Carpinteria is Emerging as a South Coast TECH Hub
“Carpinteria is a very unique community, and the companies that are fortunate to call it home realize that the quality of life here keeps employees happy and engaged. Being here enhances morale and improves employee retention. Carpinteria is a great place to live – and an excellent place for business.” –Brian Nash
Carpinteria is a great place to be – especially for a growing number of tech companies. With a population of approximately 14,000, Carpinteria is currently home to some of the biggest names in tech, including LinkedIn, Procore Technologies, Agilent and silicone manufacturer Avantor/Nusil Technology. Known for its captivating coastline, the city also offers world-class educational opportunities and close proximity to talent pools in Santa Barbara and Ventura.
Why Carpinteria? Location Matters!
For many in the tech industry, location matters and Carpinteria has the best of what coastal California has to offer within its city. Home to safe and picturesque beaches and a vibrant, growing economy, Carpinteria boasts a skilled and steady workforce, an outstanding quality of life, a friendly business climate, and a number of emerging technology companies and spirited entrepreneurial industries.
Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based applications for construction, has been headquartered in Carpinteria since 2014. Many of the fast-growing company’s clients, prospects, and recruits have heard of the area’s world-famous surf spot, Rincon, as well as Carpinteria’s natural beauty, making their location a perfect recruiting tool. Suzanne Mayeur, Vice President of Operations at Procore, sees the location of their corporate headquarters in Carpinteria as a win-win.
“Location is a great recruiting tool, and we keep selling it. It’s a great place for those starting out, or raising families, and if we can get the family out here to see it, it’s an easy sell.”
“The space is very intentional; we’re here on the bluffs overlooking Carpinteria and Rincon is right out the window,” Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche said. “We try to hire the best and the brightest to fill the positions we have open at Procore. Once you do that you can trust employees to do their job and do it well, and come up with creative solutions to propel the business forward.”
Tanya Staples, Senior Director of Content and Production at LinkedIn agrees.
“The location is great as we sit between Santa Barbara and Ventura County,” she said. “This allows folks to optimize their options of living in completely different sceneries while still being a commutable distance to work. We enjoy the view and the great weather, and our employees have the option of living in 10 different cities that offer diversity in quality of life, ranging from beachfront homes with mountain views to beautiful rolling hills with endless trails to escape into.”
Brian Nash, Vice President of Marketing for Avantor’s Nusil sees the location as something that syncs up well with employee lifestyles.
“Our employees that both live and work in Carpinteria are commonly asked how they go to work every day living in such a beautiful area with so many fun things to do?” Nash said. “The answer is the endless opportunities that await them when they are done with the workday. Carpinteria offers our employees great outdoor lifestyle opportunities, and that provides an excellent work and life balance.”
While the surf and seaside charm work well for tech giants in Carpinteria, the easily accessible workforce is also a plus. Carpinteria’s proximity to Santa Barbara City College, University of California Santa Barbara, California State University – Channel Islands, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and other highly acclaimed educational institutions provide direct access to a great talent pool, while the immediacy to larger metropolitan areas allows for commuters. The innate charm of the area is appealing to those looking to relocate.
Kevin Parent, CEO at Conduce Inc., finds that the city has all of the necessary ingredients for a successful workforce.
“Carpinteria has the right combination of things you need for a successful tech environment – the universities, investment communities, and other tech companies,” he said. “When people come here for an interview, they can immediately see the impressive quality of life here. And the tech companies help one another by creating an environment conducive to overall growth.”
Nash also pointed out the simple fact that Carpinteria is all about community, and that focus not only benefits his employees, but Avantor’s Nusil as a whole.
“This is one of the last small beach towns in our region that has not lost its character, and that small-town feel and ambiance, along with the multitude of volunteer organization that call our community home, make this a very special place.”
After operating out of Santa Barbara, and then Montecito, Procore moved their headquarters into their space on the bluffs in January 2014, and have rapidly expanded to occupy 179,226 square feet in several offices near their first building. Connected by public trails that allow employees to walk along the Seal Rookery or jog for exercise, Carpinteria is the place that the construction software company has been able to put down roots.
While working to keep corporate structure and procedures uniform among the company’s 12 locations, Mayeur tries to make the most of the Carpinteria address, and Procore’s employees follow suit.
