Friday, May 27, 2011

"ROC"-ing out with BHI's Norma Seville

BHI Accounting Manager and runner extraordinaire Norma Seville got a little muddy on May 21 participating in the inaugural ROC Race at the Del Mar Fairgrounds north of San Diego, CA.

ROC stands for Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge, and the race bills itself as a mix  between a military style training course and a game show full of wild obstacles throughout a 5K course. 


Below are some photos of Norma and her running partner / son Angel Seville.  Good job you guys!!











Here is a link to the event:  http://www.rocrace.com/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Siliken brings their sunshine to Tijuana

Spanish company Siliken, a provider of solar energy solutions, held the grand opening of their new facility in Tijuana Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Our company representatives were honored to have been invited to this event.

Among the special guests Tuesday were Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante Anchondo  and Baja California State Governor   Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan.

Assisting Siliken in establishing their facility in a tight time schedule was the "shelter company" BC Manufacturing.  Please feel to contact us if you would like more information about shelter companies and ways of entering into offshore manufacturing along the border or in the interior of Mexico.

Below are a few cell phone shots at the plant along with an article in Spanish on the plant opening.




http://www.oem.com.mx/elsoldetijuana/notas/n2082116.htm

Baja California
Inicia operaciones empresa Siliken

LA inversión de Siliken es un claro indicador de que la confianza de los inversionistas se ha recuperado.
El Sol de Tijuana
18 de mayo de 2011

por Adán Mondragón

Tijuana.- Con una inversión de 25 millones de dólares, la empresa española Siliken inició operaciones para la fabricación de módulos solares con una plantilla laboral de 180 empleados en su fase inicial.

"Esta apertura viene a confirmar que la crisis económica quedó atrás y es una buena noticia para el ambiente de negocios, cada semana estamos inaugurando arranques de operaciones, expansiones y hasta retorno de empresas como LG en Mexicali, al darse cuenta de la competitividad que ofrece Baja California", señaló en su mensaje el gobernador del estado José Guadalupe Osuna Millán.

Mencionó que la inversión de Siliken es un claro indicador de que la confianza de los inversionistas se ha recuperado y la entidad ha entrado a la fase de expansión que demanda el trabajo en equipo y coordinado para alcanzar mayores logros.

"Debemos mirar con esperanza el futuro, la apertura de esta empresa manda un buen mensaje en materia de generación de energía limpia y aprovechamiento de la energía renovable que nos pone una vez más a la vanguardia, como ocurre también con la planta eólica de La Rumorosa, también de una empresa española", destacó el mandatario estatal.

Subrayó que la Agenda Verde de Baja California arroja datos como que cerca del 50 por ciento de la energía que se consume en Baja California es limpia y además de ser competitivos en energía renovable, también el estado lo es con el cuidado del medio ambiente, en donde sobresalen proyectos como la tubería morada que con agua tratada permite la irrigación de áreas verdes y uso industrial.

Como parte del paquete de incentivos fiscales que puso en marcha el gobierno del estado, el Ejecutivo estatal entregó a Alfredo Puche, jefe de operaciones técnicas y fundador de Siliken, un cheque por 2.7 millones de pesos para hacerlo efectivo por la contratación de nuevos empleos.

En este sentido, Alfredo Puche informó que en una primera etapa fueron contratados 180 empleados de un total de 500 personas que integrarán la plantilla laboral, según proyecciones de la firma española que refrenda su confianza en la mano de obra de Tijuana.

"Es la quinta planta del mundo y la segunda en América la que hoy inauguramos con tres líneas de producción, desde febrero comenzaron las adecuaciones para crear una industria alrededor de la energía renovable con la purificación de silicio solar para el desarrollo de energía", puntualizó.

Por su parte, Jorge Molina, director general de operaciones de la planta Siliken, invitó a las autoridades estatales a trabajar en conjunto para que las celdas solares producidas en Baja California se queden en la entidad, sumado a las exportaciones previstas por la compañía.

"Vamos a adelantar el sueño con el apoyo de las autoridades, hoy estamos inaugurando un liderazgo con esta industria", dijo Jorge Molina.

