The purpose of Strategic Sonoma is to bring the community together around a shared vision for Sonoma County, identify and prioritize Sonoma County’s economic development issues and opportunities, and reevaluate the county’s clusters of opportunity. Strategic Sonoma will focus the county’s economic development efforts into areas that provide the greatest opportunity for the County.

Sonoma County has engaged Avalanche Consulting to complete the strategy.


The planning process will begin with a data and benchmarking analysis of the region. The process will include extensive in-depth stakeholder engagement including 20+ interviews, 8 focus groups, and meetings with a 30-member Stakeholder Group. The Stakeholder Group consists of public, private, education, and nonprofit leaders from across Sonoma County. Overall, Strategic Sonoma will engage with over 100 business and community leaders. 

Strategic Sonoma will also include a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.  Later in the process, we will evaluate clusters of opportunity for the community – types of businesses that that have the best potential to thrive in Sonoma County and provide residents with career opportunities. We will finish up the strategy by creating an Action Plan, which will include recommendations based on our findings that will help the county continue to prosper.

Strategic Sonoma began in June 2017 and is scheduled for completion in February 2018


Strategic Sonoma will result in a five year economic action plan that details concrete solutions to some of our region's most pressing problems around workforce, economic resilience, innovation and entrepreneurship, and economic inclusion for all Sonoma County's residents.  The plan will be presented at the State of the County event in February 2018, and implementation will begin shortly thereafter. 

Click below to share ideas with the Strategic Sonoma consulting team.

Strategic Sonoma Stakeholder Group Members

Big Angel Ventures LLC
Traditional Medicinals
Redwood Credit Union
Fire and Emergency Services Consulting
Sonoma County Alliance
The Engine is Red
Operating Engineers #3
Amy's Kitchen
Nelson Staffing
North Bay Leadership Council
City of Santa Rosa
AXIA Architects
Santa Rosa Junior College
Youth Connections - Community Action Partnership
The Passdoor
Sonoma Media Investments
Kaiser Permanente
Sonoma County Winegrowers
CTE Foundation
Burbank Housing
The John Jordan Foundation
Community Development Commission
Friedemann Goldberg LLP
County of SonomaHuman Services
Vantreo Insurance
Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce
Keysight Technologies
Vintners Inn
The Family Coppola
Sonoma County Transportation Authority
Oliver's Markets (Retired)

                                                                    Bill Angeloni
                                                                    Blair Kellison
                                                                    Brett Martinez (Chair)
                                                                    Brian Elliot
                                                                    Brian Ling
                                                                    Chris Denny
                                                                    Chris Snyder
                                                                    Cindy Gillespie
                                                                    Craig Nelson
                                                                    Cynthia Murray
                                                                    David Guhin
                                                                    Doug Hilberman
                                                                    Frank Chong
                                                                    Herman G. Hernandez
                                                                    Jennifer Edwards
                                                                    John Burns
                                                                    Judy Coffey
                                                                    Karissa Kruse
                                                                    Kathy Goodacre
                                                                    Larry Florin
                                                                    Lisa Wittke Schaffner
                                                                    Margaret VanVliet
                                                                    Mia Shirley
                                                                    Oscar Chavez
                                                                    Pam Chanter (Chair)
                                                                    Patricia Shults
                                                                    Patrick Harper
                                                                    Percy Brandon
                                                                    Rick Toyota
                                                                    Suzanne Smith
                                                                    Tom Scott

Project Partners

Sonoma County Economic Development Board


About the Sonoma County Economic Development Board

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB) is focused on growing a healthy economy by helping our businesses in Sonoma County. We provide confidential, no-cost consulting services to businesses seeking to start, relocate, and grow in Sonoma County.

We assist businesses in:

  • Navigating the startup process
  • Troubleshooting businesses challenges to get your business to the next level
  • Connecting businesses with key contacts, resources, financing and training opportunities
  • Collaborating on issues affecting our regional economy

Santa Rosa Junior College

About Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) is known for academic excellence, superb faculty and staff, comprehensive student services and beautiful facilities. Nearly 100 years old, this beloved community institution enrolls approximately 28,000 students each semester. SRJC is dedicated to making higher education accessible to all and removing barriers to our students’ success. Student life is vibrant, with over 40 clubs, conference-winning athletic teams, nationally ranked speech and debate teams, and outstanding theatre arts, music and dance programs.

Sonoma County Workforce Development Board

About Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board

The Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is a group of key stakeholders appointed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to address workforce challenges throughout Sonoma County. The WIB members are leaders in the community who represent business, industry, labor, education, and economic development.

Avalanche Consulting

About Avalanche Consulting

Avalanche Consulting is the nation's premier economic development strategist. Avalanche is deeply driven to make a positive impact and seek clients who are equally inspired to energize their economies. Headquartered in Austin, Avalanche was established in 2005 and its team has a combined 80+ years of experience.  Avalanche’s clients include the best performing economies in the country, from towns like Provo, Estes Park, and Sarasota, to metros like Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Columbus, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, and Oklahoma City. 

Economic Development 101

What is Economic Development?

Economic development is a process of investing in a community to improve its economic prosperity. Economic development includes activities like helping local businesses expand, attracting new businesses into the community, and growing new businesses. Modern economic development efforts are also involved in initiatives to make the community an overall better place for businesses and residents: improvements to quality of life amenities, education and workforce development programs, infrastructure, social equity, and business climate.  The overarching goal of economic development is to create a place where residents have ample opportunities to build their careers and improve the standard of living for themselves and their families.    

Why is Economic Development Important?

By participating in economic development activities, economic developers seek to improve their economy and maintain a greater standard of living in their community. Economic development is important to a community because it improves the health of the economy and well-being of its residents, making the community resilient, even in times of hardship.

Who is in Charge of Economic Development?

Economic development can be led by several types of organizations in a community. Sometimes communities have a dedicated economic development organization (EDO), sometimes the city or county government has an economic development or community development department, or sometimes a chamber of commerce includes economic development among its activities. Other organizations that might be involved are workforce development and education institutions, local governments, state governments, utility companies, community foundations, and convention and visitors bureaus.

Ultimately, economic development success depends on everyone in a community working together to establish a vision and accomplish goals. Even individuals that have nothing to do with an EDO can affect change by being positive spokespersons and volunteering in positive community improvements.


Ethan Brown
Sonoma County Economic Development Board
(707) 565-7589

Amy Holloway, President
Avalanche Consulting
(512) 917-3815