Category: Business and Economics

Rev. Dr. James Steele Receives Honors for Service to Community

by Katrina Siverts

I met the Rev. Dr. (Bishop) James Steele almost three years ago, and have worked with him on many of his (and my own) charitable endeavors.
Known more casually as “Father James,” he is an ordained minister/ priest in the Orthodox Church Tradition in the Greek Faith, with such notable titles to his credit as missionary, chaplain, HAM radio operator, and CEO of the non-profit MOSAIC.

His character of moral integrity, honesty, credibility, work ethic, and having an excellent relationship and knowledge of all faith denominations/ non-denominational and World Faith Groups has been well-established in our local area over the past three years.

Fr. James focuses on empowering individuals, families, caregivers to create recovery solutions for those who are underserved, downtrodden, homeless, and are affected with challenging conditions (e.g., debilitating chronic-disease(s) such as HIV / AIDS, mental illness, and/or any disabilities).
He has character of moral integrity, honesty, credibility and work ethic of giving it one’s all, along with having an excellent relationship and knowledge of all faith denominations / non-denominational and World Faith Groups (WFGs).

As a Filipino missionary, he has experience working with those with leprosy established a compassionate World Faith Groups outreach to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Fr. James also had executive positions in companies such as Office Depot, where he was a problem-solver, including challenging customer service issues and striving for customer satisfaction, with skills in leadership stability, supervision and direction to operational activities of staff, sales and payroll forecasting, financial operations of the store, and enhancing store management team support functions.

As a hockey player he was the unmasked goalie of the California Western Hockey League leading Rebels, is worldly. Because of his penchant for financial success, a non-denominational, self-help program eventually will benefit underprivileged people throughout the globe. He later became a hockey agent for a few professional and NHL players.

In addition, Fr. James was instrumental in patenting inventions of Dr. Wallace Shute for the Parallel Forceps (for a better, safer way for mothers giving birth to their child), and also the Tri-celco instrument. He also made the injection molds for these items.

Through his non-profit, MOSAIC, Fr. James has assisted many businesses and organizations with creating business plans to take them to a higher level of success in their respective industries or fields.

The concept of MOSAIC is to assist All World Faith Groups, Community Faith Agencies & Organizations, Corporations and Industries with a Master Business Plan (MBP).

MOSAIC has successfully created, developed and implemented many MBPs, for the VFW, Veterans SSVF & Medical Services, numerous Faith Denominations such as UMC, and assisted USC KECK School of Medicine in an HIV & AIDS Program, and for Corp.’s/ Businesses such as Siverts Publishing/ MRV News Group, and many others.

Through MOSAIC, Fr. James has worked with government agencies and private charities to help with providing jobs/careers, training, mental health support and adapted residential homes / communities for our veterans and their families in support of the U.S. Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), a Department of Veteran Affairs, which offers a continuum of services to eligible homeless Veterans and much more.

The Senior News and Desert News Post has published several articles to bring attention to the good work done in our communities by Fr. James.
These include: “Land of the Free” Veterans Monument Installed by Spring Valley Lake Vets Club; USS IOWA Restoration Volunteers Hold Reunion; MRV TEAM conducts Needs Assessment Survey Results outlining areas of public concern, USS Iowa Survey for Health & Wellbeing; Spring Valley Lake Amateur Radio Club; Fiesta Educativa (Autism Parent Education Program); Emergency Preparedness Program given at RCA Meeting; Day of Prayer Celebrated by Interfaith Council; Amateur Radio Enthusiasts Enjoy Palm Springs Hamfest; Spring Valley Lake Amateur Radio Club; First Annual Banquet Held for Spring Valley Lake Veterans Club; and Bishop James Welcomed to the High Desert.

Many certificates have been bestowed on Fr. James for his volunteer efforts both locally and nationally, including one from President Trump for “Volunteer of the Year 2018.” Fr. James will be speaking at the Friday, Feb. 1 meeting of SWIM (Seniors With Inquiring Minds), at 1pm at Redeemer Church, 22434 Nisqualli Rd, Apple Valley, CA 92308.

Fr. James accepts an award from the Town of Apple Valley Mayor Art Bishop, Fr. James, Councilman Scott Nassif, and Councilman Curt Emick.

Job Training Helps Small Manufacturers Meet Labor Needs


As a small manufacturing firm in a tight labor market, Affordable Plastics Inc. in Ontario knew it had to do something different to acquire the advanced skills and expertise needed to grow its business and stay competitive.