“We do so many walking meetings because of the beautiful paths right here,” Mayeur said. “We might walk along the bluffs for a one on one, or take three or four people and walk to the beach park and back. To see a sea lion or dolphin during a meeting is crazy, but it creates a balance”
“We’ve got employees that will go surfing at lunch, or bike into town, and we also have a shuttle that will take them into town for lunch,” she added. “The proximity to the ocean is inspiring, and I can certainly see many new ideas and businesses being generated by the creative aspect that the physical surroundings offer.”
Parent’s team can often be spotted having a brown bag lunch at the beach, and Desire’ Conradi, Workplace Site Manager at LinkedIn also finds the small-town atmosphere and charm relaxing, and their local employees make the most of it.
“We have little to no traffic, and the weather is very appealing and allows us the opportunity to ride our company bikes to the Carpinteria Bluffs easily,” she said.
“I think the reason that tech people come to Carpinteria is the same reason a lot of people do,” Christian Rishel, Conduce EVP Marketing & Strategy Co-Founder added. “It’s pretty unspoiled which allows you to take a walk, and really think and clear your head.”
Building A Stronger Carpinteria
While tech plays a huge part in Carpinteria’s growth and success, the city still enjoys a strong economic diversity with agriculture jobs, and leisure and hospitality joining tech in the top employment industries. At the 2017 State of the Community luncheon, Mark Schniepp, Ph.D., the director of California Economic Forecast, said that Carpinteria is beating out the county and state in many statistics, with unemployment at 4.8 percent, median household income at $69,979 and the median home price rising to $1,085,000. Schniepp also said that the county’s largest employer, Procore, is emblematic of Carpinteria’s burgeoning tech industry.
Carpinteria is a very desirable place to live and work, and provides tech companies a world class location, an educated workforce, reasonable lease rates, and access to a full slate of housing, retail, and support industries.
Companies such as Cox Communications continue to invest in its infrastructure, committing $10 billion over the next five years to enhance the residential and commercial customer experience and enable additional product development and innovation with dependable service and award-winning local support. Gigabit internet speeds are projected to be available to 99 percent of homes within Cox service areas by end of 2019.
“We are also committed to bridging the digital divide through our Connect2Compete program and Cox Technology Centers at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country including the recently renovated Carpinteria location of the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County,” said Cox Communications Market Vice President, Kirsten Mclaughlin.
“Our employees get to enjoy the great weather, proximity to the beach and mountains, and the community feel we have here is great,” Staples said. “Our connection to local small business and farms adds value to our everyday experience as well.”
“We work with local vendors to drop off literally about 500 lunches that have been pre-ordered once a week, and we spread that around to different vendors in town,” Mayeur said. “One had to buy a larger vehicle to make it work, and I was so glad to know we played a part in that growth.”
“We also partner with local farms and offer a farm box filled with amazing produce to our employees and have that delivered,” Mayeur added. “Carpinteria never ceases to surprise me, whatever we need we can get – whether it’s food, flags, realtors, they’re all here and ready to help.”
Getting the Next Generation Excited About Tech
Not only is hiring and retaining a strong workforce important to tech companies today, it is also a focus for tomorrow. That’s why many in the industry are working hard to get students excited about careers in tech. While the area is home to renowned computer science, engineering, and entrepreneurial programs, many are finding that introducing tech concepts to elementary students and providing technical education courses to high school students can go a long way, not just towards a career in tech, but towards a positive future.
Suzanne Mayeur says that including children in family events and welcoming them on campus throughout the year builds a level of excitement she hopes will carry them through school.
“Part of my plan with family events is not only to honor the families, but to help the kids get as excited about Procore as their parents are.”
“When kids want to learn about technology that opens up an interest that perhaps they wouldn’t have had without exposure to the campus,” Mayeur added. “We love having them here.”
LinkedIn also reaches out to students, and Conradi feels the community can continue to work together to better position them for a successful future.
“We hope to facilitate more partnerships with the local tech companies, and partner with local schools on the educational offerings they have to help position students for the jobs of the future.”
Excellent Place for Business
“Carpinteria has everything a business needs in a small, beach town environment. I knew from the moment we looked at our first building here that this would be the perfect place for Procore,” Mayeur concluded. “Carpinteria is a very special place. We couldn’t be happier growing our business here.”