Japanese company establishes Idaho Falls location

Japanese company establishes Idaho Falls location

The company specializes  in castings for inserting stainless steel pipes into an aluminum casting product.  The process is needed for optimal performance of semi-conductors and other supercomputers.
According to a news release, the Idaho Falls office will give Sakae the best location to work directly with the University of Idaho, Idaho National Laboratory, and the region’s nuclear and advanced manufacturing sectors to further their research and promote U.S. product sales.
“It is my mission to create job opportunities in Eastern Idaho to support their strong science, research and education sectors,” said Takashi Suzuki, President and CEO of Sakae Casting.  “Additional employment opportunities will be created as we expand our business by working with our Japanese partner Ohzen to connect Japanese services and technologies with U.S. markets.  We’re excited to have our first U.S. presence in Eastern Idaho.”
Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho CEO Jan Rogers said Sakae’s interest in Idaho Falls began with a March 2016 visit.  That visit was part of a Sister City program between Idaho Falls and Tokai-Mura, Japan.

Japanese Casting Company Comes To Idaho Falls

Thursday locals and company officials celebrated the Tokyo-based Sakae Casting coming to Idaho.

They chose the Gem State after meeting with state and city officials in Washington D.C. last year.

 They’ll have four employees in town – and East Idaho officials hope this will lead to other Japanese companies coming to the area.

The company’s move to Idaho Falls is credited to fostering good relationships.

“What happened is one of their associates is from our Sister City, and they contacted the Mayor in Tokaimura,” explains Kevin Fuhrman, with the Sister City Council. “That’s how they got in contact with the Sister City here.”

 “So there is really a lot of opportunity, this is just the beginning,” smiles Jan Rogers, the CEO of the Regional Economic Development of Eastern Idaho. “But you know, we don’t see that opportunity if we don’t have a start and today is that start.”

The company plans to do research with both INL and the University of Idaho.

Japanese company opens first U.S. office in East Idaho

Japanese company opens first U.S. office in East Idaho

Japanese company opens first U.S. office in East Idaho

IDAHO FALLS — An aluminum casting company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, has opened an office in Idaho Falls — its first in the U.S.

Sakae Casting, along with economic development and government officials who worked together to bring the company here, celebrated its grand opening at 477 Shoup Ave., Suite 102, on Thursday.

Takashi Suzuki, president and CEO of Sakae Casting, said he’s excited to have the company’s first U.S. presence in Eastern Idaho.

Sakae’s grand opening took place approximately a year after company representatives first visited the area as part of a Sister City program between Idaho Falls and Tokai-Mura Japan.

Jan Rogers, CEO of Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), said she was given a brief opportunity to meet with the representatives in March 2016. She encouraged them to attend SelectUSA’s federal foreign direct investment summit that summer, where she had an opportunity to speak with them further.

Sakae Casting representatives eventually returned to Idaho Falls to meet potential partners, and Rogers said REDI, state economic development and government officials, and those involved with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program — which strives to attract foreign business investments to the U.S. — all worked together to facilitate the deal over the last year. She believes the project illustrates just how much can be accomplished when everyone is willing to work together.

“This is what can be (when we’re) all focused on the end game,” she said.

Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, who speaks fluent Japanese and has been involved in many economic development efforts, also assisted in the project.

He says Sakae Casting’s decision to locate in Idaho Falls not only proves the importance of teamwork, but it also shows that state efforts to bring foreign investments here are working.

“We’re attracting investment into Idaho instead of U.S. dollars going overseas,” he said.

Anthon hopes Sakae Casting’s decision to locate here will help draw other companies from Japan into the state.

 “This really opens the door to a lot of good things in Idaho. At the end of the day, for me, economic development (is about) building opportunities for Idaho families,” he said, adding that the more high-paying jobs they can attract to the area, the more likely people will be able to stay, work and raise their families here. “This is a good step in that direction.”

Rogers agrees.

Rogers said Sakae Casting is just beginning its work, but she anticipates that the company will develop a larger presence in Idaho Falls in the future. She’s looking forward to the opportunities that will unfold for both the company and the region.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper agrees.

“Eastern Idaho is full of passionate innovators in nuclear research and development who will help channel our region’s creative energy to identify the best forward path with our international partners,” she said in the news release. “We welcome Sakae Casting to Eastern Idaho and congratulate them on their accomplishments thus far. We look forward to working with them to grow and strengthen this vital industry and bring in still more creative partners.”

Japanese company opens IF office

Japanese company opens IF office

Sakae Casting president and CEO Takashi Suzuki. Courtesy REDI

A Japanese metal casting company opened its first American office this month in downtown Idaho Falls.

In establishing an eastern Idaho presence, Tokyo-based Sakae Casting opened the door to partnerships with Idaho National Laboratory, local universities and manufacturing firms.

Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho CEO Jan Rogers introduced the company during a Thursday news conference outside Sakae’s new office on Shoup Avenue.

The conference included local economic development and university representatives, along with Sakae president and CEO Takashi Suzuki and other Japanese corporate proxies.

“We’re pleased to welcome everyone here, but also to welcome the company of Mr. Suzuki, Sakae Casting and their directors and partners,” Rogers said. “There is really a lot of opportunity here, and this is just the beginning.”

Four employees work at Sakae’s Idaho Falls office, which is shared with Ozhen, another Japanese production firm. Ozhen officials hope to conduct machining-related business in Idaho, while Suzuki is aiming to begin manufacturing work in Idaho in the near future, a company representative said.

Sakae Casting developed pipe-casting technology “that opens up new possibilities,” according to a Japan Protechnology article. “The extraordinary precision of the casting enables a minimum clearance of 0.5mm, with a space between both parts of just 1mm, a plate thickness of 8mm, and a pipe diameter of 6m. Sakae has used this technology in creating their ‘water-cooled thin-type cooling plate (cold plate),’ a mainstay product that has been adopted by the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, and their high technical ability is already attracting attention from around the world.”

Rogers began talks with Sakae representatives in March 2016 during a sister city visit between Idaho Falls and the Japanese city of Tokai. She encouraged Sakae officials to attend a summit held by SelectUSA, a federal agency that encourages foreign direct investment in the U.S.

Idaho Falls’ proximity to nuclear-focused laboratories and universities makes it an ideal landing spot for collaborative research, Suzuki said.

“We are very excited of course,” he said. “Idaho is known for its nuclear program and creative research, and we wanted to contribute to that research.”

In response to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster caused in part by insufficient reactor cooling following an earthquake, Sakae will work with local institutions, including the University of Idaho, to enhance nuclear safety through the creation of more efficient and resilient cooling mechanisms. UI has nuclear engineering and industrial technology programs in Idaho Falls.

“Over the last several months we’ve been able to interact with our friends in Japan and talk creatively about ways we might be able to do research connected to their industry focus and our expertise, both in our main campus in Moscow but especially in Idaho Falls,” said Marc Skinner, UI’s southeast region executive officer.

Fluent Japanese-speaker Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, also encouraged Sakae’s fledgling presence in the Gem State, which could pave the way for additional Japanese companies, he said.

“This represents a great new opportunity for this community and the state of Idaho — it’s a success story,” Anthon said. “There’s a certain feeling of arrival today, but the truth is this is just opening a door. We are going to see a lot more business growth in the state of Idaho because of this moment.”


Reporter Kevin Trevellyan can be reached at 542-6762.

Four thousand trained to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho National Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the successful completion of the 100th iteration of the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity (301) training course, a course tailored to defending systems used across the critical infrastructure sectors.

“This training milestone reflects an important collaboration between INL and DHS,” said Zach Tudor, associate laboratory director for National and Homeland Security. “I am proud of our team for enabling the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure through this unique course.”

Since April 2007, over 4,000 cybersecurity professionals have participated in the advanced course. These professionals represent all 50 states, the international cyber community and all 16 of the nation’s critical infrastructures. The training is conducted in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and is hosted by the DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT).

