Thursday, October 1, 2015

More layoffs hit the oil patch as the energy market struggles, remembering Steve Ruggenberg and George Martin brings the Bakersfield Business Conference back

 * ... LAYOFFS: There was yet another round of layoffs this week at California Resources Corp. (CRC), the
spin-off company from Occidental Petroleum that holds huge reserves here. One manager called this the deepest round of layoffs yet at CRC during the downtown in the energy market. Chevron has been undergoing similar cutbacks as have almost all of the local suppliers. And, for the first time, local Realtors tell me the bad times in the oil patch are now starting to impact sales in the local real estate market.

 * ... RUGGENBERG: The phrase 'life is short' may be a cliche, but it's one that Steve Ruggenberg took seriously when he walked away from his six-figure salary at Golden Empire Transit and moved to Napa Valley to pursue his love of baking. Ruggenberg died this week after battling leukemia, and I was among those lucky enough to call him a friend. A Vietnam War veteran and CSUB graduate, Ruggenberg had spirit, wit, drive and charm, as well as the courage to pursue his dreams. Ruggs, as he was known to friends, never seemed to waste a second on the trivial or the small, and instead chose to look on life as a grand adventure to be cherished and nourished. How many of us can say that? Keep his widow, Shana, and their family in your thoughts. I miss him already.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t."

 * ... BUSINESS CONFERENCE: It looks like George Martin is at it again, following through on his promise to bring back the hugely successful Bakersfield Business Conference. If you are new to town and never attended one of Martin's events, put the next one on your calendar because they are spectacular. For years the local attorney with Borton Petrini put on one of the best shows in the West, drawing speakers as diverse as Margaret Thatcher to Rich Little, George Bush and Jimmy Carter to a huge tent at CSUB. The conference eventually ran out of gas, and when it ended in 2010 Martin promised to bring it back every five years or so. It is now planned for Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, perfect for an election and Olympic year. (No word on where it will be held) His hints about speakers: a legendary NBA great, a former head of state, an Academy Award winning actress, a former governor and a business icon. Tickets for this event are never cheap, but they are worth it.

 * ... MUSIC FESTIVAL: And speaking of entertainment, the food vendor lineup for the 99 Music Festival has been released and it represents some of the best of Bakersfield. The '99Fest' is planned for Saturday, Oct. 10, at the CSUB amphi-theater. There will be two stages and some incredible talent featuring Americana music, all backed up by these food vendors: Pyrenee's Cafe, Cafe Med, Iron Horse Saloon, Champs BBQ, Michelangelo Pizza, Johnny Rockets, The Curbside Kitchen and Brookside Market and Food. For tickets go to

 * ... MEMORIES: Navy and submarine veteran Gene M. Bonas reminded me that it was 70 years ago this month when Japan officially surrendered to the United States to end World War II. Said Bonas: "You know you're an old timer if you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the words: 'The war is over!' I was six years of age playing in the back yard by an old cottonwood tree when I heard my mom screaming 'The war is over, the war is over!' I remember mom flew out of the house, ran to where I was playing and lavished me with hugs and kisses. What a marvelous memory that is."

No comments: