BNSF & YRC Freight Increase Intermodal Commerce

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YRC Freight has announced that by the end of this year YRC and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) will have onboarded more than 600 branded intermodal containers. These new containers are part of the YRC commitment to acquire 1,000 branded intermodal containers by the end of 2020. Most of the containers will travel between Chicago and Southern California on BNSF’s network.

“At YRC Freight, our intermodal commerce with BNSF is evolving. We are reinforcing our commitment to YRC Freight-branded containerized units for the present and the future. As intermodal usage continues to shift to containerized transport, YRC Freight will already be there,” confirms YRC Worldwide Chief Operating Officer and YRC Freight President T.J. O’Connor.

Intermodal operations between truck and rail are a valuable emissions reduction strategy in the central and western United States to move trailers/containers over long distances. YRC Freight deploys a number of strategies to reduce its carbon footprint including its work with BNSF, use of longer combination vehicles, onboarding of new tractors with advanced emission reduction technologies and integration of industry-leading routing and load optimization software. Recently, YRC Freight renewed its annual certification with the award-winning EPA SmartWay voluntary emissions program.

“Operationally, all intermodal companies are looking at how to improve efficiency,” said YRC Freight Senior Vice President, Operations, Maynard Skarka. “Currently, we use smaller trailers called ‘pups’ to transport freight for our customers. This new shift to our branded containerized units will allow us to stay aligned with intermodal companies as we both look for operational efficiencies.”

BNSF remains focused on working with its customers to develop the best supply chain solutions for the movement of containers and trailers across its rail network. Its collaboration with YRC is great example of how it is doing that.

“At BNSF we are always looking at how we can create more efficiencies and greater capacity on our network, particularly in markets like the Inland Empire where containerization will help us leverage capacity to grow with increasing demand over time,” said BNSF Vice President, Domestic Intermodal, Todd Carter. “We will continue to work with our customers to transport both containers and trailers and will make adjustments that make sense to our overall logistics strategy with an eye toward meeting our customers’ expectations and fostering our mutual ability to grow.

© 2019 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.

Women in PR North America Launches Corporate Partnership with Business Wire

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The Organization of Canadian Women in Public Relations (Women in PR Canada) and the Organization of American Women in Public Relations (Women in PR USA) have announced Berkshire Hathaway’s Business Wire as a corporate partner with Women in PR North America.

With Business Wire’s support, Women in PR North America can continue to expand its professional development, networking, and educational content programs for women in public relations.

“Business Wire’s support is vital to continuing to scale our programs and provide new opportunities and services to our members,” said Talia Beckett-Davis, President of Women in PR North America. “They continue to demonstrate their commitment to developing leadership opportunities for women in the public relations and communications field.”

Business Wire’s corporate partnership will help Women in PR North America continue to be an important source of information for women in the field, a key player in the rapidly changing industry, and a global champion of women business leaders.

“We believe in supporting organizations that contribute to advancing the field of public and investor relations,” said Geff Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Business Wire. “Women in PR North America is an important organization that creates opportunity for women to develop their leadership skills and visibility.”

© 2019 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.

Dairy Queen Has Cool New Headquarters

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That most iconic of American brands, Dairy Queen, now has a modern new headquarters.

Berkshire Hathaway’s International Dairy Queen, Inc. has relocated its headquarters to 53,000 square feet in the Normandale Lakes Office Park, 8000 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, Minn.

The new workplace connects multiple floors with unique collaborative spaces and state-of-the-art technology, all reflecting the energy of the DQ® brand and its forward-looking vision. Modern personal workspaces together with creative meeting/social spaces and a new test kitchen and product lab all foster flexibility and help spark innovation and collaboration. Improved daylighting and views, ergonomic adjustability and custom artwork celebrate the iconic brand’s mission of creating positive memories for all who touch DQ.

“Our new headquarters reflects the joy of the DQ brand and the passion of its fans and employees around the world,” said IDQ President and CEO Troy Bader. “Along with our international and field teams, our nearly 250 U.S. franchisee support center employees work hard every day to support franchisees and grow the DQ brand. We believe it is important to give our employees the tools they need to be successful, and that starts with providing an incredible work environment and the opportunity to develop their careers and have an impact on this iconic brand. We are proud to be an employer of choice in the Twin Cities.”

The new DQ headquarters was designed by HGA Architects & Engineers of Minneapolis.

New IDQ Headquarters at a Glance:

Employees: 250

Square Footage: 53,000 sq. ft.

Address:
8331 Norman Center Drive
8000 Tower, Suite 700
Bloomington, MN 55437

Just off of highway 100 in the Normandale Lakes Office Park, adjacent to the 2,500-acre Normandale Lake Recreational Area.

Pictures of the new headquarters can be seen at Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Cool Offices.

