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Saturday, Jul 20, 2024

Around the Valleys

Antelope Valley LANCASTER The first collective bargaining agreement in the U.S. electric bus industry was signed March 1 between BYD Coach & Bus and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union Local 105. The members of the union working at the BYD facility in Lancaster approved the three-year contract on Jan. 27. It includes competitive wage increases for each year of the agreement, benefits, expanded training opportunities to acquire and strengthen the skills necessary for a career in high-technology green manufacturing and stronger worker protections. BYD Coach & Bus is part of BYD Motors Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Chinese electric vehicle and battery maker BYD Motors Ltd. BYD opened its Lancaster production facility in 2013 and employs more than 700 workers. Macy Neshati, senior vice president at BYD, said the union contract was central to the company’s strategy of creating a sustainable, highly skilled workforce. Conejo Valley California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin named Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Jill Lederer the 2018 Assembly District 44 Woman of the Year. “I was so surprised when I got the call,” Lederer told the Business Journal. “Coming from Jacqui, whom I’ve known and respected for many years, this honor meant so much to me.” On March 12, Lederer accepted the state honor in Sacramento from Irwin, the former mayor of Thousand Oaks. “The day in the Capitol was so special,” Lederer said, “and the best part was seeing how respected Jacqui is on both sides of the aisle, just as she is here in the Conejo.” Lederer has served as chief executive of Conejo’s chamber for nine years. The chamber currently has about 1,000 members. THOUSAND OAKS Mustang Marketing in Thousand Oaks plans to acquire ZestNet Inc., a traditional and digital marketing firm based in Ventura. The move will bring Mustang’s employee headcount to 16 and will extend its public relations and marketing services to west Ventura County and Santa Barbara. Mustang will keep both office locations open, the firm said in a statement, and ZestNet founder Ric Ruffinelli will stay on as an executive at the firm. “(Mustang Chief Executive Scott Harris) and I have been exploring opportunities to continue Mustang’s expansion of services, and this acquisition allows us to do so, while bringing together two talented teams,” Mustang President Dianne McKay said in a statement. The firm is looking to further build out its business on both a local and national level, McKay added. The acquisition is set to close April 1. WESTLAKE VILLAGE PennyMac Financial Services Inc. has named Anne McCallion, the company’s chief enterprise operations officer, the company announced March 2. McCallion joined the Westlake Village mortgage company’s management team in 2009. In her current job, she is responsible for legal, regulatory relations, human resources, technology infrastructure and corporate administration. Previously, she was the company’s chief financial officer. Prior to joining PennyMac, McCallion worked at Deloitte, Countrywide and Bank of America. She also worked at the Financial Accounting Standards Board. “When we decided recently to expand our board, we found the best candidate from within our own rank,” PennyMac Executive Chairman Stanford Kurland said in a statement. San Fernando Valley BURBANK Walt Disney Co. is dedicating $100 million toward putting its brand in children’s hospitals through products, services and cash donations. The Burbank-based media behemoth announced March 8 that it plans to “reinvent the patient and family experience” with interactive hospital room decor, on-campus theaters featuring the company’s movies and television shows and mobile carts featuring Disney-themed games and toys. Other proposed concepts include an electronic tag-based system through which children can choose their favorite Disney stories and characters to surround them during their stay, as well as “Disney customer-experience training” for physicians, nurses and staff. The firm plans to create a program specifically for healthcare workers through Disney Institute, its professional development arm. The rollout will take place over the next five years with the help of Disney’s “Imagineers,” the same employees responsible for designing immersive experiences within its theme parks. Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, the largest pediatric hospital in the country, will be the first to integrate Disney’s designs. West Coast Customs featured the customized Lexus from the movie “Black Panther” at the DUB Custom Car Show in Los Angeles on March 11. The Burbank shop, founded in 1993 by Chief Executive Ryan Friedlinghaus and a main location for the MTV show “Pimp My Ride,” introduced a new line of polishes, cleaners, waxes and tire dressing products at the show. The products are sold exclusively through Wal-Mart Inc. stores nationwide. The DUB Custom Car Show took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown L.A. “Timing happened to work out so that we could bring the Lexus LC 500 widebody we did for the ‘Black Panther’ movie for fans to see up close,” Friedlinghaus said in a statement. “Black Panther” was produced by Marvel Studios, a unit of Walt Disney Co. in Burbank. CHATSWORTH Capstone Turbine Corp. of Chatsworth received an order for 13 of its microturbines for use in an industrial park in western Russia. Electrosystems LLC, the Van Nuys company’s distributor for the Northwest and Central Federate Districts of Russia, secured the follow-on order. Last year, Electrosystems landed an order for 11 microturbines for generating electricity and thermal energy at the industrial park. Sales and Marketing Executive Vice President Jim Crouse called the Russian market a significant growth opportunity for Capstone. The company brought in $30 million in annual revenue from the market in fiscal 2012, which was then impacted by a financial crisis and drop in crude oil prices in 2014. Although both the ruble and the price per barrel have begun to recover, they are not at the same levels as before the collapse, the company said. GLENDALE PS Business Parks Inc. has sold the Corporate Pointe Business Park in Orange County. The Glendale real estate investment trust said the sale will yield about $41.7 million after transaction costs are deducted. The company previously announced it had 705,000 square feet of rentable office space for sale in Orange County, including Corporate Pointe. The park consists of five multi-tenant office buildings with about 160,000 square feet. It was 97.6 percent leased at the time of sale. The park is located at 1 Corporate Park in Irvine. NORTHRIDGE California State University – Northridge has hired Mark Gottfried as head coach of the Matador Men’s Basketball Team. Gottfried’s head coaching experience include stints at the University of Alabama, North Carolina State University and Murray State University. He also served as an assistant coach at UCLA when the Bruins won the national championship in 1995, and as a scout with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He has taken teams to the NCAA tournament 11 times. The news arrives a week after CSUN fired men’s basketball Coach Reggie Theus and Athletics Director Brandon Martin. Under Martin, the school engaged in numerous marketing and promotional campaigns with Valley businesses. Simi Valley SIMI VALLEY A Ventura County Superior Court jury awarded AeroVironment Inc. more than $2 million after finding three former employees engaged in fraud and breached patent and confidentiality agreements. Gabriel Torres, Justin McAllister and Jeff McBride left the manufacturer of unmanned aircraft and vehicle charging stations to start MicaSense Inc., a Seattle developer of sensors attached to drones for use in farming. AeroVironment is headquartered in Monrovia but develops, manufactures and tests its unmanned aircraft in Simi Valley. Torres, McAllister and McBride were found by the jury on Feb. 26 to have engaged in fraud, and Torres and McAllister breached patent and confidentiality agreements. The jury awarded punitive damages against all three defendants for a total verdict of $2.4 million. In a statement from the trio at MicaSense, they called AeroVironment’s characterization of the jury trial “misleading” and said the jury rejected the majority of claims against them. They are confident the decision will be reversed on appeal.

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