Local Businesses Look to Remain Open with Support from Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)

Santa Barbara, CA — Just as the Thomas Fire, Montecito Debris Flow and Hill/Woolsey Fires pushed  Santa Barbara and Ventura county small businesses to the brink of collapse, the COVID-19 pandemic is significantly affecting the economic vitality these businesses bring to the community.  Local non-profit Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV,www.wevonline.org) primarily serves micro-businesses, defined as those with fewer than five employees and less than $1 million in annual revenues, by providing business training, coaching, and loans to more than 300 local business owners each year.

Most small businesses do not have the cash flow, reserves or insurance coverage to withstand a short-term interruption in sales, much less the indefinite impact of a national health crisis. As with the previous natural disasters, WEV’s business resources, guidance, financial training, support and Quick Response Loans are available to help local businesses adapt and survive during these challenging times. Since the virus first began to impact the region, WEV has experienced a significant influx of calls from business owners seeking both advice and emergency funding.

Gabrielle Moes, President of Season’s Catering, Inc. has significantly grown her award-winning local business over the last 10 years.  Moes said, “Since the onset of COVID-19 we have seen a 100% rescheduling or cancelling of March and April business, additionally May events have started to cancel in light of the new government announcements around social distancing.”  Faced with contracts being cancelled by the hour and concerns about potential employee layoffs, Moes contacted WEV for guidance.  “I called WEV and they immediately provided information, resources and introduced me to a local financial coach who I was fortunate enough to meet with that very day.  Because of WEV’s quick response, I was able to get financial advice and a loan that helped my efforts to keep my business open.”

Many small businesses will need support now and in the coming months. WEV is assisting business owners through a Response Line (English 805-456-2342, Spanish 805.908.0096) and a Quick Response Loan program. Quick Response Loans offer financial support and assistance to businesses experiencing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WEV loans up to $10,000 with no payments for the first three payment cycles will help business owners, like Moes, adapt in unpredictable times. For information on Quick Response Loans visit loans.wevonline.org/qrl.

WEV CEO Kathy Odell says, “Our local small business community will not survive this catastrophe without immediate, locally driven relief efforts.  During the recent natural disasters, only a third of SBA Disaster Loan applications were successful, and even those who were approved had to wait weeks to receive their funds.  We want small business owners to know they can reach out for help immediately and that WEV, as well as agencies like SCORE and EDC are available to help with the rigorous SBA loan application.”

About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), www.wevonline.org

Women’s Economic Ventures is a non-profit dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. WEV provides training, consulting and loans to help entrepreneurs start, grow and thrive in business. WEV serves Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.   While WEV targets its services toward women, it helps men as well. Services are provided in both English and Spanish.

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to more than 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made over $5 million in business loans, and helped more than 4,500 local businesses start or expand.  WEV-supported businesses generate more than $300 million in annual sales revenue and have created nearly 9,000 jobs. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBAAdministrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s designated representative, Director Mark S. Ghilarducci of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on March 13, 2020.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist California small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.

SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loanprogram and explain the application process.

“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications athttps://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.


The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.


For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov.


For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.





About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

City and County Encourage Businesses to Prepare for Emergencies

This month the City of Goleta and the County of Santa Barbara are asking you to help your co-workers and employees be safe while they’re at work in Goleta by encouraging them to sign up for emergency notifications. Most of us use cell phones to communicate, interact and get our news in a timely way.  This is a great resource for emergency personnel when they need to alert the community about emergencies and disasters.

In Santa Barbara County, we have the Aware and Prepare Initiative, which enhances the ability of government agencies and non-profit organizations in mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters. Visit www.awareandprepare.org to sign up for emergency alerts from Santa Barbara County.  For non-emergency and emergency alerts through Nixle, text “SB Alerts” to 888777.

Finally, for alerts specific to the City of Goleta, stay informed with email and/or text alerts by registering here. Check the box for emergency notifications in English or selected “Goleta en Espanol” for Spanish language alerts.  You may also text Goleta Emergency to 468311 (for alerts in English) or text Goleta Spanish to 468311 for alerts in Spanish.  If you prefer to receive a phone call, please email PIO@cityofgoleta.org with your preferred phone number, address and language preference (English or Spanish).

