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Great Valley Center News Blog

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

American Leadership Forum – Great Valley Chapter Announces Class V Fellows

Modesto, CA – The Great Valley Chapter of the American Leadership Forum (ALF) today announced the members of their Class V year-long leadership program.

The Class V Fellows include the following:
From Stanislaus County:  Wanda Bonnell, California State University, Stanislaus; Tom Bower, Foster Farms; Mathew Francis, Pacific Rim Advisory Group, Fred Just, Kaiser Permanente; Kelly McMurray, The McMurray Group at Morgan Stanley; Mike Moradian Jr., Peace of Mind Pest Control Inc.; Leng Power, Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living; Vicki Trask, Stanislaus County Office of Education.

From San Joaquin County:  Glen Barnes, First Baptist Church of Lodi; Shannon Ding, AT&T; Lewis Gale, University of the Pacific; Katherine Nance, Stockton Police Officer’s Association; Matt Weber, Downy Brand LLP; Sothea Ung, Asian Pacific Self-Development and Residential Association; Moses Zapien, Stockton City Council.

From Merced County:  Isabel Cabral-Johnson, Hilmar Unified School District; Kyle Hoffman, University of California, Merced; Ric Ortega, Grassland Water and Resource Conservation Districts; See Lee, Hmong Movement Organizing for the Next Generation; Don Ramsey, Feet Changing Lives; Wendy Spencer, Building Young Leaders; Lisa Wegley, Mercy Foundation-Mercy Medical Center.

Each year, 20 to 24 established leaders representing a variety of sectors are nominated from the tri-county region of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced to participate in the year-long, national-caliber leadership development program. The program consists of intensive monthly seminars on topical issues and participants develop civic engagement initiatives that address actual regional needs. The mission of the program is to build stronger communities by joining and strengthening diverse leaders and by promoting collaborative problem solving within and among the region.

“The Great Valley Chapter of ALF is building a diverse network of community leaders who develop skills, trust and profound relationships to work collaboratively on the many issues facing our region and for many, the year-long ALF Fellows program is a transformational experience,” said Kenni Friedman, ALF Great Valley board chairman.  “We’re excited about this next class of Fellows.  They come from very diverse backgrounds but share a passion for servant leadership and bettering our communities.”

The Great Valley Chapter of ALF joins 2 other chapters in California – Silicon Valley and Mountain Valley (Sacramento) – and serves the 3-county region of Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin in the Northern San Joaquin Valley of Central California.  The fifth class of Fellows began their program in June and will complete in May, 2015.  The program is funded through a combination of organizational sponsorships and tuition payments.

About the American Leadership Forum – Great Valley Chapter.
The Great Valley Chapter of the American Leadership Forum (ALF) joins and strengthens established leaders from diverse backgrounds to improve the greater Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Merced County region.  ALF’s focus is to improve the social, economic, and political fabric of the Greater Central Valley region through shared commitment to collaborative action by uniting boundary-crossing leaders from a diversity of sectors throughout the central valley region, strengthening their leadership capacity through deepening relationships and transformative experiences.  For more information, contact Kathy Halsey, Senior Director, at or 209-523-5103 ext. 111.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Valley agribusinesses invited to explore global exporting opportunities

Photo of Freighter
Agribusinesses in the San Joaquin Valley are invited to attend a free seminar to learn how to export to foreign markets. The Exporting in a Global Market seminar will be offered in four locations: Kerman on June 17, Livingston on June 18, Delano on June 20 and Oakdale on June 21. Each seminar will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and lunch will be provided.

Organized by the California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) at State Center Community College District, these one-day training seminars will cover all aspects of the export cycle. The purpose of the workshops is to enhance the competitive strength of rural California businesses in the metropolitan and international marketplaces, as well as improve the economic condition of the rural communities within specified project areas.

Photo of grain silosSeminar registrants must be rural agribusinesses that have been in operation for at least one year. They must have an employer identification number (EIN) and have a product to export.

Agribusinesses selling new and used agricultural equipment and technology, irrigation equipment, “green” environmental technology and agricultural food products would benefit from attending the seminar and expanding into the global marketplace. Companies must register in advance however, there is no fee to participate.