It found its solution through the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) Incumbent Worker Training Program. This program is designed to help small manufacturing businesses provide advanced technology training for their employees. Working with NTMA Training Centers of California, the WDB offered employers the opportunity to enroll workers in 288 hours of hands-on training in computer-aided manufacturing.


“A company of our size couldn’t do this on our own,” said Aldo Villalpando, vice president at Affordable Plastics, a bottle manufacturer with 10 employees. “We want to grow our business, and in order to do that, we need to bring in injection molding and produce product differently that we have. This program gave us the training to do that.”

Villalpando felt strongly enough about the program that he enrolled himself – along with three other Affordable Plastics employees. They were part of a unit of seven workers from different companies that took part in the four months of training in how to use CNC Machining and Mastercam software.

For Affordable Plastics, the training has given it the technical and mechanical expertise it needs to make its own molds and hard-to-find parts. It also has allowed the company to increase the capacity of its staff without having to hire additional personnel.

Charles Meisner Inc., a commercial products manufacturer in Ontario, was another company that took advantage of the training offered through the WDB program. “Finding qualified workers in the open market can be a formidable challenge during robust economic times,” said Chris Meisner, vice president.

“This kind of training is extremely valuable,” Meisner said. “It’s harder and harder to find qualified people out there to do the work. We need to train our own.”

Affordable Plastics and Charles Meisner Inc. were among four companies that took advantage of the WDB program sending employees to the training.

Tony Myrell, WDB Chairman, said the program is an example of the type of innovation WDB is bringing to meet the labor needs of the region’s growing businesses.

“The irony is that a booming economy can make it even more difficult for companies – especially smaller ones – to find the workers they need. For those same small businesses, the cost of training workers can be prohibitive. Here, we’ve created an opportunity for companies to become part of a collaborative training program, free of charge to them,” Myrell said.

The CNC Mastercam training is funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and WDB’s Slingshot program, which engages businesses to identify their specific workforce needs. Information on future sessions is available by contacting the WDB at (800) 451-JOBS.

About the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board

The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.  The WDB strives to strengthen the skills of the county’s workforce through partnerships with business, education and community-based organizations. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors is committed to providing County resources, which generate jobs and investment in line with theCountywide Vision.

The Workforce Development Board, through the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, offers a variety of programs designed to help youth and adults identify career pathways and get the appropriate training and skills. Programs funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provide eligible youth, ages 16 to 24, access to a variety of career and educational services designed to help enhance job skills, develop leadership qualities, explore career options, participate in adult and peer mentoring opportunities, and take advantage of work experiences. In addition, the WDB operates San Bernardino County’s three America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC). The AJCCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The AJCCs also support and provide services to the county’s businesses, including employee recruitment and business retention programs.

Employers and job seekers who are interested in the Workforce Development Board programs may call: (800) 451-JOBS or visit Also follow us on: Facebook; Twitter @InlandEmpireJob; LinkedIn; and YouTube

VVWRA Receives $122,000 Incentive from SCE

The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority has received an energy saving incentive check of $121,919.84 from Southern California Edison for its aeration energy efficiency upgrades. The check was presented by SCE representative Amy Olson to the VVWRA Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting on Thursday, February 18th.

The aeration energy efficiency upgrades will save VVWRA about 1,336,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is the equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power 122 homes annually. “These upgrades allow us to save energy while improving our wastewater treatment process”, said VVWRA Director of Operations Gilbert Perez.

The aeration energy efficiency upgrades at VVWRA consisted of a new electric powered, 400 hp Piller turbo blower and new Aquarius, fine bubble diffusers installed in aeration basins 1 through 8. The Piller blower replaces three blowers that were powered by internal combustion engines. The Aquarius fine bubble diffusers have much better oxygen transfer efficiency than the previous diffusers and thus require less energy.

A crucial part of VVWRA’s treatment involves blowing oxygen into the wastewater held in large aeration basins in a process called “activated sludge”. The oxygen stimulates microorganisms that help break down the organic matter. It also is one of the most energy intensive processes at the VVWRA treatment plant.

“VVWRA continues to take steps to reduce its power consumption, while increasing electricity production through its Waste to Energy Program”, said VVWRA General Manager Logan Olds. “This is another big step on our path to energy neutrality.” VVWRA’s Waste to Energy Program involves collecting naturally occurring methane from the anaerobic digesters and using the bio-gas to power a pair of large 2G 800 kwh generators, which in turn provide electricity to run the plant.