Governor Highlights Job Creation at SKECHERS Groundbreaking
OK. Welcome, everybody and welcome to the SKECHERS ceremony. You know, we're not breaking ground today but we will be soon, very soon. And I'd like to introduce the folks that you see standing up here beside me. Of course we all know our great Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; Iddo Benzeevi, the owners and developers of this project; Michael Greenburg, the president of SKECHERS; and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Bradshaw. And we're all very pleased to be here.
This is an important and exciting day, a day of great joy and celebration, celebration for the very hard and great achievement of creating badly needed family-saving, economic nourishing, sustainable jobs. The business entrepreneurs, the local and state officials who all participated in this project are here today and some of them will speak after me.
I would like to introduce some of those officials and dignitaries who are witnessing this ceremony today. First, Paul Cook, Assemblyman Paul Cook and his assistant, George Price. Could you hold your hand up? There you go. There's our assemblyman, our great assemblyman. (Applause) Supervisor Jeff Stone. Sheriff Stan Sniff is here or on his way. Bonnie Flickinger, the mayor of Moreno Valley. Bonnie? (Applause) Robin Hastings, mayor pro tem. (Applause) Bill Batey, councilman. (Applause) Jesse Molina, councilman. (Applause) Dick Stewart, who was the previous mayor and he's also chairman of the March Joint Powers Commission. Richard. (Applause) John Anderson, the chief of police. (Applause) And we have Jackie Ashe, the Morino Valley school board here, unified school board. Jackie? And also, Virginia Baca of the school board. (Applause) Jackie is vice chair. We have Rob Field of the Riverside County Economic Development Agency, executive director. (Applause) Jamil Dada, who is chairman of the United States of America, the National Workforce Development Board. Jamil. (Applause) David Slawson, director of the Eastern Municipal Water District. (Applause) And sitting in the audience we have Steve Matthews of SEIU 721. They were great supporters of this project. (Applause)
It's now my great privilege and pleasure to introduce our hardworking governor of the great nation state of California. No governor has had to govern in as difficult and dire circumstances as Governor Schwarzenegger. He has never flinched, never lost his sunny attitude and his sense of humor. He is as relentless as his old role in his movie, "The Terminator." He is relentless is pursuing deficit solutions, water supply, public safety and education reforms. And most important at this time, jobs. Without his early and continuing support of this project these jobs would not be coming to our hard-hit area. We thank you, Governor and we're very grateful.
Please give a warm Riverside County, Rancho Belago, Moreno Valley welcome to our great Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Applause)
Well, thank you very much for your nice introduction, appreciate it very much. And I want to say thank you right off the top also to Iddo and Michael Greenberg for inviting me here to this great ceremony, to this groundbreaking ceremony. I also want to thank our secretary of Labor, Vickie Bradshaw, for being here today, who has been traveling up and down the state to pump everyone up and make sure that we create jobs here in this state. And I'm very glad that you announced all the dignitaries that we have here, because man, there were some complicated names there. (Laughter) Unbelievable. I thought I had a complicated name. But I want to say also thank you to all of you for being here today and for being part of this great ceremony.
I am excited to be here because this means growth and this means jobs, and I think there's one thing clear and this is we need more jobs. I mean, this area, Riverside County, has a 15 percent unemployment rate. And so when you see a company that has the courage, in this economic downturn, to go and expand and to build and to develop a development like this one right here, that will be 2.6 million square feet -- and where SKECHERS has the courage to go and to take 1.8 million square feet of that and create that first phase of development, that is to me something that ought to be celebrated.