Estuvieron presente el alcalde de Tijuana, Carlos Bustamante Anchondo; Alejandro Mungaray Lagarda, secretario de Desarrollo Económico del estado (Sedeco); Renato Sandoval Franco, secretario de Trabajo y Previsión Social; David Muñoz Andrade, director de la Secretaría de la Comisión Estatal de Energía.

Jacobo Ackerman, delegado de la Secretaría de Economía; Jaime González Luna, presidente de Deitac y Miguel Velazco Bustamante, secretario de Desarrollo Económico de Tijuana.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Press Enterprise article on Cross-Border Trucking

Below is a recent article published by the Press Enterprise on cross border trucking.  Bill Hay International's President, Tom VanMouwerik was interviewed for this piece.


Feel free to contact Tom if you have any questions regarding trucking into and out of Mexico.

http://www.pe.com/business/local/stories/PE_Biz_D_tariffs15.3d1e6d8.html


Cross-border trucking and tariffs -- hard to balance


 Download story podcast
10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, May 14, 2011
By JACK KATZANEK
The Press-Enterprise
The debate on whether to allow Mexican and American trucks access to the other countries' highways has been around for more than 15 years, ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement came into being.
About two months ago that controversy resurfaced when the Obama administration reached a deal with Mexican President Felipe Calderon to reinstate the program that will allow Mexican trucks to cross the border and deliver goods to distant American locations. If the deal is finalized, trucks registered in the United States will enjoy the same privilege.
A provision of that agreement that the U.S. government sees as crucial is the elimination of the retaliatory tariffs Mexico established when the U.S. abandoned a pilot program allowing cross-border trucking two years ago, which was seen as a violation of NAFTA. Starting in 2009, Mexico began charging about $2.5 billion on American exports, ranging from food products to toilet paper to cosmetics to slot machines.
David Bauman / The Press-Enterprise
Opponents of the plan are voicing the same arguments that were heard when NAFTA was signed in 1995. They say Mexican-owned and -operated trucks on American roads would pose a danger because the vehicles are not subject to the same safety and environmental standards and the drivers don't go through the same stringent training procedures.
Valerie Liese, president of Chino-based Jack Jones Trucking, said trucks registered in Mexico can, in many cases, ship loads cheaper because many costs, such as fuel and insurance, are cheaper there. On principle, Liese said she is not troubled by the trucks from Mexico.
"But they have to be able to know road signs and speak well enough to get around here. They're supposed to be able to communicate," said Liese, a former president of the California Trucking Association. "If there's a level playing field, I don't mind."
The current plan was published in the Federal Registry on April 13 and attempts to address those concerns. Mexican trucks would be fitted with GPS monitoring devices to ensure the drivers get the required rest. The operators would have to pass drug tests and prove they know enough English to safely navigate the roads.
Liese pointed out that the plan calls for the GPS systems to be installed at U.S. government expense.
"The government's not offering me any money to put them in my trucks," she said.
Trucks carrying goods from Mexico are currently allowed to enter the U.S. but are restricted to a 20-mile commercial zone. Within that zone, loads are transferred to American carriers and distributed all over the country.
The exception to that system was between 2007 and 2009, when a pilot program allowed about 100 Mexican trucking companies use of American roads outside the 20-mile zone. It was canceled in 2009 by a congressional amendment to an appropriations bill.
NAFTA-RELATED DISPUTE
In reinstating the program, the Obama administration is hoping to end the NAFTA-related dispute while helping firm up trade with Mexico. At $393 billion per year, Mexico is America's third-largest trading partner.
Matthew G. Lawrence, a spokesman for the office of United States Trade Representative, said in an email the new plan would reduce 50 percent of the Mexican tariffs when it is approved, which could happen later this month. The other 50 percent would be suspended when the first Mexican carrier is authorized to ship goods stateside.
A 30-day public comment period on the plan ended Friday. Comments can be read on www.regulations.gov, docket number FMCSA-2011-0097.
The spokesman declined to discuss any projections on how much the elimination of the tariff might help U.S. businesses.
Much of the effect in California has been on agricultural products, including dates, table grapes, lettuce and other crops grown in eastern Riverside County. Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau, said the tariff on table grapes, as high as 45 percent initially, cost growers 70 percent of their Mexican market.
