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PHOTOS: Steamboat’s rising stars celebrated at 20 Under 40 event

The newest group of 20 Under 40 honorees were celebrated Wednesday at the Yampa River Botanic Park in Steamboat Springs. The event is hosted by Steamboat Pilot & Today in partnership with the Young Professionals Network. Alpine Bank was the event’s presenting sponsor.

With this year’s Class of 2021, 100 young rising stars in the Routt County community have been honored since the program began in 2016. 20 Under 40 recognizes outstanding young professionals in the community for their career accomplishments and contributions to the community.

This year’s winners included Caitlyn Bambenek, Katie Carroll, Kelly Cook, Bill Crosby, Ian Frazier, Peter Hall, Emily Hines, Adrienne Idsal, Lennae Jenkins, Matt Johnson, Patrick Johnston, Kelly Latterman, Michael Marchand, Laraine Martin, Nelly Navarro, Jason Regan, Angelica Salinas, Maggie Taylor, Renzo Walton and Rebecca Williams.

The 2021 class of 20 Under 40 were celebrated Wednesday at the Yampa River Botanic Park. This year's group of winners included Caitlyn Bambenek, Katie Carroll, Kelly Cook, Bill Crosby, Ian Frazier, Peter Hall, Emily Hines, Adrienne Idsal, Lennae Jenkins, Matt Johnson, Patrick Johnston, Kelly Latterman, Michael Marchand, Laraine Martin, Nelly Navarro, Jason Regan, Angelica Salinas, Maggie Taylor, Renzo Walton and Rebecca Williams. The event is presented by Steamboat Pilot & Today with support from the Young Professionals Network. Alpine Bank was the event's sponsor.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Ian Frazier celebrates after being honored at the 20 Under 40 celebration Wednesday evening at the Yampa River Botanic Park.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Steamboat Pilot & Today Publisher Logan Molan presents an award to Lennae Jenkins at the 20 Under 40 celebration at the Yampa River Botanic Park on Wednesday.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Bob and Ropbin Schellen.
John F. Russell/Steamboat PIlot & Today
Reall and Jason Reagan
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today.


From left, Annmarie Blodgett and McKenzie Hughes.
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Tara and Bill Crosby
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Colin Kemp and Maggie Taylor.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Rosanna Lobitz, Peter Hall and Anna Hall.
John F. Russell/Steamboat PIlot & Today
Steamboat Pilot & Today Editor Lisa Schlichtman presents an award to Matt Johnson and his daughter Kate at the 20 Under 40 celebration at the Yampa River Botanic Park on Wednesday evening.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Matt Johnson and his daughter Kate "The Great.“
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Steamboat Pilot & Today Publisher Logan Molen introduces Alpine Bank Senior Vice-President Andrew Zaback on Wednesday as they honored the 20 Under 40 class of 2021. Alpine Bank sponsored this year’s event, which was presented by the Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Young Professionals Network.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Cait Bambenek and Brian Huegel.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Elissa Greene and Katie Carroll.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Michael Marchand and Adrienne Stroock.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Angelica Salinas and Adam Basse.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Mary Schrader, Josh Schrader, Ian Frazier, Samantha Pal Frazier, Anna Cross and Mason Cross.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Josh Schrader, Ian Frazier and Mason Cross.
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From left, Mark Golembiewski and Chelsey Moffat.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Rebecca, Silas and Drew Williams.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Ian Frazier and Samantha Pal Frazier.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Ana Gomez and John Bristol.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Kelly Latterman and Harry Murray.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Patrick and Ginger Johnston.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Emily Hines and Glen Hammond.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Patrick Johnston, Ginger Johnston and Maddie Labor.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
The lawn at the Yampa Valley Botanic Park was full Wednesday night during the 20 Under 40 event.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Members of the Young Professionals Network of Steamboat Springs, including Zach Love, Sylvia Wappes, Maren Franciosi, Madison Keeffe, Angelica Salinas, Michael Marchand, Rachel Sinton and Alex Long.
John F. Russell?Steamboat Pilot & Today
Those who came out for Wednesday evening’s 20 Under 40 celebration toast the class of 2021.
John F. Russell/Steamboat PIlot & Today

Economic Resource Council: Miss a meeting, miss a lot

The strength of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council rests foremost in the monthly gathering of the areas business and civic leaders, who share pertinent news, challenges and successes. That collaboration was evident at the recent board meeting which was attended by dozens of key personnel across a wide variety of sectors throughout the region. If you missed the board meeting that took place Sept. 3 on Zoom, you missed quite a lot.

