Planning • Marketing • Development – Jason Crawford
Jason Crawford is the Santa Clarita Valley planning, marketing and economic development manager. He has worked for the City of Santa Clarita since 2001 and is a CalArts alumni. From persuading major TV shows and movies to film in town, to recruiting restaurants and businesses to open SCV locations – Jason plays a role in many local economic ventures. His career began with opening the city’s ‘film office,’ and it has only expanded from there.
“Life takes you on paths that you would never imagine,” Jason states about his journey leading up to the present day. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and originally moved to Santa Clarita in 1994 to pursue film at CalArts. He thought working in the city’s film office post-graduation would be a temporary gig, lasting only a couple years, and then he would be back to making films. But almost two decades later, that has proven not to be the case. Even his immediate family members relocated to Santa Clarita and contributed to the city’s growth: Jason’s mother, Belinda, ran the local food bank for over a decade. And Jason’s father, Jack, owns a UPS store in Castaic.
“The job stayed interesting, and the team of people at City Hall were fantastic” Jason states as his initial reason for staying put. As time went on, responsibilities shifted and increased, keeping him on his toes and engaged with the city. Jason eventually helped to establish Santa Clarita’s tourism program, bringing in new faces and economic revenue to our local businesses. He is also working closely with said businesses on SCV’s ‘Eat Local’ program, permitting restaurants to stay open with tables outside as pandemic safety regulations shift.
Jason acts as a middle-man between businesses and Santa Clarita residents, figuring out “creative solutions” to problems on either side. His favorite part of what he does is the interpersonal connections he forms with both residents and business owners, yet COVID-19 has impacted this element of the job. Face-to-face conversations provide a “deeper level of connection,” as Jason puts it; but technology has helped bridge the ‘social distancing’ gap. The most difficult part of his job?: “there are only so many hours in the day.”
If he could see himself in any other profession, Jason would be on the other side of the exchange: creating TV shows. He says it’s “what I had always wanted to do…be creative and analytical.”
Jason enjoys travelling in his free time. He has visited a new international place every year for over a decade, but his streak may be interrupted due to COVID-19. He and his girlfriend are new parents to baby girl Milana Lucille Crawford, so parenting is top priority with the extra time at home.
The best business advice Jason has received is to “listen and be aware of what’s going on…the more you know, the more opportunities to find.” So, the next time you spot the scenic mountains of Santa Clarita as the backdrop of your favorite prime time TV show, you can thank Jason for his hand in bringing the cameras in.
photo by Joie de Vivre photographie
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