San Diego Business Journal

SDBJ WEEKLY EDITION

State Action on Wages Could Affect S.D. Vote

WORKFORCE: Measure Would Still Change Sick Days

Gov. Jerry Brown’s support last month of a plan to bring California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour is complicating the campaign over a June ballot measure that would boost San Diego’s minimum wage to $11.50.

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Getting The Jobs Done

TECH: S.D.’s Software Cluster Has a $12.2B Economic Impact

The Oceanside office of HireAHelper LLC is not quite polished yet. The business is an online marketplace that connects two parties — people in the process of moving a house or office, and laborers who can maneuver their belongings into a rental truck.

Roberts Appointed to Leadership Role at Latham & Watkins

Brook B. Roberts has been appointed the managing partner of Latham & Watkins LLP’s San Diego office. He succeeds Brett P. Rosenblatt, who has completed a five-year term in the position.

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Secure Investment

TECH: Venture Capitalists Betting On Maturing Cybersecurity Field

For Stephan Chenette, the time seemed right. After working in cybersecurity for the better part of two decades, Chenette figured October 2013 was the optimum time to start his own business.

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Preparing for the Unpredictable

MEDICINE: Active Shooter Training Simulation Creates Conditions That Put Participants to the Test

The string of active shooter incidents across the country prompted San Diego-based Strategic Operations to stage a live-action training event — complete with explosives, actors, and ammunition.

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Policy Preferences

WORKFORCE: Employees Shun Blanket Benefits Coverage, Preferring To Quilt a Package That Fits Their Lifestyle and Needs

As competition for skilled workers increases, some businesses in the San Diego region are offering wider choices of employee benefits in order to retain their talent.

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Worst-Case Scenario

INSURANCE: Active Shooter Insurance Begins to Take Shape As Insurers Offer Financial Protection from Violence and Its Effects

Active shooter situations are joining the list of tragedies that can be insured through corporate policies. But active shooter insurance is still relatively rare, with no consensus yet on what a typical policy should look like.

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New Investment Rules May Not Draw Crowd

FINANCE: $1M Annual Cap May Limit Appeal to Small Cos.

Crowdfunding appeared to get more interesting to most investors this past fall, when federal regulators unveiled new rules that would allow even those without large salaries to buy company shares through online crowdfunding portals. But experts are doubtful the new option will catch on quickly when it debuts in May.

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NWB’s ‘Air Force’ Is Mission Ready

TECH: Drones Analyze Variety of Environments

NWB Environmental Services LLC has launched an unmanned aircraft services program it believes will save the company and its clients time and money.

New R&D Tax Credit Ditches Temp Status

FINANCE: It’s Permanent And More Far Reaching

A revamped tax credit recently passed by Congress will provide enormous benefit to innovative businesses, should they choose to use it. San Diego’s life science firms in particular should pay close attention.

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Green Acres

AG: Avocado Farming Method May Boost Yield, Sustainability

Avocado farmers, struggling for years with soaring water prices, are starting to embrace a relatively untested planting method that could double their yield and might even curb water use.

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Downtown Rising

Why go downtown? When San Diegans fell in love with the suburbs after World War II, people asked the question with a negative tone. Why go downtown? Nothing there but sailors and grit.

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Flatley Took Illumina From Startup to Star

TECH: CEO Steps Down; Co. in Sequencing Top Spot

Following a string of big news since the first of the year, San Diego’s Illumina Inc. announced a shakeup at headquarters — CEO Jay Flatley is stepping down.

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Make March Madness A Net Gain for Morale

Sport: Distractions Also Require Adept Management

Sports is a huge part of lender National Funding’s culture: it has a suite at Qualcomm Stadium, stepped in at the last minute to sponsor the most recent Holiday Bowl and has dozens of intense fans on staff eager to talk about their favorite teams.

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Tight Retail Market a Buffer From Closures

RETAIL: Sports Authority Sites Are Likely to Be Filled

San Diego County dodged the bullet when nationwide store closings were carried out in recent months by several major retailers, including Macy’s, Walmart and Sears.

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Celebrating Diversity

Special Report | Minority-Owned businesses

The San Diego region’s diverse population is increasingly reflected in the minority-owned businesses that provide a range of services, from tech support, to general contracting to logistics.

