Stories for October 2011

Monday, October 31

Local Economy Improves Slightly, USD Index Shows

San Diego’s economy showed a little improvement in September, according to a local index released Oct. 28.

Companies Get the Message on Using Social Media In-House

WORKFORCE: Tools Simplify Communication On Employee Benefits

While social media is already catching on for marketing purposes, companies may want to rethink their strategies and use social media as a benefits communication tool, especially to capture the younger generation’s attention.

‘Voluntary Benefits’ Put Perks to Work for Employee Happiness

WORKFORCE: Employers Add Discounts, Products And Services to Offerings

On the third Friday of every month, the five hospital Scripps Health system hosts what it calls a “farm stand” in the parking lot of its Scripps Memorial Hospital campus in La Jolla.

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Boffo Box Office Series Launched in Rancho Bernardo

How ’bout this Halloween treat … In 2006, independent San Diego filmmaker Oren Peli spent a week filming “Paranormal Activity” in his nondescript Rancho Bernardo tract home.

Executive Profile: Mike Erwin

Mike Erwin joined Colliers International’s brokerage office in Carlsbad as a senior vice president. Erwin provides a wide array of real estate services, including investment sales and acquisitions, build-to-suit transactions, and landlord and tenant leasing.

Developer Moving Ahead With Plans for New Hotel Tower

HOSPITALITY: Projects Still Face Funding Hurdles As Conditions Improve

Brightening hospitality fundamentals are prompting local developers, such as Chhatrala Group, to move ahead with long-discussed hotel plans, although a project representative for the San Diego-based company emphasizes that it could be three or four years before the downtown Columbia Tower project is actually built.

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Slacker Looking to Make Beautiful Music From Its Business Relationships

TECHNOLOGY: Teaming With Telecoms Is Plus for Internet Radio Service

To echo a popular jingle, you can have it your way on Slacker.

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Defense Firms Make Moves in Industrial Space

REAL ESTATE: Demand From High-Tech Firms Helps Stabilize Market

Expansions by defense contractors are helping chip away at stubbornly high industrial vacancy rates in San Diego County, with purchases and leasings completed or put in motion in the past year by firms including General Atomics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and SAIC.

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Epsilon Systems’ Solution to Handle More Work: Hire Employees

DEFENSE: Firm Expands Software and Engineering Services to the U.S. Navy

Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., a San Diego government contractor working mainly with federal agencies, said its workforce has grown by more than 100 people this year and passed 1,000 this month.

Sonepar USA Acquires OneSource Distributors of Oceanside

Philadelphia-based Sonepar USA, a subsidiary of the privately held Sonepar Group of France, announced Oct. 27 that it has acquired Oceanside-based OneSource Distributors LLC, a wholesale supplier of electrical, industrial and related supplies and services.

Stores’ Search for Halloween Haunts A Monster Effort

RETAIL: ‘Pop-Up’ Retailers Can Bring Bodies to Malls

If there are people more persistent in their door-to-door pursuits than trick-or-treaters, it might be those who scout the country finding sites for Spirit Halloween, the growing “pop-up” holiday store division of New Jersey-based Spencer Gifts LLC.

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Solyndra Sale Puts Auction Firm in Spotlight

FINANCE: Machines, Patents and More to Be Sold on Internet Auctions

This week’s auction of property being conducted by San Diego-based Heritage Global Partners probably wouldn’t garner any attention but for the name of the client.

Agribusiness Hot On Trail to Boost Crop Production

BIOTECH: Agradis Spurred By Demands of Growing Population

As the global population swells — it was predicted to hit the 7 billion mark on Oct. 31 — so does the world’s demand for food and fuel.

Winning Formula

RESEARCH: Scripps Institute’s Work Leads to Creation of 51 Firms; New Leader Starts Jan. 1

The Scripps Research Institute’s incoming president, Michael Marletta, has much in common with Frank Dixon, who was credited with starting the transformation of a small La Jolla diabetes clinic into the world-recognized biomedical research facility that Scripps has become.

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‘Ownership’ Plans Put Motivation to Work

“At worst, employee stock ownership carries the illusion of partnership with no substance. At best, stock ownership underscores the organization’s intent to treat employees as owners in a thousand other ways,” wrote Peter Block in the book “Stewardship.”

Recover Our Voices, Recover Our Prosperity

Today’s world is full of fear. Consumers won’t spend for fear of layoffs; Companies won’t hire for fear of another recession. Forget fight or flight: People are frozen and trying to stay out of the line of fire hoping that things won’t get any worse.

