Category Archives: Economy

Old Buses Turned Into Green Machines

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by David Danelski and published in The Press Enterprise on Nov 30, 2014.)

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

An old Indianapolis bus looked more like a skeleton than a mass-transit workhorse as it sat in the workshop of a Riverside bus re-manufacturing company.

Gone were the seats, windows, floorboards as well as the diesel engine.

In a few weeks, the transformation was complete. What had been a soot-emitting behemoth became a nonpolluting, all-electric, green machine capable of traveling more an 130 miles before needing to be recharged.

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Complete Coach Works has been rebuilding used buses at its plant off Spruce Street for more than 29 years. But it is now winning recognition for turning old polluters into zero-emission models.

The company got a big boost this spring when it won a $12.2 million contract from the Indianapolis transit agency to turn 22 worn-out diesel buses into clean electric vehicles.

“We are really excited,” said Justin Scalzi, an account manager for the company during a tour of company’s facilities in October. “Once we have these buses out on the road in Indiana, the other transit agencies will realize that we are the real thing.”

The company’s non-polluting bus propulsion system was recently recognized by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for advancing air pollution control technology, and the air district provided the firm $395,000 toward its research and development efforts.

Complete Coach Works development of zero-emission buses is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar by leading the way in clean public transportation.

To read the full article, click here.

UCR Business School Receives $2.5 Million Gift

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Sean Nealon, published in UCR Today on November 14, 2014.)

From left, UCR Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development Jeff Kaatz, UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Gary Lastinger, Erin Lastinger, Samantha Anderson, Erik Anderson and UCR School of Business Administration Dean Yunzeng Wang. The Andersons and Lastingers are affiliated with the A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation. Photo Credit: UCR Today
From left, UCR Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development Jeff Kaatz, UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Gary Lastinger, Erin Lastinger, Samantha Anderson, Erik Anderson and UCR School of Business Administration Dean Yunzeng Wang. The Andersons and Lastingers are affiliated with the A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation. Photo Credit: UCR Today

The A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation announced Thursday it is giving $2.5 million to the University of California, Riverside School of Business Administration to create three endowed chairs for faculty members and provide scholarships for graduate students from Inland Southern California.

The gift is the latest show of support from the A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation, and was announced at a gala Thursday (Nov. 13) at the Victoria Club in Riverside that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the naming of The A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM). The foundation has made previous gifts exceeding $8 million.

Donations toward education are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny  intelligent growth pillar by not only embracing the growth of the business school, but the entire Riverside economy. 

The family foundation is also providing $1 million for AGSM Scholars Initiative, a scholarship program that will increase the enrollment of Inland Southern California students pursuing graduate degrees. Up to 85 percent of that money may be used as matching funds to attract new philanthropic support. That could mean an additional $850,000.

The remaining $150,000 will be used for outreach activities, such as the financial literacy component for area high school students attending UC Riverside’s annual economic forecast conference.

The gift will help the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management meet its goal of being ranked among the top 50 business schools in the nation.

Leading up to 2020, the school plans to continue to increase graduate school enrollment, which has grown from 150 to 300 in just the past three years; increase the size and enhance the quality of its faculty; and launch research centers in areas including entrepreneurial leadership, economic forecasting and supply chain management and logistics.

To accommodate current and future growth, the School of Business Administration is beginning a feasibility study for a new building to house its programs.

For the full article, click here.

Business Incubator Opened in Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from an article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on November 6, 2014.)

Aaron Seitz, a psychology professor at UC Riverside, is one of the founders of Fundamental Brain Games and Services, LLC, which plans to move into the incubator. Photo Credit: UCR Today
Aaron Seitz, a psychology professor at UC Riverside, is one of the founders of Fundamental Brain Games and Services, LLC, which plans to move into the incubator. Photo Credit: UCR Today

A business incubator in downtown Riverside created by officials from the University of California, Riverside, City of Riverside and Riverside County and business leader had it’s grand opening the past Wednesday, November 12.

Four companies, three started by UC Riverside professors and one by an alumnus, have been approved for the Riverside ExCITE Incubator, located at 3499 10th Street. One of the companies has moved in and others plan to move in in the near future.

