Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Meyer installs Solano County's largest solar system
East Bay Business Times
Meyer Corp. of Vallejo has completed installation of a 580 kilowatt solar power system that it says is the largest in Solano County.
Meyer said the system, which was designed by Berkeley-based Powerlight Corp., a subsidiary of San Jose-based SunPower Corp., will reduce the company's power consumption by 60 percent.
The system covers 51,000 square feet of rooftop on the company's headquarters.
The company said its use of solar power over the next 30 will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 7,000 tons.
Meyer is a manufacturer of cookware and kitchen products.
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Officials Dedicate New Blue Rock Springs Corridor
By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald
A panoramic view and a place to get away from it all can be found in a new trail segment in Vallejo which connects to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, a network of 500 miles of hiking paths encircling nine counties.
Hiking enthusiasts and local dignitaries will dedicate the two-mile Blue Rock Springs Corridor at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hanns Memorial Park, located on the corner of Redwood Parkway and Skyline Drive.
"We will be celebrating the fact that the last segment (of the Blue Rock Springs trail) is done," said Kathy Hoffman, Solano County Committee of the Bay Area Ridge Trail co-chairperson.
Built by Greater Vallejo Recreation District, the Blue Rock Springs Corridor starts at Hanns Park, and takes hikers past the Blue Rock Springs Golf Course to the intersection of Columbus Parkway and Lake Herman Road.
The newest segment, about a mile in length, lies between Ascot and Columbus parkways, Hoffman said. "The completion of the new segment now allows us to dedicate the entire corridor," she said.
An official entry point into the Bay Area Ridge Trail can be found at the corner of Columbus Parkway and Lake Herman Road.
Mayor Tony Intintoli and others will be on hand to dedicate the new segment.
Refreshments will be available and participants will take a short hike through Hanns Park.
Hoffman said completing the last segment took many years, and added she had lobbied Intintoli for the last eight years to complete it.
Saturday's dedication will be one of the mayor's last actions before he leaves public office after the Nov. 6 election.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
UC Davis received $532,271,401 in research grants and contracts for the 2006-07 fiscal year that ended June 30
October 23, 2007
RESEARCH FUNDS PASS HALF BILLION DOLLARS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR
UC Davis received $532,271,401 in research grants and contracts for the 2006-07 fiscal year that ended June 30, the third consecutive year that research funding exceeded the half-billion-dollar mark.
"A strong trend in our sponsored research programs continues across a wide range of disciplines, reflecting the breadth of UC Davis research efforts," said Barry Klein, vice chancellor for research.
"Surpassing the half-billion-dollar mark for the third year in a row reinforces the important role that our campus scholars are playing in finding solutions to today's biggest challenges."
This year's total represents a small decline from a record figure of
$544 million in the previous fiscal year. That may reflect national trends. A recent report from the National Science Foundation found that after several years of growth, federal funding of research and development in academic science and engineering declined slightly in fiscal year 2005-06, after adjusting for inflation.
UC Davis ranked 16th in the nation in research and development expenditures in fiscal year 2005-06, according to the National Science Foundation.
The grants and awards span a wide range of campus disciplines. They include $25 million from the National Institutes of Health, over five years, to establish a center to speed up development of new treatments from experimental discoveries; $850,000 in "seed grants"
from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the state's stem-cell research agency; $2.8 million over five years from the U.S.
Department of Energy for advanced computing research; and $5.1 million over five years from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to support efforts to improve safety for farmers, farmworkers and consumers.
The total includes research projects in fundamental sciences, clinical trials and applied research, training and education projects as well as public service projects. The figures include all grants and contracts awarded to UC Davis by external sponsors, including "indirect" funds that support research infrastructure, but not internal awards or philanthropic gifts.
Almost $259 million came from the federal government, down from $298 million last year. Of that total, the Department of Health and Human Services provided $155 million, through the National Institutes of Health.
Other federal departments and agencies that sponsored research programs included the National Science Foundation ($38 million), the U.S. Department of Agriculture ($18 million), the Department of Defense ($12 million), the Department of Energy ($11 million) and the departments of State ($6.7 million), Interior ($4.9 million), and Education ($3.3 million).
The state of California provided $96 million, representing a $12 million increase in funding compared with the previous year. Funding from private business totaled $35 million, an increase of almost $8 million compared with last year.
The largest recipient of funds was the School of Medicine, which earned $148 million, or an increase of about $12 million more than the previous year. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences received $85 million; the School of Veterinary Medicine, $83 million; the College of Engineering, $54 million; the College of Biological Sciences, $42 million; and the College of Letters and Science, $27 million. Organized research units reporting to the Office of Research received $50 million.
The research funding totals were calculated on the basis of dollars transferred to the university during the 2006-07 fiscal year. Some funding agencies provide their grants and awards in annual increments, in which case funds are counted in the year received. If the funding agency transfers funds for multiple years at the same time, that is counted in the year funds are received by the university but not in subsequent years.
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Monday, October 22, 2007
Vallejo pushes forward on development 7 million square feet to become available at Mare Island project
Back Article published - Oct 22, 2007
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE: Vallejo pushes forward on development
7 million square feet to become available at Mare Island project
BY Jeff Quackenbush
VALLEJO -- Sonoma County property owners could face serious competition in the next few years for the typical northward expansion of companies from Marin County as the city of Vallejo gets serious about replacing several thousand jobs lost when the Mare Island Naval Shipyard closed a decade ago.
Banking on its new speedier access to interstate highways 80 and 680 via a Highway 37 bypass through the city, high-speed ferry access to San Francisco and hundreds of millions of dollars of downtown and Mare Island redevelopment planned over the next decade, city boosters and redevelopers are marketing their offerings to Highway 101 corridor companies in the North Bay.
Lennar Mare Island, the master developer of the island and a joint venture of Miami-area companies Lennar Corp. and LNR Properties, envisions 7 million square feet of industrial, office and retail space plus 1,400 homes on 650 acres of the island at full transformation.
The developer has spent more than $100 million in the five years it has had control of the property on upgrading the 100-year-old infrastructure, cleaning up decades of contamination and rehabilitating 2 million square feet of existing Navy buildings for reuse as offices and heavy industry, according to spokesman Jason Keadijian. Some 80 companies employing 1,800 people occupy virtually all the converted space so far.
Coming in mid-2008, Lennar plans to start selling 23 parcels in the 83-acre Mare Island Town Center tentative map with a total of 800,000 square feet of office and retail space the city Planning Commission approved in August.
"In the past year, we have had 15 to 20 inquiries from business or real estate brokers from Marin looking for manufacturing, office and research space," Mr. Keadijian said. "We're currently working with a couple of Marin businesses looking to relocate to 15,000 or 20,000 square feet."
Some Marin tenants outgrowing the limited amount of space in the county and priced out of the market may consider Vallejo or the East Bay for back-office functions of professional services firms and production space, according to Peter O'Brien, an Orion Partners commercial real estate broker focused on Sonoma County.
He's optimistic the historical Marin-to-Sonoma migration will continue, but he's concerned the increasing competition will require brokers representing properties in Petaluma and northward to market more heavily to Marin companies. He said a number of executives have told him they have been considering an eastward move.
"Highway 37 is a relief valve for Marin," Mr. O'Brien said.
However, Orion President and CEO Bill McCubbin, who has noted the movement of 2.5 million square feet worth of tenants from Marin to Sonoma County in the past 15 years, said any eastward migration would likely go to Point Richmond at the east end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on Interstate 580 before Vallejo because of the commute.
By Ines Bebea
FAIRFIELD - Dominic DiMare, vice president of government relations for the California Chamber of Commerce, will be the guest speaker at a breakfast Oct. 25.
DiMare will discuss how state issues affect local businesses.
The breakfast is sponsored by Solano Economic Development Corporation and the chambers of commerce from the seven cities in Solano County. Registration for the event starts at 7:30 a.m. and the program begins at 8:00 a.m. Tickets for the breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield are $25 per person.
To register call Solano EDC at 864-1855 or e-mail Pat Uhrich, email@example.com.
Read more in the Daily Republic or at www.dailyrepublic.com.
O'Brien Builders has been appointed by Touro University's School of Osteopathic Medicine to transform Building H-89 on Mare Island into a new clinical skills center. The project will result in a new 6,272-square-foot training facility with 17 exam training rooms and two assembly areas.
The work will include a new roof system, new exterior stucco siding, new mechanical HVAC and plumbing systems, revised electrical systems and site work.
The expected completion date is Nov. 5, allowing students to use the facility for their scheduled training exercises. O'Brien Builders has completed six other construction projects at Touro University, most recently two lecture halls for Touro's School of Pharmacy.