Grass Valley Mayor Ben Aguilar and City Manager Tim Kiser navigated and narrated a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation featuring improvements to the City of Grass Valley as well as planned developments. The duo covered projects made possible through successful grant applications as well as funds secured via Measure E, which include improvements to Condon Park, a turf project at Mautino park and the Memorial Park 4.7-million-dollar construction project, which includes two public pools as well as other improvements. The two then went on to detail road improvements, business expansions, as well as several housing and retail development projects that are either active or in the works.

Those developments include the status of the Dorsey Marketplace, and of the groundbreaking of 235 homes in the Loma Rica Ranch area which will also include trails, road realignment and eventually, a tunnel that will go under Brunswick Road. Over a dozen other projects were presented to those in attendance, illustrating a city remarkably busy with expansion, development and improvements.

Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Supervisor Scott Lay gave an alarming report on the possibility of needing to send some 3,500 students home due to the high number of students testing positive for COVID-19, a lack of rapid tests, state requirements around quarantine and a shortage of both nurses and teachers. Lay said it’s not about offering more money to qualified workers, as they have tried that without success. He also noted that in 2019 the county had over 200 substitute teachers to choose from but currently have less than 70 on their active roster.

Other members giving updates including committee work from the Economic Resource Council board, community members looking for assistance in finding workers, funds available to businesses were discussed from the Sierra Business Development Council representative, and an update from Economic Summit Chair Lisa Swarthout who detailed key points of the event planned for Oct. 25, taking place at the Center for the Arts and featuring renowned economist Christopher Thornberg.

Those in attendance also heard from Michael Anderson who gave an update on the status of Broadband in the county and explained, among other terms, “open access” and how it pertains to internet access in the county.

Supervisor Sue Hoek told community leaders of a planned Military Appreciation Week that will take place Nov. 6-14, focusing on a partnership with Beale Air Force Base.

Several other participants shared updates in their particular arenas including revises in the medical arena.

The Economic Resource Council board meetings are open to the public and take place the first Thursday of each month beginning at 7:30 and run 90 minutes in length. For more information about the meeting or to become involved with the Economic Resource Council, send a message to info@ncerc.org.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a freelancer writer in Nevada County. She writes a monthly column on behalf of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council

Brian Hamilton: Sales still strong, though no longer a frenzied market

Though it’s not the frenzy western Nevada County’s real estate industry saw over the past year amid the pandemic, the local market hasn’t exactly cooled off either.

Another record median price for homes sold — $565,000 — and an average stay of 12 days on market were both recorded in August, which also saw a dip in both the number of homes sold and pending sales.

As is the case across the state, western Nevada County continues to search for signs of normalcy — whatever that means moving forward from the past 12-18 months — in the real estate market.

“The California housing market continues to normalize from the white-hot conditions we experienced at the height of the pandemic with both sales and prices moderating as we slowly transition from the peak home-buying season into the fall,” California Association of Realtors President Dave Walsh said in an August news release. “The market remains solid, however, as sales were still the second highest level for a July in the last six years, and the statewide median price continues to perform above last year’s level by double-digits. Housing supply, while improved, remains tight and market competition is still heated with homes flying off the market in record time.”

Statewide, July snapped a stretch of four consecutive months of new records in median price of homes sold. July’s statewide median price was $811,170, down 1% from June, but still up 21.7% from July 2020. (Statewide sales data for August was not available at press time.)

It’s been a similar story in western Nevada County, where the record median price of $565,000, posted for the second consecutive month in August, equates to a 20.2% increase over the median price paid for a home here — $470,000 — a mere 12 months ago.

It was also the second-straight month that saw an average of 12 days on market for homes sold, and the sixth month in a row that sold homes averaged less than two full weeks on the market.

