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Visalia Chamber of Commerce 220 N. Santa Fe, Visalia, CA 93292

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VISALIA Visalia Chamber of Commerce | SPRING 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 4

Business Connection

Regardless of the subject being discussed, it doesn’t take long for agriculture to work its way into just about every conversation in our community. Whether we’re debating land use issues, planning for job training needs or recruiting new retailers to the community, agriculture is a central theme to our economy and society. Whether directly or indirectly, producing the food that feeds the world underlies nearly everything about Visalia and our region. This issue of the Business Connection focuses on the partnership that must exist between agriculture and the rest of our business community. The Chamber enjoys a great working relationship with our partners at the Tulare County Farm Bureau. We regularly find ourselves in the same room and support each other on many issues of shared importance. While we all know that agriculture is important and central to our community, it’s important from time to time to step back and look at the numbers and the real impacts. The cover article that leads off this issue is an attempt to take a quick look at just how significant the impact of agriculture is on local employment and overall economic vitality. As our community continues to grow, we will be faced with many decisions big and small which will ultimately reflect what we value and how we want to live. It’s likely that we won’t always agree with our agriculture partners on every detail, but recognizing the central nature of this key element of our economy will help us make sure we are together on the big picture. Finally, the Chamber invites you to join us at our Annual Awards Ceremony on June 19, when we will honor our annual Ag Business of the Year along with our other business of the year and our Man and Woman of the year honorees! On behalf of the 600-plus businesses and their employees who the Chamber represents, we extend our Salute to our neighbors and friends who feed the world!

Kerry Hydash

Glenn Morris

Family HealthCare Network Board Chair, 2013 - 2014

President & CEO

Visalia Chamber of Commerce The Visalia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Tulare County. Its members include small businesses, corporations, associations and individual professionals. Since 1899, the Chamber has worked diligently with local government, education, private industry and a host of other agencies and organizations to improve the business environment and promote Visalia as a premier community in which to live, work and do business. The Chamber organizes and directs the efforts of all who share the desire to improve the conditions under which business is conducted. Through participation in the Chamber, members are able to accomplish collectively what they could not do individually. Businesses that join the Chamber receive a multitude of benefits and advantages ranging from networking, marketing and advertising opportunities, to legislative advocacy, educational forums to benefit business and economic opportunities. The Mission of the Chamber The Visalia Chamber of Commerce serves as the Voice of Business and provides strategic leadership and engagement in building the future of business and the community through information, services and advocacy on behalf of the employers in our community.

Business Connect ion |



Connection Volume 2, Issue 4 • Spring 2014

2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman of the Board Kerry Hydash Family HealthCare Network Chair-elect Judy Fussel Buckman-Mitchell Financial & Insurance Services Immediate Past Chair Stephen Peck Peck Planning & Development Vice Chair Lynn Conley Lynn Conley, CPA


Samantha Rummage Mathias Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center


Patrick Salazar State Farm Insurance Vincent Salinas Financial Advisor Karen Tellalian DMI Agency


Ex-Officio Member Mike Olmos City of Visalia


Vice Chair William Martin Martin & Martin Properties Vice Chair Norris McElroy Kawneer Company Vice Chair Colby Wells The Gas Company MEMBERS Stan Carrizosa College of the Sequoias Anil Chagan Infinite Hospitality Dena Cochran Kaweah Delta Health Care District Mary-Alice Escarsega-Fechner CSET Richard Feder Visalia Mall Carlos Garcia Caglia Environmental Matt Graham Hyde Commercial Real Estate E. William Maze American H20 Systems Stacy Morris BEN-E-LECT Skip Nugent Best Buy Markets BJ Perch Perch Construction


Visalia Chamber of Commerce 220 N. Santa Fe Visalia, CA 93292 (559) 734-5876

GRAPHIC DESIGN by Cary Schein The Schein Company (559) 553-5077 ADVERTISING SALES by Mike Cox (559) 734-5876 PRINTING by Jostens Commercial Printing Phone: (559) 651-3300 Fax: (559) 651-9098



Please send to Visalia Chamber of Commerce: ATTN: Business Connection 220 N. Santa Fe, Visalia, CA 93292

Business Connection is an official publication of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, published quarterly and distributed to business and community leaders throughout the Visalia trade market. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, its officers and directors, or its membership at large. Every effort has been made to ensure the information in this publication is correct and accurate as of the publication date. Business Connection does not warrant the accuracy or claims of its advertisers. The appearance of advertisements in this publication does not constitute support or endorsement for any product, person, cause, business, or organization unless specifically noted. Please send comments, questions, article suggestions, or requests for information to, or fax them to us at (559) 734-7479. The online version of this publication can be viewed at ©Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means of the entire contents or any portion of this publication without written permission is prohibited.


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Community-Loyal Business






& the Fertile Fields By Tricia Stever Blattler Executive Director, Tulare County Farm Bureau

Business Connect ion |


AN ENDURING PARTNERSHIP The citizens of Visalia and their neighboring farmers and ranchers have always had a symbiotic relationship. Since the days of early settlement in the Central Valley, the productive farmlands have provided a sustained economic base for the region, while the city’s retail shops, banks, entertainment venues and restaurants have provided essential services to those in the farming community.