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen/Times-Herald, Vallejo
The Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area was ranked the nation's 22nd best performing city of 2006, according to an economic think tank's latest job growth report. That's up from a rank of 41 in 2005.
The Santa Monica-based Milken Institute ranked U.S. metropolitan areas based on their ability to create and sustain jobs, and their use of technology for regional economic growth.
But the latest "Best Performing Cities" study was based on 2005 numbers and may not reflect current reality, institute officials said. The Vallejo-Fairfield area was ranked among the nation's 200 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
"Vallejo did have a 20-point jump, but there was a lot of volatility in the rankings this year," said Jennifer Manfre of the Milken Institute. "A 20-point jump up or down was not uncommon around the nation."
Manfre said energy prices and "housing corrections" help explain the unpredictability in this year's rankings. And since the Vallejo-Fairfield MSA is among the hardest hit by the subprime lending and resulting home foreclosure crisis, its ranking next year may reflect that, she said.
"You might see a significant drop next year, based on 2006 data, but the tech industry is rebounding, which might help offset that, depending on how impacted you are by the high-tech industry," Manfre said.
On the other hand, Solano County's economic diversity, which has shielded it from feeling the full impact of past economic downturns, may once again cushion the blow.
"That's my hope," said Solano Economic Development Corp. President Mike Ammann. "All I can do is continue trying to bring in jobs from diverse industries so our economy can remain resilient and weather the inevitable bends in the economy."
Economists are always "looking in the rear-view mirror," he added. "And by the time the numbers reflecting the bend come out, we may already be turning around."
The Vallejo area's five-year job growth was nearly 8 percent above the national average, but its one-year growth was right at the national average, Manfre said. The area's wages and salary growth was 14 percent above the national average over five years, but only at the national average for its one-year measurement, Manfre said.
The study measures high-tech and related job growth specifically, and the Vallejo area's five-year performance for that criteria was 35 percent above the national average, though its one-year growth was only about 2 percent above the national average.
Ammann insists the results reflect a positive tendency in the region's economic growth.
"Long term, this is an upward trend," he said. "These economic bends hurt, but you've got to keep your eyes on the prize a little longer. We'll pull through this."
One reason Ammann said he's so sure the region will thrive, is that Solano County has experienced growth in high-paying jobs imported from around the Bay Area and beyond.
"Genentech is expanding, Touro University has a $330 million cancer treatment center project with Siemens Corporation, and a number of other firms are expanding in Fairfield and Dixon. There's a good, solid industrial base in Solano County."
"And as far as biotech, we ranked No. 1 for Northern California, from San Jose to Sacramento," Ammann added. "And we have more venture capital money than any place in the world."
The Riverside-SanBernardino-Ontario metropolitan area was the only one in California in the top 10, according to the study. It ranked third after Ocala, Fla., and Wilmington, N.C.
Vallejo-Fairfield Metropolitan Statistical Area Rankings
Overall Rank: 22 Population: 412,000
5-year Job Growth (2001-06) Score: 107.82 Rank: 27
1-year Job Growth (2005-06) Score: 99.99 Rank: 97
5-year Wages & Salary Growth (2000-05) Score: 114.01 Rank: 20
1-year Wages & Salaries Growth (2004-05) Score: 100.26 Rank: 86
Job Growth (Mar 2006-Mar 2007) Growth: 2.75% Rank: 30
5-year Relative High Tech GDP Growth (2001-2006) Score: 134.77 Rank: 11
1-year Relative High Tech GDP Growth (2005-2006) Score: 101.88 Rank: 41
Source: 2007 Best Performing Cities, Milken Institute
Thursday, October 18, 2007
By SARA STROUD/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald
BENICIA - The Department of Public Works thinks about backwash and flocculation so you don't have to.
To that end, city officials, engineers and water experts gathered Wednesday to celebrate the completion of two projects that will improve the city's water supply system.
Collectively called the Water Facilities Improvement Projects, the projects include a new reservoir and pump station and updates to the existing water treatment plant.
"These are the kinds of things citizens don't normally see," said Mayor Steve Messina at the new facilities' dedication ceremony, referring to infrastructural improvements that are often executed under the public's radar.
The new reservoir and pumping facility is on East Second Street, on a site previously owned by Valero. The reservoir tank holds up to 3 million gallons of treated water, and the three bright blue pumps housed next door are capable of supplying Benicia with 3,000 gallons of water per minute.
"That's a lot of water per minute," Public Works Director Dan Schiada said.
Benicia gets its source water from the Delta, and a damaged or destroyed pipeline could leave the city vulnerable, officials said. The new tank's large storage capacity will make Benicia more self-sufficient in an emergency.
Schiada emphasized that the fire department may also need the extra storage.
Project planning began in 2001 and sought to bolster inadequate water stores for the city's Zone 1 water supply area - which includes most of downtown - and to replace outdated components of water treatment facility.
Treatment plant im-provements include new filtration systems and cement-lined lagoons to store wastewater.
Costs for both projects totaled $17 million, and came from both state and local funds.
Treatment plant superintendent Scott Rovanpera said the new pumps would be cheaper to run than the old ones, as their motors are more efficient and require less electricity. Also, unlike the old pumps, the new pumps can be run at night, when electric rates are lower.
"We're hoping to see energy reductions and cost reductions," Rovanpera said.
E-mail Sara Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 553-6833.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
By Ben Antonius
City Manager Kevin OÕRourke talks with Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, at a City Council meeting Tuesday. (Photo by Mike McCoy)
FAIRFIELD - An hour into Tuesday's City Council meeting, presenters were running out of superlatives and Kevin O'Rourke was running out of wall space.
A ceremony for the retiring city manager drew 21 speakers from every nook and cranny of O'Rourke's lengthy career and probably represented a record week for local award shops, as nearly all the speakers brought plaques and commendations.
Even O'Rourke acknowledged the grandeur of the ceremony, jokingly apologizing to television viewers who might have tuned in for items on the actual council agenda.
"It's not easy to sit through so many presentations," O'Rourke said. "It's beginning to feel like the Neverending Story."
O'Rourke's retirement as city manager, first announced in early July, went into effect Saturday. Concurrently, so did his contract to stick around Fairfield for up to five or six months as interim city manager.
Many of the presenters, who ranged from current councilmembers to O'Rourke's subordinates at previous jobs, noted that his tenure in Fairfield - 10 years - is long for a city manager.
"I only made it to nine years," said Solano County Supervisor John Silva, with a laugh. Silva was city manager of Benicia from 1978 to 1987.
Michael Ammann, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, said having stability at the top helps cities take on large projects, the largest of which can stretch far beyond a decade.
"Consistency of leadership brings results," Ammann said.
The four members of the City Council in attendance offered their congratulations and Councilman Frank Kardos suggested O'Rourke consider a career in Hollywood based on his mastery "of dealing with five prima donnas."
Kardos also read a congratulatory letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, presented O'Rourke with a resolution from the state Assembly and a representative for Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, presented him with one from the House of Representatives.
Also highlighted was O'Rourke's extensive work with groups that focus on city manager training and development.
Among the speakers were representatives from the Solano County Area Managers Group, the International City/County Management Association, the Municipal Management Association of Northern California - Councilwoman Marilyn Farley also read a letter from the Municipal Management Association of Southern California - and the California City Management Foundation.
Rick Warsinski, city manager of Buena Park, spoke Tuesday to thank his former boss for his guidance. Warsinski was the planning director during the 11 years O'Rourke was manager of the Southern California city.
"He has a vision and he knows how to get there," Warsinski said.
Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or email@example.com.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald
Article Launched:10/16/2007 07:46:45 AM PDT
As part of Touro University's efforts to battle obesity and diabetes, proceeds from a grant will be used to host a visiting professor who is a leader in both fields.
Dr. Vincent Monnier, a professor from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, will be on campus this week to give seminars, and advise student research groups working on the two major health problems.
Monnier's visit is being hosted by Touro University research director Alejandro Gugliucci, a Touro biochemistry professor.
Monnier's visit is funded with a Pfizer Grant, which also were given this year to University of California at Davis, Michigan State University and Penn State University.
Grants are funded by Pfizer Incorporated, a major research-based pharmaceutical company. Up to 10 visiting professor grants of $7,500 per institution are made on a competitive basis. Participants are selected by an independent academic advisory board
The visit is part of Touro's efforts to prevent and stem the obesity epidemic in both children and adults, a focus which has inspired several community projects in nearby schools, officials said.
Monnier has led ground-breaking research on the role of blood sugar in diabetes, and published more than 150 articles on diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and aging, Gugliucci added.
