Irvine’s secret to financial strength

We asked Irvine resident Bryan Starr, president and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, about Irvine’s economy – and how it will fare if another recession hits.

Greater Irvine Chamber President & CEO Bryan Starr presenting a check to Habitat for Humanity OC’s President & CEO Sharon Ellis, and VP Chris Baiocchi

What’s behind Irvine’s ranking as the No. 1 city in America for fiscal health?
Even in these good economic times, cities throughout Orange County are raising taxes to help make ends meet. Not in Irvine.  Our recent ranking as the top city in America for fiscal health is credit to the Irvine Master Plan.

The city’s foresight to strategically locate business districts and retail hubs throughout Irvine has created a city where small and large businesses can thrive.

As an Irvine resident, whenever I attend a ribbon cutting for a new business, I appreciate the benefits it will bring our city, economically and in giving us new choices. These businesses contribute greatly to Irvine’s fiscal bottom line, keeping our taxes low, parks maintained and our police department fully funded.

Is Irvine recession-proof?
Irvine bounced back faster and stronger than other cities following the Great Recession a decade ago because the Master Plan was designed to help Irvine adapt to changing economic conditions. During and after the recession, Irvine transitioned from a land development and real estate-based economy to one increasingly led by technology, such as life-science, medical-technology and innovation sectors. The city is very well positioned to weather the next recession, whenever it may come.

17,000 companies call Irvine home … what’s the attraction?
More than 50 years ago, Irvine’s founders understood the genius of building a city around a world-class research university, UC Irvine. This plan laid the foundation for Irvine’s evolution into a city of innovation and a magnet for diverse companies that provide quality jobs for residents. Today, nearly 46% of Irvine’s residents work in the city — nearly double the OC rate.

What is the Chamber’s mission?
Our job as your Chamber is to promote all businesses in Irvine — from Fortune 500 companies to the small business just starting out. We also promote tourism in Irvine. We couldn’t be more proud of Irvine’s strong business community and the positive impact we’ve had on the city.