©2010 Bob Foster
Mercedes-Benz USA Begins Construction on New 1.1MM Square Foot West Coast Campus in Long Beach
Mercedes Benz

New Facility to Bring Together Several Business Units to Increase Efficiencies


LONG BEACH, C.A. –Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today officially marked the commencement of construction on a new West Coast regional facility in Long Beach, California. The new location serves as the future home of MBUSA’s Vehicle Preparation Center, Western Region and Learning & Performance Offices, which are all currently located in Southern California.


The new facility will consist of two buildings, totaling 1,091,754 sq. ft. on a 52.2 acre lot. The historic location opened in 1941 as home to the Douglas Aircraft Company and later served as the Boeing 717 aircraft manufacturing facility until closing in 2006. Located across the street from the Long Beach Airport in a mixed-use development known as Pacific Pointe at Douglas Park, the facility is expected to be ready to begin business operations in the first quarter of 2015.


“Southern California is the car culture capital of the world and it remains one of the largest markets for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Hollywood, great weather, a passion for the automobile and continued growth of the luxury market have all contributed to this singular position,” said Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for MBUSA. “Thirty years ago Mercedes-Benz planted roots in Southern California and expanding sales volume necessitates that we have the most efficient and effective structure to support our dealers in providing a world-class customer experience.”


“I am thrilled Mercedes-Benz selected Long Beach as its new West Coast home,” said Bob Foster, Mayor of Long Beach. “This is an iconic brand moving into an iconic building with a plan to re-imagine the former 717 site into a state-of-the-art facility that will activate this property for many years to come.”


Mayor Foster test drove an all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

Mayor Foster test drove an all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

The new facility will include the following business operations:

  • VEHICLE PREPARATION CENTER – The Vehicle Preparation Center is responsible for ensuring Mercedes-Benz vehicles are ready to deliver once they arrive in the United States. Distribution tasks include receiving vehicles from vessels, inventory management for the U.S. market, port of entry services, shipping and wholesaling of vehicles. Quality tasks include vehicle inspection and factory quality checks. MBUSA operates three Vehicle Preparation Centers located in Baltimore, MD, Brunswick, GA and Carson, CA.
  • WESTERN REGION OFFICE – The MBUSA Western Region supports 82 dealerships with sales and fixed operations across 12 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Utah. MBUSA has three other regional offices in the U.S.: Parsippany, NJ, Rosemont, IL and Jacksonville, FL.
  • LEARNING & PERFORMANCE CENTER – The Learning & Performance Center provides training to dealership and MBUSA employees. MBUSA Learning & Performance conducts instructor-led training, eLearning, virtual classrooms, peer-to-peer training, and mobile learning to ensure that customer-facing personnel have the information and ability to deliver to the highest professional service. MBUSA operates Learning & Performance Centers in Houston, TX, Itasca, IL, Jacksonville, FL and Montvale, NJ.


About Mercedes-Benz USA Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the SLS AMG GT. MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com. Accredited journalists can visit our media site at www.media.mbusa.com.


Mercedes Benz


Mayor Foster with Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA.

Mayor Foster with Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA.


©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster’s Statement on Today’s Annoucement from Boeing
Credit Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

“These are precisely the high-skilled, high-wage jobs that are needed for building strong economies of the future. We work hard cultivating an environment of research and innovation here, and this solidifies Boeing’s rich tradition and long history in Long Beach.”

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©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Grand Prix kick-offs construction and Michael’s Pizzeria Grand Opening
Grand Prix

Tuesday was a day of grand openings and kick-offs.


Mayor Foster joined Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian for the kick-off of the first full day of constructing 1.97 miles of track through the streets of Downtown Long Beach.  The 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix will run April 19 – April 21.

(Left to right) Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association; Mayor Foster; Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT series; and Stephan Papadakis, owner of Papadakis Racing.

(Left to right) Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association; Mayor Foster; Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT series; and Stephan Papadakis, owner of Papadakis Racing.

Mayor Foster also joined the grand opening of Michael’s Pizzeria on the Promenade.  After the ribbon-cutting, Michael’s Pizzeria in Downtown Long Beach was officially open for business.


Mayor Foster joins Michael Dene, owner of Michael's Pizzeria, in front of Long Beach's newest restaurant.

Mayor Foster joins Michael Dene, owner of Michael’s Pizzeria, in front of Long Beach’s newest restaurant.


Michael's Pizzeria

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor joins The Promenade Ribbon Cutting celebration
The Promenade

The Promenade Transformation Complete

A Wonderful New Way to Enjoy all Downtown Has to Offer


Today, Mayor Bob Foster and Councilmember Suja Lowenthal, 2nd District, celebrated the completion of The Promenade, whose pedestrian-oriented transformation connects the Downtown waterfront to three blocks of vastly improved residential, commercial, retail and restaurant venues.


“We are extremely proud of our work here on The Promenade,” Mayor Foster said. “These improvements are a great example of wonderful work of the former Redevelopment Agency that residents, businesses and visitors alike are still benefiting from.”