And the record price per square foot, $308, posted in August was well above what was considered “normal” pre-pandemic. For example, not once in a single month of 2019 did homebuyers on average pay as much as $250 per square foot.

Still, the number of homes sold in August —148, the lowest since March — was down 25.6% from July and down 26.2% from the 201 sold in August 2020. Pending sales were down 11.6% month over month and down 29.8% from the 266 that were pending one year earlier.

For the sake of a “normal” pre-pandemic context, however, the 148 homes sold in August were more sold in any single month of 2019 and more than all but just one month the prior year when 154 sold in June 2018.

The number of homes listed for sale in western county had climbed back to 261 at the end of August, an increase from 236 in July and the highest number of homes on the market since November 2000.

But that’s still far off from the pre-pandemic normal inventory of 2019, when the average was 491 homes listed monthly and a high of 647 homes on the market in July of that year.

Brian Hamilton is the assistant to the regional manager for the Betsy Hamilton Real Estate Team. Contact Betsy Hamilton at realestatebetsy@gmail.com or 530-263-9044. Visit MidLifeOfBrian.com for previously published market updates. Contact Brian Hamilton at BrianHamiltonRE@gmail.com


August home sales in western Nevada County:

$565,000 — Median price (2021)

$470,000 — Median price (2020)

12 – Days on market (2021)

31 – Days on market (2020)

148 – Homes sold (2021)

201 – Homes sold (2020)

261 – Homes for sale (2021)

279 – Homes for sale (2020)

Sierra Commons offers business course

Sierra Commons, Nevada City’s small business center and coworking space, is launching the Future Forward Business Ignitor Course.

As fall approaches, changes to our local economy are accelerating.

The end of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and shifting job market dynamics are leading many people to reevaluate their personal and professional priorities. Entrepreneurship may now be the best option for those working towards a more balanced lifestyle.

A team of expert instructors from various fields understands the challenges of starting and running a small business. Classes provide guidance on fundamental business practices and how to avoid common pitfalls. The course covers a wide variety of topics and is perfect for people starting or currently running small businesses.

In addition to the Sierra SBDC, our returning Lead Partner, this Ignitor will be held in conjunction with the Greater Grass Valley and Nevada City Chambers of Commerce, YubaNet.com, Wicked Good Copywriting, Sierra Business Council, and the Grass Valley Downtown Association. This collaboration expands the Ignitor’s reach and resources, giving students access to a broader regional entrepreneurial support network.

“The Future Forward Ignitor is designed to create jobs and professional opportunities for students,” says Sierra Commons’ Executive Director, Robert Trent. “We have active support from economic organizations across the region who are doing their part to create and maintain a diverse, resilient local economy.”

The Sierra Commons Business Ignitor launches on Oct. 5 and runs through Nov. 11. Students will meet via Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. In addition to the classes, there will be mentorship, accountability meetups, coworking, and networking opportunities.

Online registration is now open. If you would like to enroll or learn more, visit the Sierra Commons website at www.sierracommons.org or call 530-265-8443.

During this critical transition in our economy, Sierra Commons and our partners are offering registration on a sliding scale in order to be as inclusive as possible. Tuition is now offered on a sliding scale of $150 to $650. No one will be turned away due to a lack of funds.

“Our graduates are running successful Nevada County businesses,” says Trent. “Light manufacturing, restaurants, wellness consultants, retailers, you name it – these are all started by people who saw an opportunity to move their lives forward by turning their ideas into businesses.”

Founded in 2009, Sierra Commons is a nonprofit community service organization located in Nevada City. It offers business education as well as a coworking space for entrepreneurs and remote workers.

Source: Sierra Commons

Marc Cuniberti: The stealth tax on the poor

Inflation has been called the stealth tax, as few people realize inflation is a form of tax, and that it enriches the wealthy as it impoverishes the lower income strata.

How this transfer takes place is easily explained.

Imagine I fill a room with 100 people and I lock the door. I give each person $1,000, then offer up a $5,000 Rolex watch to the highest bidder. The only rule is two people cannot combine funds. Since the watch (or whatever it is I offer to sell) has a higher value than the cash each person holds, the assumption is everyone will want to buy the watch.

