The healthcare industry is constantly evolving and improving and community regional medical center is the only facility in the valley with two hybrid operating rooms able to perform highly complex, advanced surgical procedures. But, it’s the team inside the operating room that really makes the difference. We got a first-hand look at what it takes and what it means for patients. Alfredo Gomez is an interventional radiology technologist who’s worked in the hybrid operating room since 2014. The room is a combination of a traditional operating room and an image guided interventional suite– providing all the necessary capability and personnel in one space.
As we round off 2023, we are excited to reflect back on some of the moments and milestones that made this year such a meaningful one for BEAM Circular and our community.
The Launch of BEAM Circular
January marked the official kickoff of the BioEconomy, Agriculture, & Manufacturing (BEAM) Initiative with a seed commitment of $10 million by Stanislaus County. BEAM was catalyzed by Stanislaus 2030 (Stan2030), a public-private partnership that advances a shared vision for economic prosperity. Stan2030 identified the growing bioeconomy as a unique opportunity for the region to generate quality jobs and recommended specific strategies to nurture the growth of bioindustry activities in our region. BEAM Circular was formed to drive these strategies forward, and to establish the tri-county North San Joaquin Valley as a global leader in the circular bioeconomy. We are now working alongside a growing coalition of public and private partners to align the resources, policies, talent, and innovation necessary to transform waste into economic and environmental solutions for local communities in the Valley and beyond.
National Science Foundation Engines Development Award
The announcement in May of a $1 million award from the NSF was a watershed moment for BEAM Circular and our partner coalition, CBIO Collaborative, co-led by UC Merced and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Our team is among an inaugural cohort of just a few dozen projects across the U.S. supported by the new NSF Regional Innovation Engines program to catalyze economic, societal, and technological opportunities. The award recognizes our community’s promise as a rising leader in circular bioeconomy innovation, and it is supporting ongoing planning efforts to drive R&D and scale-up of bio-based products and climate solutions.
Hosting Leaders from Sacramento and Around the World
An especially meaningful part of our work is celebrating our unique region, forging new connections, and sharing learnings about the circular bioeconomy through site visits with leaders and collaborators from around the world. One of our favorite visits this year was a tour we hosted in February for Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). “This is exactly what we need for the future,” said Secretary Ross of BEAM. “This is about solving problems and finding productive solutions for our renewable resources, and about creating sustainable, community-inclusive economic growth and jobs to support families in the rural communities of the Central Valley.” (Read more about the tour in the CDFA Blog)
Another highlight was hosting a delegation from the Emerson Collective of climate solution leaders from around the world. The Emerson Fellow cohort joined us in the valley for a two-day learning tour in July to explore innovation at the intersections of food and agriculture, climate, and community. The visit included meetings with the Almond Board of California, Turlock Irrigation District, UC Merced and F3 Innovate, North Valley Labor Federation, Edge Collaborative, ARKEN Strategies and farmworker partners, including Binational of Central California, among other community leaders.
$3.6 Million California Economic Development Pilot Grant
In May, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $3.6 million pilot award to BEAM Circular as part of California Jobs First. The funding will help launch a variety of activities across BEAM’s portfolio, including an accelerator program, technical assistance for local businesses, community engagement work, research on the bioeconomy supply chain, and workforce development programs. The grant is part of a total $15.4 million committed to the BEAM Initiative over its first year from federal, state, local, and private sources, establishing a strong foundation for long-term investment in our community and vision for a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy.
The CBIO Collaborative Design Forum
In October, BEAM Circular convened over 100 diverse partners and collaborators at Modesto Junior College for a full day of interactive planning, learning sessions, design workshops, and engagement with leading bioeconomy innovators and community advocates. This CBIO Collaborative event was a critical opportunity for collaborators across sectors to shape the direction of our regional ecosystem, with outputs shared in the CBIO year-end report.
Building the BEAM Team
As we head into 2024, we are tremendously grateful and heartened by the countless enthusiastic and creative partners who have shaped our work to date. We want to particularly appreciate our incubating partner Opportunity Stanislaus, along with the CBIO Collaborative leadership team and the many subject matter advisers who have supported and guided our work to date.
We are also delighted to share that BEAM Circular is growing its staff team, with the recent addition of several key hires including Chief Operating & Financial Officer Maria Olide, Director of Community Engagement Matthew Godinez, and Program and Operations Associate Jessica Hilboldt.
We look forward to continuing to grow our community of partners, collaborators, and changemakers in the year to come, and to building upon the momentum of this inspiring first year. Thank you for being part of the journey!
Founder and CEO, BEAM Circular