Our emergency managers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMT/paramedics, and other emergency responders do an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they cannot do it alone. We must all embrace our personal responsibility to be prepared – in doing so; we contribute to the safety and security of our communities as well.   Please help us help you by forwarding this message to your employees and co-workers.  Together, we can be better prepared for whatever may come our way.

FLIR Systems Puts Down More Roots in Goleta

A HELICOPTER HOVERED high above a suburban Boston backyard, where the homeowner swore someone was hiding in his tarp-covered boat parked by the garage.

After he alerted police, an aircraft was brought in with an infrared camera mounted to its underside.

From heat-detecting images, authorities determined there was indeed a person inside the boat, and that he was armed, alone and injured.

That individual was the lone surviving suspect of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing—Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—and technology manufactured by Goleta-based FLIR Systems Inc. helped police surround and capture the fugitive. The assist came from FLIR Star Safire HD, to be exact.

“It helped them plan ahead,” said Rich Antles, FLIR’s Vice President of Operations, who noted the company’s infrared cameras also helped recovery efforts after the World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Silvia Sanchez, Production Assembler working on a camera. A shot of security camera production cell.

FLIR is in the business of giving folks a hand — whether it’s a camera firefighters use to navigate a burning building, a surveillance camera to prevent package theft from your doorstep or night-vision technology in cars that detects pedestrians before drivers can see them.

A business once better known for supplying the military with high-end detection equipment is now making its way into homes and communities. Traffic signals at busy Goleta street corners, for example, change colors because FLIR cameras tell them to.

FLIR is the undisputed world leader for uncooled infrared devices, commanding 54 percent of the worldwide market, according to MaxTech.

After years of operating out of four buildings, the company recently moved its 450 employees into one facility at 6769 Hollister Ave. FLIR executives have every intention of stay- ing in Goleta for a long haul of continued growth. “Goleta is the infrared capital of the world,” Antles said.

The fact that so many infrared technology companies call Goleta home is no coincidence. FLIR, Raytheon, Santa Barbara Infrared and other premier infrared scientists took their cue from the 1960s-era Hughes Aircraft Co., which later became the Santa Barbara Research Center.

Antles considers himself a third-generation infrared employee because his grandmother worked as a stock room clerk at Santa Barbara Research Center, across the street from where FLIR is now. His mother found herself there in the material control department, and Antles moved into the field after graduating from UC Santa Barbara.

FLIR was established in 1978 to delve into the develop- ment of high-performance, low-cost infrared (thermal) imaging systems, which allow users to detect the energy or heat people and objects emit in darkness, adverse weather or through smoke and haze. FLIR markets itself as the world’s sixth sense.

While demand for infrared technology was historically driven by the U.S. government for military and space applications, FLIR always intended to adapt technology for commercial and consumer applications, said Bill Terre, FLIR’s vice president and general manager.

Those lab applications came in the late 1980s, as did the acquisition of key industrial infrared imaging players from Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1990.

FLIR continued gaining ground until the early 2000s, when the company acquired Goleta’s Indigo Systems and kicked into high gear.

Willie Jones, Lead Production Technician working in a clean room.

Indigo’s small, entrepreneurial staff and FLIR’s sales chan- nel, brand name and financial standing combined to create a perfect storm of productivity and profitability, Antles said. FLIR now had its own supply of infrared sensors and detectors.

A strategic partnership with Autoliv cemented FLIR’s relevance worldwide. Autoliv was founded 63 years ago in Sweden when owners decided to switch from manufactur- ing uniforms to patenting the cloth used to make seat belts and, later, airbags.

Autoliv’s first foray into preventing a crash came when the two paired up to place infrared cameras into cars to enhance night vision in 2005, according to Richard Seoane, general manager of the company that now has 50 employees at a Goleta facility (in addition to operating in 28 countries worldwide).

“Our passion is for saving lives,” Seoane said. “We saw that infrared technology was something that’s beneficial. Sixty-nine percent of pedestrian deaths occur at night. You need a technology that can see through the dark.

“(FLIR) had the technology, but they didn’t necessarily have the know-how of production and quality. It’s a win- win scenario.”

Antles credits Autoliv’s lean manufacturing model—in which waste and inefficiency are constantly eliminated— for much of the success FLIR enjoys today.

That night-vision technology is in its fourth generation and can be found in more than 40 different vehicle models. “As you look at infrared technology and you look at where the automotive market is going, there’s definitely a lot of opportunity,” Seoane said.