Since each person only has $1,000 and cannot combine funds with another, the top bid would be $1,000.

Before I close the deal, I now hand out $1,000 more to each person.

The top bid would immediately rise to the maximum each person has which is now $2,000.

We have just witnessed “monetary” inflation which was inflation caused by an increase in the money supply when I passed out more money. The price of the watch doubled because more money was introduced into the system (the room).

Extrapolating, when more money is introduced into an economy, the prices of things rise as each person has more money to spend. This is monetary inflation.

Since the only entity allowed to manufacture more money is the government (in the case of the U.S. it is the Federal Reserve Bank), they alone are the cause of monetary inflation.

The transfer of wealth to the rich from the rest of the populace is accomplished by the inflation that is caused by the introduction of new money through government deficit spending.

Since the Federal Reserve creates money through the push of a button, at the instant the money is created, it goes into government coffers, which is then spent. An important note is that the first entity to spend this new money sees no increase in prices as the money is not in the system yet. Prices only start to rise as the money filters out to the rest of us. One could argue that not only does the government get free money from the Federal Reserve’s money creation ability, they are not the victim of the inflation they are about cause.

As the money filters down, imagine a family that sees a 5% increase in prices due to this newly created money. Their standard of living goes down because the price of the things they need goes up. Living hand to mouth as many do, this 5% price increase places undue hardship on the lowest income levels.

But because inflation increases the price of everything, those that own assets see those assets rise in value by the same percentage.

So if person owns 100 million in assets (like businesses, stock or real estate), they see a 5% rise in the value of these assets. In this example, a 5% inflation rate pencils out to an increase of 5 million. (5% of 100 million). The more assets that are owned, the more money is made. It is this rise in asset prices (inflation) that continually increases the wealth of the rich while steadily impoverishing the poor. The longer inflation runs, the more the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Because a majority of families do not own assets and spend all their money on living expenses, they are hurt by inflation, while those that own assets profit from it.

The stealthy part of inflation is that it also causes salaries to rise, increases home values and retirement accounts. This increase gives the illusion that things are improving. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Because wages never keep up with the overall price increases in the economy (called wage/price lag) people are left wondering why they find it harder to make ends meet despite rising salaries, retirement balances and home values.

In conclusion, the more cash governments hand out, the worse it gets for the lower classes and the more the wealthy profit. This wealth migration consistently drives more people into poverty as it concentrates more and more of the wealth at the top in the hands of the few. In essence, the loss of wealth from the poor is transferred to the rich.

Next time you see more government handouts, bailouts or stimulus payments, realize that the more money they spend, the worse the situation becomes for the majority of Americans.

Marc Cuniberti holds a B.A in Economics with honors from San Diego State University and is the host of Money Matters carried on 66 stations nationwide. California Insurance LIc# 0L34249. Call him at 530-559-1214 or visit http://www.moneymanagementradio.com


Marc Cuniberti: Stock options

Although most investors understand what buying a stock is, far fewer understand the world of trading stock options. Often labeled highly volatile and risky, there are ways to benefit from the trading stock options in lieu of trading the actual stock.

Stock options do not initially involve the actual stock of publicly traded companies. Instead, options are contracts to buy or sell a stock sometime in the future. That means when you buy or sell a stock option, at that exact moment you are not actually trading stock, but promising to do so at some point in the future.

An option is a contract an investor can buy or sell, and depending on what option the investor transacts, he has either acquired the right to do something or the obligation. Specifically, having the right means you can exercise an action if you want, while having an obligation means you are required to.

Investors buy options because one gets more bang for the buck, which means they can be twice as lucrative or twice as dangerous. Simply put, options is stock trading on steroids.

Without getting too technical, the easiest way to learn the world of options is to learn how to buy them. One can sell an option, but because of the many different types of contract conditions that exist, buying an option is the easiest to understand.

There are two types of stock options: a “call” and a “put.” You could sell or buy a call option, or sell or buy a put option. In the example below, we are buying a call option because that is the simplest transaction to start one’s education.

Without getting too deep into how they are priced, as options price rather oddly, we are just going to buy a call option on a fictional company I am calling the ACME ANVIL COMPANY (AAC).

