Stories for February 2008

Friday, February 29

Genoptix Prices Secondary Offering

Carlsbad-based Genoptix Inc. said Feb. 29 that it has priced a secondary public offering of 2,086,957 shares at $25.50 per share.

Score San Diego Recognizes New Entrepreneurs With Awards

Score San Diego said Feb. 19 that three of its clients were picked as the association's first Business Plan Award winners.

With Seasonal December Work Done, More Jobless in January

San Diego's non-farm employment declined by 26,200 jobs in January, pushing up the area's unemployment rate to 5.1 percent from 5 percent in December, according to a Feb. 29 report from the state's Employment Development Department.

Thursday, February 28

Local Banks Reap Rewards From County Funds, and Vice Versa

A program investing funds from the county's investment pool into local banks hit its five-year target of $100 million three years early, said San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister on Feb. 26.

Leap Wireless Grows, Cuts Loss and Shares Climb

Leap Wireless International Inc., the parent firm of flat-rate carrier Cricket Communications, reported a 37 percent increase in revenue, and a reduction in its net losses in the fourth-quarter results announced Feb. 28.

Wednesday, February 27

National Restaurant Guide Puts San Diego on Its Radar

Mountain View-based BooRah said Feb. 27 that it has rolled out an online restaurant guide to San Diego.

Former Nanogen Chief to Lead Adnavance Technologies

Molecular diagnostics test maker Adnavance Technologies Inc. said Feb. 26 that veteran industry executive Randy White, a former chief executive of Nanogen and Xenomics Inc., joined the company as its chief executive.

National City Mortgage Closing San Diego Office

National City Mortgage, a unit of Cleveland-based National City Corp., said Feb. 27 it is closing its San Diego office and laying off 50 employees after the company decided to exit the wholesale lending arena.

Cubic Declares 9 Cent Dividend

Cubic Corp. said Feb. 26 that it will pay a semiannual dividend of 9 cents, unchanged from September.

Tuesday, February 26

Starbucks Closing All Stores Tonight for 3-Plus Hours

Starbucks Corp. is set to close all of its 7,100 U.S. stores, including 58 in the city of San Diego, for three and a half hours starting at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 26 while internal management retrains the company's 135,000 baristas on the "art of espresso."

SAIC Founder Heading to Hall of Fame

J. Robert Beyster, who founded SAIC, an engineering and research firm, will be inducted into the Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame on March 20, the nonprofit announced Feb. 25.

Sallie Mae Sponsors Talk on Paying for College Costs

Parents wondering how they can afford to send their children to college can find out how through the Sallie Mae Fund Paying for College Bus Tour. The tour makes stops Feb. 26 at Clairemont High School at 9 a.m. and at Mark Twain High School at 11:20 a.m.

San Diego Developer Sells $915 Million Portfolio

Nationwide Health Properties Inc. acquired 18 medical office buildings in six states from Pacific Medical Buildings LLC. Newport Beach-based Nationwide released the news Feb. 25.

Cypress to Pay Up to $75M for Proprius

San Diego-based Cypress Bioscience Inc., a publicly held company developing drugs to treat fibromyalgia, will add diagnostics to its product lineup following the acquisition of privately held specialty pharmaceutical company Proprius Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Sempra Reports Record Results

Income from continuing operations reached record levels at Sempra Energy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Donald Felsinger said Feb. 26 with the release of the company's 2007 results.

$580M Project Coming to San Ysidro Border Crossing

A long-planned expansion and reconfiguration of the world's busiest international border crossing at the San Ysidro port of entry could begin this summer, thanks to an infusion of federal dollars that Mayor Jerry Sanders said were obtained from his lobbyi

Monday, February 25

Pita Franchise Offers Discounts Via Text Messages, Sales Up 10%

Quick serve eatery The Extreme Pita has launched a new text messaging marketing program in San Diego, delivering coupons directly to mobile devices, such as PDAs and cell phones.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The Oceanside Business Center, an 80,494-square-foot industrial facility, has been acquired by Portland, Ore.-based Harsch Investment Properties for $9.7 million.

Despite Slowing Economy, Realty Income Posts Strong Results

The latest results from Realty Income Corp. appear to contradict prevailing wisdom that the retail sector is slowing.

Alabama State Agency to Use Networkcar's Wireless Fleet Manager

Networkcar Inc. announced Feb. 13 that it will be servicing the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's fleet of sedans and light- duty trucks.

Pink Lady

Imagine going from parking lot attendant at a New Mexico hotel to being chosen among a league of contenders to buy one of the most iconic hotels in California and, suddenly, the lending market goes into a tailspin. How's that for drama?

