Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Striped Bass Fishing in California

Tom Velken, owner and principal at Viking Real Estate in Lafayette, California since 1995, is an experienced real estate professional. A full-service organization, Viking provides real estate investment and finance services. When not working, Tom Velken enjoys fishing and especially for Striped Bass.
California offers arguably the best striped bass opportunities anywhere in the country.  Stripers can be readily caught by recreational anglers during the spring and summer months in the San Francisco Bay and California Delta as well as the Central Valley rivers.  They are widely known as one of the strongest fighting fish found anywhere.
There were originally no striped bass in California. They were introduced from the East Coast, where they are found from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Alabama. The initial introduction took place in 1879, when 132 small bass were brought successfully to California by rail from the Navesink River in New Jersey and released near Martinez. Fish from this lot were caught within a year near Sausalito, Alameda, and Monterey, and others were caught occasionally at scattered places for several years afterwards. There was much concern by the Fish and Game Commission that such a small number of bass might fail to establish the species, so a second introduction of about 300 stripers was made in lower Suisun Bay in 1882.

In a few years, striped bass were being caught in California in large numbers. By 1889, a decade after the first lot of eastern fish had been released, bass were being sold in San Francisco markets. In another 10 years, the commercial net catch alone was averaging well over a million pounds a year. In 1935, however, all commercial fishing for striped bass was stopped in the belief that this would enhance the sport fishery.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Visiting Bellagio on the Shores of Lake Como

Tom Velken is the founder of Viking Real Estate Group, a full-service real estate investment company based in Lafayette, California. In his capacity as a company principal, he works directly with clients and engages in management tasks. During his leisure time, Tom Velken enjoys traveling with his family. He has visited the Lake Como region of Italy. 

The Rhaetian Alps frame Lake Como, which is one of Italy's beautiful attractions. Villages dot the shores of the Y-shaped lake, and one of them, Bellagio, has notable features that include steep cobblestone staircases, colorful dwellings, and bright gardens. 

Another attraction in this picture-perfect village is i Giardini di Villa Melzi, a tranquil park that offers unforgettable views of Lake Como. Moreover, the Basilica di San Giacomo gives visitors a taste of Italy's rich religious history, and a day of kayaking on the lake should appeal to adventurous travelers. 

Bellagio has a wide selection of restaurants, hotels, and other tourist amenities. Travelers are encouraged to visit in the middle of the week since Bellagio tends to be crowded over weekends.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Three Benefits to Becoming a NAMB Member

A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Tom Velken founded Viking Real Estate Group in 1995. Since then, he has completed hundreds of investment deals totaling over $200 million. Beyond growing his own company, Tom Velken actively supports the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB), of which he is a member. 

NAMB membership includes a variety of benefits for real estate professionals; three of which are listed below.

1. Education: The NAMB Education Committee provides numerous courses through national and state association events throughout the country. Respected industry leaders head introductory and theme-specific classes.

2. Certification: In addition to continuing education courses, NAMB offers three different levels of certification for mortgage professionals to advance their career. The organization's highest level of certification is the Certified Mortgage Consultant, which designates professionals as industry leaders.

3. Conferences: Yearly NAMB conferences offer networking opportunities, professional development courses, and insight into the industry’s latest technology.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sherpa-Improved Trail Steps in Norway

Based in Lafayette, California, Tom Velken serves as president and owner of Viking Real Estate Group, a real estate agency assisting individuals and companies in the acquisition and financing of their individually held real estate investments. When he's not working, Tom Velken spends time traveling. In June 2016 he ventured to Norway, where he hiked in the mountains above the Sorfjorden village of Reidsete. The trail head which leads up to the Folgafonna glacier has been partially fortified with stone steps recently reconstructed by Sherpas. On the other side of the Sorfjorden, near the city of Odda, the Sherpas have also worked on the more famous Trolltunga trail.

