The recent cyber-attack on Colonial Pipeline that resulted in a shutdown of oil and gas distribution on the East Coast — and a ransom of $4.4 million -- graphically and tragically demonstrates how vulnerable we are to cyberattacks.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges for us to overcome as a city during 2020 and into this year. The restrictions imposed by the state impacted our local economy, prompting many innovations and new thinking for businesses and ourselves as a government organization.

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, especially damaging small businesses. Based on business listings, by the end of 2020, an estimated 9.1 million small businesses closed temporarily or permanently and 9 million jobs were lost.

On May 28, 2021, the Department of the Treasury released “General Explanation of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 Revenue Proposals.” This document, commonly referred to as the “Green Book,” summarizes the Biden administration’s tax proposals which are included in the fiscal year 2022 b…

What are conflicts like at your workplace? Do people battle it out until there’s a winner? Are conflicts buried under the rug until someone quits? Or, does everyone involved engage in fact-finding and perspective-sharing while working toward mutual understanding and a win-win outcome? I’m willing to bet it’s not that last one and here’s why: it doesn’t come naturally, and most people haven’t learned how to do it.

We know that internships are not just a “nice to have” on a student’s resume, but rather they serve as a real opportunity to gain experience, inspire new ideas and change the dynamic of the workforce for years to come. 

Like a wildfire burning through a dry forest, changes in employee protection laws can spread fast across the nation. This now is happening in states from coast to coast, where workers and their lawmaker advocates are targeting “at-will” employment.

Food has been my primary coping mechanism throughout the pandemic. As we move beyond it, the unused bathroom scale glares at me while my increasingly snug jeans snicker. It seems only fitting that food provides some creative public relations examples to sink one’s teeth into. 

The DBA/DBDC Block to Block Program was created in order to alleviate the stress and challenges that business owners experienced. The Block to Block Program grew to 80 Block Captains representing approximately 500 businesses, extending north to south from the Kern County Museum to the Mechanics Bank Arena, then east to west from Luigi’s to Jim Burke Ford.

Looking for tips on Bakersfield’s family fun activities, award-winning food, and its one-of-a-kind music scene? Find them, and more, in the new Official Bakersfield Insiders’ Guide from Visit Bakersfield.

Virtual. A word we have heard and seen a lot of over the past year. This year, the Water Association of Kern County is using virtual to our advantage and bringing speakers from across the state and nation to your computer screens. At a time where the world is at our fingertips, we are excite…

People who study generations say that what happens to us during our formative years — roughly when we’re in high school — has a profound impact on our values, expectations and world view. I was in high school in the late '70s and early '80s, and that’s probably why I think the best bands eve…

Risk management challenges to local business owners this past year have never in our collective memory been as severe as during COVID-19. Previously, we endured the massive 1952 earthquake, the extensive 1989 windstorm, periodic droughts and floods over time plus recent disastrous wildfires.

If you’re hoping to buy a home this summer, you’re in good company. Homebuyers in Kern County face the most competitive U.S. housing market in decades, with low mortgage rates, low inventory and strong demand heating bidding wars. The past year has fueled a stronger desire for homeownership …

Financial ratios are quantitative measures used to assess the performance and the overall financial health of a business. The end goal of using ratio analysis is to improve the decision making process. Ratio analysis not only compares similar companies against each other, but also can be use…

Saving is a vital component of financial planning, however, more than half of Americans are saving too little and do not have an accurate grasp of their spending habits.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve lost count of how many Zoom meetings I’ve been in over the last 14 months. The upside includes more time to work instead of driving to and from meetings. And I like working in my bunny slippers. The downside includes remembering to turn off my video …

It’s been a bumpy ride for small businesses through COVID-19. Government pandemic relief assistance has provided a lifeline for many. Below are some of the federal and state programs that remain to benefit business owners.

Recruiting is an inexact science in the best of times. A host of variables must come together for businesses to connect with the perfect candidate, and recruiting professionals spend their entire careers facilitating such connections, even during a time when connecting with others has been m…

Owning a business is a dream for millions of people across the globe. Entrepreneurs envision being their own boss, but few successful businesses can get off the ground without a little financial help. That help is often not available without a business plan.

Social media has changed the world in myriad ways, and that impact is likely to grow in coming years. In its report titled "Social Media Trends to Watch in 2017," the firm GlobalWebIndex found that nearly 60% of users of the popular smartphone instant messaging app WhatsApp used the app more…

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.

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…

In December of 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 California State University, Bakersfield. I had a packed house and the presentation was well received. Little did …

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…

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…

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.

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.

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