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DGX launches bigger ambitions from Japan

Jul 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

“We’re blessed. We’ve had this incredible run. We have been in business for 67 years and we’re just growing, and growing stronger,” said Dependable Global Express (DGX) President Brad Dechter.

(From L-R) DGX Vice President for Global Development Raj Dias, President Brad Dechter and Business Development Manager – Far East Atsumi V. Kobayashi

What started with a single truck that hauled steel, DGX has grown to become a true global ocean and airfreight forwarder. Founded by Harry Massman in 1950 as Dependable Trucking, the company, with the help of his son Ron, is now a one-stop shop that boasts five divisions and a network across 20 countries.

With more than 60,000 clients from every industry, DGX, a division of The Dependable Companies, adapts to the needs of their customers and supports each of their divisions by hiring the right people. “Everybody will say they employ the best people. But I won’t tell you that we employ the best. I will tell you that we employ passionate people who care,” stressed Dechter.

Aware that the Japanese market demands a very high level of service, DGX prides itself in having a Japanese national as part of its executive team.

“I was able to explain our culture. I explained what we had to do for the Japanese customers,” said Business Development Manager – Far East Atsumi V. Kobayashi, who works closely with DGX Japan Managing Director Kohta Takemoto to grow their operations to more than just a Tokyo office. With state-of-the-art computer

software being developed, DGX will vastly improve operational efficiency and further strengthen its commitment to providing excellent service.

“This will open up an entire new world for us. We will be best in class,” explained Dechter.

An early cloud adopter seizes success

Jul 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

Starting as an online learning provider back in 1999, Cornerstone OnDemand always believed that success is directly connected to building a culture of continuous learning and development. Born as a cloud-based talent management software firm, the Los Angeles-based company is applying its roots in learning to help companies attract new employees, train them and manage their workforce.

Cornerstone OnDemand Vice President and General Manager for Asia-Pacific and Japan Frank Ricciardi

“Even 20 years ago, Cornerstone was at the forefront of the software-as-a-service revolution,” said Vice President and General Manager for Asia-Pacific and Japan Frank Ricciardi. “We saw early on how our clients could benefit from the innovation of the cloud, especially with the type of learning software and talent management applications we were developing.”

Today, the company has enlisted more than 3,000 clients and nearly 31 million users across 192 countries and 43 languages on a single cloud-based application, giving it one of the largest subscriber bases in the world. Last year, there were over 360 million registrations for courses taken through Cornerstone amounting to over 1.3 billion hours of training.

Present in Japan for four years, the company has successfully rolled out its software in large multinational conglomerates such as Nissan, Ricoh and Hitachi.

“Hitachi implemented Cornerstone in less than eight months with 350,000 people across its 1,000 subsidiaries. There are very few applications that you can do that with,” Ricciardi said.

With each client, Cornerstone brings vast knowledge and years of identifying best practices. As proof of its commitment to the Japanese market, the company has formed a dedicated team to work hand-in- hand with Japanese companies looking to implement global talent management best practices.

“Once we’ve partnered with a company, we’re in it for the long haul. We believe that success breeds success. That is why we have a client service-first strategy,” Ricciardi also said.

Big city with a heart of a small town

Jul 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

Located in the southwestern region of Los Angeles County, Torrance is a coastal city that ranks consistently among the 10 safest mid-sized cities in the U.S. Diverse in every aspect, Torrance boasts the highest concentration of Japanese companies in Southern California and the second highest concentration of ethnic Japanese in the whole state.

City Of Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey

“We really do consider ourselves to be a balanced city. We have international and homegrown businesses. We have residential, commercial and industrial — and we try to keep all of that working in harmony. As economic developers, it is important that we have a city council that is very business friendly. Our job boils down to relationship building,” said Economic Development Manager Fran Fulton.

Situated between two of the busiest ports of entry in the country — Los Angeles International Airport and the port complex of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Torrance was unsurprisingly the chosen location for operations for global Japanese brands Toyota, Honda, Pentel and All Nippon Airways, as well as more than 200 others.

Downtown Torrance

Having a strong presence of large companies from all industries, Torrance also prides itself in being able to cultivate and nurture its own small businesses through a business incubator and accelerator, as well as working in partnership with local colleges and universities.

“Our doors are open for business. We are welcoming to any Japanese company looking for a place to call home,” Mayor Patrick Furey stressed.

