Timing can often be everything. As we enter 2012, we at the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce are excited about the timing of our South Coast region’s continued progress toward economic vitality and our community’s national emergence as an industry leader in innovation, entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship.

Michael Holliday

Michael Holliday

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and our chamber board planted the seed at last year’s State of the City presentation with a challenge to imagine Santa Barbara three years from now …  shining as a “beacon of prosperity.”

While we certainly have a long way to go toward that end, we are off to a good start and we have made significant progress in working together with the business and governmental leaders of our community this past year. We have laid a foundation for regional economic collaboration through our South Coast Business Forum. This group continues to meet monthly and includes leaders from the Carpinteria Valley, Goleta Valley and Hispanic chambers of commerce; the Santa Barbara Downtown Association; the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission; the Greater Santa Barbara Lodging & Restaurant Association; the National Association of Women Business Owners; the Santa Barbara Technology & Industry Association; and several other local business groups. The mission of the South Coast Business Forum is to engage all segments of the business community in a collaborative process to ensure an environment that is supportive of sustainable economic vitality and quality of life for the South Coast region.

As Walter Isaacson noted of the late Steve Jobs in his recent biography, “At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge … Jobs knew that the best way to create value in the 21st century was to connect creativity with technology.”

Connecting creativity with technology in a world-class community like Santa Barbara — with a spirit of hospitality, respect and appreciation for the environment — will provide opportunity for our community to rise to greater heights in the years ahead.

With 2012 upon us, let’s keep our eyes open and our minds focused on what we can all do to make Santa Barbara an even better place to live, to work and to raise a family. It has been well said that to whom much is given much is required, and our community has been given much.

On behalf of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, we would like to wish Santa Barbara a very happy new year. Let us all continue to work together to promote the economic vitality and quality of life of our region.

Best wishes of joy, prosperity and success for each member of our community, and may God bless you and yours in the coming year.

— Michael Holliday AIA is board chairman of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce and principal of J.M. Holliday Associates.