Doing Business in the Conejo
Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village are relatively young cities that have grown by plan and design. They have had the opportunity to be selective about the makeup and mix of their business and industry as well as their residential development. Because both cities have established a friendly business environment in the midst of highly desirable residential areas, numerous companies have relocated here and many entrepreneurial firms were founded here.
Business-Friendly Locale / Skilled Workforce
The Highway 101 corridor passing through Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks has benefited from an exodus of companies moving from Los Angeles. Financial analysts say that firms move west to escape the high city business tax in Los Angeles. Thousand Oaks has business taxes based on gross receipts but the rates are considerably lower than Los Angeles. Another factor attracting business and industry is a talented labor force. According to the latest census data, the primary employment pool of the area is located within a 20 mile radius of Westlake Village, an area of nearly 60,000 people over age 16 who are in the labor force. Of this population, 38% are in management or professional careers and 32% are in sales or administrative occupations. Within this group, data indicates that more than 90% have completed high school and 35% have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.
High Tech, Research, Service and Manufacturing
Other attractions to the area are appealing commercial work facilities available at competitive rents and desirable quality of life for those who live and work here. The variety of professionals and technical disciplines required by major employers is a direct reflection of the skills, abilities and experience possessed by residents of the area. The representative number of technical and computer-oriented companies may also forecast the direction of industrial and business growth in the 21st century. Among the high tech/computer employers in the area are Amgen, an international leader in biomedical/genetics, with 7,200 employees; Rockwell Scientific, developer of innovative technologies and contract research and development for government and corporate customers, with 450 employees locally. Others include Baxter Pharmaceutical, Surfware, Inc. and Xircom Inc., an international manufacturer of products for connecting computers to local area networks.
Within the service industry, WellPoint Health Network, one of the nation’s largest publicly traded managed healthcare companies, employs more than 3,500 persons. State Farm Insurance Company employs more than 300 individuals and J.D. Power and Associates employs over 300. Among manufacturing and distributing companies are Jafra Cosmetics International with over 340 employees and Avery Packaging with over 160 employees. Dole Food Company, Inc., the world’s largest grower and supplier of fresh and packaged fruits, juices, vegetables and nuts, has located its world headquarters in Westlake Village. Other manufacturing/distribution companies include MWS Wire Products and K-Swiss Athletic Footwear. Government employment is available at nearby locations for Los Angeles County, Ventura County, and State and Federal agencies. The City of Thousand Oaks is one of the region’s largest governmental employers with 605 employees.