Friday, October 20, 2017

INL erects new signs on U.S. 20

One of the new INL signs on U.S. Highway 20, in the Arco Desert.
If you've gone west on U.S. 20 recently, it's pretty hard not to notice that the Idaho National Laboratory desert site entrance signs -- billboards for decades -- have been upgraded to a much classier presentation.

At both ends of the site on the Arco Highway, INL Facilities & Site Services have erected large monument signs on concrete bases with rock faces at the bottom. Not only do the entrance signs help demarcate federal property boundaries, they serve as an important branding and advertising tool.

INL Director Mark Peters was a driving force behind replacing the varying and inconsistent previous signage.

“When presented with options to describe INL on the signs, I chose ‘Changing the World’s Energy Future,’ because we want everyone to be aware of our regional, national and international impact on energy security,” Peters said. “Virtually every nuclear reactor design in the world has been based on INL research and development, including those for submarines and aircraft carriers. It is imperative – for our economy, national security and to ensure safe and environmentally friendly energy systems around the globe – that INL continues to help our country lead the world.”

Debby Tate, Campus Development Office (CDO) director, said, “The new signs provide a sense of maturation and elegance to INL.” Remaining boundary, or “billboard,” signs on roadways at other Site entrances are scheduled for replacement in the coming months. The new signs, which had been in the planning stage for several years until funds became available, were designed by INL’s very own David Combs, INL art director and branding specialist, and constructed by YESCO Sign & Lighting Service of Idaho Falls.

“The vision for the monument signs was to create markers that not only showed the geographic boundaries, but that had significant impact and the gravity appropriate for an institution like our national laboratory,” Combs said.

INL dates back to 1949, when the Atomic Energy Commission selected the area that encompassed the old Naval Proving Ground and surrounding lands to build the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), whose mission was to develop and demonstrate peaceful uses of nuclear power. The name of the facility changed over the years: in 1974, it was named the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) to encompass broader research missions; in 1997, it became the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) to reflect growing cleanup and waste management missions and research; in 2005, the INEEL became Idaho National Laboratory, which is under the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. As names such as these have changed, INL entrance signs have reflected those changes over the decades.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ann Marie Peters Joins College of Eastern Idaho

Ann Marie Peters recently joined the College of Eastern Idaho as the director of strategic partnerships.

Peters is the co-founder of Interview Savvy, a Chicago-based training and career skills firm. She has more 20 years of experience in behavioral coaching, strategic planning, consulting, and project management in the financial services and banking industry. She is credited with “writing, managing and launching a groundbreaking international management behavioral coaching program,” according to a biography provided by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. Peters’ human resources expertise includes incentive program development and management as well as employee recruitment and hiring. Her reputation as a start-up and turnaround expert resulted in her being the featured employee for HSBC in Working Mother Magazine’s Top 100 Companies, the biography said.

Peters received her bachelor's in behavioral sciences from the University of Chicago and her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Update on Planet Fitness in Idaho Falls

Here's an update on the Planet Fitness story that ran Sept. 20. Apple Athletic Club owner Steve Vucovich, who applied Aug. 30 for a building permit with his partner, Keith Larsen, says he signed a lease on the property at 200 South Woodruff on Oct. 3.

North of Smith’s, the space has been empty since Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Scientech relocated its offices to Snake River Landing in 2014.

With more than 1,400 clubs in the United States, Planet Fitness is one of the largest fitness club franchises. The club's two membership levels are $10 and $19.99 per month. The $10 per month level includes access to cardio and strength equipment, unlimited group fitness instruction and pizza and bagels once a month. The $19.99 per month (“Black Card”) level allows members to bring one guest per day at no charge, access to all Planet Fitness locations, and access to extra amenities, such as tanning booths and massage chairs.

Although the city's building department website, trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov, reports the project is 240,000 square feet, the actual building space is 21,500 square feet.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Echelon Group hires Idaho Falls office manager

Jessica Weinrich
Echelon Group, an employee benefits and retirement plan provider, has hired Jessica Weinrich to manage its newly opened Idaho Falls office, at 1070 Riverwalk Drive, Suite 254. Weinrich comes from Development Workshop, the Idaho Falls non-profit community rehabilitation program, where she was director of administrative services.

Echelon Group’s corporate headquarters are in Boise. The firm provides customized employee benefits, group insurance, retirement plans/401Ks, financial planning and individual insurance and investment management services in Idaho. It was founded in 2004, but it dates back to 1981, when Donald L. Reiman, the company's president, entered the financial-services industry as an independent insurance contractor.

Friday, October 6, 2017

I.F. company MarCom LLC buys lab in Butte, Mont.

MarCom LLC, an Idaho Falls company, has finalized an agreement with E Capital Partners LLC to acquire the laboratory assets from MSE Inc. in Butte, Mont. It will reopen there as MarCom Laboratory Services on Nov. 1.

MarCom is an SBA-certified Native American-owned, 8(a), and woman-owned business that provides management, administrative, engineering, nuclear operations, information technology services, SCADA, and health and safety services to U.S. Department of Energy sites as well as commercial customers across the country, a news release from the company said.

The Butte, Mont., laboratory will provide analytical services for water and soil samples for public and private entities. “MarCom Laboratory Services is the newest addition to our growing portfolio of services, allowing us to become more diversified while continuing to grow,” said Marcella Medor, MarCom’s president, in the release.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

SpringHill Suites by Marriott holds grand opening

An artist's rendering of the new SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel in Idaho Falls, by the Snake River.
The new SpringHill Suites by Marriott, just south of the Marriott Residence Inn, held its grand opening Monday, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber Ambassadors.

The hotel, at 665 Riverwalk Drive, was built by Woodbury Corp., a full-service real estate development and management company based in Salt Lake City, in partnership with McNeil Development, the company owned by brothers Rollie and Lorin Walker, developers of the Taylor Crossing on the River project.

The new 124-room hotel was designed for both business and leisure travelers, a Woodbury Corp. news release said. Amenities include business services, complimentary Wi-Fi, same-day dry cleaning, guest laundry facilities, an indoor swimming pool with whirlpool, an outdoor patio area with a fire pit and a fitness center.

The hotel also has two meeting rooms with more than 1,170 square feet to accommodate gatherings of up to 40 people, with catering available if needed, the release said.

Bjoern Jaeger is the hotel’s general manager.

The new hotel brings 40 full-time jobs and increased tourism opportunities to Idaho Falls, according to the news release. The project also included the installation of a new quarter-mile road along the Snake River through Taylor Crossing on the River, increasing accessibility to the city.