Dollars not earned are dollars not spent. Farm families, farm workers and others tightened their belts and bought only the bare essentials until the groves became productive again. Did the city feel the loss in this consumer spending? Yes. A review of retail tax income in Visalia’s archives reveals a large dip in retail tax income in the report for the year following that “100-year freeze.“

The effect of this current season’s seven nights of subfreezing temperatures in December will probably register only as a blip on the city’s income reports next year. The event was not as severe as the 1990 freeze, nor was it evenly distributed geographically or by citrus variety. Therefore citrus-related employment continued on a fairly steady basis as viable fruit was harvested, packed, Today, agriculture still has a profound impact on our community; in sold and transported. 2012, Tulare County’s gross agriculture income was more than $6 billion. Each farm dollar earned has a measurable multiplier effect as There have been downturns in other areas of agriculture production it is spent, stimulating additional economic activity in the city. over the years – some felt by city businesses, some not. The dairy sector, which leads the county in gross income every year, is just Providing more than 40,000 employment opportunities, agriculture is now recovering from a several year cost-price squeeze that forced the largest private industry employer in Tulare County at the rate of liquidation of many local dairies. In 2007, the number of dairies in one in every four jobs. One-third of the top employers in the county Tulare County stood around 330. Today there are 290. are agriculturally related, ranging from fruit packing houses, to dairy processing plants and food manufacturers. Still, the strength of agriculture in Tulare County is its diversity. The county’s 2012 crop report lists income from more than 120 Still, farming has its ups and downs that are often felt in the commodities – 43 of which have gross value in excess of $1 billion. surrounding community. In 1990, the devastating citrus freeze It is this production diversity that shields urban centers from greater caused farmers to loose entire crops of oranges, mandarins and economic losses; when one commodity is hurting, another might be grapefruit overnight. For them, it was like losing a paycheck for the doing quite well. entire year – for lemon growers, two years of crops were lost. Economics of agriculture are not always gloom and doom. During It wasn’t just the producers that felt the effects of the freeze; more the recent Great Recession brought on by the failure of the housing than 15,000 people employed in the citrus sector such as pickers, industry, farmers and ranchers continued to produce food and haulers, packers and truckers lost their jobs. It was a quiet tragedy, fiber. Our export picture was, and still is, bright. Land values have felt most by the people directly impacted. Most city dwellers increased. During the stock market’s upheaval, investors often were not aware of the disaster since grocery stores still had food sought out farm properties as a safe place to put their money. on the shelves. Economic forecasters see this agricultural business trend continuing. The pioneers weren’t ignorant. They settled on the rich and productive agricultural lands fed by streams flowing from the Sierras. These farmlands have consistently provided farmers, and in turn the city, with a steady and reliable economic foundation.

Tulare County’s 2012 gross agriculture income 6

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Important Natural Resources The City of Visalia’s connectivity with agriculture is also found in the shared conservation of the two resources that are necessary for their continued existence – land and water. It was only natural that the oldest city in Tulare County was settled where it is. The pioneers were quick to recognize the importance of these resources. In regards to responsible land use, credit can be given to the city’s dedication over the years to good planning and concentric growth – growing outward thoughtfully and gradually in all directions as empty lots are utilized within. And now, as the entire San Joaquin Valley region begins to recognize smart-growth planning policies, we are optimistic this trend will continue.

2005, the city has purchased and recharged approximately 22,000 acre feet of water by working closely with the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District and several irrigation districts. Important to local farmers is the progress of the city’s latest and largest groundwater recharge project which broke ground on March 27, 2014. The $140 million upgrade of its Water Conservation Plant will transform all of the city’s wastewater to high quality tertiary treated recycled water. The city and the Tulare Irrigation District (TID) have entered into an exchange agreement whereby the city will provide the majority of the recycled water to TID. In wet years, TID will deliver fresh Central Valley Project water to the city from its Friant Division allocation for groundwater recharge.

As for water, in this drought year especially, we all recognize the importance of conserving this life-giving resource. Again, Visalia’s leaders are to be congratulated for adopting strict and meaningful Funding sources for these important groundwater overdraft mitigation elements are: a fee on each acre foot of water pumped water conservation measures. by the water utility (Cal Water); a fee for annexing property into the Beyond that, as even many of the city’s residents are unaware, the city; a utility fee for each household, commercial and industrial site’s city has made great strides in groundwater recharge efforts. Since water connection as well as federal and state grants.

The $140 million upgrade is the largest public project in Visalia history. Image courtesy of the City of Visalia.

Visalia Water Conservation Plant Plans Business Connect ion |


One of the oldest agriculture processing ties to Visalia is Knudsen Dairy’s milk processing plant, founded in 1927 on Goshen Avenue and Divisadero Street.

To a Mutually Beneficial Future As the city and agriculture move forward in a progressive symbiotic fashion, what does the future hold? The key words are “value added.” This, as Merriam-Webster puts it, is a product whose value has been increased by special manufacturing, marketing or processing. Turning milk into ice cream or cheese, tomatoes into ketchup and grapes into wine, for example. Not only does this ensure use of locally-produced crops, it adds jobs and even further business opportunities that bring greater economic vitality to the Visalia community and region. The city already houses many agriculturally-oriented businesses including, Atlas Walnuts and Blain Farms, the largest pecan processing facility in California, as well as MWI Veterinary Supply, World Wide Sires and a host of other allied support industries including fruit and commodity brokerages, wholesale distributors, equipment dealers, insurance firms and banks specializing in agriculture clientele. One of the oldest agriculture processing ties to Visalia is in the building on Goshen Avenue and Divisadero Street. It began life as Knudsen Dairy’s milk processing plant in 1927 and now houses Milk Specialties, an international company that makes milk protein and whey-based products for human and animal nutrition. 8

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Then there’s the large and impressive California Dairies Inc. (CDI) co-op plant at Goshen Avenue and Plaza Drive, which utilizes the site left vacant with the closure of Frito Lay. It now employs hundreds of local residents and boasts the largest single evaporative-dryer unit in North America turning out millions of pounds of butter each year. Two of the six plants that CDI operates in California are here in the county, with another location in Tipton, which employs hundreds more. CDI processes 43 percent of California’s entire milk supply through its producer-owned cooperative model which accounts for about nine percent of the entire milk supply nationwide. Scattered throughout the city are other plants processing agricultural products and the city’s Industrial Park to the northwest is home to many companies that manufacture, warehouse and distribute ag-based products. Also important is Visalia’s phenomenal support of its two farmers markets, where direct contact with those who grow our food is welcome. So, as we move forward to a more progressive, prosperous future, we’ll close with that iconic Safeway ad slogan, “Since we’re neighbors, let’s be friends!” We’ll all profit from it.

