Press Room

Remote workers and super commuters are on the rise – and they probably make more than you

Messer to build new Carbon Dioxide plant in Keyes, California

Investment supports U.S. expansion strategy, meets growing demand from food, beverage & electronics manufacturers

Bridgewater, N.J., U.S., March 8, 2019 – Today, Messer LLC (Messer) announced that it will begin construction on a new Carbon Dioxide (CO2) plant in Keyes, California. The plant will provide 450 tons-per-day of CO2, an essential product for carbonated beverages, food freezing & chilling, and electronics manufacturing. The product is also used by a wide range of industrial companies in northern California and surrounding areas. The new plant is slated for completion in Q4 2019.

“This investment represents our commitment to strategic U.S. expansion to meet growing market demand,” said Jens Luehring, President and CEO, Messer Americas. “We’re dedicated to providing a reliable supply of industrial gases to our customers and look forward to breaking ground on this plant to further meet that need.”

Messer currently operates two CO2 plants and two air separation units (ASUs) in California. Once completed, the new plant will support Messer’s strategy to enhance CO2 network reliability for customers.

About Messer
On March 1, 2019, Messer Group and CVC Capital Partners Fund VII (CVC) acquired most of the North American gases business of Linde plc, as well as certain Linde business activities in South America.  With over 70 production facilities and approximately 5,400 employees operating in the US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile, Messer today is one of the leading industrial gas companies in North and South America. Together with Messer Group, the company represents a USD $3 billion global enterprise with presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit. www.messer-us.com

New automated Visalia store will have no cashiers, no lines

A California computer scientist is set to compete for millennial dollars right here in Visalia.

Computer scientist Aamir Farooqui plans to open a 1,800 square-foot, fully-automated convenience store, similar to Amazon Go.

Based in Sacramento, Farooqui says his new concept store is the first of its kind in the Central Valley. He hopes to duplicate it elsewhere, he said.

An automated convenience store relies on computers and robotics. Amazon calls it “just walk out” shopping.

The new Visalia store will be built at 707 S. Bridge St., in the middle of the city.

Currently, it’s a vacant lot sandwiched between a second-hand store and homes. Farooqui bought the vacant parcel last year.

The developer is seeking a conditional-use permit from the city for the new store.

“In our model, we will be using new type of vending machines equipped with WiFi and cameras,” Farooqui said. “People can buy merchandise using cash (after converting to gift cards), credit or debit cards or through a mobile app. At the store opening, we plan to give away 100 free gift cards to our first customers.”

These kinds of stores have taken off in Europe where they go by the names of SmartMart and RoboMart. Farooqui says he has yet to choose a name for the Visalia location.

He hopes to open as soon as possible.

Not having on-site employees will allow the business to save money although it may take shoppers a little time to get used to a new routine using technology.

“Our goal is simply to reduce the cost of running a store for small businesses and at the same time offer 24-hour convenient service to the local community.”

Amazon’s model is simple.

“You simply walk in, grab what you need, and go. Amazon bills your credit card as you pass through the turnstile on your way out,” he said. “Moments later, an app on your phone provides a receipt detailing what you’ve bought, what you paid, and even how long you spent inside.”

Grocery stores are automating the shopping experience led by Walmart and Sam’s Club. The Visalia Walmart is installing more automated check-out devices and Sam’s Club wants to allow shoppers to scan products by holding their smartphones over a product, without having to find and capture a barcode on the package.

Microsoft is said to be developing technology that can track what shoppers add to their carts.

Meanwhile, Target is changing item pickup service at the stores with Pickup Towers, making the in-store process automated.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/08/new-automated-visalia-store-have-no-cashiers-no-lines/3105346002/https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/08/new-automated-visalia-store-have-no-cashiers-no-lines/3105346002/

The Sound of Results


(Photo: pxhere)

It is often said results speak for themselves. But, what if they don’t? What if the most important accomplishment is mastering new ways to think and work together—culture change?

The San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance is built on the work of the Regional Jobs Initiative (RJI). The RJI was designed as a 5-year sprint in 2003 to create 30,000 jobs in the Central Valley, create new civic infrastructure, strengthen the workforce and build a dozen industry clusters. The theory—if we create jobs and a strong workforce—there will be resources for the city of Fresno to invest in amenities, parks and infrastructure instead of spending the bulk of its money on law enforcement. Everyone would benefit: job seekers, employers and the community. Much was accomplished. Many lessons were learned.

Businessman Mike Betts, informed by the work of the RJI, made a commitment to lead the Alliance from a civic perspective. Rather than create an industry cluster, he and many partners from government, education and nonprofits are standing together as citizens first to align resources and to get results. Rather than think from their self-interest, they are committed to doing what is best for the whole community. Single interests fragment and negotiate. Citizens align and leverage. You know which approach delivers better results!

New programs have started, dual enrollment is increasing, millions of dollars in equipment and programs have been added to career and technical education, instructors have become certified. The results are students are becoming credentialed and qualified for jobs, and students are finding career pathways they never knew existed.

