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OCTOBER ‘17 VOL. 29 | NO. 10


family vault An old family-owned bank building is getting made over into a modern-day culinary destination by Sena Christian


We’re very particular about which pre-owned vehicles get our stamp of approval. Before any pre-owned Jaguar vehicle is given our up to 6 year/100,000-mile limited warranty,* it must pass a 165-point inspection administered only by a Jaguar-trained technician. And, we put each vehicle through rigorous paces to evaluate its handling and agility. Only then is it considered ready for you to drive.


JAGUAR SACRAMENTO THINK NIELLO 2052 Fulton Avenue Sacramento, CA 95825 877.644.7930 THE ART OF PERFORMANCE Vehicles Shown: 2015 Jaguar F-TYPE, 2015 Jaguar XJL, 2015 Jaguar XF, 2015 Jaguar XK. *Jaguar Approved Certified Pre-Owned Coverage, including limited warranty and roadside assistance, expires up to seven years from the original in-service date or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Original in-service date is the earlier of the new-vehicle retail sale or in-use date, as reported to Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC. Select vehicles may have the option for different warranty terms. Vehicles with the up to 6 years/100,000 miles limited warranty are limited in supply and only available at participating Jaguar Retailers. Visit Jaguar Sacramento for complete terms and conditions of the limited warranty and service coverage. © 2017 Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC







Managed IT Services




SMILE BUSINESS PRODUCTS, INC. Millennials Changing the Workplace


ith the transition of the workforce moving from baby boomers and genXers to millennials comes a change in the way we do business. This new generation of young workers has grown up in a digital world and conduct day to day business the same. A study was conducted by a group of millennial workers to seek their view on digital transformation and their workplace expectations. The results were surprising: • Sixty percent said their company did not have any policies regarding printing and 70 percent said there were no scanning policies. • More than 50 percent think their company has too many paper-based processes, and minimal digital workflow. • Only fifty-four percent of the companies are using some form of document management and workflow. Of the 54 percent, 16 percent use their own storage. Most had little or no access to their company’s solution. • Only twenty-nine percent use mobile phones or tablets to print while at work. Interestingly enough, millennials would consider that the most important aspect when considering employment to be a fully digital environment.

QUESTIONS Does your company have a scanning, printing or mobile policy in place, or any type of document security to safeguard your company?

• All business documents have some level of confidentiality or sensitivity, and scanning to email, which is very popular, makes it easy to send confidential documents to the wrong person, internally or externally or on purpose. A policy would reduce or eliminate this type of breach. Does your company have a policy in place for document storage on the cloud? • The statistic above mentions that only 38 percent of employees in the survey have access to their company’s cloud solution. This is a huge red flag from a security perspective! Think about it: Are your employees storing company documents on their personal solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox? Smile has adopted a number of security policies for printing, scanning and email distribution. Whether it’s internal or external, pre-defining and automatically sending the digital copy to an approved destination will protect all documents and help secure your company overall. As an authorized dealer for Sharp Electronics providing award-winning multifunctional copiers/ printers to all types of businesses and government agencies, it’s critical that we educate users and communicate the importance of security. • All Sharp multifunctional devices have multi-layered security features to insure documents are secure. These safety nets are: data encryption, data overwrite protection and data erase. To help restrict access to the device over

Smile is a great place to start. Give us a call!

the network, Sharp offers IPsec for an end-toend security to protect data over the network. • Sharp Remote Device Manager allows control of system features such as tracking printing and scanning, activity logs for review, and overall control and management of your workflow. • Secure Fax Release, confidential printing options and audit logs also contribute to security policies for printing and scanning. Another form of document security that Smile promotes is Document Management, securing sensitive documents by workflow solutions. Most workflow solutions start with a scan, or are automatically dropped into a Document Management solution, which initiates the security and workflow for the life of that document. • Smile’s solution to document management, provides a secure means to capture, store and retrieve documents. Each document that is scanned or dropped is identified with a tracking number associated with an individual or DNA, and as it moves through the workflow process any others who touch the document are recorded. No room for a security breach! This study is important for future business planning and preparing for the next generation of our workforce. Millennials already make up one third of our workforce, the largest generation at work. We need to adapt to their way of processing and thinking about workflow, security and workplace expectations.

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Volume 29 Number 10 PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER Winnie Comstock-Carlson, Ext. 101 EDITOR IN CHIEF Allison Joy, Ext. 106 MANAGING EDITOR Sena Christian, Ext. 110 ART DIRECTOR Kelly Barr, Ext. 115 SENIOR DESIGNER Sara Bogovich, Ext. 108 AD DESIGNER Jason Balangue, Ext. 105 VICE PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Clayton Blakley, Ext. 109 REGIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Susan Cruz, Ext. 102 For more information about advertising, send an email to


BUSINESS MANAGER Sharon Brewer, Ext. 103 email or call (916) 856-3954

MARKETING MANAGER Kiara Reed, Ext. 112 MARKETING ASSISTANT Thomas Hanns, Ext. 111 CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT Tamara Duarte, Ext. 107

























CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ray Byers Sr., Willie Clark, Rich Ehisen, Jennifer von Geldern, Jessica Kriegel, Laurie Lauletta-Boshart, Suzanne Lucas, Zack Quaintance, Bill Sessa, Jennifer Snyder, Karen Wilkinson, Jeff Wilser, Steven Yoder CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Joan Cusick, Terence Duffy, Tia Gemmell, Ken James, Noel Neuburger CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Melissa Arendt









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Can agrihoods strengthen the Capital Region’s urban farming movement — or will they overshadow it? by Sena Christian

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Now AvAilAble At AreA Nugget MArkets! For a complete location of newsstand locations or to subscribe visit 6


PRINTING Commerce Printing Sacramento, Calif. | October 2017


‘17 VOL .

29 | NO. 8

Published by Comstock Publishing Inc. 2335 American River Dr., Suite 301 Sacramento, CA 95825 (916) 364-1000 Fax (916) 364-0350

Comstock’s magazine covers commerce and community in the counties of Amador, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba, known as California’s Capital Region. Comstock’s is published monthly by Comstock Publishing Inc, 2335 American River Dr., Ste. 301, Sacramento, CA. 95825. Comstock’s Volume 29, No. 10. A one year subscription to Comstock’s is $25 per year; a single copy is $4.95 plus postage, plus tax (if applicable). All rates are payable in U.S. funds. Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and artwork. ©2017 by Comstock Publishing Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

Comstock’s is a member of the Western Publishing Association.

October 2017 CO-CHAIR MEG ARNOLD Managing Director, Valley Vision Inc. CO-CHAIR CHRISTI BLACK-DAVIS Executive Vice President, Edelman

You’re Invited

MIKE AMMANN President and CEO, San Joaquin Partnership JAMES BECKWITH CEO, Five Star Bank STEPHEN BENDER CEO, Warren G. Bender Co. CAROL BURGER President, Burger Rehabilitation TIM CARMICHAEL Manager, Southern California Gas Co. MAC CLEMMENS CEO, Digital Deployment JOHN FINEGAN Founder, Beck Ag STEVE FLEMING President and CEO, River City Bank

Saturday, October 21, 2017 6 to 9 p.m. Cocktails and Dinner Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento

Celebrate 100 Years with Breathe California Sacramento Region, the “Clean Air and Healthy Lungs People” Special Guests: Congresswoman Doris Matsui Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento Tickets at

ANDREW GRANT President and CEO, World Trade Center Northern California JIM HARTLEY Vice President, CH2M OLEG KAGANOVICH Founder and CEO, Wyndow TOM KANDRIS CEO/Managing Director, PK1 Inc. DENTON KELLEY Managing Principal, LDK Capital LLC BRIAN KING Chancellor, Los Rios Community College District JEFF KOEWLER Partner, Delfino Madden O’Malley Coyle & Koewler LLP LEO M C FARLAND President and CEO, Greater Sacramento and Northern Nevada Volunteers of America BILL MUELLER CEO, Valley Vision Inc. TIM MURPHY CEO, Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange MARIA OGRYDZIAK Owner, Maria Ogrydziak Architecture SANDY PERSON President, Solano EDC CURT ROCCA Managing Partner, DCA Partners VERNA SULPIZIO Principal, VASE Consulting & Talent Management DARRELL TEAT Principal, Darrell Teat Consulting SANJAY VARSHNEY VP/Wealth Advisor, Wells Fargo The Private Bank JOSHUA WOOD CEO, Region Business Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the individual opinions of the members of the editorial board.

October 2017 |


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8 | October 2017


October 2017





34 The Legacy

Back in 1998, two family businesses — Holt Bros. and Tenco Tractors — merged into one, for a total of three families now under one business roof at Holt of California. Twenty years later, they rely on a long history of leadership transitions to select the next in line for succession. by Steven Yoder



OCTOBER ‘17 VOL. 29 | NO. 10


42 Bridging the Gap

Only about one-third of family businesses survive into the second generation and only about 12 percent into the third. So collaboration and communication between younger up-and-comers and established leaders are critical to their survival.


family vault An old family-owned bank building is getting made over into a modern-day culinary destination

by Jeff Wilser

by Sena Christian


58 When the Giving Gets Good

Some of the region’s most prominent family businesses have social responsibility at the core of their companies, and the World Economic Forum confirms the high correlation between family business and philanthropy. We talked to three from the Capital Region about the benefits of giving. by Laurie Lauletta-Boshart


64 A Good Vintage

About 4,700 wineries exist in California, but did you know the majority are family-owned? These wine-industry families must grow grapes, produce wine, market and sell their product all while keeping the peace and planning for the future.


Wealth of Options

The historic D.O. Mills Bank Building, owned by the Cameron family since 1992, is in the midst of massive transformation. The Bank, slated to open later this year, will be a threelevel, 30,000 square-foot culinary destination. by Sena Christian

by Jennifer Snyder

October 2017 |



October 2017





EVIL HR LADY I need my employee to work more hours, but she doesn’t want to — what should I do?




by Suzanne Lucas


LEADERSHIP Your company’s mission statement is old and stale, so it’s time to rethink the whole concept


DISCOURSE Can new Chancellor Dr. Gary May transform UC Davis into a world-renowned center of innovation?




worth noting

by Zack Quaintance


10 | October 2017

ALF All Access Reception/Wide Open Walls VIP Reception/Sacramento Metro Chamber State of Agriculture/Sacramento Pride Awards

Buzzword of the Month: Frothy/ Readers weigh in on the state of rural broadband/ ICYMI: vintage record stores see a stable market in Sacramento




the breakdown

Region on the Rise This section, made in partnership with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, discusses the success of our local businesses and why transplants are choosing to call the Capital Region home.

When preparing the next generation to take over, you’ve got to let them make mistakes


As husband and wife, the owners of South have their brand 100 percent at heart



by Ray Byers Sr.

interview by Rich Ehisen


Family businesses have heart by Allison Joy

by Jessica Kriegel


letter from the editor

Working the presses at Full Circle Press in Grass Valley

Growth in small businesses a promising sign

What if that weird little mole is just a weird little mole?

CONCERNS, FEARS, UNANSWERED QUESTIONS...DON’T LET THEM HAUNT YOU. AFTER ALL, MOST AREN’T THAT SCARY. There’s a certain confidence and freedom that come from having clarity. And it all starts with a UC Davis doctor and an open door to an entire network of today’s most progressive and brightest medical minds. During OPEN ENROLLMENT, ask yourself the most crucial question first. The best answer…will immediately follow.




live green, print green ®




Give us a call and one of our business consultants will be available to help you. 916.442.8100 •

May 2017 |





he Brooks family gave me my first job, when I was a freshman in high school, at their breakfast diner on the main drag in my small Wisconsin hometown. Husband Jim and wife Sue ran the kitchen and front-of-house, respectively, and their two sons and daughter-in-law could often be found helping out on weekends or while the parents were on vacation. On my first day, Jim told me to try to take this seriously, as waiting tables would likely end up a good skill to fall back on during tough times. He was not wrong. I worked that job on and off for seven years, and I will be forever grateful for that and other nuggets of wisdom he and his family bestowed upon me over the years. I’ve worked at a number of family businesses, most of them restaurants, in my day. When I returned to Wisconsin from two and a half years in Japan in fall 2008, just as the economy tanked and the Great Recession ate up jobs, another family, the Nakashimas, took me in. When I told my boss, Tim (the second generation of leadership), that I’d be leaving for the summer to spend some time in California with my brother, he assured me there would be a place for me upon my return. And when I never came back, he wished me well. The place still feels like home. The Takashibas, who own Hana Tsubaki in East Sacramento, gave me my first job when I moved to California. They run a tight ship, and I was so nervous that on my first night I broke four beer glasses. (Mr. Takashiba asked if I was trying to throw a party … I’m still not sure if he was joking.) After that, I worked for the Arai family, who owns a string of popular establishments under Mikuni Restaurant Group. Without either of these families, I’m not sure I would have survived those initial years on the West Coast, so far from the only home I knew. My family’s farm back in Wisconsin has been in operation for seven generations, though ironically it’s one family business I haven’t worked for. (Instead, I absorbed my father's insatiable appetite for news.) The farm was never just a place of business, of course, it was a home — a gathering place for extended family, friends and farmhands. And over the years, that land has been touched by many people who, if not family, certainly came to feel that way. Our own succession plan is ill-defined. For now, my dad and uncle continue to keep the cattle. They don’t always agree, but there’s a legacy on the line, and they make it work. I’m so proud of them, of what my family has built and continues to build.

One thing that makes my job so interesting is that Comstock’s isn’t a publication solely focused on disseminating information in the form of news briefs and factoids. We tell stories: of the struggle to succeed, thrills of success, heartbreaks of failure and the quiet fear of finding oneself at a crossroads. The general public often thinks business news must be dry and sterile — focused solely on spreadsheets and quarterly reports — but business owners know it’s anything but. Only one-third of family businesses survive into the second generation, 12 percent into the third and a mere 3 percent make it to the fourth and beyond. The owners of family businesses, especially, know that their arrangement is dynamic, ever-changing, and full of its own challenges and benefits. And this should matter to the rest of us. As Stella Premo, executive director of the Capital Region Family Business Center, told Comstock’s in last year’s family-business issue, “Family-owned businesses have a unique sense of community responsibility and philanthropy. They care deeply about the work that they do and many of them are actively involved with nonprofits in our region. As consumers, we need to seek out these family-owned businesses and support them with our business. Because when they grow and prosper, so do we.” Locally-owned family businesses are at the beating heart of our region’s economy. They are out there, quietly humming along each and every day, striving to maintain a livelihood, pursue individual passions, create jobs and build a future for the next generation. In the following pages, you will find the stories of a handful of those businesses: their origins, how they grapple with succession-planning, and how and why they give back to their communities. I hope these stories speak to your mind as well as your heart, and I hope you’ll share your stories with us: You can find me at Enjoy.

Allison Joy Editor in Chief

October 2017 |





first visited Nevada County in 1986, when I came up from Oxnard, in Ventura County, to help my grandmother put a new roof on her Grass Valley cabin. There, sitting on the roof and watching the sun set over the Sierras, I saw a different future. Within a short time, I was living and working in Grass Valley. It would have been impossible to predict that from the card table in my grandmother’s living room, I would start a business in 1987, now called Byers Enterprises, and 30 years later would have grown it from a single contractor to an 87-employee full-service roofing, gutter and solar business. I see my two adult sons working hard each day, putting the proverbial walls up on the foundation I built. Management transitions have been gradual, with each Byers manager, whether family or not, earning their job through experience and success. I believe this approach is key for considering the future of one’s business and succession planning as it relates to a family business — when the time comes for the next generation to take over, they’ll need to be prepared. I firmly believe in learning by taking responsibility. My eldest son, Ray Jr., has taken on responsibilities with full accountability for successes and errors. I have always learned my own lessons and realize that to become better at managing a business is to make mistakes. I know Ray Jr. will not forget his mistakes, and the more I allow him to take on, the more he learns. He knows he can ask questions on handling certain aspects of the daily business, as well as offer his vision for the future. But I apply this approach to all of my employees — family member or not. No one gets special treatment. Partly that’s because I have never been a very good micromanager. When I hire someone, I educate them on the position, and then allow them to succeed within that position, and make their own decisions and mistakes.

When Ray Jr. was brought into the company in 2004, he learned all aspects of the business, starting with the yard, then roofing and gutter installation, followed by other product lines. I continue to transfer more daily duties to him, while guiding him along the way. My younger son, Cameron, began with the company around 2008, and has advanced with his knowledge of building and large equipment operation. He heads up our Land Clearing Division as a licensed timber harvest operator. Byers operates without a formal plan for business development and moves rapidly when opportunities present themselves. I see business as fluid, and approach new products and technologies with an open mind. I like to compare the business to a bus. You put the right people in the right seats on the bus. Through the life of the business, people get on and off the bus. Finding the right seat for each talent and letting them find fulfillment as team members is very rewarding. If you find the right people, you can trust each manager to make the best decisions daily. Even if they don’t ultimately make the right decision, at least they’re not afraid to try. If it is the wrong course of action, we correct it and move on. I’ve learned that as a boss, it is incredibly important not to micromanage and to instead allow your managers the opportunity to proceed on their own judgement. My dad, who worked as an urban planner and real estate broker, gave me lots of good advice. He used to tell me: “A wise man surrounds himself with wiser folks than himself.” I have been fortunate to build and keep a strong, dedicated team, and our core team has been together for many years. General Manager Jeff Fierstein has worked with Byers since 1992, Sales Manager Lance Bellows since 1996. My son Ray Jr. now serves as operations manager with the support of others, including his brother Cameron. Ray Jr. is thriving and surrounded by steady advisers. Cameron is happy being outside the office as my MacGyver — fixing

I know Ray Jr. will not forget his mistakes, and the more I allow him to take on, the more he learns.

14 | October 2017

this month's

CONTRIBUTORS DR. JESSICA Starting this month, Jessica is KRIEGEL contributing a regular leadership "Is Your Mission State- column to Comstock’s. Jessica works ment Gathering Dust?" as an organizational development pg. 24

or building whatever may come along, from equipment to new construction. It is understood at Byers that whether you are a relative or not, you have to earn your seat on the bus. Others in the company recognize this as the way the business has been built. This understanding alleviates sensitive issues around family roles. For instance, family friend Jeff Fierstein went from picking 15 year-old Ray Jr. up from his karate class to working side-byside with him in management. This takes a certain type of open-mindedness, to mentor with the goals of the business always first. I have brought Ray Jr. into meetings with key vendors and associates over many years. This provides a comfortability between stakeholders and the next generation. His earned trust makes transitions seamless. I am now moving gradually away from the company, though still working on a daily basis. The continued growth and success of the team gives me more latitude, though I’m glad my input is still requested once in awhile. Watching Ray Jr. and the team take on more responsibility and do a great job makes me very proud as a father and company owner. The opportunities seem endless with the talents and work ethic of both my sons.

consultant for Oracle Corporation, where she acts as an adviser and strategist in organizational development, change management and talent development. In 2016, she authored Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes. She completed her doctoral degree in educational leadership and management with a specialization in human resources development from Drexel University. Jessica also has an MBA in international business. For more, visit

ZACK Zack has more than a decade of expeQUAINTANCE rience working in the media. This is his "At Home in the first Taste assignment for Comstock’s. Kitchen" "I've always liked South, but in reportpg. 30

ing this story, I came to understand why on a deeper level — I like South not because the food is great (although it is), but because the restaurant feels familiar and authentic.” Zack’s writing has also appeared in the St. Louis PostDispatch, the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman. He lives in Northern California, where he is currently a staff writer for Government Technology Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @zackquaintance.

