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PARTNERSHIP EFFORT RETURNS INDUSTRY TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 Southern California Edison, South Coast Air Quality Management
 District, and California Trade and Commerce Agency team up for
 Business Retention
 LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when companies are considering relocations or expansions outside California because of its business climate, a partnership involving Southern California Edison, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the California Trade and Commerce Agency is helping turn the economic tide in Southern California.
 Brought together by the California Trade and Commerce Agency, Edison and AQMD joined forces to successfully re-establish a San Gabriel Valley furniture manufacturer that had moved more than 50 percent of its operations to Mexico in 1989.
 "The problems businesses face are multidimensional, and it's going to take teamwork like this to solve those problems. This is exactly the kind of coordinated effort Governor Wilson is striving for through his Team California," according to Laurel Shockley, deputy director of the California Trade and Commerce Agency. "We are all committed to sharing the experience and expertise needed to keep the Southern California economy viable and growing in the face of increasing global competition."
 Barry Sedlik, Edison manager of Business Retention, says state figures show California has lost 800,000 jobs since the recession started -- about 10 percent of them from company relocations. "We all learned some hard lessons from the recession, and that's why we're proud to see the beginnings of a turnaround through these business retention partnerships," Sedlik said. "After all, Edison's future depends on the economic health of the communities we serve."
 Because of the new teamwork, the M & J Desk Co. recently moved its three furniture coating lines back into its City of Industry, Calif. facility, adding an immediate 30 jobs and future expansion possibilities.
 "It was a real team effort to reunite the company's entire operation here in the basin," said Nick Nikkila, director of Economic Development for the AQMD. "We found ways to insure their economic viability and to protect the environment. This success points the way for a wave of future partnerships among California's public and private companies and agencies. We all realize that the economy and the environment are inextricably related. They both have to be protected and nutured."
 Adolfo Agramonte, executive vice president of M & J Desk Co., said his company moved to Mexico to avoid the high worker's compensation costs and restrictive air quality requirements. In 1992, the company began to look at options outside of Mexico.
 "We explored reconsolidation in the Los Angeles area," said Agramonte, "but we didn't know if we could do it, or what we would have to do to accomplish the move. So we asked for help."
 After talking to M & J's management, the California Trade and Commerce Agency quickly pulled members from Edison's Business Retention group and AQMD's Economic Development Office to collaborate on the project. During the next few months, the team worked to find some economical solutions for the furniture company:
 -- Coating specialists at Edison's Customer Technology
 Application Center worked with the AQMD's Technology
 Advancement Office, Sherwin Williams Paints, and M & J
 management to identify clean coatings that would meet the
 company's quality standards and reduce their volatile organic
 compound emissions.
 -- AQMD converted the permit from a coating usage limit to an
 emissions limit. This allows the company to use an increased
 quantity of the new lower-emitting coatings.
 -- AQMD met with the company on-site to evaluate their permit
 requirements, then walked them through the permit process
 until the necessary permits were issued.
 -- Edison area representatives audited the company's local
 facility for energy management and conservation opportunities.
 -- Edison Business Retention representatives recommended the
 company explore more efficient furniture finish application
 technology to cut down on use of paints and lacquers and allow
 for future growth. Edison Clean Air Coatings program is
 providing a consultant to study the alternatives for the
 company.
 "We were surprised and pleased at the service and attention our problems received," said Agramonte. "Because of the quick team action, we got solutions that made our product even better, and we were able to re-establish our business back in Southern California."
 Edison, AQMD and the California Trade and Commerce Agency all agree that the partnership approach is the blueprint for the future.
 For more information on business retention programs, contact Southern California Edison Business Retention Division, 800-3-EDISON; AQMD Economic Development Division, 909-396-2660; or the California Trade and Commerce Agency, 818-568-9856.
 -0- 02/18/93
 /CONTACT: Pat Fedorko of Southern California Edison, 818-302-7962/


CO: Southern California Edison; South Coast Air Quality Management
 District; California Trade and Commerce Agency ST: California IN: UTL SU:


LS-SE -- LA045 -- 7984 02/18/93 14:35 EST
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 18, 1993
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