HERE ARE THE VALLEY’S FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES

Published On November 9, 2018 – 7:00 AM
Written By Donald A. Promnitz
The past three years have been good to the staff at Lee’s Heating & Air in Fresno. In fact, at a 128 percent rate of growth between 2015 and 2017, the firm has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Central Valley.

For more information on the fastest growing companies in the San Joaquin Valley, please see The Business Journal’s annual list on page 10.

According to Tom Howard, the owner of Lee’s, this uptick in business can be largely attributed to customer service and reputation, along with upgraded software to connect with customers. Another big factor, however, has been the improvement of the economy, both nationally and locally.

“It allows homeowners to make upgrades that they haven’t been able to make before,” Howard said. “I think that the economy is doing a lot better in the Central Valley than it was in 2009 and 2010 — that definitely helped fuel the growth.”

Howard isn’t alone in his observation. According to Fresno State economist Ernie Goss, the Central Valley — which has previously lagged behind the rest of the state — has been making rapid progress in recent years.

“Now the catch up is really [sped] up, meaning the rate of growth has been positive for quite some time,” Goss said. “But the rate has definitely increased and relative to the U.S., it’s certainly stronger.”

In Goss’s research, he found that overall job growth in the Central Valley over the past 12 months has been 2.6 percent compared to the national average of 1.7 percent. Howard said that his own company has expanded its employment roster from approximately 26 in 2015 to about 50. Meanwhile, expanded business has given Lee’s the ability to pay tuition for his employees who are in college, along with their books.

Goss added that construction and manufacturing are two other sectors to watch. Construction is surpassing the national average with 8.3 percent job growth in the region, while in manufacturing, its 5.1 percent. Delano Construction, LLC of Fresno, which currently has a roster of 26 employees, saw a revenue growth of 208 percent.

The last three years have also proven successful for the solar companies in the region. Topping this industry has been Energy Concepts Enterprises, Inc., which went from revenues of $4.2 million in 2015 to $9.8 million in 2017, a rate of 132 percent. SunPower by Quality Home Services also saw growth of 90 percent in the same time frame, while in Visalia, CalCom Energy was up by 47.46 percent. According to Ryan Gutierrez of Energy Concepts, this has largely been the result of higher utility bills.

“Rates are continually going up,” Gutierrez said. “Solar offers a way for a customer to avoid rate increases by covering their own quest for energy.”

Goss said that tariffs on imported solar panels would further help domestic manufacturers.

Meanwhile, a law passed earlier this year mandating solar panels on new homes could also be good business when it goes into effect in 2020.

For some companies, however, growth isn’t necessarily facilitated by a growing economy. For example, BCT Consulting, Inc. of Fresno, provider of technology solutions, tends to be busier when there’s a dip in the market. This is because their company deals in the outsourcing of technology and helping clients find solutions that are more cost effective.

Nonetheless, BCT has grown by 27 percent. Eric Rawn, president and founder, credited this to acquisitions and mergers, along with community outreach and customer service.

“We don’t want to grow just to grow,” Rawn said. “We want to grow because it makes sense for everyone involved.”

In the months and years to come, Goss added that he has optimism for the future of the San Joaquin Valley. Though he stated concerns about immigration and the agricultural exports being impacted by the current trade war with China, he said the region has become increasingly appealing to the rest of the state.

“So there is the ability of some of those companies coming to Fresno and enjoying many of the benefits of California, but not many of the costs that we’re seeing in San Francisco, for example,” Goss said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/here-are-the-valleys-fastest-growing-companies/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=612a341302-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_20_09_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-612a341302-78934409&mc_cid=612a341302&mc_eid=a126ded657

MANUFACTURER AWARDED TAX CREDIT FOR BIOLA EXPANSION

Published On November 5, 2018
Written By Gabriel Dillard

NutriaAg has been awarded a $180,000 state tax credit to help expand its manufacturing facility in Biola, just west of Fresno.

Headquartered in Toronto, NutriAg makes and distributes environmentally friendly fertilizers and plant nutrients. It opened its Biola plant in 2015.

The tax credit is part of the California Competes program, which is administered through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-Biz. The credit is aimed at businesses that want to locate or grow in the state.

As part of the tax credit agreement, NutriAg plans to invest $1.62 million in its expansion plans over the next three years, as well as hire at least seven new employees in that span.

All together, GO-Biz on Monday approved $70 million in tax credits for 17 companies that would create more than 2,000 jobs.