The Promenade features a beautifully landscaped walkway linking retail centers, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, the Pine Avenue dining and entertainment district and the East Village Arts District. It now features three mixed-use developments, landscape and streetscape improvements, seating, public art plazas, Promenade Square, and a new and expanded Bikestation Long Beach that breathe life into the area.


“The Promenade is now an incredibly inviting public space where we can gather and connect with each other as a community,” Councilmember Lowenthal said. “By encouraging residents and visitors alike to meet, shop, eat, and stroll, we are enhancing the vibrancy of our wonderful Downtown.”

The third and final phase of The Promenade transformation, which was recently completed, includes upgraded storm drains, new hardscape, landscape, pedestrian and special lighting, new traffic signals, gateway signage, community chess tables, a dog rest area and site furnishings. Eight additional bike racks have been added to the nine originally planned for a total of 17 bike racks.


The public is invited to celebrate the newly completed Promenade during a free community mixer on Thursday, February 7, from 5 to 9 pm. The event coincides with the Downtown Long Beach Associates’ (DLBA) annual Celebrate Downtown event, which features the Spirit of Downtown Award; live entertainment; tastings from Promenade restaurants; a pet-friendly environment and free two-hour parking at the CityPlace parking structure. To RSVP please call 562.436.4259. For more information, visit www.downtownlongbeach.org.



The PromenadeThe Promenade

©2010 Bob Foster
$2.8M Grant Creates 363 New Healthcare Jobs, Funds Training for 400 Workers in Long Beach Area

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 13, 2012 – Pacific Gateway, the region’s workforce development agency, has been awarded $2,816,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor to upgrade skills, certifications and training needs in the healthcare sector. This important project was developed through a public-private partnership with Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach, which are part of the MemorialCare Health System.

The grant, made nationally through the H-1B Visa Skills Training Grant Program, will provide customized training to unemployed job seekers for 363 new positions within Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s, Community Hospital Long Beach, the MemorialCare Health System and other healthcare sites. An additional 400 MemorialCare employees will receive updated training and certifications to help them advance in their career pathways.

“This federal grant is huge for more than 700 people who will now be fully employed or will add additional training to advance their careers,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “In addition, it will strengthen the local economy while supporting local businesses and their employees. I want to thank Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach for their partnership to help bring this grant to our city.”

“We are so pleased with the announcement. Pacific Gateway has been an integral partner in helping identify and educate our nurses and allied healthcare positions,” says Diana Hendel, CEO, Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s and Community Hospital Long Beach. “We look forward to our continued success together. This partnership has contributed not only to the services we can provide but also to keeping up employment in our community.”

Today's celebration also included a graduation ceremony for the recent graduates of a MemorialCare program. These graduates will benefit from the federal grant.

Long Beach Memorial CEO Diana Hendel and Mayor Foster with one of the recent graduates of the training program that will be funded by the federal grant.

Employment opportunities include patient care assistants, surgical sterilization technicians, clinical lab scientists, phlebotomists and other positions. Many of the jobs created during the four-year grant period will be new occupations, developed in response to upcoming changes in healthcare law. Joint investment from MemorialCare will help Long Beach City College and Los Angeles Harbor College develop new patient care and medical billing training designed to both maintain Long Beach Memorial’s, Miller Children’s and Community Hospital Long Beach’s award-winning level of care and bring about operational efficiencies. These innovative practices will be studied for possible replication at other hospitals.

Participants in the program also will have access to personalized academic counseling to help them continue their community college education to earn additional certifications or work toward degrees in healthcare. The first cohort of 10 participants began on November 7, 2011. The project builds upon a longtime collaboration between Pacific Gateway, the region’s workforce development agency, and Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s, Community Hospital Long Beach and the MemorialCare Health System as a whole.

“This will be incredibly transformational for our customers,” said Larry Rice, a Board Member representing the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board. “These are good jobs with an employer that has made a significant investment in their futures, and in the future of the region.”

The grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor to address the U.S. H-1B Visa program, which raises the technical skills of American workers in occupations and industries that have seen shortages of skilled workers.

Individuals interested in these job opportunities are encouraged to begin by visiting one of Pacific Gateway’s three Career Centers: Long Beach (3447 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, 90807); San Pedro (1851 N. Gaffey St., Suite F, San Pedro, 90731), and Torrance (1220 Engracia Ave., Torrance, 90501) or by calling (562) 570-WORK.

About Pacific Gateway:

Administered by the City of Long Beach, Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network is the region’s public workforce agency, serving the communities of Long Beach, Torrance, Signal Hill, and Lomita, as well as the communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, and Harbor Gateway through a partnership with the City of Los Angeles. Pacific Gateway, one of 49 Workforce Investment Boards in California, is dedicated to helping job seekers find quality employment through a variety of programs, and to helping businesses thrive by connecting them to skilled workers. Last year, Pacific Gateway helped more than 3,000 adult and youth jobseekers find employment.

About Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach:

Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach are a part of the MemorialCare Health System, a nationally recognized not-for-profit integrated delivery system with top ratings for quality and safety. Long Beach Memorial has been providing compassionate care with the latest state-of-the-art technology for more than 100 years and is the region’s first choice for comprehensive care in virtually every medical and surgical specialty. Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach provides specialized pediatric care for children and young adults, with conditions ranging from common to complex—as well as maternity care for expectant mothers—all under one roof. Community Hospital Long Beach has been providing warm and personalized top-quality medical care that its patients have come to treasure and trust since first opening its doors in 1924, offering state-of-the-art imaging, a comprehensive cancer care center, cardiovascular diagnostics, behavioral health, women’s heart screenings, occupational medicine, wellness and diabetes services and more. Visit MemorialCare.org for more information.

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Top photo: Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board member Larry Rice (far left) , Mayor Foster and Long Beach Memorial CEO Diana Hendel (far right) with recent graduates of the MemorialCare training program that has been funded by the $2.8 million federal grant.

Mayor Foster with Diego Vargas-Dominguez, a patient care assistant.

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster joins California Competes Council

Business Executives and Mayors to Focus on California’s Economy and Lack of Skilled Grads

California Competes Council to tackle higher education’s future

Sixteen top California business and civic leaders announced today that they are joining together to form the California Competes Council to ensure the state has college graduates with the skills needed to drive the future California economy.  As members of the California Competes Council, these concerned leaders from across the state will analyze the well documented gap between emerging human capital demands and the projected number and quality of graduates of California’s college and occupational training programs. With its unique combination of leaders from both industry and government, the California Competes Council will develop innovative recommendations for improvement of the state’s higher education systems to reinvigorate the state’s pool of human talent that was once the envy of the nation.

“Other states and nations have invested in technical training and higher education systems and as a result are producing more college graduates qualified to meet employer demands. Jobs and the economic growth generated by job creation will go where the talent is.” says Paul Hudson, CEO of Broadway Federal Bank and a member of the newly formed Council. “We need to ensure that we produce such talent and put it to work to grow the California economy.”

“Californians have thrived both economically and socially because of the creativity and skills people have developed in our excellent higher education system,” says Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, another member of the Council. “However, it’s forecasted that employers in California will have trouble finding qualified local applicants for high-end jobs. For our state to maintain its competitive economic edge, this Council will address the gap between employer expectations and the student demands on higher education.”

The California Competes Council will take a comprehensive view of higher education in California, assessing the role of the state’s unique public colleges as well as private institutions. The Council will also consider the diversity of the state’s future human capital demands, addressing both traditional four-year degrees and technical training programs that provide students with credentials after a year or two of study.

The California Competes Council includes CEOs from the technology, finance, retail, service and construction sectors, as well as mayors from key cities throughout the state. The bi-partisan Council includes Thomas Hayes, a former Republican state treasurer, and Aida Alvarez, a Democrat who led the U.S. Small Business Administration. Staffing for the group includes Robert Shireman, an education expert who served in the Obama Administration.

“I don’t want to feel like I’m a spectator at a demolition. Taxpayer dollars are scarce, which means we must take extra care to use them strategically,” says Shireman. “That may mean some redesign so that we can get what the state needs from public and private higher education.”

California Competes is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and is supported by private foundations including the College Access Foundation of California, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and Lumina Foundation.

For a list of the members of the California Competes Council, with brief biographies: http://californiacompetes.org/?page_id=296

More information at http://californiacompetes.org/.

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©2010 Bob Foster
Big 10 statement on State Legislature’s budget vote

Joint statement from the mayors of California’s 10 largest cities, including Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, on the Legislature’s budget vote that took place yesterday:

Leaders in Sacramento yesterday took a backhand to the residents of California by failing to craft a legal and sustainable budget. Instead of seeking to protect our communities and the hard-working people of this state, legislators relied on gimmicks in order to protect their own paychecks.

Their so-called remedy for the State’s deficit is an illegal and indefensible shakedown of our cities. Over the past several months, we have pro-actively worked with State leaders to create sound alternatives that keep redevelopment alive and solve the state’s budget problems. But rather than create sensible, long-term solutions for California’s dismal financial problems, they sought to recklessly raid local tax dollars and kill redevelopment—our strongest, local tool to revitalize the economy and create jobs now.

As Mayors of the 10 largest cities in the State, we condemn these short sighted actions. Despite Sacramento’s failure, we will continue to fight to save quality job training, urban revitalization, job opportunities, and affordable housing for residents across California.

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©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster meets with local area electeds and Workforce Investment Board

May 16, 2011 – Mayor Bob Foster met with elected officials and key City Staff from Lomita, Torrance, Signal Hill and Long Beach to have a roundtable discussion on regional importance of workforce development and economic development.  These four cities form the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network and Long Beach currently serves as the administrator of the partnership.

The group of 20 people discussed issues such as youth training and employment, sharing some best economic development practices, the state of unemployment in each individual city, and the cities’ economic forecast.

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