Doug Goudie, director of international trade policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, said adding on that kind of tariff drives away customers and damages American producers. Goudie said he knows of one Mexican firm that is buying potato products grown in Canada, which he said was absurd because the products had to move through the U.S. to get to the destination.
"If you have to add 25 cents to every dollar for everything you're trying to sell, pretty soon a Chinese or a Canadian product looks a lot better," Goudie said.
"We're so close to the border, that's why companies there like us," says Steven Morgan, of Precision Stampings. "If it were easier to operate, it could help us grow."
OPPONENTS 'OUTRAGED'
The plan's opponents have not tempered their opposition. On the same day it was announced, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a statement saying they were "outraged," claiming it would cost independent truckers their livelihoods.
And, labor unions, usually a staunch political ally of President Barack Obama, have not softened on the plan either. They strongly opposed it 15 years ago and still do.
"It's a complete betrayal, in my opinion," said Randy Cammack, secretary-treasurer of Rialto-based Teamsters Local 63, which represents thousands of Inland drivers.
Cammack said not only would it cost American drivers their jobs, but some would be forced to operate on Mexican roads and streets dominated by dangerous drug cartels. He added that the claim this would be a significant shot in the arm for manufacturing is a red herring.
"Removing tariffs on American goods won't help," Cammack said. "At one time, 20 years ago, yes, it would have been good. But practically all the major manufacturing has already gone off to other countries."
Precision Stampings Inc., a Beaumont company that fabricates small metal parts for automotive, computer and aviation industries, among others, said direct shipping to Mexico could help control his costs by simplifying shipping, said Steve Morgan, the president and general manager.
Morgan said he'd like to add a sales manager to deal with customers in Nogales, Mexico, instead of using someone on the American side.
"We're so close to the border, that's why companies there like us," Morgan said. "If it were easier to operate, it could help us grow."
'A SYSTEM THAT WORKS'
The system of transferring loads after a short drive from the border might seem cumbersome.
But Tom VanMouwerik, president of Bill Hay International, a San Diego-based transportation brokerage that specializes in Mexican-American shipments, said it's simpler than it might appear.
Also, the processes involved, which run from documentation to inspections, would not go away if and when the U.S. rules are changed.
"They've been talking about this for years, and in the meantime, we've developed a system that works," VanMouwerik said.
Many drivers from both countries don't want to travel the other's roads, VanMouwerik said. Mexican drivers who just do short hauls to transfer points -- many who drive 20 miles a day and make good money by that country's standards -- are perfectly happy to be able to go home every night.
Much of the discourse and controversy comes from agendas, VanMouwerik said. It's a union's role to protect its members' jobs. And, he said it's become a question of pride of Mexican trucking firms, many of whom have put a lot of money into their fleets, to prove they're qualified to operate on American freeways.
"It has more to do with trying to appease a specific market than it does to improve the economics or to make the flow of goods move better or faster," he said.
Reach Jack Katzanek at 951-368-9553 or at jkatzanek@PE.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

Congratulations to Eric and Monica Miranda

Recently BHI's Eric Miranda shared with us some exciting news: he and his lovely wife Monica are expecting the birth of their first child.  Due date is in the beginning of December.  Congratulations you guys!!!

Here is the very first ultrasound of the future little Miranda:



Please feel free to congratulate the Miranda's via Eric's email at emiranda@billhayintl.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

BHI's Founder Bill Hay, reflecting on his experience at the World Trade Center on 9/11

With the current news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, we thought it would be appropriate to republish an article written by our company founder shortly after 9/11 where he shared with us his experience at the World Trade Center that day.



55 Flights of Stairs
by Bill Hay
    On September 11, 2001 at approximately 8:48 am/et, an evil atrocity against the United States was committed. The responses to these attacks have varied from anger, rage, fear, to uncertainty. Others have responded with acts of compassion and bravery, some sacrificing their own lives to save others. President Bush told the Nation: "We’re at war".

