Acorn Digital Joins Forces with Sara Happ

Sara Happ has joined forces with Acorn Digital Services, a division of Acorn International and leading marketing and branding downloadcompany in China listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Acorn will assist the luxury beauty brand on its strategic move to enter the Chinese market and sell directly to consumers through cross-border e-commerce.  Selling directly to consumers through these channels allows the brand to forego China’s animal testing requirements for cosmetics products imported through general trade channels, which is crucial to the clean and cruelty-free mission of Sara Happ.

Sara Happ’s philosophy of creating the most indulgent, effective, healing and deeply hydrating lip products imaginable is a perfect fit for the Chinese market, and Acorn Digital is excited to team up with the brand on it’s entry into the Chinese market.

USJBF Fosters International Understanding

usjbf2Over the years, I have been proud to support The United States – Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF) and its Bridging Scholars program. The USJBF is a non-profit organization that seeks to increase understanding and cooperation between Japan and the United States through study abroad opportunities. I believe that study abroad opportunities create global citizens and enhance international understanding. Anyone who knows me understands the tremendous impact study abroad has made on my life.

USJBF is focused on three core activities that support its global education mission: recruiting U.S. undergraduate students interested in study abroad in Japan for a semester or academic year; funding scholarships for exchange students; and mentoring those students with opportunities to build their global leadership and workforce skills.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted these objectives. However, now usjbf1more than ever, the organization’s efforts to create opportunities for listening, learning, and developing trusting friendships across cultural, racial, economic, and religious affiliations are critical. The Bridging Foundation board and staff remain committed to educational exchange. As Kylan, a 2019-2020 Bridging Scholar whose time in Japan was disrupted this spring stated, “I was disappointed my time in Japan had to be cut short…My experience in Japan was at times challenging, but I learned to be positive regardless, an attribute that I am sure will help me in these challenging times for the world. I am thankful for the Bridging Scholarship and look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Because the health and safety of its scholars is critical, the organization has postponed its programs for the full academic year 2020-2021 and fall 2020 programs with the hope of safely resuming study abroad in Japan in spring 2021. In the meantime, USJBF is committed to emerging even stronger and provides an opportunity to expand the launch of virtual programming to engage its scholars and community in these challenging times, and supplement in-person exchange when Bridging Scholars return to Japan–designed to enhance students’ readiness for study abroad and provide leadership and workforce development opportunities.

We are in a difficult time with pandemic-related health and economic pain and disruption, but it’s reassuring to know that organizations like the USJBF are remaining steadfast to their objectives while attempting to emerge stronger. Despite these challenges, they are reinventing the ways they prepare America’s young people to assume leadership roles in all aspects of cultural, educational, trade, and security relations between Japan and the United States.

For more information on The United States – Japan Bridging Foundation, please visit:


ACCJ Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Recently, I was asked to share my thoughts on the 20th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce indownload Japan (ACCJ) Chubu Chapter. It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed so quickly. My involvement with the organization actually dates back 30 years to the start of the American Business Community of Nagoya (ABCN), which was formed to bring a bit of the American culture, in particular the business culture, to Nagoya, Japan.

In the U.S., many American businesses support their local communities through activities like walkathons and other charitable events. I wanted to introduce that concept to Nagoya, so I chaired a committee that organized the first Chubu Walkathon. Now, 30 years later, the membership has grown, the organization has become more professional, and the Walkathon has become an annual international charity festival that raises in excess of $7 million yen per year. When the ABCN merged with the ACCJ, we expanded on a national level.

When considering my involvement over the years, I can’t help but focus on the networking and mentorship opportunities it has afforded me. I encourage future leaders and members of ACCJ, or in fact any civic organization, to take full advantage of these networking opportunities. It has been my experience that members sincerely want to help each other, and when they offer advice or assistance, they genuinely mean what they say.

