San Diego Next 40 Finalists #1

The San Diego Business Journal on Aug. 14 will recognize San Diego’s Next 40 Top Business Leaders Under 40. The event will be from 4-7 p.m. at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. Here are some of the 150 finalists, listed alphabetically. Ten names will be released each day for 10 days starting July 30, 2018. LIST TO DATE

Jill Adams
Vice President of Marketing
Qdoba Mexican Eats

Adams oversees marketing operations for the second largest fast-casual Mexican food brand in the country with locations in 48 states and Canada, as well as at universities, airports and malls. Qdoba – translated meaning the “company” – was acquired in March from Jack in the Box Inc. by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management LLC. Qdoba, which got its start in 1995 and was picked up by San Diego-based Jack in the Box in 2003, sold for approximately $305 million in cash. It will remain in San Diego and is the process of hiring.

Kamal Adawi
Exagen Diagnostics

Kamal joined Exagen Diagnostics after holding previous positions of chief financial officer, corporate secretary and treasurer at Pathway Genomics, a genetics testing company. Throughout his career, Kamal has taken part in financing deals totaling more than $700 million from merger and acquisitions, public and private equity offerings. Prior to joining Pathway Genomics, he served as the director of financial planning and analysis at Exagen Diagnostics. Kamal is an active member of the CFO Leadership Council, National Investor Relations Institute and the SDSU Aztec Mentor Program. He is also a committee member for the San Diego Bowl Game Association.

Andrew Adrian
Founder and CEO
Lendit Inc.

In May 2016, Adrian founded Lendit, a rental app to help people save money by borrowing something instead of buying it. He raised $112,000 with only a PowerPoint and a strong foundation for projections. Lendit has more than 900 user accounts and a social media following of 2,000. Lendit is now developing operational software for rental companies. Andrew served in the United States Marine Corps from 2010 -2014.

Diego Alarcon
ZIP Launchpad, San Diego State University

Alarcon led at least 45 student startups every year since 2016. He has successfully reworked the ZIP Launchpad’s programming and launched E-Track, a nine-week program that gives first-time founders customer development skills. He mentored and advised teams at San Diego Startup Weekend in 2018.

Martin Adler
Chief Strategy Officer
Reflexion Health

Adler led the direction of the company’s newest version of VERA, an FDA-cleared Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant. From his earliest years, Martin displayed a knack for business and entrepreneurship. Fascinated by technology as a grade schooler, he created a referral website at the age of 12. Since then, he’s founded, co-founded, and led a number of dynamic, technology-focused businesses.

Brian Alexander
Vice President, Employee Benefits
HUB International Insurance Service Inc.

Alexander’s entrepreneurial spirit has allowed him to quickly climb the ranks in his career. He implemented a National Insurance Benefits Program that makes alternate funding programs available to the local market. He successfully implemented three wellness programs that have transformed the culture and health and productivity of clients and generated $250,000 new revenue for HUB International.

Natalie Arshakian
Director of Lock Desk Operations
Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc.

Arshakian was promoted to her current role with Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. in 2016, managing a team of 30 analysts to accommodate monthly lock volume upwards of $2 billion in residential mortgages distributed among 51 national clients. She is well versed in seven types of loan origination software, as well as six product and pricing engines. Natalie first joined Mortgage Capital Trading in 2012 as a senior lock desk analyst and became lock desk supervisor before landing her current director role. Before Mortgage Capital Trading, Natalie worked for LPL Financial. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles and speaks two languages.

Karina Arushanyan
Director of Business Development and Strategic Operations
La Jolla Logic

Arushanyan is part of the executive team at La Jolla Logic, which was awarded the US SBA District Director’s Award for Growth in the Technology Sector 2018. She was instrumental in compiling the required artifacts for the award, as well as the GSA Contract submission. She has been instrumental in the firm’s rapid growth.

Galen Baggs
OpDecision LLC

Baggs is a serial entrepreneur. In 2014, he helped launch the creation of Brown Bag Beverage, and he is currently the CFO. In 2015, Galen launched ConnectOps. He has also been part of the OpDecision team as CFO and COO since 2014 and was integral in the company winning the 2017 Corporate Culture Award in Telecommunications from SmartCEO. He was also a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s 2018 CFO of the Year Awards.

Elizabeth Banker
President, CEO
Shore Solutions, Inc.

Banker guides the Chula Vista-based company that provides acquisition assistance and procurement advice to vendors working with federal, state and local entities – from tactical gear and medical equipment to janitorial products and food service items. She has led revenue growth from $8.7 million in 2016 to $13 million in 2017. Banker arrived in her current role in 2016 following her work at the Coronado Distribution Company, where she worked as its vice president of operations. Prior to that, she was a business development consultant for Shore Solutions and the international sales manager at Divine Imaging, Inc. She also served four years in the Navy, achieving the rank of Quartermaster, 2nd Class. She studied business administration at Alliant International University in Scripps Ranch.

Jennifer Barnes
Co-founder and CEO
Pro Back Office

Barnes co-founded Pro Back Office in 2012 and has grown the company to be among the fastest-growing private companies in San Diego County with 2017 revenues of $5.52 million. Pro Back offers part-time, fractional resources to companies, from human resources help to accounting. Prior to co-founding the company with her partner, Mike Ford, Barnes was senior controller at TGG Accounting and interim controller at the San Diego National History Museum. Barnes sits on the board of the Better Business Bureau, the Business Executives Council, the San Diego Food Banks Leadership Council and Junior Achievements Young Executives Board.

T Barr
Vice President, Principal
Schmidt Design Group Inc.

In the 35-year history of the firm, Barr became the first person to be offered equity partnership by age 36. At his previous firm, he was one of only two designers from North America selected to participate in an international leadership summit in Harbin, China. He recently won four project awards from San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and was one of two professionals invited to present this year at the City of San Diego’s Project Management Academy.

Thomas Beaudette
Program Manager, Electronic Warfare, Mission Systems
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

Beaudette has established the reputation as a true GA-ASI ISR-system integrator within the Department of Defense. He captured multi million dollars in new business so far this year. He was a key contributor in the establishment of the company’s new aircraft leasing services program and helped shape the development roadmap for a variety of GA-ASI aircraft. He was integral to the growth of GA-ASI’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance business unit, which has doubled in size in the last year, and has grown more than 500 percent in the past six years.

Sara Bennett
Principal/Property + Casualty Division
Marsh & McLennan Agency

Bennett specializes in structuring property and casualty insurance programs that maximize coverage and drive down short and long term insurance costs. She has a particular focus in the area of worker’s compensation and partners with clients to assess, understand and mitigate their exposures, as well as to reduce their claims frequency and severity. Bennett joined the agency in 2003. In addition to her professional commitments the University of San Diego graduate volunteers as president of the board of the San Diego Women’s Foundation. She also serves as vice chair of the board of the Sharp Healthcare Foundation Board and is a member of Mended Little Hearts of San Diego, a nonprofit that seeks to help children with congenital heart defects.

Dan Berkus
Paragon Real Estate Investments

Since 2006, Berkus has led the growth of Paragon’s portfolio from a small start-up investment group to nearly $300 million in assets. He is working to revitalize the East Village by re-positioning an entire city block recently purchased by Paragon for $34 million, known as the Art Block, and he is leading Paragon’s entry into the Chicago and Philadelphia markets with close to $50 million worth of property in escrow. Berkus also runs the largest sports memorabilia convention in the nation known as the National Sports Collectors Convention.