Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ICON delivers its first A5

Posted: 07/20/15, 7:20 PM PDT | Updated: 2 hrs ago

ICON Aircraft Inc. hit another milestone Monday morning — delivering an A5 to its first customer.

At EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., ICON CEO Kirk Hawkins handed over the keys to the sea plane, Aircraft Serial Number 1 (ASN-001), to Sean Tucker, EAA Young Eagles chairman and aerobatic pilot, and EAA Chairman and former Cessna CEO Jack Pelton, who accepted the aircraft on behalf of Young Eagles.

Young Eagles is the EAA’s organization that allows children to experience general aviation, often for the first time, by taking them for flights.

“Delivering the first product to a customer is a transformational milestone for any company,” said Hawkins in a press statement. “ICON’s team has worked passionately over the years to create a truly amazing aircraft, and it delivers. Our mission is to make flying more accessible to the thousands who dream about it but consider it out of reach, including our youth.

“EAA’s Young Eagles shares that same vision and we couldn’t think of a more worthy recipient for the first ICON A5,” he continued. “Old, young, and in between, the A5 was specifically designed to change the way you experience personal flying–and it will. I can’t wait to see all the smiling faces of those youth who get to fly in it for the first time.”

Pelton expressed excitement with the delivery.

“EAA’s mission is to help support and grow general aviation at every level. ICON’s mission couldn’t be more aligned with ours, and seeing them succeed benefits all of general aviation. Many have tried and failed when it comes to bringing truly revolutionary aircraft to market in recent decades, so there is often understandable skepticism in our industry. But after flying the A5 myself and seeing it perform firsthand, I can say unequivocally that aircraft delivers on its promise. It’s incredibly easy to fly, safe, forgiving, and ridiculously fun. Not only is it the perfect aircraft to introduce young aviators to the thrill of flying, but I’m getting one myself.”

Both Pelton and Tucker spoke at Monday morning’s delivery event at AirVenture.

“I am very humbled and ecstatic to be taking delivery of this magnificent flying machine on behalf of Young Eagles,” Tucker said. “It’s exactly the perfect aircraft for our mission of showing the kids across America, many of whom would not otherwise be able to experience the magic of flying, that aviation is a fun and exhilarating adventure which empowers you to become the best you can be. “The A5 captures the essence of what drew me and so many others to aviation as children, and it shows how well aligned ICON’s and Young Eagles’ missions are,” he added. “Yeah baby! ICON, you rock!”

Prior to being handed over to Young Eagles, ASN-001 participated in ICON’s FAA audit in June and was the first A5 to receive an S-LSA airworthiness certificate. ICON is currently ramping up A5 production at their new facility in Vacaville.

ICON is celebrating the first customer delivery with a sales promotion that reduces the deposit for an aircraft from $5,000 to $2,000 until July 26. The promotion is available for deposits placed online or in person at the show and more information is available here: www.iconaircraft.com/a5/buy.

At the event, the company also debuted a new video, which is available online here: www.iconaircraft.com/theiconexperience.

For more information, visit www.iconaircraft.com.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Professor: Children have doubled in importance

Professor: Children have doubled in importance

By From page B11 | May 29, 2015 
EDC speaker Meyers 5/28/15
University of Southern California professor Dowell Myers speaks to a crowd at the Economic Development Corporation Breakfast, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Thursday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Children have doubled in importance in the new generational future in California. That was the topic of Dowell Myers in his presentation at a Solano Economic Development Corporation business breakfast on Thursday.

Myers, a professor at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, talked of the relationship between “babies and boomers.” The breakfast was sponsored by First 5 Solano and included Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck as the moderator.

Demographics have changed in California in the past 25 years, Myers pointed out. The birth rate, which had been steadily increasing, peaked in 1990, he said.
 The population of the state had been projected to hit 50 million in 2032. It’s now expected the state will have 50 million residents in 2051, he said.

At the other end of the spectrum is a generation of aging baby boomers. With both of these factors, the senior ratio has soared, Myers said.

It comes down to one simple theory here, he said. People grow up, people get older and they cycle through the phases of life. Everybody takes turns and you need more young people to make it work, he said.

“Compared to before, we’re suffering a real shortage of young people,” he said. “There’s no source of where they’re going to come from. So, the ones we already have, we need to really maximize our use of them. They’re twice as important now, literally twice as important as before. We really should increase our investment in young people so they can be twice as productive.”

But not everyone is aware of the situation, Myers said.

