CREW Silicon Valley Presents: Silicon Valley Economic Development Panel

We were very pleased to be the program sponsor for the February meeting of CREW Silicon Valley. (

Christine Velasquez of AEI Consultants was chosen to be the moderator with three distinguished guests from local municipalities. Christina walked the panelist through questions regarding new developments, trends and their outlook for the new year.

Kim Walesh, Chief Strategist and Director of Economic Development for San Jose, gave a compelling argument for the pent up growth needs in the area and the desire to work together with surrounding cities to make Silicon Valley, regardless of city limits, the place for thriving high wage jobs. Ms. Walesh discussed the changing demographics of the area, which are projected to dramatically effect housing and workspace needs going forward.

Two segments of the population projected for dramatic growth are single, educated, under 35, professionals and the aging demographic moving into active retirement living. Highly visible national sports teams, cultural centers, effective mass transit and small single bedroom/studio apartment living spaces are all regarded as important factors in the competitive development of San Jose.

One of Ms. Walesh’s most humorous, and perhaps telling, comments reminding us of the time in our youth when we all just couldn’t wait to get our driver’s licenses. We dreamt about it, clipped pictures of our favorite cars and pestered our parents. However, the generation coming up wants to avoid driving and seems to do everything possible to delay getting that once coveted driver’s license. This generation overwhelmingly wishes to live close to work in small low maintenance units.

Ruth Shikada, Economic Development Officer at City of Santa Clara, echoed much of Ms. Walesh’s assessments and added that the city is working hard on the new stadium build and there will likely be some delays in services throughout the city departments as they work hard to meet deadlines on the build. The term “halo effect” was referenced several times in relationship to the larger projects in the area namely the new 49er stadium. The surrounding cities are fielding inquiries related to growth in supporting services such as hotels and hospitality. Ms. Shikada referenced that transportation issues around the stadium are the most pressing issues to be addressed in the coming months.

Connie Verceles, Economic Development Manager at the City of Sunnyvale, came with a message of service. Ms. Verceles presented strongly that the core focus of the city from the top down is to provide excellent service in all dealing with the public and business communities. Ms. Verceles noted that their most interesting and exciting trend has been the growth in manufacturing and R&D. Automotive R&D is very much alive in Sunnyvale with BMW, Audi and Nissan creating a presence in the market.

Overall the general consensus was that good growth is here and continuing. Solid mass transit options linking multiple types of transportation modes is critical to the overall success of growth initiatives and will require a collaborative effort of great proportion to get to the right solutions in place.

There was one somber note in the lively discussion: Each member of the panel responded to a question from the audience inquiring how each city is dealing with the absence of the Redevelopment Agency dissolved in early 2012. To which there were no good answers other than they are doing the best they can with what little is offered through the federal government in relation to incentives for affordable housing builds.

The CREW Silicon Valley board put together an outstanding lunch hosted at the Capital Club in San Jose with a lively and informative panel. The even was well attended with an estimated 120 attendees. It was a great honor to be the program sponsor for such an exceptional event.

Posted on September 23, 2015 .

Facilities management is a workplace trend for 2013

We are happy to see facilities management recognized and earning a place at the strategic planning table, according to this year's Workplace Trends 2013 Report.

At Tashcon we are very familiar with the value of leadership at the C-level within facilities management and real estate. Leaders empowering their team with a clear vision and supporting procedures are successfully shaping the overall efficiency and productivity of their organization.

As a service based builder we are a critical support to the strategic objectives of our clients. When the leadership in the organization is clear we are able to be impactful in the tactical execution. We are proud to support the teams making a difference in the productivity of the organization and the workforce satisfaction and retention.

According to Sodexo’s COO & Market President, Michael Norris “This
year’s report takes a comprehensive look at what is driving efficiency, development
and satisfaction in the workplace, and offers a unique perspective on what is
essential to organizations to help them be productive and grow.”

The 2013 report identifies the following trends:

  1. The Built Environments Crucial Role in Organization Performance
  2. Superstar Recruitment – the Power of Community
  3. Inspiring a Connection to People, Community and Brand Through CSR
  4. A Contemporary View of Inclusion and its Effect of Psychological Health
  5. 21st Century Mentoring
  6. Thriving in the Cloud
  7. Ushering in the New Era of Recognition
  8. Facilities Management: A Strategy, Not a Tactic
  9. Data Reporting OUT; Predictive Modeling IN
  10. International Design and Construction; a Shifting Paradigm
  11. The Changing Office…Literally
  12. Integration as THE Solution

Page 40 of the Workplace Trends Report provides an in depth read on the facilities management portion.

