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published on August 23, 2012 - 6:57 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Emerson Estrada
President/CEO
CALBEC Group

What We Do:  We help business improve their profitability and productivity by helping them optimize operational setup.
Education:  Bachelor’s in psychology from UC Davis, Masters of Business Administration from the Craig School of Business at Fresno State
Age:  38
Family:  Wife Norma Ramirez, brothers and parents



How are some of the ways you help companies optimize their operational setup, Emerson?

I have a lot of expertise in helping companies go from good to great. Specifically, what I do is connect them with federal, state and local tax credits and economic stimulus programs so they can increase their cash flow. Once we raise that cash flow, we use some of that money to reinvest right back into their operations, to make changes they would not otherwise be able to afford. Essentially, we help raise the cash flow with these government funds and once that’s done, we use those dollars to make improvements to the company.

What was your professional background prior to CALBEC Group, Emerson?

I worked with the economic development corporation under contract with the 15 cities and the county of Fresno; I was the director of the business expansion and retention program. As a matter of fact, that program was recognized in 2008 as the top economic development partnership in the state of California. That was a big accomplishment because at the state level we were recognized as having the top program.

What have been some of your most successful endeavors with CALBEC, Emerson?

What we’ve done is taken companies that were sort of idle, or in a mediocre standing, and actually bring them to the level of being successful. From being in the red to being in black. Some companies have basically eliminated the need to pay taxes for 10-12 years and that frees up a lot of cash. I’ve become very good at freeing up dollars that otherwise would be lost to tax. It can be retroactive, so we can go back to previous tax years and get that back as cash in an amended return, or we look forward and apply credit to future years. It’s like doing business in Nevada, where there is no state income tax.

With all the budget cuts as a result of the recession, are there still stimulus funds and tax incentives available, Emerson?

As a matter of fact, because of the recession, more programs have come out as a result of the Obama administration. More programs have been released to meet the needs of businesses that are in a bad situation because of the economy. The problem is these government-funded programs are never marketed. So what I do is saturate myself with this information and take it to the businesses that need to hear it that would be eligible for these programs. I don’t leave them at the brink of “now you have information, now do something with it.” I help them capture these programs to completion. That’s what makes my company different than others, because I take these programs to completion.

From what you’ve seen working with these companies, do you think the economy is getting better, Emerson?

It is getting better. The reason I know this is because they are doing a lot more hiring. Before, my focus was on existing employees. But now they’re calling me because they’re hiring more people and they’re asking me to screen them for the tax credit program. Because of that, it’s become apparent they are doing more hiring.

What do you like to do in your spare time, Emerson?

I’m part of a boxing club at Pacific Martial Arts. I’m very involved with Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno. I’m an usher there. I’m an avid reader and enjoy reading non-fiction. I’m part a non-profit organization called the Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association.

What was your first job growing up and what did you learn from it, Emerson?

I worked at McDonalds as a cashier. I learned regardless whether you’re working for the city or working for McDonalds, excellent customer service is always the best thing, not only for the business but also for the client.


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