“We haven’t realized how important these children are,” he said. “Children have always been important, but now they’re twice as important. Our best chance is for the kids already here. We really have to be smart about it.”

Myers provided an example to make his point.
 “A kid born today is twice as important as a kid born in 1985,” he said.

By the time that child gets to be age 25, the start of their productive years, the senior ratio will be critically higher than it is now, he said.

“They’re twice as valuable as before and a major mutual benefit,” Myers said. “This calls for all Californians to step up and support the children in every way possible.”

Reach Kevin W. Green at 427-6974 or kgreen@dailyrepublic.net.

Children the focus of Solano EDC breakfast

Children the focus of Solano EDC breakfast

By Melissa Murphy, The Reporter, Vacaville
  Successful children are at the heart of a successful economy.

That’s why the monthly breakfast of the Solano Economic Development Corporation focused on investing in younger generations.

Thursday’s Keynote Speaker, Professor Dowell Myers from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, explained that the importance of children today has doubled and that the old way of thinking when it comes to children has to change for California to be successful.

In the past when it came to children, he explained, people thought they were a burden on taxpayers, that children were too expensive and the adults shouldn’t be taking care of other people’s kids.

Dowell said evidence of the old way of thinking is evident in how much money is spent on children’s education K-12 compared to the average income in California. The spending compared to the income is “way below average” he said.

“We’re the outlier, dragging near the bottom,” Dowell said. “We’re working off of old habits.”

He noted that he considers the working age to be from 25 years old, after children are covered by parent’s health insurance, to 64 years old, when people will likely retire. Those that fall outside of this window, children and older adults, are benefiting from the taxes that those within the window are paying.

Another observation is that babies aren’t being born as often as before so the number of children living in California is dropping, migration to the state has dropped, too.

Previous predictions showed that California’s population would reach 50 million by 2032, but new information shows it’s likely to happen in 2051.

“There is a huge slow down in growth,” Dowell said. “California is now more dependent on the children we do have.”

He added that because the population is aging that means there is a “top heavy age structure.”

“Young adults are in supreme demand,” he said. “A kid born today is twice as important as a kid born in 1985.”

He explained that the “old folks need the young,” and it should be the responsibility of the adults to help get the youth up the ladder of success.

Dowell stressed again that the way of thinking needs to change and children are an important investment.

He added that babies aren’t going to appear all of a sudden and even if there was a big increase now, it would take 25 years for it to do any good to the economy.
“Our best chance is to invest in the ones in school today,” he said.

That’s one reason why First5 Solano is encouraging businesses to invest in is Pre-K Academies, a type of boot camp for children that are entering kindergarten without having attended preschool.

First 5 Commissioner and Solano Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck said that adults are now aware that 90 percent of the brain develops in the first five years of someone’s life. He shared a personal experience, that instead of investing right away in his grandchild’s college fund, he focused on paying for a high-quality preschool.

“The quality of the program matters,” he said and added that the Pre-K Academies make a difference.

“It’s not a substitution for preschool, but a better foundation otherwise.”

Preschool, according to First 5 Solano, helps children learn social skills critical to academic and career development, develop solid work ethic through task completion, creates lifelong learners and establishes fundamental math skills.

Speck said that for every $1 invested in children there is a $6-$8 return.

Several businesses were acknowledged Thursday for the investment they made to 2015 Pre-K Academies. First 5 Solano’s goal is to raise $20,000. So for, it’s raised $7,500 and it’s not too late to help. It costs $200 to send one child to the academy.

For additional information on First 5 Solano and how to donate, visit http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/first5/.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Solano EDC and First 5 May 28 Breakfast

USC Professor to headline Solano EDC Breakfast

The Solano Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with First 5 Solano, will host a business breakfast May 28, 2015. Solano County Superintendent of Schools, Jay Speck, will moderate the program followed by keynote speaker, Dowell Myers. Dr. Myers’ upbeat presentation will focus on the relationship between ‘babies and boomers.’ Dr. Myers explores the moral responsibility each generation has to one another in the future and to economic vitality.

Attendees will gain new knowledge in an unbiased, non-partisan presentation, learning why investing in children makes the most sense for all of us. It’s more than economics – these are the children that will be working for the business community once they are of working age.

Sandy Person, EDC president, said this is the sixth year EDC has teamed with First 5 to bring early childhood to center stage. "Working together, the private sector and local government to support educators and families," Person said. "We can assure a future workforce that will stimulate growth in Solano County."

The First 5 Solano Commission, dedicated to supporting early childhood education and family support programs, will honor the private sector at the event.