FLIR grew rapidly, gobbling up leases for Goleta office space on Castilian and Thornwood drives.

In 2009, FLIR bought two buildings within the Cabrillo Business Park to consolidate operations about a half-mile from its old digs. After two years of construction, FLIR built out a 50,000-square-foot administrative/engineering building and a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for 250 employees in that department.

In late 2015, FLIR moved into the space that’s 20,000 square feet larger and allows room for growth. “Today we enjoy a single production flow throughout the factory,” Antles said. “Our former set-up, with four distinct facilities, was a bit cumbersome.”

FLIR added 35 employees in 2015 and expects that trend to continue. Their new offices have a progressive layout enjoyed by many tech companies, ditching the cubicles for desks in an open bullpen to improve communication and foster collaboration.

FLIR has made a commitment to keeping good-paying manufacturing jobs in town. Others might save money by relocating overseas, Antles said, but FLIR’s quality can’t be matched. “The way we win is to focus on productivity, yield and fielded product reliability,” he said. “We have world-class reliability. We don’t want to see jobs leave the South Coast.” FLIR also treats its employees well, experiencing a 98 percent annual retention rate. Many are homegrown in Goleta or handpicked as the best from UCSB.

Mary Deal, Test Technication working on a product.

“We’re grateful FLIR chose to put down roots in Goleta with the purchase of their campus off Hollister,” City Manager Michelle Greene said. “In addition to the high-paying jobs they provide to 450 people, they are good community partners. Their employ- ees volunteer to coach youth sports, raise money for music pro- grams in the schools and serve on nonprofit boards.

“Their company supports community programs and events like the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, the Goleta Education Foundation, the Lemon Festival and the Goleta Fireworks Festival, to name a few.”

FLIR continues to lead the field, introducing the first mobile phone infrared camera accessory for iPhone and Android called FLIR ONE.

Jim Karsai, Supplier Quality Engineer in front of a coordinate measuring machine.

Forever pushing the limits, FLIR partnered with Caterpillar to cre- ate the world’s first CAT S60 “ruggedized” cell phone, which has a built-infrared camera and will be available to consumers in June.

The phone would be especially attractive to contractors because you can safely drop it up to six feet on concrete and use it 15 feet underwater. It’s only slightly heavier than your typical smart- phone. Especially key, Antles said, is that FLIR’s camera displays heat-detected images as well as the visual overlay of a regular camera—the only company to do so.

It’s ideas like these that keep FLIR ahead of the curve. It’s also why the company built an Innovation Center inside its new offices, which have a storied history of their own.

FLIR is headquartered in the former Delco property where engi- neers built the Lunar Rover to enable U.S. astronauts to drive on the moon in the 1960s. That Lunar Rover remains on the moon today, Antles said, and that’s the type of staying power FLIR aims to enjoy.

The company has always set out to create ever smaller infrared cameras and enough of them to lower the cost for consumers.

“The dream has become a reality,” Antles said.


Ribbon-cutting to Mark Opening of Discovery Storage Center

Main office is site of exhibit honoring creators of Lunar Roving Vehicle

Discovery Storage Center will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new state-of-the-art storage facility center, 6640 Discovery Drive, Goleta. The Goleta Chamber of Commerce will facilitate the event at 1 p.m. Friday, March 10.

Storage Center officials say they delighted to celebrate with the Goleta City Council members and the Chamber of Commerce.

Discovery Storage Center was completed this year on the original site where the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was researched, designed, built and tested.

There is a permanent exhibit in the Discovery Storage main office honoring the accomplishments of the men and women of Delco who created the LRV.

Discovery Storage Center is equipped with more large commercial drive up spaces than any other storage facility in Goleta. It offers climate-controlled spaces, wine storage, office and conference facilities and shipping and receiving.

For information, contact Beth Morris, Investec Real Estate Companies, 690-1015, or email atBethM@investecre.com.

— Beth Morris for Investec Real Estate Companies.

Santa Barbara Foundation’s Jan Campbell Joins Goleta Chamber of Commerce Board

Foundation seeks to build philanthropic capital throughout Santa Barbara County

From left, Goleta Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kristen Miller, with new board members Janet Garufis of Montecito Bank & Trust, Jan Campbell of the Santa Barbara Foundation, Michael McDonald of Zizzo’s Coffee and Alex Bauer of Sansum Clinic, with Goleta chamber board chairwoman Hallie Avolio, at right.