The seminar will be led by Dennis Lynch, a 32-year veteran of international trade and a consultant and trainer for the Centers for International Trade Development.
Photo of Walnuts
He will explain the benefits of exporting products overseas and how to develop “export readiness” skills in order to succeed in a global marketplace. The seminar will also provide a look at California’s top exports and markets, as well as where to find sources of marketing research to develop knowledge of business practices and opportunities.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Summit planned to help brand and promote San Joaquin Valley for tourism

The Great Valley Center is pleased to present the first San Joaquin River Valley Travel and Tourism San Joaquin River Valley Travel and Tourism Economic Summit on Wednesday, May 22, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock. 

The one day session, themed “Let’s Build Something Together,” will include a series of speakers and presentations on how the region can come together as a whole to brand and market the San Joaquin Valley and its abundance of resources to capture more visitor spending.

Local government officials, business leaders, and area representatives of the travel and tourism industry are encouraged to attend the Summit. The first 150 registrations are free, and registration after that will be $25. Click here to register online

The San Joaquin Valley, crisscrossed with rivers, delta waterways, lakes and reservoirs, offers a vast array of outdoor recreational activities, including rafting, fishing, house boating, water skiing, and bird watching. The Valley, often referred to as the “bread basket of the world,” is a leader in agricultural commodities, and the many farming and ag-related operations offer a growing opportunity for agricultural tourism. 

Additionally, the Valley offers a plethora of festivals, rodeos, car shows, concerts and other visitor entertainment opportunities.

The Summit program will include a panel discussion on agricultural tourism. There will also be several presentations emphasizing the economic impact of travel and importance of pursuing tourism for regional economic development. Active interaction between event attendees and presenters will be encouraged, with an opportunity at the end of the program for an open discussion on how to move forward.
Summit sponsors to date include Imagen Public Relations, Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Condor Earth Technologies, Inc. and Modesto Convention & Visitors Bureau, and additional sponsors are invited!  

Click here to download a sponsorship form. Businesses and organizations providing sponsorship support and will be rewarded with visibility on the Summit program and web page.

For more information on sponsorships or the Summit, contact Linda Hoile, Great Valley Center, or (209) 522-5103.

Monday, April 29, 2013

AgEE program offers energy efficiency resources Merced County farmers

Agriculture is a huge economic engine for the San Joaquin Valley, with annual gross production values in excess of $25 billion dollars. As with all industries, to be sustainable and remain economically profitable, it is becoming increasingly important for farming operations to find ways to reduce energy consumption, costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The new Agricultural Energy Efficiency (AgEE) Internship Program will provide a strategic energy resource for agricultural operations in Merced County. 

Intern Andrew Yenni listens to PG&E representative Pete Mendez.
The program, which kicked off in April, is offered through a partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the Great Valley Center (GVC).

The goal of the initiative is to provide information and technical assistance to local farmers on energy efficient solutions that may help to reduce energy costs, improve sustainable practices, and build capacity within Central Valley communities.

Five college interns have been hired – four are University of California, Merced students and one is a student from Merced College. The interns are being trained to augment the work being performed by PG&E’s Energy Solutions and Service  team.  Duties will include building relationships with agricultural customers while matching available resources with each customer's operational needs.

Interns Catherine Chase of MCC (left) and William Torrez of UCM (center) discuss the training program with their PG&E mentor Sarah Faridi.
Major objectives of the program include promoting energy efficiency, building local presence, workforce development, and fostering a long term relationship between the utility and its customers.

“In order for energy efficiency and climate action to take shape on a regional scale, a broad cross section of community stakeholders must be involved in crafting solutions to preserve the Central Valley,” said Bryce Dias, the program manager who oversees the AgEE program and GVC’s other energy and climate initiatives.

AgEE is just one of the energy and climate strategies on which GVC is working.

Green Communities, another collaborative effort implemented by PG&E, ICLEI and the GVC, provides GHG emissions inventories for budget-strapped local governments, assisting them to quantify and address GHG emissions. The Great Valley Center will soon be hiring seven additional college interns for a third round of Green Communities this spring. The program, dedicated to providing innovative energy efficiency and climate change solutions for governments and communities, has completed 25 projects to date in the San Joaquin Valley.

These programs are funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Click here for more information on GVC's Energy and Climate Initiatives.