Luc Robitaille & Ontario Reign Executives Address the Business Community During Private Luncheon
By Diara Fowler, Guest Writer for Inland Empire Business Journal
As the city of Ontario made history with its first-ever AHL All-Star Classic presented by the Ontario International Airport — the future is nothing but bright for the league, it’s players, and the community altogether. With all the prospects joining the organization, it has made an opportunity for huge growth and development for the players interacting within the game on and off the ice. This milestone for the American Hockey League (AHL) would not have been possible without all of its help from the Ontario Reign And LA Kings organizations and its business personnel that keep the show running and thriving.
The consciousness of hockey here in Southern California is on the rise. Every day more and more individuals are getting more involved, showing interest in the All-American sport. Hockey originally started back in Montreal Canada back in 1917. During a private luncheon for members of the business community, we heard many enthusiastic comments and excitement surrounding milestone events. “First ever all-star weekend here on the West Coast. It is such an honor to host the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic — the economic impact this has on the local economy is felt strongly. Very proud to be partnered with the AHL and Ontario Reign on this first-ever event. This is a milestone for the Inland Empire Region”, said Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce President — Edward Ornelas.
“Our main thing before growing the brand is growing the game of hockey. Ultimately my job is to make the sport of hockey more popular. The game of hockey is growing fast here within Southern California especially with the LA Kings and Ontario Reign pushing a bunch of our youth programs”, said Ontario Reign Business Development Executive — Andreas Torres.
NHL hall of fame player Luc Robitaille was also in attendance for the weekends exciting moment in history. The passion these kids have and overall youth is the future of the Ontario Reign and the LA King’s. “when we talk about what has Ontario done for the organization well, 3 years ago we had around 2-3 different prospects interested in joining our team, This year nine of our kids are playing within the world junior championship league which Intel’s some of the best players before 20 years of age” referenced Robitaille.
Just five years ago the American Hockey League president David Andrews made the decision to move existing teams from the East Coast to the West Coast, with that being said, California is now home to five professional hockey teams. The American Hockey League acknowledges the Bakersfield Condors, Ontario Reign, Stockton heat, San Jose Barracuda, and new expansion team in Palm Springs.
“I think the decision made to bring more teams down here to the West Coast helps the pacific region teams as they have a better feel and better draw to pick from and now players are closer to areas the teams are in. This concept makes hockey more National vs. just an East Coast sport”, said Business Development Manager at Securitas Security Christopher Blair.
“The American Hockey League is a developmental league, and the LA Kings have done a good job at installing winning as part of the developmental process. They want to teach players to win at this level and in a few years they’ll be ready for the NHL”, said Ontario Reign play-by-play broadcaster Cameron Close.
As the process is more than just hockey but building character along with the ways of positive influence and impact. “We don’t just teach our guys to be great hockey players, but at the same time, we want them to be good people. We know if you want to have a great organization you have to do things right on and off the ice, you have to be apart of the community. To be successful in the sports industry you must be a good teammate you cannot be an individual”, said Luc Robitaille.
Toyota Arena is home to the Ontario Reign and 2020’s AHL All-Star Classic. The games will take place in one of the best arenas in the country. “Back in 2016, the goal was to do a brand and name change, along with needing to improve food and beverages and guest experience here at the Toyota Arena.” So what are these improvements representing for the city of Ontario “the Reign has brought in over 1.2 million people through the door; food and beverage jumped from two million in revenue to eight million in revenue. We have more than 300 event dates on calendar here at our arena varying from sports to concerts — that would be impossible without partnerships and community involvement, along with our tentative partners which is a prime example of what we have here with the Ontario Reign”, said Michael Krouse, President & CEO of the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Embracing the Sun: The Simplest Wellness Hack for Busy Lives
So Many “Wellness Tips” So Little Time
Wellness Tips By Sarah Goudie, Nutrition Expert & Guest Writer for IEBJ
For many of us, managing all the “right” things amidst the chaos of daily life is not just overwhelming but also… let’s get real, feels almost like an impossible task! Navigating where to begin feels like finding a needle in a haystack, particularly when ads, influencer opinions, and well-intentioned suggestions from friends and family bombard us. Here’s the deal: We can’t do it ALL. Take a deep breath and let that sink in. We. Can’t. Do. It. All. Now, don’t misunderstand me; I’m 100% into discovering what works best and crafting a routine that caters to the health needs of each individual. But let’s face it: with the hectic schedules of entrepreneurs and business owners, finding time for it all feels like a constant challenge.
