Almost everyone in town knows Andrea Bailey. Her smile is infectious, and she greets everyone with a warm hug.
But the lasting impression Bailey has made over the last nine years in Richmond and North Richmond as community engagement manager for Chevron Richmond has a lot more to do with what she’s accomplished.
“When we say the Kennedy [High School] Fab Lab, the Mobile Fab Lab, STEM centers, Welding Lab, and Project Lead the Way, a partner in all that work is Andrea Bailey,” said Nia Rashidchi, associate superintendent for educational services at the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Rashidchi praised Bailey’s work at last week’s WCCUSD Board of Education meeting, but also lamented the recent news that the tireless community advocate is leaving town due to a well-deserved promotion by Chevron. Due to her successes in Richmond, Bailey is transitioning to a new job within Chevron and relocating to Monterey County to embrace a new community and forge new partnerships.
“She came as a gift to West Contra Costa,” Rashidchi said before presenting Bailey with a particularly special plaque.
The plaque was made in the Richmond Fab Lab at Kennedy High, the nation’s largest high school fabrication lab that Bailey helped plan for and fund on behalf of Chevron.
“She always wants to ensure that our students get what they need when they need it, especially when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics),” Rashidchi said.
Along with the plaque, Bailey received — you guessed it — hugs from the Board of Education members and Superintendent Matt Duffy.
There’ll be a lot more goodbye hugs to go, as Bailey’s impact extends beyond the school district. Bailey has been integral in providing funding for programs and resources to nonprofits, local governments, individuals and, as importantly, planning and organizing expertise. Her leadership has united community groups, nonprofits and other stakeholders in Richmond and North Richmond that have led to meaningful programs that help residents.
She’s a longtime member of the North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council and the creator of eQuip Richmond, Chevron’s $10 million economic revitalization initiative that led to the formation of the Construction Resource Center, which provides opportunity for local contractors and careers for local residents. eQuip has also contributed startup funds for Pogo Park Products, an Iron Triangle for-profit social enterprise staffed entirely by Iron Triangle residents, and is funding the much anticipated business incubator as a way to help revitalize Richmond’s downtown corridor.
Community leaders responded to news of Bailey’s departure with gratitude for her commitment.
Amanda Elliott, executive director for the Richmond Main Street Initiative, thanked Bailey for the work she’s done supporting youth, education, community revitalization and economic development.
Terri Waller, employer partnership coordinator for the College and Career center at WCCUSD, lauded Bailey for her “vision, steady leadership and ability to get it done!”
“There is no doubt that Richmond is a better community for what you’ve given over the years,” Waller told her. “You leave an amazing legacy of community-building and good will, coupled with genuine and concrete contributions to the betterment of this special part of the Bay Area.
April Treece, Director STEM Workforce Initiative, Contra Costa Economic Partnership, said she admired Bailey’s “vision” and “willingness to take risks.”
Through it all, Bailey has remained humble and understated about her role in the community.
“I’ve been lucky to have been blessed to have an employer like Chevron that is truly committed to being more than a good neighbor, but to further enriching this tightly-knit community,” Bailey said. “I will forever miss working alongside some of the most committed, savviest, community-minded people I’ve ever known. To me, that’s what Richmond is about.”