On another note, We found the following statistic interesting as we are always on the look out for great talent:

  • Seven out of ten employers report having successfully hired a candidate through social media—up from 58% in 2010. (page 14)

The full report can be accessed here:


Posted on February 4, 2013 .

Steve Jobs was right: Reasons don't matter

Steve Jobs gave employees a little speech when they were promoted to Vice President at Apple, according to Adam Lashinsky in an article in Fortune.

Lashinsky calls it the "Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President."

Jobs told the VP that if the garbage in his office is not being emptied regularly for some reason, he would ask the janitor what the problem is. The janitor could reasonably respond by saying, "Well, the lock on the door was changed, and I couldn't get a key."

An understandable excuse for why the janitor couldn't do his job. As a janitor, he's allowed to have excuses.

"When you're the janitor, reasons matter," Jobs told newly minted VPs, according to Lashinsky.

"Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering," said Jobs, adding, that Rubicon is "crossed when you become a VP."

You have no excuse for failure. You are now responsible for any mistakes that happen.

At Tashcon we are awed and inspired by greatness and try every day to live up to that philosophy.

Our condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Steve Jobs.


Posted on October 6, 2011 .

The desire to excel

When nothing else works, try this

From Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, an anecdote about how Charles Schwab wordlessly motivated the workers in one of his steel mills.

Charles Schwab had a mill manager whose people weren't producing their quota of work.

"How is it," Schwab asked him, "that a manager as capable as you can't make this mill turn out what it should?"

"I don't know," the manager replied. "I've coaxed the men, I've pushed them, I've sworn and cussed, I've threatened them with damnation and being fired. But nothing works. They just won't produce."

This conversation took place at the end of the day, just before the night shift came on. Schwab asked the manager for a piece of chalk, then, turning to the nearest man, asked: "How many heats did your shift make today?"


Without another word, Schwab chalked a big figure six on the floor, and walked away.

When the night shift came in, they saw the "6" and asked what it meant.

"The big boss was in here today," the day people said.

"He asked us how many heats we made, and we told him six. He chalked it down on the floor."

The next morning Schwab walked through the mill again. The night shift had rubbed out "6" and replaced it with a big "7."

When the day shift reported for work the next morning, they saw a big "7" chalked on the floor. So the night shift thought they were better than the day shift did they? Well, they would show the night shift a thing or two. The crew pitched in with enthusiasm, and when they quit that night, they left behind them an enormous, swaggering "10." Things were stepping up.

Shortly this mill, which had been lagging way behind in production, was turning out more work than any other mill in the plant.

The principle?

Let Charles Schwab say it in his own words: "The way to get things done," says Schwab, "is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel."

The desire to excel! The challenge! Throwing down the gauntlet! An infallible way of appealing to people of spirit.

Posted on May 18, 2011 .

"I don't want any change orders on this job!"

As contractors we hear this refrain frequently. The too easy, flippant response is if you don't want change orders then don't change anything. Clients don't want to hear flippant responses. They want seasoned professionals to tell them how to get the project built on time, to the needs of the user and within the budget required.

How then to avoid change orders?

  1. Spend the time and money to get really good plans. As a client Home Depot is famous for having extremely detailed drawings which show exactly what they want, where they want it. Every item of the store is laid out, detailed and specified. They've built enough of the stores to know exactly what they want and it all has been reduced to the prototype drawings. Money spent up front on good quality drawings reaps rewards during construction.
  2. Know what you want. It is far cheaper to spend the time up front with the facility user to determine quantity, quality and schedule for their needs than to scramble at the last minute to add square footage, power, lighting, compressors, widgets, or whatever it is that the user demands. A proper planning process with the people who are actually going to occupy the space reaps huge dividends at the time of construction.
  3. Start early. There is an old racing adage that goes: Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go? The same building built at a breakneck pace costs far more than one built to a schedule that allows proper time for ordering, fabricating and installing the various components of your facility. You can get a VW Bug to go 150 MPH, it is far easier to leave for the store ten minutes earlier.
  4. Be realistic if you can't spend the time in design, planning and scheduling. Some projects start late due to elements outside your control. It takes a lot of time and effort to get ten pounds of stuffing in a five pound turkey. Carry a reasonable contingency, whether owner controlled or contractor controlled, and use it judiciously and often early. If you get to the end of the job and you're late delivering but haven't touched the contingency then why did you have it in the first place? Decide very early in the process: Do you want to be late but on budget or on time and over budget. The client is the best judge of which of the two unappetizing choices make the most sense.
  5. Cut, cut, cut. If you don't need something then it can be considered a luxury. There is no sin in dispensing with a luxury to pay for a necessity. Only you can define what is a necessity and what is a luxury.
Posted on March 4, 2011 .