History is chock-full of examples where areas of opportunity attracted a generation of opportunists. There was the New World that sparked explorers to take to the seas, then came the push west and our Manifest Destiny that attracted pioneers to hitch wagons and settle in homesteads and new communities west of the Mississippi River.
There were gold rushes in California and Alaska, silver rushes in Arizona and Nevada and a host of other happenings that attracted those who were always seeking something better. In more modern times we hear the stories of musicians and entertainers who had humble upbringings in places like the Midwest, but one day hopped in a car and headed to Hollywood in hopes of making it big.
I use those examples because I believe Tehachapi is in a period of attracting talent; we are a new world of opportunity. This talent is in the form of new and expanding businesses with stakeholders who want something better for their personal lives.
I use the example of Judy Magana, she owns a company called Global Communications 2000 based in Sunset Beach, Calif. Judy and her husband decided that area wasn’t for them anymore and they spent a few years on the road in an RV searching for a place to expand their operation. As she’s put it more than once, “we could have gone anywhere in the United States, and we chose Tehachapi.”
Judy’s business is already attracting clients and her reason for opening in Tehachapi is centered on quality of life. We just aren’t attracting those looking for a better life' we’re attracting those who are bringing talents with them. They’re just looking for a place to rest those talents and shift down a gear or two.
Advanced Network Solutions had the grand opening at its Tehachapi Boulevard office last week as well. This Bakersfield-based information technology company decided there was a market in Tehachapi for their services, and they had a talented local employee named Becky Byrd who wanted to work in her hometown and stop the commute. Another example of balancing talent and quality of life. I congratulate them on their expansion.
It’s not a talent rush so to speak, but we’re definitely seeing a steady stream of pioneers coming into the Tehachapi Valley and realizing they’ve found a great place to put their talents to work. There have been more than 60 new business licenses pulled in the city in the last 12 months and more are expected as new retail opportunities historically attract others who follow suit.
Our goal as a city is to continue to provide a climate to foster that talent, to plan and present those opportunities that help grow our economy with this group of talented individuals, many of whpm were attracted here by the talent that already exists in our community. As their iron sharpens iron, we’re seeing that with our very own eyes.
We aren’t the New World and we haven’t risen to the status of a “rush” of any sorts, but I’m proud to be in a community that is a magnet for talent. A place where new opportunity is the result and we are all benefactors.
Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.