UCLA and Waseda University develop app to help students read ancient Japanese texts

Jul 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

An app that takes a scholarly, yet playful, approach to studying calligraphy is helping students learn to read classic Japanese texts. 

Users of the new app see kana, or Japanese syllables, displayed against richly decorated backgrounds taken from rare manuscripts

Michael Emmerich, a UCLA associate professor of Japanese and well-known translator of Japanese fiction, joined forces with scholars at one of Japan’s top universities, Waseda University in Tokyo, to develop and launch the Hentaigana App, now available for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems.

It’s just one of the many projects Emmerich has worked on since leading an initiative to help transform UCLA’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures into a world-class center for the study of Japanese literature and culture, propelled by a $2.5 million gift from the President and CEO of retail holding company Fast Retailing Tadashi Yanai in 2014.

On screen, students can study a handwritten Japanese syllable taken from a manuscript from the 15th to the 17th centuries. Then, they can “flip” the letterform to see the Chinese character from which it was derived. On the same screen, they can see how the syllable appears in a modern typeface.

Forging international ties to tackle global issues

Jul 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

What if you could tackle malaria by immunizing the mosquito? Or monitor health via a small wireless “tattoo” on the skin? And what if robots could become the next generation of caretakers for the elderly population?

The University of California San Diego’s iconic Geisel Library.

At the University of California San Diego, improbable ideas like these become a reality. Faculty, students and researchers are driven by a spirit of bold experimentation, determined to spark truly groundbreaking change that will benefit people across the globe — from social injustice to health care and climate change.

Established in 1960, UC San Diego is a public research university that has been shaped by scholars who aren’t afraid to make waves. The campus is consistently ranked among the top-10 best universities in the U.S. and top 15 in the world for research, teaching and public service.

Positioned in the heart of one of the most vibrant innovation hubs in the U.S., UC San Diego serves as a major catalyst for local and international partnerships. In 2016, the UC San Diego School of Medicine teamed up with the Chiba University School of Medicine to launch a new research center that will focus on vaccine development, infectious diseases and more.

“The challenges we face as a global society are increasingly complex and need to be addressed collectively through the collaboration of nations, industries and disciplines,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

Last summer, UC San Diego opened an office in Tokyo to better connect the life science clusters in the two cities, both known for leading innovation. The space serves as a place for interaction, exchange and collaboration with Japanese partners.

“We are committed to strengthening our global partnerships in academia, research and business to advance the frontiers of knowledge in order to benefit our planet and humankind,” said Khosla.

San Diego International Airport sees clear skies as growth plans announced

Jul 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

This year marks a new era for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. It has appointed a new President/CEO and unveiled future renovations and projects aimed at making the airport a world-class and green transport hub.

San Diego International Airport CEO Kimberly Becker

Then in March, the Airport Authority appointed industry veteran Kimberly Becker as its new CEO. She succeeded Thella Bowens, who oversaw many of the infrastructure improvements over the 15 years she worked for San Diego International Airport.

Becker said the Airport Authority would continue its regular consultations with San Diego’s business and tourism groups to map out effective strategies to target emerging markets and meet with various airlines to discuss new routes and flight options.

This community-based approach to air service development has yielded positive results. Since May, the airport has added nonstop service to premium destinations, including Frankfurt and Zurich. Later this year, it will reintroduce nonstop service to Mexico City.

Today, the airport’s roster of international flights includes nonstop air service to six countries — Japan, Germany, the U.K., Mexico, Canada and Switzerland.

The facade of the recently renovated San Diego International Airport

Overall, San Diego International Airport offers nonstop service to 61 destinations in the U.S. and 10 international destinations. This flurry of new flights has accelerated plans to build a new, expanded customs facility for international arrivals. The new facility is under construction now and is expected to open in June 2018. 

The goal is to make the airport the clear choice not only for leisure travelers, but also for those looking to do business — or build their businesses — in San Diego, as well as overseas markets.

“San Diego is a growing and thriving city,” Becker said. “More and more businesses are driving this community to a profitable and sustainable future. That’s what we wanted this airport to reflect.”

The next project on the horizon is the replacement of the 50-year-old Terminal 1, although a timeline and budget have not been finalized. Through effective planning and close collaboration, the Airport Authority strengthened its financial position to more than $234 million, with assets of $2.2 billion.

Southern California 2017 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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