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $39.5 million tax credit — the largest single tax credit in the program’s five-year history. The company has committed to adding 450 new jobs in addition to retaining over 2,400 existing employees in its “Skunk Works” operations near Palmdale.

The next application period begins on Jan. 2, 2019 with $75 million in tax credits available.

For more information, visit this blog from the Fresno County Economic Development Corp.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/manufacturer-awarded-tax-credit-for-biola-expansion/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=e403c6474a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_05_09_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-e403c6474a-78934409&mc_cid=e403c6474a&mc_eid=a126ded657

New Industrial Building to Be Built at the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center

Tejon Ranch Co. and Majestic Realty Co. form a new joint venture to construct a 580,000-square-foot Class-A industrial facility

TEJON RANCH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 2, 2018– Tejon Ranch Co. (NYSE: TRC) announced today a third joint venture agreement with Majestic Realty Co., the nation’s largest privately-held industrial developer, this one to build an approximate 580,000-square-foot speculative industrial building at the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC).

The new building will be located next to a 480,480-square-foot building Tejon and Majestic built in 2017 and subsequently leased to Dollar General and L’Oréal USA in 2018. Dollar General’s lease effectively increased its footprint at TRCC by 40-percent, as it currently leases more than 600,000-square feet in a separate building located on the west side of Interstate 5. L’Oréal USA is moving its SalonCentric operation from a facility in Valencia, about 40 minutes south of TRCC.

“Given the success with our most recent building, and with the demand we’re seeing out of Southern Californiaand elsewhere, we wanted to move as quickly as possible to bring another new building online,” said Joseph N. Rentfro, Tejon Ranch Co.’s Executive Vice President of Real Estate. “Whoever occupies the space will find an abundant and high-quality labor pool to draw from and the opportunity to apply for tax incentives through the County of Kern’s AdvanceKern initiative, as did L’Oréal USA, which was approved for $2.3 million in tax rebates.”

“There continues to be a very tight market in terms of both available product and land available for the development of large scale distribution centers in Southern California,” said Majestic Realty Co. Senior Vice President, Brett Tremaine. “The Tejon Ranch Commerce Center features turn-key sites for distribution, manufacturing and e-commerce operations that allow users to serve southern and northern California, as well as all 11 western states, from one location, and as we believe many more companies currently located in the Los Angeles basin, like SalonCentric, will want to avail themselves of the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center’s strategic location and outstanding labor pool, it’s important to have a building ready for them.”

The building’s 34-acre site has more than 2,000 feet of frontage along the east side of I-5, just a half-mile north of the I-5/Laval Road interchange, providing almost immediate access to California’s principal north/south highway, with the ability to serve nearly 90% of California consumers within a single day truck turn. The Class-A cross-dock distribution facility will feature a 36-foot clear height, ESFR sprinkler system, 62 dock high doors, 177 trailer parking stalls and 327 vehicle parking stalls. A 180-foot wide truck court will allow for maximum efficiency and maneuverability.

Construction is expected to begin later this year or early 2019, with completion anticipated in the third quarter of 2019.

Tejon Ranch and Majestic also jointly own a fully-leased 651,909-square-foot industrial building within the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center on the west side of I-5, adjacent to IKEA’s 1.8 million square foot distribution center.

John DeGrinis, SIOR, senior executive vice president of Colliers International will serve as the listing broker for the new development.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181102005085/en/

Waymo given green light to start testing fully self-driving cars in California

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 08:49AM
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The self-driving technology company, Waymo, announced it was given the green light to start testing fully driverless cars in California.

Similar testing is already underway in Arizona.

The designated testing area in California includes parts of Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto and Mountain View.

The company announced the news in a tweet on Tuesday, reading in part, “Waymo was just granted the first driverless test permit in the state of California.”

The permit by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) allows the testing on city streets, rural roads and even highways.

“I wouldn’t get in one yet,” Palo Alto resident, Joe Novosel told ABC7 News. “But you know, maybe five years or so I can see myself driving in them if they keep progressing the way they have.”

According to Waymo, its vehicles have driven more than ten-million autonomous miles on public roads across 25 cities since 2009.

Around the Peninsula today, people can spot the white Waymo vans, noticeably tricked out with technology.

“They really make no attempt at being hidden,” Novosel added.” They definitely like being seen with their logo white vans and all the crazy sensors that they have sticking off the top.”