There is space for up to six companies and several others have expressed interest in moving in. The space is available to any start-up companies in the community, not just those connected to UC Riverside.

“It has been hard to create new companies based on technology developed at the university out of the university,” said Michael Pazzani, the vice chancellor for research and economic development at UC Riverside and one of the directors of the incubator. “This will make it easier. It will also encourage faculty to start new companies and commercialize the technology they develop.”

Pazzani, along with Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey and John Tavaglione, who represents Riverside on the county of Board of Supervisors, spoke at the grand opening.

The incubator is designed to facilitate the successful incubation and acceleration of start-up companies engaged in entrepreneurial research and development of advanced technologies. Incubators such as ExCITE are great examples of the Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.

The incubator aims to increase the number of successful start-up businesses in the region by providing a location for business synthesis, mentorship and management; access to financial resources and information; access to marketing and professional services; and technology transfer from domestic and foreign universities, organizations and governments.

For the full article, click here.

Riverside Ranks No. 6 Nationally in Job Growth

(This article contains excerpts from article written by Debra Gruszecki, published in The Press Enterprise on October 29, 2014)

mall at night

The Riverside metropolitan region has turned the corner when it comes to job growth, according to a report from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business in Tempe.

The region ranked No. 6 in the nation for job recovery, ASU research professor Lee McPheters said. “We’re still slowly recovering from the staggering loss of jobs during the Great Recession,” McPheters said, as the metro region of Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario once led the nation for foreclosure and bled thousands of jobs. The Riverside metro region of more than 1 million workers tied with Denver with 2.8 percent job growth over three quarters of 2014. The national economy is growing less than 2 percent, so any job growth that is better than 2 percent is above average, McPheters said.

“Eight of the top large cities for job creation are in the West,” McPheters said. “However, Florida also did well, with two cities on the list.” Orlando took the top spot with job growth of 3.7 percent, double the national pace. Houston ranked No. 2 with 3.5 percent job growth. Metro regions with stronger job growth than Riverside were Portland, Miami and Dallas. Other winners based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics were San Diego and San Francisco.

This ranking is yet another example of Riverside continuing to fuel the intelligent growth of the region.

For the complete article, click here.

UCR Earns Top-10 Ranking in New Social Mobility Index Survey

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Ross French, published in UCR Today on October 17,2014.)

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: Ross French
UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: UCR Today.

The University of California, Riverside has been included among the top-10 schools on the new Social Mobility Index (SMI) survey, co-sponsored by CollegeNet and PayScale. The SMI ranking emphasizes economic mobility and the extent that a college or university helps its students with family incomes below the national median improve their social and economic standing.

UCR placed eighth overall among the 539 schools with a SMI ranking of 43.79. UC Davis placed sixth overall with 49.58 points and UC Berkeley was ninth with 43.36 points. The top school in the survey was Montana Tech of the University of Montana. The full rankings can be found on their website.

The survey’s methodology incorporated five weighted variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families are below the US median income, graduation rate, reported median salary 0-5 years after graduation, and endowment. The survey specifically did not incorporate reputations based upon the opinions of faculty or administrators regarding social or economic mobility, as it would “perpetuate the biases and stereotypes collected in such surveys.”

According to the survey 42.98% of UCR students are considered “low income.” The salary for UCR grads considered “early career employees,” defined as “full-time employees with five years of experience or less in their career or field working in the U.S. who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees,” is $45,600.

This is the second significant survey in which UCR has received high marks for social mobility, proving once again that Riverside is indeed a Location of Choice. For the last four years, the university has been ranked in the top-10 among national universities in Washington Monthly’s Annual College Ranking Survey, placing second overall in 2013 and 2014.  The Washington Monthly Survey considers civic engagement, research, and social mobility.

The article accompanying the Washington Monthly ranking read, in part:  “The UC campus in Riverside…. stands out as a model for other public universities to follow….. Riverside is unusually focused on social mobility. Since 2006, its enrollment has grown by 25 percent. Half of all freshmen are first-generation college students, and the campus is the most racially and ethnically diverse within the UC system. Riverside’s focus on public service exceeds that of almost every other national university.”

For the complete article, click here.

Regional Intelligence Report Highlights Positive News for Riverside

(Excerpts from this article were taken from the Beacon Economic Intelligence Report prepared by Beacon Economics and released on September 22, 2014.)

