Business

SJ utility gets power aid

Former PG&E manager Don Battles has taken a temporary job helping rival South San Joaquin Irrigation District establish a spot in the retail power industry.

Battles recently was appointed by the district's board to serve as utilities system director. Among his duties is developing a program to begin providing retail electrical service in Manteca, Ripon and Escalon, said Troylene Sayler, communications coordinator for the district.

The plan is hotly contested by PG&E. It depends on eminent domain to force PG&E to sell power poles, substations and transformers to SSJID. Until 2005, PG&E had an exclusive contract to buy electricity that runs through those lines and systems from the Tri-Dam Project, a series of electricity-producing dams along the Stanislaus River jointly owned by the SSJID and the Oakdale Irrigation District. But PG&E's 50-year contract expired Dec. 31, 2004, and the SSJID wants to use its share of future power to provide electricity to local customers. The issue is before the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

Battles worked for PG&E for 30 years, from 1959-1989, serving as a Manteca territory manager, Sayler said. He went on to work for Lassen Municipal Utility District, retiring in 1997. He has since worked as a consultant. He is expected to work for the SSJID for as long as 18 months, Sayler said.

DiversityBusiness.com again named DirectLine Technologies Inc. of Modesto as one of the "Top 100 Small Businesses in California."

DirectLine does fund-raising work for universities, hospitals and nonprofit groups nationwide, bringing in more than $63 million to serve its clients' needs.

DirectLine also was ranked among the "Top 100 Woman-Owned Businesses in California" and "Top 500 Woman-Owned Businesses in America."

More than 600,000 businesses in the United Sates had the opportunity to participate in the eighth annual contest. The companies on the list were recognized as among the top-earning multicultural firms in various fields.

"Small and woman-owned businesses are a growing force in the U.S. economy," said Kenton Clarke, CEO of Computer Consulting Associates International, which built DiversityBusiness.com. "This is a whole business segment that provides jobs, products and services, and generates wealth for their communities. These are the new leaders in American business."

Martha Connor, president and chief executive officer of DirectLine, said it provides green jobs for more than 300 Stanislaus County employees.

Rahim Mesbah, a Modesto dentist, recently attended The Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Fla., to study advances in occlusal disease. He also studied the latest techniques in comprehensive dental evaluation.

Occlusal disease develops when upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly. There may be problems and pain as teeth wear against each other. Excessive wear, cracks, fractures, tooth movement, tooth sensitivity, cavities, and gum disease can be part of the occlusal disease process.

Announcements of promotions, awards and other business achievements can be sent by fax to David W. Hill, business editor, 578-2207; by mail to Biz Lines, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or by e-mail to dhill@modbee.com. Photographs cannot be returned.

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