“Waymo, by my outside observation of the industry, is certainly among the most advanced companies in this,” Sven Beiker told ABC7 News. Beiker is the managing director of Silicon Valley Mobility.

He says the permit will create a world of possibilities, like mobility options for seniors, those with disabilities or anyone unable to operate a vehicle themselves.

Beiker said testing will also allow developers to understand where the driverless technology is needed most. One possibility, he said, is late night bus rides and the option of having a bus drive from destination to destination on its own.

“The exciting thing is, we don’t really know what it might generate,” Beiker said. “I mean, think about the internet. Who would’ve thought what the internet enables.”

Beiker also addressed concern from consumers.

“The reason can be that we don’t have full knowledge. It could also be that we do have knowledge, and know that things can happen,” he explained. “Because after all, driving is a dangerous undertaking.”

Waymo announced the first driverless rides will be for members of the Waymo team. Eventually, the company will create opportunities for members of the public to experience the technology, as they’ve done in Arizona with its early rider program.

The California DMV has a list of accidents involving self-driving vehicles. To see the list, go here.

https://abc30.com/technology/waymo-given-green-light-to-start-testing-fully-self-driving-cars-in-california/4589022/

South Valley Industrial Summit

Join us Wednesday, November 14th for the
optional pre-summit workshops offered free of
charge to industry partners. Come and learn about
new technologies and processes.
Thursday, November 15th is designed to be a
full-day event that will feature vendor booths,
keynote speakers, and various breakout sessions
offered by industry experts and practitioners.
Keynote Speakers
 President & CEO, California Dairies
 Faraday Future
 Surf Ranch, Kelly Slater Wave Company
NEW! Optional Pre-Summit Workshops
Nov. 14
 Lean Principles
 ABB Inc in Robotics
 Variable Frequency Drive Basics & Control Methods
 Intro to Machine Vision
 Safety Solutions: Introduction to Automation Safety

Faraday Future announces mass hiring

 

JULISSA ZAVALA

Sep 12, 2018

HANFORD — Faraday Future officials welcomed newly hired employees Tuesday at its Hanford factory and have announced even more hiring efforts.

The announcement comes just in time, as the first pre-production FF 91 luxury electronic vehicle was recently built at the Hanford facility, which is located in Hanford’s Industrial Park.

Vince Nguyen, director of human resources and recruiting – product and technology at Faraday Future, said the company has hired around 100 employees to work in the Hanford facility and ultimately hopes to employ around 1,000 people by mid-2019.

 

Currently, Nguyen said a majority of the new hires have original equipment manufacturer (OEM) backgrounds and the company is looking for talented individuals who have experience in that area, especially locals.

“There really are a lot of genuine listings for Hanford on the corporate [website], so it’s not just a small part, there’s significant hiring going on right now,” said Matt Davis, senior manager, product communications.

Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle attended the announcement and spoke with the employees. When he asked the group of about 50 people how many of them had grown up in the Valley, a majority of them raised their hands.

Pyle told them he never would have expected a company like Faraday Future to locate in the Central Valley.

 

“We’ve got some big businesses here in the Valley, but I can tell you none of them generate the interest in Hanford that you have,” Pyle said. “You have not put Hanford on the map, you have put us on the globe.”

Pyle said the most exciting aspect is that this is only the first wave of employees to step into this new venture and he can’t wait for more people to jump at the opportunity.

https://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/faraday-future-announces-mass-hiring/article_4314db09-7e81-5a85-8ceb-37d08404c14a.html#tracking-source=home-top-story

Could autonomous car testing be the rebirth of Castle Airport in Atwater?

September 03, 2018 12:22 PM

Now that Amazon and Ulta are open, what jobs will be coming to the Valley?

August 31, 2018 08:49 AM

Where can you find self-driving cars?

Car fuel from trees? Cutting-edge plant coming to Riverbank

BY GARTH STAPLEY

June 23, 2018 03:42 PM

Sometime next year, a first-of-its-kind biofuel plant three miles north of Modesto will begin turning old almond and walnut trees into transportation fuel.

The intriguing process should keep growers from burning millions of tons of orchard waste, spewing unhealthy smoke into Valley air. That wood instead would be transformed into cellulosic ethanol, a superclean liquid that’s mixed with gasoline and goes into our vehicle gas tanks.

Is it safe? And will there be new jobs?

Yes and yes, says Aemetis Inc., the Cupertino-based company willing to take a chance on Riverbank, and on new technology.

