OLIVIA GARCIA: Hispanic business conference to examine issues impacting local industries, employees

From cyber security and health care to finance and social media, the 22nd annual Hispanic Business Conference and Expo will be examining a variety of topics through its business workshops starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Doubletree Hotel.

The event is organized by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to focus on key issues facing local business industries and professionals, said Jay Tamsi, CEO/president of the KCHCC. It is sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, San Joaquin Community Hospital and Kaiser Permanente.

“The hope is to connect local businesses with other businesses and working professionals and create a healthy dialogue on relevant workplace issues, such as health care, social media, cyber security and transportation,” Tamsi said. “As technology evolves, health care needs change, and social media becomes an active platform for consumers, including millennials, the Hispanic chamber felt it was important to explore these issues and start the conversation to assist our local business community as they navigate through these areas and others.”

In one example, local bankers will serve on a panel to discuss financial strategies for success as businesses consider expansion or entrepreneurs take a step forward to start their own business ventures. Two workshops will explore health care topics for consumers and businesses. Another panel will be devoted to energy, oil, agriculture and water.

The conference kicks off at 1 p.m. with a series of nine business workshops that run until 4 p.m. Afterward, until 7 p.m., the conference will take a lighter tone with an exhibitor and expo, networking and entertainer Paul Rodriguez making a guest appearance.

Contacted by phone, the actor and comedian said he is looking forward to making a visit to the conference. He says he regularly visits Bakersfield through his comedy concerts but has also often passed through the area on his way to visit family in Los Angeles and Fresno.

“I’m there to entertain,” Rodriguez said. “I like Bakersfield a lot. It’s been very, very good to me. Just about every year, I show up there and the nice people of Bakersfield do me the favor of coming out and buying tickets” to concerts.

As for other entertainment projects, Rodriguez said he is currently involved in two. One is an action-thriller film called “If” to be directed by Mario Van Peeples. Rodriguez said the movie is also a dark comedy that takes a controversial look at guns in America.

The second one is underway, a TV family sitcom to be piloted that will allow Rodriguez to pair up with his son, American professional street skateboarder and actor Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez Jr. and actor/comedian Cheech Marin.

The show is called “Three Generations,” where the three move in together as grandfather, father and son into the home of the youngest. Rodriguez said NBC recently signed the deal and production will be underway to shoot the pilot.

As for the business conference, Rodriguez quipped he may learn more from the conference attendees who are making strides in their profession or business than him giving business advice. However, chamber officials say Rodriguez’s entrepreneurial work in the entertainment industry can lend advice to local start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Millennials, for instance, are a growing consumer and business base. One panel will be examining how this generation is changing the face of consumerism and business.

“We are looking forward to a successful event,” Tamsi said. “It keeps growing every year.”

Tickets to the conference are $10 and can be purchased by contacting the KCHCC at 633-5495, visiting the chamber’s Facebook page or emailing [email protected]

YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT: Twenty Kern County youth were recently honored in Bakersfield for their accomplishments during the Devil Pups Youth Program for America.

The Kern County Veterans Service Department honored the youth who graduated earlier this month for the youth program at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Established in the mid-1950s, the Devil Pups youth program focuses on “growth through challenge” and is a 10-day encampment at Camp Pendleton, said Dick Taylor, director of the Veterans Service Department.

The youth vie for selection into the program, which is at no cost to them, to spend a number of days in educational lectures on leadership, confidence and respect, among other things, and physical fitness activities, such as hikes in steep terrain, swimming and close order drill.

Youth come from different parts of the southwestern states. The Kern County youth who graduated from the program a few weeks ago were Christian Douglas, Austin Duhm, Brandon Elizalde-Lopez, Eddie Estevez, Alexander Gerber, Cody Hayes, Brandon Lawrence, Jasmine Licea, Rodrigo Maldonado, Nadia Marquez, Arriana Monroy, Brandon Peffer, Jimmy Ramirez, Colton Rowe, Martha Sanchez, Jacob Shepard, Luke Smith, Gabe Smith, Taylor Sparks and Krista Lynn Witten.

These are high school students with plans to go to college or pursue a first responder-related career.

At the Bakersfield event, the youth received several recognitions from local public officials. One, Estevez, was also honored for earning the top Physical Fitness Achievement Award from the program. Estevez aspires to attend college and run track after high school.

The Devil Pups name is in reference to Devil Dogs, a term describing the resilient spirit of Marines during World War I.


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