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COVER STORY
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Lucy dunn & the ocbc, continued ...Published: July 01, 2011


“We are not pro-Democrat or pro-Republican. We are pro-business,” Dunn asserts with a steely authority. “Our initiatives transcend political parties. Tell me: Who is against state-of-the-art infrastructure? Who is against a student graduating from high school with a high-tech education? Who is against affordable housing for their work force? These are issues that cut across all political boundaries. Business owners, unions, government … everyone should be pro-business, because when business thrives everyone shares in the results.”

It is the OCBC’s focus on stakeholders and their issues that excites members such as Kaiser Permanente’s John Stratman. Stratman, director of public affairs, says the business council is about more than just improving the bottom line. Many of Kaiser’s 7,200 employees in Orange County live outside the county and commute to work. Traffic, safety and road quality are major issues for Kaiser’s work force. “We spend a lot of time talking about how to get our employees to and from work,” he says. “The OCBC is also worried about transportation. It’s why this organization is different and why we support it.”
   
Infrastructure, educating the work force, creating more affordable housing and economic development are the four key initiatives that Dunn’s team promotes and monitors. As part of the OCBC’s annual strategic plan, the group helps publish several annual research projects, the Community Indicators Report and the Workforce Housing Scorecard. The OCBC has also taken a leadership role in preaching the importance of education in Latino neighborhoods, particularly with parents, through its Latino Education Attainment (LEA) committee.
   
Not everyone has always been enamored with the business council and its operations. Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach recalls the OCBC as “too bureaucratic” when it first launched, and he questioned “the necessity of its existence.” But he says Dunn’s arrival as CEO invigorated the organization, and he praises the group for walking “side-by-side” with county government as it has wrestled with the recession and budget cuts.
   
Clearly, Dunn has galvanized the organization and has set a course that has raised eyebrows and moved the business needle across the region. The reason, says longtime friend and former mayor of Costa Mesa Peter Buffa, is her personality.
   
“I use words like ‘brilliant’ and ‘visionary’ as sparingly as possible,” he says. “But with Lucy, you will quickly run out of words if you don’t. She has a remarkable talent for striding into the middle of problems and issues that would send most people running for cover – and coming up with solutions that nobody else can imagine, let alone do.”

Steve Churm is publisher of OC METRO and CEO of Churm Media

Tori Richards is a Huntington Beach-based freelance writer who has written for the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg and the New York Post.



O.C.'s not-so-secret weapon -- Go to page:
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

JULY 2011 COVER STORY PACKAGE
O.C.'s not-so-secret weapon  |  Q&A with Lucy Dunn
The Orange County Business Council through the years
OCBC Investors  |  OCBC Board Members

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