Employers are discovering that if they want a strong workforce they must become a strong partner in curriculum design. They must offer externships so instructors are up to date on workforce culture and skill needs. They must offer internships to students at various levels as first jobs of generations past are no longer available. Most of all, they must be mentors and role models. Too many of our youth and young adults did not receive the kind of mentoring those in healthy families receive by osmosis. We must be intentional.

We are not alone in this work. The California Community Colleges initiated the Strong Workforce Program and the impacts have rippled throughout the state. New funding, new policies and more alignments are the fruit of these efforts. California Forward and the California Stewardship Network are working together, not just to accelerate outcomes from this program, but to address critical community issues that prevent too many of our residents from being job ready and thriving.

2019 is a big year for us. The eighth California Economic Summit is coming to Fresno in the fall. We encourage you to check out the Summit website and read the 2019 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity. Every region is on board, Governor Newsom has been involved since the beginning and the commitment to advance economic, social and environmental issues together is shared by all. Civic stewardship—leaders working together on behalf of the whole—is the path to achieving Golden State reality.

 

http://caeconomy.org/reporting/entry/the-sound-of-results

If there’s a map of meats, this butcher put Tulare on it

A Tulare butcher is making a splash in the world of smoked and cured meats — again.

This time, it’s a bigger splash.

Danny Mendes, owner of Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., recently took home several awards at the annual California Association of Meat Processors’ Cured Meat Competition held at California State University, Chico.

This is the fourth year Mendes has entered his prized meats in the competition and the second time the business has taken home the best in show award.

Mendes has made a name for himself and is quickly gaining state and national recognition.

“They didn’t know what Tulare was,” he said. “They know now.”

At the state competition, Mendes entered 28 products in 18 different categories. He took home 10 grand champion wins. In total, he took home 18 awards.

“Getting best in show two out of the four years is pretty awesome,” he said. “It was impressive — a feel-good moment.”

Mendes received grand champion awards for his bone-in ham, Italian bacon, jalapeno cheese stick, stadium franks black label, old fashion hot dogs, fresh Italian sausage, smoked bratwurst, cheddar bratwurst, jalapeno cheddar sausage, braunschweiger, garlic summer sausage, duck bacon and Linguica-style cottage bacon.

He also received a merit award for his sugar cured bone-in ham and turkey bacon.

But the big takeaway was the coveted Joe Cutler Memorial Best of Show for his Italian bacon. His sausage was judged against the grand champions of each meat category — many his own creations.

Mendes first started to work for Tulare Meat Locker, which originally opened in 1976, when he was only 13. After a call from the former owner in 2003, Mendes decided he wanted to take over the business.

Over the last 15 years, Mendes has worked on his technique and offers custom butchery to Tulare County residents and beyond.

His sandwiches are top hits at the annual Ag Expo and Tulare County Fair.

“That’s what makes this place unique, it’s all done in house,” he said.

The shop offers custom butchering of livestock and fresh meat that isn’t sliced until ordered. Sausages, snack sticks, hams, tri-tip and linguica are also available. He hopes to one day expand his storefront and offer all in-house made sandwiches.

This year, there were 19 plants entered and 216 individual entries in 19 different classes.

The annual contest is open to all California Association of Meat Processor members and is judged by a panel of meat specialists.

Mendes is expected to compete at the national level this summer in Alabama.

Last year, he took home several wins at the American Association of Meat Processors’ American Cured Meat Championships, held in Kansas City.

Mendes won awards for five different meat products, one of which earned grand champion: his hot link sausage.

Tulare Meat Locker is located at 1531 E. Bardsley Ave.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/01/if-theres-map-meats-butcher-put-tulare-10-awards/3029578002/

A new rooftop bar is headed to a historic downtown Fresno building. Here’s what you need to know

Quail State bar has signed a lease to open in both indoor and outdoor spaces on the third-floor rooftop of the Pacific Southwest Building on Fulton Street. Photographed from Mariposa Street, Quail State will be on the east side of the historic building, facing the Radisson Hotel Conference Center on Van Ness Avenue.
Quail State bar has signed a lease to open in both indoor and outdoor spaces on the third-floor rooftop of the Pacific Southwest Building on Fulton Street. Photographed from Mariposa Street, Quail State will be on the east side of the historic building, facing the Radisson Hotel Conference Center on Van Ness Avenue.BETHANY CLOUGH BCLOUGH@FRESNOBEE.COM

Plastics manufacturing plant bringing 150 jobs to Modesto, relocating from Bay Area

 

The plastic injection molding company JATCO Incorporated is relocating from Union City to Modesto, CA. The plant makes a wide range of plastic products. The company is bringing 150 jobs to the valley, which will begin hiring this month.

First-of-its-kind mental health facility opens in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A first-of-its-kind facility aimed at helping people suffering from mental health issues opened in Southeast Fresno on Thursday.
The new center will offer patients therapy while providing a secure residential environment.

The Crisis Residential Treatment Center is a beautiful facility that cost about $5 million to build, with most of the money coming from state funding.