From left, Goleta Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kristen Miller, with new board members Janet Garufis of Montecito Bank & Trust, Jan Campbell of the Santa Barbara Foundation, Michael McDonald of Zizzo’s Coffee and Alex Bauer of Sansum Clinic, with Goleta chamber board chairwoman Hallie Avolio, at right. (Bill Macfadyen / Noozhawk photo)


The Goleta Chamber of Commerce has inducted Jan Campbell to its 2017 board of directors. Campbell is chief philanthropic officer and senior vice president of the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Campbell’s decision to use her leadership experience to guide and strengthen local economic development reflects the foundation’s desire to work with chambers of commerce and businesses throughout Santa Barbara County in addressing critical community needs and building philanthropic capital in the region.

“I am honored to be a part of the leadership of the Goleta Chamber of Commerce,” Campbell said.

“The Santa Barbara Foundation has partnered with the chamber on projects such as the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet and the Business Giving Roundtable, and I am looking forward to working with Goleta’s community leaders and public officials in service to ‘the Good Land,’” she added.

In addition to Campbell’s new position on the Goleta chamber board, the foundation will be renewing and expanding its commitment to the eight other chambers of commerce across the county.

Believing that building a strong philanthropic culture relies on thriving local businesses and a successful economy, the Santa Barbara Foundation also supports the Business Giving Roundtable in which local business leaders share approaches to corporate social responsibility, employee volunteerism and other business philanthropy.

— Tara Schoenborn for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Breaks Ground for Affordable-Housing Development in Goleta

70-unit Village at Los Carneros project aimed at people who earn no more than 60 percent of the area median income

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for the 70-unit Village at Los Carneros affordable-housing project in Goleta.
By Brooke Holland, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @NoozhawkNews | October 12, 2016 | 9:43 p.m.

The roar of heavy machinery echoed in the background Wednesday as Peoples’ Self-Help Housing officials and community leaders officially broke ground on a new 70-unit affordable-housing development in Goleta.

Several community leaders and PSHH representatives strapped on hard hats and shoveled a pile of dirt to signify the beginning of construction on the 3-acre property.

PSHH President and CEO John Fowler said he hopes to begin the $13 million Village at Los Carneros project before November.

Plans for the housing facility call for one- to three-bedroom apartment units ranging from 736 to 1,075 square feet.

It is designed to serve 70 families, and monthly rental prices span from $700 to $1,000, Fowler said.

PSHH provides affordable housing to low-income families, seniors and other special needs groups, Fowler said.

Located north and west of Los Carneros Road, just south of Highway 101, the development serves households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income, Fowler said.

“This is going to be a beautiful project and a dream site,” Fowler said. “This is going to be an amazing community, and we look forward to helping the families break the cycle of poverty.”

Fowler said the development was a partnership between the Goleta Valley Housing Committee, J.P. Morgan ChaseMerritt Community Capital and the city of Goleta.

The affordable-housing units mark a significant step forward, said Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“It is providing a solution to the low-income housing problem in the community,” Miller said. “Housing is a huge part of the local economy and jobs. This new neighborhood represents the heart of Goleta.”

The Village at Los Carneros is under construction, and will feature a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes,  four-plexes, town homes, condominiums and apartments.

The development includes a community center, multi-purpose room, youth education center, management offices, two on-site laundry facilities, outdoor recreation space and a half basketball court.

The Goleta City Council unanimously approved the California Municipal Finance Authority to issue a bond for up to $24 million to finance the 70 units of affordable housing as part of the Village at Los Carneros in April.​

The council unanimously approved the design for the roughly 40-acre site in February 2015.

Councilmember Roger Aceves said the board was dedicated to finding the opportunity to build partnerships and create local affordable housing.

“This was originally going to be industrial and commercial (building),” Aceves said. “There would have been business buildings and wouldn’t have provided housing for our residents.”

PSHH is a private community based non-profit organization that serves 25 communities throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The Village at Los Carneros property is PSHH’s fourth project in Goleta.

The organization also oversees the Ellwood Apartments, Storke Ranch Apartments and Villa La Esperanza.

Fowler said he is excited PSHH is growing and creating more opportunities to support families in Santa Barbara County.

