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Sakata Seed America Opens $18.5 Million Woodland Innovation Center

Not too long ago, when Sakata Seed America was looking to relocate some of its operations from Morgan Hill, there was an easy choice near Woodland.Land values in Morgan Hill, a pricey suburb roughly…

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Wiseman’s third Napa office building wins Top Real Estate Projects in North Bay for 2018

The 1300 Main project is a three-story, 21,000- square-foot, mixed-use class A office and retail building located in downtown Napa.With its central location, ground floor restaurant, the building’s…

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DesCor Awarded Best Places to Work 2018

We’re looking for people who see the world the way we do; people who are passionate, accountable, committed and excellent. Sacramento Business Journal, October 12, 2018 A+ Employers Award / Best Places…

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Sakata Seed unveils Woodland innovation center

Sakata Seed America celebrated its new Woodland Innovation Center with a grand opening on Sept. 13. The innovation center, in the works since 2016, is a culmination of infrastructure and land enabling…

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DesCor completes John Adams Academy’s third public charter school campus

John Adams Academy opened its third public charter school campus in the foothill region last Wednesday, welcoming children in grades kindergarten through seventh to its Town Center Boulevard location across…

/// READ MORE ///

Seed company opens $18.5 million research lab near Woodland

Sakata Seed America Inc. has completed its $18.5 million development of a seed innovation center near Woodland.The center is on 219 acres and includes four buildings and neighboring greenhouses. Its…

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DesCor receives Cal OSHA Golden Gate Partnership Recognition

State of California Department of Industrial Relations Cal/OSHA Consultation Services BranchRecognition Date:  June 7, 2018 Golden Gate Partnership Recognition Congratulations, your company has…

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Apartment construction heats up in Folsom, other markets

Apartment construction in the Sacramento region is still lagging relative to both demand and other markets.The most recent report from Yardi Matrix, for example, found newly completed apartments still…

/// READ MORE ///

Interested in working on a project with DesCor? Have a question? We’d love to hear from you!

Sakata Seed America Opens $18.5 Million Woodland Innovation Center

Not too long ago, when Sakata Seed America was looking to relocate some of its operations from Morgan Hill, there was an easy choice near Woodland.

Land values in Morgan Hill, a pricey suburb roughly 15 minutes south of San Jose, were two to three times what they were in Yolo County, where Sakata ultimately decided to build its $18.5 million, 215-acre Woodland Innovation Center. Sakata, which had run smaller research operations in Woodland in the past, would have a larger center to recruit students from UC Davis — one of the world’s best agricultural schools. And Sakata could take greater advantage of one of the Capital Region’s secrets: It has some of the best land in the world to grow seed.

It was certainly no secret to Tim Do-Cambridge, project manager for Sakata’s Woodland Innovation Center (not to be confused with the Woodland Research & Technology Park, also in the works), which opened in September. Asked if the area’s fertile land encouraged Sakata to build its center there — where the company will research, produce and package seeds — Do-Cambridge replied, “Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Our land, the land that we purchased… really helps to support our research and production.”

While Sakata might not have the name recognition of a Monsanto, the company has made its own mark. Do-Cambridge says 70 percent of broccoli on the West Coast comes from Sakata seeds. The company’s roots in Japan, where it is currently headquartered in Yokohama, go back more than a century. In Woodland, Do-Cambridge says, the company will have peppers and melons as its two main seed crops to take advantage of the area’s climate.

A number of major agricultural companies already operate in the Sacramento region, which include Monsanto in Roseville, Bayer in West Sacramento and Syngenta in Woodland. The region produces seeds at a prodigious rate, with Kent Bradford, director of UC Davis’s Seed Biotechnology Center, noting for example that the Sacramento Valley produces a quarter of all the sunflower seeds for the world. “It’s one of the best places to grow seed in the world,” Bradford says.