The training provides a hands-on approach to understanding the network environment, identifying potential vulnerabilities and evaluating how those may be exploited, and using defensive and mitigation strategies to protect the control system networks.

The weeklong course concludes with a Red Team/Blue Team exercise that takes place within an actual control systems environment. During the eight-hour exercise conducted on the fourth day, participants are either attacking infrastructure (Red Team) or defending it (Blue Team). Instructors task Blue Team members with providing the cyber defense for a corporate environment and with maintaining corporate operations. It also provides the opportunity to network and collaborate with other colleagues involved in operating and protecting control system networks.

“For over a decade, DHS has provided industrial control system owners and operators practical solutions to improve their cybersecurity — such as the training, tools and information to make timely decisions to protect their systems,” said Edwards. “These solutions have been developed collaboratively with industry and are showing good benefits. The challenge is how to scale them and implement them at cyber speed.”

“Cyberspace makes it possible for businesses and government to operate, facilitates emergency preparedness communications and aids critical control systems processes,” said Tudor. “Protecting these systems is essential to the resilience and reliability of the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources and to our economic and national security.”

 DHS is responsible for protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats. The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), part of the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C), serves as a central location where a diverse set of partners involved in cybersecurity and communications protection coordinate and synchronize their efforts.

For more information on ICS-CERT training opportunities, visit https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/Training-Available-Through-ICS-CERT.

About Idaho National Laboratory

INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow @INL on Twitter or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IdahoNationalLaboratory.

Senate OKs Craters resolution

Senate OKs Craters resolution

Senate OKs Craters resolution

Siddoway

BOISE — Idaho is a step closer to having its first national park.

The Senate passed a resolution Monday that will express to Congress the Legislature’s support for redesignating Craters of the Moon National Monument as a national park. Congress would have to act in order for anything to happen, but staff for all four members of Idaho’s delegation have been watching the issue closely.

Local support, expressed in county commission resolutions, advisory votes and local lobbying, is widespread.

“We’ve got some communities that are just struggling over there,” said Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, who is sponsoring the memorial.

Passage comes over opposition by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, which has been the effort’s sole opponent. The group has said it worries redesignation will interfere with grazing and agricultural goods hauling in the area, and that even if the federal government agrees to preserve such uses, it doesn’t trust the feds’ word.

But Siddoway urged senators to support the resolution, despite the fact that the Farm Bureau is “throwing hand grenades everywhere.” He noted that the memorial conditions support for a national park on preserving such uses.

“This protects the existing uses in that preserve (that surrounds the national monument,)” he said. “It protects the grazing.”

And locals hope that turning Craters into a national park will put the site on more tourist maps, bringing business opportunities to rural counties were economic opportunities are slim.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said if the proponents of a national park had convinced Siddoway — a conservative sheep rancher from near Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks who isn’t known for his love of federal rules — then it has to be a good idea.

“If I had to pick, of all the senators I’ve ever served with on this floor, in all the years that I have been here, one guy who I would have bet … would ever bring a memorial asking the federal government to make a national park in this state, (Siddoway) is the last person,” Davis said.

The resolution passed 20-13. The memorial next heads to the House, where it could be taken up as soon as this week.


Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 542-6751.

Busy summer of events in Eastern Idaho means big bucks for businesses

Busy summer of events in Eastern Idaho means big bucks for businesses

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – The summer of 2017 is going to be a busy one, full of events for Eastern Idaho. An estimated 2.2 million people are expected to visit the area for a number of events.

In April, the Temple Dedication and Open House begins, running through June. About 150,000 people are expected to be in town for that. In July, 150,000 are estimated to attend the Melaluca Freedom Celebration. Also in July, the Blue Angels Air Show is expected to draw a crowd of 50,000 people and in August, the total solar eclipse is estimated to bring in upward of 500,000 people.

