Who We Are
The Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business was founded in 2010 in response to a number of pending regulations threatening agricultural and other businesses in Ventura County. We are a 501(c)6 non-profit membership organization formed to support land based and industrial businesses including farming, ranching, oil, mining, service and support. Our staff, along with stakeholders, hired professionals and experts, collaborate to promote sensible and rational local government. We advocate for businesses through our focus on local regulation, providing expertise, research and educational campaigns to inform our members and the public. CoLAB identifies and researches issues that impact businesses, works with regulatory agencies, organizing stakeholders and proposing solutions. CoLAB Ventura County provides a funded, full-time local presence to balance environmental, regulatory and economic concerns. Our efforts include monitoring local public agencies and elected boards where we commonly testify on regulatory issues. We cooperate with the COLAB groups in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties forming a tri-county force.
- To preserve and support a healthy and expanding economic base, promoting a positive image for labor, agriculture and business to enhance Ventura County’s economic vitality while protecting the local quality of life.
Our Board of Directors, Officers and Staff
Officers & Board of Directors:
- Bud Sloan: Sloan Ranches – President / Director
- Lynn Gray Jensen – Secretary
- John Lamb: Camlam Farms – Treasurer / Director
- John Hecht: Sespe Consulting – Chairman of the Board
- Jurgen Gramckow: Southland Sod / Vice Chairman of the Board
- Tim Cohen: Rancho Temescal / Immediate Past Chairman
- Richard Atmore: R.A. Atmore & Sons / Membership Director
- Patrick Loughman: Lowthorp Richards Attorneys / Director
- Jeff Nobriga: California Resources Corp. / Director
- Neal Maguire: Ferguson, Case, Orr, Patterson / Director
- Mark Mooring: Buon Gusto Farms / Director
- Tony Skinner: IBEW Local 952 / Director
- Alex Teague: Limoneira / Director
- Andy Waters: Waters Family Farms / Director
- Bill Camarillo: Agromin / Director
- Louise Lampara: Aera Energy / Director
- Lynn Gray Jensen: Executive Director
- Rachel E. Culbert-Mastro: Director of Development
Executive Director Remarks
CoLAB Ventura County held our 7th Annual Meeting on October 10, 2017 announcing stable revenue and expenses for our fiscal year while expanding our outreach and influence in the County. The SUSTAIN VC campaign spread our pro-AG message in major media platforms and changed the language of the SOAR Ordinance to support the economic viability of agriculture and emphasize farmworker housing. Our success was made possible by our dedicated members and Board of Directors, our staff including Director of Development, Rachel Culbert-Mastro and Director of Policy and Advocacy, Sean Paroski, and the efforts of our Membership Chairman, Richard Atmore. We partnered with many new organizations this year, sharing information to educate ourselves on a variety of issues to be better prepared for public engagement.
The impetus for VC CoLAB began in 2010 when a number of threats to business in the unincorporated areas prompted a grassroots movement to push back against a veritable flood of new regulations. This “regulatory creep” created the strong motivation to form a group that could support business owners in Ventura County with a full time presence, monitoring, assessing and working with governmental agencies and decision makers to find reasonable common ground. Looking back, we are very proud of what we have accomplished in forming VC CoLAB. Our organization regularly stands up against regulatory overreach using research, science, engineering and law to support local businesses and livelihoods. We have stopped the progression of many unnecessary rules during this time and even halted a public bike path project that unnecessarily threatened thousands of acres of farmland. More importantly, today as I write this letter to you, the support of our increasing membership has allowed us to continue to monitor and challenge regulations that threaten labor, agriculture and business interests. VC CoLAB has become a respected organization that works to collaborate and find solutions for issues that affect us all.
We encourage you to become a member and take advantage of our monthly WHEEL Committee lunch gathering. WHEEL topics cover Water, Housing, Energy, Environment and Land Use, reflecting our core interests. Our appointed advisory chairs report on local policy issues followed by open member discussions. We regularly have presentations from local experts and during campaign season we invite local candidates to address member issues. Our lively member discussions help us focus our efforts and provide feedback to our Board of Directors.
Of course, we understand that some amount of regulation is necessary. However the time and cost of ever increasing new regulations is discouraging innovation and delaying projects. Economic consequences for Ventura County include a reduction of job growth, a housing and rent affordability crisis, downsizing and defection of businesses, a shrinking middle class, the out-migration of youth and an increase in traffic due to out-of-county commuting for jobs.
With sufficient funding, collaboration and increased influence, VC CoLAB can continue to make a difference. Please join us in our pursuit of reasonable, science and fact based regulations that encourage and respect stakeholder input. Your contributions and participation are much appreciated. Thank you and hope to see you at our regularly scheduled ( and fun) events.