Employment Connection

Business Services

The Employment Connection is a team of workforce experts dedicated to businesses in Tulare County. Our primary mission is to help you succeed by finding and retaining a qualified workforce that can meet the demands of your business. We can save you up to 1/2 the cost of training your staff as well as time, energy and money in recruiting qualified candidates. Among the other services we offer are: HIRING SERVICES: Recruit employees who meet your criteria Screen applicants according to your needs Pre-employment assessments COST CUTTING SERVICES: On-the-Job Training Reimbursement Access to Work Opportunity Tax Credit Bonding Services TRAINING PROGRAMS: Customized Training Programs designed to meet your company’s needs ON-LINE SERVICES: ( Post job openings Search résumé for your specific needs Access labor market trends, statistics and economic data

Employment Connection 1063 W. Henderson Ave. Porterville, CA 93257 (559) 788-1400 Project funded by the Workforce Investment Board of TulareConnect County an equal opportunity employer/program. Business ion | 9 Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

When large multi-national companies such as Costco, O-Reilly Auto Parts and Proctor & Gamble need new buildings, they look to Visalia and specifically to Butler Manufacturing. If you have been in the Visalia Costco warehouse, then you have been in a Butler building. The entire structure was built here in Visalia. The metal siding, the roof and all the painted steel frames were made by local residents. In fact, all Costco warehouses in the Western U.S. are made by Butler, here in Visalia. With the support of its parent company, BlueScope, Butler Manufacturing has an unmatched ability to design and deliver pre-engineered metal buildings anywhere in the world. There is even a Butler building at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, Butler Manufacturing was founded in 1901, and has manufactured metal buildings since the end of World War II. Butler invented the concept of a metal pre-engineered building.

BlueScope set to work on the 14 million dollar expansion of the Visalia operation which is now 300,000 square feet. Today the manufacturing operation is known as BlueScope Buildings North America. BlueScope worked closely with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to meet stringent environmental requirements. The company went above and beyond when it became only the 2nd facility in the U.S. to install a carbon fluidized thermal oxidizer in the facility. The oxidizer actually produces cleaner air coming out of the facility than the air that is taken in. Butler prides itself on pushing the market environmentally. Wilson noted that the company focuses on keeping everything it builds as energy efficient as possible. “In July 2014, a new energy code will be enacted, we are proud to say that today Butler is already able to meet all of the new codes.” Building with Butler can help buildings earn credit toward LEED certification; four of the six categories outlined by LEED are applicable to Butler building systems. Butler sells its buildings through a builder network. Valley Steel Construction out of Fresno and Bradford Steel in Woodlake are listed as Butler builders. In addition to Costco, notable Butler Buildings locally are Hanford’s Keller Motors and Poindexter Nut, a walnut packing operation in Kingsburg. One of the crowning achievements for Butler was being chosen to build the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavor Display Pavilion at the California Science Center Museum.

Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavor Display Pavilion at the California Science Center Museum

When Butler expanded westward they chose to locate in the Central Valley. Scott Wilson, regional general manager for Butler Manufacturing said, “Visalia was the right choice for us, with great access to northern and southern California, a flexible workforce and business friendly climate.” Butler Manufacturing was among the first tenants in Visalia’s industrial park in 1972. Butler make pre-engineered steel buildings for 11 western states including Hawaii and Alaska. In 2004, Butler was acquired by BlueScope, a Melbourne, Australia based company. In 2008, BlueScope also acquired Varco Pruden Buildings located in Turlock, CA. Due to the close proximity of the two facilities, BlueScope was forced to decide where the combined manufacturing plant would reside. By the end of 2008, Visalia was once again chosen as the site to produce both Butler and Varco-Pruden buildings. The expansion of the facility faced many hurdles including environmental regulations. “Although environmental controls can be a hindrance to manufacturing in the Central Valley, we felt that the advantages of being in Visalia outweighed those issues, which is why we chose to expand here” stated Tom Anderson, BlueScope Buildings’ Visalia plant manager. 10

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Keller Motors in Hanford

While the Great Recession was difficult for the construction industry, Butler and BlueScope Buildings North America have rebounded. With year over year growth of more than 20 percent, BlueScope has been actively hiring engineers, detailers, welders and machine operators to be ready for continued growth in the industrial, commercial and community construction markets. With nearly 200 employees, Butler feels it is important to give back to the community. Butler believes “our communities are our homes,” noted Wilson. “We love to work with the United Way. Our employees also volunteer time and materials with the [Visalia] Rescue Mission, Goshen Elementary School and several high school industrial arts programs.”

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Business Connect ion |



The Proper Goals for a Sales Call One of the biggest mistakes made by hardworking salespeople is the failure to prepare effectively for a sales call. And by prepare, I don’t mean organizing sales literature, printing reports and data needed for the presentation or doing online research about your prospect’s company. Think about a recent or upcoming sales call and answer these four questions: 1. What is the goal of a sales call? …careful… 2. .What percentage of the time do your sales calls end in a sale? Real world, no fluff, what are your numbers? 3. What percentage of the time do your sales calls end with, “I’ll run it up the flag pole and get back to you,” or, “Not in the budget right now but check back with me in 3 months,” or some similar stall, and then fade into obscurity? Same thing, real world, no fluff. 4. Is “selling something” a reasonable goal for a sales call? (Sounds stupid when you ask it out loud, doesn’t it?) It should not be our primary goal on a sales call to make a presentation. Not every prospect deserves one. Funny as it seems, it shouldn’t be our primary goal on a sales call to make a sale. Out of every 100 attempts, there are typically more nos than yeses in sales and I’m not expecting that to change. A sales call should be a peer to peer meeting between two business people, of equal value and stature, to determine if there is potential and a reason to do business together, or not. Getting decisions should be the goal, not just sales. Salespeople spend a large percentage of their time chasing people who aren’t going to buy because they weren’t comfortable getting a no sooner.