JENNIFER Jennifer is a writer, editor and host SNYDER of the weekly podcast, Creating Your

"A Good Vintage" Own Path. Jennifer creates written, pg. 64

Ray Byers Sr. is the president/CEO of Byers Enterprises. He began his career in construction as a plumber and roofer on commercial and military projects in Southern California. In 1987, he founded Byers’ Black Gold Roofing, becoming a licensed roofing contractor. The company expanded to become Byers Enterprises, encompassing five divisions today: roofing, Leafguard, solar, land-clearing and Solatube. Byers has significantly built its brand, growing the business by about 50 percent from 2007 to 2009 alone.

visual and audio content for publications, organizations, podcasts, apps and blogs. She graduated with a degree in English literature from Sacramento State. “It's been fascinating to learn more about how winemaking can truly become a family business,” she says of her first feature for Comstock’s. “What struck me most — across all of those interviewed — was the presence of an overarching willingness to let each other grow and learn while still capitalizing on each individual's strengths.” For more info, visit On Twitter @JenniferESnyder.

October October 20172017 | | 15


AMERICAN LEADERSHIP FORUM ALL ACCESS RECEPTION On Aug. 1, the American Leadership Forum - Mountain Valley Chapter, held their “All Access” reception at The Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento, welcoming Dr. Gary May, the new chancellor of UC Davis. ALF-MVC “All Access” events are designed to connect individuals with the region’s newest leaders. May previously served as the engineering dean at Georgia Tech and was appointed as the 7th chancellor of UC Davis earlier this year. Photography: Tia Gemmell


1 Stephanie Bray, CEO, United Way; Brian Bedford, president/ CEO, Align Capital Region; and Cassandra Jennings, CEO, Greater Sacramento Urban League. 2 Marjorie Dickinson, assistant chancellor, Government and Community Relations, UC Davis; Michelle Odell, public affairs director, Kaiser Permanente; Bonnie Ferreira, CEO, American Leadership Forum; and Doni Blumenstock, owner, Connections Consulting and former executive director, American Leadership Forum. 3 Kathy McKim, vice-president/external affairs, AT&T; and Bill Mueller, CEO, Valley Vision. 4 Becky Johnson, senior manager, electric asset management, Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Leroy Tripette, VP corporate partnerships and advancement at Cristo Rey High School; and Meg Arnold, marketing director, Valley Vision. 5 Larry Lee, president/CEO, Sacramento Observer; Gary May, chancellor, UC Davis; Don F. Harris, owner/principal attorney, Law Offices of Don F. Harris; and Brian Aguilar, deputy director, Sacramento State Center for California Studies.

16 | October 2017

more images at

WIDE OPEN WALLS VIP CONDENSED GALLERY To celebrate the opening of the Wide Open Walls Mural Festival, a VIP condensed gallery reception and artist meet-and-greet was held on Aug. 11 at Beatnik Studios in downtown Sacramento. Guests and patrons were able to meet the artists participating in the festival and purchase commemorative items and art. Wide Open Walls, a Sacramento-based mural festival, ran from Aug. 10-20. Photography: Tia Gemmell

1 Anna Sobon, co-producer, Wide Open Walls; Genevieve Shiroma, board of directors, SMUD; and David Sobon, founder and producer, Wide Open Walls. 2 Niva Flor, community impact officer, Sacramento Regional Community Foundation; and Shavonda Gardner, interior designer. 3 Mia Lopez, digital marketing manager, Uptown Studios; and Orville Thomas, director of government affairs, California Alliance for Jobs. 4 Miles Toland, Wide Open Walls muralist (pictured with his mural); and Erica Manuel, manager: community, economic development and education, SMUD. 5 Issa Ndiaye, strategic account advisor commercial/industrial account solutions, SMUD; and Arthur Starkovich, government affairs representative, SMUD.

October 2017 |



SACRAMENTO METRO CHAMBER STATE OF AGRICULTURE: CRUSHING IT On Aug. 3, the Sacramento Metro Chamber hosted “Crushing It: How the Wine Industry is Influencing Agriculture,” as part of its annual State of Agriculture series, at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento. The event featured a moderated panel discussion, keynote address from John Aguirre, president of CA Association of Winegrape Growers and wine tasting from the region’s favorite wineries. Photography: Tia Gemmell

1 From Raley’s: Megan Riggs, community coordinator; Chelsea Minor, director, public relations/public affairs; and Becca Whitman, community relations manager. 2 Mary Grace T. Gomilla, sales/marketing, Sight & Sound Audio Visual; and Alonso Garcia, community engagement coordinator, Inalliance. 3 Bryan Zulko, Strikeforce for rural growth and opportunity, USDA Rural Development; Trish Kelly, senior vice president, Valley Vision; Chris Flores, senior field representative, U.S. House of Representatives. 4 Doris Matsui, Congresswoman, California’s 6th district; Mario Ortiz, wine director/general manager/sommelier, The Firehouse Restaurant. 5 Mabel Salon, director of community relations/interim director of local government relations, UC Davis; and Robert Dugan, senior vice president, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.

18 | October 2017

SACRAMENTO LGBT CENTER SACRAMENTO PRIDE AWARDS On Aug. 30, the Sacramento LGBT Community Center hosted its annual Pride Awards fundraiser at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento. This year, five individuals were honored as local champions of the LGBTQ community. The Pride Awards is the biggest fundraiser for the center, whose mission is to create a region where LGBTQ people thrive. Photography: Tia Gemmell

1 From Meridian Pacific: Marie Brichetto, director of public affairs; Steve Fenaroli, account executive; and Lan Nguyen, account executive. 2 David Van Rijn, planning officer, The Bureau of Reclamation - Mid-Pacific Region; Russ Liebig, fisheries biologist, Stillwater Sciences; and Dr. Mark Heller, M.D., Sutter Medical Center. 3 Willie Recht, executive director, Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region; Lanz Nalagan, development coordinator, Sacramento LGBT Community Center; and Patrick Harbison, owner/executive director, Patrick Harbison Public Relations. 4 Meghan Vanderford, corporate concierge, Wells Fargo Center/Renaissance Tower; Sundeep Dosanjh, communications specialist, Elk Grove Unified School District; and Cambi Brown, event emcee and reporter, Good Day Sacramento. 5 Scott Patterson, director, sales/marketing manager, Hoppy Brewing Company; and Eli Mall, family services worker, County of Sacramento.

October 2017 |




froth y


/'frôTHē/, adj. The market conditions preceding a bubble, where prices are overvalued and driven up, thanks to unsustainable demand. BY Robin Epley ILLUSTRATION: Jason Balangue


Karen: It's exciting to see the support visual artists are finally receiving in Sacramento. Wish it extended to the writing community. Adrian Rehn: Happy to see artists being recognized as the creators of culture that they are, but we need to address the housing crisis if we want to ensure that artists can live in our communities! Bryan's ArtStreet piece says it all. ILLUSTRATION: ANDREW J. NILSEN

refuse to let anyone ruin “frothy” for me. You know what’s supposed to be frothy? Cappuccinos. Milkshakes. Seafoam-crested waves breaking on the shore. These are all nice things. You know what’s not nice? Unsustainable demand, unpredictable investor behavior and eventual market collapse. And yet, here we find ourselves again, contemplating the ever-evolving nature of the English language. Jargon has taken this perfectly pleasant adjective — frothy — and forced it into working as a canary in the coal mine. I don’t know how long frothy has been used to describe the phenomenon, but the concept has been around for as long as there have been markets: The famous Dutch “Tulip mania” in the early 1600s saw tulip bulbs traded for more than 10 times the average Netherlander’s annual income — only to fall to 1/100 the price within weeks of the market dropping out, sending economic shockwaves throughout Europe.

Make It Work: To build a successful creative career, entrepreneurship is as important as aesthetics

THE BUZZ People use the word frothy to describe uncertainty in the market — basically, the time period or conditions before a bubble bursts, according to Steven Mills, general partner of DCA Capital Partners, an investment firm based in Roseville. “Some people would say tech companies are in an overpriced market,” he says. Recently, when companies such as Uber, Snapchat and Blue Apron went public, they were valued at much higher initial offerings than the companies were worth, leading to a drop in value once the market stabilized. Snapchat’s IPO was at $17 when it went public last March. Today, Snap Inc. is trading around the $12 mark, and posted a $2.2 billion loss, according to The Motley Fool, and as a result its biggest underwriter, Morgan Stanley, recently downgraded their shares. (Bubbles are great until the one you’re sitting on pops.) Snapchat was unable to prove how they’d be able to grow, but had already offered their IPO at a falsely-high rate leading to a drop once the shares were revalued at a more realistic price — a warning for any other tech company blinded by dollar signs that go public too soon.

THE WORD The most relevant modern-day example of a frothy market would be the U.S. housing market from 2005-07 — right before that bubble burst to terrible, nationwide consequences. Home prices peaked in 2006, but dropped suddenly and sharply in 2008 due to bad lending practices. This is widely considered the primary cause of the Great Recession. “Frothy means asset prices are priced above their value, when there really isn’t a performance consistent with that value,” Mills says, of the housing crisis. “Obviously, those values were not sustainable.” So be wary of froth, save some money and think critically about your investment practices. Watch the video online! 20 | October August 201 20177

The Long Reach: As smart technology grows more essential to modern ag, farmers languish in digital dead zones

Jezra: The only option for internet service that AT&T offers in my rural neighborhood is dial-up, and it costs about $30/month. Factor in the cost of the phone line, and you would be paying $65/month for a 56Kbps connection. Every couple of years I contact AT&T to inquire about when they might invest in my area so that residents can get internet service other than dial-up. The response is always the same: "we have no plans to update the infrastructure in your area". By all means, please enlighten me as to where, and how, AT&T is investing in infrastructure in rural California. Visitor: I remember what AT&T did to the city of Ashland, OR years ago. They wouldn't supply the city so the city created their own broadband. AT&T sued. The city won. Now AT&T supplies service when they took over the infrastructure the city put in. Have something to say? Email us.

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The Untold Story of Used Records Stores by Blake Gillespie

Will agrihoods over shadow the Urban Farm movement in Sac? We say no because most agrihoods cater to a much different demographic than we do when we are #transformingthehoodforgood in #southoakpark...#farmlife #yisraelfamilyfarm

@jenforester: This was a good read by @comstocksmag - I'm trying the @Headspace Productivity Pack to help, w/ focus on breathing

The way Marty DeAnda, owner of MediumRare Records & Collectibles in Sacramento, views it, today’s buyers are archivists, meaning their collections are driven by nostalgia and memory, and an interest in the past. That’s why the used record store might be impervious to a boom or bust.

Get Focused The science behind why multitasking is ruining your ability to get things done

Making Waves by Trish Moratto

Today, the industries supporting the Coloma area provide a modern tourism jackpot. The regional population experiences an accordion effect — growing during peak summer season then returning to smaller numbers when the weather cools.


@comstocksmag Behind the scenes with @thefilmsquad, @gordon3fold and Tania Fowler. #newseries #staytuned #behindthescenes October 2017 |




changing Terms of Employment by Suzanne Lucas ILLUSTRATION: JOHN CHASE


y assistant “Jane” has a reduced work week, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. I agreed to this when she was hired. However, two years later, I now need her to work more hours. I don't need or want to hire an additional person — I just need her to work an 8-hour day. But she doesn't want to. What can I legally do? Can I fire her if she doesn't want to work more hours?

A 22 | October 2017

THE SHORT ANSWER IS THAT AS LONG AS YOU DON’T HAVE A CONTRACT WITH HER, it’s perfectly legal for you to change the conditions of the job. You can say, “I now need you to be here from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a 30-minute lunch. If you can’t do that, I’ll have to terminate you.” If she says no, you can fire her. But, I suspect you’re a nice person, or you wouldn’t be asking me this question. So the longer, more involved answer is that you really shouldn’t fire Jane un-

less you have to. Your needs may have changed, but hers haven’t. So let’s consider some additional information and some options:

THINK ABOUT JANE Why does she need reduced hours? Does she have children that get out of school in the afternoon, so she needs to be home to greet them? Does she wish to pursue her dream of becoming an artist? Both are valid reasons to want to work

a reduced-hour schedule. However, her reasons will make a difference in how this plays out — if she needs the extra time for family reasons, she’ll probably be more open to flexible options than if she wants the extra time to pursue something else.


CONSIDER A NEW HIRE If you fire Jane, you’ll have to replace her. For a complex job, it might take months to bring the new person up to speed. You’ll have to take away time from your day to train the new person. In other words, you won’t see the benefit from the new, full-time replacement for at least six months, if not more. If the job is simple and anyone could walk in off the street and do it, you could hire someone to come in for 10 hours a week to pick up the extra work that Jane can’t get done. In a college town, this would be an ideal part-time job for a student to get a bit of spending money. Advertise at the college and your problem will be solved. At 10 hours a week, the employee won’t be eligible for benefits, so you’ll just be paying the hourly rate plus employment taxes — same as you would Jane.

ASK JANE Do you have a list of tasks that aren’t getting done — and have you shared them with Jane? Maybe she has suggestions for getting them done within her current schedule. Frequently, employees have better ideas on how to get things done than their bosses do. It’s not because the boss is incompetent; it’s just because the employee knows better what it takes to get their work done.

SUGGEST WORKING FROM HOME If tasks aren’t getting done in the office, could Jane do them from home? Instead of working two hours later every day, could she come in two hours earlier? Could she work four 10-hour shifts and then have a three-day weekend? Would she be more likely to work 40 hours a week if she could work two or three days from home? If you need more coverage in the afternoon,

could she come in later? Would one hour more a day, instead of two, work?

HAVE HER AVAILABLE FOR CLIENTS If you need her available for clients, could she be on call for those two hours but not expected to do additional project work — just answer questions? (And, of course, paid for any time she does put in.) Is it a money thing? Would Jane be interested in working more hours if a big raise came with it? The 40-hour work week isn’t something decreed from above; we’ve just decided on it as a culture. There’s nothing immoral about it, but there’s nothing immoral about working less, working more or working a different set of hours altogether. My strong recommendation is that you work with Jane to come up with a solution. Remember, it’s difficult to find a good, part-time job as well, so Jane

should be motivated to work with you to search out a solution. Proceed with caution and save the idea of terminating her as a very last resort — hiring an unknown may not bring the results you want either. A good, experienced employee is worth her weight in gold. n Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers and doublechecked with the lawyers. On Twitter @RealEvilHRLady.

Have a burning HR question? Email it to:

October 2017 |



IS YOUR MISSION STATEMENT GATHERING DUST? Start anew by first thinking about the real reason your organization exists BY Jessica Kriegel


MISSION OR PURPOSE? The idea of defining your mission is valid and necessary, because it determines the direction of your organization. But the process is flawed from the outset. So get past the eye-rolling, rethink your motivation and switch up your process. Follow these three keys to creating an authentic mission statement, by first focusing on your deeper purpose. 1 Start at the beginning: Before you can start out on your mission — and way before you can recruit others to join you — you need to identify and share

24 | October 2017


Many of you work at organizations with a mission statement that is now gathering dust on a shelf, framed on a wall or, even worse, carved in stone above your portal. If the following sounds familiar, you’re in trouble: “Our mission is to be the number one (fill-in-the-blank), while driving customer satisfaction, engaging our employees in meaningful relationships and synergizing with our partners and suppliers.” Sounds like a line straight from Alec Baldwin’s character on “30 Rock.” Employees and leaders alike are burnt out on mission statements and, frankly, customers don’t believe them. It is time — past time — to rethink the whole mission statement concept.

Your purpose is your own and — let’s be real — comes before satisfying customers or providing a pleasant working environment. your primary motivation. What is really at the foundation of your business or, in fact, your life? Identify that motivation, then label it. Call it your purpose. Your prime mover. Your “why.” Or: that thing more important to you than making money. Understanding this primal urge for why your company exists must come before any mission or call to action. 2 Try not to be overly altruistic: Your purpose is your own and — let’s be real — comes before satisfying customers or providing a pleasant working environment. Traditional mission statements such as these are, at best, inadequate to understanding the real reason for your work and, at worst, transparent pandering to employees and customers. Come to terms with the real reason for your organization. 3 Keep it simple: Too many organizations try to please all of their stakeholders, which results in a droning run-on sentence. The most effective mission statements I have seen are eight words long (really six is ideal, but hard to do). Get to the point.

TIME FOR A REVAMP If you think your mission statement is old, tired and ineffective, then it may be time for a revamp. Here is a step-by-step process to do things right this time. 1 Turn your management team into a leadership team. Meet with them. Make sure they have 100 percent buyin, so they will understand your purpose and be its advocates. If not, your mission statement will surely end up on a dusty shelf.

2 Select a diverse group of employees

from all ranks of the company to be part of the process. Try to build a culturally diverse team of new and tenured employees, young and old, senior and entry-level, male and female, field employees and administrative. The more diverse the team, the more likely your mission statement will reflect your organization’s culture. 3 Set up individual interviews — this is where a consultant comes in handy. You will need someone firmly outside business politics to complete this step, or your employees will give the answers they think the leader wants to hear. Specifically, strategic planning consultants have a necessary role to play, as they are trained and experienced in their role as objective resources who have the skills to keep your team focused. 4 Ask your consultant to aggregate the information and clearly present it, visually, to the group. This should be the beginning of an off-site meeting. Disaster awaits if the group walks into an off-site without preparation — i.e. no interviews, no aggregate information and no emergent themes. Brainstorming in a void will, at worse, lead to discord and, at best, be a waste of valuable time that should be spent on moving forward. 5 Discuss the results of the interviews. Where is there agreement? Where is there consensus? Are we creative enough? Where can we improve? What are we doing right? Refine the data into one comprehensive but simple mission statement as a team. Peter

Drucker, the father of management theory, said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. This process allows the team culture to drive strategy, and not the other way around. 6 Cascade the mission statement to the rest of the team. This is the hardest and most important step, requiring time and commitment. Frankly, most people fail at this step, which is why people hate mission statements — they do not resonate with employees at an individual level. Not only do leaders need to share the mission statement with the team, but each employee should understand how their role and objectives tie to the mission statement, and in fact the entire organization’s strategy. This is done on a one-on-one level with managers and in group conversations as a team. Finding your purpose is a solitary endeavor. Creating a mission requires a team. A successful organization requires both. n Dr. Jessica Kriegel is an organizational development consultant and an expert on generational issues. For more, visit

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Read Comstock’s leadership column every other month.

October 2017 |



Taking Charge New UC Davis Chancellor Dr. Gary May on innovation, strategic planning and student outreach INTERVIEW BY Rich Ehisen PHOTO: Noel Neuburger


ew UC Davis Chancellor Dr. Gary May arrived at the university with a stellar reputation for innovation, leadership and academic equality for all students. We sat down with him recently to discuss his plans and goals for one of the region’s landmark institutions.

26 | October 2017

One item at the top of your agenda is developing a high-tech innovation hub similar to the ‘Technology Square’ facility you developed in Atlanta. What would something like that look like here? It’s not clear yet what it would look like, but I think the elements that are important are that it’s a world-class university in a world-class city with an engaged business community that’s interested in participating. We have talked about it like Technology Square, but I don’t want to give the impression that we’ve already decided on what we want the portfolio of activities to be. Certainly engineering and technology will play an essential role, but there’s room for any discipline that engages in innovation: innovation in business, innovation in policy, innovation even in the arts. It would be a mistake for me to prescribe what should be there without hearing from the folks who will actually be doing the work. It’s going to evolve organically, not from me taking a top-down posture and saying we’re going to put a technolog y innovation center here.

