Op-Ed: Small Businesses Vital to Economy

Sen. Mark Leno, who represents Novato in Sacramento, reminds all to support local businesses and spend dollars within the city limits.

In uncertain fiscal times, one thing we can count on is small business, which is key to our economic growth and stability. Like most of America, California is reliant upon its small businesses to supply a lion's share of its economic production and the new jobs needed to get residents back to work.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. California's 3 million small firms, which have fewer than 500 employees, represent 99 percent of the state's employers. Because of their smaller size, these companies tend to be more flexible and innovative, which will help the state grow its way out of the global recession. In addition to all of the financial ways that small businesses benefit the state, starting a small company in California can offer unlimited opportunities to anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed.

Entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed are two of the many qualities I would use to describe Julie Berry, CEO of Cal-Con Pumping, my selection as the 3rd Senate District's 2011 Small Business of the Year. Each year I have the privilege of naming a small business in our district to be honored for its achievements in the marketplace, its contributions to the community and the jobs it provides. After closely considering a number of worthy candidates, Cal-Con Pumping stood out as the small business most deserving of this recognition.

Located in the Bayview district of San Francisco, Cal-Con Pumping is a wonderful success story. It is a woman-owned construction business that excels in a trade that is very male dominated. Cal-Con Pumping provides concrete pumping services for construction projects across Northern California. It was recently awarded $2.95 million in contracts on the Doyle Drive Replacement Project, which involves replacing and improving the southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge located in San Francisco's famed Presidio. A contract like this provides much-needed jobs for our community and gives an important boost to our depressed economy.

A visionary company like Cal-Con Pumping needs an ambitious businessperson at its head, and CEO Julie Berry more than fits the bill. A former Visa Corporation executive, Julie oversees the company's numerous management teams, including operations, marketing, sales, engineering and information technology. She is also in charge of establishing company strategies related to market segmentation and trends. Julie's leadership has played a pivotal role in Cal-Con Pumping's remarkable success.

I am proud to be a small business owner myself and as such understand just how vital we are to the health of California's economy. That's why I take great pleasure in recognizing the contributions of small businesses in general and Cal-Con Pumping in particular. These are the "little engines that can." They work hard every day to support, sustain and promote California's continued place as the eighth largest economy in the world.

If you are a small business owner or are considering opening a business, you can contact the Governor's Office of Economic Development at (877) 345-4633 or visit www.business.ca.gov. It's a one-stop shop that provides information on starting a business, permit assistance, loan opportunities and other resources you may need to succeed.

Senator Mark Leno represents the Third Senate District of California, which includes portions of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties and all of Marin County. www.senate.ca.gov/Leno

Michele Gault September 13, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Business owners and entrepreneurs should also contact their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), where they can access free and low-cost services and learn about how to access capital. The closest center to Marin is in Santa Rosa: http://santarosasbdc.org/
Scott September 14, 2011 at 12:47 AM
Ugh. What a self-serving piece of drivel. When will our elected officials figure out we want them to promote better policies instead of promoting themselves. It really is insulting the way they shove crap like this at us and expect us to be impressed.
Thomas September 15, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Fully agree with you. It's so hypocritical as well. Politics...


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