Later this year, Touro students will undertake more public health projects in which they will use entertaining activities and strategies to help children choose fruits and vegetables over sodas and sugary snacks.
While Touro hosts Monnier, Gugliucci is preparing to spend the month of November at four Brazil universities.
While in Brazil, he will give lectures and share research ideas and projects in universities at Sao Paulo, Florianopolis, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro, he said.
At the Brazil schools, Gugliucci said he will present the findings of Touro's research into the beneficial effects of mate tea which comes from a tree native to Uruguay.
Touro students have undertaken a number of research projects on the tea, including its ability to boost an enzyme associated with high-density lipoprotein which is believed to lower the risks of coronary artery disease.
• Contact Sarah Rohrs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 553-6832.
In This Issue
Real Estate Roundup
Genentech "Sneak Preview"
Nation's Top Site Consultants
Did You Know?
Real Estate Roundup
Colliers International (http://www.colliersparrish.com/)
533 Stone Rd, Benicia - 11,520 s/f lease by Bay City Books
162 Egret Court, Benicia - 15,000 s/f lease by Red Line Oil
2400 Cordelia Rd, Fairfield - 129,669 s/f lease by Trans Bay Steel Corp
2850 Cordelia Rd #100, Fairfield - 21,540 s/f lease renewal by DHL Express
4977 Allison Parkway, Vacaville - 21,600 s/f lease Metro Candy/Halloween World
Cushman & Wakefield (http://www.cushmanwakefield.com/)
5191 Fermi Dr, Fairfield - 330,750 s/f purchase by Panattoni Development
2445 S Watney Way, Fairfield - 110,217 s/f purchase by Paul Amir
2445 S Watney Way, Fairfield - 35,000 s/f lease by Comcast
2449 S Watney Way, Fairfield - 59,000 s/f purchase by Fowler Properties
2449 S Watney Way, Fairfield - 59,000 s/f lease by Grateful Palate
2345 S Watney Way, Fairfield - 25,000 s/f lease by Saury USA
149 Grobic Court, Fairfield - 19,800 s/f purchase by Phillips LLC
2660 Cordelia Rd, Fairfield - 15,000 s/f by Sutter Regional Medical
497 Edison Court, Fairfield - 9,600 s/f lease by Dons Transport
Grubb & Ellis (http://www.grubb-ellis.com/)
2000 Walters Rd, Fairfield - 19,200 s/f lease by American Builders & Contractors
2031-2041 Cessna, Vacaville - 564,000 s/f lease renewal by Pacific Cycle
Keegan & Coppin (http://www.keegancoppin.com/)
560 First Street, Benicia - 34,000 s/f sale
Premier Commercial (http://www.pcres.net/)
4977 Allison Parkway, Vacaville - 21,600 s/f lease Metro Candy
2216 Cement Hill Road, Fairfield - 3 acres lease by Concrush
2216 Cement Hill Road, Fairfield - 14,885 s/f lease by Sutter Regional Medical
Lot #8, Industrial Drive, Fairfield - 1.55 acres purchase by T & L Howell
Lot #9, Industrial Drive, Fairfield - 1.7 acres purchase by Moince
EDC Board members get "sneak preview" of Genentech's $1.2 billion expansion
Solano EDC Board members got a sneak preview tour of Genentech's new $1.2 billion manufacturing facility in Vacaville on Sept. 27. The new facility represents the world's largest biotechnology manufacturing plant and adds to Solano County's rising role as a premier location for the biotech industry.
Mike Ammann, president of EDC, pointed out that the facility demonstrates Genentech's faith in Solano County. He did, however, make it clear that California's inability to provide alternative methods of taxation to retain, grow, and attract major capital investment is a real danger to the state's economic future.
Because of California's inaction, for example, Vacaville lost Phase III of the Genentech campus valued at $250 million to Portland, Oregon. The packaging and distribution of the medical products produced in Vacaville will be handled in Oregon.
Charles Calderaro, VP & General Manager of Genentech's Vacaville Product Operations, confirmed Ammann's views and concerns about the state's role in the future of manufacturing, and said it would be a shame for California-the birthplace of the biotech industry-to now lose out on opportunities to reap the benefits from this expanding industry.
The new Vacaville facility will be operational in 2009. Currently it is in the final phases of equipment installation, calibration, testing and staff training. In addition to the new manufacturing complex, Genentech has also announced and plans to break ground this fall for a new research and development center in Dixon.
Nation's Top Site Consultants
Mike Ammann, EDC president, recently attended the International Economic Development Council convention in Phoenix, Arizona, and discussed the opportunities for business in Solano County with the nation's top site consultants.
Center - Robert Ady, Ady International & former President of PHH Fantus Consulting and the founder of professional site selection. Other site consultants attending include: Angelos Angelou, Principal, Angelou Economic; Buzz Canup, founder & President of Canup & Associates; Gene Deprez, Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services; William Fredrick, Sr. Mgr Dir, Wadley-Donovan Growth Tech, LLC; Dean Foote, Sr Projects Mgr, Carter & Burgess; Samuel Lee, Midwest C&I Practice Leader, Deloitte Tax LLP; Roel Spee, Europe & Asia-Pacific Leader, IBM Business Consulting Services; Mark Sweeney, Sr Principal, McCallum Sweeney Consulting; and Jerry Szatan, Principal Szatan & Associates. Ammann said events such as the IEDC conference allow him to annually network face-to-face with the nation's top site consultants and important economic development professionals in support of the mission of EDC to position the county to attract new business by promoting the specific assets of Solano County cities.
Solano EDC Upcoming Events
The Solano EDC, in conjunction with the Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Rio Vista, Vacaville and Vallejo Chambers of Commerce invite you to attend a breakfast event featuring Dominic DiMare, Vice President of Government Relations for the California Chamber of Commerce. The breakfast will be held on October 25, 2007 at the Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield. Registration begins at 7:30 am, program at 8:00 am. Cost to attend is $25 per person. For more information or to register contact the Solano EDC at 707-864-1855.
Did You Know?
What was the first biotech corporation to open a manufacturing plant in Solano County?
If you said Budweiser, you're correct. It's easy to forget that this major employer is a true biotech company, using science to create some of the world's most popular beer. Today, biotech is growing in Solano County with other major corporations locating facilities here. The future of biotech is a bright spot in our economic future. It's fun to remember that it all started with Budweiser!
The Solano Economic Development Corporation's mission is to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of Solano County communities through the attraction, growth and retention of business and industry.
Solano EDC Team
Mike Ammann, President (http://mailto:email@example.com)
Sandy Person, Vice President (http://mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pat Uhrich, Office Manager (http://mailto:email@example.com)
Andy Turba, Special Projects (http://mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Solano Economic Development Corporation
360 Campus Lane, Suite 102, Fairfield, CA 94534
By Doug Ford
Two weeks ago, the Solano Economic Development Corp. provided community leaders across the county with an exceptionally interesting meeting on financing the infrastructure essential to a healthy economy.
For the past 30 years and more, California's population growth has outpaced that of the rest of the nation. However, when Proposition 13 increased the vote required to raise property taxes from a simple majority to a two-thirds majority, it made it extremely difficult for communities to provide the infrastructure needed to meet the needs of this rapidly expanding population. Solano EDC's four-member panel provided ideas about how infrastructure needs for economic development can be financed in difficult times.
Tom Lockard, a managing partner with Stone and Youngberg, the nation's largest underwriter of non-rated land-secured municipal bonds, briefly discussed the cash-flow mismatch between the upfront costs of public projects and the generation of tax revenue needed to pay for them. Land-secured bond financing was created as a way to finance development whereby new growth "pays for itself." The Mission Bay project in San Francisco, where a new University of California, San Francisco, campus has been constructed, along with associated business and housing, is one example where infrastructure was financed mainly with land-secured municipal bonds. This project might by thought of as a city-within-a-city formed almost completely around biotechnology and life science businesses. Two recent Solano projects also have benefited from land-secured bonds: Vacaville's Nut Tree and Rio Vista's Trilogy.
Bob Thompson, North Bay loan officer for the Bay Area Development Co., explained some of the advantages of financing through the federal Small Business Administration's 504 loan program. More than 100 companies have undertaken new or expansion projects in Solano County in the past few years using this financing. Nine of the projects are in Dixon: Dixon Shell, Gone Fishin' Marine, Greiner Heating and Air Conditioning, Premier Hospitality, RSM Inc., S.R. Schroeder, Sidhu ARCO AM/PM Dixon, Sidhu Chevron and Triangle Digital.
