MidAmerican Energy Places 356 MW Order for Wind XI Project in Iowa

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Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has received a firm order from Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Company for 356 MW of V110-2.0 MW turbines for the Wind XI project.

The order includes supply and commissioning of the wind turbines as well as a five-year Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) service agreement, Vestas’ full-scope service package maximizing uptime and energy production.

The turbines will be manufactured at Vestas’ Colorado factories and delivery will begin in the second quarter 2019.

“This project will harness low-cost wind energy for MidAmerican Energy’s customers, all while enhancing the reliability and resiliency of the grid. Vestas is proud to deliver its industry-leading technology to this project that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits, including landowner lease payments, tax payments, and long-term secure jobs”, said Chris Brown, President of Vestas’ sales and service division in the United States and Canada.

In August 2016, The Iowa Utilities Board approved our request to invest $3.6 billion to install additional wind turbines in Iowa by year-end 2019. The project – Wind XI – is the largest economic development project in Iowa’s history.

Wind XI will generate an average of approximately $12.5 million per year in property tax payments, $18 million per year in landowner payments, and $48 million per year in state and local expenditures associated with the project.

When fully operational, the Wind XI project will ensure the utility generates approximately 90 percent of its retail energy load from wind.

The Wind XI project consists of multiple sites in Iowa that will be placed into service between 2017 and 2019.

MidAmerican Energy is the largest regulated utility owner of wind energy in the U.S.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Kraft Heinz Launches Tech Venture Fund Evolv Ventures

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Kraft Heinz has launched Evolv Ventures, a venture fund that will invest in emerging tech companies transforming the food industry.

Kraft Heinz has committed up to $100 million to Evolv Ventures and brought on venture investor Bill Pescatello to lead the fund.

“New technological innovations in the food industry create endless new opportunities to strengthen business models,” said Bernardo Hees, Chief Executive Officer at Kraft Heinz. “Through Evolv Ventures, we will work with tomorrow’s most innovative founders and companies in the space, and use the full resources of Kraft Heinz to help them succeed.”

Pescatello brings more than a decade of successful venture investing experience at two leading venture funds to Kraft Heinz. Most recently, he was a Partner at Lightbank, the Chicago venture capital fund founded by serial entrepreneurs Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, and was also a founding member of the Peacock Equity Fund, a $250 million global capital fund of GE Capitaland NBCUniversal.

While Kraft Heinz has a long history of developing iconic brands including Philadelphia, Heinz and Oscar Mayer, the new fund will accelerate the company’s exposure to emerging technologies and businesses, and better leverage its position in the industry.

“At Evolv Ventures, we will move beyond brands to have a committed first look at our industry’s most promising and disruptive tech-enabled companies,” said Pescatello. “With the insights, data and access available at Kraft Heinz, we look to take full advantage of our unique position and be the foremost value-added investor in the space.”

Evolv Ventures will be based in Chicago.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crest Real Estate Opens Office in La Cañada Flintridge

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crest Real Estate, a transaction and service leader in Burbank, La Crescenta and Sunland, has a new office in La Cañada Flintridge.

The office, located at 1115 Foothill Blvd., gives the brokerage a foothold on the strategically important La Cañada Flintridge market and gateway to one of the area’s most distinctive and affluent communities. It features an array of modern amenities including open-concept collaboration space, soft seating, coffee bar, a large monitor for virtual home tours and ample supporting technology.

“We see wonderful opportunity in La Cañada Flintridge and we’re excited to establish an office there,” said Brokerage Owner Ray Mirzakhanian. “We believe our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand will be warmly embraced in the market as residents understand its appeal and marketing potential.”

Brokerage Manager Carey Harvey said residents should expect a high level of service from the office’s agents. “Crest Real Estate already conducts business in La Cañada Flintridge, and our agents are highly familiar with the community and its nuances,” she explained. “Our team will hit the ground running with the same quality service for which our brokerage has always been known.”