Symphony’s ‘Evening in Paris’ Brings Home Funds for Education

The San Diego Symphony’s Season Opening Gala Opus 2011 “An Evening in Paris” was held Oct. 1 beginning with a reception and dinner at the University Club at Symphony Towers followed by a concert at Copley Symphony Hall.

Five Finalists Vying for Lindbergh Contract

TRAVEL: Firm Picked For FBO Will Need to Provide New Facility

Lindbergh Field’s fixed base operator contract, which entails private plane operations at San Diego’s main airport, is up for grabs next year and there are five finalists seeking it.

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Airport Expansion Accelerating Next Year

CONSTRUCTION: Massive $1B ‘Green Build’ Reaches Four-Year Halfway Point

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority officials will be singing that recently reprised Frank Sinatra hit “Come Fly With Me!” once workers pack up and walk away from a $1 billion expansion project at the San Diego International Airport, aka Lindbergh Field.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Variety Key Part of Retail Center’s New Vision

RETAIL: Wants, Needs Of Young Families Are The Focus of Strategy

Lingering woes in the housing market have prompted locally based IRE Development Inc. to shift the focus of its $30 million Eastlake Design District, a Chula Vista retail center that debuted in 2005.

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Local Judges Do Their Best to Ensure Justice Still Available to All

We’re lucky to have a lot of good judges in San Diego County Superior Court. Department 69 has one of the best. Judge Jeffrey Barton not only works hard during the day and shows up at law schools as a speaker at night, he’s also pushing to make things better.

For Science Innovation, Nothing Tops ‘The Mesa’

RESEARCH: Clustering of Elite Institutions Fosters a Powerful Camaraderie

The Torrey Pines Mesa area of La Jolla — a massive oceanfront swath of land that’s home to UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and dozens of other top research organizations — is unlike any other science cluster in the world.

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Cyber Threats Loom Over Smart Grid

New technologies known collectively as the “smart grid” are making it possible for utility companies such as San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to embark on the first large-scale changes to the electrical grid in a century — changes that promise lower costs and bring greater energy efficiency.

Imaging Companies Deal With Patients’ Concerns Over Radiation

MEDICINE: New Tool And Policies Aim to Cut The Levels of Exposure

It’s been two years since national headlines focused on the news that 200-plus patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles were accidentally exposed to high doses of radiation from CT brain scans.

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Friday, October 28

Cyber Threats Loom Over Smart Grid

New technologies known collectively as the “smart grid” are making it possible for utility companies such as San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to embark on the first large-scale changes to the electrical grid in a century — changes that promise lower costs and bring greater energy efficiency.

Realty Income Posts Record Revenue in Third Quarter

Escondido-based Realty Income Corp., a real estate trust that invests in retail and related commercial properties, announced Oct. 27 that its latest third-quarter revenue rose 23.6 percent and funds from operations increased 32.6 percent from the same period of 2010.

California Community Bank Sees Quarterly Profits Decline

California Community Bank, which is based in Escondido and has four branches, reported third-quarter net income of $307,000 compared with $528,000 for the like quarter of 2010, the bank said Oct. 26.

Thursday, October 27

Vibra Bank Reports Quarterly Earnings

Vibra Bank, which is based in Chula Vista and has one office, reported third-quarter net income of $246,000, compared with a net loss of $201,000 for the like quarter in 2010.

Port, Dynegy Reach Pact to Dismantle South Bay Power Plant

The Port of San Diego and Dynegy Inc. have reached an agreement on a long-discussed dismantling of the South Bay Power Plant on the Chula Vista waterfront, port officials announced Oct. 26.

Business Journal Staff Wins 11 Press Club Awards

The staff of the San Diego Business Journal captured 11 awards, including six first-place awards, in the Non-Daily Newspapers division at the San Diego Press Club’s 38th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards event Oct. 25 at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.

Wednesday, October 26

ResMed Profit Down 11% in 3Q; R&D Expenses Increase

ResMed Inc., one of the largest public companies in San Diego, saw net income drop 11 percent in the third quarter — falling short of analysts’ estimates — as the U.S. dollar weakened and the company spent more on growing its product pipeline.

Local Restaurant Chain Adding Sixth Location

San Diego-based restaurant chain Broken Yolk Café plans to open its sixth location in early December in Oceanside. A company statement issued Oct. 20 said the restaurant will open in the space that formerly housed Crabby Bob’s Seafood Grill on Vista Way.

Tuesday, October 25

Cymer Reports Declines in Quarterly Earnings, Revenues

Cymer Inc., a San Diego-based maker of lasers used for manufacturing semiconductors, reported Oct. 20 third-quarter net income of $11.3 million on revenue of $128.7 million.

Synthetic Genomics’ Spinout to Focus on Boosting Crops

San Diego-based Synthetic Genomics Inc. has spun out an agricultural biotechnology company that’s seeking to develop and commercialize natural products, which improve crop production, thus creating more food and fuel for the world’s growing population.

Seacoast Commerce Bank Reports Quarterly Profit

Seacoast Commerce Bank reported Oct. 20 third-quarter net income of $585,000, compared with $658,000 for the like quarter of 2010.

County Construction Activity Up 47 Percent

San Diego County construction activity, measured in building permit valuations, rose 47 percent from a year ago in the first nine months of 2011, according to data released Oct. 24 by the Construction Industry Research Board.

Monday, October 24

Executive Profile: Carmen Vann

With over 15 years of experience, Carmen Vann is Turner Construction Co.’s most senior executive with a singular focus on the new $140M San Diego Central Library, one of most anticipated construction projects in the region.

Real Estate Roundup

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

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Census Reveals Diversity Among Owners of San Diego Businesses

ENTERPRISE: Women, Especially Latinas, Step Into Leadership Roles

Minority-owned and women-owned businesses make up a significant percentage of the total number of businesses in San Diego County, according to U.S. Census Bureau data crunched in 2007, the latest available.

Executive Profile: Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez

Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez is the chairwoman for the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Strategies for Success, Survival Are Key in Difficult Economy

WORKFORCE: Minority, Women Owned Businesses Adapt to Tough Conditions

In the wake of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, many are asking is the glass half full or half empty for women- and minority-owned businesses compared with earlier years.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Salk Gets $4.5 Million Grant for Brain Research

MEDICINE: Focus to Be On Finding Ways to Treat Brain Defects, Diseases

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla will receive a 5-year grant totaling $4.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish a new research center focused on finding new ways to treat congenital brain defects and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, autism and schizophrenia.

Zoo’s Efforts at Accessibility Serve Customers and Community

WORKFORCE: Park Is Actively Recruiting Disabled Workers

From tactile tours at the $50 million Elephant Odyssey to a website Guide for Guests with Disabilities, the San Diego Zoo is a model of efficiency for taking a universal approach to accommodating its visitors.

Green Trends Are Changing Nature of Landscape Architecture

DESIGN: Industry Event Expected to Draw 6,000 To Convention Center

Increasingly, landscape architecture is becoming a big bottom-line consideration, instead of an aesthetic afterthought, in the planning of construction and renovation projects.

Merger Math Adds Up for Two Well-Established Accounting Firms

FINANCE: Irvine Firm Gets Instant Presence In San Diego Market

Two longtime accounting firms, one based in North County and the other in Irvine, have joined forces in a merger intended to grow faster and more efficiently.

One Bank’s Second-Look Policy Pays Off Big for Small Businesses

FINANCE: Wells Fargo Takes Top Spot as Lender Of SBA Backed Loans

Bucking a general perception that big banks aren’t making small business loans, Wells Fargo Bank captured the national title as the biggest lender of loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, both nationally and locally.

Creative Thinking Keeps Company On Edgy Side of Video Gaming

TECHNOLOGY: Mad Catz Makes High-End Products For the ‘Passionate Gamer’

A mouse is a mouse, some people might say, but Mad Catz Inc. doesn’t buy into that sort of thinking.

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Congo Abductors Can Run, But Not Hide From Digitaria

High-profile Web design and online marketing firm Digitaria Interactive, located in East Village, is making international headlines these days. The agency is working with Invisible Children, the San Diego human rights group, to help rescue kidnapped child soldiers in central Africa.

High-Tech Help Wanted at Some Local Firms

WORKFORCE: Well Paying Positions Lead To More Job Creation

Mitchell International, a San Diego maker of software targeting auto insurers and auto repair servicers, and ViaSat Inc., a Carlsbad maker of satellite equipment, are just a few of the local high-tech companies that are looking for people, and not just a few.

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Market for Better Burgers Sizzles in San Diego

DINING: Eateries Have Expansion Plans; Hunt Is on for New Locations

Burgermeisters, such as the 40-year-old Habit Restaurants LLC, are about to see just how big San Diego County’s growing appetite for premium hamburgers really is.

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Kaiser Looks at Second Site for New Hospital

County officials on Oct. 25 will consider a development-rights change affecting a Kearny Mesa county operations property that Kaiser Permanente is studying as a possible site for a new, 350-bed hospital.