Jewelry Innovator Networks Her Way to Getting 'Bling' to Market

Like many inventors, Terri Pickering thought she could make a better product than what was already on the market, so she invented one.

Entry-Level Homes Becoming Affordable to More Households

With median home prices down, more San Diego County residents can afford to purchase an entry-level home.

Center Helps Turn Self-Employment Dreams Into Reality

Whether it's helping a designer with an idea start a business or an ambitious entrepreneur intent on going national, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Success Center touts itself as a full-service shop for entrepreneurs and small businesse

APB for Police 'Street' Fete

Life on the street, behind the coffee bar and atop the waves.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Profile , Michael Scott

Home Mortgage Crisis Worsens, Notices, Foreclosures Skyrocket

Notices of Default and Notices of Trustee's Sale skyrocketed in San Diego County last month, according to several foreclosure reports released this month.

Novocell Seeking to Capitalize on New Diabetes Discovery

Stem cell engineering company Novocell Inc. announced last week that it had discovered a way to coax human embryonic stem cells to evolve into insulin-producing cells to control blood-sugar levels in mice with diabetes.

Techies Develop Web Platform for Hospital Fee Collections

When a local credit card processing business went belly-up after the dot-com bust, five of its execs looked at each other, decided they liked working together and asked themselves, "What's next?"

DivX to Sharpen Focus, Shut Down Stage6.com

DivX said Feb. 25 that it plans to shut down its Stage6 video sharing service on Feb. 28. The San Diego company said it wants to focus on its core technology licensing business and on the distribution of DivX video content on third-party Web sites.

Artist-Inventor Takes Another Chance on Starting a Business

Lifelong surfer Len Siprut made a New Year's resolution two months ago to finish designing several products that have not been publicly disclosed , such as amphibious clothing, footwear and surfboards.

Fitness Trade Show to Fill 400,000 Square Feet at the Convention Center

The San Diego Convention Center is preparing to host the 27th annual International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association Conference and Tradeshow from March 5 to 8.

Week in Review

Top Business News: Feb. 15 - 21, 2008

Sports Enthusiasts Take Action to Organize Their Cottage Industry

While sports-related businesses in the county employ more than 30,000 people, according to the San Diego technology and life sciences networking group Connect, the action sports industry often gets overlooked by investors.

Delaware North's Sales South of Projections

Plaza del Pasado or Dry Gulch? The concession that Delaware North Cos. operates in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park has not done nearly as well as the company originally projected.

Girl Scouts Getting Jump on Their Business Careers

Girl Scouts Getting Jump on Their Business Careers

Sales and Leases

Wells Fargo Bank has purchased a 20,450-square-foot industrial building from Hendrickson Charitable Trust for $5.3 million. And other sales and leases.

Sunroad Saga: Extreme Makeover of Tower Nears Completion

Partial reconstruction on a controversial high-rise in Kearny Mesa is nearing completion. The 11-story, 160-foot-high Sunroad Centrum I is now slightly shorter, and work on the building is expected to be finished in early May.

First Business Bank Names CEO

Two years after receiving a regulatory order, First Business Bank has gone through lots of changes, including a name change , and now a change in executives at the top.

San Diego State University Receives $1.25M Donation

Darlene Shiley donated $1.25 million to San Diego State University for heart disease research in her husband's name.

Lawmaker Pushes Bill to Increase Slot Machines

A state legislator is working to expand the number of slot machine licenses that certain American Indian casinos may have.

Developers to Break Ground on $500M Mixed-Use Project at Brown Field

A local development group anticipates breaking ground on more than $500 million in mixed-use projects at the historic but underutilized Brown Field Municipal Airport in Otay Mesa within three years.

Barnhart Awarded $129M Contract to Upgrade Santee Schools

Progress Report: The Santee School District has awarded San Diego-based contractor Barnhart Inc. a $129 million contract for the improvement of facilities at each of the district's nine schools.

Reverse Gear

A proposed $300 million auto assembly plant in Tijuana that would churn out Chinese brand cars and trucks is headed elsewhere in Mexico.

Paradise Valley Hospital Suing Kaiser Over Unpaid ER Bills

National City's Paradise Valley Hospital said Feb. 11 that it has filed a lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente for failing to pay emergency room bills for its HMO members.

Chicago, D.C. Law Firm Opens Local Office, Targets Life Sciences

Law firm Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP, which has offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., opened an office in San Diego on Feb. 13 that will serve as the center for its life sciences group.