Try this as a goal for your next sales call: Find out if a gap exists between what they are currently experiencing and where they want to be, relative to your product or service; one that they recognize and can articulate and that you can successfully fill. If they’re genuinely very pleased with their current provider, will your best pitch make a difference? When do we want to find that out? When do we normally find out? For most, it’s after we’ve given away our knowledge, pricing or specific solution. Practice finding out why first. Why would they buy from us? Why are they talking to me in the first place? Don’t rush to present the features and benefits of your product, service or company. There will be time for that if there is a why.

dale Bierce Sandler Training

Slow down, talk less, ask more questions and be willing to hear a no; and you’ll be on your way to increased sales.

Until then, happy selling,


It should NOT be our primary goal on a sales call to make a sale. Dale Bierce is the president of the Sandler Training Center in Fresno. For comments or questions, email or call (559) 412-8178.

DonalD P. SharP

Senior Vice President/Bond Manager • • Office (559) 635-3528 • Fax (559) 734-8648 • Cell (559) 696-1238 500 North Santa Fe • P.O. Box 629 • Visalia, California 93279-0629 • License #0A82561 Business Connect ion |



The New Look of Temporary Work

Kris Brokaw Express Employment Professionals

For more information about Express Employment Professionals, call (559) 738-7822 or visit

There’s been a fundamental shift in the way companies do business today as staffing services have become a more vital part of business and hiring strategies. Since the great recession, U.S. staffing firms have created more jobs than any other industry and are expected to grow faster and add more new jobs in the next decade, according to American Staffing Association (ASA). Business owners are increasingly using temporary and contract staffing as a means to help them quickly react to changing market conditions. This change in hiring preference can be seen in recent data from Express Employment Professionals, who recently conducted a survey of 665 employers throughout the U.S. and Canada and found that many planned on adding temporary workers in the third quarter, especially in the commercial and light industrial sectors.

Staffing agencies are allowing businesses the flexibility to expand and decrease their workforces to meet demand. Staffing agencies are allowing businesses the flexibility to expand and decrease their workforces to meet demand. Like employers, workers are also seeing the benefits of flexible employment. According to a recent story by National Public Radio, temporary employment is a good way to get a foot in the door with a company in a down economy. Contingent workers also have the freedom to travel and work in different fields. Working on a temporary basis for

different employers allows individuals an opportunity to increase their skill sets, widen networking circles and have flexibility in their work life. Because of this freedom, more workers are using temporary work to stay effective in their specific fields. By working in different environments, social settings and businesses, workers have to adapt their specific skills and training to fit in the ever-changing company cultures. This is one reason contingent workers are becoming more effective and experienced in the workplace. Another trend in this industry is that staffing employees are working for firms longer than ever before. The staffing industry has lately seen an increase in tenure compared to previous years. While employers cautiously wait to see if the economic growth will be sustained, they are keeping contract workers for extended periods. Workers are seeing this as a great way to potentially be hired on full time with companies later. A recent study by ASA found that when the economy is growing at a normal rate, 53 percent of staffing employees who remain in the workforce bridge to full-time employment. This is why temporary work is becoming so attractive to top talent. It provides them more opportunities while giving employers a first-hand look at their potential to thrive in a company. In the next 10 years, the U.S. staffing industry is expected to grow faster and add more new jobs than nearly any other industry, according to ASA. And to solidify its proper place, the BLS believes the demand for temporary help will generate a significant amount of employment growth during this next decade. The staffing industry is growing and becoming a more vital aspect of the business environment, and temporary workers are on the front end leading the change.

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Local commercial real estate firm Pearson Commercial has partnered with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a New York-headquartered international commercial real estate advisory firm. Pearson Commercial, which operates offices in Fresno and Visalia, now does business as Newmark Grubb Pearson Commercial. “I know I speak for everyone at our firm when I say we are very excited about this partnership and believe the added breadth and depth of real estate capabilities will greatly benefit our present and future clients,“ said John Stewart, president and CEO of Newmark Grubb Pearson Commercial, in a release. “It’s a good deal for us,” Stewart said in a recent interview. “We are still the biggest player in the San Joaquin Valley.” Newmark Grubb Pearson Commercial, which has been doing business in California’s Central Valley for nearly a century, has expertise with office, medical office, industrial, retail and investment properties, and also handles the acquisition and disposition of land suitable for commercial and residential development. The firm places a strong emphasis on researchsupported market knowledge, which forms the foundation for the real estate recommendations it makes to its clients. Together with its affiliates and London-based partner Knight Frank, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank employs more than 11,000 professionals, operating from more than 340 offices in established and emerging property markets on five continents.

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marketing strategies

Becoming “Top-of-Mind” As we enter the second quarter of 2014, it’s a good time to review and adjust our marketing plans – or develop one if you haven’t already.

Karen Tellalian DMI Agency

Creating top-of-mind awareness, finding and keeping customers and staying ahead of the competition can cause many sleepless nights for a small business owner. Yet, despite all the new opportunities, many small business owners fail to make marketing a top priority. The outcomes of this inaction may seem small and insignificant at first, but often this oversight will threaten a small business’ growth and even stability. In order to give yourself the best chance of staying top-of-mind, here are a few things you should do:

For more information about DMI AGENCY, call (559) 739-1747 or visit

Develop a forward-looking marketing budget. Research tells us about one quarter of small businesses don’t set any budget aside for marketing and many others only set aside a minimal amount. If attracting and retaining new customers is your number one goal, it’s time to pony up. That doesn’t mean you need to break the bank, it simply means you must be willing to make strategic investments in order to better position your business where your customers are and see a return in the future.

