Stories for January 2011

Monday, January 31

Maxwell Agrees to $14.3M in Penalties

Maxwell Technologies Inc., a San Diego-based maker of energy storage and power delivery products, agreed to pay $14.3 million in penalties, disgorgement of profits and interest to settle charges related to the bribing of Chinese government officials to win sales of Maxwell’s products, said federal prosecutors and the company Jan. 31.

Viejas Casino, State Lottery Make Promotional Deal

In a groundbreaking move, Viejas Enterprises and the California State Lottery will be promoting each other’s products.

Under Threat of Cuts, Cities Practice Fiscal Self-Defense Moves

With the beginning of a year, new ideas and initiatives come from bosses, employees and customers.

Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

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Couple’s Kindness Gives Foster Kids Help During Difficult Days

Promises2Kids received a $250,000 gift from David Dunn, managing partner of Idanta Partners located in Carmel Valley, and his wife, Marilyn, to provide gift cards for foster teens.

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Cadence Makes Big Addition to Pain-Relief Arsenal

HEALTH CARE: Firm’s Injectable Acetaminophen Aids Postoperative Patients

Befitting the company’s name, San Diego-based Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s sales staffers are marching to appointments to get a share of the pain-relief business at the nation’s hospitals.

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Executive Profile: Jonathan Y. Freeman

Jonathan Y. Freeman is Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial’s acting president and chief executive officer as well as the company’s COO/CFO.

New $100 Million FBI Campus Set for the Sorrento Mesa Area

The U.S. military has long been active with San Diego County construction, and now another sector of the federal government has a sizable project in the works.

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Brokers Share Best Strategies For Locating Suitable Space

REAL ESTATE: Scenario Explores Options That Are Open to Potential Tenants

Suppose a widget-making company wanted to find some new space for its operations, including an onsite warehouse and supporting office for the staff? A smart company would turn to tenants’ agents and turn early, according to some of the best tenant brokers around.

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Credit Union Displays Strength in Numbers

California Coast Credit Union is still the third largest credit union in the county with $1.6 billion in assets, although it declined in size by about $200 million during the past year.

Regional Life Sciences Group Thinks Globally

Biocom’s top executive has high hopes for the organization’s first Global Life Science Partnering Conference.

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Verve Wireless Names New CEO, Opens Office in Washington, D.C.

TECHNOLOGY: Firm Secures $7 Million in Venture Capital Funding

Verve Wireless, which operates from corporate headquarters in Encinitas, has hired a new CEO.

SDG&E Chief Executive Appointed Co-Chair of Leadership Council

ECONOMY: Jessie Knight To Help Guide Group That Focuses on Job Growth

Local executive Jessie J. Knight Jr. has been named co-chairman of the Southern California Leadership Council. Knight is chairman and chief executive officer of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., which announced the appointment Jan. 19.

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Cubic Collects $220 Million Transit Deal

Cubic Corp. said Jan. 27 that its Transportation Systems unit received a $220 million contract from TransLink, the transit authority for Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to deliver and operate a new smart card fare payment system covering the city’s trains, buses and ferries.

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Amylin Rebounds From Its Recent Diabetes Drug Setback

PHARMACEUTICALS: Q4 Sales Beat Estimates; CEO Vows Financial Discipline

San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc.. appears on the road to success in lowering costs to bring spending in line with revenues after the FDA rejected Bydureon, its anti-diabetes drug candidate in late October.

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Connect Forum Tackles Issues of Advancing Wireless Health Care

GOVERNMENT: Reform Helps Bridge Gaps Between Innovation, Implementation

As Congress works through the details related to financing health care reform, a little-known part of President Barack Obama’s plan could provide an opening for local companies trying to get a foothold in the wireless patient-monitoring market.

Treating Employees Well Helps Contractors Make a Fortune

WORK FORCE: Firms With Large Local Operations Land on Magazine’s List

Construction ranks among the nation’s hardest hit industries for employment, with many firms still reeling from business volume that is down more than half from pre-recession levels.

Qualcomm’s First Quarter Tops Forecasts

Qualcomm Inc. beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations both in revenue and profit growth for its fiscal 2011 first quarter results released Jan. 26.

Firm Asserts Edgy Image With New EdgeWave Name

TECHNOLOGY: Refreshed Moniker Part of 2-Year Reinvention Process

Reinvention is a wonderful thing, and when companies do it, they sometimes change their names as well.

New Challenge Is on the Plate Of Media Maven

Well, when we last checked in with new media guru Ron James — the genius behind San Diego Magazine’s pioneering Web site and a former key player at and the now defunct San Diego News Network — he was heading off to retirement in the Wine Country to write about his favorite wines and really good food

Port Promotes Green Business Practices

ENVIRONMENT: Firms Try for Awards By Boosting Their Sustainability Scores

The Port of San Diego is calling on waterfront businesses to voluntarily join a nationwide push toward energy efficiency that’s quickly becoming crucial to the financial health of companies.