In June, PSHH acquired a property at 510 N. Salsipuedes St. in Santa Barbara.

The building is designed for low-income residents who make roughly $19,000 to $40,000 annually and features 40 units, according to Fowler.

Jardin de las Rosas is expected to open in fall 2017, Fowler said.

Community Rallies Around Goleta Valley Community Hospital

By: Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Passing over the threshold of the new building, onto the cardboard-covered white tile floors, conjured up an exhilarating and heartrending feeling — a culmination and a goodbye, all at once.

Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital vice president Arie Dejong noted the sensation on a springtime tour of the brand-new facility at 351 S. Patterson Ave., which would soon replace the original hospital building directly to the north.

“We’re leaving a 50-year-old building behind,” Dejong said. “It’s going to be exciting and emotional.”

Dejong has only been on staff since 2013, but he already felt connected to the existing Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, which opened in 1966 and has remained open throughout construction of the new facility.

So, imagine how Goleta Valley lifers feel.

The old building had to be replaced, however, to accommodate more stringent standards to withstand major earthquakes, as required by a state law passed in 1994.

The Goleta City Council approved the $126 million project in 2008, and construction crews got to work on the new, two-story, 152,000-square-foot building.

After a few hiccups, the new and improved Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is set to receive its certificate of occupancy in May, opening to the public in July.

Once patients, equipment and staff move into the new building, the existing facility will be torn down. The act will close the chapter on a storied hospital with a long history of community support while setting the stage for the next century of pioneering medical care.


The most commonly used word to describe Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is “asset.”

As the Goleta Valley grew in the 1960s, so did the need to establish a medical center. The nearest hospital back then was a 10-minute drive away in Santa Barbara or a trek to a much smaller general hospital on Calle Real, where low-income Santa Barbara County patients were treated. That facility eventually closed.

A group of seven local physicians decided to form their own hospital, and — as luck would have it — they were able to buy the Valley Hospital of Santa Barbara, a for-profit operation at the busy corner of Hollister and Patterson avenues. The hospital had been built by Southern California developers, who sold it less than two years after opening.

The one-story, 118-bed facility became Goleta Valley Community Hospital in January 1966. With local support, the hospital was community owned by 1971.

“That was a big deal for the community back when it was built,” said Robin Cederlof, a fifth-generation Goleta resident who has served on the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation board of directors and is involved in the Goleta Valley Historical Society.

“There were so many firsts that came out of the hospital. Goleta is kind of one of those forgotten little places. The little hospital was just doing so much.”

As a retired X-ray technician, Cederlof worked briefly at Goleta Valley, which in 1981 earned a designation as “the president’s hospital” in case then-President Ronald Reagan needed medical care while visiting his ranch in the mountains above the Gaviota coast.

The Goleta hospital was also the first locally to allow fathers in the delivery room (1968), to use the “miracle drug” Streptokinase to dissolve blood clots in heart-attack victims (1981), to open a comprehensive breast care center (1991), and to establish an outpatient hyperbaric Wound Care Center (2006).

“The hospital today is still pioneering a lot of great things,” Cederlof said. “Physicians from around the world are coming in to observe the surgeries.

“Having a hospital like this close in your community gives you a sense of pride. For me, it’s always my first destination hospital.”

When the Goleta Valley hospital struggled financially in the 1990s, the public took notice and sought help. The hospital joined Cottage Heath System in 1996 to consolidate its services and resources with neighboring Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

After the state mandated new earthquake regulations, but provided no funding for required upgrades, residents flooded public meetings to keep the Goleta facility open.

“It wouldn’t have stayed if it hadn’t been for the effort of the community,” said Goleta City Councilman Michael Bennett, a longtime resident who visited the hospital on numerous occasions, most recently for knee-replacement surgery.

“It’s so nice to have a local facility close by and easily accessible,” he added. “I can’t say enough about Goleta Valley Hospital. The care that was provided … everybody was just splendid.”


For a genuine indicator of community support, look no further than efforts to pay for the rebuild.

The Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation raised $14.3 million during its multiyear capital fundraising campaign — exceeding its goal of $14 million, said Tanya Gonzales, the foundation’s development officer.

Hospital operations and tax-exempt bonds help round out funding.

“I can’t think of really anybody who said no to wanting to support the hospital,” Cederlof said. “We had donations coming in as small as $10 to millions of dollars.”