What are some other action items on your immediate agenda? We will be developing a strategic plan for the university. Across the campus there are many plans for various units and activities. I would like to align those plans and knit them together into a common vision and mission, and set up maybe 3-5 broad objectives for the campus that will lead us over the next 5-10 years.

Where do you see the institution going in the next decade? You always get in trouble when you predict the future because usually you’re wrong. But I will say that we would like to be among that small handful of universities at the tip of your tongue when you talk about the nation’s top research universities. I don’t think we have very far to

go because the excellence is already here. What we have not been able to do is to tell that story as effectively as we might. I think if we do all the right things with a strategic plan and the potential interaction with Sacramento, it will be much easier for us to tell that story, and it will be a more compelling story.

We would like to be among that small handful of universities at the tip of your tongue when you talk about the nation’s top research universities. I don’t think we have very far to go because the excellence is already here.”

You’ve said you want to move the university past the controversial tenure of your predecessor, Linda Katehi, who had a very difficult relationship with the student body here. How do you plan to build your relationship with students and faculty? A lot of it is being accessible, responsive and open. I’ve had numerous meetings with various constituencies in this office, around campus and in the chancellor’s residence, particularly with the students. I have student liaisons to the rest of the campus that officially are my eyes and ears, that will share with me the student needs and desires and issues. I’m on a listening tour now that consists of regular meetings with various academic units.

Does it make it more difficult for you knowing that Ms. Katehi will still be on the faculty? No, not at all. I’ve known Linda professionally for many years prior to her experience here as chancellor. Any time any university can have a scholar of her stature on their faculty it is an asset. She

October 2017 |



Big Sky Country, Big Ideas I’m not sure if the end of summer and the turn of another season inspires the travel bug, but my social media feeds have been filled with friends’ wanderlust inspirational quotes like ‘You’ll never know until you go” or “don’t listen to what they say, go see.” There’s some truth to those sayings. Traveling opens your eyes and broadens your perspective. Sometimes it makes you appreciate what you have or where you’re from and other times it motivates you to change something about your surroundings or make a positive impact. That’s why each year the Sacramento Metro Chamber coordinates a Study Mission to another city to explore what they are doing right and even what they may be doing wrong. For nearly 20 years, a group of regional business and civic leaders have hopped on planes, trains and buses together to observe San Antonio’s Riverwalk, New Orleans response to Katrina and the Twin Cities regional collaboration efforts supporting economic development. This month, over 130 from the Capital Region will travel from the Farm-to-Fork Capital to the Live Music Capital of the World: Austin, Texas. Accolades range from the fastest-growing city, the best city to launch a startup, and the #1 city for creative job growth. Austin is both laid-back and bustling, urban and rural and you’ll see both skyscrapers and stand up paddle-boards along the Colorado River. Austin has struck the perfect balance of knowing how to get it done and how to kick back and we are going to take close look at their successes. I attended my first Study Mission in 2010 to Seattle and returned home with a new group of friends and colleagues dedicated to improving our quality of life. Over the years, Study Missions have inspired some to open entrepreneurial spaces, foster public art and explore ways to brand our capital city. I encourage you to track our updates from the road via #StudyMission17 and we look forward to sharing our Austin experience in the months ahead. Jim Alves


Join Us (916) 552- 6 800 28 | October 2017

n DISCOURSE is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, she has 19 patents to her credit and hundreds of technical publications. Certainly, I’m sure the electrical and computer engineering department will consider her an asset to the faculty.

My wife is an engineer. What about outreach to women and girls to get more of them into STEM programs? My wife is also an engineer. She’ll be a good partner for me in this activity because she plans to get engaged with women in STEM on campus as a role model, speaker and facilitator. Just as with underrepresented students, for women the keys are awareness and opportunity. You want to make women aware of the opportunities available at UC Davis. You want to have good role models, not just students but role models on the faculty [and] in the institution’s leadership — which we actually do have already — and we want to continue to make this environment welcoming and supporting to women and underrepresented students.

You seem to take a very strong partnership approach with your wife, LeShelle. Will she have an official role with the school? We do, but she won’t have any formal staff role at the university. She has her own career … But she will be a real resource for UC Davis and for me. She also plans to get involved in sexual assault awareness, with support for victims and in being involved in proactive measures we might take to prevent people from becoming victims of sexual assault. She is also interested in getting involved with UC Davis Health in a variety of ways. We are a partnership and we’ve been good partners for 23 years now, and I expect that that will continue.

How do you intend to emphasize outreach to students of color? I’ve had sort of a parallel career in terms of my own activities focused on broadening participation among underrepresented students in STEM fields. I’ve had a whole sweep of activities from kindergarten through Ph.D. and beyond along the educational pathway. That includes tutoring activities, mentoring programs, summer bridge programs and career development programs. There are many ways we can enhance the experience of those students and ... make them feel like UC Davis is a welcoming environment concerned about their success.

Like many chancellors, you sit on corporate boards. This was something for which your predecessor drew criticism. You’ve said you intend to keep your board seats. Why is it important for someone in your position to have a spot on these boards? Well, not just the chancellor. I think any leader at UC Davis who has an opportunity to expand our network and our voice

and our reach should take advantage of outside professional activities to the extent they can. I think that is indicative of our thought leadership. It’s a flattering thing for a company or a nonprofit to say, ‘We would like to hear your voice and your expertise to help guide our decision-making.’ In the case of my previous institution, the fact I was on a particular board led to tens of millions of dollars of philanthropy. I’m not suggesting or guaranteeing that will happen at UC Davis, but I think having access to CEOs and to my fellow board members and being able to tell them about the things that are happening here and to perhaps interest them in being partners with us can have positive benefits for our university.

There is growing concern that artificial intelligence and automation are going to have a major negative impact on the U.S. workforce. What more would you like to see universities do to work with industry to help better prepare the workforce of the future? It’s incumbent of the universities to inculcate in our students an appreciation for lifelong learning. They have to have the willingness to come back and reinvent themselves and learn more

and more. At the same time, I think we have a responsibility to properly educate people that may be naysayers about technology. There’s a lot of unfounded fears about artificial intelligence in particular, and we need to make sure people understand what’s possible and what’s not possible. We also need to be educating students to do the sorts of jobs that robots and AI can’t do, jobs that require an innate creativity. We need to cultivate that and have our curricula include that [so] our students can still add value to corporations that will be automating. n Rich Ehisen is the managing editor of State Net Capitol Journal. His work has appeared in Sunset, San Francisco Magazine, California Journal, Sacramento Magazine and the Lexis Legal Network. On Twitter @WordsmithRich.

Hey, UC Davis alum, what are your thoughts on new Chancellor Dr. Gary May? TWEET US @COMSTOCKSMAG.

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AT HOME IN THE KITCHEN Husband and wife team give Sacramento a taste of the South BY Zack Quaintance PHOTOS: Joan Cusick


Ian and N’Gina Kavookjian opened their South restaurant in 2014.

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t’s August in Sacramento, and the temperature is uncomfortably close to 100 degrees. It’s not a day to linger in the sun. Yet, at an unassuming white building on 11th Street, around the corner from T Street near Southside Park in downtown, customers wait outside to order food. This building is home to South, a southern cuisine restaurant that has drawn steady attention from local media and strong word-of-mouth since opening in December 2014. Sweltering or not, people line up at South — often out the door — to order at the counter. They are then assigned a table and brought fried chicken, ribs, cocktails, hush puppies or whatever else they have ordered. To understand South’s success, one must understand the impact of family. South is family-owned by a husband and wife, and its menu includes family recipes. As Sacramento undergoes a culinary renaissance, family-owned restaurants like South have become foundational to the city’s rejuvenated character. For the restaurant’s owners, however, running a business with family can be both a great blessing and a major headache, sometimes in the course of an hour. South is owned by N’Gina and Ian Kavookjian, with their work dictated by whatever is needed that day — they don’t really have defined roles and titles. In 2012, the Kavookjians opened Eight American Bistro in Granite Bay, which soon closed. Ian says the couple took stock of the failure to assess what they could improve, and “one of the things we came up with was having a connection to what we’re doing.” At Eight American Bistro, they served what was then called new American cui-

sine, offering seasonal vegetables, burgers and handmade pastas. But neither Ian nor N’Gina felt personally invested in the dishes. When they created South in 2014, they made two major changes: They limited early spending, waiting to install air conditioning and a large frier; and they built a menu heavily influenced by meals at N’Gina’s family gatherings in Biloxi and Jackson, Miss., and in New Orleans. N’Gina, whose father relocated to Sacramento for work when she was 5 years old, paints a picture of dozens of family members back home seated at pop-up tables in driveways and yards, eating gumbo and fried chicken and barbecue while sharing stories. N’Gina says every relative cooks, “uncles, aunts, my mother, grandmother — everybody has their dish and they just kill it.” South’s menu is split into old school and new school. Old school dishes are family recipes, like N’Gina’s mom’s fried chicken, which sports her nickname, Petey. New school dishes are the couple’s twists on classic southern cuisine, including a burger with havarti, leek-shallot jam, bacon confit and other ingredients, which the national cultural website Thrillist recently dubbed best in Sacramento. Menu aside, family has been instrumental in operating South. Over the years, Ian and N’Gina essentially have blended two relationships into one: that of husband and wife and that of business partners, which gives them both an extra set of eyes on the restaurant plus a companion who has their brand 100 percent at heart. They say they have complementary management styles. Ian is a cautious guy, the type to dip his toe in the pool while N’Gina, who is more proactive, runs past him to dive in. They both often defer in situations where it’s clear the other’s style is preferable. The couple also has two children, Isaac, 10, and Isabella, 6. On that recent hot August day, they were chilling in the restaurant’s office, sprawled on couches playing with digital devices at the end of summer break. The kids are comfortable at South and the crew knows them.

Isaac says he wants to be a general manager when he grows up (though Ian questions if he understands what that entails), while N’Gina says Isabella “wants to be a big boss lady like her mom.” N’Gina supposes this may be a younger sibling hungry for authority. When South first opened, little Isabella even ran fries out to customers, which proved adorably problematic because, before leaving the table, she would typically ask if she could have just one, please.

The aptly-named South Burger offers a modern twist on classic southern cuisine.

“If you’re going to be a husband and wife, and you’re also going to be business partners, you better be able to recover from an argument.” - Ian Kavookjian, co-owner, South N’Gina’s sister, Iris Lee, manages South’s finances, and the restaurant’s managers — Daniel “Coach” Fraticelli and Lindsey Love — have been with South since it opened. N’Gina says she’s never felt so secure at work. In fact, once when she was feeling sick, she looked around, saw everyone and got “that feeling you get when you’re family has everything taken care of.”

October 2017 |



Family-owned restaurants like South are key to Sacramento’s growing food scene.

She was able to do something rare for restaurateurs — go home and sleep until she felt better. However, there are challenges inherent to mixing business and family. “If you’re going to be a husband and wife, and you’re also going to be business partners, you better be able to recover from an argument,” Ian says. Arguments happen a lot, actually, but the couple says they are diligent in stepping outside and talking things out. They over-communicate to find a way to make peace, no matter how great the conflict. This system seems to be a success. In addition to South, the couple owns and operates The Quinn, a vintage clothing shop on T Street, and they plan to soon open an event venue in the New Era neighborhood to be called The Good Saint. “Consumers love locally-owned businesses and locally-owned restaurants. They’re part of the fabric of a community,” says Sharokina Shams, a spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association. She says 85 percent of their member organizations are independently owned, in-

32 | October 2017

cluding many that are owned by families, although the association does not track those numbers. Peter Tateishi, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, says family-run businesses are critical to longterm organic growth in town, and collaborating with family can be a springboard to success. “Family is a support system,” Tateishi says. “It’s a way to engage, and it’s a way to manage risks. When you’re starting a business or restaurant, the first people there for you are your family.” While Ian moved to Sacramento as an adult after living in Napa and working in the wine industry, N’Gina has spent most of her life here. She likes seeing customers bring their own families in to spend time together while enjoying her food. Her parents, whose recipes make up a good deal of the menu, also come to South to eat, and when they do, they refuse to cut the line or sit in the private dining room. N’Gina tells a story about recently going into the line to greet her mom and

give her a kiss. Afterward, a woman nearby asked her mom why she was able to get such a personal greeting from the owner. N’Gina’s mom told the woman the chicken was named after her. The entire line was thrilled to learn this, as if they were meeting a celebrity. n Zack Quaintance has more than a decade of experience working in the media. His writing has appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman. He lives in Northern California. On Twitter @zackquaintance.

SOUTH LOCATION: 2005 11th St, Sacramento HOURS: Open Tuesday-Saturday, closed

Sunday and Monday INFO:

Moving Our Region Forward.


Comstock’s is proud to partner with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and its board members to bring you a special supplement highlighting regional economic development successes and opportunities. Please go to page 73 and learn how Greater Sacramento and its partners are putting us on the national stage and moving our region forward.

October 2017 |




Legacy As Holt of California approaches a crossroads, the company relies on its history of strong leadership transitions BY Steven Yoder PHOTO: Terence Duff y

34 | October 2017

Kelsey Monroe (left) and Ryan Beatie (right) represent the next generation of leadership for Holt of California.

October 2017 |



Daniel Beatie started his Caterpillar dealership in Marysville in 1931 (pictured left), which merged with Holt Bros. (pictured right) in Stockton in the late 1990s. The new company took the name Holt of California and has 15 locations throughout central Northern California.


n family-run companies, generational turnovers are as ing current Teichert COO Mary Rotelli, a fifth-generation different as the people involved. member of that family-run company. Take Ryan Beatie. If there’s such a thing as growing Before he had even finished elementary school, Ryan up in a company, that’s what he did at Tenco Tractor, his says he knew what he wanted to do with his life. It’s actufather’s Caterpillar dealership. ally a matter of public record: Gordon was interviewed by the Ryan’s great-grandfather Daniel Beatie started the com- Sacramento Union in 1987, and the reporter asked whether pany in Marysville during the teeth of the Great Depression. then-10-year-old Ryan aspired to be a “Cat man.” “He’s dadRyan’s father, Gordon, took over the business when Ryan was dy’s son. Of course he will,” Gordon replied. about six months old in 1977, Gordon says he knew beby which time the company cause Ryan loved equipment. was headquartered in Pleasant At age 10, he dismantled a jeep Grove. in their barn, though he needed So company life and family help rebuilding it. “He loved the life were somewhat fused. On machines,” and later, the cusholidays, Ryan and his sister tomers, says Gordon. would sit in the corner of the Ryan started working for office, coloring while their dad Tenco part-time at age 18, held meetings. Ryan rode his sweeping floors in the parts trike through the halls. “I was department while going to colalmost like a mascot,” he says. lege. “A lot of family businesses, Gordon brought visiting Cat you hear that the kids feel presexecutives home for dinner, and sured or compelled. I never felt family vacations always had that way … I always felt like I a business component, often had a choice, but I’d already dealer meetings. Even as chilmade my choice,” he says. A Caterpillar field service truck performs onsite maintenance in the dren, Ryan and his sister were early 1960s. Ninety miles south in expected to participate in dinStockton, Kelsey Monroe was ner conversations with corporate executives. His family had growing up around another Caterpillar dealership, Holt Bros. weekend dinner parties with the leaders of one of the dealer- She’s the granddaughter of Ron Monroe, who started at the ship’s longest-term customers — Teichert Construction — so company in 1962 and moved up the ladder. In 1987, Monroe Ryan grew up spending weekends with the Teicherts, includ- and Victor Wykoff, son-in-law of Holt Bros. co-founder Park-

36 | October 2017

er Holt, bought the dealership when Parker and his brother In the summer of 2013, while working with a consultant on Harry Holt retired. succession planning, she and her father began discussing her Kelsey didn’t assume anything about her future with the joining Holt. “That’s when it really started, when I said, ‘OK, I company: “Growing up, I didn’t always know I wanted to think I’m at a place where I feel comfortable — let’s give this a go work at Holt. I didn’t make any assumptions. It was just, try.’ My dad said ‘I want you to be here if you want to be here, 'Grandpa and Dad work at Holt.'” and if it doesn’t work out, that’s OK.’” As events unfolded, Ryan Beatie and Kelsey Monroe would So in April 2014, she joined Holt. Her first job was power find themselves under one company roof. Both Tenco Tractor washing and greasing tractors in the yard. She progressed to and Holt Bros. were fairly small dealers that could benefit from rental coordinator and at age 30 is now a rental supervisor, sueconomies of scale and complementary strengths. So in 1997, pervising seven people. the two companies started talking. It took a year to agree to Kelsey’s trajectory was by design. By 2004, five years afterms. On the last day of 1998, they made their move, merging ter the merger, Holt had created rules for family members and splitting the eqinvolved in the comuity, and giving the pany that, among dealer-principal role other things, require to Ken Monroe, Ron’s them to have “sucson and Kelsey’s cessful experience” father. The new comworking outside the pany took the name business for two Holt of California years before they and is Sacramentocan join Holt. She’s based, though it has grateful for that rule. 15 locations stretch“Graduating college, ing from Williams to had I come to Holt Los Banos. it would have been Ryan joined the my first real job and merged company it probably wouldn’t full-time in 1999 have been as benand has moved up eficial. I needed to go through the ranks. learn about myself, Today at 40 he’s the my work style, what Management and sales staff of Marysville Tractor, which became Tenco Tractor in 1963. Tenco eventually merged with Holt Bros. and became Holt of California. vice president of I’m good at, what I’m earthmoving prodpassionate about, uct support, managing about 180 people. The time he spent needed to gain some confidence in the work world,” she says. around the dinner table with Caterpillar executives had an Now, Ryan and Kelsey are the likely future at this multieffect. “I love it so much — the people, the business and the generation company. They’re two of only five family members customers,” he says. “I think I grew up with that level of pas- left in the business from the three original families — the sion because I met so many passionate people as a younger Holts, Monroes and Beaties. person.” For her part, Kelsey went to college, graduating with a UNDERSTANDING THE GREATER GOOD degree in international marketing and business in 2010. She Generational churn wrecks most family businesses. Only worked as an administrative assistant in a construction firm about one in three family enterprises survives through the for a year and then moved to Portland to work as a sales execu- second generation and one in eight through at least the third. tive for someone else’s small family business that sold knitting Some family businesses stay afloat after merging with another materials. While there, she’d call her father, Ken, for help and family-run company, but no one appears to track their surwas impressed with how committed her father was to mak- vival rates. ing a 700-person company feel like family in which everyone Holt appears to be one of the few to span generations while is important. “He never asks someone to do something he’s not going through a merger — and one involving three families. willing to do,” she says. “For the first time, I understood what Wykoff is the third generation of Holts, Kelsey the third genhe and my grandfather had done.” eration of her family and Ryan the fourth generation of his.