So, what’s my top recommendation? It’s all about soaking up the SUNSHINE!
Catch some rays between 8 am and 10 am daily, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes.
You may have heard before that our bodies have an internal clock. It’s called the circadian rhythm. At the heart of this rhythm is light. When we soak up natural light during the day, it’s like our bodies are taking cues from the sun to stay awake and alert. Our eyes catch that sunlight and shoot signals to the brain, giving it a little wake-up call. At the same time, our melatonin production, which is the sleep hormone, takes a back seat until about 12 hours later, when it kicks in and gets us ready for bed. It’s about syncing up with the natural light-dark cycle, like tuning into the right frequency for a good night’s sleep. Sunlight helps with sleep and dishes out Vitamin D, amps up energy and mental health, kicks stress to the curb, and boosts our immune system. *Quick note: Artificial light can mimic these signals, too, so be aware of screen time close to bedtime, as they can interfere with melatonin regulation.
How can you fit this into the daily grind?” Park a bit further from the office and enjoy some sun rays on your stroll. Take a breather outside during work breaks. Roll down that car window during rush hour. Do a lap around your workplace or hit the pavement after breakfast. And when outdoor time isn’t an option, consider snagging a red-light therapy lamp for a little biohacking boost.
So, instead of diving into the deep end with ALL the wellness trends this month, give this sunshine tip a whirl and see how it adds a sprinkle of vitality to your life!
Sarah passionately advocates for the intricate relationship between the mind and body. Her dedication to promoting vitality at the intersection of lifestyle medicine and nutrition inspires her exploration of biopsychology, epigenetics, and systemic belief systems within her PhD studies in Health Psychology. Sarah genuinely enjoys educating and guiding others, using an approach that is supportive and free of judgment. Recognizing the potential for shame in discussions about nutrition, she is committed to creating a supportive environment that encourages growth and progress. You can learn more about her work with approachable nutrition while visiting Murrieta Hot Springs Resort.
Partners in Action: How CalOSBA is bridging the gap in funding and resources for Inland Empire small businesses
By Josaline Cuesta, California Program Director, Small Business Majority & IEBJ Content Contributor
For Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), entrepreneurship has always been a core principle of her life. Her journey as an advocate for small businesses wasn’t built on textbooks, but on her family’s roots in small business ownership. As a young girl, she watched her grandmother empower and elevate Black women’s presences by styling their hair and instilling confidence in their personhood. She witnessed the direct impact of small businesses on community members in real time, and that’s always stayed with Tara.
As a key partner of Small Business Majority, she stands as a champion for the dreamers and risk-takers; the pillars of the communities across California and in the Inland Empire. I chatted with her to share more about her work at CalOSBA, what entrepreneurs can expect when they meet with a CalOSBA advisor, and the resources and community support available to help boost entrepreneurship in the Golden State.
Tell us about CalOSBA’s role in the small business community.
“California has the biggest small business community in the country, accounting for 4.1 million small businesses in 2023 alone. The overwhelming majority have no employees at all, except themselves, which means they don’t have a Board of Directors, expensive consultants, and they definitely don’t have lobbyists. I take my role as their advocate seriously, talking with and listening to small business owners from up and down the state. During the pandemic, we were under a very bright spotlight, administering nearly $5 billion in direct relief funding and we’re proud of the grant programs we still oversee. But that’s only a small part of what we do at CalOSBA.