Mayoral Candidate to Leave AMN Chairman's Job

Steve Francis, who announced he's running for mayor of San Diego last month, said Feb. 22 that he will not stand for re-election as chairman of the board of AMN Healthcare Services Inc., the San Diego nurse staffing firm he and his wife Gayle founded in 1

Stem Cell Agency Might Offer Loans

A taxpayer-funded program capable of lending money to cash-starved California biotechnology companies has caught the attention of local stem cell industry executives who say they're struggling to attract traditional investors and can't qualify for federal

Without New Fresh Water Supply, Industry Growth Awash

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was here Feb. 11 to visit Carlsbad-based Invitrogen Corp. to see firsthand what the company's stem cell lab was all about.

Entrepreneur Makes Right Connections to Launch Scooter Business

Trick question: What's battery powered, runs on three wheels and can lean into hairpin turns at 15 mph without losing traction or tipping over the passenger's water bottle?

World Trade Center on a Mission (3 Actually) to Help Firms Grow

Traveling with an international trade mission can open doors and find connections, but don't expect an immediate contract from the experience, says Bella Heule, president of the San Diego World Trade Center, which is leading missions to China and Vietnam

Executive Profile , Carolyn Smith

Carolyn Smith, president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. and a native San Diegan, knows southeastern San Diego like the back of her hand.

Carlsbad Chamber Dinner Shines Spotlight on Local Businesses

The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce held its 40th annual business awards dinner Feb. 22 at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad.

Regional Agency Offers Road Map for Business Leadership

Regional Agency Offers Road Map for Business Leadership

Inventors Forum Helps 'Imagineers' Bring Their Products to Market

Not every inventor will garner fame like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. But today's curious thinkers are keeping the tradition of these forefathers alive.

Friday, February 22

Wireless Facilities Figure Ordered to Pay $6.2M

Vencent Donlan, a former stock options administrator for Wireless Facilities Inc., was ordered to pay $6.2 million in disgorgement, plus interest of $153,611, as part of an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission approved on Feb. 22.

Conference to Take Long Look at a Faster Internet

The future of the Internet is coming to the San Diego Convention Center. A convention devoted to high-speed fiber optic electronics runs Feb. 24-28.

Invitrogen Puts $1M Toward Life Science Literacy

Invitrogen Corp., a Carlsbad-based provider of tools and technologies for the life sciences, said Feb. 21 that it launched its first nonprofit philanthropic organization aimed at increasing awareness of the life sciences among academics, professionals and

Callaway Golf Declares Dividend

Callaway Golf Co. said Feb. 21 that it will pay a dividend of 7 cents per share to shareholders of record as of March 13.

Wild Card on the Loose as Upper Deck Goes Political

Move over Obama. As the candidates battle it out for delegate share, the Carlsbad-based Upper Deck Co. accidentally released a Hillary Clinton parody baseball card that has become a financial home run for some lucky collectors.

Thursday, February 21

Ocera Therapeutics Raises $35.5 Million

Ocera Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on treatments for gastrointestinal and liver diseases, said Feb. 20 it completed a late-stage financing round that raised $35.5 million.

Defense Contractors Kratos and SYS Joining Forces

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. said Feb. 21 it is buying another defense contractor, San Diego-based SYS Technologies Inc., in an all-stock deal valued at $52 million.

Wednesday, February 20

Novatel Wireless Caps Off Year With $430M in Sales

Novatel Wireless Inc., a San Diego maker of wireless cards and software that allow users to access the Internet, reported fourth-quarter net income of $11 million on revenue of $118 million on Feb. 20.

Sharp Nurses Receive Honors

Sharp Memorial Hospital was awarded a Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the 464-bed, acute care hospital said Feb. 19.

Net Income Decreases at Encore Capital

Encore Capital Group Inc., a San Diego buyer and collector of bad credit card debt, reported Feb. 19 that its 2007 fourth-quarter net income was $4.8 million, down from $6.6 million in the like period of 2006.

Jack Jumps Over Analysts' Predictions

Jack in the Box Inc., a quick-service restaurant chain, on Feb. 20 posted net income of $36.5 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $905 million during the company's first quarter.

Tuesday, February 19

Santarus, Glaxo Widen Market for Zegerid

GlaxoSmithKline launched two Zegerid products in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the products' developer, San Diego-based Santarus Inc., which released the news Feb. 19.

San Diego Company Buying La Jolla's La Valencia, Sister Resort

The historic La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla and its sister property, Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, are under contract for sale to San Diego-based American Property Management Corp.