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Mall Defeat Doesn’t Deter Lilac Hills

PROPERTY: Measure A Loss Provides Some Lessons

Thanks in part to an unusually high turnout for an off-cycle special election, developer Caruso Affiliated was defeated at the polls in Carlsbad after attempting to bypass lengthy state environmental review rules and get its lagoon-adjacent retail center project directly approved by voters.

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Keeping Current

ENERGY: Co.’s Wind Turbine Design Fill Gaps In Renewable Energy

As a longtime sailor, surfer, and engineer, Ned McMahon knows how to harness the wind.

Local Events Take the Spotlight in the Legal Community

Two event reminders: The San Diego County Bar Association’s Judicial Reception is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 9 at the Bard Center. The 15th Annual Black & White Ball, sponsored by the Association of Corporate Counsel, opens with a wine reception at 6 p.m. at the beautiful Manchester Grand Hyatt on March 5. Get a room. It is fun until you’re done.

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Caterer Continues Its Olympics Run

SERVICE: Rio Will Be Ninth Games for Local Co.

When competitive swimmer Michael Phelps requested eight Big Macs — one for each gold medal he won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics — John Crisafulli filled the champion’s McDonald’s order.

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Rankings Reveal Draw Of S.D.’s Real Estate

LAND: Commercial Properties Attracting Variety of Investors

Despite recent turmoil in financial markets, and partly because of volatility that makes real estate look stable by comparison, experts said San Diego is among markets capitalizing on job growth, demographic shifts, high barriers to entry for new construction, and a wide variety of investors looking to put cash to work as larger “gateway” cities become too pricey.

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Co. Makes Case for Handling Firms’ IT

TECH: It Tailors Offerings To Law Firms, Professions

Abacus Data Systems Inc. is riding into 2016 on the popularity of cloud-based IT for professional offices, mainly law firms. With new backing from an Eastern private equity firm, Abacus wants to build on its record of 188 percent growth over two years. It’s betting on more growth by expanding its offices and putting out the call for 80 new employees.

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Grail’s Goal Is Early Cancer Detection

BIOTECH: Big Backers Give Co. $100M Start

Illumina Inc., a major force in San Diego’s genomics industry, launched a spinout last month loaded with both cash and cachet. But experts say it’s destined for challenges on its quest for oncology’s “holy grail.”

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Building A Gateway

DEVELOPMENT: Local Engineering Firms Find Cooperation Creates an Opening for Them in $1.3 Billion Waterfront Project

When it comes to bidding for a project the size of the Manchester Pacific Gateway, divide and conquer isn’t a bad strategy. At least, that’s what four local engineering firms decided when they took on and beat out the national competition.

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In Larger Numbers We Trust

Cos. Find Savings As Employer Mandate Drives Growth in Health Care Co-Ops

A new government mandate is pushing employers to join cost-sharing co-ops to help pay for health insurance benefits.

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Pay Parity

New State Law Broadens Efforts to Narrow Gender Wage Gap

Women still make less than men in a majority of industries (79 cents on the dollar by most accounts) despite state and federal laws aimed at narrowing the gender pay gap.

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High Or Low Impact?

HEALTH: Wellness Programs’ Effectiveness Can Be Difficult to Measure

If you can’t do squats in those pants, don’t wear them to work.

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Tech Sector Onboard With Efforts to Keep Graduates in Town

WORKFORCE: Bus Tour Shows Students Extent Of Opportunities Downtown

The dynamic has confounded local tech companies for years: The University of California, San Diego has almost 9,000 engineering students, and one of the largest and most successful computer science programs in the country, yet many suitable local high-tech job openings go unfilled.

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Practically Speaking

Business Schools Add Programs to Ensure Grads Have Communication Skills

Having strong academic skills can help university graduates land interviews for promising jobs, but those meetings won’t lead to employment unless they’ve also developed “soft skills.”

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Permanent 10,000-Seat Outdoor Venue for Symphony Proposed

After years of debates, lawsuits and postponements afflicting various waterfront projects in downtown San Diego — some of which are now being built — residents and government leaders may be ready for something a little more harmonious.