Have a website. Today’s consumer doesn’t buy a car, select a new doctor or even buy mouthwash without first doing research online. If your potential customer is looking for your product or service, and can’t find you online, they’ll buy from someone else. It’s time to make having a search engine optimized website a priority. Make sure it’s properly optimized for mobile, cell phone and tablet use. Create and claim an accurate listings presence. Google and Yelp are just two of the websites that have business listings. These listings play an important role in delivering your online presence to customers who are searching for you. Unfortunately, many small businesses either do not have a listing or have not claimed one that is already there. If you haven’t done so in a while, do a little research and make sure your information is correct. Have a strong social media presence. Almost everyone spends a considerable amount of time connecting with friends, family and brands via social media. A variety of businesses have successfully used social media channels to build their brands, improve engagement and increase customer loyalty. Whether you are on social media or not, your customers will be talking about your brand and you cannot afford to miss that conversation. Take advantage of advertising opportunities in your area. As a small business, you won’t be able to do them all, but you can afford to invest in some form of local advertising. Before selecting the best media for you, think about where your customer spends most of their time outside of their workday and direct the largest portion of your budget to get in front of them where they are. From print to television to transit – there’s one that’s right for you. If you haven’t already, develop a simple plan that keeps you focused on new business growth. Spend some time researching where your new customers are coming from and shift more of your marketing dollars to areas that give you the most return. It is my hope that after you see how your marketing dollars can work, you will begin to see marketing as an investment rather than an expense and you’ll feel excited about your ability to attract and retain customers in the future.


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Business Connect ion |


Local Assets Local businesses know the value of a local bank. Suncrest is proud to be locally owned and operated, offering a full range of business and personal deposit products and loans.

Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the accounting firm of Vollmer, Daniel, Gaebe & Grove, LLP is a vital asset to the Visalia community. While the firm serves multinational companies, there’s a strong focus on local clients, many of whom are small, multigenerational family businesses with deep roots in the community. The firm’s choice of banks? “Suncrest,” says Tom Gaebe. “After 50 years in the accounting business, we know a good bank when we see one.”

Tom Gaebe, MBT, CPA, Senior Partner Vollmer, Daniel, Gaebe and Grove, CPAs

Visalia Branch 400 West Center Avenue (559) 802-1000

Rated Five-Stars by

business practices

BOSS or LEADER… Which Are You? You are the BOSS…but are you a LEADER? Not all bosses are leaders and not all leaders are bosses. The differences may seem subtle, at first glance, but there are big differences between bosses and leaders. So what is the difference? A boss is someone who, by position, is formally in charge of supervising people, processes and the workplace. They are given power and authority because of their position. Some bosses use that power and authority to push, demand, intimidate and control their subordinates. Bosses who are leaders are confident in their authority and power, and use their position to inspire, empower, coach and lead. See the table below for specific differences between a boss and a leader. Early in my career, I worked for a BOSS. I will never forget what she told me during one of our first meetings: “Your job is to make me look good. Figure it out and do it!” I had some successes that made her look good. I made some mistakes as well, but was never shown how I could do better in the future.

BOSS • • • • • • • • • • •

Depends on authority Pushes and drives employees It’s about “me” Places blame for breakdown on others Says, “Go.” Uses people to get the job done Commands Is concerned mostly with things Focuses on today Works hard to produce results Takes the credit

I have also worked for bosses who were leaders. The difference to an employee is significant. I have produced the most, grown the most and been the most satisfied in my job when I have worked for or with a leader.

Leaders use their position to inspire, empower and coach. How about you? What type of boss/leader has inspired you to grow, produce and face challenges? What did they do that you can emulate as you work on developing as a leader? Conversely, what did they do that made it difficult for you to respect, trust and follow them? Whether we supervise employees or not, we can each become leaders within our own company and the community. And in the process, you might want to keep the comparison table handy and ask yourself, “Am I acting like a BOSS or a LEADER?”

Carol Halajian, MBA Verla Oliver, SPHR-CA Triad Solutions/ SinglePoint Outsourcing

If you are interested in support for the Human Resources function of your business, call SinglePoint Outsourcing at (559) 625-4800 or visit

LEADER • • • • • • • • • • •

Depends on goodwill Coaches and develops people It’s about “we” Takes blame, fixes breakdown Says, “Let’s go!” Develops people Asks Is concerned mostly with people Focuses on the long term Works hard to help the team produce Gives credit

Business Connect ion |


Employment LAW

Proposed Amendments to California Family Rights Act Published

Patrick Moody Barsamian & Moody

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) recently published proposed amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The amendments are intended to clarify the existing regulations and adopt many of the recent amendments to the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations to make the acts more consistent. It will be many months before action is taken on the proposed amendments.

This article is for education & information purposes only; it should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal assistance, contact Barsamian & Moody at (559) 248-2360 or tollfree at (888) 322-2573.

Like the FMLA, the CFRA allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child, the adoption of a child or the placement of a child in foster care. It also allows leave to care for a seriously ill family member or for the employee’s own health condition, other than pregnancy-related disability. The FEHC stated that, “The broad objective of the proposed amendments is to further supplement those regulations, primarily by clarifying confusing rules, making technical amendments to ease readability and adopting and modifying some of the parallel federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations.”