October 2017 |



control,” he says. “They did a really stand-up thing by saying, ‘This is probably for the best.’” Early on, Ken thought he’d focus exclusively on market share, profitability and customer satisfaction. But he quickly saw he needed to reciprocate the Beaties’ trust by keeping all three families informed on decisions. So he started issuing quarterly reports, holding annual shareholder meetings and spending time talking regularly to the shareholders. The Holt Bros. culture was more top-down than was Tenco’s, according to Gordon, which he doesn’t see as a negative. But Ken has a different approach: “His leadership style has been to surround himself with people who can do their jobs better than he From left: Ryan Beatie, his father Gordon Beatie, grandfather Ken Beatie and uncle Dan Beatie at a could, and empower them,” Gordon company event in the early 2000s. Ryan is now vice president of earthmoving product support for Holt of California. says. Today, communication with And they’ve done it while running a heavy equipment shareholders is key to the company’s cohesion. “One thing business, which means navigating killer storms. As with other that’s made this work is having everybody feel included even sectors, sales rise and fall with the economy, but the peaks if they’re not in the day-to-day business,” Ken says. “The feeland troughs are wilder. A 2011 profile of Caterpillar noted that ing that someone else is getting more causes fatal rifts in other when the economy is strong, customers always find money family companies — but everyone here has been willing to for new cutting-edge earthmovers. But in downturns, the fact look at the whole.” that Cat’s machines last decades works against it — customers can wait to buy new equipment, and cash-strapped owners flood the market with used machines that last many years. Holt has stayed buoyant by focusing on what’s best for the business while keeping all three families engaged and invested in decisions. Take, for example, the 1998 merger. It required one family to cede the top post because Caterpillar doesn’t like leadership by committee — it wants to “look into one pair of eyes,” as a company executive once put it. In the merger negotiations, Gordon Beatie and his brother Dan suggested that Ken Monroe become president. “We thought that after the merger, — Ryan Beatie, VP of earthmoving product support, Holt of California we’d need new leadership,” Gordon says. “Ken was the right age and had the right experience.” Ken had joined the company in 1989 as a backhoe salesman after working at a Los Angeles bank and by the time of the merger had moved up to become Holt’s vice president of product support. Ken gives credit to the Beaties for that move. “All family FAMILY TIES AS A STRENGTH, NOT A WEAKNESS members understood the greater good of what we could do Those sometimes-unseen fissures are often why family busias a bigger operation. That was better than what we all had to nesses fail; family can be a hall of mirrors with secret doors give up. The Beaties had control and they ended up without and underground tunnels. Personal resentments create dys-

"A lot of family businesses, you hear that the kids feel pressured or compelled. I never felt that way …I always felt like I had a choice.”

38 | October 2017

"For the first time, I understood what [my father] and my grandfather had done.” — Kelsey Monroe, rental supervisor, Holt of California

functional business decisions. Family members get held to an easier standard than others. You could imagine multiplying those dynamics by three at Holt. Kelsey works down the hall from her father and is engaged to someone in the sales department, who is himself supervised by her grandfather. A few of the people Ryan supervises were kids he grew up with at Tenco — their fathers worked for his. But the dismal statistics on family business survival obscure their built-in edge. Family-run firms are actually more profitable than other Three generations of the Monroe family. From left: Kelsey's father Ken Monroe, mother companies over time, according to a 2012 study Peggy Monroe, Kelsey Monroe and her grandfather Ron Monroe. by two consulting firms: They’re more frugal, more careful with capital investments and have lower employee turnover. Depression. Of the 180 or so people indirectly reporting to Caterpillar has long seen family businesses as the compa- him, he says, “I’m responsible for whether those families eat ny’s bedrock. Every one of its 48 U.S. dealerships is family-run, ... If I make decisions that are inconsistent with the business as are about 80 percent of its dealerships overseas, says Janice survival, then I’m jeopardizing those family’s livelihoods,” he Walters with Caterpillar’s corporate headquarters. Caterpillar says. runs a program that advises dealers on family transitions and Holt’s leaders also have the wisdom of the elders to draw approves all handoffs to new leaders. on. “I can rely on talking to Vic [Wykoff] or Gordon or to my Ken Monroe says Holt benefits from a far-eyed view of dad and get a perspective of what happened 50 or 60 years ago what’s good for the company rather than what helps share- and use that going forward,” Ken says. “Those three have been holders in the moment. He’s got three family legacies to live up through a couple of really ugly downturns and have the instito. He knows that when the next generation takes over, they’re tutional memory.” going to come to him about any inevitable less-than-perfect decisions that have longer-term repercussions. WHAT COMES NEXT Ryan Beatie also feels the weight of history. He still looks at The company’s collective acumen will be tested as it aphis great-grandfather’s first bank book as a reminder of what proaches a leadership transition in the next years. Ken is 60, his ancestors went through running the company during the and either Ryan or Kelsey would seem to be next in line.

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During transition times, objectivity is critical in family ventures. Ken should know — as president of the Capital Region Family Business Center for several years, he witnessed the struggles of other family businesses. “Those that have succeeded in passing the torch have done an objective evaluation of the talent of the family and chosen people who were best for the job, even though there were hurt feelings,” he says. In managing its leadership succession, Holt can’t go it alone — Caterpillar has to approve its next president. With offspring from both the Monroes and the Beaties involved in the business, couldn’t the succession strain the inter-family bonds? They’re trying to prevent that. Ken Monroe, Ryan Beatie and Kelsey Monroe go off-premises at least once a month to talk about Holt’s present and future. Ryan says he’d be thrilled to be the next CEO if he’s chosen. “I’m so passionate about the company, I think I have a lot to bring to the role, and I’ve had some great examples of leadership from all three families,” he says. But he’s prepared for another outcome too. “If Kelsey is the one who ends up running the business and I feel she’s up for it, I will stand behind her and prop her up and push her forward, and she and I will work together for as long as we can do it,” he says.

For her part, Kelsey describes Ryan “kind of like an older brother” she can go to with questions. “I think there’s a ton of possibilities between the two of us to work together, a lot of different ways it can go — he’s been there a lot longer than I have. I’m confident that we both want the same things for the company.” Caterpillar’s requirements don’t preclude the next generation from running the day-to-day business as a partnership, with an understanding that whomever has voting control treats everyone fairly, Ken says. That future is what Ryan focuses on when he discusses leadership roles going forward: “It’s not about keeping the business for yourself,” he says. “It’s about being a good steward so the next generation can do the same thing you did.” n

Steven Yoder writes about business, real estate and criminal justice. His work has appeared in The Fiscal Times, Salon, The American Prospect and elsewhere. On Twitter @syodertweet and at

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bridging the

gap 42 | October 2017

Navigating the generational divide is essential to preparing for a solid succession BY Jeff Wilser ILLUSTR ATION: Melissa Arendt

October 2017 |




n 1937, and in the darkest days of the Great Depression, shipOne, a Sacramento-based consultancy that focuses on Albert and Frances Lundberg moved from Nebraska to family business. Richvale, in Butte County, to escape the Dust Bowl and start their rice farm. The couple later handed the farm KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY down to their children, then their grandchildren. Younger generations, in many cases, don’t have the same Eighty years and four generations later, Albert and values as their grandparents. Younger employees tend to Frances’ grandson Grant Lundberg now sits at the helm as want more f lexibility and independence, and of course CEO of a business that employs over 350 people, harvests millennials are notorious for job-hopping. Centuries ago, rice from roughly 20,000 acres and (by their estimates) it might have been easier to bank on junior taking over the sells more organic rice than any company in the U.S. family business — there were simply fewer options availYet growth can cause problems. As the company grew able. So how can older generations entice their progeny in size and scale, the generations soon had different when the competition is that much stiffer? thoughts on how to run the business. In 2005, for example, Robert Rivinius, executive director of the Family Busithe farm still used a f leet of old workhorse tractors from ness Association of California based in Sacramento, says the ‘60s and ‘70s. The tractors were beloved and sturdy — this is one key reason why family businesses fail: “The son yet slow, plodding. or daughter just might not be interested.” “Our younger generation saw the need for speed,” says Happily, there’s one very specific thing a company can Tim Schultz, president of Lundberg Farms, and son-in-law do to boost the odds of a smoother transition: Send the to Homer Lundberg (still active in the company), who is the young’uns away. “The trend now is to have the next genyoungest son of Albert and Frances. “We wanted a newer eration go and work somewhere else for two years, and f leet that would be faster, then come back to which would give us a the family business,” tighter planting season.” says Stella Premo, exThe new tractors in quesecutive director at the tion had GPS tracking and Capital Region Family were less likely to break Business Center, based down. in Roseville. “Less and The older generation less people are bebalked: Why waste money ing told, ‘You’re going on an unproven technolto work in the family ogy? Why should we trust business.'” Sure, this the new tractors’ whizcomes with the risk — Kurt Glassman, founding partner, LeadershipOne bang claims? The old f leet that the kids might is tested. Proven. The dego to grad school and cision to revamp the f leet get wooed by another could make or break the company — and on top of that, if company, but there’s also the chance they will return with handled poorly, could bruise egos, hurt feelings and poi- new skills, reenergized and better equipped to be groomed son familial relationships. It’s already difficult to keep a as CEO. family business af loat for as long as the Lundbergs have: Working elsewhere also helps the younger generation Only 30 percent of family businesses make it to the second learn the value of what their ancestors have built. Maybe generation (G2), only 12 percent to the third (G3). dad’s construction company wasn’t interesting to a high The Lundbergs faced a problem that confronts every school grad, but after some time away to explore other enlong-running family business: the generational divide. vironments, “they might develop a deeper appreciation for This divide can wreak havoc on financial management, the business model,” Premo says. succession planning and operations. And regardless of A hiatus from the family shop can be so rewarding, in where the tension arises, the root of the issue remains the fact, that some companies now compel their children to same: control. leave the nest. “Some firms insist that family members “In business, the currency is money. In politics, the spend five years doing something else before working for currency is power. In family business, the currency is the company,” Rivinius says. “There’s real value in having control,” says Kurt Glassman, founding partner of Leader- them see the outside world, and not getting too jaded by

“In business, the currency is money. In politics, the currency is power. In family business, the currency is control."

44 | October 2017

the way their company does this or that. It also helps enforce good values: Don’t expect to start with a corner office and BMW.” And to get all the generations on the same page with family values, it can be beneficial to give the younger generation an early dollop of leadership. “Provide them with a clear development path. Support it with resources and training. Give them exposure to other jobs and roles,” says Arne Boudewyn, managing director of Abbot Downing’s Planning, Family Dynamics and Education division, an arm of Wells Fargo that focuses on family businesses. “Identify your emerging talent, and give them more to do.”


Our attitudes toward money evolve as we age. So it follows that when a firm grapples with a hard choice about money — like how to allocate a cash windfall or, more often, how to deal with the crushing costs — the older and younger generations might not see eye to eye. Glassman says the secret is to “have those discussions before the money is on the table. If we have a huge windfall, what are we going to do? If we have to reduce our annual distributions, what are we going to do?” By squarely addressing these scenar-

ios before they become a reality, this helps tamp down the emotions. More specifically, Glassman says that it’s crucial to negotiate exactly what the funds should be used for, as opposed to just assuming the other generation is on the same page. “Parents should talk about the distributions openly,” says Glassman, and clarify what they expect the children to do with it. A retirement fund? Spending money? Whatever the purpose, it’s better to be transparent. “This way the parents won’t be surprised or disappointed,” he says. ” When the younger generation — like Tim Schultz — tries to convince the elders to funnel resources into a new investment, they should try and “bring the older generation into the project,” Premo says. “Sometimes when we’re young and ambitious and we have this great idea, we get into our own little bubble, and we present this beautiful thing — the best invention since sliced bread — to the older generations, and they won’t buy into it.” Instead of presenting the investment as a fait accompli, the G3s or G4s should loop in the older folks from the beginning. “Articulate what the benefits of that investment are. Help the older generation understand why,” Premo says.

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That’s what Lundberg did with the tractors. Schultz and the G3s (in their 40s) argued that each year the spring season was growing shorter (partly due to climate change) and that because of this tighter window to plant seeds, they needed faster tractors. The G2s (in their 70s) didn’t buy the logic; they were also skeptical of climate change. (“That was a generational issue,” Schultz says.) So instead of getting into a shouting match or a passive-aggressive clamoring for control, they decided to let the facts decide. “We said, ‘Let’s go out and rent the equipment and test it side by side,’” Schultz explains. “One field with the old equipment, one field with the new equipment.” The results? With the old 1960s-era tractors, it took six to eight weeks for a cycle of rice. “Now we can get the crop in two to three weeks,” Schultz says. During a wet season (like this past year), that can make the difference between a triumphant season and a catastrophe. The G2s were convinced. They bought the new f leet.


But what if the younger, hungrier generation wants to steer the company in an entirely new direction? Or even something more simple, like launching a new product, or



unleashing a risqué new ad campaign? Again, it helps to get the older generation onboard as early as possible, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes the generational divide is more like a chasm, and it’s time to bring in the cavalry: a board of directors. “One reason for failures in family business is that they don’t have a functioning board,” Glassman says. He says that every family business that makes the jump from G2 to G3 (except tiny mom and pop shops) needs a board of directors. This allows an independent, outside voice to help arbitrate the generational divide. For the younger generation: Glassman says that whether you are pushing changes to the operations or to the firm’s strategy, it can be helpful to frame the argument in how the plan will help preserve the family values. “If the older generation hears that we need to change to a new software platform because, without it, we will no longer be able to achieve our historic values of great customer service, that’s a powerful argument,” he says. In terms of advice for the older generations, Boudewyn, of Abbot Downing, says it’s crucial to remember that the spunk, hunger and innovation of the younger generations is what helps a firm survive. “When you look at 100-year



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family enterprises, the ones that last are the ones that adapt, change and grow,” he says. “We see so much that’s positive in the younger generation — the enthusiasm of the millennials. That sense of, 'Anything is possible.' That kind of visionary thinking can be just what the business needs.” Take the law firm of Rediger McHugh, a small, Sacramento-based shop that focuses on labor, employment and class action defense. Bob Rediger hired his daughter, then his son and then his other daughter as the firm’s associates. (It helps that he has been teaching them law all their lives; they learned the basics of collective bargaining agreements via negotiating their weekly allowance.) Rediger’s children bring more than just companionship and a friendly work environment — they bring new skills. His son, Justin, suggested a new case management software which was more efficient. The three kids update the firm’s website with new blog posts. And they all speak in a conversational shorthand that gives a competitive advantage. As Glassman says, “When it works, it works. When the family is in harmony, and when there are shared values, trust and a common vision, it’s just an awesome place to be. Everything is in a rhythm. It’s like being in a special



JUNE ‘17 VOL. 29 | NO. 6

relationship.” Suddenly work is about more than quarterly results, boosting the value of the stock or even crafting a great product — the job becomes, quite literally, a labor of love. Rediger is a believer. So are his three children/associates. “There’s an extra buy-in element, from a teamwork perspective,” says his daughter Candace. “There’s a greater sense of responsibility to make sure the firm has a good reputation, and succeeds.” (In other words: No one wants to be the family’s weak link.) It’s one thing to f lub your annual performance review, it’s another to disappoint your father. You step up your game. So will the Rediger firm recruit any offspring Bob's three children may have? They consider the question as a group — then laugh, and chime in together: “We’ll see.” n Jeff Wilser is the author of The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom of Joe Biden. His work has appeared in print or online in GQ, New York Magazine, Esquire and Mental Floss. On Twitter @Jeff Wilser



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October 2017 |




FOR NEARLY 25 YEARS, after buying the historic D.O. Mills Bank Building on the corner of 7th and J streets in 1992, the Cameron family used a portion of the building, called the Sacramento Grand Ballroom, as a space for proms and weddings, and another section for private offices. Then the Cameron family heard rumblings of a big development project planned a half-block away in downtown Sacramento. “When they found out the Golden 1 Center was opening, the thought process came to be: How do we make the best use of this space?” says Juliet House, the general manager of the newly-branded The Bank. After traveling the country and the world, experiencing a Moroccan market and talking to all types of people, they realized the best use would be turning the building into a three-level, 30,000-square-foot culinary destination. “We liked the idea of a gathering space that would showcase our region’s chefs, as opposed to a large chain taking over the space,” says Alison Cameron Ulshoffer, speaking on behalf of her family, which owns the building. When The Bank opens — with a tentative goal of before the end of 2017 — the concourse will include multiple kitchens (likely between six and 10) independently owned and operated, and a few different styles of bars.

48 | October 2017

October 2017 |



The first tenant was announced in April — Mama Kim’s, which serves American-Southern cuisine featuring local produce. Mama Kim’s is already known for owner Kim Scott’s restaurant on Del Paso Boulevard, catering service and food truck. Another well-known business to stake a claim at The Bank is Bella Bru, which will sell baked goods, including pastries, muffins, scones and other breakfast items, says David Maldonado, who handles the bakery's sales and marketing. In business for 17 years, Bella Bru runs three cafes — in Natomas, Carmichael and El Dorado Hills — and a bakery on Del Paso Boulevard. The business also supplies breads to executive chefs at area hotels, restaurants and colleges. “We’re extremely reputable because of our commitment to the quality of our products, and that’s what sets us apart,” Maldonado says. But a presence at The Bank will give the company even more welcomed exposure, he adds. The Bank offers a unique opportunity for vendors, says Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership: For some retailers, the facility will act as an incubator, being their first brick-and-mortar location, where they can try out their concepts before possibly moving into a larger space someday. “We’re a small, craft, local business and we really liked the idea they were looking for those kinds of businesses,” says Andrea Seppinni, who owns Conscious Creamery in Sacramento with her husband, Kevin. Launched one year ago, their business is a dairy-free gelato production kitchen that sells at pop-up and special events, and through catering and wholesale. Conscious Creamery will be one provider within the venue’s special-

50 | October 2017

ity coffee, pastry and dessert kitchen. Seppinni says the new arrangement removes the risk involved with having a stand-alone physical space, and The Bank provides all the staffing. “Sacramento is a larger town,” she says, “but it’s a small food community and it’s really great to see all the vendors like us — who bootstrapped themselves — have a space like this.” Other cuisine options will include pizza, hamburgers, southern comfort dishes, deli food, pastries and other breakfast items, desserts and more. “We want the first thing people to think is, ‘Wow, this is really incredible,’” House says. “We also want to guide them through the adventure that awaits.” Do you like beer? What type of food are you craving? Do you want the excitement of watching the Big Game with fellow fans? Do you want a quiet setting where you can people-watch and drink a craft cocktail? “We want there to be so many choices, people don’t know where to start,” she says. The planners behind The Bank see their venue as a part of downtown’s revival, and Ault agrees that the project will activate other businesses. “You’ve had owners interested in doing something, but the economics needed to make sense,” Ault says. “You don’t want to put something in unless you know it’s going to be successful.” Now with the 700 block of K Street developing, the 250-room Kimpton Sawyer Hotel scheduled to open soon and the Golden 1 Center holding 200 events a year, more business owners may be motivated to move nearby. Not so long ago, downtown was a place where people came to work 9-5, Monday through Friday, Ault says. “This gives them a reason to stay downtown, or come back or extend their time in downtown.”


MAIN FLOOR Upon entering The Bank’s front doors, a visitor will walk onto the main level where kitchen and food vendors line the perimeter. General Manager Juliet House’s team is making a concerted effort to curate the right mix of tenants to avoid competition and offer options to satisfy a range of palettes. A customer hankering for a donut can stop by the venue’s speciality coffee, pastry and dessert kitchen, and buy one from Sweet Dozen. In 2008, John and Carol Khampha founded their family-owned and operated shop on Madison Avenue. The parents are still involved with the baking, while their son, Jeremy, now manages the shop and their daughter, Nuny Cabanting, and her husband operate a mobile food cart at the Midtown Farmers Market, and at weddings and other events. House had reached out to the family to gauge their interest in joining The Bank, and gave them a tour. “We wanted to expand, but not too quickly where we lose the original quality or standards,” Cabanting says. The family put serious thought into the proposal, considered the hype happening around the Golden 1 Center and realized “it was a no brainer,” she says.

