Cathie Anderson

Communications veterans leave APCO to found Sacramento firm

After 20 years managing public relations firm APCO Worldwide’s Sacramento office, Jose Hermocillo teamed up with longtime colleague Jerry Azevedo to open up their own firm earlier this month in the Golden State’s capital.

“Over time … I’ve gotten more and more work doing crisis communications with Jerry,” Hermocillo said, “and those types of projects come and go pretty quickly depending on what the nature of the engagement is, so what we wanted to do is have a practice that is largely focused on crisis communications, which doesn’t take a lot of people, and still have clients who need help with issue management. … For example, we represent the Sacramento Hotel Association and have been engaged by them to help on the convention center expansion issue.”

Azevedo, who joined APCO in 2001, oversaw public affairs programs and provided communications consulting for clients in the public sector. The new firm, Hermocillo Azevedo Strategic Communications, expects to contract with APCO on some work.

Bill Romanelli, who joined APCO in 1996, will continue to be the face of APCO in the Sacramento market, but he noted that APCO Worldwide is forging offices from Seattle to San Diego into a single West Coast team. …

More for triathletes: As a triathlete, Rich Burns wanted a small store where he could buy all the equipment he needed to swim, bike and run at events. When he couldn’t find one locally, he decided to create one and opened Rocklin Endurance Sports in August 2013.

His gamble has slowly paid off. Burns relocated his shop to a larger space at 2217 Sunset Blvd. two weeks ago, growing to 2,400 square feet, from 1,800 at his former home just a block away. Burns said it took a while for triathletes to learn about his store.

“Our business has gotten better, so we needed a little more space,” he told me. “And, honestly, the space we were at before, the parking was a battle for our customers. Where we are now the parking is much better.”

Since Burns became a business owner, he said, he hasn’t gotten to participate in a triathlon, so he lives vicariously through his customers. …

1+1=growth: Attorneys Sung and Irene Kim have both left practicing the law and are each running a Kumon Math and Reading Center: Sung on Arden Way in the Arden Arcade area and Irene at Z Square Center in Rancho Cordova.

Sung said he and his wife had always wanted to own two Kumon locations, but they waited until the Rancho Cordova center at 11013 Olson Drive got off the ground before opening the second at 3000 Arden Way in mid-September. Sung, 37, got an introduction to teaching as an undergrad at Williams College, when he did a teaching practicum at a high school in the Bronx.

“It was definitely an eye-opening experience, considering we had metal detectors at every entrance,” he said. “And there were certainly a lot of challenges at that school, but it was definitely very enjoyable on my end.”

Kumon offered Sung an opportunity to return to something that he loved, he said, and he and his wife liked the franchise’s approach to tutoring and enrichment.

“We teach kids how to add, how to multiply all through calculus, but really the most important lesson we teach is to nurture their abilities in what we call self-learning or independent learning,” Sung told me. “It’s almost the opposite of what traditional tutoring companies do, sitting down with you and taking you through each step. We actually actively avoid giving too much instruction, and we let the kids try to figure out stuff.”

When most students encounter new material that they’re unfamiliar with, they will either ask a classmate or a teacher to explain it to them, Sung said, but Kumon students study it and try to learn on their own. That kind of training will come in handy, Sung said, when they get to advanced math in high school or college or in the workplace.

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee