Category: Manufacturing

WE’RE BACK, BABY! FRESNO TOP AG COUNTY ONCE AGAIN

Workers sort navel oranges earlier this year at Kings River Packing, northeast of Sanger. Photo by David Castellon.

Published On October 8, 2019 – 11:23 AM
Written By David Castellon

For the first time since 2013, Fresno County is the top agricultural county in California and the U.S.

This news comes with the Tuesday morning release of the 2018 Tulare County crop and livestock report, which shows sales of agricultural goods produced there last year totaled more than $7.21 billion, a 2.5% increase from ag sales in 2017.

In 2017, Kern County was the top ag county based on sales, followed by Tulare and Fresno counties, respectively.

But based on this latest crop report and those previously released, Fresno County shot up in the rankings to the top spot, with 2018 gross ag sales totaling more than $7.88 billion, followed by more than $7.46 billion in sales by Kern County farmers, ranchers, apiarists and others.

Although the data on 2018 ag sales isn’t in for all California counties and those in the rest of country, Fresno, Tulare and Kern have far and away been the top ag-producing counties in the nation in terms of ag sales.

For years, Fresno held on solidly to the first-place spot until Tulare County knocked it off that spot in 2014. After that, the top ag county title was held annually by either Tulare or Kern counties.

A big part of the reason for Fresno County falling short of the No. 1 ranking those years was due to California’s five-year drought that began in late 2011— the worst in the state’s recorded history — causing major water shortages in the western end of Fresno County that forced farmers there to limit their farming or let fields go fallow.

Weather and water conditions have since improved in the region.

As for the other South Valley counties, ag sales in Kings County totaled more than $2.35 billion last year and $2.05 billion in Madera County.

Those two counties ranked ninth and eleventh, respectively, among California’s ag counties in 2017.

It wasn’t immediately clear how they ranked statewide or nationally in 2018, as those tallies will not be compiled and disclosed until next year.

Madera, Kings and the other three South Valley counties all saw their ag sales totals increase last year.

For Tulare County, long the top dairy county in the U.S., it’s no surprise milk was the top-selling ag commodity in 2018, with sales totaling more than $1.68 billion. But that was down more than 5% — $93.1 million — from 2017 sales.

The report shows that the price of milk purchased from dairies declined from about $16.39 per hundredweight — 100 pounds — in 2017 by about a dollar in 2018, which reduced the total income dairies in the county received for their milk, even though production was up slightly.

It goes on to say that poultry and livestock values among Tulare County sales also declined slightly in 2018.

Sales of field crops rose nearly 9% from 2017 to 2018, which the county’s agricultural commissioner and his staff attributed to higher prices paid for them, while the 5.7% rise in sales of fruits and nuts is at least partially attributed to farmers expanding their production acreage of blueberries, pomegranates and tangerines.

Sales of ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as nursery-raised products, experienced even more vigorous growth over the same period of 47% and 34.7%, respectively, while sales of vegetable crops declined nearly 16% to $17. 2 million.

Part of the reason for the latter drop was due to farmers harvesting 931 fewer acres of vegetables last year compared to 2017, according to the crop report.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/were-back-baby-fresno-top-ag-county-once-again/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=bfd5b60568-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_10_08_08_31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-bfd5b60568-78934409&mc_cid=bfd5b60568&mc_eid=a126ded657

Kernville, Bakersfield breweries combine for five medals at nation’s top beer festival

A pair of Kern breweries took home an extraordinary five medals at the Great American Beer Festival last weekend in Denver — a testament, the local winners say, to the county’s sophisticated approach to beer-making.

Kernville’s Kern River Brewing Co. took home two golds and two silvers, as well as the Brewery Group of the Year honor, while Temblor Brewing Co. in Bakersfield won bronze.

“I’m still trying to absorb all this,” said Eric Giddens, who owns KRBC with his wife, Rebecca. The couple had only just arrived home Monday after driving home from Denver.

At an event billed as the most prestigious beer competition in the world, the Brewers Association awarded 318 medals to 283 breweries across the United States. Some whole states didn’t win as many medals as Kern breweries did.

KRBC’s Belgian-style blonde, Nènette, won gold, as did the brewery’s session India pale ale, Gravity Check. Its brown porter, called Brown Claw, and its double hoppy red ale, Side Hike, won silver.

Temblor’s Belgian-style wit, Under a Blood Orange Sky, won a bronze medal.

Temblor’s head brewer, Mike Lahti, said the honor felt good.

“I’ve been doing this 16 years and this is the first (Great American Beer Festival award) for a beer I’ve designed,” he said. “One of those things that every brewer wants to do is get a medal at GABF.”

Lahti added that Kern’s strong showing speaks to the county’s emerging national reputation.

“I think it shows that, obviously, competition amongst ourselves has all helped us challenge ourselves to make better beer, to keep up with the competition,” he said.

Giddens said he and others representing KRBC celebrated the announcement of Temblor’s win as they were picking up their own medals.

“I think (Kern’s combined total of five medals) shows that the beer landscape in Kern County is changing,” he said. “I think people in Kern County are going to start taking notice and enjoying that beer.”

Though dwarfed by the brewing mecca of San Diego County, which won 18 of the 68 medals awarded to the Golden State in this year’s GABF, Kern’s brewing community has come a long way in the last several years. There are now five independent breweries in Bakersfield alone, with another on the way.

In all, the competition judged 9,497 beers from 2,295 breweries.

No brewery company won more medals at this year’s GABF than KRBC, which launched in 2005 and expanded in 2016 to a second location next door.

“What blows me away is that this was the largest beer competition in the world to date,” Giddens said. “For a small brewery in a mountain town in Kern County to come away as the most decorated brewery in the bunch just split my mind.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/kernville-bakersfield-breweries-combine-for-five-medals-at-nation-s/article_7034b2a6-e923-11e9-a43a-c3fa4dc75ca8.html

Tesla’s Semi, solar and battery storage to help Frito Lay cut emissions at CA plant

American snack company Frito Lay has announced that they will make its Modesto, California distribution plant eco-friendly in an attempt to significantly decrease the amount of carbon-emissions the company is producing during its day-to-day operations. The snack-maker will utilize a number of companies to complete the operation, including Tesla.

“We are going to replace 75 pieces of distribution equipment with zero, or near-zero, emissions new equipment across forklifts, tractors, yard tractors within our Modesto operation,” Vice President of Supply Chain for PepsiCo. Michael O’Connell stated in an interview with The Modesto Bee. Frito Lay is a subsidiary of PepsiCo.

Frito Lay has already put down a deposit on 100 Tesla Semi units, 15 of which will be deployed to the Modesto site. The company placed these deposits down on the Silicon Valley-based manufacturer’s new Semi when it was unveiled on November 16, 2017.

The new plan that will cut emissions significantly will be funded by a $15.4 million grant from the California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB. Along with the grant, Frito Lay is investing $13.5 million of its own money, as well as $1.8 million from American Natural Gas. The combined total of the project is $30.8 million.

https://www.teslarati.com/teslas-semi-solar-megapack-frito-lay-modesto-plant/

Faraday hires former BMW exec as global CEO in restructuring

 

September 03, 2019 01:55 PM
ALEXA ST. JOHN  

Faraday Future has chosen industry veteran Carsten Breitfeld as its new global CEO to bolster the long cash-strapped startup in its efforts to secure funding and develop products.

Breitfeld assumes leadership of the California mobility company as it begins production of the ultraluxury FF 91 electric vehicle and will manage the final development of the FF 81 mass-market EV.

The announcement Tuesday comes just days after news of Faraday’s restructuring plan, which the company said began late last year.

Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting has stepped down as CEO to assume the role of chief product & user officer. Yueting founded Faraday Future in May 2014.

Breitfeld holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Hannover in Germany.

He spent 20 years at BMW, where he led the i8 vehicle program as group vice president. He also led engineering divisions for BMW within chassis development, powertrain development and corporate strategy.

Before joining Faraday Future, Breitfeld co-founded and was chairman and CEO of Chinese EV maker Byton. He also had a brief stint as CEO of Iconiq Motors this year.