Example: AAC price is 100 per share. You think the price of AAC will rise for whatever reason. You don’t have enough money, or perhaps don’t want to spend a lot of money, to profit from the move, so you decide to try and benefit from buying an option contract called a call.

Doing so means you will spend a lot less to participate in an AAC move. You could buy the stock at $100 share, meaning 100 shares will cost you will cost you $10,000, or you could buy a call option, which controls the same 100 shares, meaning you will still get the same benefit (profit) of a 100 share move, but you will be likely spending a lot less to participate. Remember options are highly leveraged.

You first find if an option is available on AAC and we will pick a call contract with a price of $105. You decide the stock should move quickly so you buy a contract that expires in one month.

Since option contracts have a “strike” price and a “maturity” date, and many strikes and dates can be offered, you can pick what price and date you prefer and each one probably has a different price. Our fictional contract is the $105 strike and is one month out, say Sept. 15.

You will now pay for the contract. Assuming you pay an arbitrary price of $500 for one call option (remember prices, maturity dates and strike prices vary and you pick which one you want), you now own one call contract, which controls 100 shares of AAC, and you paid $500 for it.

In a nutshell, if AAC goes above 105 by Sept. 15, you make money. If it goes way past 105, you make more money. The higher it goes by Sept. 15, the more money you make.

If AAC never gets to 105 by Sept. 15, you lose all of your money. Although trading professionals will notice the explanation above leaves out a ton of details and may not reflect actual gains or losses, the general concept of how this option works is conveyed in broad detail only. If the price goes above the contracts strike price by the maturity date, it can mean profits to the investor.

In conclusion, there is a lot more to options than explained above, but the general concept is options can give you extreme leverage, which means more bang for your buck and a cheap way to play a stock, can amplify losses or gains and with astounding speed, and have time factor which can work for or against the investor depending on the option strategy selected.

Marc Cuniberti holds a B.A in Economics with honors from San Diego State University and is the host of Money Matters carried on 66 stations nationwide. California Insurance LIc# 0L34249. Call him at 530-559-1214 or visit http://www.moneymanagementradio.com


Brian Hamilton: Median price of homes sold rises to record $565K

Home sales in western Nevada County continue to keep pace with what’s been one of the hottest markets the community has seen in decades, moving the median price of homes sold to a record $565,000.

Monthly area sales stats, though, also offer a bit of a mixed message on what’s still to come in 2021.

The 199 homes sold in July totaled for a 9.3% increase over June sales, and marked the highest number of homes sold in any single month this year.

But for the first time in 2021, total sales were short of the same month year-over-year, as 206 homes were sold in July 2020. Pending sales were down 19.4% in July from June, the third-straight month of decline in pending sales.

And the median days on market for the month crept up to 12 days, up from nine in June.

Pulling back for a wider view, however, offers a look at a more typical days on market median for the month of July. Last year, as sales began to pick up pace after the economic shutdown, the median was 24 days on market. In 2019, that number was 43 days.

And though the 199 homes sold in July is a 3.4% dip from the 206 in year-over-year monthly comparison, it’s actually 46.3% higher than the 136 sold in July 2019. One year earlier than that, in July 2018, 139 homes sold in a median 38 days on market.

The $565,000 median price of homes sold in July, a 7.4% increase over June, is 7.6% higher than January sales and 17.8% higher than the $479,500 recorded in July 2020. The median prices of the 1,744 homes sold for all of 2020 in western Nevada County was $455,000 — 24% lower than the price homes sold for here last month.


One key to the higher prices sellers have so far enjoyed throughout 2021 has been an extremely limited inventory.

Historically, the number of homes listed for sale in August has been substantially higher than the 236 currently on the market. Although that number — a 5.8% increase over June — is the highest monthly total of active listings this year, there were 295 on the market in July 2020.

But to pulling the low inventory into a wider perspective, one year earlier in July 2019 — in a pre-COVID-19 economy — there were 647 homes listed for sale in western Nevada County.

The effects of the limited supply not meeting high demand is apparent in the median price of homes sold, but also is evident in the price per square foot of homes sold, which in July rose to a high of $306 this year.

