Air Time

Mary Nichols on statewide solutions to global issues

Mary Nichols is no stranger to innovation. As one of the nation’s first environmental attorneys, Nichols has spent her career protecting natural resources at the state and federal level. She also served as the California Air Resources Board Chairwoman from 1978 to 1983, and now she’s at it again.

Aug 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
Students at Folsom Lake College receive hands-on training in classrooms such as these used to teach water and wastewater management.

(Photo courtesy of Los Rios Community College District)

Filling the Gaps

How local colleges plan to meet work force needs

It may seem odd that local colleges, universities and vocational schools are putting energy into building a large base of qualified workers in an economy that is already showing double-digit unemployment and forcing many to leave retirement.

Aug 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli
From May 2008 to May 2009 the price of lumber and plywood fell 13.8 percent nationwide, and suppliers such as Pacific Coast Building Products' Anderson Lumber are grappling with the aftermath.

Material Witness

Construction costs' momentary lapse of reason

The cost of lumber, steel, asphalt and other construction materials has been on a wild ride since the early part of this decade, but don’t be fooled by the relatively placid prices in 2009. Industry players say it’s likely just a brief respite before the roller coaster starts climbing again.

Aug 1, 2009 Adam Weintraub
Residents of the Chateau at River's Edge participate in a Tai Chi class.

Selling the Boom

The slogans behind senior living

Terri Bacon participates in line dancing, water aerobics and a book club in her community, Glenbrooke by Del Webb, which targets active adults older than 55. She recently started a club that attends theater performances. “I’m busier here than I’ve ever been, and I’m doing things that are worthwhile,” says Bacon, who turns 62 this month.

Aug 1, 2009 Ingrid Ahlgren
Steve Currall, incoming dean of the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis

Passing the Buck

Are MBA programs a beneficiary of a falling economy?

Many things can claim victim status in the wake of the current economy, but local MBA programs aren’t one of them.

Despite significant tuition costs, ranging from $12,000 to $40,000, MBA programs are at worst holding steady in enrollments, and many are actually enjoying surges — not just in applications but in qualified applications.

Aug 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli
Christi Black, managing director, Ogilvy Public Relations found new digs at 1414 K St.

The Tenets of Leasing

The pros and cons of relocating in today's market

The smart landlords are doing whatever it takes to keep old tenants and lure new ones. That includes free rent, bigger allowances for tenant improvements, free signs and plain old cash. “If there is less than two years remaining on the lease, a savvy landlord really should be talking to them about extending,” Frisch says. “Oftentimes landlords and property managers don’t start that conversation until it is much later in the lease term.” But if a tenant is in good enough financial shape to keep paying the rent, very few landlords will renegotiate a deal with more than two years left, Frisch says.

Aug 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi

Overdue reform

Out of money, out of time

California is running out of money, pure and simple. As we go to press, the state is finalizing the budget and lurching from one financial crisis to the next thanks to elected leaders who put politics above fiscal responsibility.

Aug 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson
Amy Mathews, corporate banking manager, Mechanics Bank.

Info Mobile

How smart phones are changing the face of business

Late on a work night, Amy Mathews picked up her ringing BlackBerry to find a frantic customer on the other end. On an airplane nearing departure for Buenos Aires, a woman realized her debit card was on the verge of expiration. She would be out of the country for weeks without an easy way to access cash. Mathews knew she held the solution in her palm. From her BlackBerry, the corporate banking manager at Mechanics Bank fired off a couple emails and got a new debit card ordered in minutes.

Jul 1, 2009 Kyle Monk
Ken Skoonberg, 97, likes the PACE program and says he doesn't miss a day.

Choices, Choices

Health care makes adjustments for the boom

Boomers are booming, and skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities are struggling to keep up. But the focus isn’t on beds and population numbers alone. Baby boomers are a picky bunch, and they’re not likely to rest easy with the status quo, say caretakers, many of whom are seniors themselves. That’s part of the reason rehab care has taken on a new face in the past few years, one that’s focused on a philosophy change about senior care.

Jul 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

20th Anniversary

A sober celebration

For all of us at Comstock’s, this month is a cause for great celebration — and for a sobering assessment. We are celebrating 20 remarkable years in the business of delivering insightful commentary to the Capital Region’s business leaders. At the same time we are assessing what the next year or two, or 10, will mean for the magazine and for all of us in the region.

Jul 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson
Pamela Eibeck comes to UOP from Texas Tech University.

Pacific Woman

UOP Lands its first female president

Pamela Eibeck has made a career of distinguishing herself in the male-dominated fields of engineering and college administration while balancing life as a wife (of law professor William D. Jeffery) and mother of four children. This month, she reached another milestone and is reporting to a new job. Eibeck is the first female president in the 158-year history of University of the Pacific.

Jul 1, 2009 Howard Lachtman

Sacramento Development

"De-malling" Sacramento

Forty years ago, pedestrian malls became the rage across America. As cities tried to revitalize their downtowns to compete with fancy new suburban shopping malls, more than 200 cities and towns — including Sacramento — closed streets to traffic and parking, planted trees and installed fountains and benches to create pedestrian-friendly retail areas.

Jun 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson
Marc Ross, a senior associate with CB Richard Ellis in Sacramento, specializes in investment and multifamily property.

Apartment Complex

Multifamily buyers build up cash and wait for bargains

The credit crunch and other broad changes in economic conditions cut a wide swath through the ranks of potential buyers. Those who are left are biding their time, lining up cash and waiting for a sweet deal, probably a distressed property at a bargain price. But far fewer multifamily properties are facing the default notices that helped drive down prices for single-family homes, and many landlords are trying to ride out the storm. The result is very few deals.

May 1, 2009 Adam Weintraub
Unveiled last October, the $350,000 Centennial Walk connects the Memorial Union with Shields Library. 

(Photo courtesy of UC Davis)

Campus Construction

Projects keep the campus investing in its future

Before UC Davis played a huge role in bringing science and agriculture together and changing the course of history for California and the world, the importance of collaboration across disciplines was well recognized. That vision is perhaps nowhere better exemplified than at the campus Quad — the true heart of the campus since its founding — where the new Centennial Walk was unveiled last October.

May 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli
Roseville flood plain manager Garth Gaylord.

High and Dry

A flood of opportunities in Roseville

Roseville, absent of levees and flood-prone rivers, is sitting high and dry — in a good way. With infrastructure spending on hold and flood protection requirements increasing, development in neighboring communities has stalled and the future remains uncertain. 

May 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

Lady of the House

Doris Matsui on what is takes to build a better Capital Region

When most people think of action heroes, they do so in Hollywood terms: big, brawling, muscle-bound guys for whom compromise is always a dirty word. But in politics, brute force rarely holds sway over the art of the deal. In that regard, Doris Matsui, who represents much of Sacramento in Congress, may just be our very own action star.

May 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef

The Last Bell

Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef on his tenure at UC Davis

After a quarter-century of leadership at UC Davis, Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef will step down. Appointed as UC Davis’ fifth chancellor in 1994, he is one of the nation’s longest-serving university administrators. He came to the campus in 1984, first serving as the executive vice chancellor, and will bow out at the end of the campus’s centennial year on June 30. As part of the celebration, the chancellor sat down with Comstock’s to reflect upon the colorful history of the campus once known as University Farm and the lasting contributions it has on the Capital Region.

May 1, 2009 Douglas Curley