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Friday, Sep 22, 2023

San Diego People

Executive Spotlight: Wade McKnight

Wade McKnight has joined the San Diego office of J.H. Cohn LLP as a partner and director of assurance services for San Diego.

In his new position, McKnight will apply his experience in the public and private company arenas, mergers and acquisitions and other capital transactions.

Previously, McKnight was the Nevada managing partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he led the firm’s global and national gaming practices.

With more than 30 years of experience, McKnight also spent three years in New Zealand leading the audit practice for Arthur Andersen.

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Banking and Finance

California Community Bank has announced that Alice Tiongco has joined the bank as assistant vice president-customer service manager at its Escondido main office. Tiongco is a veteran banker in the North County market and has a background in operations and customer relationship management. Most recently, she was the operations manager at the Escondido office of Pacific Western Bank, formerly Community National Bank.

First Bank has appointed Lourdes Valdez as the branch manager for the new Eastlake office in Chula Vista. Previously with Wells Fargo Bank, Valdez served as vice president branch manager and brings more than 18 years of banking experience to her new position with First Bank.

Construction and Design

Gensler architecture and strategic consulting firm has announced that Ralph Linder has joined the company’s San Diego office as director, buildings and campuses. Linder will be responsible for project leadership and business development for Gensler, where he also will guide staff training and mentoring. The company also has appointed Tom Heffernan as director, institutional design at the San Diego office. Heffernan brings more than 15 years of experience focused on architecture and design for higher education and government facilities.


The College of Business Administration at San Diego State University announced that S. Donley Ritchey is joining the college’s board of directors. Ritchey is the retired chief executive officer of Lucky Stores Inc. and currently serves as director on the boards of The McClatchy Co. and De La Salle Institute, is board chair of John Muir Health and retired in April from the AT & T; board of directors.

Government and Nonprofit

Mayor Jerry Sanders announced the appointment of Kelly Broughton as the permanent director for the city’s development services department. Broughton had previously served as the assistant director of the department. Patti Boekamp, who has been serving as the interim director of development services, has returned to her permanent position as director of the city’s engineering and capital projects department. Sanders also announced the appointment of David Jarrell as interim deputy chief operating officer for public works.

North County Lifeline Inc. has announced the appointment of its new executive director, Donald Stump. He brings more than 20 years of experience with nonprofit organizations that serve youth and families in the San Diego and Boston areas.

Senior Community Centers has appointed five new members to its board of directors: Chris Gold, vice president of Wells Fargo Bank; Susan Gonick, downtown San Diego resident; Matthew Harris, manager, government and authority relations, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; Thomas Smith, president, San Diego Real Estate Investment Corp.; and Mary O’ Tousa, La Jolla resident.


Michele Sacks Lowenstein has announced that Sonya Bouma has joined the law firm. Bouma will practice family law, including divorce, custody, paternity cases and the division of complex assets.

Foley & Lardner LLP has hired Casey Lobring as a new associate in its Del Mar office. A member of the firm’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical practice group, Lobring’s practice will focus on areas including preparing and prosecuting patent applications.

Megan Meacham has joined the litigation team at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP’s San Diego office.

Media and Marketing

Greg Block has joined Benedetto Communications Inc. as vice president. Block will be responsible for strategic planning, creative development and overall marketing and communications services for BCI’s public relations and public affairs’ clientele. Before joining Benedetto Communications, Block worked as communications manager for the Corky McMillin Cos., where he was responsible for media relations, community outreach and government affairs for the Liberty Station redevelopment project in Point Loma.


Shred-it San Diego, an on-site document shredding firm and veteran-owned small business, has promoted Jason Gerg to the position of manager of customer relations.

Whitney Benzian, a former staff member and communications director for San Diego City Councilman Ben Hueso, has joined the Monger Co. Benzian will add to the company’s public policy and land-use issues team. During his time at City Hall, Benzian was responsible for all land-use and infrastructure affairs in Otay Mesa. In his new role, he will manage public and media outreach efforts.

Optimal Nutrition, an organic meal delivery service, has hired a new dietician, Justin Robinson, to its team. Robinson will be in charge of working directly with company staff to ensure quality and nutritional benefits in meals. He also will conduct consultations with clients.

Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Commercial Almar Group has announced that senior sales associate Robert Willingham has been promoted to the position of vice president-partner in the firm’s Carlsbad office. Willingham has been with CBC Almar for three years, previously as a sales associate and a senior sales associate. Before starting his commercial real estate career, Willingham served in a U.S. Navy SEALs unit.

Sullivan Group Real Estate Advisors has added two analysts to its staff. Janna Matlack has joined the group as a senior analyst at the San Diego headquarters, and Amy Larsen will serve as an analyst at the company’s Sacramento location. Both Matlack and Larsen are responsible for conducting field work, gathering and analyzing market data and providing aid in generating the firm’s reports for national and international clients.

George Decker has joined McMillin Realty as a broker associate at its Carmel Mountain Ranch branch. Before joining McMillin, he was marketing communications manager for the law firm Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.

Technology and Manufacturing

Crossflo Systems Inc., a provider of data-sharing solutions for the public sector, has announced that Susan Laniewski and Joseph Mierwa have joined its team. Laniewski brings project management skills to her new position as a criminal justice, courts and information systems expert. Her new position is director of justice programs. Laniewski brings 25 years of government experience, and Mierwa has 24 years of experience managing, architecting and developing extensive multiple-site projects.

Outback Chair Co., manufacturer of hanging furniture, has announced that Kristen Bechtold has joined the company as national account executive. Bechtold is responsible for accounts with casual furniture specialty stores. Before joining Outback, Bechtold was national sales manager for Artifacts International.

Global Analytics has announced that Craig Nies, former senior director of health care and organizations product development for Fair Isaac, has joined the company as vice president of software development. Nies brings 17 years of software development experience.

, Compiled by Liz Wiedemann


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