That’s a 32% increase over July 2020 and 29% higher than the $238 price per square foot recorded in July 2019.

Brian Hamilton is the assistant to the regional manager for the Betsy Hamilton Real Estate Team. Contact Betsy Hamilton at realestatebetsy@gmail.com or 530-263-9044. Visit MidLifeOfBrian.com for previously published market updates. Contact Brian Hamilton at BrianHamiltonRE@gmail.com

Brian Hamilton

Machen MacDonald: PIT stops win the race


Successful people know the secret of slowing down to speed up. It’s about simplification and elimination. Finding ways to lighten the load, stay focused on the destination and doing what must get done to complete the journey.

In auto racing pit stops are a necessity to complete the race. Replenishing fuel, changing tires as they wear down and become unsafe, cleaning windshields, and making minor adjustments or repairs are all part of the successful pit stop. Even though when a car pulls into the pits, the pack of cars it was once ahead of pass on by, the car is doing the best thing for its chance to win. The other cars will need to pit as well at some point providing our car the chance to leap ahead. If the other cars don’t pit they run the risk of running out of fuel or worse … crashing and not finishing the race because of a worn tire that blows out or mechanical failure.

However, in business, we often make the mistake of trying to power through the day, week, even the month without taking care of ourselves and getting what we need to cross the finish line in a good way.

We need the right fuel. Fuel is energy to keep on keeping’ on. It’s comprised on healthy foods and exercise, healthy thoughts, healthy relationships, etc. We need to see clearly where we are headed. Having a compelling vision is paramount to provide us the motivation, confidence and impulses to navigate accordingly. The right tools are imperative to keeping the car on the track. What are yours to keep you in the race? Make the list and get what you need to win.

Build PIT Stops into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine so you can recharge, rejuvenate, calibrate, and activate for the next segment of the journey.

Here are four elements you can focus on for a proper and productive PIT Stop:


Take the time to plan your months, weeks, and days. Time exists so you don’t have to do everything all at once. Based on your long-term goals, what are the short-term projects that will lead to the achievement of the goal? What are the action items and tasks that need to be executed to make progress with the projects? Are those tasks on your calendar when you need to see them so you can do something toward their completion when needed?


As you segment your month into weeks, and your weeks into days, be sure to segment each day into its own sections of inspiring intentions. This may look like four quarters of the game called “today,” and being mindful of what you want to accomplish each quarter. Perhaps it looks like each client meeting, networking event, staff meeting, and phone prospecting session is treated as its own segment of the day. What does a successful segment look like for you? How do you want to show up and perform for each? What do you want to learn or contribute to each segment? What tools and resources do you need to make the necessary progress and have a good showing in that segment?


Progress equals happiness. At the end of each segment track and celebrate or calibrate what you did. Double down on what’s working. Limit or eliminate what’s not. Keeping track of these things leads to continual improvement.


Stop doing, thinking and looking. Stop doing the things that don’t get you the results you want. Stop thinking the thoughts that hold you back. Stop looking for reasons why it’s hard or won’t work.

Be willing to take PIT Stops as often as you need them so you can accelerate your success today and every day.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000

Nevada County Economic Resource Council: Technology and business go together

Technology is defined as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry; machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge; and the branch of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences.

For Nevada County Economic Resource Council’s Gil Mathew, it is evident that separating technology from industry is all but impossible.

“In today’s world, every industry sector includes technology,” the executive director stated. “While the ERC is working to connect different industry sectors, be it, education, manufacturing, agriculture, or healthcare … but whatever the sector, technology is part of how that group does business.”

While Nevada County boasts several technology-based businesses, from AJA to Telestream to Grass Valley (to name a few), the reality is that most businesses rely on tech in some form to operate. The days of handwritten ledgers and snail mail correspondence have all but disappeared. Those who want to succeed in today’s business world have learned to embrace technology in a variety of formats — from cell phones to computers to programmable machinery — technology is deeply embedded in most daily operations.

In the last year, technology has been the basis for meeting and communicating across the world. Social platforms have exploded, and industry leaders have pivoted to find ways to remain relevant while practicing social distancing. Bringing people together remains a vital part of the fabric industry across all sectors.

