At the moment of this writing, I am surrounded by sleeping Sacramentans. It’s just a portion of the 285+ who have just concluded five days together 3,000 miles from home in DC – but (dare I say it) the lucky portion, since we’re on the non-stop home to SMF and will be landing within the hour.
Collectively, and thanks to the Metro Chamber’s 42nd annual Cap to Cap trip (largest of its kind in the nation, as Roger Niello says often!), this group of 287 has held 202 meetings in three days, discussing 130 different issues relevant to 14 different teams. SARTA plays a leading role at Cap to Cap, where I serve as a co-lead (with Greenwise’s Julia Burrows) of the Clean/Green team, and Board member Cary Adams co-leads (with Ann Madden Rice from UC Davis Health System) the Healthcare and Biosciences team.
In my not-extensive (e.g. three year’s) experience, Cap to Cap is about three things, primarily:
First, coming together as a region to advocate collectively for a broad range of issues that may primarily benefit specific communities within the region, but collectively benefit us all. The process of identifying those issues and then drafting the “issues papers” that constitute our formal platform is a months-long effort. The shared will expressed in meetings over the three days in DC makes the collaborative effort tangible — and we are often told that few other regions present themselves with such partnership as we do.
Second, championing Sacramento and our accomplishments well beyond our region, to elected officials, congressional staff, think tanks, and federal agencies. Speaking from my own experience in meetings this week, Sacramentans highlighted Next Economy; our 450+ tech companies; our unemployment challenges; the strengths of our universities; SMUD’s efforts to link its R&D work with local clean tech companies; local companies SynapSense, Clean World Partners, the Renewable Energy Test Center, Davis Roots and RCS Technology; the importance of energy retrofit financing programs for residential customers; Greenwise; and the different needs of high growth companies vs small businesses — to name only a few.
These discussions were with the White House Jobs Council; USDA; Representatives Lungren, Matsui, and staff in McClintock’s office; the SBA (three meetings with six different people); the Department of Defense and Department of Energy; Brookings Institution; Electric Power Research Institute; Senator Boxer’s staff; Lockheed Martin; Council on Environmental Quality; the House Financial Services Committee staff — again to name just a few.
And third, Cap to Cap is an unprecedented chance to spend significant time with a broad range of our region’s most committed, knowledgeable, and involved business leadership, as well as a strong contingent of local elected officials. For five days we live in the same hotel, race between meetings, complain of the cold rain or our blistered feet, eat at least two meals a day together, and stand (organized by height) for the delegation photo. Sometimes we even go out in the evening after the formal functions end. Through all of this, there are plenty of chances for conversations. And plenty of conversations occur. Truly, only once the plane has taken off for the return to SMF does the volume drop to a dull roar, and then only after people apologize to seatmates for needing some work time, quiet time, or (even) sleep.
All three of these – advocating jointly for regional benefit, championing Sacramento’s accomplishments to those who might otherwise not hear of them, and strengthening regional relationships – serve our region well. Cap to Cap is fast-moving, busy, and tiring – but definitely worth the investment of time and effort.
Plus, if you carry a guitar home on your back while declaring (truthfully) that you do not know how to play it, it makes all 285+ people either a) laugh or b) look at you funny. Or both.