2020 will certainly be a contender for one of the most extraordinary years in our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic (and the ensuing shutdowns) has had a devastating effect on a large number of businesses. Others have been lucky enough to survive, and others even thrived. What the pandemic ha…

At a length of 5,593 pages, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“the Act”) became the longest bill ever passed by Congress this past December. A diverse piece of legislation, the Act impacts a multitude of different segments of society.

A few years ago, I arrived at a client’s facility prepared to conduct another workshop for its supervisors. The HR manager pulled me into her office and told me the director of the supervisors had been terminated that morning and they’d just been informed he was no longer with the company. S…

While Kern County’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since March 2020, many companies are still dealing with the acute impacts of the economic and social disruptions of the last year. Innovative companies can apply what they’ve learned to excel in 2021. Here are four ways th…

A recent eye-popping headline in The Bakersfield Californian that reported a Kern County agricultural company and its three labor contractors have been fined $77,500 by a state agency for failing to protect workers from contracting COVID-19 should give all employers cause to worry.

In December 2019, when you could still gather in a classroom sans mask, I was invited to give a lecture as the presenter for the Dean’s Executive and Research Seminar series at Cal State Bakersfield. I had a packed house and the presentation was well received (though I have on occasion clear…

Businesses prove resilient at Tejon Ranch. Despite the many challenges the pandemic has posed, the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center and Outlets at Tejon continue to grow and thrive. As 2021 commences, the expansive outdoor shopping center is proving itself again to be an important hub for the cou…

The pandemic continues to severely impact local travel and tourism, forcing travel partners like hotels and museums, and destination marketing organizations such as Visit Bakersfield, to quickly pivot into uncharted territory.

State and local restrictions continue to put an unprecedented amount of pressure on businesses. Some companies have already shut down while others are struggling to keep the lights on (unless a certain power company pulls the plug, but that’s a different story). All this pressure puts a spot…

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. Throughout the years, people have debated whether the Founding Fathers really meant “all people” and not just “all men” when they declared their independence from England. Regardless of their intent, what has been eviden…

A carpet of green, new grass covered the rolling hills, southwest of Maricopa, near New Cuyama. In the distance, the coastal mountain range was capped by white, full clouds and blue sky.

“Kindness…To show intuitive sympathy for friends, tolerance to amateurs and sloppy thinkers…to investigate and analyze, with understanding and logic, the principles we ought to live by…To praise without bombast, to display expertise without pretension.”

If you have been in Kern County for any length of time you undoubtedly know about the magnificent ranch that encompasses 270,000 acres just south of Bakersfield and contains one of the most diverse intersections of nature, commerce, energy, housing and agriculture in the western United State…

With election day just a few days away, the people of the United States are facing a choice between two candidates with differing views on a host of issues, not the least of which is tax policy. Tax policy often impacts the decision making process of business owners. With the passage of the …

Some sectors of the food and beverage industry have experienced rapid surges or declines in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. Grocery stores have seen heightened demand, creating pressure to meet the growing needs of consumers confined to their homes. Food and beverage distributors hav…

We are well into wildfire season, with more than 2 million acres burned in the state of California, and the San Joaquin Valley is seeing tremendous impacts from PM2.5. When these situations arise and air quality reaches unhealthy levels, it’s best to stay indoors if possible, in an air-condi…

Someone quipped recently, “When you work at a bank and two guys with masks come in, they’re just robbing the place!” Whether good or bad humor, a COVID-19 joke can be inappropriate! Our current pandemic is a serious, deadly event.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks of cybercrime to individuals and businesses have increased. Kaspersky Lab, a multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, estimates that by September, there were at least 726 million confirmed cyber-attacks in 2020 and the number is expected to…

Joel Ackerknecht manages about 3,500 acres of land north and west of Bakersfield and south of Arvin for DM Camp and Sons, a more than 80-year-old Kern County farming operation that grows a variety of specialty crops, including wine grapes, nuts and sweet potatoes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched each of us in a variety of ways. We are reminded daily of its impact upon businesses, both large and small. No one could have predicted how a single virus could cause such disruption in our economy. Like their for-profit contemporaries, nonprofit organizatio…

The potential threat to one’s health caused by wildfires and general pollution trapped on the valley floor are key reasons that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, along with other public health experts, developed a tool that would provide access to hour-by-hour local air …

There’s no denying it: We’re living through a period of extraordinary uncertainty. This state of affairs has many business owners thinking about how their businesses will be affected. In an earlier article that can be found here (https://tinyurl.com/y8q393b4), I outlined factors behind today…

It’s hard to believe we are halfway through 2020. With three months in lockdown and the ongoing pandemic, I was curious to see what impact there would be on public relations disasters.

When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was signed into law this past March, it was evident that Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration would be called upon to provide a substantial amount of guidance for one of the act’s primary features: the Pay…

Most businessowners have their hands full meeting customer and employee needs, plus multiple challenges in our regulatory atmosphere. This can cause certain management details to be overlooked, which can prove costly if permitted to persist.

It didn’t take long after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order for the shelter-in-place memes and videos to start hitting the internet. I’m grateful for that because I, like most people, need a laugh right now.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming was an effective yet obscure statistician who became famous and highly respected by virtue of his pioneering work in quality management that ultimately evolved into what we now call Lean Six Sigma.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rise and many cities under stay-at-home orders, it can be easy for people to feel discouraged about what the future holds. Moments of kindness around Bakersfield have been spreading since the virus outbreak. In the face of crisis, residents have come …

The passage last year of Assembly Bill 5, which became law on Jan. 1, has sent shock waves and confusion through California’s labor market. More than 30 bills have been introduced in the Legislature to change, delay or overturn the “gig economy” bill.

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (or “CARES Act”) was signed into law. In addition to providing much-needed funding to small, medium and large businesses though the Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Credit and delay of payment of employer payro…