Cathie Anderson: Disabled vet builds $4 million business in Rocklin
07/22/2014 12:00 AM
07/21/2014 9:38 PM
Disabled U.S. Marine veteran Dave Hornbeck is still doing reconnaissance, but now he’s scouting business opportunities for his own company, Rocklin’s Global Blue DVBE.
Three years ago, Hornbeck teamed up with two friends – Jeff Jordeson and Mike Terpstra – to found a small firm that got off the ground by supplying on-call workers to big companies such as Xerox or Verizon. During economic uncertainty and rapid technological change, companies looking for flexibility on staffing turn to firms like Global Blue to provide trained independent contractors at a moment’s notice.
Global Blue got its first crack at doing business with Xerox and Verizon because of its designation as a disabled veteran business enterprise. By law, state agencies must try to give at least 3 percent of their contracts to firms owned by disabled veterans.
Hornbeck and his partners met with success doing consulting work with Verizon on the 911 network and by supplying call-center workers to Xerox for the California LifeLine program, which offers discounted residential landlines to low-income residents. Global Blue’s revenue has doubled in each of the last two years to $4 million last year. The company has poured some of the profits into developing systems that build upon their knowledge of what first responders want and need.
For instance, Global Blue is selling a system that will let utilities and other companies offer cellphone alerts to customers in the event of gas leaks, power outages or other emergencies. Hornbeck also cultivated a partnership with Phoenix’s 3D System Integrators, which developed a cost-effective way to render detailed building plans and 3D models from high-resolution photographs and lasers. Often, Hornbeck said, a building has been renovated, but no comprehensive plans exist. First responders need as much information as possible if there’s an emergency at a school or other critical infrastructure.
“The better picture you have of what you’re headed into, it’s a lot better for how you plan and respond,” Hornbeck said. “Even knowing how the doors lay out can make the difference to success or failure.”
Delivering custom boxes
About a month ago, Farm Fresh To You, which has operations in the Capay and Imperial valleys, revamped its business operations and started delivering customized produce boxes to thousands of customers in Northern California.
The change affected all aspects of the business: farming, harvesting, cooling, packing, procurement and delivery, said Thaddeus Barsotti, who owns the business with his brothers Freeman Barsotti and Noah Barnes. The first big change was creating a new database, so that customers could log in, view what was scheduled and then shop for substitutions they wanted. This consumer option keeps Farm Fresh To You competitive.
Once the database was updated, Barsotti said, Farm Fresh developed a system to ensure the right products were pulled and packed for each order.
“The last set of adjustments needed to accomplish customizations was a change in our supply chain process,” Barsotti told me. “It took some time for us to adjust our relationships with our farm and the many farms we work with to ensure that we bring in the exact amount of produce that is being requested.”
Farm Fresh To You has partners who provide artisinal products – Solana Gold’s apple cider vinegar or classic dill pickles from Say Hay Farms in Woodland, for instance. It also has growers offering specialty crops such as rice, flowers, honey, olive oil and nuts.
The company’s technological revolution will continue next year when the Barsotti-Barnes clan expects to introduce a new app for smartphones.
Whither Waffle Barn?
Bee reader Larry McClure was driving down Fair Oaks Boulevard when he noticed that the long-established Waffle Barn was missing from the streetscape near Marconi Avenue in Carmichael.
“I was aware of the strip center renovation but had no idea the restaurant was going down,” McClure wrote in an email.
Restaurateurs Roger and Marsha Russ did not return a phone call about the closure. They still operate a Waffle Barn at 1050 Pleasant Grove Blvd. in Roseville, but it appears they may have served their last waffle in Carmichael. The location closed in early May after 15 years in business.
Developer Allan Davis said building codes had changed so much that he had to demolish the strip center rather than renovate it. He and his wife, Nancy Emerson-Davis, are constructing Milagro Centre at 6241 Fair Oaks Blvd. to include an events center and a public market. Davis said he spoke to Roger Russ prior to starting the work and expressed hope that he would return: “I told him, ‘If you get your plans together, we can demolish the building, have all the permits ready to go and rebuild the building. You’ll be up and running in like six months hopefully if everything’s OK.’ ”
Davis said he never heard back from the Russes and is now uncertain whether it would be wise to lease space to a restaurant since the event center and public market will need so much parking.
About This BlogCathie Anderson connects you to local businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits by gathering insights and strategies from business leaders of large companies as well as small startups. She's been preparing for this assignment for years, with positions that include assistant business editor at The Detroit News and The Dallas Morning News, and business editor and features editor at The Sacramento Bee. Contact her at email@example.com or 916-321-1193. Twitter: @CathieA_SacBee.
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