“YT and I have known each other for a number of years and have discussed me joining the company in the past,” Breitfeld said in a statement. “I have been extremely impressed with the steady progress the company has made on the flagship FF 91.”

Faraday Future, which has ambitions to compete against Tesla Inc., said in a statement Tuesday that Breitfeld “will lead FF in developing industry-leading, forward-looking technology and products, enhancing organizational efficiencies and competencies, as well as accelerating ongoing fund-raising activities.”

Yueting will oversee artificial intelligence, product definition, user experience and the overall implementation of the Internet ecosystem model, according to the company. Yueting is establishing a debt repayment trust to repay his remaining guarantor debts to Faraday Future, according to the company.

“We are hopeful that our current and future employees will see the many benefits of our change of governance structure,” the company said in a statement last week regarding the restructuring.

The startup’s growth has been at a standstill amid changes in leadership and financial struggles.

Faraday Future was involved in a legal dispute over funding with its main investor, Evergrande Health Industry Group, the health care subsidiary of China’s second-largest property developer, China Evergrande Group. The dispute was settled in 2018, but it stalled Faraday Future’s efforts to produce the FF 91.

The company was originally set to begin deliveries in the first half of 2019. Faraday aims to start production of the 1,050-hp FF 91 in Hanford, Calif., next year and follow that with its mass-market offering, the FF 81, in 2021, Bloomberg reported.

The resignations of Nick Sampson, one of the startup’s three co-founders, and Peter Savagian, senior vice president of technology and product development, came last year amid reports of financial woes that Sampson said were making the company “effectively insolvent.”

The startup has been working to secure funding as of this year. The9, a Shanghai online game developer and operator, and Faraday Future signed a deal in which The9 Ltd. agreed to invest up to $600 million in a partnership that will produce EVs to sell in China, Faraday Future said.

With the agreement, the startup will make contributions including its usage rights on a piece of land in China for electric car manufacturing. The startup said it also is seeking a global chairman.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.

Merced points to thriving industrial base

 

Central Valley Business Times

August 23, 2019

  • Cites five firms expanding in Merced
  • “An expansion that is bringing jobs and revenue to the community”

The city of Merced is touting its industrial base, saying it is thriving.

“Our retail and commercial sector is doing well, along with our housing market, and so is our industrial side,” says City Manager Steve Carrigan. “The industrial side of Merced is undergoing an expansion that is bringing jobs and revenue to the community. We are getting construction jobs, and then permanent jobs for Merced.”

Merced officials point to the expansion of existing businesses and the addition of new industrial buildings, with the growth spread across a variety of markets.

“That’s a good indicator of the city’s economic vitality,” says Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz.

The companies are located throughout the city’s industrial zones. “We are seeing these expansions in several of our industrial parks across the southern section of the city,” says Ms. Dietz. “It’s not just concentrated in one area.”

In the case of Titan Metal Products, the expansion is doubling the size of its facilities. Titan Doors, 1891 Wardrobe Ave., makes stock and custom doors, door frames and assemblies. Some of the firm’s doors are fire and ballistic rated. Titan’s products were recently used in the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.

The existing Titan plant spreads over 18,725 square feet, and the company is adding another 19,000 square feet of space to the door and assembly area. Centurion Boats, 2047 Grogan Ave., has been a maker of high performance towboats since 1976, specializing in wake-surfing towboats. A division of Correct Craft, Centurion is headquartered in Merced and offers sevenmodels, along with the ability to custom build a boat.

The company is undergoing a 24,234 square foot shop and office expansion, putting in a 3,600 square foot development and engineering facility, along with a test tank. All of the growth of the facility increases theresearch and development capacity to the facility.

O’Keeffe Safti-First, 220 S. R St., has specialized in architectural glass and metal products for 75 years. Some of O’Keeffe’s custom skylights, ladders and aluminum building products are in the Stanford Medical Center, the Intel Campus and the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu.

Safti-First is known for its fire-rated glass and framing systems, some of which are at the UC Davis campus, the U.S. Military Academy, West Point and Folsom Prison. The firm is adding a 30,651 square foot manufacturing facility plus a 7,764 square foot cold room to accommodate growing market demands.