Scot Townsend, city manager of Lindsay, told how community development block grants funds were used to rejuvenate his city after it lost two major employers 20 years ago. The money brought in new businesses and made Lindsay a thriving place with a strong local economy.
Paula Connors, executive director of the California Enterprise Development Authority, told about his agency's role in financing for economic development. The agency was recently established by the California Association for Local Economic Development to advocate and coordinate expanded economic development financing opportunities. It is particularly interested in helping find financing for manufacturing and processing businesses.
We hear too often that manufacturing and processing are declining segments of our economy, but that is a serious misconception. These segments have been steadily expanding in the value that they add to our economy. What has been declining for decades is the number of people directly employed in these fields, even though productivity continues to increase. I have been told about one processing plant in Solano County that has continued to increase its output while reducing its workforce from well over 200 to well under 100 during the past 25 to 30 years.
One key point that Alan Greenspan repeatedly emphasized in "The Age of Turbulence" is that the success of the U.S. economy has been closely tied to increases in productivity. Improvements in productivity can be achieved only in an economy that has a strong infrastructure. That is why it is so important that we work to improve Solano County's infrastructure, including our transportation, communication and education systems.
The author is retired from the U.S. Air Force, lives in Dixon and serves on the Solano County Board of Education.
By Ines Bebea
FAIRFIELD - The Fairfield-Vallejo metropolitan area ranked No. 22 in a list of the best 200 performing cities in 2006, according to a recent report on job growth by an economic think tank.
For its report, the Santa Monica-based Milken Institute ranked U.S. metropolitan areas based on their ability to create and sustain short- and long-term jobs, and their use of technology for regional economic growth.
The results have business advocates hopeful about the economic future in Solano County, especially after a 2005 report by the institute that ranked Fairfield-Vallejo at No. 41.
"The numbers by the Milken Institute show that our ability to attract employers and labor is part of a trend, and a long-term trend in our economic development," said Mike Ammann, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation. "We have a track record for companies that are expanding like Genentech, and it tells companies in that industry sector and others that we have the room and capabilities to assist and handle growth."
According to Ammann, Solano County has seen growth in employers from the Bay Area who are bringing high-paying jobs to local cities, where employees can work and afford to live.
"As far as biotech, we ranked No. 1 for the Bay Area that includes San Jose, Emeryville and San Francisco," Ammann said. "Then we have companies like Copart and the California State Fund that have grown over the years. When we have to describe the opportunities available to employers, we have an array of success stories."
The Riverside-SanBernardino-Ontario metropolitan area was the only one in California in the top 10. It ranked third after Ocala, Fla., and Wilmington, N.C.
Success stories such as Copart and available space at competitive prices are what will continue to drive growth in the county, said Tim Ridosh, marketing director for the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce.
"Unlike other cities in the Bay Area, we still have land available and good prices for companies that are thinking about expanding or relocating," Ridosh said. "And although our home foreclosure numbers are high, we have not felt the effects yet, and our business growth will allow us to bounce back."
Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or email@example.com.
California metropolitan areas ranking in Top 50*
No. 3 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
No. 17 Bakersfield
No. 22 Fairfield-Vallejo
No. 25 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville
No. 27 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
No. 45 Visalia-Porterville
No. 49 Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine
Source: 2007 Best Performing Cities, Milken Institute
By Barry Eberling
A California Highway Patrol officer watches the weights of trucks as they drive over the scales in Cordelia. (Mike McCoy/Daily Republic)
FAIRFIELD - Traffic crawls along on eastbound Interstate 80, trucks lumber out of the California Highway Patrol truck scales and everyone jockeys for the correct lane before reaching the Highway 12 interchange.
What an annoying, all-too-familar, rush-hour mess near Cordelia.
Transportation experts say a renovated eastbound truck scales complex covering almost four times the space at a slightly different location would make a difference. New ramps would separate trucks and traffic for an optimum length of time.
All of this could become a reality in coming years if Solano County succeeds in the next round of the state transportation bond sweepstakes.
"You can't say it will eliminate backup because I think there's several causes . . . but this is one of them," Solano Transportation Authority Projects Director Janet Adams said.
During the next few months, California could divvy up another $2 billion from the $20 billion transportation bond approved by voters in November 2006. This round of money would be spent on improving trade corridors.
Solano County transportation leaders want to get $50 million of the bond money, then combine it with $50 million in bridge toll money to renovate the eastbound truck scales. They would tackle the westbound scales at another time.
There will be plenty of competition for the bond money if the state does indeed decide to target the money for projects in coming months. Solano County will have to make its pitch that renovating the truck scales would help the flow of trade traffic.
"Interstate 80 is an interregional route," Adams said. "It's a significant route that brings trucks from the Port of Oakland to Sacramento and through the United States."
The pitch will include not only traffic flow, but also safety and homeland security considerations.
The CHP uses the truck scales to weigh trucks to ensure they are not overloaded. Officers also make certain trucks are in safe condition and look out for terrorist threats.
The scales were built in 1958, when I-80 was called Highway 40 and there was a traffic signal where Highway 12 joins it at Jameson Canyon. The scales are a holdover from another era.
About 105,000 trucks drive on the freeway through Cordelia on a monthly basis, CHP Lt. Mike Ferrell said. About 11 percent that have previously met certain criteria and have electronic transponders are allowed to bypass the scales, although some are brought in randomly.
Virtually all trucks passing through the scales get weighed. About 1 to 2 percent get inspected, Ferrell said. About 225 to 250 a month are put out of service because of violations such as brake problems, he said.
Although an inspection rate of 1 percent to 2 percent might sound small - and some Solano County officials who favor removing the scales entirely have made the point - Ferrell said the number is significant. In addition, trucks might have been inspected at other locations, he said.
"We're just a small part of the inspection process in the state of California," Ferrell said.
Renovated trucks scales would still inspect the same percentage of trucks because the initial phase would still have four bays, Ferrell said. It could ultimately be expanded to six bays.
But the renovated truck scales would have longer ramps. No longer would the scales have to close three to four times a day for as long as 10 minutes because incoming trucks are backing up onto the freeway.
Ferrell said renovated scales would help inspectors with their work and cause fewer impacts on I-80 traffic.
Solano County is doing more than waiting to see whether the state will provide the money for the truck scale renovation. The land targeted for the relocated scales is for sale. The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved spending $2.2 million to buy 29 acres at 2543 Cordelia Road.
Solano County plans to sell the part needed for the truck scales to the state when the time comes. In the meantime, it would lease out the farm land and buildings.
Supervisor Mike Reagan said this is one way the county can help with the Interstates 80 and 680 interchange situation. Transportation leaders consider the truck scales as part of the problems associated with the notoriously congested interchange.
Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, Ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The Solano Economic Development Corporation will hold a breakfast event at 8 a.m. Oct. 25 in conjunction with the Vacaville, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Benicia, Rio Vista, and Vallejo Chambers of Commerce. The event will be at Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Blvd., Fairfield.
The event will feature speaker Dominic DiMare, vice president of government relations at the California Chamber of Commerce. DiMare specializes in telecommunications and tourism issues, and was previously CalChamber's specialist on taxation and economic development issues.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the cost is $25. Checks can be made payable to Solano EDC and mailed to 360 Campus Lane, suite 102, Fairfield.
For more information, call 864-1855 or e-mail email@example.com.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thu, 11 Oct 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continuing its long-standing commitment to support the economic vitality of the communities it serves, Pacific Gas and Electric Company today announced the granting of $400,000 to 75 local governments and community-based organizations for local economic and community development projects throughout northern and central California. This marks the sixth year of funding for the company's Economic Development Grants Program, which has provided over $1.7 million to 325 worthy projects during that time.
Governments and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations throughout PG&E's service area were eligible to apply for grants up to $10,000. Applications were judged in two categories: economic development and community development.
"PG&E is committed to supporting the economic health of communities in which we live and work. It's clear that there is a great need for these types of grants -- this year alone we have received over $2.4 million of requests from 243 organizations," said Helen Burt, senior vice president and chief customer officer for PG&E. "We know our grants can really help supplement the budgets of economic development organizations, so choosing among the many worthwhile projects was challenging. We believe the selected projects will be the most effective in making a positive difference in dozens of communities throughout northern and central California for years to come."
The grants are funding various types of projects, including business retention, business recruitment, downtown improvement, training, websites, marketing materials, and green business development.
In addition to the Economic Development Grant Program, PG&E has worked directly with over 100 local, state and regional economic development organizations to promote business development and job creation in northern and central California. Since 1996, PG&E's economic development team has provided vital assistance to successfully attract and/or retain 178 businesses totaling over 30,000 jobs in communities the utility serves.