Early in my career, as a foreigner working and living in Nagoya, I always felt a bit isolated and like an imposter who did not quite fit in. If it weren’t for the advice and mentoring that I received as part of the ABCN/ACCJ, I don’t think I would be where I am today. I was encouraged to join committees and to speak up and share my ideas. I learned that as a committee member, it was my responsibility to contribute my ideas to the discussion without worrying about being right or wrong.  This was wonderful advice that I remember to this day.

The mentoring I received through this organization has been meaningful and ongoing, and I truly appreciate each and every one of my mentors. I have always said that when you meet individuals who have the type of success and knowledge you are looking for, try and get into their orbit. The best way to do just that is to participate in civic and community activities and be present.

My experience with ABCN/ACCJ not only taught me the value of being mentored, but also how to be a good mentor. It taught me the importance of sharing what I have learned and passing that knowledge on to others. I take this very seriously and would advise future leaders and members to find mentors and then mentor others in return. Giving back is one of the most critical parts of our mission and will only enhance the US-Japan relationship we strive to develop.

Gallup Energy Logistics Park Offers Affordable Oil Storage Option

rail car 1The U.S. is facing looming challenges regarding the storage of excess crude oil. Business shut downs, travel bans, and social distancing due to the COVID-19 health crisis have created a significant surplus, and global oil demand is falling as much as 8 to 9 million barrels per day. This has obviously created storage issues, with many U.S. facilities expect to reach maximum capacity in the coming weeks. A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed to rail cars as an innovative option for storing excess crude oil. With 11,000 linear feet of privately-owned rail track available in Gallup, New Mexico, Gallup Energy Logistics Park provides a viable solution for affordable, long-term oil storage. 

Contact General Manager Martin O’Malley at 505 399-3111 for additional information. 

“In trade wars with no strategy, there are more losers than winners.”

In trade wars with no strategy, there are more losers than winners. I recently sat down with Business Forward to discuss trade. Listen to the latest episode of Answering America for my views on the current U.S. policy.

The podcast is available on the following streaming platforms:3000x3000_14588650


Sand Hollow Championship Course Earns Golfweek Honors

The Championship Course at Sand Hollow has been selected as one of Golfweek’s 2019 Best Courses You Can PlaySand_Hollow-0804-Edit (56th out of 100) and Top 200 Modern Courses (156th) by a nationwide team of esteemed course raters. While the Championship Course has consistently ranked as number one in Utah and a top resort course for the past 12 years, this is the first time Sand Hollow has earned a spot in these new rankings.

We’re thrilled to receive this recognition and enjoy welcoming both novice and experienced golfers to experience our breathtaking course. The Championship Course offers an unparalleled golf experience with its gorgeous desert landscape, vast greens, wide fairways, and unique bunkers. The Championship Course was designed by John Fought and hosts several tournaments throughout the year. In addition to world-class golf, the resort is located in close proximity to outdoor recreation, including boating, motor sports, biking, and hiking and is the ideal location for a relaxing family getaway or corporate team building event.

Sand Hollow offers a memorable experience for golfers, adventure seekers, and those looking to relax and unwind in a gorgeous setting. I am extremely proud of the Sand Hollow team, who work tirelessly to maintain the course and ensure that golfers have an unsurpassed golf experience. If you haven’t experienced the challenging course and breathtaking views, it’s definitely worth a trip to Utah.

For more information, visit:

IS Seafood and YouKuai Group Brand Z-Rou Meat Sign Distribution Agreement

IS SeafoodIS Seafood, a sustainable B2B seafood supplier and part of the Roche Enterprises Group, has formed a strategic cooperation with Z-Rou Meat, a premium, plant-based meat brand. The agreement was signed this week in Shanghai.

Z-Rou Meat officially launched in China last December and started delivering delicious, wholesome plant-based ‘meat’ to mainstream restaurants. This iconic future food is made with 100% plant ingredients including non-GMO soybeans, konjac, coconut oil and shiitake. All ingredients are locally sourced, and the end product is 87% more efficient compared with traditional pork production in terms of environmental impact.

YouKuai Group, the company behind Z-Rou Meat, hopes to empower consumers and chefs with tasty and sustainable plant-based meat alternatives. With Z-Rou Meat, people with different dietary habits can sit together at a dining table and enjoy the same food, while being more environmentally responsible.