Those crowds are on top of the annual 1 million summer visitors who stop by the area’s national parks.

“We need to take advantage of it,” Jan Rogers, CEO of Regional Economic Development Eastern Idaho said. ”You can not buy this kind of publicity.”

Rogers says the influx of people means a lot of cash will be exchanging hands between customers and local businesses. Rogers believes the economic impacts will go beyond just spending and will last for years to come.

“With these four or five events, and they are all major events, we are going to see an immediate economic impact from them, but we are going to see long term economic impact as well,” said Rogers.

Businesses like Idaho Mountain Trading in downtown Idaho Falls is hoping that is the case as well.

“It will be wonderful,” said Cindy Napier, sales manager of Idaho Mountain Trading. “This will be an influx of people we have never seen before.”

Napier said the store is ordering special clothing for the event and bringing in more staff to help handle the extra business.

“Knowing that is going to be a really key time for us to be able to give the best customer service possible to help them fulfill the customer’s needs,” said Napier.

Rogers thinks Napier has the right idea. Rogers believes the financial impact will be large to businesses in Eastern Idaho.

“With these four or five events, and they are all major events, is we are going to see an immediate economic impact from them, but we are going to see long term economic impact as well,” said Rogers. “It could go for years. Once someone has had a great experience some place, even if this may not be good timing for them, they always keep coming back to that experience.”

Officials are also looking at how they are going to house all of the visitors coming to town. Hotels are currently booked. Rogers said by renting out a room in your home, non-business owners can make some extra money as well. A one-night stay in a home is going for $800 on Airbnb.

The city of Idaho Falls is looking at renting out camping space in area parks to help accommodate the crowds and make extra cash. The city says planning for the event isn’t as big of an issue as finding the resources needed to make everything run smoothly.

“One of the biggest challenges we have, has nothing to do with planning,” said Idaho Falls mayor Rebecca Casper. “It has to do with resources. We don’t have the resources, our departments — the finance department, fire, police and sanitation department to take care of all the needs of eastern Idaho. The other communities, they are smaller and they are even less prepared to handle the overtime and all the extra work involved.”

Busy summer of events in Eastern Idaho means big bucks for businesses

Busy summer of events in Eastern Idaho means big bucks for businesses

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – The summer of 2017 is going to be a busy one, full of events for Eastern Idaho. An estimated 2.2 million people are expected to visit the area for a number of events.

In April, the Temple Dedication and Open House begins, running through June. About 150,000 people are expected to be in town for that. In July, 150,000 are estimated to attend the Melaluca Freedom Celebration. Also in July, the Blue Angels Air Show is expected to draw a crowd of 50,000 people and in August, the total solar eclipse is estimated to bring in upward of 500,000 people.

Those crowds are on top of the annual 1 million summer visitors who stop by the area’s national parks.

“We need to take advantage of it,” Jan Rogers, CEO of Regional Economic Development Eastern Idaho said. ”You can not buy this kind of publicity.”

Rogers says the influx of people means a lot of cash will be exchanging hands between customers and local businesses. Rogers believes the economic impacts will go beyond just spending and will last for years to come.

“With these four or five events, and they are all major events, we are going to see an immediate economic impact from them, but we are going to see long term economic impact as well,” said Rogers.

Businesses like Idaho Mountain Trading in downtown Idaho Falls is hoping that is the case as well.

“It will be wonderful,” said Cindy Napier, sales manager of Idaho Mountain Trading. “This will be an influx of people we have never seen before.”

Napier said the store is ordering special clothing for the event and bringing in more staff to help handle the extra business.

“Knowing that is going to be a really key time for us to be able to give the best customer service possible to help them fulfill the customer’s needs,” said Napier.

Rogers thinks Napier has the right idea. Rogers believes the financial impact will be large to businesses in Eastern Idaho.

“With these four or five events, and they are all major events, is we are going to see an immediate economic impact from them, but we are going to see long term economic impact as well,” said Rogers. “It could go for years. Once someone has had a great experience some place, even if this may not be good timing for them, they always keep coming back to that experience.”