According to an article on the website, The Norwegian American, Sherpas first began working in Norway in 2000 and have built paths and stairways in over 100 different Norwegian locations. Much of their work has been filmed by a documentary team from national broadcaster NRK, who interviewed a number of the Nepalese mountaineers.

“The film sets out to show the trails seen by the Sherpas in Norway,” filmmaker Jannicke Farstad told NRK. “I’m not sure people realize how much they’ve contributed to the country. “We also wanted to find out what it means for Nepal that the Sherpas come here to work.”

According to the article, Farstad told NRK that she had personally witnessed the effects of the Sherpas’ Norwegian wages in Nepal, particularly after the April 2015 earthquake in which over 8,000 lives were lost.

But it is not just the potential for earning a wage several times larger than would be earned at home, according to the Sherpas themselves, who spend between seven months and a year working on the Norwegian paths.

“Money comes and goes. The things we have learnt in Norway will be with us for the rest of our lives. I feel like we are creating history. One day, my grandchildren will be able to come to Norway and see what we have built,” Nima Sherpa told NRK.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cushman and Wakefield - One World Trade Center


As the founder and president of the Viking Real Estate Group, Tom Velken has overseen thousands of real estate transactions for his customers. Tom Velken created Viking in 1995 in Lafayette, California after having worked in a number of real estate investment firms, including the well-known commercial broker Cushman and Wakefield.

Cushman and Wakefield is responsible for the development of a number of world class properties as well as being the leasing agents for many iconic buildings that include One World Trade Center. Awarded the leasing assignment by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey while the project was still in development, the contract was continued when the Durst Organization took over as the owner of the property.

Designed by architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, One World Trade Center features a 104-story tower that provides 3 million square feet of space and sits on eight acres of land.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kansas City vs. Memphis: What's the Difference in BBQ Styles?


Real estate executive Tom Velken is the owner and president of Viking Real Estate Group in Lafayette, California, and possesses more than two decades of experience with real estate acquisition and development. In his leisure time, Tom Velken enjoys cooking, particularly barbecue-style dishes.

Two of the best-known styles of barbecue in American cuisine are Kansas City style and Memphis style. But what are the differences between the two? Here’s quick primer on what separates these two types of barbecue.

Kansas City style is generally considered the most prominent type of barbecue in the country. Grocery stores across America are lined with different sorts of Kansas City barbecue sauce, which is so popular that the city itself is home to the largest barbecue society in the world and is often referred to as the “Mecca” of barbecue. Kansas City style barbecue is distinguished by thick, tomato-based sauces that contain lots of sugar. The rubs are sugar-heavy as well but mostly use brown sugar; consequently, Kansas City barbecue has a sweet and tangy flavor and is typically used on pork, pork ribs, and chicken.

Memphis style, while similar to Kansas City style, doesn’t contain nearly as much sugar. Rather, Memphis style barbecue is typically spicier and - most notably - is often served without sauce. In the rare occasions sauce is used, though, it typically is employed as a pork dipping sauce and is thinner than Kansas City sauce. Pork ribs and pork butt are the two most popular proteins for Memphis style barbecue.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Buying Your First Bass Guitar: Check the Neck

Real estate executive Tomas Velken is the owner and president of Viking Real Estate Group in Lafayette, California. Outside of his work in the real estate sector, Tomas Velken plays bass guitar in a classic rock cover band known as OPM.

When it comes to buying your first bass guitar or any guitar for that matter there are many features to consider; however, start with the basics. One of the most important components of any guitar is the neck, which extends outward from the body toward the tuning pegs. When shopping for a guitar, start by holding the guitar to see how it feels. The neck should not be too wide or narrow in your hand. If it does not feel comfortable at first, chances are that it never will.

On the top side of the neck is a series of metal bars known as frets, which allow you to play different notes. Play notes on every fret to check for buzzing or dead spots, which typically indicate design defects. It is also important to check for a warped or twisted neck, which often requires a considerable investment to fix. If you are ever uncertain about design quality, ask a more experienced friend or guitar instructor for assistance.