All posts by James Cannon

James Cannon

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]businessdistrict.com

Frank Armijo: Renewable Energy and Job Opportunities

Providing clean, sustainable energy is crucial for the environment today and the global future tomorrow.  MeyGen – the world’s largest tidal energy plant – is currently in the construction phrase for SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE) in its efforts to provide clean, sustainable energy.  Vice President of Lockheed Martin Energy (one of MeyGen’s suppliers), Frank Armijo said:

“MeyGen is on track to provide clean, sustainable, predictable power for at least 175,000 homes in Scotland, support local jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and deliver significant, long-term supply chain benefits for the UK economy.”

Armijo also said that the company is in the process of developing a flow battery. This will use electrolyte chemistry with cheaper earth metals and chemicals. These have a lifespan of 6 to 10 hours (much longer than the lifespan of regular lithium ion batteries of 2-4 hours).  In addition, the batteries are devoid of problems such as reliance on expensive and toxic materials like zinc bromide and vanadium.

SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE) has been using 6-MW MeyGen as part of its 25-year operational phase.  To date it has delivered over 8 GWh of energy to the national grid.

Radiology Congress Addresses Women In Leadership Positions in the Healthcare Sector

In 2017 women reached an important milestone in the realm of medicine when they became the majority of students enrolled in US medical schools. This good news does not mean that people like Hedvig Hricak can sit back and relax. Now Professor Hricak is gearing up for the next struggle, to see more women in positions of authority in the healthcare professions.

Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director, NHS England
Source: NHS England


Despite the fact that there are more female med students than male studying medicine today, the sad fact is that medical professorships and directorships are almost always filled by men. A lecture series organized by Professor Hedvig Hricak, which took place at the 2019 European Congress of Radiology, “Women in Focus,” dealt with exactly this issue.


Held in Vienna this year, the Congress is part of the annual meeting of the European Society of Radiology. Professor Hricak asked well-respected speakers to discuss the gender gap during “Women in Focus,” helping participants to understand the various dimensions of women taking on leadership roles in medicine.


‘Taking on a leadership position is always quite a decision,’ commented Professor Hricak. But this is true whether we are talking about a male or female in such a position. The question is why don’t we see women at the top? Although mentioned, physical and psychological differences were dismissed as the real culprit. Perhaps the problem lies in the female tendency to hesitate rather than to take the initiative?

Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director, one of the few women who does hold a high position as one of the leading executives at the British NHS, spoke at the Congress:

‘Resilience is essential, especially around fundamental principles,’ Palmer emphasized. ‘But, it’s just as important to know when you have to be flexible and to make concessions if you want to reach your goals.’


President of the Congress, Lorenzo Derchi took a hopeful view of the future of women in top positions in medicine, especially radiology.


‘Today, leading positions are mostly held by old men like me. But this culture of male prevalence is already being shaken up, and in a few years’ time many of these roles will be filled by women. Radiology can only benefit from the end of this inequality.’

Business Spotlight: Ashton Kouzbari & Evolution Spine

When you need medical attention because you have an issue with your spine, you want the very best care. And you want the best equipment used by your surgeon and doctors. This is where Evolution Spine and Munear Ashton Kouzbari step in.

As a healthcare entrepreneur and consultant, Ashton Kouzbari has been in the business for many years. He values being a team player, working with a great team to achieve goals. Kouzbari is currently the President of Evolution Spine, a company based in Dallas, Texas which supplies premier implants to spine surgeons and hospitals. They pride themselves on their flawless service and continuous desire to innovate. They are currently engaged in the design, manufacturing and sales of these medical implants, instruments and biologic materials. The products are used to treat orthopedic and neurological surgical procedures for conditions like generative spine disease, spine trauma and correcting spinal deformities.

Ashton Kouzbari comes to this role with an extensive educational background. He graduated with both a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance along with Minors in Mathematics & Chemistry from Southern Methodist University. He is currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School President’s Program and is actively involved in the Dallas chapter of YPO. YPO includes more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the local chapter allows Munear Ashton Kouzbari the chance to work with other career-driven and like-minded business professionals and executives and to share ideas for the future.

Private Equity Company KKR & Co to Buy Major Stake in China Lighting Company

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, a New York-based private equity firm, says it will purchase a majority of shares of China-based NVC China for US$794 from parent company NVC Lighting Holding Ltd.


The companies announced that they will be creating a strategic partnership in which, when done, KKR will hold 70% of shares and NVC Lighting will own the remainder of the stocks.


NVC Lighting is planning on paying shareholders a special dividend after the deal is sealed, of HK$0.9 (US$0.01) a share. The deal is expected to be finalized during the fourth quarter of 2019.


The investment came from KKR’s flagship Asian Fund III. Since 2007 the fund has invested over US$4.5 billion in Chinese companies.

California Rice Grower Signs Deal to Sell Rice to China

After trying for 15 years to break into the Chinese rice market, a 100-year old family business based in Sacramento has cut a deal to sell its rice in China. In July, Sun Valley Rice became the first US company to sell its rice in China.


“China has been tough to get into because for many years it was illegal to sell our rice there,” said Betsy Ward, president of USA Rice, a national trade association.


Until a 2018 agreement was forged between the US and China, it was illegal for the US to sell rice to China. When that law was lifted over 25 US companies were approved to sell their rice to China. Sun Valley became the first to make a deal.


“We would travel regularly to China to research [the market], attend trade shows and meet the industry players,” said Ken LaGrande, who founded Sun Valley Rice with his father Michael in 2000. “It was a commitment we made as a family to persist. So when the opportunity opened up, we were ready.”


The LeGrande Family has been producing rice in the Sacramento Valley since the 1920s LaGrande’s great-grandfather saw that the area’s climate, water supply, and soil was correctly proportioned to perfectly grow rice. Over the years the family incorporated other parts of rice production into their business, including drying and milling. This business became the LaGrande Family Foods Group. Now the Group is composed of many different operations, including farming, sprouting rice and milling sake.

Rice fields north of the City of Sacramento. Photo Courtesy of Mark Miller.


Almost 20 years ago, in 2000, LaGrand and his father Michael saw an increased market demand for high quality, specialized rice. That is when Sun Valley Rice was born.


“Sun Valley Rice now is a fully integrated arm of the family business, ‘from farm to fork’ if you will,” said LaGrande. “We source rice from 200 farms, or about 10% of the rice crop gown in California. And we handle drying, milling, packaging and marketing of the rice.”


It is likely other rice growers will also land deals to sell their rice in China.


“We have the first sale. But we really hope there will be strong continuing demand for American rice in China, and that allows, in turn, more opportunity for farmers back in California,” LeGrande said.