California's Innovation-Based Economy: A Regional Perspective on the Bay Area and Silicon Valley

January 20, 2016
9:30am - 1:00pm

San Jose, CA

Co-Hosted by the Milken Institute, the Bay Area Council and San Jose's Office of Economic Development

In the global race for innovation and economic growth, California and in particular the Bay Area and Silicon Valley enjoy advantages that other states—and nations—envy. The region is home to diverse knowledge-based industries, from social media to biomedical technology, and its universities and entrepreneurs are adept at turning technological breakthroughs into billion-dollar businesses. Innovation is critical to the creation of high-quality, high-wage, sustainable jobs and economic growth, which, in turn, support a rising tax base throughout the state.

This event will feature a conversation between San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren focused on the innovation-based economy of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. The event will also highlight the Institute's recently published "Best-Performing Cities 2015" rankings (, which established San Jose and San Francisco as the nation's current premier metros for economic performance.

Following the conversation with the mayor and congresswoman, a panel of the area's top business leaders and policymakers will discuss the implications of the innovation-based economy and 21st century market trends, providing models and lessons to help other regions maintain and enhance innovation, investment and growth. Moderated by Micah Weinberg, president of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the panel will include business leaders and regional experts on the innovation economy.

This event is open to the public and the media.


Sam Liccardo Sam Liccardo, Mayor, San Jose. Taking office at the age of 44, Liccardo became the 65th mayor of San Jose and one of the youngest in the city's modern history, but in his brief tenure, San Jose has already surged. In the early months of his term, Liccardo has worked to forge a tentative agreement for pension and retiree health-care reform with public safety unions, launch a summer jobs program for hundreds of teens living in gang-impacted neighborhoods, expand innovative afterschool programs for children in low-income communities, announce new international flights to Beijing, secure the expanded presence of major tech companies in San Jose, and successfully conclude lengthy negotiations to keep the National Hockey League's Sharks franchise in San Jose.

Zoe Lofgren Zoe Lofgren, Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 19th District of California. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren has been a Democratic member of the House since 1995. She represents the 19th District of California, based in San Jose, the "Capital of Silicon Valley." As the highest-ranking Democrat and former chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and a longtime immigration attorney and law professor, Lofgren is recognized as a champion of comprehensive immigration reform and a national leader in immigration policy. During the 113th Congress, she played a key role in negotiating a comprehensive reform bill as part of a bipartisan working group.

Ross DeVol Ross DeVol, Chief Research Officer, Milken Institute. Ross DeVol oversees research on international, national and comparative regional growth performance; access to capital and its role in economic growth and job creation; and health-related topics. He has put his group in the national limelight with groundbreaking research on technology and its impact on regional and national economies, and on the economic and human consequences of chronic disease. He specializes in the effects of technology, research and development, international trade, human capital and skills training, entrepreneurship, early-stage financing, and quality-of-place issues on the geographic distribution of economic activity. DeVol is ranked among the "Super Stars" of Think Tank Scholars by International Economy magazine.

Micah Weinbe Micah Weinberg, President, Bay Area Council Economic Institute. As president of the Economic Institute at the Bay Area Council, Micah Weinberg manages a team of professional researchers who produce world-class economic and policy analysis and insight. The Council advocates for a strong, sustainable, equitable economy and better quality of life for residents of the region. Previously, Weinberg served as senior policy advisor to the Bay Area Council and senior research fellow at the Economic Institute, where he focused on maximizing health through radically reworking how we pay for, deliver and think about health care.

munoz Peter Leroe-Muñoz, Vice President, Technology & Innovation Policy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Peter Leroe-Muñoz is the Vice-President of Technology & Innovation Policy for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. In this role, he heads the Leadership Group’s federal and state policy efforts on technology issues, including Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, IoT, and Patent Litigation Reform, among others. Prior to joining the Leadership Group, Peter worked as In-House Counsel for a Bay Area financial advisory firm specializing in municipal securities. Before that position, he served as a Deputy District Attorney in San Benito County for nearly six years. Peter is active within the community, and serves on the Gilroy City Council. He was elected to the Council in 2010 as one of the youngest councilmembers in city history. He serves as Gilroy’s representative on the Cities Association of Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and the Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority.


Nik Carlson, Principal Economist, AECOM. Nik Carlson has over 23 years of planning and economic analysis experience providing consulting services to public and private sector clients throughout California and nationwide.  He specializes in economic development, transportation, natural resource and public-private partnership (PPP) analyses. From his economic feasibility, fiscal and community impact analysis experience, Nik has a project-level perspective of the development challenges and opportunities facing the Bay Area’s public and private sectors.


Kevin Klowden, Executive Director, California Center and Managing Economist, Milken Institute. Kevin Klowden is a managing economist at the Milken Institute and executive director of its California Center, which focuses on economic issues connected to job creation, technology-based development and California's role in the global economy. He is the lead author of multiple key works on the economics of the entertainment industry, including "A Hollywood Exit: What California Must Do to Remain Competitive in Entertainment--and Keep Jobs" as well as "Strategies for Expanding California's Exports" and the "State Technology and Science Index." Klowden has written, spoken and testified about the importance of a skilled and educated workforce in maintaining California's competitiveness. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and London School of Economics.