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Milken Institute, LAEDC, and Santa Monica College Headline Two AltaSea Webinars Focused on the Role of the Blue Economy in Navigating a Post-pandemic Recovery

The Blue Economy, a soon-to-be $3 trillion sector of the global economy, to be the focus of the back-to-back discussions between industry & academic experts

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles announced an upcoming pair of webinars on how the growing blue economy can play a part in California’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The webinars will include leaders from the Milken Institute, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), and Santa Monica College, as well as two founders of tech companies engaged in the blue economy.

The future economic success of the state’s 11 distinct economic regions lies in cultivating a 21st century workforce that facilitates access to education and employment opportunities. This effort requires collaboration amongst business, education, economic development, and policy leaders to effectively direct Southern California’s talent systems and labor pipeline to prepare them both for an economy that is fast transitioning away from one where growth is predicated on labor—that is, where additional labor capital is the primary driver of value creation and capture—toward an economy in which growth is dependent on the productivity, creative input and knowledge.

This is the promise of AltaSea: to build capacity within Southern California’s “blue economy” industries and, in so doing, to also prepare, upskill and retool graduates, job seekers, incumbent employees and hard-to-place workers for the fast-emerging new “blue economy” sectors, such as water conservation technology, with perceptibly high job growth potential for workers with the requisite skills and competencies that can be developed through the region’s panoply of relevant talent development and career education programs. These are jobs that will not only provide workers with pathways to sustain and grow their professional and personal livelihoods, but these “blue economy” jobs will also allow them to be a part of the solutions to some of humankind’s most serious and vexing issues, such as climate change and water security.

These webinars will take place on July 16 at 10 AM & July 17 at 11 AM. Pre-registration is required, and the link to sign up for both chats is:

Tim McOsker, AltaSea’s CEO, will be joined by the LAEDC CEO, Bill Allen, for the July 16 webinar. Allen has been active in regional economic development for over 20 years, and as CEO of the LAEDC, he led the effort in February 2020 to designate the Ocean Economy as a new category of jobs in Los Angeles – the first addition in over a decade. The LAEDC and AltaSea’s Economic Report on the Ocean Economy states that this new economic engine will support more than 126,000 direct jobs and pay wages upwards of $37.7 billion by 2023 in LA County alone.

Rounding out the group of panelists on July 16 will be the founders of two of the most innovative ocean tech companies in LA – Holdfast Aquaculture and Blue Robotics.

  • Rusty Jehangir, founder and CEO of Blue Robotics. Blue Robotics has developed the first professional quality underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) at a price point that’s accessible to all users, not just giant oil and gas companies. Blue Robotics currently tests its ROVs and other technological innovations at AltaSea, which provides a rare secure, quiet place to access the water.
  • Kelly Stromberg, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Holdfast Aquaculture. Holdfast produces top-quality seed for bivalves, including mussels, clams, oysters, and seaweeds, which act as nature’s own filtration systems, keeping our oceans clean and providing a healthy, local, and scalable source of food. Holdfast’s products promote sustainable aquaculture, and tap into a growing market for these superfoods.

Moderating the July 16 event will be the multi-Emmy award-winning journalist, Val Zavala. Zavala spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist at KCET in Los Angeles, winning numerous journalism awards. During her career, Zavala has covered a broad spectrum of Southern California issues, including politics, the environment, and the economy.

For the July 17 webinar, McOsker will again join an impressive set of panelists, featuring industry and economy policy experts. He will be joined by:

  • Matt Horton, director of public policy for the Milken Institute. Horton has an extensive history in addressing economic growth and resiliency across Southern California. His current role at the Milken Institute involves interacting with government officials and business leaders in developing and directing statewide programming and policy initiatives.
  • Dr. Patricia Ramos, Dean of Workforce & Economic Development at Santa Monica College. The college has transferred more students to the University of California campuses than any other community college in the country for 29 straight years. SMC also holds the top spot for African American and Chicano/Latino transfers to the UC system, and is also the lead transfer college to USC and Loyola Marymount University. Through Patricia’s work, Santa Monica College has transformed into an engine for talent development across critical industries in the Greater Los Angeles area and has shown to have a significant impact in the region’s economy. The college is the leading job/career trainer in Los Angeles’s Westside and also provides news and performing arts/cultural programming through The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center and its NPR station KCRW (89.9 FM).

The July 17 webinar will be moderated by David Abel, publisher of The Planning Report and chairman of the VerdeXchange. The Planning Report is the preeminent trade publication that engages Southern Californian leaders in substantive debate about urban planning, growth, design, and public infrastructure investment for the past three decades. VerdeXchange hosts an annual conference comprised of green tech and blue economy entrepreneurs and industry leaders to discuss sustainable practice and ways to advance the new energy economy.

“This pandemic has unfortunately led to skyrocketing unemployment with far too many people losing their jobs in most sectors of the economy. We will explore how one sector can help us grow for the future – the blue economy,” said McOsker, “At AltaSea, we are creating a world-class campus for the blue economy and a new hub for ocean education and business from historic warehouses at the Port of Los Angeles.”

The webinars are a part of AltaSea’s “Project Blue @ Summer,” a virtual education platform that was successfully launched in April. The platform, which includes live video chats with industry professionals, Q&A sessions, and pre-packaged lessons for students, is designed to provide science-based programming with real-world applications to students who were sheltering at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The network of ocean-based industries that the blue economy is creating, paired with California’s coastline, uniquely positions AltaSea to support workforce development as we start to create the post-pandemic landscape,” McOsker said. “All of the panelists know the vital importance of promoting the economic growth, and I’m excited to hear their thoughts on the best path forward.”

The link to register for the webinars is:

About AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles is creating a world-class ocean-based campus where science, business and education come together to generate innovative solutions to the most critical global sustainability issues today: food, energy, and climate security. AltaSea accelerates scientific collaboration, facilitates job creation, and inspires the next generation for a more sustainable ocean. Built on a historic pier with access to the deep ocean, AltaSea’s campus brings people together to expand science-based understanding of the ocean; incubate and sustain ocean-related business; and pioneer new ocean-related education programs. For more information on AltaSea, please see our website:


Kevin Byrum


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