Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Business Spotlight on The Hignell Companies
Presented to Chico City Council on November 3, 2015

Good evening. I’m Rick Anderson of YP, and First Vice Chairman of the Chico Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Tonight, we are pleased to spotlight The Hignell Companies, a nearly 70 year old property management, maintenance and construction company serving northern California since 1948. Joining us tonight is Phil Larios, President & CEO of The Hignell Companies who will be happy to answer your questions following this presentation. Also with us is Katie Simmons and Angela Cole from the Chamber who coordinated this presentation and will deliver our economic impact analysis created by Chabin Concepts.

The Hignell Companies is a family-owned company that has offered property development services and property management in Chico for nearly 70 years. Back in 1948, Fred Hignell, Jr. along with his partner at the time, Floyd Strange, were responsible for the construction of over 1,000 homes in 25 subdivisions, in addition to apartment and commercial projects. Doug Hignell joined his father in 1970, and expanded the vision for the company to include an emphasis in real estate syndication and property management services and a professional management team.

The company has experienced multiple name changes over time from Hignell & Strange to Hignell & Hignell to Hignell, Inc. dba The Hignell Companies. They saw the community change significantly from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, and knew it needed different things. While they did not have a focus on the college community, they saw how the expansion of greater access to education affected the area and their business as well as the community as a whole.

The Hignell Companies does so much more than just property management. Over the last three decades, the company has built numerous apartment complexes, a professional office complex of 37,026 square feet, a small specialty shopping center, developed and marketed a 64 unit duplex subdivision, a 59-lot planned unit development, and have built and are managing The Courtyard at Little Chico Creek, a 41-unit assisted living facility for the elderly. Above all of this, they also offer the management of home services and apartments, and are a for-hire professional services organization providing a plethora of home services to our community including Heating & Air Conditioning, Electrical, Painting, Plumbing, Construction/Remodels, Flooring and Cleaning. This is done under the umbrella of “Experts In Your Home.” They do all of this while creating a caring community that transforms lives.

The Hignell Companies started a non-profit organization called Creating Caring Communities as a goal to build community and also The Hignell Foundation, which consists of a Community Impact Fund and an Employee Care Fund.

The Hignell Companies is helping to shape the future of Chico by working in partnership with the city through relationships. Phil says they focus on the future with their sustainable growth plan, providing good jobs in a stable community-based company.

With the growing need for new developments in our community, the ability to get a project up and off the ground within three months is sorely missed. Today’s timeline is more like 3 years from concept to permit. Along with speed of development, costs have dramatically increased and Phil notes their biggest challenge is the entitlement process. Projects that cost $9,000 per unit not so long ago now cost $22,000 per unit. From planning to building to sale, the ability to move a project in a timely fashion is imperative and is an area of constant focus for the company. Until we can get these challenges under control, the company’s ability to make a difference is impacted.

With that, I am going to turn the presentation over to Katie Simmons to review the economic impact slide. Following Katie’s presentation, Phil is here to answer any questions you might have.
Last week, our Board of Directors met for their annual planning retreat.  To round out the discussion, we included our Ambassador Executive committee and the Committed Leaders of our Young Professional Organization, as well as our staff.  What emerged? A stronger commitment from our leaders to advance our Community Vision in 2016 and an understanding that traditional Chamber activities like networking are still necessary but can be aligned with our advocacy and economic development activities to create higher value and longer lasting relationships.  One member said, "the relationships I build through trying to make a difference in this community are stronger and more valuable for me as a business person in Chico."  That's exactly what we're after: impactful connectivity.  

The Chamber has long existed to bring people together - but the reasons behind this are changing.  People have limited time, they follow each other on Twitter, they advertise in ways our founders wouldn't have dreamed possible, and younger professionals are looking to join causes not clubs.  A Chamber, as a catalyst for both change and connectivity in the modern world, needs to combine the two.  What our Board of Directors ratified last week is the fact that we exist to "leverage the voice of business for community good."  The voice of business is not one lone voice but the culmination of hundreds, including yours.  And why do we do this?  Because thriving businesses lead to a healthy community - your community, our community.  

I am confident that everything you expect from your membership will triple in value for you next year, either because you've decided to get involved or because the impact we're making together is more visible.  Another member paused mid-conversation last week and said thoughtfully, "you know, my business needs and personal needs are now inseparable." And I think that as we move toward a more blended lifestyle (rather than the fictitious "balanced" lifestyle I was raised to believe existed) we will hear this more and more.  You not only need a premiere place to do business, but you need an affordable, safe, healthy community in which to live.  That's the beauty of Chico.  We really can have it all.  And our Community Vision positions us to achieve all of this...together.  Thank you for your continued support of our work.
Here is the team leading the Chico Chamber forward!  2016 Board of Directors, Ambassador Executive committee and YPO Committed Leaders.