Carey added that the office will be a place of collaboration for agents and their clients. “Today’s real estate agents can make calls or hop online anywhere, yet they still need physical space to meet clients and collaborate,” she explained. “Our La Cañada Flintridge office give us that space and encourages interaction. It’s a terrific place to conduct business.”

One of Crest Real Estate’s strategic objectives is to raise its average selling price across the communities it serves. The La Cañada Flintridge office will help the brokerage with this goal, said Angelica Leon, Crest Real Estate’s attorney/broker associate. “The market is one of Southern California’s finest with a wide range of estates, custom homes, equestrian properties and other upscale residences,” she said. “Clearly, our service to the market is strategically important to our company. I can’t think of a better fit for the La Cañada Flintridge community than Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crest Real Estate.”

Crest Real Estate’s La Cañada Flintridge office is the next in a series of growth steps, said Mirzakhanian. The brokerage is considering office locations in Pasadena, among other neighboring communities.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BNSF Chairman Matthew Rose to Retire in April 2019

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BNSF Railway chairman Matthew Rose has announced that he will step down and retire in April of 2019.

At the end of his tenure, Rose will have been Executive Chairman for six years, and BNSF Chief Executive Officer for the prior 13 years. He also served in senior leadership for marketing and operations before assuming the CEO role in 2000.

During his tenure as CEO, he helped guide the acquisition of BNSF by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) in 2009.

“It was a very lucky day for me and for Berkshire Hathaway when I met Matt Rose,” said Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. “Under Matt’s management, BNSF has become a major source of profit and pride for Berkshire. And, as a citizen, Matt has been an exemplar for corporate leadership.”

“I have been incredibly fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people in the transportation industry,” said Rose. “Through my 26 years at BNSF – 19 in leadership – I have seen enormous change in our economy. Our company has navigated those changes well and now is extremely well positioned for the next several decades. It has been an honor to lead this organization, as a publicly traded company and also as part of BRK.”

© 2018 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

New York’s Top Medical Liability Insurer Now a Berkshire Hathaway Company

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MLMIC Insurance Company (formerly known as Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company) (“MLMIC”), has completed a conversion from a property and casualty mutual insurance company to a property and casualty stock insurance company and its acquisition by National Indemnity Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

As a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, MLMIC will have enhanced capacity and financial strength to continue to serve New York State physicians, hospitals and dentists as it has for over 40 years. MLMIC remains the largest underwriter of medical professional liability insurance in New York and continues to be a New York‐focused medical malpractice writer regulated by New York State. It will be operated by the same Board of Directors and staff that have served the market well for several decades.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO stated, “MLMIC is a gem of a company that has protected New York’s physicians, mid‐level providers, hospitals and dentists like no other for over 40 years. We are delighted to add them to the Berkshire Hathaway family and enhance their capacity to serve these and other policyholders for many years to come.”

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

RLAH Real Estate Hailed as “Fastest Growing Companies”

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RLAH Real Estate, which operates real estate brokerage with five locations throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia, has been named one of Washington Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies in the Greater Washington area.

The Washington Business Journal honors companies with at least three years of consecutive revenue growth for their annual Fastest Growing Companies awards.

In order to qualify, companies must have more than $2 million in revenue in 2015 and more than $10 million in revenue in 2017.

The annual awards presentation will be held on November 1st, where the ranking of each company on the list will be announced and awarded.

RLAH Real Estate is part of a Network brand of HSF Affiliates, LLC, which is majority owned by Berkshire Hathaway’s Home Services of America, Inc.

© 2018 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Mouser Electronics Signs Global Distribution Agreement With Virtium Solid State Storage and Memory

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Virtium Solid State Storage and Memory, a leading provider of solid-state drive (SSD) and memory solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) markets, today announced a global distribution agreement with Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, the industry’s leading New Product Introduction (NPI) distributor with the widest selection of semiconductors and electronic components. Virtium’s portfolio of SSD and memory solutions — including StorFly® and TuffDrive® SSDs, vtView® SSD software, and DDR memory modules — are now available through the global distributor’s website, Mouser.com.

