Nevada County Economic Resource Council Director Jon Gregory resigns | TheUnion.com

Nevada County Economic Resource Council Director Jon Gregory resigns

Jon Gregory, the executive director of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council for the past three and a half years, has resigned.

Gregory, who has also served as the managing director of the Green Screen Institute, has accepted what he calls his "dream job," going to work as the vice president and venture banking manager covering Northern California for Five Star Bank.

"In what I do, this is that pinnacle opportunity of a job," Gregory said. "I absolutely love the ERC and I enjoy the things we did and I think we've put together a great framework for whoever steps in, but this was just something there was no way I could pass up."

Gregory cited a number of ERC accomplishments under his watch in which he takes particular pride, starting with a streamlined approach. Economic development organizations, he said, tend to try to be all things to all people, making it difficult to succeed in any one area.

“I think I helped bring a renewed focus on the technology sector and the entrepreneurial sector in Nevada County.”Jon Gregory

"I think I helped bring a renewed focus on the technology sector and the entrepreneurial sector in Nevada County," Gregory said. "I think that's really important."

Gregory also cited the creation of the Green Screen Institute facility, which he said frequently brings in new tenants; the launch of the Connected Communities Academy, which provides industry-driven training; and an upcoming social media campaign that focuses on the county's outdoor recreation opportunities and cultural arts to target businesses, visitors, individuals and families to the area.

"If the ERC continues to focus on just those four things, I think there are some tremendous things that are going to emerge out of that," Gregory said.

NOT GOING AWAY COMPLETELY

Gregory indicated a willingness to continue working as a volunteer for the council and will remain a general partner with the Green Screen Institute Accelerator program, which operates separately and is funded through private investors. He won't have anything to do with the building that houses both the ERC and the institute.

"The bank is supportive of the investing-related funds that I'm a part of (with Green Screen)," Gregory said. "They view those as additive and not dilutive. So I will continue as a general partner of the Green Screen investment fund, that startup accelerator."

In 1999, Gregory started Golden Capital Network, what he calls a precursor to the TV show "Shark Tank."

"We hosted these startup pitch events to investors around California and Nevada," he said. "So I built up, basically, this startup tech network … so I get great joy out of that particular environment working with these visionary entrepreneurs who want to change the world."

NEW ROLE, NEW RESPONSIBILITIES

Gregory will scout Northern California to find technology and high potential startup companies and people who want to invest in those companies.

"Equally or more importantly is that we provide the financing for those companies to either get off the ground or grow the companies," he said.

He said his new role could be more beneficial to the ERC's purpose than serving as executive director.

"I actually think I can do more, value add, in my role actually trying to bring capital to some of the tech companies and startups and growth companies that I've met in Nevada County over the years," he said.

Mary Owens, the ERC's chair, agreed that Gregory still has more to offer the organization.

"In his new role as manager of venture banking at Five Star Bank, (he) can more effectively add value to our efforts by bringing new sources of capital, expertise and connections to Nevada County's entrepreneurial and tech-based businesses," she said in a statement.

Owens indicated a search has started for a new executive director who is a certified economic developer.

Gregory said he'd be happy to provide input in finding a replacement if asked.

"I'm certainly happy to help," he said, "but that's really the job of the executive committee."

To contact Staff Writer Stephen Roberson, email sroberson@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.