Class A Office Deals Are Plentiful When You Know Where to Look

REAL ESTATE: Vacancies Bring Concessions; Demand For Space Expected to Rise

Thanks to the ongoing recession, there are bargains for Class A commercial office tenants in many parts of San Diego County, says Jason W. Hughes, co-founder and principal of Irving Hughes Inc., a tenant representation company.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Hoteliers Exuberant About Lodging Prospects

HOSPITALITY: Optimism Tempered With Skepticism On the Employment Front

Continued challenges in financing new properties, combined with a gradually improving economy, should bode well for current hotel operators in the coming year, industry leaders predicted at an international hospitality conference in San Diego.

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Pentagon Cutting Exquisite Programs

DEFENSE: Money Going to Projects Deemed More Worthy

With the U.S. Department of Defense keeping a closer eye on spending, the defense industry’s main customer has less tolerance for the “exquisite” program.

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Company Creates an ‘All-Terrain Vehicle’ of Communication

TECHNOLOGY: Flow Of Information Finds Its Way Around Interference

Call someone a birdbrain and you might be paying them a compliment. The electronics from PCN Technology Inc. mimic one feature of a bird brain. Far from being a drawback, it’s a selling point.

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Campaign Promotes Region as Tech Center

Local Offices Look to Fill 6,000 Job Openings in Software, Information Technology

Responding to a projected dearth of local engineering talent to fill the growing number of jobs created by San Diego’s high-tech companies, two organizations are joining with the private sector to launch a recruiting campaign to attract such workers from other areas of the state.

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STAFFING: Health Care Reform Likely

Health care reform may be a permanent fix to provide every American with basic medical services, but look to temporary staffing firms to do a lot of the heavy — and challenging — lifting on the patient care recruitment front.

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Before Deciding to Cut Redevelopment, Take a Look at the Property Tax Laws

If redevelopment law in California is eliminated, as Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed, it would send an estimated $450 million in local property tax dollars to the state coffers.

Friday, January 28

New Lawsuit Challenges Navy Broadway Project

Local environmentalists have filed a new lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, calling for further environmental review before commercial development proceeds on the long-discussed Navy Broadway Complex in downtown San Diego.

University Receives $5.8M for Stem Cell Research

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, aka CIRM, has awarded three grants totaling nearly $5.8 million to researchers at UC San Diego.

Economic Index Continues to Rise, Shows 0.4 Percent Gain

An index measuring San Diego’s economy increased 0.4 percent in December, making it the 21st consecutive month it has risen or stayed flat.

Ligand to Buy CyDex

La Jolla-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Jan. 26 it will acquire Lenexa, Kan.-based CyDex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Cubic Collects $220M Deal for Vancouver Transit Authority

Cubic Corp. said Jan. 27 that its Transportation Systems unit received a $220 million contract from TransLink, the transit authority for Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Wednesday, January 26

Qualcomm’s Quarterly Revenue and Profits Exceed Analysts’ Forecasts

Qualcomm Inc. beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations both in revenue and profit growth for its fiscal 2011 first quarter results released Jan. 26.

FedEx to Use CryoPort Technology in Frozen Shipping Service

San Diego-based CryoPort Inc. said that FedEx Corp. has launched a frozen shipping product using CryoPort’s technology. Financial terms of the business deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, January 25

Yearly Profit Grows 52 Percent at San Diego Trust

San Diego Trust Bank, which passed the $200 million asset mark last year, reported unaudited fourth quarter net income of $333,000, up 68 percent from the like quarter of 2009.

Man Sentenced in Loan Modification Scam

Glenn Steven Rosofsky, who pleaded guilty last year to three felony counts related to a scam preying on delinquent mortgage borrowers, was sentenced to 63 months in prison and three years of probation Jan. 24 by federal Judge Roger Benitez, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cutting Red Tape Means Extra Help for the Needy, Alliance Says

Alliance Healthcare Foundation said that it will eliminate its traditional application-driven grant-making process that brings about $1 million a year to San Diego’s medically underserved.

Monday, January 24

Novartis Offers $470M for Genoptix

The international pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said early Jan. 24 that it has agreed to buy Genoptix Inc., a Carlsbad-based specialty lab, for $470 million in cash.

Optimer Drug to Get Rapid Review

San Diego-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc. said the Food and Drug Administration has accepted the company’s application for its experimental antibiotic pill to treat gastrointestinal infections and the therapeutic will get a quick review by the federal health regulator.

Global Mobility Spurs Demand for Firm’s Language Services

International Biz: Clients Include Medical Offices, Governments

Whether it’s a woman who speaks only Vietnamese seeking medical help or a corporation launching a new software that needs its manuals translated into at least five languages, there’s a growing need for companies that provide interpretation and translation services.