First 5 Solano is sponsoring the program, which begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. Cost to attend is $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To register, contact Solano EDC at 707-864-1855, or pat@solanoedc.org.

The EDC breakfast events are underwritten by the EDC Chairman's Circle Members: Electrical Contractors Trust of Solano and Napa Counties, Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District, Manex Consulting, Republic Services, Inc., Solano Garbage Company, Solano Transportation Authority and Syar Industries, Inc.

# # #

Monday, May 11, 2015

Solano EDC growing to meet needs of changing economy

By Melissa Murphy, mmurphy@thereporter.com, @ReporterMMurphy on Twitter Posted: |
J. Paul Harrington (left) and Patrick McGuire discuss the upcoming projects with the Solano Economic Development Center. — Joel Rosenbaum, The Reporter 

Meeting the need for the county’s business community is top priority for the Solano Economic Development Corporation.

That’s why, as the economy shows signs of improvement, the Solano EDC team is growing.

“We’re trying to build and anticipate how to grow to meet the need,” said Sandy Person, president of Solano EDC.

The Solano EDC, among other things, works to better position businesses with the right tools.

“Nobody can do it alone,” she said. “We’ve made a big commitment to serve economic development.

A unified approach makes for wins.”

The most recent addition to the Solano EDC team is Patrick McGuire who recently retired from the state and GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Working part time, McGuire is vice president and the point person for attracting businesses to the region as well as helping expand businesses that are already here. He also will continue his work assisting companies with programs like California Competes Tax Credit. California Competes is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to come to California or stay and grow in California. McGuire said there is money earmarked for small businesses.

“We want to get the word out,” he said. “Every company planning on expanding is in the running.”

He explained that the Solano EDC is filling in those support services for businesses that cities were once able to do.

“What a coup for us,” Person said about having McGuire on board.

One year ago Solano EDC embarked on a new venture with Pacific Gas & Electric and Solano County to save businesses and public agencies energy costs.

The Solano Energy Watch program with J.Paul Harrington at the helm as project manager has already seen successes since its inception. It has exceeded 2 million Kilowatt hours saved, surpassed $300,000 in recurring energy savings back into Solano County businesses and more than 100 businesses, non-profits and municipalities have participated in Solano Energy Watch.

“We’ve had an outstanding first year,” Harrington said. “We’re reaching those hard to reach businesses.”

Solano EDC and its partners are reaching out to myriad businesses, he said, from nail salons to warehouses, grocery stores to barbecue shops.

The Solano Energy Watch offers a no cost evaluation of how and where energy is used in existing facilities, and generates a comprehensive report containing energy efficiency solutions and the latest PG&E rebates and incentives to lower the cost of energy upgrades.

“It’s such a good team we’re building,” Person said. “We’re seizing those opportunities and reemerging. We’re offering that support to businesses to connect to resources, it’s the building blocks for economic growth.”

Person said Solano is in a great position, a place where businesses can grow because of the area’s tremendous depth of resources and infrastructure.

“We have a diverse county and a diverse skill set,” she said. “We want to be relevant to every sector.”

The announcement from ICON Aircraft Inc. last year that it’s relocating to Vacaville was a major boost to the county’s reputation.

McGuire called it a ripple effect when other businesses are looking at Solano to set up shop.
“It does attract people’s attention,” he said and added that it hasn’t all been gloom and doom for California’s economy. “There are innovative things happening here.”

Person agreed.

“There is this sense of opportunity,” she said and added that California is still the nation’s largest manufacturer. “We want to be proud of and feel a part of a winning team.”

Additional information about the Solano EDC is available online at www.solanoedc.org.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Plan Bay Area 2040 open house

Beginning in late April, residents from across the Bay Area will come together at a series of public open houses to discuss how to plan for our region’s future growth.

Will you be there?

Plan Bay Area, the region’s long-range transportation and housing roadmap, is being updated. The Plan looks to the year 2040, when two million more residents and 1.1 million new jobs are expected in the nine-county Bay Area. How this growth takes place will affect us all in the community.

Please consider attending a workshop, where you can view displays, ask questions and offer comments on long-term goals to:

·       House the projected population,
·       Maintain and enhance our transportation infrastructure,
·       Reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
·       Improve public health and much more.

Plus, you’ll be able to learn about how future housing and employment numbers are forecast and what transportation improvements are already in the pipeline for the region. A complete list of the open houses is available at PlanBayArea.org.

