Attend the 1st Annual Silicon Valley Chamber Business Xpo

Silicon Valley Chamber Business Xpo Logo

The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce is partnering with several other Santa Clara County Chambers of Commerce to present the 1st Annual Silicon Valley Chamber Business Xpo on April 10, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  Business-focused seminars will be held prior to the opening of the Xpo from 2:00-5:00 p.m. followed by the Xpo from 5:00-8:00 p.m.  The Xpo will include 100 exhibitor table top booths with an expected attendance of up to 1,000 potential customers.

“The Silicon Valley Chamber Business Xpo will provide the business community in Santa Clara County with another channel to grow their business,” said Steve Van Dorn, President and CEO of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and Convention-Visitors Bureau.  “We are always looking for new ways to assist our members in making new connections.  We believe the Silicon Valley Chamber Business Xpo will do just that,” added Van Dorn.

Please mark your calendars and look for more information coming your way this month.  Xpo table top booths will be available on a first-come, first served basis.  Sales will open in early February – watch your email for more information.  For sponsorship information, please contact Denise Harris at (408) 380-1237 or email her at to add your company as a sponsor of this new business-growth event.


Developers Share Plans for Santa Clara Growth

(From Left) Steve Van Dorn, Rob Hollister, Jane Vaughan, Elaine Breeze  and John O’Brien.

(From Left) Steve Van Dorn, Rob Hollister, Jane Vaughan, Elaine Breeze
and John O’Brien.

Representatives from The Sobrato Organization, SummerHill Apartment Communities, Menlo Equities and Nvidia discussed their large Santa Clara projects with the attendees of Outlook 2014.

Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to network with the panelists as well as the Mayor, City Council members, and other City of Santa Clara representatives.  Dick Johnston of Graphic Packaging International welcomed attendees to the event and acted as the emcee for the evening.

Chamber President & CEO Steve Van Dorn led the discussion and asked several questions of the panelists.  Following is a summary of some of the questions asked:

What is the future for affordable housing projects with the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency money? 

  • Jane Vaughan, Partner of Development, Menlo Equities:  She pointed out that there are a number of non-profit agencies working on this issue, and reminded attendees that “below market rate” housing is always included with “market rate” housing.
  • Rob Hollister, President of Real Estate, The Sobrato Organization:  He commented that the best way to include affordable housing is to have a good housing and jobs plan like Santa Clara does.

What do you see as a future trend in the industry?

  • Elaine Breeze, Vice President of Development, SummerHill Apartment Communities:  She is seeing a shift in what residents are looking for – they’re more conscientious of mass transportation and what’s available near their home.  They’re asking the question of “how can I live here without a car?”
  • John O’Brien, Director of Facilities Operations, Nvidia:  He sees the future trend as using less energy – it will be about reducing waste and watching consumption.
  • Jane Vaughan:  She is seeing a trend with organizations partnering with transportation companies to shuttle employees from CalTrain to their work location and back at the end of the day.

What is the biggest challenge your organization is facing?

  • Elaine Breeze:  Competing for the open land.
  • Joan Vaughan:  Economic cycles.
  • John O’Brien:  Employee transportation – it’s a challenge to get to/from public transportation in many locations.
  • Rob Hollister:  CEQA issues, in addition to zoning challenges in many cities (i.e. no flexibility in the zoning of areas of a city – one area set aside for residential, another for commercial/industrial, and another for retail).

Attendees also had the opportunity to view schematics of what each project will look like upon completion.  The event was sponsored by the following companies:

Corporate Sponsors:

  • ActionCOACH of Santa Clara
  • American Airlines
  • Bay Area Builders
  • California’s Great America
  • Graphic Packaging International, Inc.
  • Heritage Bank of Commerce
  • Hilton Santa Clara
  • iFLY SF Bay
  • Intel
  • Irvine Company
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Luxul Technology, Inc.
  • Related California
  • Rudolph & Sletten, Inc.
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Swinerton Builders
  • UCSC Extension Silicon Valley

Outlook Sponsors 

  • Arcadia Graphix & Specialty Products
  • Pizza Party

Chamber Opposition Stops Workers’ Comp “Job Killer” Bill


Strong opposition from the Santa Clara, County Coalition of Chambers and CalChamber has stopped a “job killer” bill from 2013 that would have resulted in dramatic workers’ compensation cost increases for employers.

Last week, at the author’s request, SB 626 (Beall; D-San Jose) was pulled from the hearing agenda for the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. The bill therefore missed the January 17 legislative deadline to pass from policy committee to fiscal committee in the house in which it was introduced. SB 626 would have resulted in employers paying nearly $1 billion in benefit increases to injured workers without an expectation that the increases will be fully offset by system savings.

The job killer bill would have distorted the entire balance of the 2012 workers’ compensation reform deal, SB 863 (De León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 363), that provides injured workers with needed benefit increases.  However, the bill offsets these increased costs by closing certain loopholes and making California’s workers’ compensation system operate more efficiently with fewer disputes and litigation.