The future plant will need about 40 workers when it joins 38 other businesses at the former army ammo plant southeast of town, now known as the Riverbank Industrial Complex. About 1,000 other people will get indirect jobs trucking orchard waste to the Aemetis plant, trucking away low-carbon cellulosic ethanol, maintaining trucking fleets, and related services.

“It is a significant, meaningful impact on the community,” said Andy Foster, president of the firm’s renewable fuels division.

Aemetis has a track record in this area, having operated a biofuel plant 14 miles down the road in Keyes since 2011. The Keyes plant uses corn to make conventional ethanol, while the Riverbank plant will consume nut shells and almond, walnut and pistachio trees, saving them from landfills or from being burned in fields.

“Cellulosic ethanol is thought to be better for the environment than corn ethanol, as they make (cellulosic) ethanol from woody waste rather than growing corn just to make into ethanol,” said Jaime Holt, spokeswoman for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Experts calculate benefits with complex formulas taking into account everything needed to grow and harvest whatever is used to make transportation fuel. The so-called carbon intensity score for gasoline, 95, drops to 70 for corn ethanol. But the score for wood ethanol is less than zero; that’s how beneficial it is to reuse a product that otherwise would belch smoke when burned in the open.

Aemetis already has a 20-year deal with a tree waste broker who will capitalize on the almond explosion in these parts, with trees covering 1.5 million acres in recent years. The average life of an almond tree is 20 to 25 years, and the Valley produces about 1.6 million tons of tree waste each year.

Aemetis also has a 55-year lease on land at the former ammo plant, at Claus and Claribel roads. The company will renovate some old buildings and erect others for the new wood ethanol plant, which could produce 12 million gallons per year.

Byproducts include fish meal to be sold to big salmon farms, and others will be announced in time, Foster said. Together, wood ethanol and byproducts could bring annual revenue of $70 million, according to a BioFuels Digest report.

Neighbors need not worry, Foster said, because wood ethanol — although flammable — doesn’t explode like propane or petroleum, and Aemetis will install state-of-the-art firefighting equipment that will be second to none, like they did at the Keyes plant, he said.

The process does include “advanced arc furnace technology,” or burning; wood is superheated at 3,000 degrees, about the same needed to melt glass, turning wood into a gas before it’s cleaned and fed to microbes in a fermentation chamber. A resulting broth is distilled into cellulosic ethanol, or wood ethanol.

“We treat it with respect and care and take all the precautions,” Foster said. “The community shouldn’t be worrying about a big explosion.”

Well, this is somewhat uncharted territory. Although scientists figured out how to turn plants into fuel back in the 1800s, companies have had a hard time making a profit since with feedstock other than corn, despite best efforts of heavy hitters like DuPont and Abengoa. Those persevering reached a production high-point exceeding 10 million gallons last year, but that’s a fraction of the federal goal set in 2007, of blending 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply by 2010.

“The bottom line is that cellulosic ethanol has fallen far short of the hype and the expectations,” wrote Robert Rapier in February for Forbes magazine.

Some view government subsidies, giving a leg up to emerging renewable fuels technology, as a negative. Aemetis will rely on a $125 million USDA loan for the Riverbank plant; loan requirements included the company successfully operating a demonstration plant in Washington state for 120 days, which Aemetis achieved in a March announcement.

The company hopes to produce 12 million gallons per year of wood ethanol in Riverbank, with plans to someday expand to 40 million gallons. The Keyes plant puts out 60 million gallons per year of corn ethanol.

Aside from Riverbank, Aemetis hopes eventually to announce additional wood ethanol plants in this area, Foster said. All would employ mechanics, engineers and other manufacturing workers at decent wages, he said.

Aemetis apparently is sold enough on Riverbank to compete for the job of taking over the entire 105-acre Riverbank Industrial Complex.

Started in 1943, the ammo plant produced shell, grenade and mortar cartridges as a major area employer until 2009. After nearly 30 years of cleaning contaminants from the land and water underneath, the U.S. Army last year conveyed some of the property to an entity overseen by Riverbank City Hall, and is expected to give the rest this summer.

“The city is not interested in continuing to be an industrial developer out there forever,” said City Manager Sean Scully. So city leaders in October asked for proposals from prospective master developers, and now are negotiating with Aemetis for the job. Rules set by the city require an employment boost, with priority for people living within 50 miles, and prevent new housing.

“This is our opportunity to create something where people can get jobs so they can work and live here,” Scully said. “We are blessed to have that opportunity.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/local/article213221279.html