The seventh edition of the Beacon Economics Regional Intelligence Report continues to show positive growth in Riverside’s economy.  Unemployment is declining in the Inland Empire (8.5% as of July 2014) and the city has recovered nearly 9,700 jobs since a low point in March 2010.  There’s been growth in the Leisure and Hospitality sector increasing 7.5% from July 2013 to July 2014.  The new Riverside Convention Center, with 65,000 square feet of meeting space, should increase convention traffic into the City of Riverside, which should bring higher demand for hotel accommodations in and outside of the city.

Photo Credit: Beacon Economic Intelligent Report
Photo Credit: Beacon Economic Intelligent Report

Another area of growth was employment in the Education and Health sector which saw a 25% increase over the last year.  This sector is vital to the City of Riverside’s economy, constituting approximately 18% of total employment in the City.

The report highlights several areas of Seizing Our Destiny’s pillars including intelligent growth and location of choice.  Continuous positive economic numbers are important to gauge our economic recovery.  Reporting this data is also important so Riversiders know the hard work is paying off.

A few other highlights:

  • Taxable sales in the City have risen 11.5% over the past year.
  • Home sales increased 4.9% to 908 homes from the first quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2014.
  • Apartment vacancy rates in the City have fallen to 2.4%, a 25% decrease from a year ago.

For a complete copy of the report, click here.

UCR Earns ‘Military Friendly’ Recognition For 4th Year

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Ross French, published in UCRToday on September 23, 2014.)

In recognition of its efforts to dedicate resources that ensure the success of military personnel and veterans in the classroom, the University of California, Riverside has once again been named to the Military Friendly Schools list by Victory Media. It is the fourth time that UCR has appeared on the list.  UC Riverside is dedicated to making their campus and Riverside a location of choice for veterans to fulfill aspirations of attaining higher education.  Our community provides an abundance of opportunities to be amazed, inspired and entertained with welcoming neighborhoods, well-paying jobs in strong companies, and diverse educational opportunities.    

Students from UCR’s Operation VETS program visited Paramout Studios last winter. Operation VETS site visit to the Paramount studios facility last winter. From left Patrick Lee (BA, Political Science – 5th year); Sae Lee (program coordinator, UCR Career Center), Al Dupont (BA, Media & Cultural Students, ’14 alum), Frank Ramirez (staff advisor), and Charles Kim, BA, History Law & Society – 5th year.  Photo Credit: UCR Today
Students from UCR’s Operation VETS program visited Paramout Studios last winter. Operation VETS site visit to the Paramount studios facility last winter. From left Patrick Lee (BA, Political Science – 5th year); Sae Lee (program coordinator, UCR Career Center), Al Dupont (BA, Media & Cultural Students, ’14 alum), Frank Ramirez (staff advisor), and Charles Kim, BA, History Law & Society – 5th year. Photo Credit: UCR Today

“We are honored to once again be included on the Military Friendly Schools list,” said Chryssa Jones, veterans services coordinator in Student Special Services. “Many different people across this campus have gone above and beyond to assist our veterans and military personnel who are working to fulfill their dream of earning a college degree. This is a recognition that we can all take pride in.”

Photo credit: UCR Today
Photo credit: UCR Today

Jones cited the Veteran Employment Transition Success program, known by the acronym Operation VETS, as an example of how the campus works together to assist student vets. The program is a joint effort of the UCR Career Center and Veterans Services and focuses on the development and exploration of career skills and transferable life skills of student vets. For example, participants learn resume and cover letter writing skills, interview techniques and strategies for searching for jobs and internships. Students interested in continuing their educations learn about graduate school preparation.

According to Jones, “Operation VETS helps students take advantage of these existing skills by providing career development instruction, which helps them transfer these skills into tools that will help them as students and in the development of career and life skills.”

To read the full article, click here.

Manufacturing Coach Transforms ‘Vulnerable Yet Viable’ Companies

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Kurt Miller, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 23, 2014.)

Dennis Sonney, of Jurupa Valley, works for a private nonprofit corporation funded largely by the U.S. Department of Commerce to help strengthen manufacturing in the Inland Empire.