Officials are also looking at how they are going to house all of the visitors coming to town. Hotels are currently booked. Rogers said by renting out a room in your home, non-business owners can make some extra money as well. A one-night stay in a home is going for $800 on Airbnb.

The city of Idaho Falls is looking at renting out camping space in area parks to help accommodate the crowds and make extra cash. The city says planning for the event isn’t as big of an issue as finding the resources needed to make everything run smoothly.

“One of the biggest challenges we have, has nothing to do with planning,” said Idaho Falls mayor Rebecca Casper. “It has to do with resources. We don’t have the resources, our departments — the finance department, fire, police and sanitation department to take care of all the needs of eastern Idaho. The other communities, they are smaller and they are even less prepared to handle the overtime and all the extra work involved.”

INL Buildings clear first obstacle

INL Buildings clear first obstacle

INL buildings clear first obstacle

Peters

BOISE — An effort to fund the construction of two new education and research facilities associated with Idaho National Laboratory cleared its first major legislative hurdle Tuesday.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously recommended that Senate Concurrent Resolution 105 be passed by the full Senate.

The resolution would allow the Idaho State Building Authority to float $90 million in bonds to pay for two proposed facilities, which INL would pay back through a lease. One, the Center for Collaborative Computing, would house a next-generation supercomputer for scientific modeling and simulation. The second, the Cybercore Integration Center, would host work and research on cybersecurity.

The land for the new buildings would be donated by Idaho State University, which already owns the parcels near University Place and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies that are being eyed for the two buildings.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, presented the bill to the committee. He said he hopes the effort will be “as successful as the CAES facility has been,” he said.

CAES, which opened in 2009, was largely financed by about $10 million in bonds, which are expected to be paid off soon.

The two buildings would become a major center for supercomputing and a wide variety of scientific research, INL Director Mark Peters told the committee.

The state’s universities expect that hundreds of students would benefit through use of the new supercomputer, collaborative research projects and new instruction opportunities. The lab expects to create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs. And economic development advocates say it would create tens of millions in local economic impact, including more than 500 long-term jobs and nearly 1,000 short-term construction jobs.

Peters emphasized that the two buildings would help INL and the state’s university system play a vital role in key emerging areas of research, technological development and national security.

“It’s really important to the state, to the universities, to the laboratory and to the nation,” Peters said.

Leaders from Idaho State University, the University of Idaho and Boise State University also testified in favor of the bill.

ISU President Arthur Vailas said the facilities would greatly strengthen the university’s existing specialization in cybersecurity.

“In order to take it to the next level, we need the opportunity to bring in the best intellectual experts,” Vailas said. And a top-of-the-line cybersecurity research center that partners with a national lab would be a major way to attract them.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper testified that the continuing involvement of INL in eastern Idaho has been vital for regional economic development.

“One really couldn’t ask for a better kind of employer,” she said.

The financial arrangement that would be used to pay for the facilities would be “unique,” said Matt Freeman, executive director of the State Board of Education.

The lease agreement outlined in the resolution would be “triple-net,” meaning INL would pay for all maintenance, operations and debt service on the building. INL expects to invest an additional $10 million in improvements to the facility, especially for the installation of the new supercomputer.

It is estimated that it would take a total of 20 years to pay off the bonds. The effort does come with a certain amount of risk, though backers say it’s minimal.

INL would agree to lease the building for at least 15 years, the maximum federal law allows. But Peters said he expects the lease would go on into the indefinite future.

“We intend to be in those (buildings) much longer,” Peters said.

The motion to recommend passage was made by Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, one of the state’s most conservative senators.

“This is such a win-win operation for the state of Idaho, I couldn’t be happier to support it,” he said.

The committee recommended that the Senate floor pass the measure in a unanimous voice vote. The resolution will have to pass on the Senate floor, a House committee and the House floor before heading to Gov. C.L “Butch” Otter’s desk for a signature.


Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 542-6751.