Poway Defense Contractor Gets 12-Year Prison Sentence

U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns on Feb. 19 sentenced Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes to 12 years in prison for bribing Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

New York Firm Invests $30M in FirstAgain

FirstAgain LLC, a San Diego online consumer lender focused on lending to borrowers with excellent credit profiles, said Feb. 13 that it obtained a $30 million investment from Arsenal Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm.

Monday, February 18

Lindbergh to Get Makeover?

Spurred by opposition to a plan for short-term improvements to Lindbergh Field, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority will move ahead with the plan while it considers a radical makeover, moving the existing passenger terminals to the north side,

Puerto Rico's Governor to Visit Drug Firms

Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo-Vila plans to visit leaders of the life sciences industry Feb. 19 and 20 in an effort to forge bonds with local leaders while attracting potential firms to what he calls "Bio Island."

Cytori to Raise $12 Million in Deal With Japanese Hospital Supplier

Green Hospital Supply Inc., which markets automated stem cell separation equipment made by Cytori Therapeutics Inc. to Japanese hospitals, will increase its stake in the regenerative medicine business, Cytori said Feb. 8.

AP Labs' Project Might Get Cleared for Takeoff Soon

Eric Tarter's job is all about making fragile electronics tough.

With Talent in Short Supply, Bank Startups Scrambling for CEOs

Startup banks, which seem to be a cottage industry here, are having a tough time finding chief executives that regulators will approve.

Nitches Stitches Together Acquisition

San Diego-based Nitches Inc. is looking for a new niche in retailing.

U.S.-Mexican Partnerships Make California More Competitive

U.S.-Mexican Partnerships Make California More Competitive

UCSD, County Awarded $535K Grant for Staff Integration Program

A $535,000 grant will be used to fund a local pilot program aimed at unifying medical staff in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and heart disease.

Realty Income Reports Earnings for the Quarter Ending Dec. 31

Realty Income shares fell in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company reported lower quarterly earnings in the period ending Dec. 31.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Poway Unified School District officials said that almost two-thirds of local voters in the Feb. 5 primary supported Proposition C.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Cliff Carnes.

Time to Stop Dodging Infrastructure Funding Question

Time to Stop Dodging Infrastructure Funding Question

VitroRobertson Beats Out Hungry Crowd for $80M IHOP Account

San Diego-based ad agency VitroRobertson LLC took a bite out of ad giant Universal McCann's client roster recently when it was hired to handle creative chores for IHOP Corp.'s $80 million account.

Defense Attorney Shares a Few Tricks for Sparring in the Courtroom

There are attorneys and then there are litigators. Criminal defense attorney Shaun Khojayan falls into the latter category as someone who is not afraid to go to trial and keep federal prosecutors on their toes.

Attorney Applies Horse Sense to Closing Deals on Thoroughbreds

On a recent Thursday, equine attorney Bing Bush was helping Dubai royalty close a deal on a Thoroughbred being sold out of Florida, which is expected to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

School's in, as Barnhart Finishes Work on $22.7M Calexico Campus

Progress Report: San Diego-based Barnhart Inc. has completed the $22.7 million Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Calexico for the Calexico Unified School District.

Entrepreneur Profile , Chuck Patton

La Jolla-based Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, owned by San Diego resident Chuck Patton, carries certified organic beans that are roasted in-house.

Executive Profile , Jeanne Hancock Larson

Jeanne Hancock Larson began her company more than 30 years ago and has mined, refined and designed her way into San Diego and international jewelry success.

Rollin' in Dough

As the old saying goes, if you're not successful the first time around, try and try again. In the case of Jon Mangini, a former hospitality company executive who dreamed of opening his own restaurant, it took nine tries.

'Lawyer's Lawyer' an Experienced Defender in High-Profile Cases

Although David Noonan admits he still gets the occasional case of jangled nerves before a judge and jury, he said 35 years of trying everything from "slip and falls" at a supermarket to securities class action cases has assuaged his mind-set.

Leases

NuVasive Inc., a medical device company specializing in surgical products for the spine, has signed a 15-year lease for office and research and development space at Sorrento Summit located in Sorrento Mesa. And other leases.

Virgin America Lands At Lindbergh, Linspire CEO Reveals the Deals

SDBJ Insider: Richard Branson flies into new territory ... Michael Robertson stakes out a new corner of the Web.

Urban League Signs Pact With Score Small-Business Mentors

Score San Diego and the Urban League of San Diego County say they have joined in a two-year partnership signed Jan. 31.