Qualcomm Chips At Core of New Apple iPhone 4S

TECHNOLOGY: Earnings, Sales Will Grow, Analysts Predict

Those lining up to buy Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone 4S probably don’t know it but some of the key components inside the device are made by San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc.

Promising Drug Propels Sale of Anadys for $230M

MEDICINE: Deal Expands Roche’s Hepatitis C Portfolio

Just days after releasing promising data from its midstage clinical trial for a drug that treats the hepatitis C virus, San Diego-based Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it would be acquired by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG for $230 million — a 256 percent premium over Anadys’ closing price of $1.04 on Oct. 14.

Gate Opens to Design District in East Village

DEVELOPMENT: Navarra Family Moves Forward With Plans to Transform Properties

The economy permitting, efforts to turn San Diego’s Upper East Village into a design-focused business district, potentially bringing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in new construction to the downtown neighborhood, could be moving from visioning to development in coming months.

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MANUFACTURING: Vista Company Finds Foreign Buyers For Its Police, Military Radios

Made in America means a lot to Datron World Communications.

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Convention Center Earns Silver Certification for Environmental Efforts

The San Diego Convention Center has earned Silver certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, the center announced Oct. 20.

Amylin Beats Analysts Predictions for 3Q; FDA Approves Expanded Use of Drug

Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego company focused on treating diabetes, posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the third quarter and announced that its injection drug Byetta won the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for a new use.

Region’s Unemployment Rate Improves

San Diego’s unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in September, down from a revised 10.2 percent in August and near the low point for 2011 in May, when it was 9.6 percent, according to an Oct. 20 report from the state Employment Development Department.

Business Skills Take Nonprofits to Next Level

Alan Sorkin believes that nonprofits need to run more like a business. But it’s not because business people have all the answers.

What Would Your Data File ‘Say’ to the IRS?

The IRS is interested in your QuickBooks data file so you better be ready.

Contributions Show Commitment to SDSU, Educational Opportunities

San Diego State University kicked off its first ever comprehensive fundraising campaign by announcing $1.6 million in new gifts.

Friday, October 21

$100M Fund Targets Up-and-Coming Mobile Health Firms

The founders of the West Wireless Health Institute, a San Diego-based medical research organization, have stepped in to fill a critical venture funding gap for emerging mobile health firms.

Thursday, October 20

Roche to Acquire Anadys Pharmaceuticals for $230M

Just days after releasing promising data from its midstage clinical trial for a drug that treats the hepatitis C virus, San Diego-based Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it would be acquired by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG for $230 million — a 256 percent premium over Anadys’ Oct. 14 closing price of $1.04.

Wednesday, October 19

Kaiser Considering Second Site for New Hospital

County officials on Oct. 25 will consider a development-rights change affecting a Kearny Mesa county operations property that Kaiser Permanente is studying as a possible site for a new, 350-bed hospital.

WD-40 Reports 48% Increase in Quarterly Earnings

WD-40 Co., the San Diego maker of all-purpose lubricants and other household products, reported Oct. 17 fourth-quarter net income of $10.2 million, up 48 percent from the like quarter of 2010.

Tuesday, October 18

Escondido Asphalt Firm Grows With Acquisition

Escondido-based George Weir Asphalt Construction Inc. has acquired Advanced Concrete, another locally based company that does road construction, repair and related infrastructure work.

Monday, October 17

San Diego Trust Bank Reports 60% Increase in Quarterly Earnings

San Diego Trust Bank reported Oct. 17 net income for the third quarter was $350,000, compared with $218,000 for the same quarter last year, an increase of 60 percent.

Bank Means Business With Its Expansion Plans

FINANCE: Acquiring Other Banks, Extending More Loans Are Goals

Greg Mitchell is a bundle of energy as he takes a visitor to a temporary office inside a modest two-story complex on the Chula Vista bay front that serves as the headquarters for First PacTrust Bancorp Inc., the parent company of PacTrust Bank.

INFRASTRUCTURE: McCain Keeps Traffic, and Business, Moving at a Brisk Pace

TRANSPORTATION: Firm’s Synchronized Signal System Expands Into New Territory

The flow of business at McCain Inc., the Vista-based purveyor of networked traffic lights and related equipment, is accelerating.

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Peter Heald serves as chief operating officer for Cumming, one of the Nation’s top-ranked owner advocate consulting firms.

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Comic Puts a Human Face on the Trials of Being a Lawyer

Law school does change the way a person thinks, and that makes us different from many of our friends.

Funds Help Charity to Make Caring a Big Part of Cure for Sick Children

The Ronald McDonald House Charities San Diego held its ROMP Roundup on Sept. 17 with Susan Hoehn and Bill Hoehn serving as honorary chairs.

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ADVERTISING: Buying Power Of Hispanic Market Speaks Volumes to Companies

The competitive landscape of local media is shifting yet again, and Margarita Wilder has a unique perspective from which to view it.

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Think and Then Get Rich, Writes Local ‘Venture Catalyst’

Money, money, money,” as the master of ceremonies belts out in the hit musical film, “Cabaret.”

Firm Hopes to Sell Homeowners on Its Solar Leasing Option

ENERGY: Company Partners With Roofers To Offer Installation

A San Diego solar panel business is offering the systems to residential customers through partnerships with roofers and at no upfront costs.

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Defense Agency Invests $6.8M in Potentially Life-Saving Device

HEALTH CARE: Tool Helps Prevent Infection In Wounded Soldiers

Aethlon Medical Inc., a small but growing medical device company in San Diego, has won a $6.8 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

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Study: Some Health Care Workers Adding to Hospitals’ Fiscal Pain

WORKFORCE: Kaiser, Palomar Pomerado Health Offer Wellness Programs

People who work in the health care industry are healthier than employees in other industries, right?

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Growing Restaurant Group Takes Casual Dining Seriously

HOSPITALITY: Customer Service a Key Ingredient to Ladeki Chain’s Success

Sami Ladeki started his management career in the hotel industry, with executive stints at places ranging from London’s Westbury Hotel to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and Bermuda’s Princess Hotel.

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Clean-Tech Community Awaits Solar-Panel Factory

ENERGY: Site Selected For Soitec’s Plant; Power Purchase Plan Is Pending

Soitec Solar Inc. has yet to announce where exactly it will locate its massive solar-panel factory and headquarters

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New Owner on Board at Yacht Maker

MANUFACTURING: Builder Of Innovative Power Systems Merges With Knight & Carver

In the world of super yachts, the name Knight & Carver Maritime engenders deep respect, so when Jack McCoy went looking for a place to build his new hybrid electric propulsion systems he knew where to turn.

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INNOVATION: Tesla Controls Puts Bright Idea for Saving Energy Into Action

TECHNOLOGY: Startup Has Wireless System for On-Demand Lighting

Derek Smith has built a technology company before. With his previous startup, he recalled, it was two steps forward and one step back.

Developer: Builders Using Resources Wisely

In recent weeks, publications such as the Voice of San Diego and San Diego CityBeat have published articles on the cost of affordable-housing developments.

COMMENTARY: Steve Jobs’ Genius Made a World of Difference

Steve Jobs changed the world in a way that few have.

Financing Mulled For Convention Center, Stadium

A financing plan to pay for the $550 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center approved by the San Diego City Council

Blackout Shines Spotlight on Area’s Ability to Move People in Crisis

ENERGY: Battery Backups Help Some Traffic Signals Operate, McCain VP Says

Boyd Long, assistant chief of police with the San Diego Police Department, said the widespread blackout Sept. 8 was a “great learning experience”

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Construction work on San Diego’s latest cancer treatment facility has reached a milestone with the topping out of structural steel work at the Scripps Radiation Therapy Center on the Torrey Pines Mesa in La Jolla.

Quick Pitches to Angels Might Lead to Heavenly Results for Firms

FINANCE: Contest Gives Startups a Chance to Show Why They Deserve Funds

Atlantis Technologies Inc., a developer of desalination technology, won best pitch honors during the Tech Coast Angels San Diego Network’s Quick Pitch contest Oct. 6.


Sports equipment and apparel retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. recently opened its third San Diego County store in El Cajon.

Companies Look to Put Brakes on ‘Aging’

SCIENCE: Findings Translate Into Products, Prescriptions for Health

As it turns out, the “Fountain of Youth” is bubbling up right here in San Diego, where scientists are making headway on discoveries that could allow us to remain handsome and healthy for decades upon decades after the wrinkles normally set in.

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Peru and China Loom Large in Telecom Firm’s Business Plan

COMMUNICATIONS: VelaTel Hopes to Ride on Middle Class Aspirations

The Internet is a marvelous thing, but for those in developing nations without access, it has to be frustrating.

Friday, October 14

Salk Gets $4.5M Grant for Brain Research Center

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla will receive a 5-year grant totaling $4.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish a new research center focused on finding ways to treat congenital brain defects and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, autism and schizophrenia.

San Diego County’s Investment Pool Gets AAA Rating From Standard & Poor’s

Investors in San Diego County’s Investment Pool, a group of 42 school and community college districts, the local Airport Authority and some 48 other special districts, can sleep soundly knowing the pool is rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s, the absolute highest rating the credit rating agency hands out, and one the pool has achieved for 11 straight years.

Thursday, October 13

City Hires Adviser to Mull Downtown Stadium Finance

Mayor Jerry Sanders has authorized the hiring of New York investment adviser Lazard Ltd. to provide advice on a financing plan for an estimated $800 million football stadium for the San Diego Chargers, according to a mayoral spokesman.

Wednesday, October 12

Study: Local High-Tech Firms Have Economic Impact of $41.5B

San Diego’s high-technology companies numbered 6,023 as of the end of last year, and accounted for an economic impact of $41.5 billion, according to a report issued Oct. 11 by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

Tuesday, October 11

PriceSmart Reports Sales Increases

PriceSmart Inc., the operator of warehouse retail stores in Latin America and the Caribbean regions, announced Oct. 7 that its September sales were $146.3 million, up 25.5 percent from the September 2010 sales.

Council United in Approving Convention Center Financing Plan

A financing plan to pay for the $550 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center approved by the City Council in a 7-0 vote Oct. 10 would pave the way to establishing a special assessment district to tax both downtown and outlying hotels.

Monday, October 10

Neurocrine Biosciences Receiving Milestone Payment of $20M

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. will receive a second milestone payment totaling $20 million from its partner Abbott Laboratories Inc. — a result of Neurocrine’s gynecological drug candidate elagolix moving a step closer to U.S. regulatory approval.

Office Sector’s Recovery Is a Work in Progress

REAL ESTATE: Vacancy Rate Shows Decline This Year

San Diego County’s office market continued its slow postrecession recovery during the third quarter, as year-to-date leasing and property purchases remained ahead of 2010 trends and vacancies declined.

Companies Discover Biotech Partners in China

Pharmaceuticals: Commerce Travels Both Ways Across the Pacific

Jumping on a flight to China is just part of routine business for the executives at San Diego-based Huya Bioscience International, a biotech firm that partners with Chinese research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to find drug compounds that can be used in the U.S.

NTC Promenade And Bankers Hill Projects Funded

Los Angeles-based Lowe Economic Development Co. announced Oct. 4 that it has placed $31 million in investment-related tax credits toward three developments, including more than $24 million for two in San Diego, as part of a federal program that supports community redevelopment.

‘Green’ Foam Springboards From Surfboards to Products

ENVIRONMENT: Many Applications Discovered For Plant-Based Material

Malama Composites started out as a business developing new “green” material to make surfboards, but its owners soon discovered there are more lucrative markets for the product made primarily from plants.

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Companies Having Second Thoughts About IPO Plunge

FINANCE: Four Firms Make Decision Not to Go Public

With the stock markets in turmoil for much of this year, and hyperventilating in recent weeks, more fledging companies are withdrawing from planned public stock offerings, including four in San Diego.

Atlantic Monthly Event to Showcase Region as Cradle of Innovation

MEDIA: Conference Set to Explore New Directions in Tech, Energy, Health Care

“Forces that you can’t escape.” Media executive Elizabeth Baker Keffer uses the phrase to describe changes to American life expected to arrive during the next decade.

Healthier Practices

MOBILE HEALTH: Wireless Technology a Key to Improving Care, Lowering Nation’s $2.5 Trillion in Medical Spending, Exec Says

In San Diego’s leading-edge mobile health scene, two very disparate industries with strong local roots — personal genomics and wireless communications — are converging in unexpected ways to create new tools and services that will transform the way people approach chronic disease.

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Boutique Hotel Is Reborn as ‘Urban Retreat’ in Downtown

HOSPITALITY: Style, Culture and Cuisine Are Key Elements for Property

San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC has followed up on its $49 million purchase of the former Se San Diego hotel by renaming it Hotel Palomar San Diego, updating its interior designs and rebooting its in-house restaurant, among other changes.

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Economic Measurements Paint Gloomy Picture of Recovery

FORECASTS: 2 Indexes Presented at South County EDC’s Annual Summit

As gauges go, a few recent ones on the economy aren’t too uplifting.

Luxury Brands Find a Place to Shine in Mall Space

RETAIL: Open Site Also Draws a Popular Midlevel Clothing Store

Shoppers who frequented Saks Fifth Avenue, before it closed its Fashion Valley store last year, will soon be able to buy luxury clothing, watches and other items at the same spot in the mall, as several retailers arrive this fall to take Saks’ place.

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Apartments Sector Is Continuing to Build Momentum

REAL ESTATE: Market Close to Fully Occupied; Demand Still Increasing

Industry observers say national and local signs point to apartment buildings leading a potential recovery in commercial real estate during 2012.

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Thrift and Loan Triumphs Over FDIC’s Cease and Desist Order

Ted Monzingo won’t crow about the victory but it has to feel good.

San Diego Has Right Ingredients for the Diagnostics Industry

MEDICAL DEVICES: Reaching U.S. Markets Remains a Big Challenge

Success in the medical device business doesn’t come easy, particularly on the diagnostics side.

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Executive Profile: Don Casey

Don Casey is the CEO of the West Wireless Health Institute, an independent, nonprofit medical research organization whose mission is to lower health care costs through technology and innovation.

Health Care Reform: View from the Top

With health care reform under way, employers and consumers are increasingly concerned about the value their health care provider is delivering. With that in mind, the San Diego Business Journal asked top executives of major health care organizations three questions about the changing health care industry. Their answers are listed in alphabetical order by the name of their organization.

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Region’s Hospitals Increase Their Number of Beds

MEDICINE: Operating Expenses Are Also on the Rise for Some Facilities

Not too surprisingly, a comparison of the San Diego Business Journal’s Hospitals lists between 2006 and 2009 shows an increase in the number of licensed beds and operating expenses at hospitals in the county. Operating expenses are defined as the costs to run the hospital.

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Real Estate Roundup

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

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Foundation’s Fundraising Is a Force for Good Law Enforcement

The San Diego Police Foundation held its annual Friends of the Badge luncheon Sept. 21 at the Valley View Casino Center.

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The Reality Is Job Creation Is Big Business

For as long as most of us can remember, we’ve taken pride in the high number of small businesses in our community, heralding them collectively as the progenitors of new economy and indicative of the spirit of the American business enterprise.

Learn to Dodge Those Business-Dispute ‘Bullets’

With the unemployment rate at high levels, America has seen an emergence of young entrepreneurs taking it upon themselves to earn a paycheck by starting a business.

Local Doc Part Of Case Before U.S. High Court

Dr. Theodore Mazer, a San Diego ear, nose and throat doctor, along with the California Medical Association, is among those involved in a big ado before the U.S. Supreme Court this session.

FAA Could Clear Drones for Civilian Role

TECHNOLOGY: Allowing Use in U.S. Could Boost Commercial Development

Small, unmanned aircraft are poised to go to work in industry.

Clinics Catch on as Cost-Cutting Tool in Workplace

HEALTH CARE: Concept Has Allure as Recruitment, Productivity Enhancer

At a time when employer health costs are rising dramatically, companies around the country are looking to take control of their expenses by opening worksite health centers that are designed to serve as the primary point of care for employees and dependents.

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Friday, October 7

Local Biotech Obtains $6M Loan

CoDa Therapeutics, a San Diego biotechnology company focused on therapies for treating wounds, said Oct. 6 that it obtained a $6 million term loan from Square 1 Bank.

Thursday, October 6

Accounting Firms With Diverse Specialties Get Together

McLean, Rotherham & Co., a full service accounting firm based in Rancho Bernardo, said it acquired the firm of Hosaka, Nagel & Co., with a single office in Mission Valley and 15 employees.

Wednesday, October 5

Terramar Buys Encinitas Retail Center for $78M

Carlsbad-based Terramar Retail Centers LLC has purchased Encinitas Village, a 183,675-square-foot neighborhood retail center on North El Camino Real in Encinitas.

Lowe Entity Funds $24 Million in Local Developments

Los Angeles-based Lowe Economic Development Co. announced Oct. 4 that it has placed $31 million in investment-related tax credits toward three developments, including more than $24 million for two in San Diego, as part of a federal program that supports community redevelopment.

Tuesday, October 4

Fortune Magazine: Sempra Energy CEO a Powerful Businesswoman

Debra Reed, elected in June as Sempra Energy’s CEO, was named to Fortune Magazine’s 2011 list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” which was published Sept. 29.

Monday, October 3

Cox Communications Unveils Wireless Service

Cox Communications Inc. rolled out wireless service to the San Diego market on Sept. 29.

Contractors Still in Lean, Mean Mode

BUILDING: Firms Find Work On Military and Civic Projects

General building contractors retain several prime spots in the rankings of San Diego County’s largest private businesses

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Executive Profile: Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee is CEO of ESET North America.

