Homegrown firm Momentum honored at SBA

Editor’s note: Momentum CEO Shawn Garvey emailed this press release. Good going!

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced awardees of its National Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, naming Sacramento-based Momentum as the only awardee in highly competitive Northern California, globally acknowledged as the funding hub for incubation and acceleration of early-stage energy and transportation start-up companies. 

“I am proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  Over the past five years, the competition has provided awards to innovative and promising accelerators and incubators.  This year’s recipients, who will each receive an award of $50,000 from the SBA, are no exception,” said  Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton.  “This includes entrepreneurs located in Opportunity Zones – where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”

“Our team of scientists, engineers, and fund development professionals is proud to be acknowledged as a recipient of SBA’s National Growth Accelerator Award,” said Shawn Garvey, Chief Executive Officer of the company. “Over our 15 year history, we’ve assisted more than 1,000 companies working to commercialize advanced energy, transportation, and manufacturing technologies.”

Founded in Nevada City, California, Momentum works to design, develop and deploy advanced energy, transportation and manufacturing technologies. The company has since grown to 3 offices throughout California and works with over 100 start-ups seeking to demonstrate and deploy their energy and transportation innovations with institutional partners, including Amazon, Port of Long Beach, University of California, Sempra Energy, Schneider Electric and Toyota.

“We’ve assisted innovators in developing more than $6 billion in private and public capital for technologies that are transforming the world and democratizing the benefits of clean energy and transportation,” said Garvey. “It’s a pivotal time in the world, and it’s our profound honor to be in service to such an important group of inspired risk-takers, entrepreneurs and creative minds.”

Momentum has helped to design and deploy some of California’s most innovative advanced technology initiatives, including the West Coast Electric Highway, California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative (www.calseed.fund), California Test Bed Initiative (www.caltestbed.org), and the Zero and Near Zero Emission Freight Facilities program at Ports of Long Beach, Stockton and Oakland.

In order to better serve California’s start-up ecosystem, Momentum recently organized MXV Ventures (www.mxv.ventures), a growth accelerator focused on raising private investment to further accelerate transformative clean technology companies. 

Headquartered in a nationally designated Opportunity Zone, Momentum will leverage its location and network to increase its engagement with startups throughout the region and accelerate some of the region’s most exciting and promising early-stage technologies and entrepreneurs, helping boost startup success in important Opportunity Zones throughout the Sacramento region.

SMF to Hawaii for $99, thanks to Southwest

When I wrote about the airlines for The San Francisco Chronicle in the ’80s, I had the privilege of interviewing Southwest Airlines co-founder and CEO Herb Kelleher numerous times. At the time, Southwest was building a beachhead in California, knocking out PSA and AirCal.

Business books were written about Southwest when Herb was CEO; one of them — “Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People” by the Harvard Business School Press — cited a profile I wrote about him for The Chronicle.

Once, I recall a fun night with Herb and fellow business journalists at a Society of American Business Editors & Writers conference in Phoenix. After speaking to the group, Herb showed up at “happy hour” with Wild Turkey in a brown paper bag, his well-known drink of choice. He had a great sense of humor.

Herb died on January 3, 2019, but the pioneering airline he founded continues to thrive.

The latest example occurred when Southwest entered the Hawaii market this spring, knocking down prices.

I received an email blast — and so did regular readers of this blog — promoting $99 one-way fares from Sacramento (AKA SMF) to Honolulu. Some flights from the Bay Area to Hawaii have been as low as $49 one-way, sparking a fare ware between Southwest, United and Alaska Air (an airline we enjoy flying regularly; their partnership with international airlines help us accrue frequent flier miles quickly).

Demand for Southwest service to, from, and within Hawaii is robust,” CEO Gary Kelly said last month during a conference call to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings. “The load factors are significantly higher than what we are experiencing across the system. Keep in mind we just announced record load factors for the entire company and our Hawaii business is surpassing that.”

Kelly acknowledged the lack of available aircraft, —due to the well-publicized Boeing 737 Max groundings — resulted in expansion delays to Hawaii. But he said Southwest is “excited to resume growth plans next month with the first of several intended announcements.”

As a result, we can expect the low fares to continue for a while.

Police Tesla runs out of juice during high-speed pursuit

“The last thing a police officer trying to chase down a suspect in a high-speed pursuit needs to see is a warning that their patrol car is running low on gas – or on battery juice” The East Bay Times is reporting.

“But that’s how it went down Friday night in Fremont – in a Tesla no less.

“A Fremont police officer pursuing a suspect while driving the department’s Tesla Model S patrol car noticed it was running out of battery power.

“During the pursuit of a ‘felony vehicle’ that started in Fremont and reached peak speeds of about 120 miles per hour on the highway, the officer driving the Tesla radioed in to dispatch that he might not be able to continue the chase he was leading.

“‘I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec,’ Officer Jesse Hartman said. ‘If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?,’ he asked fellow officers nearby, as the chase approached the Jacklin Road exit on Interstate 680 south in Milpitas.

“However, shortly after Hartman called out the low juice warning, the person driving the car police were chasing began driving on the shoulder of the highway as traffic was thickening, prompting police to call off the roughly eight-minute chase at that moment for safety, according to police dispatch recordings on Broadcastify and a department spokeswoman.”

The rest of the article is here.

Trump asks Ukraine’s leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and also urges inquiry of Biden

“President Trump urged the president of Ukraine to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to the reconstruction of a July phone call at the center of accusations that Mr. Trump pressured a foreign leader to find dirt on a political rival,” as The New York Times is reporting.

