the hungry.”  He wasn’t talking about wealthy Silicon Valley, but the much smaller city of Sacramento.  Inspired by the community call-to-action, Carl thought “someone should do that here in Silicon Valley,” and decided that perhaps that “someone” was us.  Six months later, Applied Materials executive Joe Pon generously agreed that the company would serve as our Title Sponsor, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation launched the inaugural run for Thanksgiving Day – November of 2005.

Ten days before the inaugural race, with more than 225 volunteers secured to help on race morning, barely 100 people had registered to participate.  Panic set in, but our sense of purpose never left us.  On race morning, more than 900 people showed up to register on-site, delaying the start of the race by nearly a half-hour.  That first race recorded 1,900 paid participants, supported by 240 volunteers, and raised $132,000 to help families in need throughout Silicon Valley.  A new Thanksgiving Day tradition was born.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Home, Sweet Home

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July 11  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

It’s November of 2002, and the Leadership Group and its CEO are tapped by Governor Gray Davis and the powerful President Pro Tem of the State Senate – John Burton – to serve as one of only two Statewide Co-Chairs of “Proposition 46,” the $2.1 billion Statewide Housing Bond.  It is the largest Housing Bond in the history of the United States, and wins with 57.5 percent of the vote.  Well over 100,000 individuals and families are served through Proposition 46, from those who are homeless to those seeking to purchase their first home.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Great Companies Build Great Communities

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July 10  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

It’s June, 2001.  The Leadership Group lays the groundwork to launch its c-3 Foundation, with a separate Board of Directors and two-person volunteer staff.  The Leadership Group’s CEO volunteers to also serve as the unpaid Executive Director of the Leadership Group Foundation, drawing down an annual salary of “zero” each of the past 16 years – and, as he frequently says, he is “worth every cent.”

Results: To build community and help the needy, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation  founded and directs the Applied Materials “Silicon Valley Turkey Trot,” the “Santa Run Silicon Valley” and the Lam Research “Heart & Soles” Run.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

All Aboard

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July 7  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Securing a two-thirds vote of the electorate, especially to pass a tax, is a tall order.  But in the year 2000, at the height of the economic upturn, the timing was right for an ambitious and bold initiative to finally bring BART to Silicon Valley, further modernize Caltrain and also fund a host of other bus and rail improvements to provide Silicon Valley commuters with alternatives to congested highway corridors.  Thanks for the visionary leadership and dogged determination of then-San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Jude Barry co-led “Measure A,” a 30-year half-cent sales tax for BART, Caltrain and transit.  The Measure captured the support of the voting public, passing with 70.4 percent of the vote.

Early in the campaign, a young man with a penchant for public service walked into the campaign office asking to volunteer.  He ended up working 80-plus hour weeks for nearly four months, co-leading in every capacity of the campaign.  The young lawyer, a former federal prosecutor and Harvard-trained attorney, was Sam Liccardo, now Mayor of San Jose.

Epilogue: The 2000 “Measure A,” by statute, didn’t begin revenue collection until 2006, and will run through 2036.  The first ten-mile segment of the BART extension, with stations in Milpitas and Berryessa, will open ahead of schedule and well over $100 million under budget, with passenger service expected within the next nine months.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

“Slow the Flow & Save the Bay”

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July 5  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Launched in June of 1998 and leaving us flushed with excitement, the Manufacturing Group partners with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, City of San Jose and the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce to spearhead our “Slow the Flow & Save the Bay” Campaign.  The unusual education effort is an in-house employee education campaign initially launched at 75 Valley companies, to help reduce wastewater releases into the San Francisco Bay.  The effort will help protect the environment for two endangered species, and protect the economic health of the region by meeting regional limits without costly and controversial caps.  Since more than 70 percent of all wastewater flowing to the Bay in 1998 came from residences, the campaign focuses on what individuals can do to reduce water use.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Big Rewards Require Big Risks

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July 4  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

SCCMG Vice President Carl Guardino announces the release of the “Dispelling Myths” brochure at a South San Jose affordable-housing project.

It’s March of 1998, and the Manufacturing Group Board of Directors approves our business plan to create our “Housing Trust Fund.”  In collaboration with the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Community Foundation, an ambitious effort is launched to raise $20 million in voluntary contributions in just 24 months.

Little did we know that within a year, the steepest and deepest economic downturn to date would strike Silicon Valley.

Nevertheless, by August 1 of the year 2000, the audacious goal is achieved – and exceeded – with $20.6 million donated. Two of every three dollars is donated by private employers, employer foundations and private citizens.  The County, and all 15 cities and towns, contribute the other one-third.  Recognizing the spectrum of need for affordable homes in our high-cost region, the funding formula is divided into thirds – with one-third for those who are homeless, one-third for those who need affordable rental homes, and one-third for first-time homebuyers.  The initial goal: Raise $20 million to leverage $200 million, to initially assist 4,800 families.

The Foundation for the Fund is successfully laid, when five innovative employers each make the first contributions of $200,000 each: Applied Materials, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, KB Home, Solectron.  Four of the five would later donate $1 million each or more.  The funds were matched to kick-off the 2-year fundraising drive by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of Board Chair Pete McHugh.

Update: In its first 17 years, the Silicon Valley Housing Trust has now raised more than $110 million in voluntary contributions, leveraging more than $2.5 billion in private development and helping more than 25,000 individuals and families.

Additional Update . . . “A Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”  That same year, 1998, the Santa Clara Valley Manufacturing Group once again changes its name, to the “Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group.”

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Take a Pass on Traffic; Take Transit.

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July 3  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

In the summer of 1997, another creative public-private partnership is launched.  Valley Transportation Authority General Manager Pete Cipolla and Manufacturing Group CEO Carl Guardino launch a program that Mr. Cipolla brought with him from Denver, Colorado.  Re-Christened as the “Eco-Pass,” dozens of Manufacturing Group Member Companies purchase year-long transit passes to their Silicon Valley employees.  Transit usage doubles by the employees of participating employees, as the use of buses, express buses and light rail become “free” to employees because of the “fee” charged to their employers.

Leading by example, the Manufacturing Group not only recruited the employers to participate in the pilot program, but became one of the first employers to offer “Eco-Pass” to its employees.

Epilogue: The Leadership Group still provides an “Eco-Pass” to all its employees as an employee-benefit.  It is always easier to reach into one’s own wallet before asking others to reach into theirs.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.