The Bank's main floor will feature multiple kitchens around the perimeter and a dining space for guests. October 2017 |



52 | October 2017


MEZZANINE Alison Cameron Ulshoffer, whose family owns the building, has a grand vision for The Bank: “Your experience will be casual dining in an incredibly beautiful space and phenomenal fare. We want you to know that you get to drive your experience depending on what you’re in the mood for.” Customers can grab and go if they’re in a rush, or settle in at a table in the dining area for a relaxing evening instead. Seating will be available on all three floors — the basement, main level and mezzanine — where guests can choose to dine. “Once orders are placed at the kitchens, they can take a seat wherever they like and we will bring the food to them or they can choose to wait for it, and then grab a seat,” says General Manager Juliet House. Customers on the main floor will be able to look above to the glass-bottom, newly-constructed mezzanine level, which reflects the biggest structural change to the building. The mezzanine is intended to provide an upscale setting and will serve curated whiskeys, wines, champagne and cocktails.

October 2017 |




BASEMENT D.O. Mills left New York for California to join the Gold Rush with his brothers. He soon made $40,000, which he invested in founding his own bank, Gold Bank of D. O. Mills & Co. The prominent banker died in 1910, and in 1912 the D.O. Mills Bank Building was erected in his honor. The building was expanded in the late 1920s, and is now the second-oldest bank west of the Mississippi River. Among the building’s architectural gems are the basement vaults, which in The Bank will act as the hub of social activity with more than 70 beers on tap, couches, televisions and a lounge-style vibe. In the rear of one vault is a space for private events. Old hand cranks in the wall show how, if someone got stuck, he could turn the lever to open up an air supply. Today’s construction crews had to cut through a 2-inch steel and cement wall to create another opening for emergency exits to appease the fire marshal. “It was the loudest sound ever,” says General Manager Juliet House.

54 | October 2017

October 2017 |



the BANK

where: 629 J St, Sacramento when: TBA info:

56 | October 2017


ROOFTOP In 1992, the Cameron family added a private rooftop garden overlooking downtown. This space remains deeply personal to them — decorated with rose bushes from a trip to Vietnam, a plant a grandmother brought over from Scotland and tiles imported from Italy. (No red wine allowed out here.) “It’s really their own backyard,” says The Bank’s General Manager Juliet House. The question she gets asked the most about The Bank is when the rooftop will open to the general public. The answer is never, although the space can be rented — at a pretty penny — for high-profile client parties or charity events. Those who do visit the rooftop space will be privy to a view of downtown that includes the historic 7-story building at 700 J Street (pictured left), which is around the corner from the Golden 1 Center, and the 28-story Renaissance Tower on K Street, which was completed in 1989 and at the time was the tallest building in Sacramento; it now ranks in fifth-place.n

Sena Christian is the managing editor for Comstock’s. On Twitter @SenaCChristian or

October 2017 |



Sixth-graders play baseball in 2015 at Independence Field, which the River Cats Foundation was instrumental in bringing to south Sacramento.

58 | October 2017

when the

Giving gets good Family-owned businesses with generous social responsibility platforms benefit Capital Region communities BY Laurie Lauletta-Boshart PHOTO: Ken James

October 2017 |




n 2005, the Savage family, owners of the Sacramento River Cats, was instrumental in bringing River Cats Independence Field — a baseball field in south Sacramento designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities — to the region. Through its River Cats Foundation, the organization contributed $250,000 in cash and services toward the project. The field, made from a custom rubberized turf, hosts a baseball league for children and adults. It also hosts nearly 600 different annual experiences, such as Wounded Warriors and Paralympic events, as part of the City of Sacramento’s Access Leisure programs, which provide sports, outdoor education, and social and fitness programs for people with disabilities. “The mission to support our local communities was one that my late husband, Art, started when he was with the San Jose Sharks, and something he wanted to continue when we moved to Sacramento,” says CEO Susan Savage. “Connecting with the community was so important and satisfying to him, and we are proud to carry that on.” A number of the Capital Region’s most prominent familyowned businesses — like the River Cats — have made social responsibility a core tenet of their companies, employing staff and consultants to help make their programs central to who they are and how they operate. A recent survey by J.P. Morgan Private Bank and the World Economic Forum confirms the high correlation between family business and philanthropy, where family members that cross multiple generations are actively engaged in giving back. “Because the family is still in the legacy of not only their respective business, but more broadly in the community in which they serve, there is clearly much more at stake and much more ownership in what they are doing,” says Nick Tedesco, senior philanthropic adviser for the J.P. Morgan Philanthropy Centre, which is regionally based in San Francisco and serves domestic and international clients — a significant number of them family business owners. The Capital Region Family Business Center, based in Roseville, recently compiled statistics from well-known family business organizations that corroborate the same thing, including that family businesses engage in higher levels of philanthropic activity, donate more to local causes and are more likely to volunteer in their communities.


The River Cats organization exemplifies a family-owned business dedicated to charitable giving. The River Cats Foundation, which directs the organization’s philanthropic activities, has supported some 331 charities with $1.9 million in donations since forming in 2000. The foundation supports

60 | October 2017

three types of family and youth programs on a rotating basis: athletics; art, drama and music; and academic, science and math. For example, during the Great Recession, many high schools lacked the resources to upgrade their baseball fields, so the River Cats Foundation stepped up and has completed five different high school baseball field makeovers, which includes replanting the infield, building a new outfield wall and donating a scoreboard. The organization also hosts about 80 elementary-school assemblies annually, which focus on attitude, attendance, academics and an anti-bullying message with the help of a guest speaker and team mascot, Dinger. “We want the River Cats to be known as the community gathering place and we want to partner with the community,” says Savage, whose organization has collaborated with several charities through the years, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Special Olympics, Powerhouse Science Center, Mercy Housing, Campus Life and others. Last year, the River Cats capitalized on a new measure passed by the California state legislature, allowing professional sports teams to implement a 50/50 sports raffle. Through the program, fans in attendance can purchase raffle tickets for a nominal fee. During the seventh inning of each game, a winning ticket is drawn, with half of the proceeds going to the winning fan and the other half going to a designated charity. On a big night, the pot can be $5,000. “This is a great way for different charities to receive money,” Savage says. “We started it last year and do it every single game.” The team’s strong presence in the community, along with its solid fan base, helped tip the San Francisco Giants in its favor when they were looking to change affiliation partners. Last year, the Giants inked a new 4-year deal with the River Cats, extending its affiliation agreement through 2020 and marking one of the few times the Giants have signed a 4-year agreement with a Triple-A affiliate. “We like our affiliates to have good community relations experience, and share in a common belief and value system of giving back,” says Bobby Evans, senior vice president and general manager for the Giants, and the executive who oversaw the affiliation agreement. “That’s important to us and we saw that with the River Cats in how they interact with their fans and their community.”


Founded in 1935, three generations of the Raley family have worked for the grocery business, starting with founder Tom Raley, who passed the baton to daughter Joyce Raley-Teel in 1992, and whose son Michael Teel was appointed CEO in

2010. Raley-Teel was responsible for starting the company’s Food for Families program 31 years ago with a simple canned food drive. Today, the same Raley’s nonprofit acts as a conduit between its customers and food banks, working with 74 local partners to donate dollars and offer groceries at cost. “We are a company of 82-plus years who have always had leaders who believe in giving back,” says Becca Whitman, Raley’s community relations manager. Raley’s purposeful giving platform focuses on sustainability, healthy lifestyles and education. The company also aligns itself with nonprofits that support education-based youth programs. One such partnership is with the California Rangeland Trust and the Central Valley Farmland Trust, where farmers and ranchers educate children on the food system, helping them understand the connection to their health. Through Raley’s Extra Credit Program, accredited K-12 institutions can apply for wellness education grants to help youth understand food sources, proper nutrition and sustainability. Raley’s partners with the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom to support the Taste for Teach program, where teachers can use grant funds for Californiagrown produce and nuts, along with teacher curriculum. Funds can also pay for other supplies and programs, like creating a school garden or setting up a refillable water station. “When nonprofits come to us for resources, we try to help them tweak their request so we can get that nutrition conversation in there,” Whitman says. “We also try to be as approachable as possible.” For the last two years, the company has participated in the Sacramento Food Policy Council conference, a statewide event that hosts school district officials from across California. “It is an amazing opportunity to get in front of schools and a ton of school districts who hear about our focus and our grant program,” Whitman says. “That was a neat door to open for us.” Raley’s is also involved with the Food Literacy Center, which teaches low-income children about nutrition and cooking. Through its work with the Center for Land-Based Learning, Raley’s developed partnerships with small urban farmers who now sell various commodities to its stores. Plus, this year, when the River Cats revamped its food offerings, adding new storefronts with a variety of options alongside the concession stand fare, Raley’s partnered with the team to offer healthy specialty sandwiches at the ballpark.


Recently, the City of Davis sought to change its business banking relationship with its current supplier and sent out a request for proposal for qualified businesses. After a careful


ways your family business can maximize philanthropic giving

1. Discuss your values and motivations. Explore your family’s motivations behind your giving to better understand what you want to accomplish. By identifying core values, you’ll be able to direct your support to mirror the causes important to you. 2. Explore your past giving. Review projects you supported in the past to refine the values and motivations of your family: Do the issues you support reflect your mission? Quantify the impact of your giving: Are you confident in your partnerships? And inform future giving: What do you want to do differently? 3. Go beyond financial resources. Consider how your background and expertise could be beneficial to grantee partners as they consider strategic planning, marshalling resources and spreading their mission. Additionally, volunteerism goes a long way and often inspires others to get involved. 4. Understand the needs of your community. Meet with partners and experts in your community or area of interest to better understand the issues that need to be addressed, and identify where funding can be most impactful. Field scans can be done both formally (hiring a consultant) or informally (request a meeting with a local nonprofit or peer funder). 5. Actively engage with grantees. It’s not enough to write a check and hope for the best — work with grantee partners to identify successful outcomes in advance of a gift. Continue the dialogue throughout the life of your support and adjust support as needed. Tips provided by Nick Tedesco, senior philanthropic adviser for the J.P. Morgan Philanthropy Centre.

October 2017 |



review, City staff recommended River City Bank to the City Council, citing the bank’s full-service banking capabilities, as well as its commitment to the community and social responsibility, in a letter provided to River City Bank CEO Steve Fleming (also a member of the Comstock’s editorial board). The Council approved the recommendation. “We can directly link our activity in our social responsibility sphere with our ability to bid for and win this business,” Fleming says. Founded in 1973 by successful radio and television entrepreneur Jon Kelly, River City Bank was his answer to what he saw as the need for a strong, locally-owned and operated bank in Sacramento. In 1988, he also founded the Kelly Foundation to direct philanthropy dollars to the community he loved. Today, the Kelly family owns a majority interest in the bank, with Jon’s daughter Shawn Kelly Devlin serving as the board chair for River City Bank and the Kelly Foundation. The bank’s philanthropic commitment includes annual donations totaling just over $400,000 to about 50 grant recipients. One particularly impactful grant went to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Three years ago, the nursery was in danger of closing, due to its parent company having to cut off funding. Several board members of River City Bank live in Yolo County and were familiar with the nonprofit, and Fleming’s

wife, Patti, served on the crisis nursery’s board. The Kelly Foundation stepped up and committed $50,000 to keep the nursery’s doors open. Each year, the foundation chooses an issue to support and awards a $100,000 grant to a related organization. Last year’s topic was health care and Special Olympics of Northern California was selected as the recipient. This year, the topic is homelessness, with a beneficiary to be announced in November. River City Bank also encourages its employees to donate volunteer hours to community nonprofits. On average, employees log 800 hours per year with organizations of their choosing. “We don’t dictate what organization they should support,” Fleming says, “That’s their call. We just ask them to pick something they’re passionate about.” n

Laurie Lauletta-Boshart is a writer and editor for consumer publications, Fortune 500 companies, small business and higher education. She has written for Dwell, ESPN, Wall Street Journal, (Sports Illustrated) and others. On Twitter @laurieboshart or






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Get pro-level sports medicine on your own home court. The same doctors caring for the Sacramento Kings players will be caring for you at our new Sports Medicine Center, located in Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. There you’ll find a 7,000-square-foot gym, on-site imaging, dedicated physical therapy rooms, and sport-specific rehabilitation. From casual to competitive, every athlete deserves professional care. Learn more about the Sacramento Sports Medicine Center at

October 2017 |



From left: Tom and Holly Cooper with daughter Carrie Bendick and son-in-law Josh are the family members behind Holly's Hill Winery in El Dorado County.

64 | October 2017

a good

vintage In the Capital Region, wine is truly a family affair BY Jennifer Snyder

PHOTO: Joan Cusick

October 2017 |




bout 4,700 wineries exist in California, which generate $58 billion in economic impact and account for 325,000 jobs. Wine grapes are grown in 49 of 58 of the state’s counties, producing a total of 4 million tons, according to the Wine Institute, an advocacy association based in Sacramento. Wine is big business in California, but what often gets mentioned only as a footnote in the conversation is that the majority of our wineries are family-owned. In the wine industry, families must often handle the unique dynamics of their arrangement while running several operations at once — growing grapes, producing wine, and marketing and selling the final product. It’s not always easy. But these four wine-industry families wouldn’t have it any other way.

HOLLY’S HILL VINEYARDS Placerville, El Dorado County

The family jokes about not truly having titles within the business. “I think that the way that we work best is that we’re not stuck in one role,” Carry says. “We help out wherever we’re needed.” Being a smaller, family-owned winery has given them flexibility to adapt, Carrie says, noting how she is able to be present in both her professional life and personal one (as a parent), without worrying too much about what the boss may say. Carrie and Josh now essentially run the business, as her parents, in their 70s, theoretically get closer to retirement. “Carrie keeps reminding us that we’re retired,” says Tom, and the older generation is trying to let go and move away from the day-to-day management tasks. As the Bendicks take on more responsibility, they’re already thinking about their three young girls and the future of Holly’s Hill. “Maybe one of them will be interested, or all of them, and then we’ll have to re-evaluate at that point and see how that would work,” Carrie says. “We want it to keep going if we can. I’d love to pass this onto the girls, but it’s not something we’re going to push if they’re not into it.”

In 1995, Holly and Tom Cooper had the opportunity to purchase a ranch owned by Tom’s parents near Placerville on a hillside about 2,700 feet in elevation. Holly, in real estate DELICATO FAMILY VINEYARDS at the time, saw the land’s potential while Tom, an attorney, Manteca, San Joaquin County took more convincing. “I said, ‘OK, we’ll do it if I can have my vineyard,’” he says. Many of the region’s family-owned wineries and vineyards By 1998, the couple had planted their first syrah vines with are relatively small, but Delicato Family Vineyards includes plans to sell the grapes to other winemakers and produce a 4,200 acres of vineyards in Manteca, Lodi, Monterey and limited amount of wine offsite. But in 1999, the family bought Napa, and encompasses multiple brands. an adjacent property to plant more varied vines, and create The first Delicato vineyard was planted in Manteca a production facility that would allow them to produce wine in 1924 by Gaspare Indelicato, an Italian immigrant who onsite. They also opened a public grew up among the vinetasting room and outdoor seating yards of Sicily, where his area. They now own 40 total acres family had grown wine with 25 acres in vines. grapes for several generAside from direct sales, Holly’s ations. Together with his Hill does a limited distribution to sons and, eventually, his Corti Brothers in Sacramento, Nuggrandchildren, Indeliget Market in El Dorado Hills and cato grew the company The Wine Smith on Main Street in to become a well-known Placerville, as well as some Placersource for wine grapes in ville restaurants. the early days. The comAs the Coopers’ business grew, pany has since grown its - Jay Indelicato, COO, Delicato Family Vineyards their daughter, Carrie Bendick, fame as a wine producer. earned a degree in romance linWhile Vincent Indeliguistics at the University of Washington, and after college cato, 84 years old and a member of the family’s second became enthralled with winemaking. She worked for a few generation, is chairman of the board, the company is priwinemakers in El Dorado County, and at one met her now- marily owned and operated by the third generation. For husband, Josh, who had minored in viticulture at UC Davis. Chris Indelicato, president and CEO, and his brother Jay He and Carrie, now 42 years old, both work as winemakers at Indelicato, COO, Delicato has been part of their lives since Holly’s Hill. childhood.

"There's a comfort of going to work every day and seeing people there that have known you your whole life."

66 | October 2017

“When we were little, my dad and two uncles would have us go out into the fields on weekends or during school breaks and hoe or sucker the vines. I quickly gained an appreciation for how hard the work is in the vineyards,” says Chris, age 51. As he and Jay got older, their parents encouraged them to attend college and experience other career paths. “Frankly, I didn’t think I would go back to the family business after college, and even when I did a few years after college, I didn’t think I would spend more than a few years at the company,” says Jay, who is 57. “That was over 30 years ago and I’m still here.” Other family members hold positions in marketing, sales, communications, customer service, logistics and winemaking. When it comes to succession planning, the company has hired consultants and independent (non-familial) directors to assist with the process. “Our family began succession planning back in the 1980s when the winery first began to grow,” Chris says. “We were

all given a lot of training and education on how to run a family business and share responsibilities.” Today, non-family members also serve on their leadership team and staff. For family members, understanding the line between ownership and employment is important, Jay says. “It’s really beneficial to the company to keep them separate,” he says. “Sometimes when we have a foot in both sides of the organization, the responsibilities begin to blur and we have to remind ourselves of what hat we’re currently wearing.” The business has outgrown its current Manteca winery and distribution facility and will construct an upgraded 788,000-square-foot facility — with an office, packaging hall and distribution center — which is expected to break ground next year. “There’s a comfort of going to work every day and seeing people there that have known you your whole life,” Jay says. “The support you get from the family throughout the normal cycles of life allow you to take more risks and be more successful.”

VINO NOCETO Plymouth, Amador County

The Gullett family launched Vino Noceto in 1987 in Plymouth.

