|Bringing Jobs to Richmond
December 26, 2010
One of the themes of the recent election was jobs and which candidate was best positioned to create jobs in Richmond or attract employers to Richmond. One faction touted the job creating potential of the Point Molate casino and Chevron’s Hydrogen and Energy Renewal project as the solution and claimed that the other faction was anti-business and insensitive to unemployment. They also claim that Richmond’s relatively high utility users tax and insensitive City staff and City Council members scare off businesses.
The other faction rightly noted that labor statistics showed that even in the ongoing recession there had not been any significant loss of jobs in Richmond. Mayor McLaughlin pointed out that during the last four years over 700 businesses employing over 1,000 people had taken out business license in Richmond. What Richmond needs, she said, are clean jobs in non-polluting businesses.
These types of businesses continue to seek out Richmond as is shown by two recent examples:
The City of Richmond’s Small Business Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) closed a $50,000 loan with Analytical Scientific Instruments, Inc. (ASI) this week to support their working capital and relocation expenses. ASI, a 21-year old manufacturer of medical equipment instruments and components, was recently awarded a $4 million contract with BioRad. They purchased a building at 3023 Research Drive in Richmond to support this growth and moved to Richmond on November 1st, bringing 25 existing employees, with plans to hire at least 10 additional employees. ASI is also working with the Employment and Training Department on Enterprise Zone (EZ) hiring tax credits. The owners noted that they are having a positive experience with the Planning and Building Departments on inspections.
This brings the total to three loans closed under the RLF since November 12th.
PAX Water Technologies, Inc. has just moved to 860 Harbour Way South in Richmond. PAX Water is a manufacturer of energy-efficient tools for the water industry. Using biomimicry (the science of reverse-engineering systems and processes found in nature to achieve efficiency improvements in man-made systems), PAX Water makes products that help municipal water agencies lower their energy and chemical use, and improve water quality. The company has 12 employees (two positions were created as a result of this move), and expects its headcount to rise to 30 in the next two to three years. PAX Water has been featured in Business 2.0, FastCompany, Inc. Magazine and, most recently, in the NBC News Special Prince Charles' Harmony. The company was drawn to the area by the quality building stock, the ease of commuting, the Enterprise Zone tax incentives, and the presence of other clean technology companies in the neighborhood.
The high unemployment rate in Richmond is related more to a loss of jobs for Richmond residents in other jurisdictions than it is to a los of jobs in Richmond. Through Richmond’s Employment and Training Department, our city is doing more on a per capita basis any other city in the Bay Area train and find jobs for Richmond residents.