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Assemblyman Berryhill Praises Enterprise Zones at Stockton Steel

Assemblyman Bill Berryhill was a guest speaker at an event held at Stockton Steel as reported in the Central Valley Business Journal:

On September 26, Stockton Steel welcomed 250 guests to the company’s main office and 40 acre yard filled with steel to celebrate Steel Day.

“Steel Day’s been in effect for three years and Stockton Steel’s participated in all of them,” said the company’s President Doug Griffin. “We’ve been here in Stockton for forty years and I’ve been with the company for thirty-two of them.”

Stockton Steel is part of the Herrick Corporation which also owns San Bernardino Steel, has an office in San Ramon and a southern California sales office.

The Herrick Corporation is currently celebrating its own landmark: the anniversary of 90 years in business.

The Stockton Steel location also has a massive, 165,000 square foot roofed facility where, said Griffin, “most of the work is done” by the 170 steel work employees. The company also employs 60 in the business office.

Stockton’s facility also has more than 50,000 square feet of outside fabrication space where automated equipment saw, cut, drill, burn and camber materials before they enter the shop which can produce 40,000 to 50,000 tons of fabricated structural steel annually.

Between the two locations Herrick has fabricated and erected more than two-million tons of steel.

“We take pride in the number of individuals we’ve hired, trained and promoted from the local community,” Griffin said. “Stockton Steel has many long-term people working here.”

“They are focused on hiring locally and purchasing their products locally,” said Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston. “What a great model Stockton Steel is for all Stockton businesses. We are fortunate to have Stockton Steel in our community.”

Stockton Steel fabricates steel and erects buildings with structural steel. Among the company’s projects are San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal, the recently completed terminal at Sacramento International and a huge terminal project at Los Angeles International.

“The majority of our work is airport terminals and hospitals,” Griffin said.

Both the Stockton plant and the San Bernardino facility operate within California Enterprise Zones, about which guest speaker Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, said, “Enterprise zones are one of the last keys for job creation in the Valley and they have been effective in reducing poverty levels and increasing income and wages.”

He said Herrick’s Stockton Steel and the San Joaquin Enterprise Zone “have been a great example of how beneficial this program can be. Herrick Steel has added 78 employees in just the last year due in large part to the benefits it’s received form the EZ program.”

Berryhill noted that such examples of enterprise zone success need to be shown to policy makers in Sacramento as a demonstration of “programs working the way they were intended.”

Despite its statewide and national impact on the steel construction industry, Johnston said, “Stockton Steel may be on of the most under-celebrated economic engines in our community. It was great to be part of their celebration and to learn more about the steel business.”

She was particularly impressed by the company’s “expanding operations during some of the most challenging and difficult times in our history, providing products to local construction projects.”

One of those local construction projects is the $900 million, 1.2 million square foot inmate medical facility southeast of Stockton that will provide diagnostic care and treatment for inmates needing physical or mental healthcare.

The facility’s construction was mandated by a federal court order that mandated the state improve health treatments and overcrowding in prisons.

A major element in subsequent agreements is that local contractors and suppliers be used as much as possible, an element that the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce and other local groups and interested parties demanded and fought furiously to be included.

“The city, county and the chamber worked together to have as many local venders working on this as possible,” said Doug Wilhoit, Executive Manger of the Chamber. “It was a very positive outcome resulting from a great deal of hard work.” The venders will be selected from within a 50 mile radius of Stockton and while this isn’t exactly local, businesses in the immediate area will receive consideration and can bid for the work.

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