The Economic Resource Council is tasked with bringing like industry personnel together to discuss challenges as well as successes and to, hopefully, find common ground within the area businesses to help contribute to a vibrant, thriving economy in Nevada County. Each month a series of meet ups is planned to further that mission.

Teaming with California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), the Economic Resource Council is inviting those in the manufacturing sector to a meet-up on Thursday, Sept. 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enticing participants with free pizza and beverages, the evening will focus on networking with peers and a short presentation by Mathew on the topic of ever-changing regulations affecting the specific industry. The event is free but does require an RSVP at info@ncerc.org.

Bringing people together while adhering to state health regulations will undoubtedly be discussed during the event. Safety protocols will be in place to ensure the well-being of all who attend.

Other meet ups including the monthly web development group and the writer’s forum have stayed online, utilizing the technology of social platforms to continue to bring people together. Those dates and links can also be obtained by emailing the Economic Resource Council.

In October, the Economic Resource Council will bring back the Economic Summit, a well-received afternoon featuring renowned economist Chris Thornberg who will breakdown the fiscal outlook on a national, regional, and local level. Both entertaining and informative, Thornberg has a long history of delivering accurate and pragmatic information around housing, development, and business in a variety of sectors. Tickets for the Oct. 25 event taking place at The Center for The Arts will be limited. Sponsorship, vendor, and participation information is available by contacting the Economic Resource Council.

To become a member and to find out more, use your technology and send any inquires to info@ncerc.org.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a freelancer writer in Nevada County. She writes a monthly column on behalf of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council

Marc Cuniberti: Alternative investments

Alternative investments are investments which usually are not listed on the Wall Street Journal, Investor Business Daily or other public media outlets. I also refer to them as “privates.”

I have seen my share of private (alternative) investments, and although not all of them are bad, most I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. My opinion of course.

An alternative investment is one that an advisor or perhaps a friend or acquaintance may bring to an investor and suggest they invest funds.

Privates run the gamut from a second mortgage, to a private bond or note, or perhaps investing into a company portfolio with some promise of return or gain. Energy or real estate projects are common as well. Privates can also fund projects to build such things as resorts, condominium complexes or other entities, or just center around buying a mortgage contract where the investor is essentially the bank to the borrower, and secured by future profits. Whatever the underlying proposal, an above average return on investment is offered which is usually more than an investor could get in the regular market. Hence the allure.

The key here is the offering is privately held and purchased, and its price is not listed anywhere on a public media platform like a newspaper or brokerage house stock screener.

I have always voiced my opposition to privates, as I have seen too many people burned on a variety of these offerings.

The contracts can vary and the fine print and disclaimers can be many.

The contracts usually suggest a date to maturity, and a suggested rate of return, but the disclaimers and fine print may give all sort of “outs” to the offering entity. The contracts that I have seen certainly have addressed the owner’s interests over the investors, at least in my experience.

What can go wrong is obviously the issue. Some of the problems I have seen are plummeting prices in energy holdings, a real estate crash in property portfolios, defaults on the mortgages or private bonds, or an overall stock market crash or interest rate spike, which stresses out issuing company balance sheets. Dividends or payments also might stop or decrease, or the maturity date may be postponed (all legally of course due to the fine print).

The ramifications to the investor then revert back to all those disclaimers and fine print he or she may not have bothered to read.

The question I always ask is if market rates are say 2% to borrow money from a traditional bank or lending institution, why is the borrower paying you a much higher rate?

What you get paid also may not be counting the “take” for the selling agent which can be healthy. That means the borrower is paying even more than you’re getting.

Usually any entity paying above market rates are doing so because they can’t get money in the regular lending market. Not a good sign.

In other words, the risk involved from the borrower is higher than normal and therefore the investor is bearing the brunt of the increased risk.

In conclusion, with few exceptions such as lending funds for a sound and local second mortgage, I am of the opinion that most alternatives are not a good idea.

Marc Cuniberti holds a B.A in Economics with honors from San Diego State University and is the host of Money Matters carried on 66 stations nationwide. California Insurance LIc# 0L34249. Call him at 530-559-1214 or visit http://www.moneymanagementradio.com