The Gullett family has been an integral part of the Shenandoah Valley grape-growing and winemaking community for three decades. Owner Jim Gullett and his wife, Suzy, originally purchased 21 acres in Plymouth with retirement in mind in 1984, but changed plans when they realized how ripe the area was for wine grape production. So in 1987 they acquired an adjacent 18.5-acre property and planted additional vineyards to launch Vino Noceto — a winery now known for its sangiovese. They produce their own wines onsite and have a tasting room open to the public. “They spent those three years between buying the property and the first planting doing things like talking to Darrell Corti [of Corti Brothers] about what kind of varietal to plant and finding the right clone of sangiovese,” says daughter Lindy Gullett, 30, the winery’s director of sales and marketing. “They put in a huge amount of time and effort to make sure they set up the right foundation.” Meanwhile, their three children grew up, attended college and got jobs elsewhere. About a decade ago, Jim, now 69, started succession planning. “The biggest problem, in my opinion, is getting people to have similar objectives,” he says, adding that at the time he even considered selling his business. Back then, Lindy had no desire to work for Vino Noceto, but understood the value of proactive planning. “It was kind of like forcing us to have these conversations before people

photo courtesy lindy gullett

October 2017 |



were sensitive about it,” she says. “None of us [children] by creating an event venue on the property in the 1990s to were involved, so having a conversation about succession attract consumers and secure another revenue stream. In planning didn’t feel personal. It was all hypothetical.” the early 2000s, the family decided to primarily grow wine But reality set in as Lindy finished her Ph.D. in social grapes and diversified varietals in an effort to sell to more psychology at New York University. Suzy and Jim had hired wineries. an employee to groom for the The third generation are critical position of general in their 60s and consists of manager, but Lindy noticed Ken, his brother Mark who is troubling issues early on. “I chairman of the board, and could see that the winery was their sister Sandra Ogilvie heading to a place of being who manages the event venue. sold if I didn’t come back,” she They now own Wilson Family says. Vineyards and, as they plan to In 2015, Lindy returned retire in the coming years, are home to work at Vino Nolooking to the fourth generaceto to handle marketing tion to assume responsibility. and sales, which have since “Over the last few years, I’ve seen a 40 percent increase. thought about how lucky I Suzy, who is 67 years old, still am to be working with my oversees wholesale orders. family,” Ken says. “Having a Until recently, the couple’s deep knowledge of the people son Bobby helped out in the you’re working with is a huge tasting room and elsewhere. benefit.” - Lindy Gullett, director of sales and marketing, Vino Noceto As responsibilities shift The fourth generation to Lindy and other non— Sandra’s children David family employees, the family Ogilvie, who manages vinebelieves one element will carry them through the transition. yard operations, his brother Philip, who serves as chief “There’s a level of trust,” Lindy says. “I’m still their daughter financial officer, and their sister Robin, who helps out with at the end of the day and that’s allowed me to really push the venue — all returned to the family business after going things. It’s allowed me to take risks in a way that I think are away to college and exploring other career paths. really hard in a traditional workplace.” When you grow up working on a farm, it’s in your blood,” David says. “When my wife and I had our first daughter, it really hit me how much I enjoyed growing up in Clarksburg and WILSON FAMILY VINEYARDS growing up on the farm.” Clarksburg, Yolo County The younger generation, however, has found a way to also explore their own interests. Together, David and PhilWilson Family Vineyards may be known for its grapes, but ip — both 37 years old — along with a family friend, started the family prides itself on being a longstanding farming fam- their own wine label, Muddy Boot Wine. “We work really well ily in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. According to Dave together because he is the business guy and I am the producWilson, the second generation to run the wine business, his tion guy,” David says of his brother. “We bounce ideas off each father bought their first property in Clarksburg in the early other really well and he’s definitely more of the entrepreneur 1920s and, though the crops changed over time, the family’s type and I’m the one who is holding back the reins — the commitment to agriculture never wavered. Now they farm more practical one. But without him pulling me, I wouldn’t about 1,000 acres of wine grapes. be challenged as much.” n “The biggest enjoyment I got out of this whole farming deal was making the ranches I farmed better than they were Jennifer Snyder is a writer, editor and podcast host. Catch her before,” says Dave, age 91. weekly show, Creating Your Own Path, wherever podcasts are After the first grape harvest in 1973, the family weath- available. For more, visit ered decades of highs and lows, says Ken Wilson, president and part of the third generation. The family adapted partly

"There’s a level of trust. I’m still their daughter at the end of the day and that’s allowed me to really push things. It’s allowed me to take risks in a way that I think are really hard in a traditional workplace.”

68 | October 2017

October 2017 |


Taste the Bounty of Lodi’s Wine Families

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October 2017 |







Now Under Construction

special supplement

The Science Complex at Sacramento State

Opening Fall 2019

The Science Complex will enhance the scientific discoveries that our students and faculty are already making to tackle the complex issues of the 21st century, such as healthy aging, climate change, and those that we can’t yet imagine. It will be a modern 95,000-square-foot life-and-molecular science building with teaching and research labs, a planetarium, a rooftop observatory and a science plaza with a green terrace.

Science at Sacramento State Enrollment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines has grown 22 percent since 2012.

Participation in STEM by underrepresented minorities rose more than 34 percent in the last five years.

Biological Sciences and Nursing are in the top five majors—and Nursing has been in the top five every year since 2004. October 2017 |



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October 2017 |



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DAV I S phone 530.758.2273 425 Second Street Davis, CA 95616

ROCKLIN 916.788.1700 915 Highland Pointe Drive, #140 Roseville, CA 95678

E L K G R OV E phone 916.691.6820 9381 E. Stockton Blvd., #122 Elk Grove, CA 95624

ROSEVILLE phone 916.677.8005 3400 Douglas Blvd., #100 Roseville, CA 95661

FOLSOM phone 916.983.3985 2230 E. Bidwell, #100 Folsom, CA 95630

S I E R R A OA K S phone 916.489.5800 2425 Fair Oaks Blvd., #6 Sacramento, CA 95825

N ATO M A S phone 916.576.1305 4080 Truxel Road, #290 Sacramento, CA 95834

WO O D L A N D phone 530.669.3643 1100 Main St., #140 Woodland, CA 95695

MIDTOWN SACR AMENTO 916.490.4510 3001 I Street, Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95816

CO M M E R C I A L S E R V I C E S phone 916.920.3100 1610 Arden Way, #101 Sacramento, CA 95815



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key player in the Sacramento region’s economic growth, River City Bank (“RCB”) does much to support that growth. “A bank is much more successful in a vibrant economy, so we have a vested interest in seeing that the economy of the Sacramento region, our home territory, is thriving,” says Steve Fleming, President and CEO. Founded in 1973, RCB is the largest and most profitable bank based in Sacramento, and an active participant with the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council. Fleming, who sits on the GSAC board, says, “We’re giving time and money toward supporting our region’s economic development arm.” With 13 branches throughout Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, El Dorado, and Contra Costa counties, RCB has nearly $2 billion in assets and has had compounded loan growth of 30 percent per annum for the past two years. The bank was recently recognized by the Sacramento Business Journal as one of the top 50 fastest growing companies in Sacramento last year.

RCB focuses on successful mid-size businesses with annual revenues of $5 million and more, and personal banking for business owners and their executives, as well as other professionals and high-networth individuals. “We offer a full suite of commercial banking products with scale,” notes Fleming. “We have larger lending limits than other local banks because of our size, and that’s very relevant for bigger commercial customers – we have the capacity to handle all of their loan and deposit needs.”

…we have a vested interest in seeing that the economy of the Sacramento region, our home territory, is thriving…

RCB outperforms national competitors, too. “Our biggest pipeline of new business comes from big, brand-name national banks,” says Fleming. “Customers want personal service and customized products rather than off-the-rack products developed somewhere across the country. As a local bank, we’re also quicker and more responsive to customers’ requests.” In short, RCB is big enough yet local enough to be the Sacramento region’s best banking partner.

2485 Natomas Park Drive Sacramento, CA 95833 916-567-2600

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WELCOME A letter from GSEC President and CEO by Barry Broome




As the Sacramento region cultivates its tech reputation, both companies and potential recruits take notice by Bill Sessa

94 SACRAMENTO SURGES San Franciscans fleeing pricey housing fuel boom to the capital city by Romy Varghese with Bloomberg News

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SHARED GROWTH Industry clusters offer a pathway to innovation by Karen Wilkinson

107 POINT OF VIEW Board members of Greater Sacramento share their thoughts on doing business in the region



Sacramento’s stats don’t lie


122 AN EASY SELL Companies, both homegrown and new transplants, find success in the Capital Region by Willie Clark

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WELCOME To the Greater Sacramento Community: Leading the region’s economy over the last two years has been both a rewarding and humbling experience. During this time, we have built the first regional public/private partnership economic development organization in the State of California led by chief executive officers. The organization consists of 37 CEOs and 19 communities in the greater Sacramento region — an achievement accomplished only through dedicated community support. The Greater Sacramento Economic Council is the catalyst for innovative growth strategies in the Capital Region of California. Our organization is responsible for leading community-driven efforts to attract, grow and scale new businesses; develop advanced industries; and guide new job-creation strategies throughout a six-county region. Our team continues to work extremely hard building the brand and reputation of the regional market on a national and global scale. We work with community partners to leverage ourselves as one single cohesive market, operating on data and evidence. The Sacramento region is now truly committed to working together on a strategic plan to help build an advanced economy in our region. We travel throughout the nation with a specific focus on strengthening our partnership and reputation in the Bay Area and continue to work with the Bay Area Council within the megaregion. The U.S. Census Bureau says nearly 20,000 people each year relocate from the Bay Area to the greater Sacramento region. Data shows that we are the “California Option” for companies interested in relocating to the Golden State. We have the unique opportunity to be that option without the cost or congestion of other major California markets. We need to capitalize on this opportunity and create more jobs for people in our community.

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Our organization will continue working with community partners to become a strong ecosystem that retains bright startups and talented founders, giving them opportunity to grow into robust ventures raising Series A and B rounds. We are working tirelessly to attract technology talent and companies at the forefront of innovation and position the region’s name nationally and globally. The Sacramento region needs to continue strengthening its access to capital and mentor networks across our community to build venture funds that support new growth. As we look to develop the region’s economy, we need each and every one of our community partners to continue working hard supporting our mission. This community is at a special moment in time — a moment we need to seize as we turn the corner to a brighter future. As your economic development leader, I will continue working hard to build an advanced economy in the greater Sacramento region.

Sincerely, Barry Broome President and CEO, Greater Sacramento Economic Council

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THE RIGHT FIT As the Sacramento region cultivates its tech reputation, both companies and potential recruits take notice by Bill Sessa

October 2017 |




acramento may not have eBay or Google, but as scientific and hightech companies gain a foothold in the region, many have discovered that being a smaller city with multiple higher education institutions attracts talent that rivals that of the Bay Area. When it comes to pitching to prospective employees — both locals and out of town recruits — Sacramento’s calm sells over the chaos of other cities. Sacramento State’s computer science program is one of the oldest and largest in the CSU system with about 900 students. “One of the biggest changes is the blurring of boundaries between computer science, engineering and electrical engineering,” says Lorenzo Smith, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “It’s more interdisciplinary than ever before,” which reflects the working world students face after graduation.


“Of course companies want employees who have a solid foundation,” Smith says. “But our focus is on applying the science and our students are so well rounded they can grapple in all three fields ... If they can’t solve a problem, they can network to find a solution.” Work projects, sponsored by tech companies such as Intel and Hewlett Packard, also allow computer science

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and computer engineering students to work with potential employers on real-world challenges. “The projects might be something that the companies don’t have the time to work on, so the students do it,” Smith says, noting that the companies pay for all the course materials. All seniors are expected to work on a sponsored interdisciplinary project in their field as a practical transition between the classroom and the workplace. “We’re proud of that approach,” Smith says. “We think it meets the needs of local companies and it shows that our students can hit the ground running.” The projects have to fit within many real world criteria that determine their success, such as cost, packaging, market feasibility and safety. A team of mechanical and electrical engineering students, for example, recently designed a set of steps for a mobile home that fold into a flat-surfaced lift for wheelchairs with the touch of an electric switch. PowerSchool, a Folsom-based education technology platform that’s focused on better connecting students, teachers and parents, invests significant funds and effort into recruiting from Sac State. By sponsoring internships inside the company, PowerSchool provides students hands-on experience and in return gets a chance to vet potential hires before they hit the job market. Currently the company, which has about 30 interns from the computer sciences, serves approximately 32 million students in 70 countries — and, according to PowerSchool Talent Acquisition Leader Chris Mohler, many of its entry-level employees come from Sac State. “We have a close relationship with Sac State and it has been our best source for entry-level hiring,” Mohler says, which can include software developers, engineers and software architects. “We’ve hired 52 software engineers from Sac State in the last two years.” Even as interns, software engineering students at PowerSchool develop mobile apps for IOS/Swift and Android use. Oth-


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er interns are building databases and online customer education modules. PowerSchool also sponsors an annual dinner to get acquainted with computer science students and to give them a chance to meet alumni and executives from the company. “Last year, the room was filled with about 40-50 students, plus alumni who work for us and our VP of Development,” says Mohler. Beyond entry-level hiring, Mohler says the company has also recruited high-level employees from the Sacramento area who have worked at places such as Intel and HP. But he’s also noticed many computer engineers he has hired at senior levels willing to migrate from metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Portland and the Bay Area. “People want to move here for the quality of life,” he says. When it comes to actively recruiting talent to the region, many local companies find themselves competing with the

Bay Area. “People who are not originally from here initially think that Davis is part of the Bay Area,” says Tracy Shafizadeh, director of scientific communications at Evolve BioSystems, who has recruit-

Evolve BioSystems (team pictured above) was founded by five UC Davis alum and continues to benefit from the talent pool of university grads.

Life is better in focus

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October 2017 |


ed new employees from as far away as Chicago and Connecticut. “When we first talk to them, they may be hesitant to pull out of Chicago and move,” she says. “Once they bring their families here, they realize that the area has a special lifestyle.”

The company, founded by five research faculty from UC Davis, is a spin-off from the university’s Foods for Health Institute and develops products to address gut microbiome problems in newborn children and nursing animals. “We’re at the intersection of microbiology and

Sacramento County is an innovative organization dedicated to providing outstanding services, resulting in amazing places to live, work, play and thrive. Our goal is to create an extraordinary quality of life for our residents and businesses.

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nutrition,” Shafizadeh explains. She says that the opportunity to work in infant microbiome research is the biggest reason why employees are willing to migrate to Davis. “The university is a wonderful anchor for us,” she says. “It legitimizes the work we do and the level of science we work on.” The five founders of Evolve BioSystems continue to teach at UC Davis, which is well-known for its programs in agriculture and microbiology. “It gives us an opportunity to talk to students and provides a talent pool,” Shafizadeh says. As someone who has worked in life sciences in the Sacramento area for 15 years, Shafizadeh says that the biotech health industry in the area has grown, resulting in more jobs for those with a technical background — and UC Davis is not the only source for that talent. “Many of us have been in the business for a long time and have our own network of contacts to find prospective employees,” Shafizadeh says. Recruiters that specialize in the biotech industry, including those in the Bay Area, have taken notice. “They see the passion and dedication we have and they get excited,” she says, to steer good candidates to the company. Overall, the region’s high-tech industry is small and entrepreneurial-sized compared to the behemoth it is in the Bay Area. Nonetheless, the local talent pool is growing and the region is attracting out-of-town talent as well. “I think the perception of Sacramento is changing,” says Mohler, of PowerSchool. “When we recruit people from out of the area, we encourage them to stay in Historic Folsom or Midtown Sacramento to see how compelling this area is.” n Bill Sessa is a Sacramento-based freelance writer. Contact him at






acramento Ultrasound Institute (SUI), a college for those seeking allied health training, is the achievement of founder and CEO Sima Dermishyan and her son Samuel Yarmagyan. Now Chief Operating Officer, Sam grew up alongside his mother throughout the school’s evolution and tackled expanding roles into adulthood. Sima and Sam treat every student as family, the foundation of their success. Sima developed the sonography program at College of Career Training in 2001 and taught there through 2009, when that school diminished in size, with only her ultrasound class remaining. “We purchased the school then, gave it the SUI name and began rebuilding,” explains Sam. SUI’s first goal was gaining accreditation, which was granted in 2015. Sima and Sam then labored day and night to arrange financial aid, which they achieved in 2016. SUI’s success made two moves necessary, the first to a 2,500-square-foot space in 2014, and in 2016, to its current 12,000-squarefoot Arden-Arcade area campus.

Today, SUI features state-of-the-art equipment, classrooms, computer labs, laboratories and resources — and Sima’s and Sam’s family culture and heartfelt care for every student remains. “Sima has impacted her students’ lives tremendously,” says Sam. “She truly treats each one as a son or daughter, and they often return to thank her for helping launch their careers.” The school has more than 100 students in their general ultrasound program, their advanced program specializing in ectocardiography, and their new MRI program. In 2018, SUI will greatly expand, adding five more training programs and, with all approvals in place, a low-cost diagnostic imaging center. SUI graduates establish careers at local hospitals and clinics, including Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Health System and Dignity Health. As they settle into the medical community, they espouse SUI’s advantages and family culture. “We focus on the quality, not quantity, of our graduates, and let them be our advertising,” concludes Sima.

“Sima has impacted her students’ lives tremendously. She truly treats each one as a son or daughter, and they often return to thank her for helping launch their careers.” — Sam Yarmagyan SUI’s COO

2233 Watt Ave #150 Sacramento, CA 95825 916.877.7977

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olsom is serious about business, welcoming new businesses and supporting current partners’ growth. Community decision makers are accessible and committed to a vision for the city’s future that retains its best qualities. Balancing jobs and housing is a high priority and businesses that have relocated to Folsom have confirmed that their moves have given them the gift of time for family, business and life. Folsom is on trend to become a tech hub with healthy job growth and a growing labor pool of engineers and other tech talent. This attention to tech is attracting millennials and their buying power back to Folsom, and tech sector growth has attracted clients and vendors of the tech companies who are being introduced to Folsom. The scalability of Folsom is a big draw for mid-range start-ups expecting to grow. Exciting developments are underway throughout Folsom. Most significant is the development south of Highway 50 that has broken ground and will increase the

city’s footprint by a third. In addition, The Palladio continues expansion with new retail, restaurants and entertainment, and Historic Folsom Station will add retail, commercial office space and loft living to Folsom’s venerable historic district. Housing projected for the development south of Highway 50 is a diverse mix that will complement existing housing, with condos, urban lofts, family housing and active senior options all forecast. This new area will feature Folsom’s trademark commitment to trails, parks and an outstanding education system. Even with all the new opportunities, Folsom maintains strong ties to its historic legacy. A solid sense of community has allowed the city to retain its small town charm and dedicated volunteerism. Visitors feel that community vibe, love the natural splendor of Lake Natoma, Folsom Lake and 52-plus miles of trails, and recognize Folsom as a unique center for shopping, dining, events and culture.