Many Hospitals Are Feeling the Pain of Financial Difficulties

HEALTH CARE: Mandate On Seismic Standards Adds To Their Funding Problems

As one San Diego hospital gets ready to lay off nearly a quarter of its work force, California’s relentless fiscal crisis is creating a daunting challenge for all of San Diego County’s hospitals, which could affect their staffing levels.

No Need to Change the Culture at Up-and-Coming Chula Vista Bank

Despite opening in July 2008, a few months before the global financial crisis erupted, Vibra Bank managed to turn a profit in a little more than two years.

Hospital’s New $40M Energy Plant Circulates Benefits for Patients, Staff

When Chris Van Gorder looks out at the new central energy plant at Scripps Mercy Hospital, he sees more than just a structure that will provide power, plumbing, heating and air conditioning for the hospital’s 111,000 patients each year.

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Officials Look to Develop Plans for Gateway to S. County Beaches

Local port district and city officials are trying to figure out what to do with a nondescript 95-acre land parcel, called Pond 20, at the eastern entrance to Imperial Beach.

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Professional Profile: Krispin Rosner

Krispin Rosner is the founding partner of San Diego-based financial firm Rosner Brown Touchstone & Keller LLP.

Recipe for Growth?

HOSPITALITY: Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. Serves Up Custom-Assembly Concept

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. is the latest dining chain to adopt what has become a more sophisticated version of that 1970s burger ad catchphrase, “Have it your way.”

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Review the Review Process, Then Dump It

In today’s competitive business climate, every process involved in the design, sales and production of your product or service should be reviewed to determine if it needs to be left alone, streamlined or dumped.

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Gratitude Takes Center Stage as Opera Gala Honors Supporter

Esther Burnham is being honored by San Diego Opera at its 2011 Gala scheduled for Jan. 29 at The US Grant hotel following a performance by the opera.

Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

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Professional Profile: Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens is the managing partner for Ernst & Young LLP’s San Diego office.

Accounting Firms Give Staff Freedom to Grow Professionally

PHILANTHROPY: Community Service Is Also Highly Encouraged

Accounting firms believe that standing tall in the community means getting out of the office — a practice the top firms say helps them keep their talent pool from floating away.

Accountants Have a Number of Ways of Setting Their Services Apart

MARKETING: Top Firms Cultivate Specialties to Stand Out From Competitors

San Diego County has a singular profile as a market for accounting firms. The region is light on national headquarters, heavy on defense, home to a quickly mutating life sciences and pharmaceuticals industry, a petri dish for startups, a carved bowl for action sports and a place in the sun for alternative energy companies.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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Life Technologies Speeds Test for Egg Producers

Carlsbad-based Life Technologies Corp. said it has developed with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine a detection kit to test for salmonella in poultry eggs, providing a tenfold reduction in waiting time for accurate results.

Local Ingenuity Goes on Display At Electronics Show

TECHNOLOGY: Cloud Computing, Wireless Connections Play Big Roles

Some 2,700 companies, including a selection from San Diego County, displayed some novel and increasingly powerful ways to do those things during the 2011 International CES.

Rising Loan Delinquencies Keeping Receiverships Busy

REAL ESTATE: Hotels, Retail Among Hardest-Hit Properties

Local companies that handle issues related to distressed commercial properties expect to be kept busy in 2011, after loan delinquencies locally and nationally continued to rise during the past year.

Midway Offers A Perfect Perch For Big Flyover

When more than 100 vintage aircraft fly over San Diego Bay on Feb. 12 to celebrate 100 years of U.S. Navy aviation, up to 1,000 civilian observers will have the privilege of watching the parade from the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum.

American Assets Trust Raises $564 Million With IPO

REAL ESTATE: Support Of REITs Continues in First Offering of 2011

San Diego-based American Assets Trust Inc. raised about $564 million in 2011’s first U.S. initial public offering of common stock.

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Desire to Avoid Auto Accidents Drives Firm’s Sales

TRANSPORTATION: Cars Using DriveCam’s Systems Up 25%; Orders Grow 87%

Rather than talking about the number of customers, DriveCam prefers to focus on the number of vehicles carrying its audio and video recording systems aimed at preventing traffic accidents.

Carnival Cruise Will End Its Local Service

Carnival Cruise Lines will discontinue its San Diego-based services next year, as it focuses resources on the Australian market.

For Company, Clear Objectives Can Be Matter of Life or Death

TECHNOLOGY: Firm’s Runway Radar Looks to Improve Airport Safety

Trex Enterprises Corp. has turned a standard Ford Motor Co. pickup truck into a pilot’s best friend.

The Price Is Right For Store Operator, Stock Investors

RETAIL: Expanding PriceSmart Reports Higher Profits, Sales

Consumer confidence in this country is finally picking up, but in markets served by PriceSmart Inc., it’s been gaining momentum for much of the past year.