.Many of the proposed changes are technical, but some are substantive, including regulations on employers’ interference with employees’ CFRA rights. The proposed changes also make it clear that same-sex spouses are covered under the CFRA and that FMLA regulations apply to CFRA leave “to the extent not inconsistent” with CFRA regulations. What This Means for Employers: There will be two public hearings on the proposed amendments on April 7, 2014 and June 2, 2014. Employers can comment on the proposed revisions prior to June 2, 2014. We will keep you posted regarding the status of the amendments.

text of proposed changes 12-10-13%20Meeting/Attachment%20C%20 -%20CFRA%20Text%20Revised%20Final.pdf

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Web Marketing Update: social media & internet marketing Most businesses have at least some internet presence by now – bring yours up to date. In priority by effectiveness: Domain name You should have an internet domain name which is part of your brand, and is used for email, website, blog and social media. Use a consistent branding color scheme and logo across all of these platforms. Website This is where you send people to view your unique selling proposition. It should have a clear call to action or next step for those interested in what you sell. It should also be a rich resource of product and company information. Make it easy. Local Search You should be listed in Google+ (formerly Google maps), Yelp, Bing and other sites so you show up in local search. Participate in sites offering local reviews, and set up notifications so you can respond to any reviews posted about you or your business. Blog You can greatly increase your visibility by having a regularly updated blog tied to your website. Start by looking at blogs in your industry. Email Newsletter Get permission to send people useful information tied to your product or industry, and then do it. This is one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with prospects. Reuse content across your website, blog, brochures and newsletter. Build relationships by sending thank you notes, useful links or information by email – a personal touch. Social Media Use social media as a piece of your strategy for bringing people closer to the loyal core of your business. Build a personal relationship. Be sure you have clear goals and weigh the value of time spent. Use the excellent analytics built in to Facebook and other platforms. Follow up a first meeting by connecting on social media. There is a trend toward more and better use of photos and video when posting on social media. Claim your name on any relevant web services and sites. Pinterest, Flickr, Yahoo and many others are worth registering with and creating a profile. Be consistent with your name, address and branding across all your web presence.

Google+ Because Google ties search results to your presence on Google+, this is now a key part of your social media strategy. Have a separate personal Google+ profile for your business presence. Build your reputation as an author by linking articles, comments and reviews to your profile. Register fully with all Google services. Sign up for YouTube, create a custom channel and take advantage of the new feature allowing you to brand it with your custom graphic. Even if your only video content is a short message telling people where to find your website, you should claim your identity on YouTube.


TIM TORIAN Torian Group, Inc.

Create at least one targeted Google ad and take full advantage of Google Analytics. Get a Google phone number if appropriate. Search results are now using data from Google+ profiles by default. Expanding your presence and connections on Google+ has some impact on how you show up in search results.

For questions or information on computer consulting or networking, call Torian Group, Inc. at (559) 733-1940 or visit

Google is now encrypting searches, which means that the data about what keywords were used to find you is only available from Google Analytics. Facebook Facebook is making money by giving priority to “promoted” (paid) posts. If Facebook is an important part of your strategy, consider whether it would benefit you to pay for more visibility. Facebook paid ads can be extremely affordable if targeted carefully. LinkedIn “Company Pages” and “Articles” are aimed directly at making LinkedIn a more attractive platform for business-to-business communications. Be sure to update your profile and create a company page. Twitter Pictures are now supported in Direct Messages. PARTICIPATE Make sure to join and participate in forums or specialty sites specific to your industry. Find out where your customers spend their time online and visit them. Business Connect ion |


HR Practices

The Benefits of Turning 50 Some time back, when asked about turning 50-years old, I responded that it was better than the alternative. Our business is celebrating its golden anniversary this year, and attaining that “50th Year” is something to be proud of.

DAVID MILLER Pacific Employers

For information about this or similar labor law issues, call Pacific Employers at (559) 733-4256 or visit and click on “What’s New!”

While the leave under the FMLA and CFRA are generally unpaid, employees have certain rights to substitute accrued paid sick or vacation leave for the otherwise unpaid time.

However, for a business, going from 49 to 50 employees is in many ways a much worse alternative than keeping things small.

.More important, and more costly, employees who are enrolled in your health insurance benefits are entitled to continue receiving this benefit during their family medical leave.

.Here is an overview of the leave requirements for the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The FMLA and CFRA require covered employers to provide time off for personal illness, to attend to the illness of a family member and in connection with the birth or adoption of a child.

You may temporarily replace the employee while on leave, but you must remember that you will have to reinstate the employee at the end of the leave. Which means that you will discharge or reassign the replacement when the employee on leave is ready to return.

Though this sounds simple, FMLA and CFRA issues are among the most litigated of all employment law cases and can result in large liabilities. Federal and California family and medical leave laws provide eligible employees with the equivalent of up to 12 weeks per year for: • Bonding with a newborn, adopted child or child placed for foster care; • Caring for a family member with a serious health condition; • .The employee’s own serious health condition; or • .A qualifying exigency relating to a close family member’s military service (FMLA only).


The most important consideration for an employer is the requirement for reinstatement after the leave. When you grant an employee’s family/medical leave request you must guarantee to reinstate the employee to the same or a comparable position. Only under very limited circumstances can you refuse to honor the reinstatement guarantee. The “comparable position” means employment in a position virtually identical to the employee’s original position in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions, including privileges, fringe benefits and status. It must involve the same or substantially similar duties and responsibilities, which must entail substantially equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and authority. It must be performed at the same or a geographically close worksite from where the employee previously was employed. It ordinarily means the same shift or an equivalent work schedule. If your Turning Fifty event provides for 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, the wonders of the improperly named Affordable Care Act also kick in. The health care plan must meet many requirements and not cost the employee more than 9.5 percent of their yearly household income. (Which is a figure that all employers know about their employees, right?)

c o ngrat u lati o n s 22

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With five or more employees you are required to provide up to four months of Pregnancy Disability Leave to any pregnant employee, which also includes continued health care coverage. Add FMLA and CFRA to it and you also have to provide 12 weeks of baby bonding to qualified employees.

