By: Jessica Candaele, LEED AP, CPSM, KTGY
On Wednesday, March 23rd ULI Orange County/Inland Empire brought together an impressive group of public sector members for a Brainstorming Session. The purpose of the meeting was to learn from active public sector members about what ULI OCIE can do better to attract more members from this population. With 9% of ULI OCIE’s membership made up of public sector members compared to the national number of 16%, we are lagging behind in meeting the needs of this important segment of the land use industry. A wide variety of cities were represented including, but not limited to, Irvine, Orange, Aliso Viejo and Buena Park.
The discussion focused around the Strengths, Opportunities, Shortcomings and Obstacles of ULI as viewed by the public sector. The common consensus is that ULI provides great networking opportunities but there is a disparity when it comes to content with attendees feeling it is too heavily focused on development. Another obstacle is the need for City Manager buy-in. Without the support of the City Manager, public sector employees face an uphill battle securing approval for the cost and time commitment required to attend ULI events.
Much of the conversation centered around the opportunities for ULI to increase its public sector membership and they are numerous! Public Private Partnerships are crucial to the development and expansion of cities and ULI can act as a bridge to bring these two sectors together through programming. Partnerships between ULI and other public member organizations such as ACC-OC could also be a great way to engage more members. The idea of creating a public sector initiative council garnered quite a bit of interest. Bringing together officials from numerous cities to share best practices would be an invaluable experience for many members.
Overall it’s clear the public sector is excited to be involved with ULI and through the efforts of the membership committee ULI is excited make that happen!