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.

Riverside Ranks #8 in Forbes’ Coolest Cities In America!

(This article contains excerpts from an article published on Forbes.com on August 8, 2014)

Forbes just released a list a of America’s “Coolest” Cities, and Riverside ranked #8.  How do you define “cool”?  According to Erin Carlyle, Forbes staff, “We sought to quantify it in terms of cities, partnering with Sperling’s BestPlaces to rank the 60 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (cities and their surrounding suburbs, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) based on six data points we weighted evenly.”  The six data points used to rank the cities include: arts and culture, reacreation, diversity, local eats, population age, and net migration.

Arts & Culture Index: 88, Recreation Index: 93, Diversity Index: 77.27, Local Eats: 72.2%, Population age 20-34: 29.7%, 2010 - 2013 Net Migration: 1.8%.  Photo credit: Forbes.com

Arts & Culture Index: 88, Recreation Index: 93, Diversity Index: 77.27, Local Eats: 72.2%, Population age 20-34: 29.7%, 2010 – 2013 Net Migration: 1.8%. Photo credit: Forbes.com

Although many might dispute that Riverside should be #1 on the list, being ranked one of the “coolest” cities in the country is an outstanding representation of our beloved city being a true location of choice.  Riverside has proven to be an attractive place for all types of residents, workers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and visitors.  Riversiders take pride in our beloved city with countless opportunities to be entertained, amazed, and inspired.     That is why the City of Riverside will continue to become a location of choice for people and organizations from allover the world.

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

Entrepreneurs Team Up Under One Roof

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Laurie Lucas, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 13, 2014)

Three Inland Empire entrepreneurs with enough chops and hops to go pro have tapped into an unusual business model to keep their home drafts flowing.  Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, are exceptionally bright science and computer geeks with a thirst for creating innovative beers and ales. But they lack the big bucks for a startup.

Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, left to right, are three brewers sharing facilities in an “incubator” for home brewers provided by Brew Crew, who hold the lease in a Riverside building. Photo credit: Kurt Miller.

Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, left to right, are three brewers sharing facilities in an “incubator” for home brewers provided by Brew Crew, who hold the lease in a Riverside building. Photo credit: Kurt Miller.

The concept is to help nanobrewing neophytes shed their amateur status by allowing them to work in a collaborative space where they can share equipment, develop recipes in a commercial setting and test-market directly to the public.

It is interesting to see entrepreneurs collaborating to help build each others brands by sharing knowledge and equipment, the brewers at Brew Crew Inc exemplify Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Working everyday to harness entrepreneurial spirit within the community, Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life. 

Brew Crew, an 1,800-square-foot manufacturing and retail facility at Suite G, 11626 Sterling Ave., contains two brewing systems, a walk-in cooler to store kegs and a bar with 16 taps. There’s seating for 50, 25 in the store front and 25 in the warehouse when brewing isn’t happening.

The trio of brewers are contract laborers working under the umbrella of a single corporation, Brew Crew, which leases the building. Its co-founders, CEO McCauley and Vince Pileggi, chief business officer, scrambled for 18 months to obtain all of the licensing and permits before opening the brewery and tap room six weeks ago. Depending on drink sizes, prices run from $1.50 to $7. There’s no food served, but customers may bring their own.  “There are a lot of home brew clubs in this area that have amazing brewers,” Pileggi said. The goal is to provide the resources “to incubate” fledgling brewers who hope to eventually take wing on their own. “We’re finding the best talent we can and courting others who can benefit and grow,” he said.

To read more, click here.

 

Don’t Miss Restaurant Week In Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from riversideca.gov/dineriverside/)

Be sure to participate in Riverside Restaurant Week, and take advantage of all the great deals and discounts available.  Help support local restaurants and dine within the city.

Riverside Restaurant Week exemplifies seizing our destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Participating restaurants throughout the city are being highlighted to promote the great dining experiences  available to Riversiders.   Our city promotes an outstanding quality of life for all through intelligent growth.

Click here to see what restaurants are participating!

RestaurantWeek2014_spotlight-0

When is Riverside Restaurant Week?

Friday, June 20, 2014 through Sunday, June 29th.

Do I need to register?

No, registration is not necessary. As you dine at each participating restaurant, just let them know you’re there for the Riverside Restaurant Week special! Reservations are encouraged for those restaurants that accept them.

Who is supporting the event?

The City of Riverside alongside Riverside Downtown Partnership and Arlington Business Partnership.

For more information on Riverside Restaurant Week, click here.

 

Retention Of Students In STEM Fields Receives Major Financial Boost

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala, published in UCR Today on May 29, 2014.)

UC Riverside receives $2.4 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for STEM education; underrepresented minority students to especially benefit.

UCR Distinguished Professor of Genetics Susan Wessler works with students in the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory. Photo credit: Lonnie Duka

UCR Distinguished Professor of Genetics Susan Wessler works with students in the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory.
Photo credit: Lonnie Duka

Sixty percent of students in the United States who begin college intending to major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fail to earn a STEM degree. Even more concerning is that only 20 percent of students from underrepresented ethnic groups persist in STEM studies.

To help address this higher education crisis, the University of California, Riverside has received a five-year grant totaling $2.4 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to fund a project aimed at addressing the challenges to STEM success faced by some students — particularly, students from underrepresented minority groups at UC Riverside.

Freshmen perform experiments in the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory.  Photo credit: James Burnette lll

Freshmen perform experiments in the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory. Photo credit: James Burnette III

Specifically, the grant will allow the project, titled “Sustaining Academic Leadership for STEM Achievement” (HHMI-SALSA), to provide lower division science students with early research immersion as well as career exploration and mentoring, using an already successful first-year “learning community” program at UCR as the feeder pipeline. Those students successfully retained through the lower division will be handed off into upper division research, internship and career opportunities.

The HHMI-SALSA grant is an outstanding opportunity for UCR to focus on STEM education, and develop potential career paths.  Certainly a model of seizing our destiny’s intelligent growth pillar, UCR is working everyday to embrace intelligent growth within all facets of higher education.

Susan Wessler (left) is seen here with Rochelle Campbell, whose generous gifts helped finance the expansion of the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory. Photo credit: Carrie Rosema

Susan Wessler (left) is seen here with Rochelle Campbell, whose generous gifts helped finance the expansion of the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory. Photo credit: Carrie Rosema

According to Wessler, the holder of a University of California President’s Chair, the timing of the grant is ideal because a National Science Foundation STEP grant UCR received last year has increased the capacity of the learning communities, which help generate the Dynamic Genome course students.  In combination with this NSF grant, the HHMI-SALSA grant will give UCR greater capacity for critical programmatic enhancements to help retain undergraduate students in STEM majors.

To read the full article, click here.