SB 626 would have left California employers worse off than they were before the reforms.  Not only would they have faced pre-reform escalating costs, they would have been burdened by an additional $1 billion in benefit increases with no expectation that this cost will be offset by projected system savings. SB 626 would have been a giant step backwards for California employers during the current fragile economic recovery.

Additionally, SB 626 would have reversed a bipartisan labor-employer compromise. These types of agreements between key stakeholders that enjoy overwhelmingly bipartisan approval should be encouraged and protected, not attacked and diluted.

Please join us at our next Government Relations Committee meeting on February 4 at 8am at the Chamber office.  Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Board Supervisor, will be our guest speaker.

Steve Van Dorn

Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau

President and CEO

Santa Clara Hotels Continued Occupancy & ADR Growth in 2013


The eight full service hotels near California’s Great America, Levi’s Stadium, and the Santa Clara Convention Center continued their steady growth upward in 2013. The hotels average of 79% occupancy was up 3% compared to the previous year while at the same time their Average Daily Rate (ADR) was up $18.00 to $165.00 per night.

According to Steve Van Dorn, President and CEO of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and Convention-Visitors Bureau, “It’s clear that people are still traveling to Santa Clara for business and to attend meetings.”  Van Dorn credits a combination of increased business travel, conventions and meetings, and leisure travel to California’s Great America for the yearly increase. “All the buzz about the new Levi’s Stadium has certainly helped in bringing more attention to Santa Clara,”  Van Dorn added.

The hotel occupancy averages and ADR were compiled by the Santa Clara Convention and Visitors Bureau and include the Avatar HotelBiltmore Hotel & SuitesEmbassy SuitesHilton Santa ClaraHYATT houseHyatt Regency Santa ClaraMarriott Santa Clara, and the Plaza Suites.  For more information, visit

Member Referrals

We would like to recognize and acknowledge member referrals to the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce.  The following new members were referred by an existing member of the Chamber, and we would like to recognize and thank them for their support.

Ravinder Lal with The UPS Store #4636, 2784 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, referred Hubert Gotuaco with Prolific Business Solutions.  Need to set up credit card systems or payroll services for your business?  Call Hubert at (408) 687-2518 to find out more about his services.  For a one-stop place for all of your business needs including printing, copying, signs, business cards and shipping, contact Ravinder at (408) 247-4010 for excellent value and service.

Robin Benitez with City Beach referred Zee Kerawala, with Taste Restaurant.  This is a great new dining and nightclub spot located on 2909 Lakeside Drive, Santa Clara.  Sound familiar? It is the former Peppermill, and you will be amazed at the food and ambiance that Taste Restaurant has to offer.  Drop in for lunch, happy hour or dinner, and be prepared for a tasty experience!   For fabulous team building events and ideas for your business, contact Robin at (408) 687-2518 to find out more about the services that they provide.

Irene Kimura- Kern with Nu Skin referred Carol Drake with Carols Graphic Art.  If you are looking for a graphic designer for your business cards, flyers, business forms and newsletters, give Carol a call at (408) 243-8044.   Start the New Year off right with beautiful and healthy skin.  Call Irene at (408) 930-7420 to schedule a consultation.

Every month we will publish any new members who have joined and were referred by an existing member.   When a member has referred a total of three new members, they will receive a $100.00 advertising credit.

Member of the Month: BG Specialty Printing


BG Specialty is a local home-based business. Their expertise is Pad Printing on printable advertising products, plus Silkscreen and Embroidery on apparel.

BG has access to over 900,000 different printable products. They can avoid factory minimums by printing the product in their shop (one color only); multiple color imprinting requires supplier quantities.

They print less than factory minimums so a small-size business does not have to spend all their advertising dollars on one item that may not work for them. The staff of BG Specialty finds unique products for special requirements.

They also have their own Name badge system that is classy, recyclable and affordable.

When you contact Becky or Bob, you are talking directly to the owners of the company. They have been in business going on fourteen years. Their customers come from the chamber networking groups, business mixers and referrals.

BG Specialty will coordinate the requirements for you, their customer, with various suppliers to achieve the best price, for the best quality products.

Chamber members win when they place an order with them as they offer 10% off of the product purchase price.

Good referrals are decision makers: medium and small businesses, fund raisers, non-profit agencies or social events.

Most everything we purchase in life is advertised. Why should their customer’s business be any different?  Businesses that do not advertise usually end up advertising their business for sale.

As one of the early members of the Chamber network group “The Power Partners” (which meets each Wednesday at noon at the chamber). Becky has been able to work on and update her 30 second introduction, presenting her business with examples and hand out samples of their products. “Thank you to the Chamber and the members of the Power Partners as all have allowed us to help brand each of their businesses.”

The Power Partners are very vocal at the mixers as most of their 23 members attend. The Power Partners also have scheduled meetings:  two meetings a month for member presentations and two meetings a month for educational presentations. The Power Partners members include past winners (2) of the Chamber Member of the Year and one of the Businesses of the Year.  We’re a great sales force to help you grow your business!