The Bakersfield Californian

Houston-based firm opens architectu­ral planning, design office in Bakersfiel­d


A Houston-based architectu­ral planning and design firm has opened a new office in Bakersfiel­d as part of its expansion in California.

PBK said the new office will allow the firm to serve local clients directly and support community causes and initiative­s while employing architects, engineers and estimators in Bakersfiel­d.

“Our local Bakersfiel­d team members collaborat­e with multiple clients in the region, and we look forward to announcing additional project partnershi­ps in the coming months,” Managing Partner for California Bob Lavey said in a news release.

The company added that its Bakersfiel­d team, led by Principal in Charge Rafael Ferreira, will plan and design Pre-K-12 schools, college and university buildings and municipal facilities such as courthouse­s and public parks.

The U.S. Department of Agricultur­e has granted $30 million to the Long Beachbased company working to convert the former Big West refinery on Rosedale Highway into a renewable diesel processing plant.

Global Clean Energy Holdings Inc. said the money will allow it to measure and validate the advantages of using the grain camelina as an “ultra-low carbon nonfood fuel feedstock” for the refinery.

Besides gauging the crop’s suitabilit­y as a feedstock, the grant is expected to help accelerate farmers’ adoption of camelina “without causing land-use change and while increasing carbon capture in the soil,” Global said in a news release Wednesday.

Initially expected to run on used cooking oil and rendered fats, the refinery project has encountere­d several setbacks and is now more than a year behind schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. The company that had agreed to buy renewable diesel produced there, ExxonMobil Oil Corp., recently backed out of the deal.

The Greater Bakersfiel­d Chamber has been awarded an inaugural HR Champion Award by the California Chamber of Commerce.

The award was created to recognize chambers that help their membership comply with the state’s labor and employment laws. On May 17, 16 chambers from around the state were honored for such efforts.

“This recognitio­n affirms our commitment to helping businesses in our region navigate California’s complex labor law landscape,” the local chamber’s interim president and CEO, Hillary Haenes, said in a news release.

The chamber noted it hosts HR-related programs sponsored by Young Wooldridge LLP and LeBeau-Thelen LLP, among other resources.

Anyone interested in forming a new business is invited to attend a free webinar starting at 10 a.m. today.

Hosted by SCORE Central Valley, the online event will go over the basics of evaluating business ideas. It will give participan­ts an overview of the skills and tools needed, as well as the pros and cons of launching a new enterprise.

A news release said the presentati­on will examine the fundamenta­ls of business formation, organizati­on, marketing, cash flow and sources of capital.

Registrati­on can be handled online at­ley/event/webinar-session-1start-basics-simple-stepsstart­ing-your-business.

A free workshop set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday will teach participan­ts how to maximize Social Security benefits.

Hosted by Safe 1 Credit Union and led by Moneywise Wealth Management Financial Advisor Justin Leland, the event will go over ways married couples can enhance lifetime payouts. Topics will include the impact of working and future benefits, spousal and survivor benefits, taxability of Social Security income and Medicare.

The event will take place at Bakersfiel­d Christian High School, 12775 Stockdale Highway, and will be streamed live on the internet. To register, call 877-7233128 or send an email to

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