Local business leaders Jim Knight and Craig Zimmerman helped get fellow business owners involved by heading a Corporate Partners Program, pitching the effort as — you guessed it — an asset.

What business owner isn’t looking for quality health care and wellness programs, Knight wondered aloud.

“It became our mission to basically educate and go to the community to help enlighten them,” said Earl Armstrong, board chairman of the hospital foundation. “I think the true feeling of the old hospital — with it’s very personal care and identifying the person coming in, treating them as family — that atmosphere is transferring to the new hospital.

“At Goleta Valley hospital, you’re never a number.”

Fundraisers didn’t have a hard sell.

For the first time, the new Goleta hospital will feature 52 beds with private rooms, compared to the 122 semi-private beds the current hospital is licensed to serve.

Both the Surgical Services Department and the award-winning Center for Wound Management will be expanded, along with the Emergency Department, which will more than double in size to accommodate 20 treatment rooms instead of eight.

The hospital’s patient-centered design includes six surgical suites instead of four, a new cafeteria with terrace dining, a dedicated endoscopy suite, eight private Intensive Care Unit rooms and a large outpatient physical therapy services center, where patients from Santa Barbara will be redirected.

The hospital foundation hopes to raise at least another $1.1 million as part of a new campaign for a healing arts program and the restorative gardens that will be planted where the current facility is once it’s been demolished. Additional parking is also slated for the space.


Back in the lobby of the new hospital, Dejong said the modern and open layout was “wildly different” than its predecessor.

Some of the hospital’s 322 full-time employees have been touring the facility for the past six months, getting their bearings because some departments were relocated to Santa Barbara or consolidated.

The anticipation has been mounting since late 2011, the hospital’s original completion date, which was delayed by soil foundation issues.

Dejong said the hospital expects to serve more people than ever. That’s the benefit of attracting patients, physicians and surgeons from across the globe for care, to observe procedures or to employ.

In 2014, Goleta Valley hospital helped 40,137 patients — 1,626 of which were admitted, 18,415 in the emergency department and 20,096 outpatient visits.

State-of-the-art equipment and a larger facility could also draw in more sought-after orthopedic, plastic, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. An accompanying medical office building housing specialists should open in early 2016.

One thing that won’t change: quality and a family-friendly feel Dejong calls “the spirit of Goleta.”

Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is also set up for the future, already having been retrofitted to add a third floor, if it becomes necessary.

“We’re positioning this to grow with Goleta as it grows,” Dejong said.

Real Estate Milestone: Developer The Towbes Group Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

Fresh off a plane from New York but without a hint of jet lag, Michael Towbes settled into a chair at the end of a long wooden table, looking as comfortable in a tailored suit as most people are in pajamas.

At 86, the longtime Montecito resident, real estate developer and prolific philanthropist explained he would never retire.
Towbes and his wife, Anne, made a deal a few years back that he could keep firing on all cylinders if the couple spends time away each month.

For February, it was their condo in New York City. Later this year, it’ll be Japan.

In a surprising choice, last fall the trip was to Burning Man, a festival in the Nevada desert where the daring display eccentric art and discover vehicles designed like dragons or cupcakes.

As a lifelong learner, Towbes invokes a “Why not?” mantra — one that has turned the white-haired senior into the storied tycoon who has transformed the landscapes of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties over the past six decades.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been touched in some way by the work of The Towbes Group, his namesake firm that has developed more than 6,000 residential units, currently managing some 2,500 units along with more than 1.8 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space in the tri-county area.

Others know Towbes from his role as co-founder and chairman of the board at Montecito Bank & Trust, which has assets of $1.2 billion.
As The Towbes Group celebrates 60 years in 2016, locals are reflecting on the impact the native East Coaster has had in the community.
His colleagues and friends are even working to get him his own Wikipedia page.
All of that is nice, and Towbes is nothing but grateful. He just doesn’t like the attention.
“I would be just as happy without the big party,” Towbes said in his downtown East Victoria Street office. “I like being busy. I still love what I do.
“The development business is a challenging one. We fortunately have been able to be in this business 60 years.”


Towbes developed a thirst for learning at a young age, walking the four blocks from his childhood home in Washington, D.C., to the library. His father was a lawyer, and his business partner was a builder.