© 2019 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.

Black Smoke Fills Sky as Firefighters Battle Blaze at French Lubrizol Plant

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Over 130 firefighters battled a blaze at a Berkshire Hathaway-owned Lubrizol plant in Rouen, Normandy, France.

The chemical plant was fully engulfed in flames and is expected to take days to fully extinguish. Nearby residents were sheltering in place and local schools were closed. There is concern that the nearby Seine river could be polluted.

The plant was founded in 1954, and manufactures and packages additives for lubricants and paint.

No casualties have been reported and the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

© 2019 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 and Transphorm Sign Global Distribution Agreement

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Transphorm Inc.—the leader in the design and manufacturing of the highest reliability high-voltage (HV) Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductors—has signed a global distribution agreement with Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, Inc., the authorized global distributor with the newest semiconductors and electronic components. Per the agreement, Mouser will distribute Transphorm’s JEDEC- and AEC-Q101-qualified GaN FETs and evaluation tools.

Mouser now offers devices from Transphorm’s 900 V TO-220 and 650 V TO-247 and TO-220 GaN FETs. The devices feature low crossover losses, reduced gate charge, and smaller reverse recovery charge, offering similar field reliability to silicon carbide (SiC) FETs and improved performance when compared to silicon MOSFETs. Compared to competitive GaN transistors, Transphorm’s FETs also offer the industry’s highest threshold voltage at 4 V and gate robustness rating at ±20 V.

Also available are Transphorm’s automotive-qualified GaN FETs including the TPH3205WSBQA, the industry’s first GaN solution to earn AEC-Q101 qualification, and the TP65H035WSQA, the industry’s first 175-degree-Celsius-rated AEC-Q101-qualified device. As with non-automotive applications, in-vehicle power systems using the 650 V GaN FETs can gain up to 40 percent more power density while reducing overall system costs by as much as 20 percent when compared to similar silicon-based solutions.

Lastly, Mouser stocks Transphorm’s evaluation platforms, allowing designers to study switching characteristics and efficiency. The kits support various power system topologies, including inverters, half-bridge buck or boost (through-hole and SMD solutions), and the bridgeless totem-pole PFC. They also cover a range of power ratings. Examples include the 1.2 kW and 2.5 kW half-bridge evaluation platforms as well as the 2.5 kW and 4 kW bridgeless totem-pole PFC evaluation platforms.

© 2019 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 Energy Addresses Proposed PURPA Rulemaking

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week voted to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to revisit its rules and regulations implementing the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. In a release, Berkshire Hathaway Energy has stated that it supports the proposed rulemaking to modernize PURPA, as policy revisions will allow the company to provide additional value to its customers.

“We appreciate Chairman Chatterjee’s leadership and the thoughtful efforts of FERC and its staff in issuing this proposal,” said Pat Reiten, Berkshire Hathaway Energy senior vice president of government relations. “We look forward to reviewing the proposed rule and working with FERC and our state commissions to provide cost-effective, renewable resources to our customers.”

Berkshire Hathaway Energy notes that since PURPA was enacted, the energy industry has drastically changed, and PURPA’s regulations have led to unintended consequences resulting in above-market prices for certain energy contracts. As Berkshire Hathaway Energy acquires increasing amounts of renewable generation, the proposed reforms will provide greater opportunities to ensure customers receive the best energy prices.

© 2019 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 Specialty Insurance Enters Spain

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has expanded its global footprint opening a new office in Madrid, naming Ignacio Almazan as Country Manager in Spain.

“Putting down roots in Spain enhances our ability to service both local customers and multinationals in Europe,” said Chris Colahan, President, BHSI, UK and Europe. “Ignacio has extensive experience in the Spanish marketplace and we are excited to have him leading our effort to build our local presence and relationships.”

BHSI will initially underwrite property, casualty, financial lines, construction and engineering insurance, with the expectation to steadily expand its product lines and services in Spain.

Ignacio comes to BHSI with more than 20 years of insurance industry experience. For the past decade, he served as Country Manager for RSA Spain. Prior to that, he was Sub-director of the Energy Department at Willis Spain, and Leader of the Energy Department at Aon Spain. He began his insurance industry career as a Risk Engineer, then a C&E Underwriter, at Royal & Sun Alliance Spain.

© 2019 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.

Precision Castparts Making Progress on Pollution Mitigation

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Precision Castparts is making progress on its mitigation of heavy metals pollution at its Portland, Oregon plant, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

The DEQ’s report notes that stormwater testing shows that water discharged into Johnson Creek is no longer contaminated thanks to the water filtration tank system that Precision Castparts installed in 2016.
Under the supervision of the EPA, contaminated soil on the property has been removed.

