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Speaking of speaking

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Hello. I really like talking to journalists and those interested in journalism. On Wednesday, I was away from the paper in Sacramento for the California News Publishers Association 2019 Capital Conference. I was a panelist for a discussion called “Next Gen Reporting — Envisioning Our Future Workforce.” (No comment on the ostentatiousness of the title.)

Anyway, a university professor and two young scholars who already have way more achievements unlocked than I do chatted for a little more than an hour about the intersection between education and real-world execution. The panel was moderated by another professor who had also been an editor that guided Sonoma papers through their fires two years ago.

I don’t know how much I brought to the table except for this: Technology is constantly evolving, so we need to hire journalists with a mindset and not a social media skillset.

But I like listening to speakers. My mother and I have talked for years about how lovely a speaker series would be at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. Well, Mom, we may get our wish.

On Wednesday, Notre Dame de Namur University is bringing renowned businessman Dan Costa to the small theater at the Grand for a 90-minute talk titled “Entrepreneurship in the San Joaquin Valley.”

Costa was born in 1953 and raised in Modesto, became an entrepreneur in the restaurant and food industry at age 23, began the investment firm Innov8, and is now running 5.11 Tactical — a rapidly growing supplier of public safety apparel selling to the FBI, CIA and Secret Service. And that’s just a few highlights.

In an email to me, NDNU President Dr. Judith Maxwell Greig wrote that she was excited to bring Costa to Tracy.

“He has had extensive experience and success in starting businesses and we’re eager to deepen the discussion of how entrepreneurship can benefit San Joaquin County,” she wrote. “Notre Dame is pleased to present programs of this sort to make our campus a forum for the community.”

NDNU has been trying to start several new traditions in Tracy since it came here five years ago. Even though this first talk is a small session by invitation only, I truly hope Costa’s event is the beginning of a whole series.

I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

If you aren’t yet tired of Executive Editor Michael Ellis Langley’s voice, email him at or call him at 830-4231.

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