PG&E's support of economic development programs is part of the utility's long history of making charitable grants tailored to the needs of the wide variety of communities it serves. The company's broader program of support to communities includes cash grants, in-kind contributions, and volunteers for community-based nonprofit organizations, and for schools and other governmental programs throughout northern and central California. This year, PG&E is increasing its support to charitable nonprofit organizations by 25 percent to $18.3 million -- the largest charitable commitment in the company's history. All charitable contributions are entirely funded by the company's shareholders and the level of charitable giving does not affect gas and electric rates.
Following is the list of the organizations receiving grants, the name of the project and the grant amount:
ORGANIZATION PROJECT AMOUNT
TeamCalifornia Economic TeamCalifornia Marketing Campaign
Development Corporation -- Trade Show Booth Re-design $10,000
Glide Foundation Glide YouthBuild $10,000
Center for Young Sisters Rising 9-Month
Women's Development Employment Training Program $2,000
Jewish Vocational and The Technology
Career Counseling Service Access Center $2,500
Mission Economic Business Development Program
Development Association $2,500
South of Market Greening San Francisco's
Foundation in partnership Small Businesses
with Urban Solutions $5,000
City of East Palo Alto East Palo Alto Business Needs
and Capacity Assessment Update $5,000
Economic Vitality Research Economic Growth and Vitality
and Education Foundation through Start-up Business
Opportunities in San Mateo County $5,000
Human Investment Project Self-Sufficiency Program
in partnership with
HIP Housing $7,500
Sustainable Sustainable Business Workshops
San Mateo County $7,800
City of San Leandro City of San Leandro and San Leandro
Chamber of Commerce Business
Assistance Program $5,000
Inner City Advisors Business Growth Workshops $2,500
Locally Wrapped Inc. Sustainable Local Shopping in Oakland $5,000
City of Pleasant Hill Taking Care of Business $1,500
City of Richmond Richmond YouthWORKS Year-Round
Employment and Training Youth Employment Program
El Campanil Theatre Family Programming, Marketing
Preservation Foundation and Theatrical Lighting Upgrade $10,000
City of Gonzales Downtown Retail Sales
Expansion Program $2,500
City of King City King City Economic Development
and Business Recruitment $4,000
City of Soledad Business Marketing Plan $2,000
Regional Analysis and CD-Rom Promotion Project
Planning Services, Inc. for Central Coast Regional
in partnership with Marketing Team
Central Coast Marketing
Economic Development New Industrial
Corporation of Marketing Tools
San Benito County $2,000
City of Cupertino Cupertino Economic Development
Marketing Program $2,500
City of Mountain View Mountain View --
in partnership with Your Success is Our Business
Mountain View Chamber
of Commerce $3,500
Gilroy Economic Moving Gilroy Forward
Development Corporation $2,500
Joint Venture Silicon Valley Prospector
Silicon Valley $10,000
Movimiento De Arte William Street Business Directory
Y Cultura Latino Americana
De San Jose, Incorporated $7,500
San Jose Redevelopment Story Road Business Association
Agency Operating and Marketing $3,500
City of Santa Cruz in Energy Efficiency through Green
partnership with Tourism Promotion and Education
Santa Cruz County
Conference & Visitors
City of Watsonville Government and Local Sponsors
Team-Up to Assist Local Businesses
in Saving Both Time and Money $2,000
Madera County Economic Direct E-Mail-E-Communication
Development Commission Newsletter $2,500
California Central Valley Central California Regional
Economic Development Investment Guide
City of Fresno in Mayor's Job Initiative
partnership with Parks, Spring Job Fair
Recreation and Community
Services Department $5,000
City of Huron Marketing for the Huron Industrial
Business Park $5,000
Fresno Regional Foundation Fresno County Economic Profile Grant $2,500
West Fresno Coalition for West Fresno Asset Map
Economic Development $5,000
Kings County Economic Website Overhaul
Development Corporation $10,000
Alliance Against Violence General Education Development
Arts Council of Kern Dressing Up Chester $7,500
for Retarded Citizens, Inc. Industrial Training $10,000
Bethany Services dba Job Creation through Enhanced
Bakersfield Homeless Preparation
City of Wasco Site Location Consultants' Tour $3,750
Kern Community Foundation Site Location Consultants' Tour
in partnership with Kern
Goodwill Industries of Project ME: Feasibility Study for
South Central California Microenterprise Development Program
for Low Income and Disabled
Residents of Kern County $2,500
County of San Luis Shandon Cluster Strategy
Economic Vitality Economic Impact Study of the
Corporation of San Luis Tourism Industry in San Luis Obispo
Obispo County County $10,000
San Miguel Resource Community Economic Development
Connection and Marketing Project $2,500
California Space and California Space Center
Education and Workforce
Institute, Inc. $7,500
Santa Maria Valley Economic Development
Community Foundation in
partnership with Santa
Maria Valley Chamber of
Pine Grove Civic Neighborhood Commercial District
Improvement Club Sign Revitalization Program $2,000
Mariposa County Mariposa County Recreation Guide $5,000
Growing Merced Foundation Regional Advantage for
in partnership with Manufacturing Wealth
Merced County Economic
Development Corporation $10,000
City of Tracy -- Economic Marketing and Outreach Trade
Development Department Show/Marketing Event Display $4,000
City of Manteca in Manteca/San Joaquin DVD Showcase
partnership with Manteca
Chamber of Commerce $5,000
San Joaquin 2008 Virtual Aerial DVD Tour
Foundation, Inc. of San Joaquin County $10,000
California Academy for Strengthening Central Sierra
Economic Development in Business Assistance Programs
partnership with Tuolumne
County, Amador County and
Calaveras County Economic
Development Corporations $1,500
Solano Economic Team Solano Cooperative Branding
Development Corporation Campaign $5,000
City of Oroville South Oroville Commercial
Revitalization Study $5,000
The CSU Chico Research 2008 Economic Forecast Conference
Foundation in partnership
with Center for Economic
Tri-County Economic Business Loan Marketing Campaign
Development Corporation $2,500
North Central Rural Job Development and Business
Training and Employment Recruitment Outreach
Private Industry Council
in partnership with
North Central Counties
Tehama Local Development Tehama County Business Outreach
Corporation Plan $4,000
Upstate California Trade Shows and Booth Enhancement
Camptonville Community Camptonville Community Center
Partnership and Economic Revitalization
Planning Grant $2,000
Nevada County Economic 2008 Nevada County Economic
Resource Council Forecast Conference
Foundation, Inc. $5,000
Rocklin Historical St. Mary's Restoration:
Society A Community Project Sponsored
by the Rocklin Historical Society $2,000
Sacramento Area Clean Energy Technology:
Regional Technology Regional Development Barrier
Alliance (SARTA) Identification and Economic
Development Resource Matrix
Valley Vision, Inc. Addressing the Needs of Existing
Clean Energy Technology
Businesses in the Sacramento Region $10,000
World Trade Center Northern California International
Sacramento in partnership Business Leadership Certificate
with Northern California Program
World Trade Center $2,500
Capay Valley Vision, Inc. Streetscape Design for Esparto $5,000
Woodland Access Visual Visit Woodland and Yolo
Enterprises in partnership County Attractions
with The Wave TV 21 $8,000
North Coast Small Low-income Green Business
Business Resource Center Development Project $3,200
City of Santa Rosa Neighborhood Revitalization
Program Self-Sufficiency Project $9,000
Sonoma County Economic North Bay Business Development
Development Foundation Conference $7,000
Napa Valley Economic Economic Impact of the Business
Development Corporation Parks in South Napa County $10,000
Benicia First Corporation First Street Business Improvement
in partnership with Seminar Series
Benicia Main Street $2,500
For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit our website at http://www.pge.com/
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Thursday, October 11, 2007
By DAN JUDGE/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald
FAIRFIELD - The Solano Regional Medical Group has earned top performance awards from the Integrated Healthcare Association.
The organization, affiliated with the Sutter Regional Medical Foundation, was honored for its overall health care quality. Categories include preventative care and chronic care management, patient satisfaction and the use of in-formation technology to support safer care.
Solano Regional Medical Group also received the IHA's Ronald P. Bangasser, M.D., Memorial Award for Quality Improvement for showing the most year-over-year progress from 2005 to 2006 in the Sacramento/North Region.
"Frankly, I couldn't be more proud of this medical group and the entire association," said Dr. Samuel Santoro, president of Solano Regional Medical Group.
The awards were given for a number of areas, he said, including the organization's commitment to promoting healthy life-styles and preventative health screenings.