Business Connect ion |


the law @ work

exercise caution

prospective employees AND criminal records

Brett T. Abbott Gubler & Abbott, LLP

This article is for education and information purposes only; it should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal assistance, contact Gubler & Abbott, LLP, (559) 625-9600, or visit


A new law has recently been enacted in California, which should make California employers proceed with caution when asking potential job candidates about prior criminal convictions. Effective January 1, 2014, SB 530 amended the California Labor Code to prohibit public and private employers from asking job applicants about criminal records that have been expunged, sealed or dismissed. A companion bill that will become effective July 1, 2014 (AB 218), will bar public sector employers from asking about criminal records on employment applications. An intentional violation may result in a penalty equal to the greater of $500 or treble actual damages, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and other costs and a fine not to exceed $500. SB 530 constitutes an amendment to California Labor Code section 432.7, which already prohibits most public and private employers from asking job applicants to disclose information about an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction or one that resulted in admission to a pretrial or posttrial diversion program. Current law also prohibits employers from considering these issues in making a hiring decision.

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In light of this new law, businesses should consider reviewing and revising their hiring procedure to make sure they comply with the new statute.

This bill would additionally prohibit an employer, as specified, from asking an applicant to disclose, or from utilizing as a factor in determining any condition of employment, information concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed, as provided, unless the employer is required by law to obtain that information ... - LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST The principal reason that the legislature passed these laws was twofold. First, if a conviction is expunged or dismissed, the State in essence considers that person to have been rehabilitated, yet many employers might nonetheless be reluctant to hire such an employee. Second, lawmakers also likely reasoned that if an offense was discussed or expunged, it was probably a minor offense anyway. Regardless of the reasons, employers must be aware of this new law, and abide by it when considering potential applicants.




StEVE MCCARTHA True Legacy Consulting

For information on business consulting services call True Legacy Consulting at 559-997-6242or visit

On a hot summer day, if people look carefully in the neighborhoods across America they can find children playing in sprinklers. Growing up during the 1980s in the San Joaquin Valley, sprinklers were the primary way of cooling off. Currently, items such as water hoses and sprinklers have now been replaced with super soakers and swimming pools. Despite the cool new gadgets and toys available, children still appreciate a good sprinkler. While having some fun at the neighborhood children’s expense, I conducted an experiment. As the children awaited the setup of the sprinkler, they sat around with anticipation. The sprinkler was turned on just enough to get their feet wet; the children were extremely disappointed. The children looked at me to turn the sprinkler higher so they could play. The next position for the sprinkler was turned on full blast. The children scattered as if someone had screamed, “Bear!” at a camp site. Upon evacuating the area, the children began to look at me in disgust. To avoid a neighborhood mutiny, I turned on the sprinkler just below head height. Much to the delight of the neighborhood children, the sprinkler was now ideal for them. Adults are no different than kids playing in a sprinkler when running their own businesses. Finding the balance in a business is crucial to the success of its people, much like finding the balance in the sprinkler was to the children. This balance is crucial to the success of businesses, but more important to the people leading them. Looking at leadership, people need to identify the gifts they possess and consider a transformational leadership approach. Transformational leadership focuses on making followers more effective leaders. This leadership refers to setting accountability, where standards are set and clearly enforced in terms which relate to the followers goals. “With transformational leadership, the followers feel trust, admiration, 1930


loyalty and respect towards the leader and they are motivated to do more than they originally expected to do,” (Yukl, 2010, p. 322). This facilitates the smaller bottom line for owners and shareholders; it also produces a better understanding between employee and supervisor. For leaders to understand what drives their followers, they must understand autonomy, as described by Daniel H. Pink (2009): “What people do, when they do it, how they do it and whom they do it with” (pp. 91-92). This is also known as the four T’s: task, time, technique and team. Tasks should be clearly defined and outlined in employee operating procedures; this will give the tasks identity and significance, thus resulting in meaningful work. Achieving autonomy optimizes work balance, performance and buy-in on the vision. Providing followers autonomy also achieves innovative thinking. Innovative thinking and creativity is producing bottom line numbers perceived to be success in modern-day corporate America. The transformational leadership position is an old theory that has become a new catalyst for visionary leadership. People go through trials and tribulations, while trying to find the best leadership style for them. The best advice I can give is treat people how you want to be treated, serve people how you want to be served and always remember that you are a person like everyone else. All of these principles were taught to me by my father and reaffirmed by education. At the end of the day, leaders always feel they need to control the sprinkler, to turn it up and down for the people they serve. However, the concept is not so much about how the leader controls the sprinkler; it is about allowing the follower to adjust the height of the sprinkler for him or herself.

Learn More

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead Books 2009 Leadership in Organizations, Gary Yukl, Pearson Education 2010

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Jim Sneed


Education: BBA from James Madison University; CPA from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Originally From: New York City In Visalia Area Since: April 2013 Family: Wife, Delores... we are empty-nesters; our son David lives in Virginia.

Who do you consider your primary mentor and what did s/he teach you? Dr. Robert Finney, my professor at JMU. It was a communication class. He taught me how to make a speech. We’ve kept in contact since then. What is your leadership style? I believe in collaboration. How do you motivate your team? Provide an environment that rewards collaboration.

Proudest Accomplishment: Earning my CPA. Biggest Professional Challenge: Convincing subordinates and colleagues to accept change in their routines. Soap Box Moment – what do you want to tell people in Visalia: I recently visited Sequoia National Park. It’s a local treasure for us to enjoy.