SBA Partners With WBCC to Promote Small Business

Ruben Garcia, San Diego district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said he has signed a partnership memorandum with Amanda Mineer, chairwoman of the Women's Business Center of California board of directors, and Michelle Butler, founder

Chula Vista Hospital Increasing Use of Bloodless Medicine

While bloodless surgery has become more and more of a mainstream practice in recent years, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center remains the only hospital in the county to offer a bloodless medical program.

Law Firms Find Ways to Steer Clear of Economic Turbulence

Three local managers of leading national law firms expect little to no ill effects from the subprime mortgage crisis, housing market distress and general economic turmoil that is threatening the industry's unprecedented profit boom.

Yogurt Retailer Red Mango Raises Corporate Flag in Mission Valley

In January, local frozen yogurt lovers welcomed Red Mango, a retail chain founded in South Korea in 2002 and headed domestically by President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Kim at the Westfield Mission Valley mall.

Law Firm's Specialty Practice Serves Local Equine Enclave

One would expect the San Diego horse industry to support a thriving law practice considering its legal complexities as well as a myriad of environmental issues. But according to legal experts, it's a relatively untapped resource for law firms looking to d

Carlsbad Chamber Honors Willeen Hasler for Her Longtime Efforts

The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce recognized Willeen Hasler with a service award.

Week in Review

Top Business News: Feb. 8 - 14, 2008

PPH to Showcase Hospital of the Future in a Virtual World

For the last few months, 10 Web developers have worked to re-create Palomar Pomerado Health's hospital of the future in Second Life, the 3-D online world that hosts millions of residents.

Friday, February 15

Wombo Wins Administaff Contest

Santee-based Wombo Inc., also known as Laptops Plus, took the grand prize, a $100,000 business grant, in the Administaff Small Business BIG $100,000 Sweepstakes, according to a Feb. 13 announcement from Administaff Inc.

TorreyPines Therapeutics to Cut Nearly One-Quarter of Its Staff

TorreyPines Therapeutics Inc. said Feb. 14 that it will eliminate 10 employees this month, including two directors, following news that it failed to come to an agreement to extend a drug discovery partnership with longtime Alzheimer's drug collaborator Ei

Thursday, February 14

Statewide March for Better Wages Sweeps Up Janitors

Local union janitors were expected to participate in a statewide march Feb. 14 to fight for higher wages and improved access to health care.

City Attorney Candidates Multiplying

More potential candidates surfaced recently to take the job now held by City Attorney Michael Aguirre.

Labor Council Receives Training Grant

The San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council received a $500,000 grant from the state for training and placing recently separated veterans, the labor organization said Feb. 13.

PETA to Ask for Humane Slaughter of Chickens

Animal rights group PETA, which owns 55 shares of Jack in the Box, plans to present a statement on chicken slaughter methods at the food chain's annual shareholder meeting Feb. 15.

North County Times Looks to Trim News Staff

The North County Times, a Lee Enterprises publication, made a "voluntary separation offer" directed at 20 workers in its 120-member newsroom staff Feb. 13, said the newspaper's publisher.

Wednesday, February 13

Two Credit Union Chiefs Resign

Two longtime San Diego credit union chief executive officers announced their resignations Feb. 12: Jim McPheters of California Coast Credit Union and Ron Martin of Mission Federal Credit Union.

Port Sets Aside Funds for Coronado Bridge Lighting

The San Diego Unified Port District commission voted unanimously Feb. 12 to allocate up to $50,000 for the design of an artistic lighting of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

Tuesday, February 12

Pacific Coast Steel Buys Century Steel

San Diego-based Pacific Coast Steel said Feb. 12 that it had acquired Las Vegas-based Century Steel Inc. in a $151.5 million deal which is expected to close before the end of the quarter, pending regulatory approvals.

Monday, February 11

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Inspection by SDG & E; can be a lifesaver.

Despite Headlines, New Year Launches With Several Success Stories

With the stock market acting like an out of control spaceship, it is amazing there are success stories to report in this column. However, in North County, it seems like that misguided ship is not in our glide path.

Week in Review

Top Business News: Feb. 1 - 7, 2008

Manchester Applies for Commercial Bank Charter

San Diego developer Doug Manchester has always been a maverick, so the news that he's starting a bank when the economy appears to be heading down the tubes isn't a big surprise.

Sales and Leases

North Coast Business Park, located on Encinitas Boulevard east of Interstate 5, has sold 23 office condos totaling 53,500 square feet for a total of $21 million in the past 12 months. And other sales and leases.

Sillman, Wright's Bond Cemented in County Public-Private Projects

Sillman Wright Architects is known for its innovative, clean and functional designs, as well as its collaborative approach to working with clients on public and private projects.

San Diego People

Key hires and promotions. Executive spotlight: Lane Caruso.

Entrepreneur Profile , Alison Smith Dorvillier

Alison Dorvillier, founder of Design Inplace Inc.

Three Local Restaurants Rate Stars

SDBJ Insider: Red hearts, White House and the future of blue collar jobs.

Online Ladies' Shoe Merchant Adds New Store

Psychological distress stemming from a sluggish economy is a good reason to go shoe shopping, according to self-proclaimed "shoe-aholic" Rayna Shin.

Sharp Rees-Stealy Continues Its Expansion in North County

Sharp Rees-Stealy is scheduled to open its 17th medical center in San Diego County on Feb. 11.

Lagoon Pipeline Firm Dudek Wins Environmental Award

Dudek Engineering recently received an award from the California Water Environment Association for its work on a 5,000-foot pipeline that stretches from Solana Beach to Encinitas.

Pleasure, Beauty and Wonder at High Tech High

Pleasure, Beauty and Wonder at High Tech High

Veteran CEO Comes Out of Second Retirement to Run San Marcos Bank

Frank Mercardante just can't stay away from the banking business.

Work Continues on Father Joe's $46M Affordable Housing Project

Progress Report: Roel Construction Co. Inc. is continuing construction of the 16th and Market Workforce/Affordable Housing Development located at 16th Avenue and Market Street in downtown San Diego.

Podcast: Preview the San Diego Business Journal

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Feb. 11, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Incoming Condos, Retail Urbanize North Park Neighborhood

When a neighborhood like North Park starts to attract urban professionals wanting to live close to downtown, a key part of that attraction, Christopher Sohaey will tell you, is having a nice mix of small retailers nearby within walking distance.

Executive Profile , Warren D. Raisch

Warren D. Raisch, executive vice president and chief client officer, Digitaria Interactive Inc.

Sillman Wright Architects Manage Major Design Projects

Here are some of the larger projects that San Diego-based Sillman Wright Architects has taken on since 2001.

Burst of Electricity Replaces Explosives in Experimental Navy 'Gun'

General Atomics, which has been working for years to harness electrical energy to launch fighter jets from an aircraft carrier, is using the same knowledge to lob a projectile at a target 200 miles away.

Solar Industry Has Plans for Job Growth if Tax Credits Are Extended

Nearly 9 million new jobs and $970 billion in revenue were generated by the national energy industry in 2006, yet industry insiders are concerned that the growth will level off if Congress does not extend renewable energy tax credits.

SYS Swings Into Profitable Territory

SYS Technologies, a San Diego-based provider of information technology services mainly to federal government agencies, reported net income of $45,000 on revenue of $18.1 million for its second quarter ended Dec. 31.

Alan Dershowitz Helps United Jewish Federation Raise $400K

A United Jewish Federation men's event held Jan. 23 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, with famed legal expert Alan Dershowitz as keynote speaker, raised $400,000.

Nonresidential Construction Steady Despite Drop in New-Home Building

As construction slows for residential building and homebuilders reduce their work force, nonresidential construction employment and architecture firm billings remain steady, according to several reports.

Shareholder Attorney William Lerach Gets Two-Year Prison Sentence

Famed San Diego litigator William Lerach was sentenced Feb. 11 to two years in federal prison for his involvement in a multiyear kickback scheme in class action shareholder lawsuits.

Eye-Catching Art Draws in Prospective Real Estate Buyers

Commuters speeding along Interstate 5 near Del Mar may not give much thought to an office project that was completed in December were it not for a 40-foot-tall sculpture in its courtyard that can be seen from the highway.

Conservationists Challenge Barratt's 1,380-Home Project in Santee

A trio of conservation groups recently challenged Santee's approval of Fanita Ranch, the largest residential development proposal approved by the City Council.

Thomas Jefferson to Offer Advanced Degrees With International Focus

Thomas Jefferson School of Law said Feb. 4 it will offer new master's programs in international trade and American legal studies.

San Diego Sets State Record in '07 for New Hotel Rooms

Atlas Hospitality Group reports 1,043 new rooms opened in five hotels in San Diego during 2007 , more rooms than any other county in the state.

Daou Brothers' Latest Startup Is a Fine Vintage

After running a successful technology business, Daniel and Georges Daou are realizing a long held dream: Launching a winery that produces wines to rival the best in the world.