"Basically, we are extremely focused on providing the highest possible care," Santoro said. "We want to catch problems before they get a chance to develop out of control."
Service and satisfaction also are major commitments for the group, he said, which includes getting people appointments when they want them and providing access to some of the finest specialists in the region.
Solano Regional Medical Group is Solano County's largest multi-specialty physician practice. It operates care centers in Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville and Rio Vista.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
October 10, 2007
AGGIE STADIUM TO BE DEDICATED SATURDAY
The University of California, Davis, will formally welcome the new Aggie Stadium into its family of facilities on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. Dedication ceremonies will feature campus leaders and both past and current student representatives.
The dedication, which will be held on the west side of the stadium, is free to the public and will precede the "Battle for the Golden Horseshoe" football game between rivals UC Davis and Cal Poly set for 1:30 p.m.
Among the scheduled speakers at Saturday's dedication are Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, Associate Vice Chancellor Fred Wood, former ASUCD President Scott Reed, former Aggie Pack leader Brian Rocca and current ASUCD Senator Molly Fluet. Director of Athletics Greg Warzecka will serve as master of ceremonies.
Aggie Stadium, home to both the women's lacrosse team and the football team, opened last April to a winning outcome when the women's lacrosse team beat Saint Mary's College 17-5. The lacrosse team played the remainder of the season there, while the football team has played at Aggie Stadium twice so far, including its 28-10 win over Northeastern University on Sept. 22.
The dedication is the culmination of a dream that began with undergraduate students passing the Facilities and Campus Enhancement
(F.A.C.E.) Initiative in 1999, providing a majority of the funding for the $31 million facility. The F.A.C.E. Initiative also helped fund the Ted and Rand Schaal Aquatics Center -- located adjacent to the stadium -- along with the Activities and Recreation Center and other facilities.
Aggie Stadium was designed by Ellerbe Becket and built by Brown Construction of West Sacramento. Construction began in 2005, leading to this past spring's first events. The stadium features seating for
10,743 fans in both fixed seating along the west and east sides, and grass seating in berms behind each end zone.
An artificial playing surface of more than 100,000 square feet of Sportexe Synthetic Field has received positive reviews from those who have played on it. A mammoth Daktronics scoreboard named for Dorothy and Melvin J. Olsen with a sideboard sits on the south end of the stadium. Many concessions, abundant restrooms, fan assistance centers, the Aggie Pride Outlet and other amenities have made Aggie Stadium very fan-friendly.
The press box features seating for nearly 20 media members in its main area in addition to a television booth, three locations for radio stations, and coaching and operations booths. The concourse level is home to the Bruce Edwards Club Room, which will be used for social events throughout the year.
Two prominent former head coaches will have areas of the stadium named after them. Jim Sochor, the all-time winningest coach at UC Davis and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, will have the field named in his honor. Bob Foster, a longtime assistant coach who led the Aggies to three conference championships during his four-year tenure as head coach from 1989-92, will have the team center named for him. The team center features three locker rooms, meeting space and an equipment room.
Several areas of the stadium have been named for generous donors who have helped raise funds for Aggie Stadium as part of an ongoing capital campaign. A current list is included below:
Aggie Stadium naming
* Jim Sochor Field
* Bob Foster Center (team center)
* Main Entrance Gate -- anonymous
* Dorothy and Melvin J. Olsen Scoreboard
* Bruce Edwards Club Room
* Bill Streng, Dave Taormino and Bob Warren Aggie Grove
* Erna and Orville Thompson Main Entrance Plaza
* Pat and Dick Raycraft Reserved Entrance
* Ann and Rudy Kadlub Team Meeting Room
* Shari and Nick Alexander Media Entrance Gate
* Babe Slater Hall of Fame (by Marilyn and Dick McCapes)
* Larry Swanson Performance Stage (by Carol and Hal Sconyers)
* Merrill Dubach Men's Locker Room
* Margaret Hoyt Women's & Visiting Team Locker Room
* Bernice & Woody Wilson Press Room (by Genia and Jim Willett)
* Mits Nitta Press Room (by Fran Nitta Barnes)
* Amy and Gregg Ames Media Room
* Joseph Castagnola Media Room
* Sandy and Ron Van De Pol Media Room
* Carol and Hal Sconyers Media Room
* Mike Robles, Intercollegiate Athletics, (530) 752-3680, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248, email@example.com
By David Morrill, Business Writer
Inside Bay Area
PARTICIPANTS network at the Gene Acres pharmaceutical conference in South San Francisco. RON LEWIS Staff photos
FOR THE BETTER PART of its 31-year existence, the biotech industry has been about its research and innovation. Thousands of prospective drugs and therapies made the daunting and time consuming journey from labs to clinical trial.
But drugs like Herceptin, Gleevac and Rituxan, did finally make it to the bedside of patients after billions and billions of dollars had been spent. The nascent industry not only survived, but now is poised to thrive.
Today the industry is all grown up and is now ready to cash in.
It took 28 years, from 1976 to 2004, for the biotech industry to be worth $50 billion in revenues. Now it is expected to double that, to $100 billion, by the end of the decade, according to industry analysts Ernst & Young.
"For the first time in its life, we'll see the market become dramatically commercial," said Matt Gardner, president of BayBio, a trade association for the life sciences industry in Northern California. "Suddenly, a lot of these companies that were all about research will be product companies for the first time."
As other industries try to navigate the latest economic challenges through consolidation, this industry is booming. And the driver of the movement is right here in the Bay Area.
"Biotech is one of the great growth stories right now," said Scott Morrison, of Ernst & Young. "There is no other technology industry that would be able to maintain 700 public companies and some 5,000 private companies and survive this long, but biotech has been able to do it because of its great innovation."
Besides being able to cash in on some of its early research, the biotech industry has bloomed because it has been able to attract the respectful eye of large cash-rich pharmaceutical companies.
The smaller companies that suddenly have approved products will need capital to help make them marketable. On the flip side, pharmaceutical companies need new products to re-energize pipelines that are drying up as important patents expire.
Because of the need for one another, they've had to come together either through acquisitions or partnerships.
"In years to come, we will see a convergence between pharmaceutical and biotech where we will not be able to distinguish between the two," Morrison said.
At BayBio's Gene Acres conference in South San Francisco last week, Morrison delivered a state of the industry report. Discussions were upbeat as industry officials pointed towards a healthy number of potential products in late stage clinical trials or seeking approval, double-digit revenue growth, and renewed interest from venture capitalists as evidence of promise.
In the numbers that reflect the strength of the sector, most are coming off a strong previous year. From 2005 to 2006, revenue growth in the industry was BIOTECHIBusiness 2up 15 percent to almost $60 billion. Research and development expenses were up 36 percent to almost $25 billion.
In South San Francisco, considered the Bay Area's "center" for biotechnology, the number of employees has grown about 62 percent in the last 5 years from about 8,400 in 2002 to 13,740 today.
"The great thing about the biotech industry here is that it is counter cyclical and has nothing to do with how the national economy is doing," Gardner said.
Although past years have seen a handful of other cities — such as Seattle, Los Angeles and New York — trying to attract the interest of biotechnology companies, numbers presented at the conference showed that the three major centers of the industry are the Bay Area, San Diego, and Boston.
"Honestly I think the race in the United States is over, and the industry is going to remain concentrated in those three areas," Morrison said.
Bay Area on top
And within those three, in research and development, the Bay Area sits on top.
"Folks in the Bay Area have a much better sense that their growth opportunities are on track," Gardner said.
In Northern California, 19.1 percent of the total office market (21 million square feet), is devoted to life sciences, of which the vacancy rate is less than 7 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield research released by BayBio at Gene Acres. In comparison, the space in Boston and San Diego is much more constrained, with only 21.2 million square feet of life science space combined.
In Boston, only 5.9 percent of the office space inventory is devoted to life science.
An additional 3 million square feet of life sciences space is currently under construction in the Bay Area.
At Mission Bay in San Francisco, more than 450,000 square feet of new projects are slated for delivery in 2008, BayBio said.
In July, Gilead Sciences completed a 63,000-square-foot biology and chemistry laboratory building from the ground up.
Also in July, across the Bay in Emeryville, the shell of a 245,000-square-foot project, at 5885 Hollis Street, was completed and is half leased. It will provide lab space for research in life, physical and nano sciences.
On the outskirts
Even areas on the outskirts of the Bay Area have become hotbeds of interest for both biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Genentech, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson, for instance, all have footprints in Vacaville. Genentech, the Bay Area's largest biotech company, recently completed the second phase of construction that when completed will be about 900,000 square feet and employ about 1,500 employees.