Recession Tests Resolve of Multiple Industries

ECONOMY: Housing, Manufacturing, Banking Face Tough Sledding

Few industries were unscathed by the fallout from the Great Recession, but some sectors took heavier hits than others.

FDA Clears Local Biotech Startup’s Testing Device

The Food and Drug Administration has given clearance to privately held True Diagnostics in Carlsbad for its TrueDX platform

Real Estate Roundup

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

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Change Comes Quickly to Business Landscape

LISTS: Private Firms Moved By Market, Economy, Innovation

There’s been a lot of movement among San Diego’s private companies during the past five years.

Niche Services Put Companies on Growth Path

TECHNOLOGY: Software as a Service a Robust Industry Locally

Find a niche, fill a need, execute with finesse and watch what happens. A lucky few San Diego companies, including Xifin Inc., have been able to follow that path to growth, even in tough times.

Legal Community Finds More Than One Reason to Celebrate

If you missed the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Inc.’s Justice For All Celebration last week, you missed a great party.

Selling Businesses Brings Cash as Well as Change

DEALS: New Owners Can Provide More Capital, Opportunities

While most private companies aren’t focused on selling the business, owners sometimes receive an offer they can’t refuse.

Private Companies

In 2005, the No. 1 company on the San Diego Business Journal’s Private Companies list was Science Applications International Corp.

Construction Firm Works From Solid Base of Military Projects

BUILDING: Harper Also Does Education, Retail and Other Areas

As the largest San Diego County-based general contractor by revenue, which reached $359.8 million in 2010, Harper Construction Co. Inc. has also been among the most successful at tapping into the region’s military construction boom of the past four years.

Diverse Group of Firms Shares a Fast-Growing Bond

SECTORS: Traditional Companies Employ Up-to-Date Strategies

What’s old is new again. A century or more before the Internet was even a word in our vocabulary, industries such as ship repair, packaging and construction were chugging along in San Diego.

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Standout Firms Embrace Their Markets

Growth: Companies Watch, Reflect, Execute With Aplomb

To learn the secrets of running a successful and well-regarded private business, it’s smart to look to other companies that have already accomplished that goal.

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Environmental Concerns Keep Firm Busy on Public, Private Projects

CONSTRUCTION: Base Conversions for Military Require Level of Expertise

A combination of environmental regulation, military base conversions and recent economic stimulus funding has been key to the growth of companies, such as San Diego-based Kleinfelder Inc., that deal with the eco-effects of construction and development.

IT Company Is Taking Holistic Approach to Growth Strategy

TECHNOLOGY: Demand For Services Runs High as Firms Keep Outsourcing

Growing a business can happen organically or through acquisition or, if things are really in sync, by both means.

Supply Services Lighten the Load for Customers

DISTRIBUTION: OneSource Expanding In the Utilities Market

Oceanside-based OneSource Distributors LLC has managed to grow steadily since its 1983 founding, while navigating what has recently been a tricky economy for many of its clients — across several industries — who purchase its electrical, industrial and related supplies and services.

To Grow Economy, Unleash Private Sector

Let’s start with the notion that every company in existence today was launched by someone with an idea, a different way of viewing things, a dream, a belief that there was a better way.

Diversity Key to Lifting Medical Device Maker’s Annual Sales

HEALTH CARE: M&As Keep DJO Global on Growth Fast Track

Diversification is the name of the game for Vista-based DJO Global Inc., the largest private company in San Diego.

INNOVATION: Company’s ‘Space Shots’ Capture Distant Images

TECHNOLOGY: Firm Provides NASA With Cameras and Analysis

Mike Ravine recalls being 12 years old and watching television coverage of the Apollo 17 moon landing.

One Company’s Selling Point: A Commitment to San Diego

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board and staff do a good job for the traveling public and San Diegans. We have an airport that runs effectively, efficiently, sustainably, and most importantly, safely.

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Companies Show Their Commitment to Building Futures for the Young

Gafcon Inc., a San Diego-based construction management and consulting firm, and sister company SharePoint360 announced the launch of “Building Futures,” a new community involvement and philanthropic initiative focused on youth education and development.

3 Sectors Among Region’s Pillars

ECONOMY: Health Care to Generate Thousands of Jobs

Three of San Diego’s largest industry sectors are still creating jobs even in this time of deleveraging and uncertainty about the future.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Sunday, October 2

Incredible: Pizza Chain ‘Much More’ Than Big-Name Rival

DINING: Food, entertainment combo; 50,000 SF minimum

John's Incredible Pizza ‘much more' than big-name rival

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