Towbes studied civil engineering at Princeton University and MIT. He spent time in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps during the Korean War and eventually moved to Los Angeles with his first wife, Gail, who died in 1996.

Since his arrival in California, Towbes has taken a wait-and-see approach to development that has kept The Towbes Group sustainable because of properties that derive income (rent).

He started building homes in Los Angeles in 1956 before learning of the housing boom in Santa Barbara County.

His business partner, Eli Luria, was the idea man. Towbes was the numbers guy.

“I think I’ve done a lot of projects in this community I’m really proud of,” Towbes said, highlighting his effort to rebuild The Granada Theatre 10 years ago.

“I think my favorite part is apartments. The only thing I like more than groundbreakings are ribbon cuttings.”

This year, Towbes will see completion of a $65 million residence hall for the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara.

Goleta City Councilman Michael Bennett said he couldn’t think of anyone else who has left as big an imprint on development in Goleta.

The Calle Real Shopping Center has become an epicenter of the city, he said, and the apartment housing stock has helped working families.

“He’s always a tough negotiator. At the end of the day, I think he’s very fair. I truly believe he loves the community.”

Towbes is working to finish the final phase of Willow Springs apartments, and designs are going through the channels for an adjacent 360-unit Heritage Ridge project, dedicating 132 units for seniors.

Bennett said it’s just happenstance that all these developments are going on simultaneously.

“After sixty years, our mission remains the same: to make our corner of the world a better place, one project, one idea and one person at a time,” said founder Michael Towbes.


Rebirth at Fairview Gardens

An urban farm cultivates a sustainable model while harvesting a new community engagement

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk.com


A visit to Fairview Gardens in Goleta isn’t complete without a taste of something growing in the rows of the urban farm — a proud staple of any Mark Tollefson-guided tour.

As the nonprofit farm’s executive director used a pitchfork to churn soil loose, digging up earth-covered orange vegetables, stone silence fell across the group of otherwise chatty local elementary students on a field trip to the storied, 12-acre North Fairview Avenue property.

Tollefson looked up to see all eyes fixed on him. Stunned expressions made the passionate, multigenerational farmer feel like he suddenly had sprouted an extra head. A small voice broke through the quiet.

“Why are those carrots in the dirt?” a boy asked earnestly.

Tollefson remembers tears reaching his cheeks, coupled with the realization that these kids had become so disconnected from their food sources that they didn’t know carrots grew in the ground.

The story’s end was far less heartbreaking. That same boy’s mother volunteered at Fairview Gardens a short time later. When asked why she was so set on helping the once-struggling farm operation, the mother recounted her son’s epiphany — complete with his pleas that the family buy more carrots from the grocery store. The ones with green, leafy tops, and not precut in a bag.

Tollefson retells the tale as the essence of Fairview Gardens’ mission: to educate children, to reconnect people of all ages to their food sources and to create a resilient, self-sustaining community.

But just as humans lost sight of food sources, so did Fairview Gardens drift from of its original purpose. The farm founded prior to the 1900s abandoned its educational roots entirely just a few years ago in the face of mounting bills, neighborly scrutiny and other troubles.

It wasn’t until recently that Fairview Gardens re-emerged as a guiding force in urban agriculture — the hard-fought product of an admitted identity crisis. Years of planning and soil plotting later, the farm has once again begun to feel the embrace of the Goleta community it so desperately strives to serve.


Tollefson didn’t know the magnitude of mess he was getting himself into four years ago.

The native Canadian agreed to lead the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, the nonprofit organization created when the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, the county Board of Supervisors and a collective of individuals and foundations purchased the property at 598 N. Fairview Ave. The parties bought the site for a song in 1997 from Cornelia and Roger Chapman because an agricultural easement was placed on the farm. To keep the land in trust, the deal stipulated that 88 percent of land be used for agricultural production, with farm support, employee housing and educational uses allowed on the rest.

Tollefson was aware the organization had fallen on hard times, but to what extent was soon discouragingly clear.

Lack of long-standing leadership seemed at the heart problems. Fairview Gardens hadn’t had a stable supervisor since Michael Ableman, a farmer who managed the land from 1981 until the late 2000s. Ableman was the charismatic and knowledgeable founder who formed the original nonprofit that helped place the farm in trust. He had managed the farm under the previous owners, and subsequently spearheaded the educational component that had been a part of the land since the 1970s.