Pacific Gas and Electric has expansion work going on at its service center and corporation yard located on the corner of Childs Avenue and Kibby Road. The utility is locating its regional management office at that site in a 15,400 square foot building, and installing a 9,100 square foot operations building. PG&E is also putting in a 23,500 square foot combination garage/warehouse at the site.

In addition to the existing plant expansions, developers are seeing a demand for more buildings that are ready for industrial tenants to move in, the city says. Lawler Excavation is constructing two new industrial buildings on Cessna Way in the city’s industrial park. The buildings, one 8,400 square feet and the other 7,500  square feet, could be used as warehouses or for other light industrial uses.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/801ee0ec-f1f1-4db3-a4ba-a329c2b00017.pdf

TranPak Ground Breaking at Freedom Industrial Park in Madera

Madera, CA – A ground breaking ceremony will be held Monday, July 1st at 11 AM as the City
of Madera welcomes TranPak to the Freedom Industrial Park. Currently located in Fresno,
TranPak will be constructing a new state-of-the-art facility. The new 65,000 square foot building
will allow them to streamline their operations and provide more space to meet the growing
demand for their products.

Span Construction and Engineering has been selected to do the entire design/build of the facility.
Span was founded in 1980 and maintains their home office in Madera. Completion date will be
in March of 2020 and TranPak will be fully operational by April 2020.

The Company was founded in 1994 by Marty Ueland. While Mr. Ueland remains the President
of the Company, his son Christian is the General Manager and runs the day to day operation.
TranPak manufactures its own proprietary pallets and has the largest, most versatile inventory of
plastic pallets, bins, liquid containers in North America for Just-in-Time delivery.

The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking at the site located at the Southeast corner of
Victory Lane and Independence Drive.

Gallo is buying 34 wine and spirit brands you’ve heard of — for $1.7 billion

 
The front entrance of the new Dry Creek office building at the E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

The front entrance of the new Dry Creek office building at the E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.  AALFARO@MODBEE.COM

E.&J. Gallo Winery has 34 new wine and spirit brands to its name after reaching a $1.7 billion deal to purchase properties from its rival Constellation Brands.

The Modesto-based company reached an agreement with Constellation, best known for producing beers like Corona, Modelo and Pacifico, to acquire several well-known wine brands, including Northern California labels Clos du Bois, Black Box and Ravenswood, in addition to sparking wine and spirits.

Included in the purchase were wine brands: Clos du Bois, Black Box, Ravenswood, Estancia, Mark West, Franciscan, Toasted Head, Hogue Cellars, Wild Horse, Blackstone, Vendange, Rex Goliath, Diseno, Hidden Crush, Taylor Country Cellars, Blufeld, Manischewitz, Wild Irish Rose, Arbor Mist, Milestone, La Terre, Taylor Dessert, Paul Masson Dessert, Capri, Cribari Dessert, Primal Roots, Taylor NY Table, Paul Masson Table,

Also included in the deal were sparkling wine brands Cook’s and J. Roget and Paul Masson brandy. The deal adds about 700 employees to Gallo’s existing 6,500 worldwide, and six winemaking facilities. They are Mission Bell in Madera, Turner Road Vintners in Lodi, Clos du Bois in Geyserville and Wild Horse in Templeton, along with Washington state’s Hogue Cellars and New York’s Canandaigua.

Most of the newly acquired wines are around the $11 price point. New York-based Constellation retains all of its beer brands, SVEDKA Vodka and several other wine labels including the high-profile Robert Mondavi brand family. Late last year, Constellation made a $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth, a Canadian-based cannabis company.

Earlier this year, Wine Business Monthly named Gallo No. 1 and Constellation No. 3 for the U.S.’s largest wineries by volume. The Wine Group out of Livermore (with a large production facility near Ripon) came in at No. 2.

Gallo has long sold wine at a range of prices and should do well with the labels it is buying from Constellation, said Cyril Penn, editor of Wine Business Monthly, speaking by phone from his Sonoma office.

