San Diego Business Journal


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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.

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Lack of Supply Drives Rents Up Across Entire Market

PROPERTY: Industrial Opportunities Limited To Suburban Submarkets

Fueled by steady job growth, San Diego County’s commercial real estate scene in 2015 saw a continuation of post-recession trends including dropping vacancy rates and rising rents.

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Solid Ground

San Diego Market Somewhat Insulated From External Volatility

The start of 2016 had many kinds of investors reaching for the Pepto-Bismol, as the year began with a severe economic slowdown in China, a global plunge in oil prices, and widespread volatility in U.S. stock markets.

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Project Fairway

APPAREL: Company’s Fashions Play Well on the Golf Course and Off

Vivian Sayward had a problem with her golf game. It wasn’t her putting; it wasn’t her drive. It was her clothes.

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Apple Doesn’t Want You to Hide Your Emotions, Buys Emotient

San Diego software writer Emotient is now part of Apple Inc. Word leaked out in early January that the Cupertino behemoth bought the local business for undisclosed terms.

Despite Optimism, Cos. Wary to Invest

ECONOMY: Experts Forecast Healthy Year, Lower Confidence

San Diego appears set for a healthy 2016, though potential drags in some sectors deserve close attention of business leaders. That was the prevailing message Jan. 7 at the San Diego Business Journal’s annual Economic Trends panel. The event featured a series of talks from industry experts in banking, employment, health care, insurance, tax and commercial real estate.

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Trade Route

ECONOMY: WTCSD Is Back Mapping a Strategy For International Commerce

World Trade Center San Diego, a nonprofit whose income stream dried up several years ago, has been reborn as an arm of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., with aims to supercharge the region’s efforts to play a larger role in global trade.

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Opportunities Abroad

FINANCE: Reilly Financial Sees Expat Community Needing Its Services as The Investment Picture Gets More Complicated

Just before New Year’s Day, Swiss bank and wealth manager Julius Baer said it planned to pay $547 million to settle U.S. prosecutors’ allegations it helped Americans evade taxes. Frank Reilly, president of La Mesa-based Reilly Financial Advisors (RFA), saw the news as yet another development pushing Americans living abroad toward firms like his, which specialize in expatriate accounts.

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Strength in Diversity

ECONOMY: The Wide Variety of Our Businesses Is Insurance Against 2016 Storms

As international trade partners struggled with recession and consumer spending growth slowed, forecasters warned that the U.S. economy was losing momentum in the second half of 2015 and could close out the year weaker than expected. While the economy was still growing, they said, sluggish global demand was slowing that growth and pushing down corporate revenue.

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Could Make Headlines In 2016

The county’s No. 4 producer of craft beer is among the top 50 in the nation and is poised for more growth with the 2016 opening of a brewing facility in Virginia Beach, Va. The bi-coastal production capability will make Green Flash Brewing Co. an attractive acquisition target for the beer giants. The question is whether founders Lisa and Mike Hinkley might be tempted to sell given Ballast Point Brewing Co.’s recent $1 billion price tag.

Happy to See Year End

After a lengthy investigation, Qualcomm Inc. early in the year settled charges that it broke China’s anti-monopoly law, paying a $925 million fine and restructuring its Chinese license agreements. The year went downhill from there.

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Said Goodbye In 2015

Haggen Food & Pharmacy San Diego County shoppers barely had time to notice, but the region this year bore witness to what some industry observers called the fastest failure in the modern history of grocery retailing.

2015: The Faces Of Success

Behind the brick and mortar and acres of reflective glass that stretch across San Diego’s sun-drenched landscape are the men and women who are shaping the region’s future.

Some call them power brokers, but it really isn’t about power. It’s about salesmanship, leadership and the ability to be politically and financially agile in an increasingly competitive and creative environment.