“Mouser is a premier name in global distribution, enabling manufacturers such as Virtium to efficiently reach and support customers domestically and internationally with advanced technology solutions,” said Michael Nilsson, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Virtium. “We’re looking forward to our relationship with Mouser serving existing customers and generating new ones for Virtium’s SSD, memory and software solutions.”

The distribution agreement extends the global reach of Virtium industrial SSD, IIoT storage, SSD utility software, and industrial-embedded memory designed to satisfy the storage and memory demands of wide-ranging market segments — communications, energy, industrial automation, medical, networking, smart cities, transportation, and video/signage.

The StorFly and TuffDrive line features SSDs for extreme conditions — common in embedded and IIoT storage applications — through industrial temperature (I-Temp) support, which allows the drives to withstand temperatures from minus 40 to 85 degrees Celsius. These industrial SSDs include vtGuard™ technology for added power-fail protection against data loss, which can be accessed by Virtium’s vtView® software. Virtium’s vtSecure® suite, developed for enhanced data protection, includes optional AES256 self-encrypting drive (SED) and secure-erase technology, integrated directly into drives. Virtium’s vtView industrial-embedded SSD software enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to retrieve time- and temperature-based SSD usage information. Reflecting their ability to deliver the longest product life storage, StorFly and TuffDrive SSDs carry three- or five-year warranties.

Spanning a range of densities and form factors, Virtium’s DDR and SDRAM industrial memory modules are designed to meet the mission-critical, extreme temperatures, high-reliability and long-life requirements for the most demanding embedded designs. The company’s extensive engineering expertise enables it to deliver very-low-profile memory in the highest density and smallest form factors possible.

With its broad product line and unsurpassed customer service, Mouser strives to empower innovation among design engineers and buyers by delivering advanced technologies. Mouser stocks the world’s widest selection of the latest semiconductors and electronic components for the newest design projects. Mouser Electronics’ website is continually updated and offers advanced search methods to help customers quickly locate inventory. Mouser.com also houses data sheets, supplier-specific reference designs, application notes, technical design information, and engineering tools.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hilton Head Bluffton Realty Announces New Office in Bluffton

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hilton Head Bluffton Realty today expanded its reach into the Lowcountry by opening a new office in Bluffton, one of South Carolina’s fastest-growing communities.

The office, a brand-new facility located on The Promenade in the city’s Old Town historic district, gives Hilton Head Bluffton Realty a second location and immediate access to greater Bluffton’s burgeoning real estate market.

“We already conduct a lot of business in Bluffton so it has always made sense for us to open an office there,” said Broker/Owner Randy Smith. “Bluffton is a wonderful community and strategically important to our company for greater access to the Lowcountry. We’re excited to open our doors there.”

The office, located at 212 Bluffton Road, features Charleston-style architecture with array of modern amenities including open-concept collaboration space, soft seating, coffee bar, a large monitor for virtual home tours and all the supporting technology.

“The office is bright and inviting,” said Bill True, a broker and principal at Hilton Head Bluffton Realty. “Today’s agents can make calls or get online anywhere, but they still need a physical space to network, collaborate with colleagues and meet with clients,” True explained. “Our Bluffton office provides such space and promotes collaboration and interaction with our clients and fellow agents. It’s just a great place to conduct business.”

Smith and True also chose the location for its access to architects, builders, legal professionals and others in the area supporting the real estate process. The Promenade boasts an abundance of restaurants and a vibrant art scene, as well. “There’s a lot of foot traffic on The Promenade – it’s where people want to be,” said Smith.

Hilton Head Bluffton Realty joined Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in the fall of 2017. Besides Bluffton and Hilton Head, the brokerage serves Belfair, Berkley Hall, Callawassie, Colleton River, Hampton Hall, Hampton Lakes, Oldfield, Palmetto Bluff and Sun City.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Mouser Electronics Becomes First Authorized Distributor to Receive AS6496 Accreditation for Strong Anti-Counterfeit Measures

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, Inc., the industry’s leading New Product Introduction (NPI) distributor, has received accreditation to AS6496, making it the industry’s first authorized distributor to be accredited with the aerospace industry’s high standard for anti-counterfeit measures in authorized electronic component distribution.