I mean, we hear so much bad news all the time about, you know, the economy is down and no one is employing people. Yes, we have a terrible high unemployment rate but that doesn't mean we cannot turn the economy around and create the jobs. And I believe very strongly that the only way we can bring back the economy is by creating those jobs. And what's so wonderful here is that you have a construction that will go on and in this construction, of creating this 2.6 million square feet, there will be 1,100 workers that will be working here. And they will create the action, they will turn this vision of yours and of yours, into reality. And so I want to say thank you to those workers who will be working here that will really build those buildings. But then, when this is built, it will create an additional 3,000 workers -- 3,000 workers, permanent jobs, that will be working here. So this is really extraordinary stuff that is going on.
And so I just also want to say that it is great to be here today and to see all of these jobs being created. I've said in my State of the State Address that it is very important that we have a jobs creation package ready to go and for the legislators to vote on that. We have introduced our job creation package on January 6th. I'm sad to say that you see the private sector here creating all kinds of action but the legislators have failed to create the action, because it is now seven weeks since they have not yet responded to my job creation initiative. And so I urge them once again to create the same action as they see in the private sector, to create it also in the public sector and to vote on this job creation, to come in with their ideas, if it's Democratic ideas or Republican ideas, to come and mold all of those ideas together. That's what we want to do.
And so here we have another thing that I think I want to point out and that is that this building and the buildings that will be built here, they will be LEED certified. Now, that means they will be environmentally sound. This will be with renewable energy, they will be solar powered, they will be energy efficient, they will be water efficient. And it will be actually the most progressive and the most sophisticated building of that sort in the United States, so this is another thing that I want to compliment all of you on, creating that.
And of course I want to, on top of it, just say to SKECHERS, I always love their shoes. I always love the SKECHERS shoes. (Laughter, applause) As a matter of fact -- as a matter of fact, 11 years ago I came to your warehouse down at Manhattan Beach, because you just went on the stock market and the stocks were booming, the company was skyrocketing and they were the number one. And then they started expanding all over and they were in Europe and in Africa and in Asian countries and all of this. Now they're doing business all over the world. And this is what California is all about, to create those kind of facilities, to go and expand and do business with the rest of the world. This is what makes California shine. So I want to tell you that I was a big fan of your shoes then, I'm a big fan of the SKECHERS shoes now. All you have to do now is to create some maybe alligator cowboy boot running shoes and I will be the first one to also buy those, OK? So this is the big challenge.
So anyway, again, to both of you and especially to SKECHERS, thank you very much for creating those jobs, thank you very much for expanding, thank you for having the courage and doing it environmentally soundly, to show that what is good for the economy is also good for the environment.
Thank you very much. And now I would like to bring up Michael Greenberg to say a few words. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause)
Thank you, Governor, very much. And yes, you have been a big fan for many years and you remain a big fan. So to that, we thank you. The Governor had mentioned that he was at our office back in, I believe it was 1999 and at that time SKECHERS was a small company, had several employees -- or maybe a couple of hundred -- but today we have 4,000 employees all over the world. And we have 2,000 employees in the United States and 50 percent of those employees are going to be based here in California. So that is a tribute to doing business in this great state. (Applause) And I must say that this is our Oscar and there's no place else I would rather work. Being from Massachusetts I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of letters but --
So a great place to work, California. And also I have to thank a few other people. Iddo, our partner from Highland Fairview -- this could not have been done without Highland Fairview. This was their vision. (Applause) And certainly the community of Rancho Belago. Without Rancho Belago and the support of the community this also could not be done. And the Governor did mention that we're building a 1.8 million square foot building and for those of you who are not that good envisioning what that looks like, it's 3,000 feet long and it's from exit to exit off the freeway. So congratulations on that.
I'd also like to congratulate the city council and two people that could not be here, David Weinberg and Paul Gallaher, who had so much to do with this. (Applause) They're in Europe, working hard. And simply a couple of facts about SKECHERS. SKECHERS is the number two shoe company in America -- number two shoe company in America and probably within the top 10 around the world. So we've come a long ways.
I thought you were number one. (Laughter)
Well, we are, in my mind.
You will be.