In 2001, however, Ableman left the Central Coast to farm in British Columbia. While he managed Fairview Gardens from afar, the operation fell from its path.

“Without Michael here, Fairview had a chance to drift away from its original mission,” Tollefson said. “It got more focused on production agriculture and a lot less about what does that actually mean?”

Fairview Gardens wasn’t making enough money, and community members who once enjoyed its educational benefits became annoyed by its noisy poultry operations and live-in farm hands — 26 of them at its peak. The farm needed to redefine its role within the Goleta community, and quickly.


In many ways, Fairview Gardens experienced the same challenges of any other small nonprofit organization.

With limited resources, the farm needed to create a new survival plan to figure out what urban farming should look like, who would be in charge and which former financial supporters might be called on to help. Tollefson hired Geoff Green, executive director of The Fund for Santa Barbara, as a consultant to craft realistic and tangible goals.

One thing setting Fairview Gardens ahead of other woeful organizations was actually owning its greatest asset: centrally located farmland.

“If it weren’t for that, I don’t know that they would’ve made it,” Green said. “Most nonprofits don’t own resources. So often people get into these cycles where they’re building debt. They were just trying to figure out how to best return that into a reinvented Fairview Gardens. The idea of urban agriculture and what that meant in the 1990s is really different now.”

Beyond rebuilding staff, Fairview Gardens had to remedy a number of zoning and permitting issues. In 2009, it was forced to close its vegetable and fruit stand — the face of its operations along Fairview Avenue — because of encroachment land issues with Southern California Edison and the City of Goleta.

Tollefson said much of 2012 was spent treading water and trying to reopen the stand, where the farm earns much of its revenue. Seeing the public benefit of Fairview Gardens, the Goleta has forgiven more than $56,000 in outstanding parks development and processing fees over the years, according to Jennifer Carman, the city’s planning and environmental review director. In June 2012, the Goleta City Council voted to also pay $5,000 so the farm could obtain a permit to reopen its farm stand.

The farm gained a great partner in city staff, which continues to work with the organization to ensure residents can visit a true model of sustainable living.

“I think we’re blessed,” Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett said. “Mark has turned that farm around. He’s incredibly motivated. They’re having some real success.”

Green credits Tollefson’s energetic and charming character for furthering Fairview Gardens’ resurrection. His knack for storytelling —especially anecdotes involving the farm’s fascinating history — helped re-attract donors and continues to hook people of all ages on agriculture.

“You have to love it, and he does,” Green said. “Fairview Gardens is the epitome of local sustainable organic food systems. It’s a great teaching tool, and at a time and place when fewer and fewer people have connection to food.”


The Fairview Gardens farm stand reopened in September 2013, more than four years after it was shuttered.

Daily visitors have returned to the public face of Fairview Gardens for their fix of organic fruits and veggies. They enjoy the scenic setting reminiscent of rural backcountry, but can still be comforted by the faint hum of cars traveling on the nearby Highway 101 and close proximity to civilization.

More than 3,000 schoolchildren are once again touring the farm annually, along with 400 adults in education program, 400 children from summer camp programs and another 1,500 others on self-guided tours of grounds that include fields, fruit trees, chickens, goats, the original farmhouse and more.

Tollefson and his family are now the sole site residents. He and wife, Sharon, and two children live in the farmhouse, which is sometimes opened for curious visitors.

Fairview Gardens is generating revenue again, but still retains its focus of helping humans reclaim food sources.

What’s happening at the Goleta urban farm has caught the attention of others across the country who are looking for a healthy, sustainable food model.

Tollefson’s mentor, Dave Davis, the executive director of Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council, has also been working with the farm to piece together a sustainable food system plan for the Santa Barbara County region.

“It’s all a matter of community,” Davis said. “That term community development really means something. I think we’re blessed to have him (Tollefson) as a farm manager out there and in the community.”

The worst of times appear behind Fairview Gardens, but Tollefson said he isn’t taking any chances. He plans to build upon the educational model, and hopes the farm will one day become the community gathering place it has the potential to be.

Everyone has to eat, he said, and it might as well be locally grown food that treats bodies best.

“It changes kids’ lives,” Tollefson said. “What we have the chance to be able to do here is to reintegrate people back into our food systems. It’s not just about growing food. Lets grow really the best food we can and bring people out on the farm, and show them that this is what real food is like.”