Mouser received this accreditation from the Performance Review Institute (PRI), as part of the Counterfeit Avoidance Accreditation Program (CAAP). The CAAP audit was based on audit criteria (AC7403) created jointly by PRI, the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) and aerospace OEM representatives.

The AS6496 aerospace standard sets requirements for the avoidance, detection, mitigation and disposition of counterfeit products in the authorized distribution supply chain. This international standard requires authorized distributors to have a counterfeit mitigation policy and a counterfeit electronics parts control plan. AS6496 is geared for all industries and individuals looking to reduce the risk of counterfeit electronic parts entering the supply chain.

“By becoming accredited to AS6496, Mouser demonstrates that we are committed to providing customers with only authorized, genuine components,” said Chuck Amsden, Mouser Electronics’ Vice President of Quality. “At Mouser, we can provide full traceability to the manufacturer on everything we sell. From sales to shipping, Mouser is committed to providing our customers with the right product, on time, every time. Our mission is to be the source most preferred by engineers and buyers to design, prototype, test and manufacture electronics.”

Mouser is also registered to AS9100D, ISO 9001:2015, and ANSI/ESD S20.20-2014, the industry’s gold standards for quality, control, and electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Registration to these standards lets customers know that Mouser is an authorized distributor of the highest quality components by providing traceability, risk management, process control, customer support, product availability and document control.

With growing concerns over counterfeit parts entering the supply chain, Mouser customers can order with confidence knowing that Mouser has rigorous processes in place to mitigate the risk of counterfeit products penetrating its inventory.

With its broad product line and unsurpassed customer service, Mouser strives to empower innovation among design engineers and buyers by delivering advanced technologies. Mouser stocks the world’s widest selection of the latest semiconductors and electronic components for the newest design projects. Mouser Electronics’ website is continually updated and offers advanced search methods to help customers quickly locate inventory. Mouser.com also houses data sheets, supplier-specific reference designs, application notes, technical design information, and engineering tools.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Kraft Heinz Canada Acquires Ethical Bean Coffee

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Kraft Heinz Canada, a subsidiary of The Kraft Heinz Company, has acquired the assets of Ethical Bean Coffee.

Founded in 2003, Ethical Bean Coffee is a leading roaster of 100% Fairtrade, certified organic coffee. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ethical Bean is committed to social responsibility, global awareness and environmental accountability.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Carlos Piani, President of Kraft Heinz Canada said: “Kraft Heinz Canada is continuously looking for ways to deliver superior quality, extensive variety, and finer products to Canadians. We believe quality coffee starts at the source, which involves responsible sourcing and supporting the hard-working dedicated farmers at origin. The acquisition of Ethical Bean Coffee reinforces our pledge to the sustainable health of our people, our planet and our Company.”

Lloyd Bernhardt, co-founder of Ethical Bean stated: “We are proud of what Ethical Bean has been able to accomplish over the past fifteen years, building a brand with a solid reputation across North America for great tasting coffee, that is sustainably sourced. With Kraft Heinz’s expertise and scale, we’re confident that Ethical Bean Coffee will continue to deliver on that reputation to a much wider audience.”

Ethical Bean Coffee is a leading roaster of 100% Fairtrade Certified Organic coffee. Co-founders Lloyd Bernhardt — recognized by Business in Vancouver’s “Top 40 under 40”, and Kim Schachte — an award-winning graphic designer, are committed to social responsibility, global awareness, and environmental accountability.

Their journey to Guatemala in 1999 to adopt their daughter forever changed their lives, sparking a passion for the culture of the country and inspiring a desire to better the lives of the farmers and families living and working in the coffee industry. The couple returned to Vancouver and in 2003 launched Ethical Bean Coffee. What began as a small operation with one employee has grown into an international success.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.