What are you passionate about? Cycling. I have three road bikes and one mountain bike. What are some words you live by? The game is afoot. What are you reading & why? “The Bully Pulpit” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I’ve had a long standing admiration for Teddy

Top 3 things on my bucket list: I don’t have a bucket list.


B us i n e s s C o n n e ctio n |

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Community-Loyal Business a thriving community starts here.

JAN 2 014 14 YEARS St. Paul’s School (559) 739-1619 Walton Family Moving & Storage, Inc.

13 YEARS Visalia Rawhide Baseball Club

12 YEARS Executives Association of Tulare County Gubler & Abbott LLP Rauber & Johnson Tulare County Office of Education (559) 733-6300




California Business Machines (559) 255-5570

Lali Moheno (559) 733-4121

Continental Labor & Staffing Resources

Peggy Wilson/Century 21 Jordan Link (559) 287-4671

El Rosal Restaurant (559) 733-7731 Karen Gross / State Farm Insurance (559) 625-8700

1 YEAR California Medical Imaging Associates (559) 713-6050 J & D Lighting & Alarm (559) 733-5867 The Yokohl Ranch Company LLC (805) 801-7923

FEB 2 014 22 YEARS

Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel (559) 635-1144

Univar (559) 651-3739

Visalia Public Cemetery District


8 YEARS Jeff Barnes Brain Injury Foundation

6 YEARS Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino (559) 692-5248

5 YEARS Hyde Commercial Real Estate 30

Bank of the Sierra 559) 740-4200


9 YEARS Tommy’s Restaurant & Lounge (559) 627-6077

2 YEARs Figaro’s Mexican Grill (559) 733-5125 Grand Circle Corp (209) 606-0958

1 YEAR Stimple Plumbing (559) 786-9313 Visalia Remodeling (559) 594-1041

MAR 2 014 36 YEARS Visalia YMCA (559) 627-0700

Carl Nelson Insurance Agency (559) 622-9400


Personnel Solutions Unlimited, INC. (559) 734-0570


12 YEARS Assistance League of Visalia (559) 737-1907

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Principal Financial Group (559) 627-3550

Country Club Mortgage (559) 636-3333

11 YEARS Classic Charter (559) 738-1111

Seals/Biehle General Contractors (559) 651-4040

10 YEARS Best Buy Market (559) 732-7981

9 YEARS Patrick L. Salazar State Farm Insurance Agency (559) 625-2318

8 YEARS Haulaway Storage Containers (559) 651-1336

6 YEARS Westamerica Bank (559) 738-7868

4 YEARS Summit Homebuilders Inc (559) 738-5284

3 YEARS Valley Advanced Security & Network Solutions (559) 686-9496

2 YEAR The Orosco Group (831) 649-0220

1 YEAR Hands in the Community (559) 625-3822 Staples (559) 635-9394 Sweet Nectar Society (559) 360-0779

8242 W Doe Ave Visalia, CA 93291

Solar Energy Products

Agricultural Services Visalia Farmers Market Association (559) 804-8372 Downtown Visalia Visalia, CA 93291

Event & Conference Center Tulare County Fair (559) 686-4707 215 Martin Luther King Jr Ave Tulare, CA 93274

Automobile Dealers


Giant Chevrolet Cadillac (559) 733-1100 1001 S Ben Maddox Way Visalia, CA 93292

Tule River Economic Development Corporation (559) 783-8408 340 N Reservation Rd Porterville, CA 93257

Automobile Dealers Zylstra Automotive (559) 739-7303 2230 E Main Street Visalia, CA 93292

Boutiques & Women’s Apparel Bling Queen Boutique (559) 859-3099 611 W Main Street Visalia, CA 93291 Maurices (559) 735-9574 2226 S Mooney Blvd Visalia, CA 93277

Civic Minded Individuals Friends of Mike Boudreaux (559) 744-3088 2404 W Burrel Ave Visalia, CA 93291

Education-Post Secondary/K-12 McDonald & Associates (559) 636-3605 220 N Santa Fe Visalia, CA 93292

Entertainment & Recreation Tule River Tribe Eagle Mountain Casino (559) 788-6220 681 S Tule Reservation Road Porterville, CA 93257

Environmental Consultants Boretti, Inc (559) 372-7545 1817 S Woodland Visalia, CA 93277

Health & Nutrition Javita dba Veiga Business Holdings (559) 679-2432 1930 E Monte Vista Ave Visalia, CA 93292

Management / Personnel Consulting Ruth Medlin Consulting (559) 381-4745 Home Based Business Tulare, CA 93274

Central California Solar (559) 967-1048 1698 Champagne Tulare, CA 93274

Storage Facility Bulldog RV Storage (559) 627-4000 1010 E Douglas Visalia, CA 93292

Telephone & Data Communication Services ITC (559) 784-8324 244 W Olive Ave Porterville, CA 93257

Transportation M. V. Transportation (559) 713-4757 525 N. Cain St Visalia, CA 93292 Golden Touch Limousine (559) 789-9090 365 W Olive Ave Porterville, CA 93257

Towing Independent Towing (559) 625-3000 1122 E. Mineral King Ave Visalia, CA 93292

Wineries Farmer’s Fury Winery (559) 816-0019 358 W D St Lemoore, CA 93245

the Chamber makes

more than cents for your business.

(559) 734-5876

Non Profit Organization BEN-E-LECT Foundation (559) 733-1240 5429 Avenida de los Robles Suite A Visalia CA 93291 Read for Life (559) 798-0126 132 N Conyer Street Visalia, CA 93291

Party Rentals, Supplies & Services Go Make a Memory Photo Booth (559) 840-6821 Home Based Business

Real Estate Musgrove Real Estate Group (559) 732-0600 2402 W. Main St Visalia CA 93291

Recycling & Waste Management Caglia Environmental (559) 635-3800 Business Connect ion |



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