HANFORD — Whether by air, land or water, big things seem to be happening in Kings County, and many have one thing in common: Kings EDC.

Kings County Economic Development Corporation, known as Kings EDC, is a membership organization that advocates on behalf of the Central Valley, including Kings County, to bring corporations and businesses to the area.

John Lehn, president and CEO of Kings EDC, said representatives travel across the United States to visit large markets and provide the resources needed to assist new businesses to invest and stay in Kings County.

Kings EDC held its annual membership meeting and dinner Thursday night and gave a business report on all things Kings County, including some presentations on much-anticipated projects.

Kelly Slater Wave Company

One of the biggest moments of the night came from Patrick Hazel, president of Kelly Slater Wave Company, who announced that “the greatest wave in the world is in Kings County” — which was met with thunderous applause.

Very little information is known about the Kelly Slater wave pool, located on Jackson Avenue between 18th and 19th avenues in Lemoore, but Hazel offered some tidbits of information and showed the crowd a video with footage of the waves.

The wave pool, Hazel said, creates an 8-foot wave that lasts for a full minute that challenges even the most experienced surfers and is a dream come true for them to ride. He said the goal of the company is to build more of these wave pools around the world to support professional surfing tournaments.

Hazel said it took the company several years to get the Lemoore site to what it is today, and thanked some key players from Hanford, Lemoore and the county, who he said were friendly and welcomed the company with “outstretched arms.”

“We’re going to be here for a long time,” Hazel said.

Faraday Future

Kings EDC Chairman Robert Tuttrup said in 2014, Kings EDC staff worked with the governor’s office, city officials and others to make a case to an unknown company about why Hanford should be a site to assemble electronic vehicles.

The company ended up being luxury electric car maker Faraday Future, which announced in August that it signed a lease to locate in the old Pirelli tire plant in Hanford’s Industrial Park.

Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future’s senior vice president of global manufacturing, spoke to the crowd about the company’s commitment to Hanford and showed a video about the company and its planned first car, the FF 91.

Reckhorn reiterated earlier statements he gave at a Rotary Club of Hanford meeting last month, saying its goal is to become a “global mobility company” that creates a car to make life more connected, intuitive and convenient.

There are few things the company needs to do before coming to Hanford, Reckhorn said, including obtaining permits, securing funding and customer demand. He said the company hopes to eventually employ 1,000 people at the Hanford facility and build the first test cars by the end of 2018.

Along with Hazel and Reckhorn, Capt. David James from Naval Air Station Lemoore gave an update on the base, which he said is growing and will continue to grow in the coming years. He asked that the county and community continue supporting NASL.

A few other projects were also mentioned, including:

  • Hanford Marketplace Costco Center
  • Cannabis manufacturing companies
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Family HealthCare Network’s new building
  • West Hills College Lemoore’s student union complex
  • College of the Sequoias’ student center
  • Utility Grade solar projects

Kings EDC also established awards to recognize businesses, organizations or individuals who have made significant contributions to business development and the economy of Kings County and the region.

Three awards were handed out at the dinner:

  • Agusa received the President’s Award
  • Pitman Family Farms received the Chairman’s Award
  • California Business & Economic Development received the Economic Development Partner Award

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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