‘Beneficial Uses’ for Yolo County

Stephanie Cormier, Yolo County’s assigned planner on the project, says the new center met with little resistance. “When a project like this comes, even though it’s a discretionary project and requires an entitlement process that can be very lengthy and cumbersome and costly, we typically don’t get a lot of opponents or opposition,” Cormier says. “These are seen as very beneficial uses to the county.”

Still, there were a few speed bumps. Initially, Sakata Seed wanted to use all of the 215 acres it purchased for agriculture and locate a hub of six buildings amid a grove of oak trees that the county considers a special resource.

Though the applicants worked out a plan that would have preserved all the living trees, the county called for a full environmental impact report in exchange for locating there. Cormier says Sakata decided it wasn’t worth going through an EIR — the most time-consuming type of environmental review in California — and opted to place the buildings elsewhere on approximately 15 acres of its land.

Stantec designed the center. DesCor Builders was the general contractor for the project, which was completed in about two years. “They felt like they needed to reach out and go somewhere where the land value was more in line with the type of work they did,” says Matt Shigihara, a project principal for Stantec, of Sakata’s decision to relocate to Yolo County. There were also some issues, Shigihara says, associated with building in a remote, unincorporated part of the county, roughly five miles from Woodland city limits.

“When you’re building that many buildings out in the middle of land that’s not developed, it’s like building a mini-city,” Shigihara says. “You’re providing power out there. You’re providing basically a septic system to accept the sewer. You’re drilling a well. You’re providing fire protection, all of these things that (are) required by code these days. But you’re doing it all from scratch, so planning for that was really an interesting part of the process.”

Strengthening Ties with UC Davis

With the Woodland Innovation Center, Sakata Seed will have the opportunity to strengthen its existing ties to UC Davis, which is a common attraction for agricultural companies locating in Yolo County, says Cormier.

It’s simple to see why this occurs. Bradford — who is also a UC Davis professor of plant science and interim director of the school’s World Food Center — says UC Davis is ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the world, along with Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Cornell University, for agriculture and natural resources. UC Davis is also arguably top three specifically for seeds, Bradford adds, along with Wageningen — the Netherlands has the biggest seed trade in the world aside from the US — and Iowa State, which focuses on corn and soy.

Industry executives like Gabe Patin, former head of Sakata Seed America, saw the value in UC Davis. After Bradford approached the Seed Advisory Board that Patin sat on to pitch creating the school’s Seed Biotechnology Center, Patin says he convinced the then-chairman of Sakata’s parent company to contribute $100,000 to the effort. He also raised an additional $175,000 among other board members. Patin was eager to gather research pushing back on popular public sentiment against GMOs, and he respected the research capabilities of the center.

“They do a lot of research from various points of view,” says Patin, now 89. “They’re scientific people. These guys are all Ph.D.s — I’m not.”

The center will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. A university spokesperson noted after Patin won an Award of Distinction from the school in 2017 that he considers his role in helping to create the center “one of the greatest accomplishments of his life.”

The school hosts networking sessions for students and ag companies the second Thursday of every month during the school year. In time, perhaps a robust stream of UC Davis students and graduates could be heading to intern and work at the Woodland Innovation Center.

Bradford, who attended the center’s grand opening in September, anticipates expansion, based on the set-up of buildings. “They’ve got their processing facility, they’ve got their breeding facility, the place for their tractors and all that and there’s gaps in between it,” he says. “You can see that they’re planning to expand and be there for the long term, so that’s going to be a really nice facility.”

Link to article: Sakata Seed America Opens $18.5 Million Woodland Innovation Center
Graham Womack | Comstock’s Magazine
December 21, 2018

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Wiseman’s third Napa office building wins Top Real Estate Projects in North Bay for 2018

The 1300 Main project is a three-story, 21,000- square-foot, mixed-use class A office and retail building located in downtown Napa.

With its central location, ground floor restaurant, the building’s architecture is simple but elegant. Materials, massing and the arrangement of windows are drawn from downtown Napa’s architectural heritage, including the vintner’s narrow windows with distinct vertical orientation.

The third floor is set back to reinforce the transition to the future lower development to the north. Broad horizontal openings at the street level provide a venue for a strong inside-outside restaurant experience.

Inside includes energy-efficient amenities, such as dual-pane windows, fully automated lighting and fixture sensors, and a direct digital remote controlled climate control system.

Office tenants in the building include Wilson Daniels, marketing distinctive wines and spirits; Home Street Bank; Edward Jones Investments, and the Whole Health Institute. Retail tenants include Mario Bazan Cellar’s wine-tasting room, and Hal Yamashita Napa, the first in the United States and 10th restaurant of celebrity chef Haruyuki Yamashita with restaurants in Japan cities of Kobe, Osaka, Tokyo and in other countries.

Link to article: 1300 Main Napa wins Top Real Estate Projects
Gary Quackenbush | for North Bay Business Journal
December 11, 2018

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DesCor Awarded Best Places to Work 2018

We’re looking for people who see the world the way we do; people who are passionate, accountable, committed and excellent.

Sacramento Business Journal, October 12, 2018
A+ Employers Award / Best Places to Work
Medium Company Winner 2018: DesCor Builders

Robert Harding already knew DesCor Builders co-founder Brad Des Jardin when, years ago, the Rancho Cordova-based company started trying to recruit him. But Harding hesitated, he said, because everybody he talked to said it was the greatest company to work for. It sounded too good to be true. “I thought it was like a cult,” Harding said.

But after working at the 62-employee general contractor for seven months as its regional safety manager, Harding said the company’s family-centric culture and attitude won him over.

“I’m a completely different person for my family,” he said. When he first got to DesCor, Harding, looking to make a strong impression, worked 10- to 12-hour days until Des Jardin pulled him aside and said, “That’s not what impresses me, what impresses me is if you’re spending more time with your wife and family.”

With that kind of approach, it may be no surprise that DesCor Builders has shown up on the Business Journal’s Best Places to Work list for 13 years in a row.

Even though the builder has experienced rapid growth over the last year, increasing its workforce by 25 percent and boasting revenue of $110 million this fiscal year, owners Des Jardin and Neal Cordeiro were determined to preserve the company’s brand by emphasizing its unique culture.

Employee perks include monthly lunches to either celebrate company wins or to delve into technical seminars to help improve job skills. Other company events include paint ball outings, beer-making classes, barbecues and River Cats baseball games.

“We create reasons to have our people gather once a month,” Des Jardin said.

Company leaders also try to visit each construction site at least once a month, and sometimes more, to keep tabs on how each of DesCor’s 20 or so jobs is progressing and how the team is doing.

Employees receive annual performance reviews, but managers also do mid-year check-ins and ask workers how they hope to advance their careers, and what recommendations they have to improve the company’s performance.

Such employee feedback has resulted in upgrades to DesCor’s accounting/payroll, web site and document-control functions, among others.

“We’re relationship builders first,” Des Jardin said. “To project positive relationships with our customers we have to take care of our internal customers first, and our families. Our people’s families are our most important customers.”

A strong work-life balance is a crucial tool for attracting and retaining the best employees, Des Jardin said. “We’re looking for people who see the world the way we do; people who are passionate, accountable, committed and excellent.”

Toni Dwyer, the company’s assistant controller, said that as a mother of three, the freedom and flexibility the company offers is a big advantage, allowing her to drop her kids off at school and pick them up from soccer practice.

“I actually want to be here every day,” she said. “They allow me to put my family first, which is important to me. They trust that we’re here, doing our work. I can take my laptop and work remotely from where my kids need to be. I can be a mom and still work full time.”

DesCor Builders: General contractor providing construction management and comprehensive preconstruction and construction services.

Top local executives: Brad Des Jardin and Neal Cordeiro, founders

Local employees: 62

Headquarters: Rancho Cordova

What makes your company stand out from others: “We focus on culture first. We have created an environment that allows our people to succeed while letting them know that we care about them more for who they are than what they do.”

What does your company do to inspire employees and keep them engaged:“We have a clear vision, mission, purpose and goals and we continually communicate to our employees how their efforts contribute to the company’s success and how that success relates to them realizing their own personal goals.”

What qualities do you look for in potential employees: “People who are passionate about what they do, are accountable, committed and have a desire to be the best.”

How does your company define success: “The relationships that we build are greater than the buildings that we build. We create a raving fan and repeat client on each project, and our people return home to their families each day in better physical and emotional shape than when they left.”

What is your company’s toughest challenge and how do you overcome it: “We recognize as we continue to grow that our people, our culture and our brand are our biggest strengths. We have focused on emphasizing our culture by creating opportunities for our people to get together and remain connected, including monthly lunches, mid-year employee check-ins with our executives, fun activities (paint ball, Topgolf, River Cats games) and a leadership workshop, where everyone is encouraged to participate.”

Link to article: bizjournals.com/sacramento
Chris Rauber | Correspondent | Sacramento Business Journal
October 12, 2018

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Sakata Seed unveils Woodland innovation center

Sakata Seed America celebrated its new Woodland Innovation Center with a grand opening on Sept. 13. The innovation center, in the works since 2016, is a culmination of infrastructure and land enabling Sakata Seed America to consolidate and expand research-and-development and production in a single campus that is flexible for future expansion.

Stantec’s Sacramento office led the architectural design of the project and also provided interior design, landscape architecture, and LEED. DesCor Builders is the general contractor.

The center sits on 215 acres outside of Woodland. The new research center occupies 15 acres, with the remaining 200 acres dedicated to agriculture. This facility was master planned, designed and constructed from the ground up. With Sakata’s vision of making the location a major hub in Northern California, the design required providing new infrastructure in a remote area, including domestic, industrial, and firefighting water supply; industrial waste water processing; domestic waste septic and leach fields power; and future solar and propane farm.

The facility includes an 11,000-square-foot office building; a 25,000-sf warehouse housing the latest technology in seed processing equipment; the Washery, a building for washing, fluming, and drying all varieties of wet seed; a 6,000-sf farm shop used for production maintenance and equipment, drying of seed, and other farm-related activities; a 6,000-sf head house, a shop building with a focus on research and development, which allows for washing and drying of breeder seed; and greenhouses.

The $18.5 million project was designed for LEED certification, incorporating various components such as electric vehicle charger stalls and stations, sustainable building materials, and an on-site stormwater basin.

“I am excited to see the new Woodland Innovation Center come to life,” said Matthew Shigihara, Stantec principal based in Sacramento and the project architect. “The new center was like creating a ‘mini city.’ Seeing that city take shape and come to life is inspirational, especially when you think about the importance of agriculture in our community. Sakata is planning for the future, and this new facility will help make our community a better place.”

Link to article: Sakata Seed unveils Woodland innovation center
Business | Davis Enterprises
October 12, 2018

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DesCor completes John Adams Academy’s third public charter school campus

John Adams Academy opened its third public charter school campus in the foothill region last Wednesday, welcoming children in grades kindergarten through seventh to its Town Center Boulevard location across from Blue Shield, with plans to add one grade per year until it serves children in grades K-12, modeled after the original Roseville location.

John Adams Academy was founded in 2010 and is fully accredited by the School Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is the only classical education, tuition-free, transitional kindergarten-12 public charter school model in Northern California. Described on its website as non-secular and non-political, JAA operates with 10 core principles in mind to “prepare future leaders and statesmen through principle-based education.” These core values include: appreciation of our national heritage, public and private virtue, emphasis on mentors and classics, scholar empowered learning, fostering creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, high standards of academic excellence, modeling what we teach, abundance mentality, building a culture of greatness, self-governance, personal responsibility and accountability.

“(John Adams Academy) goes beyond academics, but teaches how to think and how to be servant leaders,” said the school’s Director of Outreach & Compliance Norman Gonzalez earlier this year.

Gonzalez said efforts to establish the campus in El Dorado Hills were in response to the “overwhelming demand from families in the region to have access to our program.” During the 2016-17 school year the Roseville site had 1,300 enrolled students with 694 on a waiting list. JAA-Lincoln opened on Aug. 22, one day before JAA-EDH. JAA-EDH currently has 240 students enrolled. Students are being housed in portable classrooms as officials work through the process to ready the adjacent 89,000-square-foot building they aim to make their permanent location.

Charter schools are public schools of choice that operate independently from the traditional district governance structure, but the school district where the campus resides or the county’s board of education is the school’s authorizing agency. Charter schools are authorized for five years and then are either renewed for continued operation or shut down.

The El Dorado County Office of Education is the governing body of JAA-EDH. EDCOE Superintendent Dr. Ed Manansala was at the first-day ceremony, as were other civic and government leaders, including District 1 Supervisor John Hidahl and District 2 Supervisor Shiva Frentzen, Sheriff John D’Agostini, school board members and representatives for Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, Sen. Ted Gaines and Congressman Tom McClintock.

The hundreds of people in attendance witnessed what JAA students will take part in each morning — raising the American Flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, singing the National Anthem and reciting the school’s Core Values, which are also prominently displayed in every classroom.

El Dorado Hills sisters Angel and Shalom Markham started the fourth grade and second grade, respectively, at JAA Wednesday. They previously attended Brooks Elementary, but their father Steve Markham said when he learned about JAA he felt it was “too good to pass up.” “The program seems like a once in a lifetime experience,” he explained. “It’s everything you would expect in a school. We’re all excited.”

El Dorado Hills siblings Paolo and Pavielle Aulakh started sixth grade and fourth grade, respectively. They previously attended Riverview STEM Academy in Rancho Cordova. Their mother, Luz Aulakh, told Village Life the family decided to make the change to JAA-EDH because they want “a smaller school and different curriculum.” She said she was impressed when she attended meetings at EDCOE last winter when JAA administrators requested a charter approval. “We were taken aback by the kids who spoke at the EDCOE meeting,” Luz said. “I’m most excited to learn a different language,” Pavielle said of JAA. All students learn Latin before choosing additional specialties like Spanish, Italian, French and more when they are older.

Every class also has a dedicated adult aide four hours a day to assist the teacher.

School founder Dean Forman, aka John Adams, was present at the ceremony. His role is as a volunteer today, dressing the part, but he explained how the idea for JAA came to him when he was working on his PhD in constitutional studies approximately a decade ago.

“I was a concerned citizen and a parent wanting to teach my children what America means,” he told Village Life. “It’s an idea — an idea that’s loved worldwide.”

Forman requested to do a project for his dissertation and eventually proposed his charter school idea to the Loomis School District. “They approved the charter,” Forman said, and JAA-Roseville came to be.

Of the decision to plan JAA as a K-12 school, Forman said, “I love K-12. It’s a model that’s familial. It softens the edges of being a teen, as the older scholars serve as mentors to younger ones.”

Forman said he would eventually like to see JAA campuses “throughout the world.”

“The idea is uniquely American and uniquely entrepreneurial,” he added.

He said the parents who worked to make the two recent campuses a reality are an example of his American ideal. “They made it happen.”

Headmaster Heather Brown welcomed students and had them line up by grade with their teachers, noting to children the importance of being founding members of JAA-EDH. Brown was a fourth-grade teacher at JAA before being promoted to dean of academics and then headmaster. She now oversees all three sites

Photo Caption: Young scholars, staff and school founder Dean Forman (aka John Adams) ceremoniously open the school on the first day of classes at John Adams Academy in El Dorado Hills. Village Life photo by Julie Samrick

Link to article: Village Life/News
Julie Samrick | Staff Writer | Village Life
August 29, 2018

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Seed company opens $18.5 million research lab near Woodland

Sakata Seed America Inc. has completed its $18.5 million development of a seed innovation center near Woodland.