Clean-Tech Benefits From Global Climate Study

ENVIRONMENT: Scripps Joins $25M Research Effort With Commercial Potential

UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography is the beneficiary of research funding that’s part of an East Coast company’s $25 million plan to build a greenhouse gas observation network around the world.

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Friday, January 21

Retail, Services Put a Dent in December Jobless Rate

San Diego County’s unemployment rate dipped in December to 10.1 percent from November’s revised rate of 10.4 percent, according to a Jan. 21 report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

Report: Green Jobs Grow at Relatively Brisk Pace

New data released in Next 10’s second “Many Shades of Green” report shows that green jobs continue to grow at a healthy clip in the Golden State, even in the wake of the economic downturn.

Illumina Poised to Open Brazil Office

San Diego-based genetic testing company Illumina Inc. said it will open an office in Sao Paolo, Brazil, to focus on developing business opportunities across Latin America.

DPR, Qualcomm, Scripps Rank Among Top Workplaces

DPR Construction, Qualcomm Inc. and Scripps Health are among companies on Fortune magazine’s 2011 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Thursday, January 20

Sempra Increases Stake in South American Utilities

San Diego-based Sempra Energy said Jan. 19 that a subsidiary business will acquire a partner’s stakes in two electrical distribution companies in Chile and Peru for about $875 million.

Tuesday, January 18

Businessman Joins Immunology Institute Board

Mark Fischer, a local business leader, was recently elected to the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology’s board of directors.

World Trade Center Recognizes Four Businesses

The World Trade Center San Diego annual International Business Leadership Awards program on Jan. 11 drew about 300 people to the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center at San Diego State University.

Monday, January 17

Illumina Makes Acquisition

San Diego-based genetic testing company Illumina Inc. has acquired a Wisconsin manufacturer of DNA sample preparation products used for genetic sequencing.

Sanford-Burnham, Ortho Team Up on Alzheimer’s Treatment

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute said it will work with a division of Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. to discover compounds for Alzheimer’s disease and major psychiatric disorders.

DriveCam Reports 87 Percent Increase in Orders

DriveCam, which supplies video and audio recording devices to the transportation industry, said on Jan. 13 that its orders for last year were up 87 percent over the prior year.

Life Technologies Rolls Out New Test for Egg Producers

Carlsbad-based Life Technologies Corp. said it has developed with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine a detection kit to test for salmonella in poultry eggs, providing a tenfold reduction in waiting time for accurate results.

Collaborative Genome Project Could Lead to Cheaper Cancer Treatments

A GT Life Sciences Inc. executive sees great potential unfolding from the work of its research partner in China, which completed for the first time the sequencing of the Chinese hamster ovary, or CHO, genome. The collaborators believe this event will provide useful information that could potentially cut the costs of producing therapeutic proteins.

Qualcomm's Next Generation

TECHNOLOGY: 25-Year-Old Chip Maker Focuses on New Technologies, Massively Transforming Wireless Health Care

Cellular phones were priced at $1,395 and the Internet was off-limits to the public when Qualcomm Inc. launched its operation in 1985.

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Contractor Buys Roel Construction

CONSTRUCTION: Companies Share Similar Cultures and Priorities, Local Leader Says

Suffolk Construction Co. Inc., among the nation’s largest privately held contracting firms, has acquired the operations of Roel Construction Inc.

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Hospital Poised to Pare Staff, Enlarge Emergency Room

HEALTH CARE: Income Woes Hammer Alvarado Hospital; $25M Budgeted for Upgrades

Alvarado Hospital said it will lay off nearly one-fourth of its work force and implement operational restructurings by March 13 in an attempt to deal with multimillion-dollar reductions in state and federal payments.’s 3 Founders Get a Preview of Success

Looks like the City of Poway has produced another budding entrepreneur from the Gen Y crowd. Poway High School grad and San Diego State University student Jeff Groveman, 22, has teamed with two other students, brothers Josh and Alex Gottsegen, to launch, which allows independent filmmakers to upload trailers to the Web site.

Big Contractors ‘Dodged the Bullet’ in Pentagon Cuts

DEFENSE: Most Aviation Programs Spared; Troop Levels to Be Reduced

Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ proposal to trim the Pentagon budget generally favors San Diego’s aviation community, while reining in U.S. Marine Corps plans to acquire new vehicles and aircraft.

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Products Lighten Load for Life Sciences Shipping

TECHNOLOGY: Dry Ice Substitute Keeps Contents Cool for 10 Days-Plus

The top executive of a San Diego-based business expects the company’s frozen shipping transportation solution will meet with a warm reception from potential life sciences customers this year.

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Healthy Dose of Conventions Heads for Center

HOSPITALITY: Medical Events Contribute to $1.4B Projected Economic Impact

With health care-related events leading the way, San Diego Convention Center operators are predicting a continued post-recession rebound in 2011 for bookings and the regional economic impact they deliver.

