San Diego Next 40 Finalists #3

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

Brad Engel
Flagship Cruises & Events

Engel has worked within the company for more than 19 years and in 2018 became president. He was responsible for the completion of a new $2.5 million docking facility along San Diego’s Bayfront, and he also oversaw construction of Flagship,s newest vessel, the Patriot jet boat. He has partnered with different organizations such as Ocean Connectors and Feeding San Diego, for which he has donated enough to cover 20,000 meals.

Johan Engman
Founder and Owner
Rise & Shine Restaurant Group

Engman is a dishwasher-turned-restaurant owner with a slew of successful eateries that make up the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group. He came to Southern California from his native Sweden at 16 and started washing dishes in a small Italian restaurant after high school. After moving up to table busser and eventually server, Engman made the leap to owner in 2008 with the opening of Fig Tree Café in Pacific Beach. Fast-forward eight years and he owns more than a dozen restaurants from Encinitas to the East Village. In addition to three Fig Tree Cafés, Engman also owns seven Breakfast Republic locations and his newest concepts: NorPa, El Jardin, Eggies, California Taco Club and Casa Rustica.

Michael Esposito
Managing Partner
Snake Oil Cocktail Company

Snake Oil has created unique beverage catering experience for some of the nation’s top events and venues, including the first craft cocktail program for Yankee Stadium. Esposito has introduced craft cocktail programs in Tijuana, Cabo San Lucas and Valle Guadalupe. He has introduced a custom culinary cocktail program for a speakeasy in Bogota, Colombia, featuring fresh produce sourced locally from the Amazon rainforest. This year Snake Oil introduced an innovation called Cocktail Graffiti wherein images, logos and artwork can be showcased on the tops of cocktails.

Jason Evans
Associate Attorney

Evans is an associate attorney specializing in complex litigation and personal injury, including a number of multi-million dollar civil and class action lawsuits. Among his most memorable cases is one that involved advocating for victims of the 2011 Reno Air Show crash in which a pilot and 10 people on the ground were killed and another 69 others were injured. Prior to joining CaseyGerry, Evans worked for the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, drafting requests for restraining orders on behalf of victims of domestic violence and elder abuse. He also worked as a mediator for the Better Business Bureau in Missouri before landing in his current role. He studied philosophy and public affairs at Claremont McKenna College before pursuing a law degree from the Washington University in St. Louis.

Alice Ewell
Director of Customer success

Ewell oversees customers in the company’s two fastest growing segments: technology and healthcare. Sales for both of those segments more than doubled at Seismic in 2017. Her team oversees 90 accounts (more than 20 percent of Seismic’s total customer base) and has produced a 400 percent increase in revenue to $16 million since the beginning of 2017. Seismic boasted a 118 percent net customer retention rate in 2017 and a 98 percent gross customer retention rate.

Jaci Feinstein
Vice President
Right Hand Events

Feinstein has built a strong, sustainable, women-owned business with more than $1 million in annual revenue. She supported the logistical growth of Social Media Marketing World that started with 1,000 attendees in 2013 to more than 5,000 in 2018. In addition, she noticed it was hard to find volunteer opportunities in San Diego, so she launched HandsOn San Diego, which since 2014 has engaged 10,384 volunteers, contributed 27,026 hours of service to San Diego, and completed 2,118 projects.

Thomas Fitzpatrick
Founder and CEO
Cura Coffee and Cura Smiles

Fitzpatrick is a dentist who is dedicated to creating sustainable dental care in underserved communities through the efforts of Cura Coffee and Cura Smiles. He will soon open their first Free Dental Care Clinic in City Heights. Fitzpatrick is a member of American Dental Association, California Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and the San Diego County Dental Society. He received his doctorate of dental surgery from Loma Linda University in 2006, and he received recognition as one of the top clinicians in his program.

Michelle Flores-Gonzales
Vice President, Operations
Flores Financial Services Inc.

Flores joined Flores Financial in 2002 while a student at the University of San Diego. She has developed the company’s marketing division as well as creating a successful training and development program. Last year, Flores was promoted to Vice President. She helped implement two new software programs, a new payroll program and a new AP paperless office program, and helped create a 24.5 percent increase in gross revenue.

Chris Frasier
SVP, Customer Success, Global Services and Operations
Mapp Digital

Frasier leads a team of more than 150 employees with responsibility for a $10 million-plus budget. He spent the past year transforming the company’s technology. Chris was the key executive leader driving the integration of Teradata Marketing applications with BlueHornet’s email business. The goal of the acquisition was to grow their customer base and technology footprint to a global position. He was also important to executing the redesign and operating model for services and talent alignment in more than countries.

Ray Freedenburg
Co-founder and CFO

As a founding employee during ClearBalance’s start-up, Ray was instrumental in developing and implementing financial and operational controls. In 2012, Ray led the company’s efforts to secure its private equity investment and was promoted to CFO. He has grown patient financing programs by nearly 50 percent over the past three-plus years and doubling the company’s revenue. He raised more than $500 million of off-balance sheet financing, allowing patient financing programs to help repay more than $1 billion in healthcare debt, including $40 million of financing provided to patients of San Diego-based health systems.

Michael Fusco
Fusco & Orsini Insurance Services

Since launching in 2010, he has grown the company revenue from $200,000 to $2.4 million. This year he implemented a state-of-the-art CRM and e-documents platform to improve customer experience and employee efficiency. Fuscoe has been featured as a personal insurance expert in multiple publications, including iGrad, a financial management blog.  When he isn’t working, he coaches pint-sized hockey players at The Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Jennifer Gaffney
Director of Digital Services
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

In her 3-plus years she has helped BHHSCP become the second largest real estate company in the country. Gaffney developed and implemented an online digital response of no more than 3 minutes to reply to a person’s initial online inquiry. She led a social media campaign to increase real estate agent recruitment resulting in nearly 70 new hires in two years. She also went on a traveling road show to each office location throughout Southern California to train real estate agents on various digital marketing topics.

Renee Galente
Trial Lawyer
Galente Law APC

Galente is a trial lawyer and in 2018 represented a broad range of clients in Federal District Court, State Court, and Military Court. She is serving as the first Latina President of the California Women Lawyers. She is also a Board Member on the San Diego County Bar Association. She created a private organization of Solo Attorneys in San Diego, San Diego Solos United, and she is the Chair-elect of the California Lawyers Association’s Solo & Small Firm Section.

Susan Garcia
Scatena Daniels Communications

Garcia has managed more than a dozen clients since she started in January 2014. In 2018, she helped secure media coverage for two of the firm’s largest clients, Susan G. Komen San Diego and National Conflict Resolution Center, and that media in total garnered more than 740 million in audience reach for these two clients alone. She has also done extensive pro-bono work for the firm donating more than $50,000 in services in 2018.

Valerie Garcia Hong
Business and Personal Injury Lawyer/Shareholder
Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin PC

Garcia Hong spearheaded the “Pathways Series” for Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego in 2018 with the goal to facilitate training and mentorship to elevate Filipino American lawyers. For the dinners, she partnered with local restaurants featuring Filipino American chefs to showcase their talents and support local businesses. Garcia Hong has for a decade committed her legal career to professional and ethical excellence in Southern California, and this month she opened her own firm, Garcia Hong Law APC.