Overall, Genentech plans to grow from 2.8 million square feet on 124 acres to 6 million square feet on 200 acres by 2014.
"The Bay Area growth numbers speak for themselves," Morrison said. "Not only because of the companies like Genentech, but also because of the success of some of the second-tier companies like Onyx (in Emeryville) and Genomic Health (in Redwood City)."
Currently there are about 900 life science companies in the Bay Area with a total of about 90,000 employees and more than $6 billion in payroll, according to BayBio's "Impact 2007" report. In 2006, the industry added more than 6,000 jobs.
No better place
"There's no other place in the world where you can find that many companies and that many employees all within a one and a half-hour drive of each other," said Daniel Perez, a venture capitalist, when the report was first released. "If you want to go into biotech, there's no better place in the world than right here."
As the biotech industry is expected to continue to flourish, the makeup of it has evolved significantly since it was first founded by Genentech more than 30 years ago.
One of the key indicators of the strength of the industry is how much venture capital money is being drawn in. Already in just the first half of 2007, venture capital money raised (more than $3 billion) has nearly equaled all of 2006.
"From April to October, we have really seen a massive jump in that area as more investors are getting behind the innovation," Gardner said. "I think more so than last year, companies have a better grasp as to where their money is going to come from."
Although the Bay Area is in a commanding position within the industry, there are some challenges as well.
"Just as the Bay Area has many advantages to it, the cost of living in the Bay Area has to be considered as an important disadvantage as well," said Shehnaaz Suliman, director of corporate development for Gilead Sciences. "In Foster City it has made it a little more challenging to try and recruit talent from outside of the area."
Fortunately, with several major universities, such as UC Berkeley, Stanford, UC Davis and UC San Francisco, there is still a wealth of talent already here to choose from.
"With the innovations of the companies, the great academics, and the Sand Hill Road folks strong in financing, the Bay Area is absolutely the place for a biotechnology company to be," Morrison said. "As long as their industry is producing great innovation, it will continue to do well."
David Morrill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 925-977-8534.
Solano County is a winner of a national competition to identify the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The 100 Best competition honors communities across America for their commitment to provide healthy, safe and caring environments for young people. More than 1,000 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands took part in the competition.
Solano County is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People because of the caring community and collaboration among schools, cities, businesses and county agencies to support our children and youth. The Solano County Office of Education submitted the application after assembling a team of educators, county agencies, such as Children’s Network and Health and Social Services, community members and students working in partnership to raise awareness of the resources, programs, training and opportunities available to our county’s youth as well as the physical, civic and education needs of these children. With all entities working together, Solano County has a strong network to help families access services for the health, safety and well-being of the county’s children.
“Nothing is more important than seeing that our children and youth have the resources and support systems they need to thrive and succeed,” said America’s Promise Founding Chairman General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.). “When a community provides all that its young people need to be healthy and secure, they deserve to be honored and showcased as an outstanding example of what it takes to successfully nurture this nation’s young people.”
Click here to view the America's Promise video interview with Alma Powell.
Click here to read the winning application. (Acrobat pdf)
Click here to watch the video interview with Solano County students. (Windows Media Video) by Timeline Media Productions
Click here to read the Press Release. (Acrobat pdf)
Artist Ken Chew (below) of Green Valley paints the detail of the head of a San Francisco garter snake. Chew (above) and artist Bob Murray put the finishing touches on the mural for a 75-foot-wide by 20-foot-tall wall on the side of a building along Webster Street in downtown Fairfield on Tuesday.
The mural, designed by Lake Tahoe artist Cathy McClelland, depicts the flora and fauna past and present found in Solano County from Green Valley to the Suisun Marsh. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
By Jim Downing - Bee Staff Writer
Campbell Soup Co. has donated $250,000 to the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the University of California, Davis, according to a news release Monday.
The grant is the first to the institute since its founding last year with a $1.5 million gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The institute was created to coordinate programs related to agricultural and food systems sustainability at the Davis campus and throughout the UC system.
Campbell has a long history in the Sacramento region. It runs a research facility in Davis that serves as the headquarters for the Campbell Seed Co., as well as a tomato processing plant in Dixon and a production facility in Sacramento that produces the company's soups, sauces, and beverages.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Strong Job Growth Keeps Commercial Real Estate Humming
By Shelly Meron/Business Writer
Jim Gray, of NAI BT Commercial discusses the features of an office suite in a new building on Burton Drive near Nut Tree Road. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)
Residential real estate may be struggling these days, but commercial real estate isn't seeing the same tough times. That's good news for Meridian Property Company, the developer responsible for three new office condominium buildings known as Meridian Professional Center on the corner of Burton Drive and Nut Tree Road in Vacaville.
"There's clearly a lot of uncertainty in the overall real estate market," said Jim Gray, office and investment broker with NAI BT Commercial Real Estate, a firm working with Meridian to lease or sell the space. "In the business real estate market, there's changes, but nothing like what you're seeing in residential. There's still job growth. You still have doctors and lawyers and accountants who need good quality spaces to provide their services from."
Gray said Vacaville in particular was the perfect place for a large commercial building.
"You've got a lot of job growth taking place on the I-80 corridor," he said. "For many professionals, you could actually own an office space cheaper than you could rent it, or as cheaply as you could rent it. There was also a very clear guess that with the significant investment that was taking place at Genentech and State Fund and Kaiser and NorthBay (Healthcare), this was going to be a pretty fundamentally-sound, safe place to build professional offices."
Two of the buildings are one-story tall and about 14,750 square feet. The third building is two-stories tall and has about 33,600 square feet. Each building can be broken down into individual units, with the smallest possible unit at 1,400 square feet.
Gray said he is hoping to sell the two-story building as a whole, and hopes to sell or lease the other two buildings as wholes or in parts.
"We think that there might be some large users, some good sized businesses, that would be attracted to the fundmanetals of this location and building design," Gray said.
Currently, Gray said he is in "active negotiations ... with both professional and medical users for their own ownership suites," but would not specify who he is negotiating with.
Prices for the spaces range depending on size. The smallest possible unit, at 1,400 square feet, would sell for about $400,000. The entire two-story building, at about 33,600 square feet, would go for about $9 million.
Gray said that tenants who would lease or buy space in the near future would likely be able to move in in early 2008. That's because the buildings have their "shells" - walls, windows, bathrooms, and so on - complete, but the spaces do not include "tenant improvements," which are customizations that are made based on the needs of the business.
"You don't know exactly - is the space for a dentist or an engineer, or a technology company or an insurance company or a surgery center?" Gray said.
The flexibility to customize the spaces for each business is what makes Meridian Professional Center that much more appealing. Although it was initially deemed a medical building, Gray said it could easily accommodate other types of businesses and is very attractive because of its location.
"When you have this good, high-quality design, coupled with extra parking and amenities, those retail customers like that kind of facility," Gray said. "So, while this got pigeon-holed as a medical building because it's so close to a hospital and it's been designed to meet medical needs, this is not just a medical center. If a bank, or a large engineering firm, or a consulting company needed to serve the Bay Area and Sacramento area, it's a great location."
The Burton Drive complex will be available for for tenants by early 2008. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)
Shelly Meron can be reached at email@example.com.
By Nika Megino
Davon Chatman shoots baskets at Tolenas Elementary School. (Mike McCoy/Daily Republic)
FAIRFIELD - From a one-room schoolhouse to a school with 28 classrooms, Tolenas Elementary School has certainly grown. But its growth is not yet complete.
By March, the school will have eight new classrooms, a new library and a new administration building. The eight classrooms, which are slated for completion by December, will replace eight of the school's 19 portable classrooms.
Fairfield-Suisun School District and school officials said the construction of the new classrooms and modernization of current facilities were needed at Tolenas. The new classrooms are part of Measure C's objective to reduce the use of portables. Measure C, passed in 2002, provides $200 million for the district to use to update and build school facilities.
"It was a long time coming," said Judi Honeychurch, principal of Tolenas Elementary.
Portables needed to be replaced because they had exceeded their usefulness, said Robin Tully, the district's facilities planner. Three of the portables had been used for 30 years, Tully added.
Honeychurch looks ahead to having more students in classrooms instead of portables.
"It's a much more pleasant environment and more conducive to learning and working," she said.
The eight classrooms will be in separate buildings. Four will occupy a 4,380-square-foot building that include rest rooms. The other four will be in a 3,785-square-foot building. All of the new classrooms will feature SMART boards, tackable wall surfaces, cable TV, projection systems and learning walls, which consists of three sliding white boards with storage space behind the boards.