Can’t attend the open house? Join the online discussion at PlanBayArea.org or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

What kind of Bay Area we build today will be the legacy we leave for the next generation. If we want to continue to have a strong economy, with a range of housing and employment options for our region’s residents, we need to plan now.

I encourage you to attend an open house and help spread the word about the event to your colleagues. If you want to receive updates about Plan Bay Area 2040, sign up here: http://planbayarea.org/get-involved.html

Monday, April 27, 2015

Transportation funding an issue in Solano County

By Melissa Murphy, The Reporter, Vacaville

Posted: 04/24/15, 7:36 PM PDT |

It’s an “end of an era” when it comes to funding for transportation improvements in Solano County.

During Friday’s Solano Economic Development Corporation’s monthly breakfast, the business community received a state, regional and local perspective on transportation issues from Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Solano, Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering and Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls.

Frazier also is chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. Spering also serves on the STA board and on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Spering explained that a “historic chapter” of funding transportation projects that the county has seen in the past is coming to an end.

Improvements along highway 12 between Fairfield and Rio Vista and on Jameson Canyon between Solano and Napa counties, new truck scales on eastbound Interstate 80 and the first phase for the current project for I-80/I-680/SR12 all had an identifiable funding source. Future projects aren’t so fortunate.

The good news is that the positive things that are happening for the Bay Area economy will eventually ripple into Solano County.

“These are remarkable times for the Bay Area,” he said. “That vibrant economy is coming our direction, but it spotlights the weaknesses in the transit system.”

“It’s a tremendous challenge,” Spering continued and added that funds from Proposition 1B have run its course, additional bonds have been exhausted.

He explained that other counties have invested in themselves in the form of a transportation tax, something voters in Solano have been asked to do three times.

“We need a balanced funding plan with a federal, state and regional investment, with a local commitment,” Spering said. “The trend is matching funding.”

The end of an era is coming, “What shall we do for an encore?” Spering asked. ... “There is a lot of opportunity for Solano County, but we have to have the resources.”

He added that in order to protect the quality of life in the county, it must address its road infrastructure.

He urged the federal government to “quit kicking the can down the road” and move forward with a new transportation bill.

Spering said it’s exciting to talk about new projects, and the community as a whole believes transportation issues are a priority. The community, however, becomes silent when it comes to funding those grand projects.

“We can’t put our heads in the sand,” he said. “We have to help ourselves.”

Frazier said he’s passionate about improving the infrastructure in California and is doing what he can at the capital to see that it’s done.

“We’re not just broke,” he said. “We’re broken.”

He explained that the state has lost its focus and as a result “voters are unwilling to invest in us.”

This year will be different if Frazier has his way with a “Go Bold or Go Home” approach.

“This is the year to make a move to fund transportation,” he said and explained that his approach will “spread the pain.”

He admitted that it will be a tough vote because people don’t trust that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will spend the money wisely.

Frazier said he wants Caltrans to build vibrant trade corridors for the benefit of the state.

“We need to get shippers, manufacturers and businesses back in the game,” he said. “We need to work with all of you. I propose a long-term vision and we need a long-term commitment and long-term trust. ... I want to put California back in business.”

The assemblyman explained that the two-thirds vote threshold needed to pass a special tax by a city, county or special district is the hang-up in Solano County, where the majority of voters supported the transportation tax.

In February, Frazier introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4, which would “provide that the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for local transportation projects, as defined, requires the approval of 55 percent of its voters voting on the proposition.”

“The voters need to decide,” he said. “Solano is deprived of funding for infrastructure and maintenance.”

Halls shared that funding for transportation coming from the federal gas tax revenue hasn’t changed since 1994 and funding from the state gas tax was reduced by 6 cents per gallon, a savings at the pump for motorists, but a $5 million cut to funding for transportation improvements.

Halls explained that the State Board of Equalization took a big bite out of what would have been coming to the county at the same time the conditions of the county’s pavement will likely drop from “fair” to “poor” by 2028.

He agreed that a top priority in the county is road condition, behind public safety and education, but the public has no confidence in the government spending the money wisely.

The government leaders hope that public outreach explaining the need and the importance of the public paying its fair share will change voters’ opinion. They likened it to the 1/8 cent sales tax for library services approved by 68 percent majority of the Solano County voters in 1998. At that time voters were promised more books, more hours and more services for young people — the library system delivered on that promise. The tax would end and have to be renewed 16 years after its inception. Voters returned to the polls in 2012, the middle of the great recession, where 80 percent majority of the voters in Solano approved the sales tax extension.