Sustainability has been a core value of IS Seafood since day one. The team’s philosophy is to leave more than they take from Mother Nature. Being an expert and leader in the industry, IS Seafood has successfully built a network with top restaurants in China.

Biggi Stefansson, one of the founders and CEO of IS Seafood, stated, “We all care about the future. We all care about our health. We care about our children. We feel it’s important to reduce meat consumption based on environmental factors. When Z-Rou approached me, I was immediately sold, not only about the product but also about the love and passion from the team. I feel IS Seafood and Z-Rou Meat are much aligned on our core values and where we want to head in the future. We are looking forward to introducing this futuristic and tasty product into our network.

Celebrity Chef David Laris who worked closely in bringing the three magnificent companies together, expresses his feelings on the great progress: “I’m personally excited to contribute and close a deal with profound meaning. I hope to see that more environmentally conscious companies enter the consistently developing plant-based market and gain a firm foothold there.” David is part of Acorn Digital team, a leading digital agency that assisted in Z-Rou Meat’s launch in China, who is devoted to sustainability.

When the Founder of Z-Rou Meat, Franklin Yao, was in the US last year, he drew inspiration from eating a lot of Impossible burger and Beyond sausage. It struck him that somebody was going to do this for China, for ground pork, and for Chinese dishes like Mapo Tofu, dumplings, and for Lion’s Head meatballs and it should be started from Shanghai. He founded Z-Rou Meat afterwards, and is happy to see growing momentum for this space with the likes of Omnipork entering China. He envisions Z-Rou Meat as a global brand from China to serve the entire world, to empower customers who want good food and make choices to do more good. He feels fortunate to find like-minded allies in Biggi and David who are also focused on building businesses that create a better world.


Green Rock Hemp Holdings Launches New Companies

Green Rock Hemp Holdings, LLC (GRHH), a professional, vertically integrated GRHH Logo CMYKsolutions provider to the industrial hemp industry, has announced the launch of its family of companies, including GeneticsCubed, LLC; Mesa Rising Hemp Farms, LLC; and Red Mesa Science & Refining, LLC. GRHH and its affiliates provide farmers, consumer goods producers, and end customers in the industrial hemp industry with the highest quality products and solutions.

Green Rock Hemp is led by Chief Executive Officer Joe Cachey, who believes that the company’s vertical structure allows them to effectively manage all aspects of the supply chain – from scientific genome and seed development, through cultivation, processing and extraction. Their goal is to provide customers with the highest quality products and solutions and bring professional business practices to this emerging industry.

The Green Rock Hemp family of companies includes GeneticsCubed, LLC, a company that designs, develops, and clones genetically superior hemp seeds; Mesa Rising Hemp Farms, LLC, a large-scale cultivator of high-quality hemp plants, and Red Mesa Science & Refining, an innovative hemp processing and extraction company.

The supply of quality hemp-derived CBD is struggling to meet soaring worldwide demand, and Green Rock Hemp Holdings’ soil-to-oil structure provides customers with professional solutions across the supply chain.  These businesses are led by successful executives with extensive experience in the industry, and I’m proud to have them join the Roche Enterprises family.

To learn more about Green Rock Hemp Holdings, please visit:

Gallup Energy Logistics Park Welcomes New Tenant

73009022_765396423911651_4870397539620225024_oGallup Land Partners has announced that Stone Material Handling of Saginaw, Michigan, will be a new rail tenant at the Gallup Energy Logistics Park (GELP). GELP is a master-planned, 2,500-acre rail-served industrial park that is a BNSF Railway Certified Site. Stone Transport will secure approximately 11,000 linear feet of the park’s current 20,000 linear foot rail capacity, complimenting current tenant GCC Energy. Unit-train operations of materials destined for the San Juan Energy Basin have begun, with an already proven capacity of over 100 truck transloads per day.

