Is The Grass Still Greener in California? The Changing Climate of Business

Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Deloitte
226 West Santa Clara St.
6th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113



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Ask CEOs where California ranks for being business-friendly and you might be surprised by the answer. In a recent survey by Chief Executive Magazine, California came in dead last for states with a pro-business climate. But the fact remains that California, and specifically the Bay Area, is still the epicenter of technology innovation and investment.

So is it the best of times or the worst of times…or both? Is California changing its business climate or are other states just finally catching up to the Golden State’s model?

With our distinguished panel, we’ll sort out the business and political myths and realities of doing business in California.


Our Distinguished Panel


Michael Bangs

VP Real Estate & Facilities

Mike Bangs has been responsible for providing a ‘work home’ to Oracle employees since 2013 – currently at 140,000 globally. Mike has had senior roles responsible for facilities and real estate at notable Silicon Valley leaders including Adobe, Sanmina, Juniper, and others.

Mike is actively engaged in the community on business and regional planning topics which includes his leadership on the executive committees of SPUR and the Silicon Valley Organization. Mike holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo and an MBA from San Jose State University.


Matthew Szuhaj

Managing Director – Real Estate & Location Strategy Consulting

Matt Szuhaj specializes in helping companies align business strategies with locations to realize cost advantages, access new markets, tap deeper labor pools, and optimize organizational structure and deployment. Since 1992 at Deloitte, he has supported clients to develop global deployment strategies; create market entry strategies; evaluate infrastructure and real estate; review operating costs and conditions; and negotiate business incentives and entitlements.

Matt holds a B.S.C.N.E degree in Engineering & Management from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University – Bloomington.


Scott Ekman

Senior Director, Global RE

Scott Ekman has been responsible for Adobe’s corporate real estate strategy and planning since 2015. Scott has also had senior roles responsible for strategy, planning, development, and facilities at notable technology leaders including T-Mobile and Sun Microsystems. One of the many responsibilities that keeps Scott busy in 2019 is the oversight of the construction of a new 18-story Adobe tower in downtown San Jose that will accommodate doubling Adobe’s headcount in San Jose.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo and is a California Licensed Architect.


Dilawar Syed

Chair of the California Governer’s Office of Business & Economics

Dilawar is the CEO of San Mateo-based Lumiata. The company uses AI to produce intelligent health analytics for improved risk awareness and cost management in healthcare. Dilawar also chairs the Governor’s Entrepreneurship Task Force, a working group focused on support of California’s next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and businesses and to ensure that all California companies have access to the resources to grow. Dilawar previously held leadership roles at Freshworks, Yonja Media, Yahoo!, and Siebel.

Dilawar holds a B.A in Economics and Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Our Distinguished Moderator


Garrett Herbert

Managing Partner – Silicon Valley

Garrett has served since 2011 as the managing partner of Deloitte’s Silicon Valley practice which includes Deloitte’s audit, tax, advisory, and consulting practices. Garrett is also an M&A Transaction Services partner supporting domestic and international client’s due diligence and mergers and acquisitions efforts.

In addition to his experience with Deloitte, Garrett has also worked for a New York based private equity group, a Palo Alto-based wireless equipment company, and a public internet services company. Garrett holds a B.A in Economics and Accounting from College of the Holy Cross.