    As some of you might know, I witnessed this attack and also was a party to this terrible event. While a U.S. Marine, I had been shot at in three wars and hit in two—at least in those instances I knew who the enemy was. This atrocity was unlike anything I have seen in my 73 years, and God willing I will never have to experience anything like it again.

    I would like to take this opportunity and means to relate my experiences as they unfolded on 9.11.2001, the day that changed a Nation.

    The World Trade Institute (WTI) of Pace University invited me to be a guest lecturer on Mexican Logistics. At 8:30 am/et on September 11, I was standing behind a podium at their facility on the fifty-fifth floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) and began presenting an eight-hour seminar. We had just completed self-introductions when suddenly we heard an explosion that was followed by the rocking of the tower. The explosion did not register with me, but the rocking did - first thing that went through my mind was an earthquake. I soon realized that this was not the case when I looked out a window and saw flames and debris falling from the floors above.

    My next words were, "Pick up your personal effects and lets get the h*ll out of here!" I did not follow my own instructions. I left my laptop, course outline, and briefcase containing everything I owned of value. Still, I got out with my life, what else could I ask for? Everything else is replaceable.

    The class started down the fifty-five flights of stairs along with hundreds of other people. There was no panic; people were taking their time and helping those who needed it along the way. At about the thirty-second floor, we met firemen that were on their way up. They were laden with hoses, axes, crowbars, etc. These brave firemen were the first ones to tell us that a plane had hit the building. Somewhere along the way down someone must have opened a water vending machine, because all of a sudden small bottles of water were being passed up and down the stairs. People were taking a sip and then passing it on to the next person. Up until the twentieth floor, the stairwell was full of smoke and some water.

    We did not hear the second explosion when the other plane hit the South Tower. It took about thirty minutes to exit the North Tower and get onto the street. Upon exiting this building, we were immediately ushered over to Broadway. It was not until two days later that I found out and I thank the Lord that all my class members and the WTI staff were safe and accounted for.

    Once out of the building, I thought I was now out of danger. I was wrong—I then heard another explosion. Looking over my shoulder I saw both towers in flames and a giant ash and debris cloud coming down Broadway at hurricane speeds. I turned down at what I believe to Ann Street in hopes of avoiding the raging cloud. A few minutes later, I was engulfed with ash and debris from the top of my gray hair to the bottom of my cowboy boots. Thank God I wear glasses; they are the only things that saved my eyes. The dust was so thick; I could not see my hand in front of my face. Everything and everybody was coated with a layer of soot.

    After what seemed like an eternity, the cloud finally dissipated enough that I could see three men coming towards me. I was informed by one of them that I could not exit that way and would have to go back to Broadway. It was in this street that I met Ellen. I took her in hand and we headed back towards Broadway. Ellen too was in the North Tower and had walked down from the seventy-second floor. When we reached the corner Ann Street and Broadway, a man I assume was the manager of the Starbucks was all but dragging pedestrians off the street and into his coffee shop. He and his associate were providing tap and bottle water, paper towels to clean our faces, plus anything else we may have needed without cost. I will always remember the kindness and generosity of these Starbucks employees.

    A short time later, a city bus pulled up in front of the Starbucks. Wanting to see the sun and sky again, Ellen and I got on the crowded bus without any idea as to the destination. The first stop the bus made was at the edge of Chinatown. Not knowing my way around the city, I did not want to get too far from what is now known as "ground zero" so we got off the bus here. It was not more than two minutes later, when a young lady named Pam Lundquist came up to us, saw our appearance and offered the hospitality of her apartment. Over three hours had passed and this was the first opportunity that I had to call and let my wife Mary and my office staff know that I was fine and that I would give them all the details later.