“’I would like you to do us a favor,’ Mr. Trump said in response to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine raising the prospect of acquiring military equipment from the United States. Noting that the United States had ‘done a lot for Ukraine,’ Mr. Trump also asked for another inquiry: that the Ukrainians examine an unsubstantiated theory about stolen Democratic emails.

“’So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,’ the president told Mr. Zelensky, who later agreed to have the country’s new top prosecutor conduct the investigations Mr. Trump wanted.

“The next prosecutor general will be 100 percent my person, my candidate,’ Mr. Zelensky assured the president. ‘He or she will look into the situation.’

“After a whistle-blower raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the director of national intelligence and the inspector general for the intelligence community each referred the complaint for a possible criminal investigation into the president’s actions, according to a Justice Department official.

“The five-page ‘memorandum of telephone conversation’ distributed by the White House includes a cautionary note indicating that it was ‘not a verbatim transcript’ but instead was based on ‘notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty officers’ and national security staff. But senior administration officials said voice recognition software was used in preparing the document which included long, direct quotations.

“The department’s criminal division reviewed the matters and concluded that there was no basis for a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s behavior. Law enforcement officials determined that the reconstructed transcript of the call did not show that Mr. Trump had violated campaign finance laws by soliciting from a foreign national a contribution, donation or thing of value.

“During the call, Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky that he should be in touch with both Mr. Barr and the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to the document, known among government officials as a ‘memcon.’

“’There is a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that,’ Mr. Trump said to Mr. Zelensky during the call, according to the memorandum.

The rest of the article is here.

The “Last Mile” transcontinental railroad celebration on Oct. 26

Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra (CATS) is pleased to support “The Last Mile,” celebrating the 150th anniversary on the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

This event is produced by the U.S.-China Railroad Friendship Association (UCRFA), the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, and the California State Railroad Museum. It will be held Saturday, October 26, 2019, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the California State Railroad Museum, 125 I Street, Sacramento.

The year 2019 marks 150 years since the completion in 1869 of the world’s first transcontinental railroad. The role of the Chinese railroad workers in helping to build the railroad cannot be overstated.

A commemorative bronze statue was completed this year in China to honor the workers’ significant contributions. The statute will be unveiled that evening at the California State Railroad Museum.

Members of the UCRFA are grateful to community supporters and partners like you. They expect to welcome over 400 guests, which include distinguished local and international leaders, representing the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, the railroad industry, descendants of Chinese railroad workers, elected officials, and influential community leaders.

Here’s a video of the building of the railroad and the unveiling of the bronze statute, whose final “home” will be in Gold Run, CA, a former mining town during the Gold Rush. It is a California Historical Landmark (No. 405).


Nevada County officials issue no-swim advisory after South Yuba River turns yellow

“Nevada County officials have warned people not to swim or use the water in the South Yuba River after it turned yellow Friday,” as The Sacramento Bee is reporting.

“It is unknown what caused the water to turn, but Nevada County officials are saying that the apparent ‘high levels of sediment’ make for potentially unsafe conditions and have issued a no-swim advisory for the river. The affected stretch of river is from Washington to Lake Englebright.

“All people and animals should avoid contact with the water. Samples of the water have been taken, but results will take three to four days to process.”

The rest of the article is here.

Homeless camp cleanup set for Oct. 12

Hospitality House has joined forces with County of Nevada, City of Grass Valley, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) and Grass Valley Police Department (GVPD) to offer the shelter’s most collective community cleanup effort to date.

On Saturday, Oct. 12, all parties will clean and beautify private land and abandoned homeless camps in the Brunswick Basin as well as mitigate for fire with support from volunteers in the community.  

“Collaboration is the backbone of our community and we are up for the challenge to tackle this problem together with our partners and community volunteers,” said Sheriff Shannan Moon of NCSO.

All parties agree that coming together to leverage resources will increase the success of the cleanup and will improve community vitality. Community safety is also at the forefront of the cleanup efforts planned.

“Through partnership with community members and local service providers such as Hospitality House, we can all play a role in keeping our community safe and vibrant,” explained Chief Alex Gammelgard of GVPD.

“The Grass Valley Police Department is excited to continue our history of working with community members to keep our forests, wildland, and streams clean from camp debris and litter. This is only one of a multifaceted approach to addressing the growing issue and concerns related to homelessness and its causes.”

Reducing the number of people camping in the forest and increasing the number of people utilizing emergency shelter or related services remains a common goal.

“It takes all of us to improve the lives of our homeless residents,” said Mike Dent, Director Department of Child Support, Collections, Housing and Community Services at County of Nevada.

“From initial Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) team staff making contacts in the field, to finding a livable place for our homeless to go to that they can afford, it takes the entire community to make a difference.” 

In addition to the HOME team, Hospitality House’s Outreach Team regularly disposes of garbage on rural properties and encourages people living in the forest to be fire-safe and remove debris.

To aid this endeavor, staff refrains from distributing tents or sleeping bags, and has an agreement with Nevada County Code Enforcement to immediately confiscate and dispose of any items discovered on county land that pose an immediate threat to community safety.

During the cleanup on Oct. 12, it’s estimated that approximately 150 volunteers will be needed, and the entire community is invited to participate.

Know and Go: 

When: Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: 900 Block of Plaza Drive

What to Bring: Work gloves; wear comfy clothes and closed-toed shoes

All volunteers are required to take safety training onsite and sign a waiver to participate. All volunteers will be provided breakfast burritos and bagged lunches.

Register Today:

To sign up, email Hospitality House Volunteer Manager Leah Farkas at lfarkas@hhshelter.org, or call 530-615-0805. Hospitality House hosts two major camp cleanups per year in addition to small cleanups at regular intervals. To learn more about this camp cleanup and future cleanups, visit hhshelter.org/camp-cleanups.

—Hospitality House