An Indian American in Central California has been appointed to a post in Kern County.
Rick Jhaj was recently named by the Board of Supervisors to a seat on the county’s Planning Commission, becoming the first Indian American to be named to the post.
Born and raised in the Central Valley, Jhaj’s parents immigrated to the United States from Punjab, India. He was born in Fresno and lived in a farm labor camp in Mendota, California, where his parents started their life in America working in the fields as farm workers.
His family eventually made the move to Bakersfield, where he went to elementary, junior high, high school, and college. He attended West High and was involved in various clubs and was elected as student body president during his junior year and ASB president during his senior year.
He went on to pursue his business degree at California State University at Bakersfield. Soon afterward he obtained his general contractor’s license. Jhaj currently serves as the chief development officer for Countryside Corp.
An executive with over 12 years of experience owning and operating a commercial construction business, multiple national brand quick-service restaurants, and Countryside Market & Restaurants, Jhaj has managed a multitude of projects throughout California.
His business motto is “we are not just in the business to build a project, we are in the business to manage people,” according to a bio provided to India-West.
Prasayus Commercial Construction specializes in ground-up buildings, gas stations, restaurants, medical buildings, corporate offices, pharmacies, road improvements, metal buildings, remodels, and tenant improvements. Under Jhaj’s leadership, Prasayus has become an approved contractor for numerous national brands inclusive of Shell Petroleum, Chevron Petroleum, Subway, Taco Bell, Taco Del Mar, Valley Ranch Market, Church’s Chicken, Pita Pit, and many financial institutions.
Each year, Jhaj makes it a point to take on projects that serve the community’s needs, according to a press release. Prasayus has built multiple DaVita Dialysis centers as well as the largest MAOF daycare facility in California, which houses over 130 children, according to his bio.
As an entrepreneur and businessman, Jhaj has been an owner of Subway and Pizza Hut restaurants for over 10 years and is a founding partner of Countryside Market and Restaurants, it said. He and his family employ over 400 people throughout Kern and Tulare counties and have been in business for over 25 years.
Jhaj is an approved builder for many national brands (Subway, Taco Bell, Chevron, Shell, Pizza Hut, Davita Dialysis). He builds not only for his family businesses; he builds for others as well. Jhaj is well versed in regulatory issues as they pertain to development and construction. He has firsthand experience dealing with regulations that are specific to land use and permitting, noted his bio. Commissioner Jhaj brings with him a wealth of knowledge from his years in construction and business development to the Planning Commission, according to the news release.
He constantly volunteers his time and resources to the Bakersfield Homeless Center, the Sikh Women’s Association, and various other community organizations and events, the release said.
For his efforts in business and community service, Rick was recently recognized by Bakersfield Life Magazine’s “20 under 40 People to Watch.” This past January, he was also chosen to serve on the Board of Directors for the Kern County Chamber of Commerce.