50 Natoma Street Folsom, CA 95630 916.355.7200

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SACRAMENTO SURGES San Franciscans fleeing pricey housing fuel boom to the capital city by Romy Varghese with Bloomberg News

October 2017 |





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s the cost of daily life tests the bounds of gravity in San Francisco, a beneficiary has emerged 90 miles away. Sacramento is seeing its propertytax base and revenue surge. Drawn by its lower cost of living, people priced out of the San Francisco area by the flood of cash from the tech boom are heading inland, helping to make it the state’s fastestgrowing big city. Rents and home prices are climbing higher as a result — by some measures at rates faster than the nation’s — though they’re still affordable compared with San Francisco, where the average home sells for more than $1 million. While Sacramento suburbs were hit hard by the collapse of last decade’s housing bubble, the building boom this time is centered downtown, capitalizing on a national trend as millennials and empty nesters move to urban cores. “For a long time, we were just a way station between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe,” says Leyne Milstein, the City’s finance director. “There is a new view of

the city of Sacramento as a place to go, as a place of opportunity.” Sheri Atwood, the founder of a Silicon Valley startup called SupportPay, was considering moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, to cut her business costs when one of her investors suggested Sacramento. In September 2016, after overcoming her initial reaction of “hell no” with a tour, she relocated her company, which provides online child-support payment services. Her five employees agreed to about a one-third reduction in pay because their expenses are about half what they were, and she’s been able to hire 19 more. The lack of affordability in San Francisco and other communities along California’s coast worries politicians and fiscal analysts, who say it could eventually curb economic growth. But it presents an opportunity for cities like Sacramento to lay the groundwork for a stable revenue base to withstand inevitable downturns. Sacramento’s median home price was $299,000 in May, about one-fourth

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what it was in San Francisco, according to Redfin. The capital city was the most popular search destination for San Francisco residents looking to leave in the first quarter this year, according to the online real estate brokerage. Sacramento’s population rose 1.4 percent last year to 493,025, the fastest among California’s biggest cities and higher than the state average, according to California data. A hub amidst agricultural lands spreading from the banks of the American and its namesake rivers, Sacramento had long been considered a sleepy government town. The Golden 1 Center, which opened last fall, has given locals a reason to stay after work hours for concerts and Kings games, as well as the development of nearby restaurants, shops and homes. Rents for the most luxurious downtown apartments are hitting record highs, while the most recent figures show those for comparable residences in San Francisco are declining, according to Yardi Matrix data compiled by Cushman & Wakefield. When it comes to home prices, the Sacramento area is also booming as San Francisco is showing signs of cool-

ing. While single-family home prices in the Bay Area dropped 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the worst performance among the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, the Capital Region posted a 10 percent increase over the same period, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency data.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE FUNDAMENTALS, IT CLEARLY LOOKS LIKE A CITY WHERE THE MOMENTUM IS ALL TO THE POSITIVE SIDE. - Tom Schuette, co-head of investment research and strategy, Gurtin Municipal Bond Management

The surge has helped facilitate the economic recovery of Sacramento, which in the aftermath of the recession drew attention for its sprawling home-

October 2017 |



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The Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento

less camp. Buttressed by the real estate market turnaround, the City of Sacramento expects to take in about $464 million in general-fund revenue in the year beginning in July, a 25 percent increase since 2013. “If you look at the fundamentals, it clearly looks like a city where the momentum is all to the positive side,” says Tom Schuette, co-head of investment research and strategy at Gurtin Municipal Bond Management, which bought some of the water debt Sacramento sold earlier this year and is looking to add more. The yields of some of the shorter maturity securities were lower than those on AAA rated debt, despite the issue’s AA ranking from S&P Global Ratings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. To be sure, Sacramento faces headwinds. The expiration of a sales tax in-

crease in 2019 and rising public pension costs could challenge the City’s finances, says Lori Trevino, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst, in an interview. And its economy is still heavily weighted toward government agencies, which make up seven of the 11 biggest employers. But Atwood, the entrepreneur who moved with the assistance of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, says she can envision a corridor of tech firms there, drawn by the weather, arts community, and relatively short driving distance to San Francisco. “There’s no reason why somebody wouldn’t want to come here,” Atwood says. n This story originally appeared on Bloomberg and is reprinted with permission.

The Railyards is ingrained in the history of Sacramento, but it also has plans to shape the city’s future. The area is being transformed into an urban village that will elevate Sacramento’s downtown experience. The Railyards will connect people to new opportunities to work (with all new commercial and retail spaces) as well as play (with entertainment options centered around a proposed MLS stadium). It’s a place of community, with modern living spaces, open areas, cultural centers, festivals and even a Kaiser Permanente Campus. The Railyards is going places, and it’s taking Sacramento with it. Visit us at




From historic air force base to a thriving business park, McClellan Park is home to a diverse mix of more than one hundred seventy five commercial businesses providing good paying jobs. With superior amenities such as an on-site airport, conference center, hotel, health club and several restaurants, we have over 17,000 people conducting business in the park everyday.

October 2017 |



Mike Rayfield, senior VP of Micron’s mobile business, addresses employees at a team meeting at Micron’s Folsom facility.

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SHARED GROWTH Industry clusters offer a pathway to innovation


by Karen Wilkinson

October 2017 |




ike attracts like. It’s the principle belief behind the law of attraction, which states that people tend to seek out or be attracted to those who are similar or like-minded. The same idea can be applied to the business world, in that companies often gather — or cluster — around their successful peers in hopes of sharing services while improving efficiency and productivity. When done so successfully, these groupings are commonly referred to as innovation clusters. They emerge when a network of companies coexist within a geographic location, allowing each to collaborate and compete in a way that delivers greater productivity gains than they would achieve in isolation, according to a briefing paper in The Economist. Silicon Valley is a prime example. Innovative people are attracted to such clusters, breeding a cross-pollination of ideas and mutual benefit from one another’s successes, the briefing explains.

cho Cordova manufacturing operations and eliminating or relocating 1,100 of its 1,400 local jobs. Hewlett Packard once employed 6,000 people at its Roseville offices, but after 15 years of downsizing that number sits closer to 2,000. But Broome says these shifts were inevitable, as the companies are undergoing major reconstruction efforts designed to save operation costs, and it’s unfair to blame the region for losses that would have occurred regardless of location. Instead of fighting to keep what’s no longer working, Broome says the idea is to allow it to fall off, and focus on pairing our assets and talents with industries of the future. “We’re not going to replace jobs,” Broome says.“You have to be vigilant with industries and plan for them to go away.” While Sacramento didn’t capitalize on the digital revolution (developer and coding talents weren’t as strong here as in the Bay Area and Los Angeles), it’s


“The notion of innovation is how you create new services and products in a way that allows the community to capture jobs,” says Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. The area has recently experienced the consequences of companies struggling to stay competitive. In April, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced it was shuttering its Ran-

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time to ensure the area assesses how its talent pool aligns with industries of the future, Broome says. “We weren’t deep in software engineers, we didn’t have a deep developer or coding community,” he says. Without careful planning and strategic recruitment, Broom says the region will be forced into a “commodity player” status — buying goods from else-

where instead of creating them, and jobs, from home. The Great Recession hit California’s Capital Region particularly hard, in part due to our reliance on government and construction industries. Focusing on growth in other industries will make the area’s economy more resilient during future economic downturns. In a lengthy Valley Vision report titled “Next Economy” published in 2013, six industry cluster areas — advanced manufacturing, clean economy, education and knowledge creation, food and agriculture, information and communication technologies, and life sciences and health services — were identified through research. These existing high-growth areas, identified as “critical to the region’s economy,” have the greatest job creation and investment capacity. The clusters generate an economic impact of nearly 38 percent of the region’s total domestic output, or about $67 billion, the report states. And they’re somewhat clustered geographically, as the report pooled information from the six-county Sacramento region — El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. Some clusters are fairly obvious, as in Folsom which is home to tech companies such as Intel, PowerSchool and Micron Technologies, or in Sacramento which hosts several hospitals that anchor it as a life sciences and health services hub. Other anchors include UC Davis, the area’s only public research university. “Being the capital city, government will always be important, and we want to continue to have that dominance, but to expand upon the foundation that government and construction have on our economy,” says Christine Ault, who served as project manager of Next Economy. The largest cluster with more than 140,000 jobs, life sciences and health services, includes five sub sectors — hospitals, ambulatory health care services, nursing and residential care facilities, social assistance and life sciences. Education and knowledge creation is the second largest cluster with more than

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WOODLAND SEEKS A HUB FOR AGTECH UC Davis is the only one of the top 20 research institutions nationwide without an affiliated research park. This missing asset means a couple things for the world leader in food and agriculture studies, experts say — companies or ideas born from the university have nowhere to grow their roots, and end up relocating to the Silicon Valley or other more welcoming places. “There’s not space needed for them to commercialize nearby,” says Marika Rose, communications consultant and project manager for the Woodland Research Park development team. “UC Davis and our region suffer for lack of a true research park.” Under development in nearby Woodland — a 10-minute drive from the center of the UC Davis campus — is what planners hope will become the agriculture and technology center of Northern California. Set at 350 acres, the Woodland Research and Technology Park would blend living, work and retail spaces in an area designated for such a project — the “Southern Gateway” between Highway 113 and County Road 25A. Lon Hatamiya, who served as the Secretary of Technology, Trade and Commerce for California under Gov. Gray Davis, is the economist for the development team. When he did a study of economic development hubs in California during his tenure with the State, the strongest economic areas (San Diego, Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley) had one common element — a nearby research institution. “A lot of sectors have grown out from the technology coming out of the universities nearby,” Hatamiya says. “These similar types of emerging companies can grow from the Woodland Park, but also the Sacramento region.” The project is currently undergoing the planning approval process. While it’s been given the green light as part of the City of Woodland’s General Plan for 2035, the next 12 to 15 months will involve numerous studies — environmental, economic and transportation — before the city council can

approve the research park in its entirety. So far, developers are optimistic that it has the support of the city government. Ken Hiatt, assistant city manager of Woodland, says Woodland is uniquely positioned to be the perfect marriage between food and agriculture research at UC Davis, and food and agriculture industries. “This project was conceptualized partially out of the City’s desire to diversify its own economy, and realizing its position to capitalize on the technology and innovation that’s being developed at the UC Davis campus,” Hiatt says. “Woodland is well-positioned for that research to grow out of the campus.” While the original concept was to build such a project in Davis, that proved to be a “tough go” there, planners say. Hatamiya, who lives in Davis, explains that similar development proposals have been voted down by residents in the past. “It’s certainly a challenge (in Davis), but when you have a community like Woodland nearby able to do this quickly, we certainly see that advantage,” he says. When Woodland’s general plan was updated three years ago, the area was identified as a prime property to develop a knowledge, job and technology-based business park and employment center, Hiatt said. Fortunately, the property owners responded to that call of need, he says, and formally submitted an application in June, which was authorized by the city council and planning commission to move forward. The challenge, Hiatt says, is maintaining a “healthy dose of momentum” to keep the project moving and “maintaining a sufficient level of urgency that this project needs — and now is the time to capitalize on that opportunity,” he says. “And as always, the cost of development in California is a challenge, so how do you ensure all the impacts and issues are mitigated, but you have a project that’s viable and competitive in this global economy.” n ~ Karen Wilkinson

October 2017 |



100,000 jobs, and includes five sub sectors — private and public education institutions, education support services, publishing and broadcasting. This includes the area’s two universities, seven community colleges and several private education systems. Advanced manufacturing, with fewer than 20,000 jobs, includes six sub sectors — aerospace, chemical, computers and electronics, machinery, plastic products and transportation manufacturing. Clean economy also includes six sub sectors — energy and resource efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable farming, advanced transportation, environmental compliance and recycling/waste reduction.

WHAT BUSINESSES SAY Over at Folsom’s Micron Technology, which creates memory products that enable mobile phones, computers and the internet to run faster, Amit Gattani considers being in the Capital Region an asset. He values the proximity to tech giants such as Intel, Hewlett Packard and Oracle as part of the greater cluster, and works to strengthen the relationships Micron has with research faculty and students at UC Davis. For example, “there is a very strong talent pool and innovation culture around flash storage technologies in this area, with talent pool coming from companies like Micron, Intel, HP, NEC, Sierra Logic, Emulex, Marvell, PMC Sierra and many others over (the) past 10 to 15 years,” he says. “This leads to critical mass of talent pool in the area that is necessary to support diversity of thinking, thought leadership, collaboration and ultimately innovation.” At Evolve Biosystems, a biotech company just minutes from UC Davis (whose founders are alumni) focused on gut microbiome, the proximity to the university allows for an ease in intellectual exchange, as well as the founders being present for daily operations, says Director of Scientific Communications Tracy Shafizadeh. She considers Evolve Biosystems to be at the intersection of two clusters — life scienc-

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es and health services, and food and agriculture, because the company produces a food product that restores babies’ gut microbiome. And UC Davis, specifically its Office of Innovation, is part of the picture. But as far as others specifically in the microbiome science community, Evolve Biosystems is unique in that there aren’t any others doing the same work, Shafizadeh says.

WHAT’S NEEDED FOR FUTURE GROWTH When the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance shut down in 2015, many of its programs — AgStart, CleanStart, MedStart, TechStart and VentureStart — went with it, with those remaining trickling along under new leadership, says Eric Ullrich, co-founder of Hacker Lab. SARTA, which was a nonprofit organization designed to encourage and champion technology ventures in the Capital Region, launched in 2001. It became one of the first six iHubs in the state in 2010, meant to foster innovation and trade regionally through locally designed innovation hubs. After a series of leadership changes, including then-CEO Meg Arnold who stepped down in 2014, the organization splintered a year later. Some of its main programs — AgStart, CleanStart and MedStart — have new leadership. SARTA’s board transitioned its assets to the nonprofit arm of I/O Labs, which launched in 2016 as an entrepreneurial incubator and accelerator program. It also took over as the regional partner for the state’s iHub program. This new venture is set to open later this year in downtown Sacramento. “All these programs take leadership to develop, program management and programming events, to build a community within these sectors,” Ullrich says. “It’s especially hard when you’re trying to build among companies that are trying to focus on the bottom line.” In September, UC Davis entered into collaboration agreements that would bring

Urban Hive and I/O Labs into the Venture Catalyst Distributed Research Innovation & Venture Engine network of startup incubators. These partnerships combine the Urban Hive and I/O Labs’ resources with those available through UC Davis-affiliated startups through Venture Catalyst to support the translation of groundbreaking research and business concepts into commercial products and services, according to UC Davis News. UC Davis’ new chancellor, Dr. Gary May, took the helm in August 2017. Formerly the dean of engineering at Georgia Tech, May was instrumental in a massive 1.4 millionsquare-foot urban mixed-use development plan called Technology Square. Today, it’s home to more than 20 innovation centers and corporate labs, with Boeing among its newest tenants. “Since it first opened 13 years ago, Technology Square in Midtown Atlanta has rapidly become one of the leading regional innovation hubs in the southeastern U.S.,” says Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “Tech Square promotes and facilitates innovation and collaboration between businesses and industry and the Georgia Tech community.” And May already has some ideas for taking what he learned with Technology Square and applying it to Sacramento. Earlier this summer, he and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg visited the Midtown Atlanta-based destination. “I’m excited to work with UC Davis and Sacramento leaders to establish partnerships that will drive economic and workforce development, grow investment, and spur our thriving innovation ecosystem,” Steinberg said in a UC Davis release about the visit. “Exploring models like Atlanta Tech Square will help to more fully inform how our city can serve as a partner in promoting greater regional collaboration so we can continue to compete globally.” n Karen Wilkinson is a writer, communications consultant and journalist who gained newspaper experience along California’s North Coast.

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elebrating 45 years in business, Vacaville-based Martin’s Metal Fabrication is a one-stop shop for any metal production needs. Launched by Len and Carol Martin in 1972 as Martin’s Welding, the company has involved multiple family generations. President David Martin worked with his parents alongside his siblings as a child. “We’re truly a family business and everybody worked very hard,” says David. His daughter, Chantelle Martin, also grew up in the business, took more significant positions over the years and today is Vice President. Martin’s longtime Lewis Road site does job shop fabrication, sheet metal shearing and forming, bending and rolling, structural steel fabrication and repair work. A 10,000 SF machine shop in Vacaville’s industrial park handles precision fabrication work with higher-tech equipment, including laser cutting, 5-Axis water jet cutting and CNC mills and lathe machines. The company works with varieties of steel, aluminum, stainless steel and more. Customers from throughout Northern Califor-


nia represent industries as diverse as food, wineries, agriculture, technology, pharmaceutical, construction and aerospace. “We establish excellent customer relationships, and many customers have grown with us over the years,” says Chantelle. “We go above and beyond for all customers, producing top-quality work and delivering on time. We understand fast-paced industries, and ship as soon as a job is done.” Poised for phenomenal growth, Martin’s will continue to upgrade equipment to stay on the cutting edge of fabrication capabilities, and welcome clients from new markets. “We’re always upgrading and buying equipment to serve customers better and offer services in industries we may not serve yet,” notes Chantelle. “We’ll also continue being as efficient as possible, cutting waste, streamlining processes and always producing better products.” “We look forward to both one-time jobs and forming long-lasting relationships with anyone who needs any sort of metal fabrication or repair work,” concludes David.

We believe in creating long lasting relationships with our customers.

7260 Lewis Road Vacaville, CA 95687 707.678.4117

October 2017 |


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Board members of Greater Sacramento share their thoughts on doing business in the region





LAURIE HARTING Sr. Vice President of Operations, Dignity Health

Dignity Health believes our role in building a happy and strong community is centered on providing access to affordable, high-quality, compassionate health care for all. It is at the core of the ministry set forth by our founder Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. Our ability to provide care to patients and help them live healthy, productive lives gives them the opportunity to experience life with loved ones, friends and their community. Dignity Health’s partnership with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council is key to helping continue to position our region as a destination for growth and innovation for health care.

AS CEO OF ONE OF THE SACRAMENTO REGION’S LARGEST EMPLOYERS, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SACRAMENTO’S STRONGEST SELLING POINT FOR INTERESTED COMPANIES AND BUSINESSES LOOKING TO LOCATE HERE? As a global business, access to a diversified and high-quality talent pool is essential to our success. Today, the Sacramento region is about possibilities and opportunity. It’s expanding rapidly, which means talent is flowing into this area — very much like Denver, Austin and Columbus, state capitals that have grown beyond their government roots. Hosting two major universities, a vibrant and growing arts and music scene, incredible farm-to-fork restaurants, access to multiple rivers, the Sierra Nevada, Pacific Ocean, Bay Area and wine country, coupled with a desirable climate and affordable housing brings the talent we need and makes the region an ideal location for our company.

ROB LYNCH Interim President & CEO, VSP Global

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The arrival of the Amazon facility in Sacramento County bodes well for the region as a hub for distribution centers. We look forward to coordinating with GSEC to support companies in the growing e-commerce market and targeting businesses in the expanding markets of electric vehicle technology and manufacturing, as well as clean energy. We will continue to market the County of Sacramento to companies that need access to a high-quality workforce and affordable space to do business.

County Executive, Sacramento County

HOW DO ROSEVILLE’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GOALS FIT WITHIN THE LARGER GOALS OF THE CAPITAL REGION, AND WHAT CAN ROSEVILLIANS DO TO HELP? Greater Sacramento is a key strategic partner in Roseville’s efforts to grow jobs and bring capital investment to the city. Greater Sacramento casts a broader net to a national audience than the city could do alone in its efforts to create and bring jobs and investment into the six-county region. Together we develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to attract investment, ensuring that if any city in the region wins, we all win, since people live, shop, eat out and enjoy recreation throughout the region, no matter where their jobs are located. Roseville residents can help with sharing personal endorsements about our city in conversations or social media, supporting local businesses, participating in activities that strengthen our community and raising awareness of our efforts throughout our business community.

SUSAN ROHAN Mayor, City of Roseville


ARLEN ORCHARD CEO, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

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Our relationship with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council is unique and productive. It ensures alignment of our specific activities in support of the region’s extensive efforts to attract, retain and expand companies. We share a common vision of a vibrant, economically diverse and innovative Sacramento region. SMUD staff is engaged at all levels of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and we’re a frequent contributor to attraction and retention proposals by offering low rates and incentives, reliable power, innovative green programs, best-in-class energy solutions and industry leading customer service. Our partnership proves that through collaboration and broad regional alignment, we can deliver even greater collective impact for our customers and the region as a whole. With the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, our region is kicking economic development into high gear.



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Lawson Mechanical Contractors




awson Mechanical Contractors, one of the premier mechanical contracting firms in California, is celebrating 70 years of commercial contracting excellence and performance.

and includes recent projects in higher education and K-12 institutional, health care, commercial office, industrial, government, manufacturing, data centers, residential/ multi-family and hospitality.