    For the next four hours we did little but watch the demise of the World Trade Center on television. Ellen and I were fed and loaned some clothing. Late in the afternoon, Pam and Keith, one of her roommates, escorted us back down to "ground zero" along the river waterfront. By this time the ferryboats were running. We took Ellen to the pier so she could get home to Bayonne, NJ. Pam and Keith then walked me back to my hotel on Gold Street, the Holiday Inn Wall Street. After that, they then had a good five-mile walk back home. Just for the record, Pam Lundquist is my guardian angel. To this day I do not know what I would have done if it had not been for her generosity and kindness.

    The scene of lower Manhattan walking up from the river is almost indescribable. The streets were covered with one to four inches of ash and debris. Not a single taxi, bus or automobile was moving on any of the streets. The only things on the roads were emergency vehicles. Your legs were the only means of transportation, and the number of pedestrians could be counted on two hands. Nothing was open. Nothing was moving. This part of the city was dead.

    Less than an hour after I got back to my hotel, the power went off. The gas and water were the next to go. Dinner that night was half of a tuna sandwich and a beer that I shared with another hotel guest. On Wednesday morning, the hotel conditions had not improved other than somehow the kitchen staff managed to serve coffee, danish and orange juice. For $9.95, you could have cold cuts, hard rolls, and cold cereal. I passed.

    I checked out of the hotel and went looking for better accommodations with two other guests. We walked up to Canal Street, a distance of about three miles. From there, we took a subway up to "Time Square" (Forty-seventh and Broadway) and checked into the Doubletree Hotel.

    I spent the better part of the next two days on the phone trying to get a flight back to San Diego. As everyone knows, all the flights were cancelled and the airports were shut down and nothing was moving or flying into or out of New York. I couldn’t even get a phone call through to any living person at the airlines and only got recorded messages telling me what I already knew: "All flights have been cancelled. All airplanes are grounded until further notice."

    Around 6:30 am on Friday the 14th, my luck changed for the better. I finally got through to Ms. Irene Baker, an America West agent in Phoenix, AZ and told her my sad tale of woe. Again I received the same response as before - no aircraft are flying in or out of the New York area. Then, I got a great idea: if got down to Philadelphia, could she get me home from there? The answer was yes, but you definitely could not consider it a direct flight. I would leave Philadelphia at 6:47 pm/et and travel by way of Columbus, OH and Las Vegas, NV. I would have to layover in Las Vegas that night and take a 9:10 am/pt to San Diego and home the next morning. After a few minutes of waiting, she was back on the line with confirmations and seat assignments. I was going home.

    Ms. Baker called my wife Mary with my itinerary and instructions to call her at her home if I had any problems along the way. I took a quick shower, checked out of the hotel, walked ten blocks in the rain to the Greyhound Bus Depot, and left New York City at 11:30 am on the Philadelphia Express. When I arrived at the Philadelphia station, I crossed the street and took the subway out to the airport. I checked in with America West using only a credit card with my picture on it and a faxed photocopy of my passport the office had sent (the original lies beneath the WTC Tower 1 rubble, along with anything else I had with me on September 11). My bag was inspected by security, I got something to eat, got on board my flight, and began my trip home. Next stop Columbus, then on to Las Vegas. I checked into another Holiday Inn at 11:30 pm/pt that night.

    Saturday at 6:30 am/pt, I joined hundreds of other passengers waiting in the America West check-in line. It began outside the Las Vegas International Airport on the street. After two hours I had just gotten inside the terminal building and my flight was scheduled to leave in forty minutes. There were still dozens of people ahead of me in line but I knew I had to do something if I wanted to get on this flight. I walked to the first class check-in agent, gave her my name, and asked her if she could help me. The agent told me not to worry and that they had been looking for me. She assured me that I would get on the flight even if they had to hold it a few minutes (they didn’t need too). Upon arrival in San Diego, I don’t know who was the happiest: Mary and my family or I.

    My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrible tragedy on September 11, 2001. Thankfully, events of terror like this are infrequent and definitely not "the norm". However, questions will still remain and be asked by many like: Where is God in all of this? How could He allow such evil to happen? Although we do not always understand God’s ways, we can still trust that He is in control of the world. We know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting onto His plan (Romans 8:28).