"(The learning wall) maximizes the storage of the classroom and hides the storage, (which) leaves more of the rest of the room" to display artwork and instructional materials, Tully said.
Building a new library and administration building will centralize the campus and make better use of space, Honeychurch said.
Currently, the library is located in a classroom, which shares part of its space with a computer lab. The new library will feature enough space for 14,000 books, 35 seating stations, six reference computer stations, a computerized projection system and wireless Internet capabilities.
The current library will be occupied by the computer lab. Honeychurch said the current arrangement of the computer lab is "crammed."
The 4,944-square-foot building that will house the library will also feature new administration space. The administration space will include the nurse's office, the attendance office, the principal's office, a teachers' lounge, a book storage area and new rest rooms.
The cost of the three projects totals $4.05 million and includes the renovation of the school's asphalt playground area, which has already been completed.
School officials are excited about the additions, and Honeychurch said the building updates will benefit the look of the school.
"Tolenas has always been one where we didn't look so pretty on the outside, but the people working in here are gems," Honeychurch said. "Now we have facilities that are going to go with what's going on inside."
Reach Nika Megino at 427-6953 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, October 05, 2007
At the award-winning exhibit, guests can view the bathing bears and the surfing goat, the agricultural exhibit and view an informative video about the history of Solano County.
The exhibit won at the 2007 California State Fair for Best in Show, People's Choice Award, Best Use of Animation and Best Agricultural Presentation. The Nut Tree is located at 1681 E. Monte Vista Ave., Vacaville. For more information, call 448-6411 or visit www.nuttreeusa.com.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
By Ines Bebea
VACAVILLE - Mariani Packing Co., which makes dried fruit products, has entered into a corporate sponsorship agreement with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and guaranteed a $414,000 donation to the breast cancer organization.
Mariani will donate a portion of its sales in its Snack Pink! campaign from October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to May to the Komen organization. The Vacaville-based company's campaign will involve four products: cherries (6 ounces), prunes (60 ounces), mixed fruit (36 ounces) and apricots (48 ounces).
Some of the products are exclusive to Costco and Sam's Clubs, but during the next few days they will be available wherever Mariani products are sold and at Mariani retail store in Nut Tree Village.
"The facts about breast cancer really speak for themselves," said Patti Sousa, director of business development for Mariani Packing. "A woman is diagnosed every three minutes and a woman dies from the disease every 13 minutes. We've had a number of employees and executives whose lives have been affected by a a loved one suffering from the disease. When you take into account all the health benefits of eating healthy, we decided to do the right thing."
Mariani's campaign will continue through May to coincide with Komen Race for the Cure events in Sacramento.
"We hope that our participation increases awareness and resources to breast cancer detection and research," Sousa said.
Since its inception in 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has donated $1 billion to breast cancer research, said Karen White, the organization's cross marketing manager, and the survival rate and early detection through mammograms have seen a significant increase.
"Partnerships like the one with Mariani allow us to reach the consumers where they eat, live and play," White said. "It is a win-win situation. Through this kind of corporate sponsorships, we've raised $56 million per year and used that money for community outreach programs.
"While there is still much work to be done in regards to research and finding a cure, this kind of financial support furthers our mission to advance the work."
Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or email@example.com.
By Ian Thompson
SUISUN CITY - A proposal by Silverwing Development of Concord to build a 40-home subdivision and a small park on land that was once a sewer treatment facility was approved by the Suisun City Council Tuesday night.
The council agreed to sell a 3.9-acre parcel of waterfront land located at the south end of Civic Center Boulevard near Suisun City Hall for $400,000.
The city could receive more money if the houses are sold for more than $610,000 and if the cost of cleaning the soil is less than $2.4 million.
It is estimated that it will cost Silverwing about $2.4 million and take a year of work to clean the soil before houses can be built on the land.
Silverwing had been in exclusive negotiations with the Economic Development Department since December 2006. The land was once the location of a sewer treatment plant, which was closed and torn down in 1993.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
By Ben Antonius
FAIRFIELD - The city will have $1.7 million to spend on local roads after receiving its share of money from the voter-approved Proposition 1B.
Proposition 1B - the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Act of 2006 - passed in November 2006. The bond, part of a $40 billion infrastructure bond package, provides $19.92 billion for various transportation projects to rebuild California.
In particular, it includes $1 billion for California cities to spend on local transportation priorities. This fiscal year, cities received $550 million. They will receive the rest in 2010.
Fairfield's share - $1,699,859 to be precise - will likely go toward projects involving substantial repair work to major roads, Assistant Public Works Director George Hicks said.
"They represent the minority of our street miles, but the majority of our miles traveled," Hicks said.
Transportation officials will meet soon to prepare a list of project priorities, which will eventually be reviewed by the City Council and added to the budget.
"Since (street maintenance projects) are underfunded, we know we can use this money," Hicks said. "It's just a question of what's the highest priority."
The amount of the money was not a surprise, Public Works Director Gene Cortright said. The city anticipated receiving money since Proposition 1B was passed and budgeted in anticipation of receiving just less than $1.7 million.
However, it had not been clear until recently when the money would be allotted, Cortright said.
Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or email@example.com.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
October 2, 2007
UC DAVIS SCHOOL OF LAW BREAKS GROUND ON MAJOR EXPANSION
Armed with golden shovels, a crew of current and former state lawmakers, lawyers, law school professors, law school deans, law school alumni, prominent donors and an architect broke ground Saturday on a $30-million expansion and renovation project needed to modernize and relieve overcrowding at the UC Davis School of Law.
Speakers at the morning ceremony frequently evoked the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., after whom the now-40-year-old law school building is named.
"The new King Hall will ... be exposed to the light as law and lawmaking should be in a democratic government," said Rex Perschbacher, outgoing dean of the law school. "The new King Hall will have dignity, stature, yet be open to all. (And it will) keep alive the name -- and, most importantly, the vision -- of its namesake, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose dream of legal, social and economic justice for all is the animating vision for the School of Law at UC Davis."
Other speakers included UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef; California Assemblymember Lois Wolk, D-Davis; former Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer, D-Los Feliz; Thomas Stallard, president of the UC Davis School of Law Alumni Association; former California deputy attorney general Yeoryios Apallas; Ron Malone, director of the William & Inez Mabie Family Foundation; and architect Thomas Hacker, whose firm designed the expansion and renovation.
Along with Stallard, Frommer and Apallas also received their law degrees from UC Davis.
Helping the speakers to break ground were Edward L. Barrett Jr., founding dean of the law school; Bruce Wolk, professor emeritus; Joe Bernstein, a 1974 alumnus; and Steve Boutin, president-elect of the alumni association.
Although the law school's total enrollment of 579 has increased only modestly since it first opened to students in 1966 -- growing an average of less than 2 percent a year -- methods of teaching have changed significantly.
"Today's legal education features seminars, skills classes, courses and technologies that did not exist in the 1960s," Perschbacher told the audience of about 150 law school alumni and supporters.
The new King Hall will support these new learning methods, accommodate modern technology, provide public spaces for students and faculty, make room for flourishing student organizations and student services, and create space for visiting lawyers, judges, academics and emeritus faculty.
The project will add 18,800 square feet, an increase of about 29 percent. It will also renovate 26,145 square feet of existing space.
New construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2009, and renovation work a year later.
The project will be funded with $17.9 million from voter-approved Proposition 1D funds, $3.9 million in campus funds and $8 million in private donations. Almost $5 million remains to be raised.
Stallard, a 1975 alumnus of the UC Davis School of Law, praised Perschbacher for his tireless efforts to secure state and private funds for the project. "Dean Perschbacher has poured all of his heart and soul into this," Stallard said. "I call it his 'victory lap.'"
Perschbacher, who has served as dean since July 1998, announced earlier this year that he will step down next summer as head of the law school. Perschbacher, in his remarks, thanked Vanderhoef for making the King Hall project a campus funding priority, and Frommer and Wolk for supporting the project in the California Legislature.
Perschbacher also thanked private supporters, including the William & Inez Mabie Family Foundation, which has contributed $1.5 million for the project, Apallas, Stallard and his wife Meg, Bernstein and "many others."
UC Davis School of Law enrolled its first students in 1966. King Hall was completed in 1968. The first class graduated in 1969.
Among the best small public law schools in the nation, the UC Davis School of Law consistently appears in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report rankings. Its areas of strength include business law; criminal law and procedure; environmental and natural resources law; health care law and bioethics; human rights and social justice law; intellectual property law; international law; and public interest law. Roughly 25 percent of the school's graduates go into public service.
* Judy Cook, School of Law, (530) 754-7173, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Claudia Morain, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9841, email@example.com
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