Z Microsystems’ Investment in Developing New Ideas Is Paying Off

TECHNOLOGY: Firm Directs 20% of Its Budget Into Product Development

One of the reasons that Z Microsystems Inc. has been successful is its substantial investment in developing new ideas, says Jack Wade, the company’s founder and chief executive officer.

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Redevelopment Agencies Defended as Funding Cuts Are Proposed

URBAN PLANNING: Forum Addresses State’s Move to Lift Spending Cap

Experts at a San Diego forum on downtown development warned against the potential economic fallout if Gov. Jerry Brown moves ahead with a proposal to eliminate state-funded redevelopment agencies, as part of wider efforts to fix the state budget.

Financing Demonstrates Faith in Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatment

HEALTH CARE: Device Maker Attracts $8M-Plus, Prepares for U.S. Trials

A San Diego device maker has put to bed more than $8 million of funding to test and develop a pacemakerlike device that could help some sleep apnea sufferers get relief without relying on air masks.

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Financial Advisory Firms Are Investing in New Employees

FINANCE: Graduates In the Field Find There Are Good Opportunities

Continued economic uncertainty combined with a growing number of baby boomers entering or nearing retirement age are driving client growth at some local financial advisory firms.

Forecasts See Better Days for Some Sectors of Local Real Estate Market

Despite muted expectations for buying and selling activity in 2011, San Diego County’s office, retail and multifamily housing markets all rank among the nation’s top 10 for investment opportunities this year, according to real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis Co.

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Entertainment Company Keeps the Excitement Building at Legoland

The new year is only a couple of weeks old but things are getting off to a good start. We have a new speaker of the House in Washington, D.C., a new governor in Sacramento and a new mayor in Carlsbad.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Nonprofit Profile: Scott H. Silverman

Scott H. Silverman is founder and president of Second Chance, an organization working to solve the problems of unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, homelessness and incarceration.

Caution Turns Out to Be Money in the Bank for Some

BANKING: Conservative Lending Practices Pay Off For Financial Institutions

Although most locally based banks were still dealing with the consequences of a miserable economy last year, the majority were also generating profits.

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Bank Leaders Share a Wealth Of Experience in Industry

WORK FORCE: Executives Have Individual Approach To Generating Profits

When Rancho Santa Fe Thrift & Loan President Mike Johns began working in financial services in 1970 it was at one of the nation’s first industrial loan companies Morris Plan Co. of California.

Bank Views Its TARP Participation as a Win-Win Situation

When Hans Ganz, the former CEO of First PacTrust Bancorp, obtained $19.3 million in federal bailout money through the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008, he called it “cheap money,” and something many banks desired.

Executive Profile: Tory Nixon

Tory Nixon is executive vice president and San Diego division president for California Bank & Trust.

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Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

Symphony Celebrates Its ‘Top 100’ at Special Anniversary Gala

San Diego Symphony Opus 2010 Centennial Gala was held Dec. 2 at The US Grant hotel, the site of the symphony’s first performance 100 years ago.

It’s Time to Recover Our ‘Economic Poise’

Instead of thinking of years in terms of animals, which I’m told this will be the year of the rabbit, I tend to think about the underlying theme for the economy in this new year.

Growing Firm Makes Movie Magic

TECHNOLOGY: Legend3D Inc. Reports Tremendous Increases in Sales, Work Force in Past Year

Walking into the offices of Legend3D Inc. in Carmel Valley is a bit like walking into a movie theater, just not quite as dark.

Friday, January 14

Carnival Cruise Lines to Depart San Diego Market

Carnival Cruise Lines will discontinue its San Diego-based services next year, as it focuses resources on the Australian market.

CareFusion Sells Its OnSite Services Unit

San Diego-based medical device company CareFusion Corp. said it has sold its OnSite Services medical instrument management and repair business to Frazier Healthcare.

Local Cox Leader Retiring

Cox Communications Inc. announced Jan. 14 that Bill Geppert, senior vice president and general manager of its San Diego operation, will retire at the end of February after 15 years at the helm.

Seven Local Stores Among Anchor Blue Closings

Corona-headquartered clothing retailer Anchor Blue is closing all of its 117 stores, including seven locations in San Diego County.

Thursday, January 13

American Assets Goes Public, Concludes Year’s First IPO

American Assets Trust Inc., a San Diego real estate investment trust, became the first initial public offering of 2011 when it issued 27.5 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 13 at $20.50 per share, raising about $564 million.

Council Backs Expansion of Horton Plaza Park

San Diego City Council has approved plans to expand a downtown park to create a new public square on the outskirts of Westfield Horton Plaza.

Wednesday, January 12

Executive Returns to Eset to Take CEO’s Job

Eset LLC, a San Diego-based computer security software firm, said it named Andrew Lee as its chief executive officer, succeeding founding CEO Anton Zajac, who will continue an executive management role as president.

Port OKs Embarcadero Plan

Port of San Diego officials have approved a revised coastal development permit for phase one of the long-planned renovation of downtown’s North Embarcadero waterfront district.

Tuesday, January 11

Vibra Bank Reports Quarterly Profit

Vibra Bank, a single-office bank in Chula Vista that opened in July 2008, reported Jan. 11 unaudited net income for the 2010 fourth quarter of $51,000, the first time it broke a profit. That compared to a net loss of $184,000 for the same quarter of 2009.

Decades-Long Medical Study Begins With Kickoff

The San Diego County component of the nation’s largest long-term examination of children’s health and development was launched Jan. 10.

Boston Firm Buys Roel

Boston-headquartered Suffolk Construction Co. Inc., among the nation’s largest privately held contracting firms, has acquired the operations of San Diego-based Roel Construction Co.

Monday, January 10

Volcano Exceeds Forecast

Volcano Corp., a San Diego manufacturer of medical devices, said Jan. 10 that it expects fourth quarter revenue of about $81 million, and full year revenue of $294 million, above the company’s previous annual guidance of $286 million to $290 million.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Operators have completed renovation of the food court at Fashion Valley, the first phase of an ongoing $15 million revamp of the mall in San Diego’s Mission Valley.

News in Brief

Julie Meier Wright is leaving her job as president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. effective June 30, the organization announced Jan. 5.

Office Tenants Still Have Bargaining Power

REAL ESTATE: Rent Discounts Make Class A Properties More Obtainable

The past 12 months could easily be deemed the Year of the Tenant in the realm of local office space leasing, and experts say conditions in 2011 promise a veritable repeat, barring a dramatic rebound in the overall economy.

$200M Proton Therapy Centers to Deliver Cancer-Fighting Benefits

HEALTH CARE: Scripps Project Set to Open in 2013; UCSD Facility Seeks Funds

The battle for future proton therapy market share could shape up to be a highly competitive undertaking in the local health care economy if two projects come to fruition.

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China Market Beckons, Ligand Deal Potentially Worth $100M

La Jolla-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it has licensed two liver disease drugs to Chiva Pharmaceutical Inc. as part of a deal that could potentially be worth more than $100 million.

Persistent Problem Loans Hinder State Banks’ Recovery Efforts

Last year in local banking found most lenders licking their wounds as they continued to grapple with high levels of problem loans, increased rates of loan repayments, and an abysmal economy that caused many to reduce their loan portfolios.

Building Boom to Continue at County’s Military Bases

CONSTRUCTION: Government Contracts Expected to Help Struggling Industry Through 2012

The wave of San Diego County military building that started in 2007 will likely continue to buoy an otherwise shaky local construction economy in 2011 and 2012.

Companies Need Strategies to Protect Trade Secrets

California public policy favors free competition and employee mobility. In fact, except in very limited circumstances, such as the sale of a business, the California Business and Professions Code makes noncompete agreements unenforceable.

Resolutions for a Better San Diego in 2011

With 2011 now here, there are plenty of new year prognostications on the state of the economy, the new political landscape, the continuing drought, whether the San Diego Chargers will stay in the city, and who knows what else.

Excitement Was in the Air as ‘Wish Kids’ Visit Navy Squadron

Navy Squadron VR-57 at Naval Air Station North Island hosted “Wish Kids” from all regions of San Diego for a private “Top Gun” tour of military aircraft static displays. Benjamin Lou was one of 15 Wish Kids to take a tour, have lunch in the hangar and visit with Santa. The Make-A-Wish Foundation received $78,000 in support from the Combined Federal Campaign, the workplace giving program for federal employees, including members of the U.S. Navy in San Diego.

Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

The San Diego office of Cushman & Wakefield Inc. announced that Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP signed a 10-year, $10,032,291 lease for 32,050 square feet of Class A office space in the Hazard Center Office Tower located at 7676 Hazard Center Drive, Suites 420, 450, 860 and 900, in San Diego.

Executive Profile

Rebecca T. Pollock

After serving as chief financial officer for several years, Rebecca T. Pollock is now the director of community service and business development for Nielsen Construction California Inc. She is responsible for client service, business management, strategic planning, marketing, communications, and development.

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Sharp and Kaiser Are Putting Big Construction Plans Into Action

Construction projects planned by two local health care systems are promising to bring a major economic stimulus jolt to the San Diego region this year.

Purchase in UTC Expands Alexandria’s Life Sciences Holdings

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., a Pasadena investment company that was already among the largest holders of life sciences real estate in San Diego, now owns an even bigger chunk of the local market.

Local Effects of Pentagon Budget Cuts Uncertain

DEFENSE: Staffing May Take Hit But Technologies Are Said to Be Safe

Pentagon spending cuts promised by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during the summer will likely come in the budgets for temporary staff members at U.S. Department of Defense headquarters offices.