“I would not expect them to dumb down these brands,” he said. “If anything, it will rejuvenate them.”

Gallo has succeeded through “vertical integration” that has grape growing, bottle making, distribution and other functions under one ownership, Penn said.

Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded the winery in Modesto in 1933. It concentrated on lower-priced wines from the San Joaquin Valley for most of its history but branched in the 1980s into premium vineyards near the California coast. Gallo later added Washington state and also imports wine and spirits from several countries.

The growth has come through Gallo’s own startup wineries and through purchases of established brands. Usually, the acquisition costs are disclosed because the companies are not publicly traded. Constellation is.

For Gallo, the addition brings some well-known brands into its portfolio.

“We are committed to remaining a family-owned company focused on growing the wine industry.,” said Gallo CEO Joseph E. Gallo in a press release about the acquisition. “While we continue to invest in our premium and luxury businesses, we see a tremendous opportunity with this acquisition to bring new consumers into the wine category. We will continue to provide our customers and consumers with quality products at every price point.”

The Gallo portfolio has over 100 brands, including wine labels Gallo Family Vineyards, Barefoot Cellars, Dark Horse, Apothic and Ecco Domani. Its spirits roster includes New Amsterdam vodka and gin, E&J brandy and Familia Camarena tequila.

E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto has rebranded and relaunched its Thunderbird wine. The old version, known for its citrus flavor and high alcohol, has been discontinued. The new Thunderbird comes in chardonnay, red blend and cabernet sauvignon.

The deal is one of the larger acquisitions for a Central Valley-based company in recent history. In 2002, Save Mart Supermarkets purchased Food 4 Less for $165 million. In 2007, Modesto-founded 5.11 Tactical owner Dan Costa sold the majority stake in his company for $305 million.

“This is a large deal; it’s a large acquisition for the Central Valley,” said Jeff Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. “This makes Gallo a bigger player in the wine industry here, where they are already large and dominant.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/article228800324.html


HILTI GETS BIGGER HOME IN VISALIA FOR FUTURE GROWTH

Visalia Mayor Bob Link, in the white shirt, shakes hands with Hilti, Inc. employees following a ribbon cutting at the company’s new, larger distribution center at the Visalia Industrial Park. Photo contributedåç

Published On June 20, 2019 – 3:12 PM
Written By David Castellon

If you aren’t in the business of constructing homes, commercial buildings or other structures, chances are you never heard of Hilti.

But in Visalia, the Luxemburg-based maker of professional-grade power tools and other construction products has made a name for itself over the past 24 years as a business and employer in the Visalia Industrial Park.

Now, the company is expanding its presence, having leased a newly-built, 166,000-square-foot building to house its West Coast distribution and Value-Added Service centers.

On Wednesday, the new facility at 4630 N. American St. was opened to local business people and dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by executives from Hilti, Inc. — the company’s Oklahoma-base U.S. division — and Visalia Mayor Bob Link.

The Visalia distribution center is the largest of 12 Hilti distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada, covering the West Coast and Pacific Rim.

Among the tasks performed at the Value-Added Service Center are assembling prefabricated parts installed with new walls to prevent the spread of fires and equipment to mount lights and heavy equipment to ceilings.

The European company has eight factories around the world, making tools mostly for commercial-builders, but some Hilti products can be found at Home Depot hardware stores and at about 100 Hilti stores in the U.S.

Hilti vacated two smaller buildings in other parts of the Visalia Industrial Park — which combined offered about 65,000 square feet of space — to move into the new building. Staff, work spaces, inventory and supplies occupy only about two thirds of it, said Patrick O’Connell, vice president of logistics for Hiliti, Inc.

He said sales for the company are on the rise, particularly in the U.S., so moving to a larger building is intended to prepare for growth.

Currently Hilti employs 30 people in Visalia, both at the new building and at a separate tool repair center also in the Industrial Park. While there are no immediate plans to expand that staff, there now more than 50,000 square feet available to make room for added hires and equipment in the future if the growth continues, as expected, O’Connell said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/hilti-gets-bigger-home-in-visalia-for-future-growth/