From Daily Republic // Aug. 5, 2005
By Jeff Mitchell
FAIRFIELD - Just a few months on the job and Jon M. Monson is clearly an excited man.
The chairman of the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce says he believes that the precisely right blend of economic development efforts between the chamber, local and county government have come together and soon will begin to bear fruit.
"I am very optimistic," said the 46-year-old Monson, during an interview with the Daily Republic Thursday. "I think that between the existing programs and the programs the city plans to bring on-line we will begin to get our message out to the decision makers."
That message is that Solano County - specifically Fairfield and Suisun City - are good places to build a new company or grow an existing firm, given the workforce and the amount of available land for development.
Monson, who is chief executive officer of Fairfield-based MV Transportation, Inc. when not leading the 17-member chamber board, says the region's affordable housing is a prime key to achieving the kind growth which produces good paying jobs. Jobs that pay good wages in turn allow people to purchase homes and raise families - elements that serve to stabilize and enhance communities.
"Companies looking to expand or move are very careful to consider the affordable housing element," Monson said.
The man who started in the public transportation business as a bus driver and who now directs a nationwide transportation company, says the city of Fairfield's recently-announced economic development campaign plans go hand-in-hand with the chamber's efforts as well as those of the Solano County Economic Development Corp.
Monson applauded Fairfield's recently unveiled economic development campaign plans which in part focus on helping grow existing businesses as well as recruiting firms from outside the area.
"This is an area that gets forgotten about at times - I think we all need to be doing what we can to help these companies grow," Monson said. "They're here and they deserve our support."
Monson said he has enjoyed his time as chairman of the chamber, an organization whose origins date back to the 1940s and which this year boasted a membership of 700, a staff of four people and an annual operating budget in excess of $550,000.
He predicted that during his tenure as chairman and in subsequent years, the chamber will begin to take an increasingly higher profile role in the debate around community-wide questions.
Monson said the chamber is stepping up the amount of polling it is doing of its membership. He said one of his goals is to make sure those opinions are being expressed to the public and to key local decision makers.
Meanwhile, Monson, who regularly logs a wilting number of hours each week as MV Transportation's chief executive, says he has been enjoying his role as chamber chairman.
"It's been challenging," Monson said. "I have no interest in politics - and I'm not doing this as a prelude to something else. I'm doing this because I believe strongly in the work of the chamber. It's been a gratifying experience."
Reach Jeff Mitchell at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Jon M. Monson
Residence: Fairfield (since 1999)
Title: Chairman, board of directors, Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce
Other title: Chief executive officer, MV Transportation, Inc.
Personal: Married with three adult children; four grandchildren