DefenseWeb Has Novel Ways to Keep Lines of Communication Open

TECHNOLOGY: Firm’s Software Also Manages Records for Armed Forces

Electronics changed warfare. They also changed the way the U.S. Department of Defense takes care of its people. San Diego-based DefenseWeb is in the middle of this shift, which continues.

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Virtual Drug Development Becomes Reality

BIOTECH: Keeping Size of In-House Staff Small Makes Sense for Some Local Firms

For some local biotechs, building the classic drug company with bricks and mortar and lots of personnel doesn’t square with today’s economic realities.

Firm Makes Gene Sequencing Faster, More Affordable

LIFE SCIENCES: $1.5 Billion Market for Hardware Might Hit $100 Billion in 20 Years

Faster and more affordable gene sequencing is the hallmark of a device manufactured by a business unit of Life Technologies Corp. The product is being marketed to scientists, physicians and researchers at hospitals and institutes working in the area of genomic medicine.

Trending Up

ECONOMY: After False Start In 2010, Region Likely to See Economic Growth This Year

The San Diego area is slowly emerging from the recession, a panel of business and community leaders said last week.

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Cubic to Slow Down After Wild Ride

MANUFACTURING: Company Has Bought 4 Firms in Past Year

After completing its second company acquisition in a couple of weeks, Cubic Corp. is taking a breather.

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Manufacturer Has Binational Approach to Production

INTERNATIONAL BIZ: Signal Maker Sees Benefit Of Expanding Locally

McCain Inc. makes a good amount of its traffic signal equipment and other products at its plant in Tijuana, Mexico, but when it decided to expand production the firm chose to do so in Vista rather than south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

New Digs for Digitaria in DiamondView

2010 may have been a down year for the economy, but it was a very good year for a number of local businesses. San Diego-based digital design and marketing firm Digitaria Interactive has moved into the landmark DiamondView Tower next to Petco Park.

Military, Education Work Keeps Some Builders Busy

CONSTRUCTION: Projects Involving Office, Industrial Buildings Are Scarce

Local observers expect 2011 to be a period of continued slow recovery for the beleaguered construction industry, with sectors including the military and education providing work for local contractors.

Friday, January 7

East Coast Firm Snaps Up Seabotix

Seabotix Inc., a San Diego maker of underwater remote operated vehicles, was acquired by Bolt Technology Corp., a Norwalk, Conn.-based public company for an undisclosed price funded by the buyer’s cash balance, Bolt said Jan. 7.

Caregiver Tools Join Gaggle of Gadgets at Electronics Show

San Diego-based startup Independa Inc., a company formed to help caregivers use technology-enabled independent living products to assist family members, officially launched two of its products at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

BioMed Makes $24.9M Buy on Torrey Pines Mesa

San Diego-based investment firm BioMed Realty Trust Inc. has purchased a 48,300-square-foot research facility in the Torrey Pines submarket for approximately $24.9 million.

Wednesday, January 5

AMN Healthcare Promotes CFO From Within

San Diego-based AMN Healthcare has promoted Brian M. Scott as chief financial officer and chief accounting officer.

Julie Meier Wright to Retire From Economic Development Corporation

Julie Meier Wright is leaving her job as president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation effective June 30, the organization announced Jan. 5.

Economic Development Agency Makes Key Hire

Meredith Dowling has joined the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. as vice president of business development, the organization said Jan. 3.

Mariner Acquires CBiz Wealth Management

A group of nine investment advisers from CBiz Wealth Management’s San Diego office along with 15 other advisers at CBiz offices in Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, and Cumberland, Md., are now working for Mariner Wealth Advisors, based in Leawood, Kan., as of Jan. 1, Mariner announced.

Tuesday, January 4

2011 Convention Center Events Expected to Generate $1.4B

Bookings at the San Diego Convention Center this year will generate $1.4 billion in local economic impact, including $580.3 million in direct spending by conference attendees, according to a newly released forecast by center operators.

Two Brothers Enter Guilty Pleas in Real Estate Investment Scam

Two more defendants in a real estate investment scam pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud charges in federal court in San Diego Jan. 3, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Monday, January 3

Senomyx Cuts New Deal With Cadbury

Senomyx Inc. said it has an agreement with Cadbury Adams USA LLC to develop novel flavor modulators for potential use in the gum and medicated confectionery product categories.

Cricket Cues Up Music Service

Cricket Communications Inc., the primary subsidiary of San Diego-based Leap Wireless International Inc. and a provider of flat-rate wireless service, said Jan. 3 it is rolling out a new music downloading service called Muve Music wrapped with a monthly plan.

San Diego Business Journal Names New Publisher

MEDIA: Randy Frisch Takes Top Post

Randy C. Frisch has been named the new president and publisher of the San Diego Business Journal, according to Armon Mills, the outgoing president and publisher.