Not Just Another Opening for the Restored 'Glittering Jewel Box'

The Centre City Development Corp. raised the curtain on the Balboa Theatre's $26.5 million renovation with a 1920s-themed gala benefit Jan. 31.

Patent Rift Before Court Might Impact Biotechnology, Ag

A U.S. Supreme Court case testing the limits of a patent holder's rights could spell changes for biotechnology manufacturers and farmers who use genetically engineered products.

Retailers to See Some Flowering on Feb. 14

Valentine's Day spending is not where San Diegans choose to pinch pennies, despite economic uncertainties, retailers say.

Restaurateurs Ask Diners to Show Them Some Love on Valentine's Day

Local restaurateurs, who aren't exactly feeling the love in the current economy, hope that more couples decide to express their affection during dinner at their favorite bistro on Valentine's Day and that they keep coming back throughout the year.

Friday, February 8

General Atomics to Harness the Power of Tiny Plants

General Atomics said Feb. 7 that it received a $4 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to support research into creating alternative fuels from algae.

AOL Acquires Goowy Media

Goowy Media Inc., a San Diego firm that makes computer desktop software for targeted advertising, said it was acquired by AOL on Feb. 4 for an undisclosed price.

CEO Buys LeTip Networking Organization

LeTip International Inc. was purchased by its president and chief executive officer, the San Diego-based networking organization announced Feb. 7.

Thursday, February 7

Peregrine Figure Agrees to Pay Fine

Larry Rhodda, a former KPMG Consulting principal and managing director involved in the Peregrine Systems accounting scandal in San Diego, agreed to pay an $80,000 fine to settle charges filed in 2004 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency s

Coastal Commission Denies Toll Road at San Onofre

The California Coastal Commission voted 8-2 on Feb. 6 to deny the proposed toll road that would run through a habitat reserve in Orange County and San Onofre State Beach.

BioVascular Closes $11M Funding Round

BioVascular Inc., a privately held drug company focused on cardiovascular treatments, said Feb. 7 that it closed a $10.87 million round of late-stage financing.

Imperial Capital Bancorp Sees Its Margins Shrink

Imperial Capital Bancorp reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.1 million, down from $7 million in the like quarter of 2006.

Wednesday, February 6

Voters Seeking More Slots at Sycuan, Pechanga

California voters on Feb. 5 said they would like to see expansions at casinos on four American Indian reservations, including the one on the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation's land near El Cajon.

Donation Supports UCSD Professorship

Hearty kudos goes out to the Nicholas family for recently putting up most of the $500,000 endowment for a third chair in Greek history at UC San Diego's History Department, the university said Feb. 1.

Tuesday, February 5

Port Ponders $2.9M Security Upgrade

The San Diego Unified Port District is using some $2.9 million it recently received from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to beef up its security systems, the agency said Feb. 1.

Illumina Offers Sunny Earnings Forecast

Illumina Inc., a San Diego-based maker of tools for genetic analysis, said late Feb. 4 that it expects its quarterly and fiscal-year earnings to beat Wall Street expectations.

New Parent for M.L. Stern

M.L. Stern & Co., a Beverly Hills-based brokerage with offices in downtown San Diego and Rancho Bernardo, was acquired by SWS Group Inc. of Dallas, SWS said Feb. 5.

Monday, February 4

IntelliDot Expects to Grow With Patient Safety System

A landmark study by the Institute of Medicine stated in 1999 that medication errors occur 20 percent of the time at hospitals. Within four years, IntelliDot Corp. was founded.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Gayle Blatt.

Del Mar Insurance Firm Pledges Half Its Commissions to Charity

Choosing life insurance can be a morbid specter for those eyeing the end of their days, but Solana Beach entrepreneur Josh Jenkins-Robbins has come up with a solution he says can heighten one's sense of purpose in life.

Correction

For Jan. 28, 2008.

Drug Makers Want to Extend Deadline for Drug Tracking

A decision that could delay safeguards for prescription drugs in California is approaching, causing a divide between those who say immediate action is needed to protect patients and drug companies that say a system is not yet ready for implementation.

Hilton Bayfront Ahead of Schedule

Compared to other "topping off" events, the one held for the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel on Jan. 25 was no different than most.

Foreclosures, Pre-Foreclosure Notices Up 328 Percent in the County

Foreclosures and pre-foreclosure notices increased yet again in late 2007, according to ForeclosureRadar.

Route 241 , Major Benefit for Local Economy

Route 241 , Major Benefit for Local Economy

Thanks Partly to Shamu, Hoteliers Enjoy Whale of a Year in '07

Forget the ponies and the slots. Bet money that the county's lodging industry will finish the year among the nation's top 10 markets, as it has annually since at least 2001.