To support this growth, McKinley County and the NM Department of Transportation will undertake a complete reconstruction of Carbon Coal Road; a 5.1-mile road connecting the Gallup Energy Logistics Park to US Hwy 491 utilizing $23M in state capital outlay appropriations.  Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

We are thrilled to welcome our new tenant and create new jobs that support local economic growth. Initially, we anticipate the creation of 12 new positions for loaders/railcar operators supporting numerous truck driver positions. Gallup Land Partners will work with the GGEDC’s Industrial Workforce program to support their training and place graduates in these new jobs.

Our belief in Gallup is reflected in our investments in the area, and we are thrilled to help develop and grow the northwest region of New Mexico. Our partnerships with the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation (GGEDC), the City of Gallup, McKinley County, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation has been invaluable in moving this project forward.  Since 2013, Gallup Land Partners has invested more than $40M into the Gallup area, and Gallup Land Partners spent $1.03 million (USD) on locally-sourced materials during construction.

New Mexico is Open for Business!

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The Gallup Energy Logistics Park is a BNSF Railways certified site that capitalizes on New Mexico’s transportation assets.

The state of New Mexico is open for business!  The country’s 47th state has always offered affordable land, a talented workforce, a competitive cost of living, reasonable tax rates, and rich renewable energy resources – that’s why I founded businesses here. However, the new Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is investing in infrastructure, housing, and workforce development projects that pull these assets together and make New Mexico even more attractive for businesses like mine. Governor Lujan Grisham, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Democratic leaders in the State House and Senate have hung out the “open” sign with their pro-business agenda.

With broad support from the state legislature, Governor Lujan Grisham doubled the amount of money invested in a state program that helps small businesses and startups in New Mexico acquire the capital they need to grow. She more than doubled the incentives for qualified film and television productions filming in New Mexico. Those film crews pump millions of dollars into the state. Increased state-level marketing will also help enhance awareness of New Mexico as a business great place to do business

In response to increasing congestion at our southern border, Governor Lujan Grisham and State Representative Patty Lundstrom (District 9) are working with companies like mine to expand New Mexico’s inland port capacity. They are also investing in workforce development programs that help workers develop skills tomorrow’s jobs will require. To make sure new growth does not negatively impact New Mexico families, they have funded studies on how to increase affordable housing.

Here’s how smart investment in infrastructure, housing, and workforce pay off. Over the past six years, my company, Roche Enterprises, invested more than $40 million in northwestern New Mexico. We developed the Gallup Energy Logistics Park (GELP), a BNSF Railways-certified site, and constructed 11,000 feet of new rail lines. Those rail lines are helping energy companies and other businesses connect to more customers, opening northwestern New Mexico to more growth. As traffic at GELP picks up, my company is adding more capacity and infrastructure, which will attract more business, and so on.

With continued support of development programs, expansion of utilities infrastructure, and construction of light manufacturing facilities, my company could create more than 100 well-paying jobs in the region through new manufacturing opportunities.  In today’s increasingly competitive economy, infrastructure, affordable housing, and workforce development bring success – and success tends to lead to more success. If you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up.

And, in response to the rising cost of climate change, state Democrats are promoting clean energy – and positioning New Mexico to take a leading role in solar power.  Our government’s support for renewable energy, solar energy investment is rising, and New Mexico is positioned to be a leader. My company is working with one solar company to build a 10-megawatt energy farm in Gallup. Providing low cost, clean energy should encourage more businesses to move here.

Governor Lujan Grisham is also making the case for New Mexico in Washington. Last month, I attended a conference organized by one of Washington’s top think tanks to feature rising governors and promote new ideas for fixing our economy. Lujan Grisham focused on immigration and economic opportunity, selling her plan to transform New Mexico into a mecca of opportunity. She made quite an impression on the crowd, which should lead to more investment.

Yes, New Mexico is open for business. The Democratic Party knows that small businesses drive the economy, and they are removing barriers and providing targeted support for entrepreneurship. Governor Lujan Grisham is proof of this, as she is willingly and eagerly collaborating with businesses for enhanced economic development and opportunity for the people of New Mexico.