Founded by Archie Lawson in 1947 as a sheet metal shop doing residential work, Lawson Mechanical Contractors has continued its growth through three generations into a highly regarded, multidiscipline mechanical contractor. The company provides excellence in all aspects of commercial mechanical contracting to its clients, including plumbing, piping, HVAC, process piping and industrial fabrication.

Lawson Mechanical Contractors is well positioned for growth as the construction economy grows in the coming years. President & CEO David Lawson, a third-generation family member, says, “Lawson Mechanical has a tremendous amount of depth because we continue to reinvest in our facilities, technical resources, fabrication equipment, and, most importantly, our employees. It is our employees who are the cornerstone of our operations and will continue to be a key factor in the future growth and development of our capabilities and service offerings.”

Lawson’s main office and fabrication facility is located in Sacramento with branch offices in Fresno and the North Bay, enabling them to provide contracting services to clients throughout Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada. In addition to the contracting and HVAC services that Lawson Mechanical Contractors provides, they also offer in-house design/build engineering, estimating, scheduling, three dimensional modeling (BIM), project management and mechanical systems shop fabrication — a complete package of services to fill the needs of its clients. Lawson Mechanical Contractors’ project experience is vast




Lawson Mechanical Contractors’ senior management team, consisting of David Lawson, Rodney Barbour, Stephen Humason, Sean Bakey and Jason Harris, is dedicated to investing in construction technologies, increasing client services and expanding its contracting markets, while preserving a high level of customer service. The management team believes that these attributes, along with high-performance employees, are the key elements to the continued, long-term success of Lawson Mechanical Contractors. 916.381.5000 | 6090 South Watt Sacramento, Ca 95829 |

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City of Elk Grove

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THE SMART CALIFORNIA ALTERNATIVE Elk Grove is the smart business location for California companies looking to scale at cost with access to an exceptional talent pool. By expanding in Elk Grove, you will tap into the fastest growing multi-cultural millennial population in the state (and 2nd in the US)—we have your talent; and your staff will finally be able to save for the future and enjoy a higher quality of life at a lower cost. You will immediately re-capitalize your business by reducing your operating costs California Correctional Health Care Services new Elk Grove Headquarters.

by 50%, while staying within a 90 minute drive or direct flight of your clients and competitors. We have greenfield sites and Class A office projects that are pre-zoned, CEQA cleared, and ready for construction. You will be 15 minutes from the State Capital of the 8th largest economy in the world, in the 2nd largest city, in California’s next great metro region. We have a business friendly City Council and programs and incentives to get you up and running on time and on budget. Let us help you make the smart choice for your business.






Contact us at (916) 478-3690 or

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THE CALIFORNIA OPTION: Of the 10 states with the most Fortune 500 HQs, California is:

Effective Business Tax Rate (business tax as % of GDP) 5.5%

31% more profitable than NY 182% more profitable than TX 323% more profitable than IL


406% more profitable than VA


411% more profitable than NJ


519% more profitable than OH 574% more profitable than MN 672% more profitable than PA 777% more profitable than CT

For every $1 of business taxes collected in CA, the State puts $.48 toward spending that benefits business

Source: Fortune 500 2016

Source: Ernst & Young LLP

THE SACRAMENTO REGION’S GOT TALENT: Office lease rates that are

Since 2010, has seen:


in population of those with bachelor’s degrees, compared to the state as a whole, and...Is adding almost


new graduates with bachelor’s

34.5% MORE


31.4% 74% LOWER THAN AUSTIN WITHIN 5 YEARS, SACRAMENTO IS feel they will be priced out and

No. 1 on the list of places


they are considering

Source: Urban Land Institute; Redfin

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SACRAMENTO IS AT THE HEART OF THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MEGAREGION It is: 90 minutes from SAN FRANCISCO, which is 90 minutes from SAN JOSE, which is 90 minutes from SACRAMENTO

119,000 people travel from the Sacramento Region to the Bay Area


travel from the Bay Area to the Sacramento Area. The region includes major research institutions of

Greater Sacramento and



Source: Bay Area Council; US Census Bureau

(67 PATENTS PER DAY) 18% CALIFORNIA In 2015, the


MEGAREGION was responsible for:

of all U.S. patents

the Bay Area have a

208,000 The Northern California

MegaRegion is a


46.7% ($27.4 BILLION) 12.2 MILLION PEOPLE of all U.S. Venture Capital

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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Serving businesses

across our region. SAFE Credit Union is the perfect partner when you’re looking to grow your business. Whether you need equipment, working capital, or capital to purchase, renovate, or refinance commercial property, our team of experts and business banking solutions can help your business goals come to life.* Find out how SAFE’s business banking solutions can help your business today.

We’re big believers in your business. Contact our business development experts today at (916) 971-6430 or

Federally insured by NCUA *Borrower must meet all SAFE credit qualifications and SBA eligibility criteria, as applicable.

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hen the Greater Sacramento Economic Council needed help removing legal obstacles so it could focus on growing the region’s economy and bringing new businesses to town, Downey Brand received the call. “We needed a law firm that knew business, understood us, and shared our goal of growing the region’s economy,” said David Lucchetti, Chair of GSEC and CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products. “Once on board, Downey Brand became an integral part of developing our strategy and implementing it.” Downey Brand’s work as General Counsel for GSEC is built on more than 90 years of representing businesses as they proceed through the many stages of growth, from concept to accomplishment. With more than 70 lawyers in Sacramento and nearly 100 firm-wide, one of the key strengths of the firm is its comprehensive legal services for businesses during formation, capitalization, launch and operation including real estate, water and land use, intellectual property, construction, employment and a

full suite of corporate law practices. When litigation is the right option, Downey Brand’s proven trial lawyers have provided aggressive and sensible advocacy to businesses of every size from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 corporations. Downey Brand’s strong connection to the Sacramento area business community is reflected in the firm’s longstanding associations with local leadership, nonprofit organizations, industry organizations and local, state and federal governments. In addition to nonprofit board service, Downey Brand attorneys regularly take community leadership roles such as chairing the business and labor coalition that successfully fought to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento and build the Golden 1 Center. Founded in Sacramento, Downey Brand has grown to include offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Stockton and Reno. The Firm’s regional strength, combined with deep local roots, support its commitment to the vibrant growth of the Greater Sacramento community.

“We needed a law firm that knew business, understood us and shared our goal of growing the region’s economy.” — David Lucchetti

Chair of GSEC & CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products

621 Capitol Mall # 18 Sacramento, CA 95814 916.444.1000

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The Capital Region has two rivers flowing through it, the Sacramento River and the American River, which are integral to the region’s unique quality of life. This photo shows Downtown Sacramento in the distance on the left, with Old Sacramento on the banks of the Sacramento River, the iconic Tower Bridge and West Sacramento’s Riverwalk on the right. Richard Rich, City of Sacramento Railyards and Riverfront Project Manager, recently shared plans to upgrade the riverfront beginning in Old Sacramento, referring to the rivers as vital “cultural assets” for our region. The City of West Sacramento has also been investing heavily in its riverfront activation.

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America’s City Solution Siemens’ answers for mobility help people and business reconnect with their city and one another.

Cities across the United States are growing fast, which has brought new challenges like how to move people and attract business in a way that is also good for the environment. That is why cities are choosing to work with Siemens, where more than 800 Americans focus on designing and building energy-efficient rail vehicles that can help people reach their destination quickly, comfortably and safely.

Siemens complete solutions for mobility are helping change how cities grow and how their citizens move through them. Because mobility is more than just transportation, it helps build sustainable cities. Somewhere in America, our team of more than 60,000 employees spends every day creating answers that will last for years to come. 118 | October 2017

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The Sacramento region benefits greatly from the abundant beauty and recreational opportunities offered by our two rivers. Shown here is the American River near the confluence with the Sacramento River at Discovery Park.

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he City of Rancho Cordova is an emerging urban center with an interesting history, an exciting present and a prosperous future. Rancho Cordova is the fastest growing city in Sacramento County according to justreleased California Department of Finance figures. And Rancho Cordova has all of the elements employers and employees are looking for – innovation, opportunity and a great place to live and have fun. “The City of Rancho Cordova is a vibrant community that is home to everything from global business to local business, from mature neighborhoods to brandnew construction, from a thriving arts community to a community of fun that hosts some of the greatest events in the region,” says Curt Haven, Economic Development Director. In a city with 3,500 businesses employing a workforce of 54,000, entrepreneurs are plentiful. Take for instance, Rancho Cordova’s new Barrel District. Joining

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four craft breweries are businesses found nowhere else in the region – a meadery, as well as two distilleries – the first to open in Sacramento County since Prohibition. These small businesses are making a big impact through vision, passion and appeal. Cutting-edge entrepreneurs and startups are part of the city’s essence. In fact, Rancho Cordova is working to establish an innovation center. This would provide entrepreneurs and start-ups with a place to build their products and businesses. New housing developments, like Rio Del Oro, arguably the biggest new housing development in the region, will offer more than 12,000 new homes, more than 500 acres of commercial, business, and industrial space, 500 acres of wetlands, 16 miles of trails, nearly 200 acres of parks and 9 new schools. Many other housing developments are already breaking ground, giving those working in the city the chance to make a home in this city of opportunity.

“The City of Rancho Cordova has innovative tools and incentives to encourage publicprivate partnerships. Our pledge to businesses: we are responsive, nimble and motivated.” Cyrus Abhar City Manager

2729 Prospect Park Drive Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 916.851.8700

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On the border of Sacramento State standing on the Guy West Bridge you can see great views of the American River. Seen here is a lone fisherman on a summer evening scouting for a catch.

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AN EASY SELL Companies, both homegrown and new transplants, find success in the Capital Region by Willie Clark

October 2017 |




Dr. Makoto Masuno, director of research and development for Origin Materials, collects a sample at the company’s office in West Sacramento.

hen it comes to finding business success in the Sacramento area, the proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding. The city’s proximity to the Bay Area, its lower cost of living and its people have long been lauded as assets to economic development. While that might seem like a tired line of thinking, Sacramento remains on the radar of both potential businesses and employees for exactly those reasons. According to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, the region’s growth in skilled employees has seen a 43 percent increase over California’s growth between 2010 and 2015. Additionally, a 2015 study from the Urban Land Institute states that 74 percent of millennials in the Bay Area are considering leaving within five years due to cost constraints, and early 2017

data from Redfin shows that Sacramento is the top destination in California for Bay Area residents seeking more affordability. While some may tire of talking of such assets in Sacramento, it doesn’t mean they are any less important for companies in the area. Take Fantag — makers of the live-event video app of the same name — which opened its Sacramento office in 2017 after starting in Palo Alto in 2013. According to CEO and Founder Brian Dombrowski, the reason was simple: “Truly, it all started with the people,” he says. “The more and more time I spent up here, the more and more people I met, the more I realized ... there are a lot of great opportunities here to build the company, specifically with just people I’ve been meeting and their experience level,” Dombrowski says.


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Most of Fantag’s team works in the new Sacramento headquarters, which currently houses eight employees. Dombrowski also moved to the area in February to stay close to the company’s day-to-day interactions. “The region’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship was also compelling,” he says. “Organizations like the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and shared workspaces like The Urban Hive provided us with a soft landing and many networking opportunities.” Dombrowski adds that floods of people are leaving Silicon Valley for Sacramento, which benefits Fantag. But with offices in both regions, Dombrowski notes that Fantag gets the best of both worlds. “We still have full access to everything that is in the Bay Area, I can still be, you know, in Sacramento and [have] access to everything in this region as well, and there’s plenty to offer,” he says. Sacramento is also home to Fantag’s first partners, including MaxPreps and Sacramento Republic FC. Dombrowski also mentions more affordable housing, less traffic and Sacramento’s growth as reasons why Fantag is here. Looking ahead, he hopes to at least double his staff size company-wide by the end of 2018. “I think the biggest thing is just growing a great company that brings jobs to the Sacramento region as we expand,” he says. “I think that’s one of the big prospects I have ... mainly it’s to build a great company that gives, especially people in tech and, you know, graduating students in tech, an opportunity to work on a cool technology platform.” And Dombrowski has found a lot to love about his new home, including its sense of community. “I had no concept of Sacramento at all until I got here,” he says. “And then when I was finally here I was like, ‘This has been here the whole time?’ Origin Materials (formerly Micromidas) CEO John Bissell and his cofounders graduated from UC Davis and it made sense to stay close by to launch their

company, which creates chemicals out of lignocellulosic materials — they chose West Sacramento. Origin Materials, which currently has about 30 employees, has stayed in the same West Sacramento office since its founding in 2008. And there are many reasons for them sticking around, including how Sacramento’s development appeals to the employees that Bissell tries to attract. Chemists and engineers, he added, are often foodies, and they also often want a family-friendly place to live.


“What we find is that Sacramento tends to be sticky for people … There are exceptions to this, but most of the time if somebody in our industry gets out here and can get settled a little bit, they want to stay, which is not the case for a lot of the other cities where chemicals are a major industry,” he says. Bissell also thinks that being located in a generally well-educated area is also a benefit for his business. Origin also benefits from a dearth of local companies working in its space. “That means that we don’t have to fight that hard for local talent,” he says. “And we also don’t have to worry about competitors sniffing around in what we’re

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DISASTER Over a long holiday weekend, a water line from a newly installed “insta hot” water heater blew. The LEED Gold Certified, highly secured, Class A office building was now heavily damaged. Water traveled from the second floor to the first and into a highly secured file record storage room and a total of 52 employees were impacted. The building and the business property needed immediate attention and restoration.

RESPONSE The leadership of Denise A. Purrier and the management team of Nelson Properties, Inc. had the foresight to engage with Pinnacle prior to the emergency with an Emergency Response Agreement. The call was made and Pinnacle immediately responded to: • Evaluate the extent of damage and begin relocation of employees, IT systems and minimize business interruption. • Employ state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained technicians to manage the necessary work prior to reconstruction. • Implement a multi-layered strategy of communication to ensure all parties involved (6 managers, 52 employees, building owner, Nelson Management, contractors, inspectors and insurance representatives) maintained a cohesive plan to repair. Within 36 hours, 52 employees were relocated within the building and no business was lost. If you need professional, responsible management for your buildings, contact Denise A. Purrier of Nelson Properties, Inc. at 916-635-4300. If you need to discuss emergency property response, contact Leo Grover of Pinnacle at 916-371-7431. “It was magical how everything fell together . . . Pinnacle has proven themselves over and over.” — Denise A. Purrier, President of Nelson Properties, Inc.

Pinnacle Emergency Management 916.371.7431 |

Before a crisis or disaster hits, call Pinnacle for a free evaluation of your company’s needs. CSL#897165 126 | October 2017

doing, right? That’s kind of nice. Those are all good things.” While Origin Materials has enjoyed perks from the lack of local competition, Apeiron Data Systems, which offers storage-network solutions, has found benefits in being closely located to other giants in its industry, including Intel and Toshiba, also in Folsom. “This area has actually become a little bit of a hub for non-volatile memory flash storage,” chief revenue officer of Apeiron Data Systems Jeffrey Barber says. “So, there’s a deep base to pull from, from an employee perspective, and a cost of living and a cost of doing business [at] a fraction of the Bay Area.” Proximity to the Bay Area also allows travel back and forth when needed all in the same day. Apeiron, which also has a small office in Santa Clara, is a global company in terms of its customer base, but “from a partnership and a manufacturing perspective, it’s all here in Folsom, California,” Barber says. Aperion currently has 25 employees in its Folsom office, and plans to grow to 50-100 employees companywide over the next year. “We don’t believe that we’re going to have any problem attracting recruits to this area, because many of them are already here,” he says. n Willie Clark is a writer, editor, photographer and co-host of the 8 Bit Awesome gaming podcast. On Twitter @_WillieClark or

GREATER SACRAMENTO ECONOMIC COUNCIL Help us celebrate the people who are driving the growth of Greater Sacramento’s economy As a non-profit organization, The Greater Sacramento Economic Council has embarked on an ambitious agenda to support our community in spurring regional economic growth. By attending our Second Annual Dinner - a one-of-akind gathering of the region’s movers and shakers - you are supporting our mission.

Get Involved

Tickets and Tables Now Available Thursday - December 7, 2017 Location: Hyatt Regency Sacramento Address: 1209 L Street, Sacramento Time: 5:30 - 9:00PM Attire: Cocktail

Greater Sacramento Certified Champions Program

Take Responsibility Shift Perceptions Lead Change Through this program, Greater Sacramento certifies a limited group of leaders to act as advocates for the six-county region. Certified Champions have the actionable skills and knowledge needed to confidently promote our market, build community agendas, and move our economy forward.

400 Capitol Mall, Suite 2520

What is a Certified Champion? Certified Champions are Greater Sacramento investors who have taken initiative by immersing themselves in concrete knowledge that supports the Greater Sacramento agenda, and who regularly act as ambassadors within their spheres of influence to disseminate this knowledge.

How Do I Become Certified Certification can be obtained at your own pace. It requires completion of 8 hours of courses, a brief exam, and annual participation in 4 Greater Sacramento events. Champions will receive a certificate, official pin, and exposure on the Greater Sacramento website. The Certified Champions Program is a special opportunity for Greater Sacramento investors at, or above, an annual investment level of $2,500.

Sacramento, CA 95814


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more images at

PRESS PLAY As a child, working in her family’s print shop in Grass Valley, Judith Berliner’s job was to help her father produce custom maps and limited-edition books on the antique machinery. Today, Berliner works those same presses as owner of that same shop, now called Full Circle Press, where she prints jar labels with gold foil embossing (pictured here). Berliner and her team produce

invitations, postcards, menus, signs, announcements, stationery and more. The nearly-forgotten tools of letterpressing, like pica poles (to measure spaces), backward typeset and sticky boxes of colorful, thick ink are used daily here. “Our intention is never to be fast,” Berliner says. “It’s to be right.” Full Circle Press’ high-profile clients include Apple and Pixar — a busi-

ness card for Steve Jobs is featured in one of their display books. Apprentice printer Ethan Cameron says a printing press has so many working parts that, “If it doesn’t look right, there’s five different things you have to try to make it work.” But Berliner says once you get the hang of working the analog presses, it’s sort of like “working a sewing machine.” n

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Have California’s Small Businesses Finally Recovered From

The Recession? Small businesses in California (with less than 20 employees) by industry, 2014*


Accommodation and Food Services: 48,300

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s size standards range between 1-1,500 employees and vary by industry.

Wholesale Trade: 43,600

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services:

Retail Trade:



Health Care and Social Assistance: 80,900

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing: 38,100





Educational Services: 9,200 Finance and Insurance: 25,650

In 2014, there were:

*Most recent data available

5.83 million

California employment by size of firm:

18%: 20–99


In 2016: SBA lending for Sacramento, El Dorado, Yolo and Placer counties totaled $312 million — the highest amount since 2005. Sacramento County (~$175 million in loans given out)

14%: 100–499 | October 2017


El dorado county (~$25 million)


yolo county (~$40 million) -10%




*Most recent data available

Just like the rest of California, the Sacramento region is seeing a rise in small business activity

18%: 1–19 50%: 500 or more employees





Employment gains in California’s small businesses, by industry, from 2013 to 2014*



of those businesses had < 20 employees


Small businesses in California are seeing major growth



of those businesses had < 500 employees


businesses in the U.S.

+122% placer county (~$65 million)





801 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95817

106 N. Sunrise Ave., Suite C-4, Roseville, CA 95661

916-443-1322 |

916-782-8000 | October 2017 |


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Comstock's 1017 - October 2017  
Comstock's 1017 - October 2017