My team connects small business owners to information and resources to help them get started, manage their business and, most importantly, to grow. If they’re looking for help, we want to be the first door they knock on. In addition, we offer Outsmart Disaster training, which focuses on how to mitigate risks associated with natural disasters and recovery avenues available to them. I always say the flagship of our office is our support for the statewide network of Small Business Centers, providing 1:1 business assistance and training for small business owners of all industries and in dozens of languages. In addition, supporting partners that deliver these services–all the federally funded centers like the Small Business Development Centers and the Women’s Business Centers but also Chambers of Commerce and other nonprofits—is a core function of my office. And a big source of pride because we know what a difference they make for their clients.”
What can small business owners expect from meeting with a California Small Business Center advisor?
“Small business owners can expect to meet someone who is fully invested in them. Our Centers cover the full spectrum of business needs, from writing a business plan and obtaining the right permits and licenses, to finding capital, planning a succession strategy and marketing to e-commerce. Our business advisors provide the experience and the objective perspective to help business owners optimize their best assets: ideas, energy, and ability to keep adapting and learning. And they do it because they love helping other people succeed. What’s more, business ownership can become isolating and it may be challenging for entrepreneurs to find assistance. But they don’t have to go at it alone–and they shouldn’t, when these no-cost and low-cost services are available to them.”
What’s the most rewarding part of your role at CalOSBA?
“I always say I have the best job in the state. And it’s because I frequently have the honor to watch someone’s dream come true. I love a ribbon-cutting ceremony–Every time, big or small. It means someone dreamed of accomplishing something and worked hard for it: They opened the doors to their business, they made a sale, and hopefully they will hire their first employee and then it’s off to the races. But no matter what happens to that business, that ribbon-cutting is a milestone they made happen for themselves. There are many other events I get invited to, where you can just see the hope and pride, and even fear in their faces. I’m often overwhelmed by the sheer emotion of it, and I’m always humbled that I get to participate in that person’s big milestone.”
What are some new programs that can benefit small business owners in the Inland Empire?
“The number one question my office gets asked is how to access small business financing. To help address this key need, we’re launching the Technical Assistance for Capital Readiness program this February. The program is part of a bigger effort to fill well-known funding gaps in the state to benefit very small businesses and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI). Through investments from the U.S. Treasury, the State Treasurer’s Office and IBank, the program is going to support lenders to facilitate “high risk” loans that they normally would not approve.
In addition to supporting lenders, my office also received $25.3 million in U.S. Treasury funding to start the new Capital Readiness network. The Capital Readiness Coaches in this network will help business owners get ready for the lending marketplace, help them make the best choices in a high interest-rate environment, and optimize the use of the capital once they receive it. The network is also designed to help spread the word about this opportunity to these SEDI-owned businesses, and some of those partners will be focused on supporting the Inland Empire small business ecosystem.”
How can business owners get in touch with CalOSBA?
“That’s simple! Check out calosba.ca.gov and sign up for our monthly newsletter, where I write a column and showcase success stories from our network, along with deadlines and updates on grant and workforce support programs. We’re also on social media, so I would encourage business owners to check out all of our channels.”
BNBuilders’ Scott Augustine Leads the Company’s Expansion into the Inland Empire
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Residing in the Inland Empire for nearly a decade, Scott seamlessly integrates his professional expertise with a personal dedication to regional progress. With an extensive 20+ year career in construction, he has played a vital role in shaping BNBuilders’ presence in the Inland Empire’s landscape. Notably, his impactful contributions to UC Riverside and his current involvement in the development of the Chámmakilawish Pechanga School for the Pechanga Band of Indians. This endeavor reflects his commitment to projects that not only enhance the built environment but also contribute to local education and well-being.
Since joining BNBuilders in 2020, Scott has brought valuable knowledge and leadership to the team. His impressive professional qualifications underscore his dedication to safety, sustainability, and maintaining the highest standards in construction practices.
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