Right, right. And now the jets are going to fly over, OK. (Laughter) So endless hours, so I appreciate that and I appreciate the support from everybody involved, our staff, our employees. Thank you very much, council. And with that, I would like to introduce Iddo. Iddo, please, from Highland Fairview. (Applause)
Thank you, Michael and thank you Governor Schwarzenegger. It's an honor to have you here, it's a pleasure. We've met a few times before but it never was a time that we can actually celebrate creating real jobs. We are standing right on the spot that very shortly, at the beginning of April, there will be already 1,100 workers working here in the construction field. And as you mentioned, 15 percent unemployment in Riverside County but in the construction trades it's 44 percent. So getting construction workers back to work is very important and we're very happy that we could be part of that.
But none of this would have been possible without a lot of people and visionary policies that you have enacted to help industry remain in California, people like us be confident to invest what will here close to a quarter of a billion dollars of investment today in this economy. It would not be possible without the ideas that marry green buildings, sustainable design with new technologies and economic prosperity. It can all be done; this is a perfect example.
But there's been a lot of thank yous and we have thanked, God knows, a lot of people here and we can spend the next three hours. But there are a few people that have done tremendously to make us come to this day. First of all, my partners, Eddie and Jules Trump, without which nothing is possible and not only that, has been a tremendous (Applause) blessing to have them.
Danette Fenstermacher, who is our chief operating officer. (Applause) Tremendous dedication in pushing technology and enabling us to achieve these kinds of achievements today. And of course the entire family of Highland Fairview, all the staff, the dedicated people. They don't stop every day to try to achieve those things for all of us here including creating these jobs. We're all proud that we were able to create this today and also do it in a green, in a green type of building and sustainable type of development, which is what we believe the future is and we have led the way in California to make sure that we continue to remain not only globally competitive but the leader in environmental and in job creation. So, very happy.
And of course Michael Greenberg and SKECHERS, who have shared our vision from the very beginning and provided us tremendous support and partnered with us in achieving this great success today and being able to start groundbreaking on this great, great building.
There have been a lot of firsts here. I see (Inaudible) here from CBRE, vice chairman of CBRE, one of the largest corporate brokerage businesses in the United States, who has been instrumental in bringing this together, had a vision of seeing this whole area as the primary next major logistic corporate park for the region. What you see here, this entire valley, will continue to be developed and perhaps get up to 30,000 jobs. This whole valley will be one of the largest corporate centers, logistic centers for the state of California and we're very happy to be part of this.
So with that, I think I'd like to turn it over to the Secretary for a few more words. Thank you. (Applause)
What an absolute pleasure to be here. And the smartest thing I did today was not to wear my three inch heels. Probably the not-so-smart thing that I didn't do was to not wear my SKECHERS, though. So I too own SKECHERS and love them.
This is a perfect example of the projects California needs. And California should have a lot more of them and that's why the Governor's California Jobs Initiative is so important right now. Within that package are incentives to get employers to wade back into the job market, to take the chance on the future of California and the future of doing business here, much like SKECHERS is and knowing that it's a great place not only to live but to do business. Within the Governor's Jobs Initiative package includes a $3,000 credit for hiring the unemployed and keeping them on the payroll for nine months. It's a perfect opportunity to start these kinds of projects. It's a perfect opportunity to get back in and begin looking at some of the thousands of truly skilled unemployed people who want the opportunity to get back to work, to provide a future for their families and to provide to their communities such as this.
So we are very pleased to be a part of this operation. We look forward to seeing it as a reality. And most importantly, we look forward to seeing those jobs in action. And so thank you for allowing us to be here and I'm going to turn it back to the Governor for questions and answers.
Thank you, Vickie. (Applause) I know a lot has been said about this project and about job creation, how green it is and all those things. But in case we didn't mention something, if you have any questions about this please feel free to ask. You have all the experts here. I guess we have said it all.
Thank you very much. Now let's go over and create some action over here and do the groundbreaking. (Applause)