San Luis Obispo County execs share their hopes for the new year

As we kick off 2012 today and make our own New Year’s resolutions, we asked 12 top local executives to share theirs.

Most, like State Parks official Nick Franco, shared business goals to invest in staff, expand their business or maintain services in spite of the economy.

Franco, for example, wants to find partners to keep Limekiln State Park and Morro Strand State Beach open, even though they are slated for closure this summer. Blake Irving, chief product officer of Yahoo!, wants to progress toward reaching $10 billion in annual revenue, 1 billion users and becoming a top-10 brand worldwide.

Personal goals for county residents typically focused on getting healthier or finding that elusive balance between work and family.

As for the last goal they ever kept?

Rick London, chief executive officer of United Way of SLO County, said it was Jan. 2, 1998, when he resolved to give up coffee for tea.

Jenifer Rhynes, chief executive officer of the San Luis Obispo County YMCA, said it was April 4, when she resolved to swim three days a week.

Read on to gain more insight into these individuals. And to all those who contributed, thank you.

Jeffrey Armstrong

Cal Poly president

Business: Exceed Cal Poly’s fundraising goals. It’s one of the best things I can do to ensure overall student success.

Personal: My wife will testify that I’m not good at keeping personal resolutions. What about a half resolution? To run a half-marathon.

Last resolution kept: Stay in shape.

Jill Bolster White

executive director, Transitions Mental Health Association

Business: To do more to help community members understand mental illness, and to be a more accepting, welcoming place for everyone. A second resolution is to take more risks (after thoughtful deliberation, of course) and not always take the safe, cautious route.

Personal: I’d like to say “yes” more often than “no” to my children, and to spend more time one-on-one with my husband (how those two will balance out, I am not sure).

Last resolution kept: The resolution I kept was to be better at acknowledging people and thanking them for what they do. I am not perfect, but improved, so it looks like I could add it to my list again.

Jackie Crabb

executive director, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau

Business: Improve on my limited computer skills.

Personal: Finish documenting at least one family line in my genealogy research.

Last kept: The last two years my sister and I decided our resolutions would be to purge our household stuff. We had to change the rules the second year because we were purging our stuff onto each other.

Nick Franco

district superintendent, San Luis Obispo Coast District, California State Parks

Business: I resolve to do everything I can to find partners to keep open Limekiln State Park and Morro Strand State Beach, even though they are slated for closure this summer due to budget cuts.

Personal: Every year I make the same resolution. I stop eating chocolate items and peanut butter between New Year’s Day and my birthday in March. This helps me drop the inevitable extra few pounds gained over the holidays.

Last resolution kept: The resolution above is the same I’ve been doing for a number of years now. And I keep it every year (although I do occasionally make an exception for the Super Bowl and cheat with a little chocolate during the game).

Blake Irving

chief product officer, Yahoo! and San Luis Obispo resident

Business: I resolve to make forward progress toward $10 billion in revenue, 1 billion users and becoming a top-10 brand worldwide.

Personal: I resolve to try and find balance and be the best husband, father and friend that I can be.

Last resolution kept: I resolved to be in the best shape of my life at 50. (He’s now 52).

Rick London

chief executive officer, United Way of San Luis Obispo County

Business: One of United Way of San Luis Obispo County’s 2012 resolutions is to expand the awareness of 211 San Luis Obispo County as a phone number to call for health and human service information and referrals for those of us who are in need of assistance.

Personal: Continue to enhance my ability to eat, work and play smarter, while being more mindful to be less judgmental and more empathetic.

Last resolution kept: On Jan. 2, 1998, I gave up coffee for tea.

Candace Markwith

chief executive officer, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center

Business: Sierra Vista resolves to continue to bring new services to San Luis Obispo that will further our mission of keeping our community close to home for their care and to continue to be recognized on such matters as outstanding clinical quality and environmental leadership. Among other things, I will personally be working with our medical staff to recruit new physicians to our area to help fill gaps in our health care delivery system in addition to seeking their expertise and input on new equipment and technology — again with the goal of keeping our community close to home for their medical services.

Personal: Well, last year I resolved to give up both Red Vines licorice and pomegranate martinis — neither of which lasted beyond January. So, this year, I think I won’t try and fool anyone, least of all myself, and even attempt to make a New Year’s resolution.

Last resolution kept: I think it was sometime during the Carter administration, and honestly, I can’t remember that far back.

Noreen Martin

president and CEO, Martin Resorts

Business: Martin Resorts has kicked off the new year with a wellness program through Kennedy Club Fitness. This program is designed to keep our employees healthy, fit and productive. Participation is voluntary and membership fees are offset through the company with the goal of our company having better health, fitness, wellness and productivity in 2012.

Personal: Every year, I evaluate the balance of my life within work, family and friendships so that I can become a more effective, relaxed family member. This is important to re-evaluate consistently because it is easy to rearrange one of these areas out of balance, and then someone or a project suffers. I work for balance so I can nurture and be nurtured, and so that positive moments increase meaning in my life.

Last kept: A personal resolution I have kept is to accept the complexities of my life and be content with the circumstances around me. On a business level, I have continued a resolution to work collaboratively within San Luis Obispo County to attract tourists, which will benefit not only Martin Resorts, but the entire county. Working collaboratively develops confidence in the immediate economy, and helps to create and maintain jobs.

Ian Parkinson

San Luis Obispo County sheriff

Business: Accomplish as many areas of positive change/improvement at the Sheriff’s Office as we have accomplished in our first year.

Personal: Return to my prior regimen of exercise, in order to remain healthy. Spend more time with my family.

Last kept: I do not normally make resolutions and prefer to set goals throughout the year instead. I can tell you that last year at this time my goal was to try and accomplish everything I planned for the Sheriff’s Office, during the campaign, in year one. We have been pretty close and have added some significant other major projects along the way.

Jenifer Rhynes

chief executive officer, San Luis Obispo County YMCA

Business: That I am going to invest more fully in staff, including staff training and development, and resources to make them more effective and efficient. I want to do everything I can to tool up staff, and part of that is technology for me. I’ve been technology-resistant at some level, but I have come to see how technology has helped us to become more effective with people.

Personal: I will swim. That is now a religious practice for me, and there’s no question that I will swim for the rest of my life. But not only am I going to be others-focused, relative to personal development, but self-focused in honing my own skills and accepting challenges when it comes to new pieces of technology.

Last resolution kept: I resolved to swim three days a week. That began on April 4, and I have not missed a swimming week. I’ve hit or exceeded my mark every week since.

Biz Steinberg

executive director, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County

Business: I am committed to preserving two critical programs of Community Action Partnership in San Luis Obispo County. The county’s only nonprofit Adult Day Center for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and our 50-plus Health Screening for uninsured and underinsured persons have had severe funding reductions over the last two years.

Personal: To maintain good health, and to provide lots of love and attention for my family, and the energy to keep my focus on doing all that I can to maintain the vital programs of Community Action Partnership in 2012.

Last resolution kept: To remember to smile every day and take time to smell the roses.

Gil Stork

president, Cuesta College

Business: To build a college culture that is founded on respect — respect for our students and their needs, respect for our various communities and their needs, and respect for each other as we join together to serve our students.

Personal: To maintain balance in all aspects of my personal wellness — family, physical, emotional, professional and spiritual.

Last kept: In 2005 to enjoy retirement by doing what I was passionate about and not what I had to do. (Stork has since emerged from retirement to lead Cuesta College as president.)