Barney & Barney Merges With Oakland Brokerage

Barney & Barney LLC moves into the Northern California market by merging with Oakland-based Saylor & Hill Co.

Entrepreneur Profile , Herb Meistrich

Herb Meistrich, founded TaylorMade Performance Labs, which performs custom golf fittings using motion capture technology.

The Real Risk Is in Waiting to Buy a Home

The Real Risk Is in Waiting to Buy a Home

The Water and Bloody Marys Are Fine at These Holes, So Dive In

I wasn't sure how to distinguish dives from watering holes. But I decided that a dive is where they have duct tape covering tears in the bar stools, and if it's a high-class dive, the duct tape matches the upholstery.

Executive Profile , Michael and Sandra Head

Michael and Sandra Head formed Precision Measurement Engineering Inc. in 1982 and have turned their business into a family affair.

Scientific Journal Highlights Work of La Jolla Researchers

A finding by La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology researchers was cited in the journal, Nature Medicine, as one of the key biomedical research advances of 2007.

50,000 Expected at Petco for North America's Largest Rugby Event

If more mothers would let their children play rugby, the world would be a much better place. Sound crazy? Not to Dan Lyle, a former Player of the Year who is helping to put on the USA Sevens tournament at Petco Park on Feb. 9 and 10.

Competition Returns to Insurance Industry as Reforms Bring Stability

It was not that long ago that the State Compensation Insurance Fund ruled the California workers' compensation market. A few years later, there are a number of companies who have positioned themselves to be players in the market.

Barney & Barney CEO Bullish About Area's Workers' Comp Market

One San Diego firm that has rolled with the fluctuating workers' compensation market in California during the past century is Barney & Barney LLC.

Lead San Diego to Honor Visionary Award Winners March 25

Lead San Diego announced the winners of the 2008 Visionary Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony to be held on March 25 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

UCSD Using Grant to Help Ease Overcrowding in Emergency Rooms

The UC San Diego Medical Center has been awarded a $731,070 grant to develop a medical information exchange system to alleviate overcrowding in emergency rooms.

Apartments Purchases Back in Favor With Well-Heeled Investors

The market for apartments is generating more interest from investors, according to area brokers.

Sales and Leases

Eight units in the 155,000-square-foot Kearny Mesa Complex industrial development have been sold for $1,819,365. And other sales and leases.

Construction Wraps Up on Two-Story Office Building in El Cajon

Progress Report: Construction is complete for the Pacific Cornerstone Architects-designed Rancho San Diego Hilton LLC at 1530 Hilton Head Road in El Cajon.

Region Still Generating Jobs as Economy Declines

Yes, it feels a lot like a recession, but the region is still creating jobs, and the economy is nowhere near re-experiencing the dramatic declines of the early 1990s, said local economist Alan Gin.

New Law Reverses Minimum Reserve Requirements for Workers' Comp

A Senate bill that had the attention of companies selling workers' compensation insurance in California became law Jan. 1. SB 316 eliminates the requirement for workers' comp insurers to place 65 percent of written premiums in reserve.

Nonprofit Profile , Jenna Druck Foundation

A talk with Ken Druck, founder of the Jenna Druck Foundation.

Letters

Notebook's Discussion Candid About Union's Grip on the Public Purse.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Brookfield Homes Corp. reports a strong start to sales at Serenity at The Estates at StoneBridge during a grand opening event held Jan. 19 and 20.

Clowns Abound With Three Circuses In Town, Tourism Execs Upbeat

Well, after all, it is a leap year. It appears that San Diego has been blessed with the arrival of not one, not two, but three circuses this winter , the Cirque du Soleil, Circus Vargas, and of course, the Feb. 5 presidential primary.

Pizza Franchise to Deliver Via Hybrids, Serve Organic Beer

Mike Walker wanted to start a business that fit his personality and his love for the environment. After eight years of service in the Marine Corps, Walker used the International Franchise Association's VetFran program to purchase Pizza Fusion.

Week in Review

Top Business News: Jan. 25 - 31, 2008

Voters Asked to Take Gamble, OK Big Jump in Sycuan's Slots

Three American Indian tribes with reservations in the region are pouring millions of dollars into the campaigns for , and in one case, against , the gaming propositions on the Feb. 5 ballot.

Friday, February 1

Labs File Lawsuit Over Medicare Bidding Project

Three San Diego labs filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it was announced Jan. 29.