The center is on 219 acres and includes four buildings and neighboring greenhouses. Its grand opening is today, according to the company.

The site will produce seeds for commercial and hobby producers of hot peppers, sweet peppers, watermelon, melon and tomato.

The Sakata lab adds to a seed production and development industrial hub in the Sacramento region, which includes international seed research and development by companies such as Bayer AG, Syngenta AG, BASF, HM Clause/Limagrain and others, along with the agricultural research around the University of California Davis. More than 100 seed companies have offices within 100 miles of Sacramento.

The campus has room for future expansion, the company said.

The campus includes a shop for research and development, a farm equipment and maintenance shop, a 25,000-square-foot warehouse and an office building. The buildings were designed by Matthew Shigihara, local principal with Stantec Architecture, Sakata said.

Sakata Seed America produces and sells vegetable and flower seeds for North America. It is a subsidiary of the Yokohama, Japan company Sakata Seed Corp., founded in 1913.

Sakata Seed America also has research stations in Mount Vernon, Washington; Salinas; Fort Myers, Florida; and Sinaloa, Mexico.

Link to article: Seed company opens $18.5 million research lab near Woodland
Mark Anderson | Staff Writer | Sacramento Business Journal
September 13, 2018

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DesCor receives Cal OSHA Golden Gate Partnership Recognition

State of California
Department of Industrial Relations
Cal/OSHA Consultation Services Branch

Recognition Date:  June 7, 2018

Golden Gate Partnership Recognition

Congratulations, your company has been recognized by the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service for its effort in implementing and maintaining an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) during the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service visit on June 7, 2018.

Golden Gate recognition was developed to provide motivation and support to employers who proactively work with their employees and the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service. During our
consultative visit to your company, your managers and employees demonstrated a commitment to continuously improve the effectiveness of its workplace safety and health management system.
This commitment to workplace safety and health is being commended by the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service. Thank you for taking an active participation in occupational safety and
health in your workplace.

Sincerely,

John Husman, Area Manager
Patrick Corcoran, Senior Safety Engineer
Susan Pipes, Safety Consultant

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Apartment construction heats up in Folsom, other markets

Apartment construction in the Sacramento region is still lagging relative to both demand and other markets.

The most recent report from Yardi Matrix, for example, found newly completed apartments still accounted for less than 1 percent of the inventory overall.

But in certain preferable submarkets, such as Folsom, multifamily developers are ramping up. There, the demographics suggest building a new project is economically justifiable because residents can afford the rents the developer wants to make the project profitable.

In Folsom, about 1,000 new units are either under construction or entitled, many of them in an area near the Palladio retail and office complex visible from Highway 50.

Geoff Brown, CEO at Roseville-based USA Properties Fund Inc., said at least the first phase of 293-unit Talavera Ridge should start filling up in about a year’s time, with leasing to start next spring.

Nearby, DesCor Builders is building in phases for The Pique, a 327-unit project slated for total completion in 2021. Elliott Homes is the developer for that project, while USA Properties is both developer and builder for Talavera Ridge.

Both projects are market rate, a label that typically means fairly upscale in recent years, as developers say they need rents affordable to wealthier residents in order to make projects work.

But with more “luxury” projects coming to market, Brown said, he’d need another year of perspective to know whether every project is equally viable.

“I believe there’s still plenty of demand because we just have such a housing shortage in the state,” he said. “But you don’t assume anything.”

While demand is still rising as the economy continues to grow, he said, construction costs are also rising. USA Properties is also developing a 300-unit project in Roseville, and has four more in other parts of California breaking ground this summer.

Roseville, like Folsom, is considered a more affluent submarket.

Link to article: bizjournals.com/sacramento
Ben van der Meer | Staff Writer | Sacramento Business Journal
June 21, 2018

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