Wireless World Getting Larger, Impacting Numerous Industries

TECHNOLOGY: Changes Affecting Banking, Tourism, Health Care, Real Estate

Rory Moore, chief executive officer of CommNexus San Diego, says the region’s wireless industry is poised for growth in 2011.

The Worst Is Probably Over, Bankers Report

FINANCE: Wave of Failures Ending; Consolidations to Continue, Bank CEO Says

Although the recession technically ended in July 2009 and recent signs point to an erratic recovery, all is not well in the financial services world.

Defense Sector Changes, Still Brings Billions to Area

MILITARY: Region in Good Position to Weather Federal Budget Cuts

The view of the defense industry in San Diego is like the view through a kaleidoscope — always shifting, always changing.

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Rep. Darrell Issa Backs Proposal to Change Elections

Happy New Year! We’ve rung out the old, so let’s ring in the news. Vista’s irascible U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa is backing a ballot measure that would change California’s winner-take-all system now used in presidential elections, according to Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain.

Life Sciences Industry to Face Challenge of More Global Competition

BIOTECHNOLOGY: Firms Deal With Funding Issues And Regulatory Hurdles

While San Diego’s life sciences companies look to the future, they must watch their back.

Reform Adds Up to Less Revenue for Health Care Groups

HEALTH CARE: Hospitals Still Investing Billions in Local Construction Projects

Overhauling the nation’s health care system will cause reductions in revenues — in the form of reimbursement cuts by the government and insurers likely to reduce payments to providers — for the county’s major health care organizations, local executives say.

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Clean-Tech Has Ample Support Systems to Thrive Locally

ENVIRONMENT: Report Highlights Sector’s Ability To Attract Jobs, VC Funds

San Diego’s clean technology leaders say the sector will continue to be a bright spot for the local economy in 2011 as companies work to develop products and services and add jobs to area payrolls.

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Manufacturing Employment Declines, But Clean Energy Creates Jobs

As it has for many years, San Diego’s manufacturing base shed jobs last year. However, there were some pockets of growth sprouting.

Brighter Outlook

ECONOMY: Region Getting Stronger Since Great Recession

Are we there yet? Our desired economic destination is a nice place with low unemployment, an abundance of jobs, an agreeable tax structure, and a good lending climate.

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The Region Is Ready to Find Its Place in New Economy

To be frank, the economic recovery seems to be occurring, but it is like a patient coming out of a major life-saving operation in the recovery room: She is still semicomatose, with the prognosis of a prolonged wake-up period ahead, and then an even longer recovery until she mends in full.

Pulse of Commercial Space Is Stabilizing

REAL ESTATE: For Industrial Market to Improve, Consumer Spending Must Increase

Unless there’s a dramatic change in the unemployment rate, which in San Diego County stayed stubbornly above 10 percent as 2010 drew to a close, commercial real estate experts will be keeping expectations in check throughout 2011.

University of San Diego to Rename Center to Honor Benefactor

The University of San Diego received a $3 million gift from the estate of USD friend and benefactor Frances G. Harpst.

Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

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Professional Profile: Lynn Reaser

Lynn Reaser is chief economist of the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Connectivity to Play Larger Role in Evolving Video Game Industry

TECHNOLOGY: Devices Perform More Integrated Multimedia Functions

Jim McArthur, vice president of marketing and sales solutions for Digitaria Interactive Inc., says 2011 is going to be an exciting year for San Diego County’s computer gaming and software industry.

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Consumer Uncertainties Are Weighing Heavily on Housing Market

REAL ESTATE: Potential Buyers Are Waiting for Bigger Drop in Prices

What looked to be a gradual turnaround in the local housing market earlier in 2010 lost all momentum in the second half as government incentives expired and buyers remained cautious.

Low-Interest Financing Helps Make Apartments Prime for Investing

REAL ESTATE: Experts Predict the Demand for Rental Units Will Swell

A combination of low supply, cheap financing and rising demand for apartments made multifamily real estate the most active commercial segment for San Diego County transactions during 2010.

Life Sciences Industry to Face Challenge of More Global Competition

BIOTECHNOLOGY: Firms Deal With Funding Issues And Regulatory Hurdles

While San Diego’s life sciences companies look to the future, they must watch their back. There is an increasing amount of competition and investment coming from Asia and Europe, adding to the challenges the firms will face at home in these difficult economic times.

Tourism Will Likely Continue on Its Long Road to Recovery

HOSPITALITY: Outlook Upbeat for 3-Year Rebound Following Disastrous 2009

San Diego County tourism and hospitality leaders say 2011 will likely play out as the second in a three-year story of recovery — which began in 2010 and will likely extend through the end of 2012 — as local visitor-oriented sectors make back sales lost in the wreckage of the Great Recession.

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