Weekly Issues

Drought has nut producers on guard

Despite recent rains, drought conditions continue in the San Joaquin Valley where lack of water deliveries could slow production of two major cash crops — walnuts and almonds — at a time of unprecedented demand.

Bank of the Sierra making moves in ‘14

At about 10,000 feet in elevation, Farewell Gap is a commanding feature of the Mineral King valley of Sequoia National Park.
To get there means hiking six miles (counting switchbacks), with an elevation increase of more than 2,000 feet.

Beauty pageant winner buys longtime flower shop

Abeauty pageant veteran, Prisca Shiralian knows the stress of memorizing choreography, coordinating outfits and performing in front of thousands of people.
But Shiralian has decided to take on a new stressor — buying a retail flower business right before Valentine’s Day.

Kelly Riddle

DSC 0259Manager
SGI Construction Management - Fresno

What we do:
SGI Construction Management is a program, project and construction management firm specializing in project delivery for public agencies throughout California. SGI employs eighty professional, technical, and administrative staff, so that from concept to delivery we provide the right team for the project. We are small enough to offer very personalized service, yet large enough to respond to any client need from a reservoir of resources and experience.

Texas native becomes Fresno brand ambassador

Alice Simons is on a mission to get the Internet community outdoors again.
As one of 14 new brand ambassadors chosen from across the globe last month by social media site At The Pool, the organic rancher from Reedley is the Fresno area’s new point person when it comes to connecting folks over common interests and organizing activities that longtime residents and newcomers can enjoy.

Darren Gold

What we do:  We provide post-secondary, career-oriented education and training to prepare adults for successful careers.  By doing so, we help transform the lives of our students, their families, and the communities we serve.  

Education: BA, Political Science & History, UCLA; JD, University of Michigan Law School

Age:  44    

Family:  Wife, three children (ages 14, 12, and 8)

Tell us a little about your career path to your current position.  
I spent a brief amount of time practicing law before transitioning to a career in business, beginning as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. in Los Angeles.  I moved to northern California in 2000 to join a San Francisco based private equity firm, where I invested in privately held businesses, serving on the boards of those companies, and helping the businesses improve and grow.  In 2011, I began to focus on investing in the education sector and served on the boards of companies serving both the K-12 and college markets.  In early 2012, I stepped in to serve as the CEO of a large career college based in Virginia, which ultimately led to my current role leading Heald College beginning in the fall of 2013.  

Distilling spirit

Valley producers find a market in the hard (good) stuff

Craft distilleries have expanded Central Valley liquor manufacturing from production of red and white wines to spirits like whisky, rum, gin, vodka, brandy and some unique versions of classic Latin drinks.
It is part of the latest wave in production of small-batch distilled drinks sweeping the nation. “It’s part of a renaissance that includes beer, wine, bread and even gardening,” said Bill Owens, founder and president of American Distilling Institute in Hayward, which promotes craft distilleries. “People want to be part of their home grown community.”

Fresno Food Expo moved to July

Planners and participants in the 2014 Fresno Food Expo gathered at Fowler Packing in south Fresno Tuesday to encourage participation in what is expected to be a larger event with the move to July 24.
Previously, the expo was held in the spring and although processed foods were in good supply, locally grown fruits and vegetables were limited by the season. This year’s event promises to provide potential buyers with plenty of ripe summer fruits and vegetables, new packaging, juices, wines, beef and dairy products.

As ESOPs grow, Valley firms pull out of employee ownership

While many business owners have turned to bonuses and benefits to boost productivity, others have continued to foster a more vested interest by giving workers a stake in the profits.
Employee ownership has increased steadily since the onset of the recession. In 2008, around 10,100 companies throughout the U.S. contributed shares toward their employees through special retirement accounts known as Employee Stock Ownership Plans.

60-year-old Fresno market shutting its doors

A long-time fixture in Fresno, Ronnie’s Midway Market on 7091 N. Blackstone Ave. is planning to close down at the end of January.
The market has been serving area customers since 1953.
The sputtering economy and increased competition from other larger stores has forced the owners to call it quits. “With Walmart, 99 Cents Only and Target carrying groceries, there is just too much competition,” said Jon Asadoor, who with his brother Steve has run the store for the past 30 years.