Dennis Sonney, manufacturing coach for the Inland Empire.  Photo credit: Kurt Miller
Dennis Sonney, manufacturing coach for the Inland Empire. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

With the title of a manufacturing coach, Sonney works his magic transforming “vulnerable yet viable” companies, he said. “We want them to grow, hire people, pay taxes and stay here.”  Since he arrived nine years ago, Sonney has worked with hundreds of companies that make everything from aerospace and aviation components to cosmetics, paint coating, robots, bats, skateboards and tiny circuit boards. In 2013, Sonney helped create 2,580 jobs at Inland manufacturing businesses, and he takes on 12 new clients a month, from startups to multimillion-dollar giants, he said. Last quarter alone, he worked with 19 manufacturers.

For the past five years, Sonney has worked closely with a Riverside company, Western Hydrostatic, which sells and repairs hydraulic components on large construction machinery.

Dennis Sonney, who works for California Manufacturing Technology Consulting as the Inland Empire coach, at Western Hydrostatic in Riverside, one of the many clients for whom he has helped solve problems, provide training programs and grow their companies.  Photo credit: Kurt Miller
Dennis Sonney, who works for California Manufacturing Technology Consulting as the Inland Empire coach, at Western Hydrostatic in Riverside, one of the many clients for whom he has helped solve problems, provide training programs and grow their companies. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

Founder and CEO Starke Scott praises the customer service training program that Sonney helped set up with state subsidies as invaluable and affordable. In addition, Scott said his company benefited from Sonney’s plans to help them diversify, reduce waste on the shop floor and avail themselves of stronger digital marketing tools. This year, annual sales are expected to exceed $8 million, almost double those in 2009.

Dennis Sonney is a model of intelligent growth in our community.  Manufacturing plays a vital role in the state of our local economy.  Sonney’s efforts not only have a direct effect on local manufacturing companies, his work impacts Riversiders throughout the city.   Riverside embraces economic growth and works everyday to improve our already outstanding quality of life.

“I’m passionate about what I do,” said Sonney. “It’s rewarding to know how I’ve impacted businesses.”

To read more, click here.

Task Force To Enhance International Relations For Students

(This article contains information provided by the Office of the Mayor on September 10, 2014)

In spring 2014, Mayor Bailey convened a task force consisting of representatives from Riverside schools, colleges and universities, businesses (including realtors), transit agencies, and the IRC to develop a strategy for making Riverside a more international student friendly city.

IRC Logo

The determination to nurture and expand international relations for students across the globe exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city and location of choice pillars.  Establishing relationships with sister cities and proactively engaging students of different cultures and backgrounds is what sets Riverside apart from just any other city.  Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation and world.

 

According to the Office of the Mayor, “Riverside was voted 2012’s most intelligent community in the world by the prestigious Intelligent Community Forum. Our City of Arts & Innovation is a world class city, in part because of a sister city program that has been hailed by Sister Cities International as one of the best in the country.”

Mayor Bailey led a Riverside economic development/education delegation to China May 23-30, 2014.  The visit, which has significantly increased the inflow of Chinese students, especially to CBU and UCR, resulted in an MOU between the UCR School of Business and Jiangmen’s WuYi University, and a reciprocal visit by a WuYi University delegation to UCR in August 2014. A highlight was Mayor Bailey’s visit to Jiangmen’s No. 1 High School where he delivered a brief civics/government lecture.  Just this past August, a group of 45 students from sister city Jiangmen’s No. 1 High School visited sister high school John W. North.  The visiting students home stay and interact with students, faculty and administrators at North High.

One of the most significant sister city milestones was the 2007 4-Party agreement signed by Riverside, Sendai, UCR and Tohoku University on the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Riverside and Sendai.  This agreement resulted in the creation of SC-RISE (Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy) at UCR. SC-RISE annually brings in solar energy researchers from Tohoku, and has expanded its base of support to corporations such as Riverside’s SolarMax Technology and entrepreneurs such as Shenzhen’s Winston Chung.

Maintaining the momentum of Riverside’s international presence, Mayor Bailey will be visiting Mexico sister city Cuautla in September 2014 to participate in the Mexico Independence Day celebration and explore cultural and business opportunities.

For more information, click here.