“In a portion of the site, there were some impacted areas affected by PCBs — or polychlorinated biphenyl — contamination so we had some sampling done there and discovered that there were impacts,” DEQ NW Region Cleanup and Site Assessment Manager Paul Seidel said on KOIN TV. “So that has been cleaned up in part under US-EPA oversight. There’s still more work to do there but there’s been a substantial amount of work completed in the last several years.”

© 2019 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.

Tracy Britt Cool Leaving Berkshire Hathaway

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One of Warren Buffett’s most trusted lieutenants is leaving Berkshire Hathaway. Tracy Britt Cool will be leaving the company to form her own business acquisition company.

Britt Cool plans to launch a new long-term platform to acquire and build businesses. She will use her experience from Berkshire Hathaway as a value investor and an entrepreneurial-minded operator to focus on buying and growing companies that are smaller than Berkshire Hathaway’s size threshold for acquisitions.

Britt Cool has been with Berkshire Hathaway for 10 years. In addition to serving as CEO of Pampered Chef for the last 5 years, she has held a variety of roles including Financial Assistant to the Chairman, board member of Kraft Heinz, and Chairman of several Berkshire Hathaway companies.

To support a smooth transition, Britt Cool will remain with Pampered Chef until March 2020, when Pampered Chef’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Treanor will become CEO.

“While it has been a difficult decision to leave such an amazing and well-respected company, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with Warren Buffett, as well as many accomplished colleagues,” Britt Cool shared. “I’m proud of my time at Berkshire Hathaway and am grateful to have helped grow several Berkshire companies, including Pampered Chef. Our team has transformed Pampered Chef into a vibrant company that is growing, innovating, and enriching lives. I’m confident Andrew is the right leader to continue to drive our growth and success.”

Over the last five years, Pampered Chef focused on rebuilding the foundation of the business and creating new engines for growth through a renewed focus on the independent consultant base, a refreshed brand, enhanced product innovation, expanded international footprint, and significant digital channel growth. Following more than a decade of decline, the company has meaningfully grown sales and earnings over the last 5 years. It has grown into a strong and diverse business with more than 50% of Pampered Chef’s business now coming from digital sales, up from approximately 10% in 2014.

Warren E. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, stated: “Five years ago I asked Tracy to redirect and re-energize Pampered Chef. Direct selling was encountering new challenges and Pampered Chef’s sales and earnings had been declining. Under Tracy’s leadership, major financial gains have been achieved. Even more important, our corps of consultants is rapidly growing and prospering. Tracy is handing Andrew a company infused with excitement and momentum.”

“As a founder, I couldn’t have asked for a better leader and partner in rebuilding Pampered Chef than Tracy. She has played a critical role leading the company’s transformation and building a strong team to continue our growth,” said Doris Christopher, Founder and Chairman of Pampered Chef. “I’m confident in Andrew’s leadership and Pampered Chef’s growth, and I’m excited for what Tracy will do next. I know she will be successful in building even more companies and will be a strong partner to founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams.”

© 2019 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 Specialty Insurance Adds Staff in France

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) today announced that it has expanded its leadership team in France, naming Katell Pouliquen as Head of Claims, Louis du Ché as Head of Property and Ludovic Ruiller as Head of Environmental.

“We are pleased to begin expanding our team in Paris with three individuals who are exceptionally well equipped to bring to market the strong value that resides in BHSI’s underwriting expertise, claims excellence, and financial strength,” said François-Xavier d’Huart, Country Manager for France, BHSI. “We look forward to continuing to round out our team and our capabilities in France and throughout Europe.”

Katell Pouliquen has been honing her claims expertise for more than 15 years. She spent the majority of her career moving through increasingly senior claims positions at AIG Europe in Paris, where she was most recently Deputy Head of Claims. She holds one master’s degree in Insurance Law from the University of Paris Créteil, and another in Law and Social Sciences from University La Sorbonne.

Louis du Ché comes to his role as Head of Property with more than a decade of insurance industry experience. He was most recently Global Property Manager, Benelux, at AIG Europe Limited. Prior to that, he held increasingly senior roles in property insurance at other major insurers in France. He earned a master’s degree and European Bachelor of Science in Business degree from the Ecole Supérieure d’Assurances (ESA).

Ludovic Ruiller brings to BHSI nearly 20 years of experience in the environmental field, spanning both technical consulting and underwriting. He was most recently Environmental Risks Line Manager, France & Benelux, at Axa XL. Before that, he spent 12 years specializing in environmental risk underwriting at AIG Europe and ASSURPOL in France. He holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Ecole des Métiers de l’Environnement in Rennes, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology & Ecosystems from the University of Rennes I.

BHSI’s initial focus in France is on large and upper middle market customers. The company will continue to expand product offerings in France, with construction, casualty and executive & professional lines capabilities expected to launch soon.

© 2019 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.