In the uncertain early days and weeks of the pandemic and economic shutdown, the foundation of collaboration and trust established over the last year allowed us to jump to action as a region, shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners.
Our relief efforts in coordination with our network of partners focused on:
- Increasing health-care capacity and supporting the needs of an industry facing potential strain and stress.
- Forging public-private partnerships and new ways for various sectors to come together to bolster not just our healthcare industry but our whole economy.
- Advocating for relief at the state and federal level, including developing proposals for the Governor’s Office on potential stimulus projects.
Among the many actions taken in those early days:
Scaling small business support. We supported the scaling of capacity at the SBDC in concert with Director Judy Mahan and Collaboration Founder Michael Gunther. A task force of experts including SBA lenders, CPAs, HR experts,and online business-transition experts rolled up their sleeves to work directly with the SBDC to meet the exponential growth in small business needs for informed assistance.
Supporting SLO County’s response. REACH VP of Strategy Andrew Hackleman was tapped as an advisor to the SLO County Emergency Services Director, drawing on his extensive military expertise in supply chain logistics and analysis.
Consolidating relief resources into a centralized website. By working with chambers, cities, Visit SLO CAL, EVC and the Small Business Development Center, we were able to build a central resource of information and support systems to meet the needs of businesses and individuals while conserving our scarce human resources.
Advocating for industry. We advocated directly to the Governor’s Office and local government for for local industries to be allowed to keep functioning responsibly
Fortifying heath-care capacity. We actively supported the effort to transform the Cal Poly Rec Center into an alternate care site that played a critical role in allowing our economy to reopen, tapping into private-sector partnerships to facilitate a quick turnaround.
Securing supplies and staffing. We tapped Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, who leveraged connections to gain SLO County priority in acquiring much-needed ventilators and personal protective equipment and allowing medical reserve corps volunteers to stay local to care for Central Coast residents.
Increasing testing capacity. Public health departments in SLO and Santa Barbara counties joined with Tenet and Dignity Health in a bid to purchase and run a high-throughput COVID-19 tester to serve the region.
Sharing information. We convened a series weekly calls for regional leaders to provide updates on action at federal, state and local levels. See video of all the calls.
Even as we were all still working to grasp the scale and magnitude of the challenges before us, our fortitude and dedicated was bolstered by the leadership shown by our region’s leaders to come together to get ahead of the curve.