As the need for mental health services in our community continue to increase at an alarming rate — the facility offers a home-like setting for adults experiencing serious psychotic episodes or intense emotional distress

“Hospitals are inundated with a lot of individuals that need mental health services so this is an added service. So instead of going to the hospital they can come here and we can stabilize them,” says Gerardo Cervanntes, an administrator at the facility.

The 12,000 square foot facility has 16 beds and will provide psychiatric support and case management service around the clock.

Fresno County Behavioral Health Director Dawan Utecht says one in five people suffer from some form of mental health issue
The goal here is to get residents used to daily household activities while learning coping skills necessary to successfully transition back into society.

“By having this it increases the chance of success that someone who’s been in a mental health crisis can get the resource they need so they dont get into another mental health crisis,” says Utecht.

Only clients with the greatest need and referred by the County Department of Behavioral Health will have access to this facility.

“A facility like this creates a stepping stone that’s closer to the ones before and after so when a person is making that pathway toward recovery, it’s not a Grand Canyon they have to leap to get that recovery. It’s really a clear pathway and this is a really important stepping stone for us,” says Utecht.

Administrators here expect to serve hundreds of people a year.

And tell me they hope to expand their reach over the next few years by offering live in housing for clients.

Visalia community college upgrades Valley workforce with soft skills, management training


(Photo: College of the Sequoias)

For several years in Visalia, employers told the Visalia Economic Development Corporation and the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board they had a problem.

Their present and future workers needed to understand how to function better in the workplace—what they call “soft skills.”

For Jorge Zegarra at the College of the Sequoias that was a clue to get to identify and refine trainings to meet the employer needs.

“We work with employers to meet their workforce needs because we have the willingness to improve the economic growth and global competitiveness of business and industry in our region,” Zegarra said. “This helps more workers achieve upward mobility, which in turn improves their livelihood.”

The college offers an Essential Workplace Skills Training for employees of the manufacturing and logistic companies in the community. The training consists of eight sessions of three hours each and teaches basic skills like communications, problem solving, time management and critical thinking to name a few.

The classes are either held at the Training Resource Center at the College or at a local employer.

Another workplace challenge identified by employers is training people how to manage.

“Often, you will promote a valued employee into a managerial position, and they don’t have any managerial experience,” said Bruce Nicotero, who runs the JoAnn Stores distribution center in the Visalia Industrial Park.

The Frontline Supervisory Academy is a 36-hour course that covers 12 modules in three-hour increments in which new or existing managers learn tips about how to manage and motivate, the importance of teamwork, and how to manage change in today’s economy.

“We have an open enrollment approach to support small businesses where they can send one or two of their employees,” said Zegarra, who said that a class would normally need from fifteen to twenty participants.

In addition, the College of the Sequoias has partnered with a local employer in the city’s industrial park to offer an open enrollment electrical safety and industrial motor controls class that will begin this spring—as well as offering several food safety related trainings to help local employers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act.

“The San Joaquin Valley now has sustainable support systems for Community Colleges that are industry led,” said Gurminder Sangha, Sector Navigator for Advanced Manufacturing for the California Community Colleges. “South Valley Industrial Collaborative, and San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance are the regional platforms supporting the development of K-16 CTE programs and pathways that are aligned with regional industry needs. Now my focus will be on the creating such partnerships across California to help support the Vision for Success.”

The COS mission talks about being focused on student learning that leads to productive work, lifelong learning and community involvement.

For Nicotero and other employers, there’s an appreciation for the work the college is doing not only to help employers today, but also to help build momentum for the South Valley Industrial Collaborative.

“We’ve held two Industrial Summits and we are in the early stages of building the process which will attract more industry partners and hopefully even more cooperation with local community colleges to address the key issue of workforce preparation,” said Nicotero.

The California Economic Summit—which will be held in Fresno this year (November 7-8)—brings together public, private and civic sector leaders to collaborate and adopt initiatives for fueling job creation and a stronger economy. The Summit—a collaboration of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network—has identified a strong workforce as critical to widely shared prosperity.

“It is exciting to see robust relationships developing between community colleges and employers in the Central Valley,” said Susan Lovenburg, director of the Partnership for Economic Prosperity for California Forward. “Their collaboration is crucial to building the workforce of the future.

Bitwise teams up with FresYes Realty open third downtown location

Bitwise Industries is teaming up with Fres-Yes realty company and expanding to a new location in Downtown Fresno.

It will be located at the Old Spaghetti Factory building on Ventura and R Streets.

The building will be the third location for Bitwise, which already has South Stadium Van Ness and The Hive.

The second story of the new building, called “Bitwise 41,” will eventually have a team of 150 FresYes agents working there.

Organizers say they hope the new location will inspire other businesses to come to Downtown Fresno.

“So I think the exciting part as far as visibility goes you can’t get more visible than this building right here. 41 is directly behind me. North and south. 45,000 cars going each way. It is a prime location for just visibility alone,” said Channelle Charest with Bitwise.

Bitwise 41 is expected to be ready to occupy in April.

A grand opening will be held in early summer.