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Sunday, Apr 21, 2024

San Diego People

Executive Spotlight: Brian Verhoeven

Hawthorne Cat, an authorized Caterpillar dealer, has promoted Brian Verhoeven to chief financial officer of the Hawthorne enterprise. For the last two and a half years, Verhoeven has been senior controller in charge of accounting and financial reporting, which helped drive the company’s efficiency and productivity gains. As CFO, he will be responsible for accounting, financial reporting, credit, information technology and corporate banking relationships. Verhoeven received his Bachelor of Science in accountancy at Calvin College and his Master of Science in business taxation at Grand Valley State University, both in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Health Care and Biotech

California Healthcare Institute Inc. has hired two new members to its board of directors, C.L. Max Nikias, Ph.D., and Katie Szyman. Nikias is the executive vice president and provost at the University of Southern California and has served as the school’s second-ranking officer since 2005. He has been responsible for accelerating the academic momentum that the university has experienced in recent years, and oversees a vast academic community. Nikias is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and fellow of both the IEEE and AAAS. Szyman is the senior vice president and president of Medtronic Diabetes, where she oversees research, development, operations, sales and marketing for the company’s insulin infusion pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. Szyman graduated magna cum laude from the University of St. Thomas in 1988, and received her master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1997.

Clement Clarke International Ltd. has named Stuart Novitz as vice president of sales and marketing for North America. Clement Clarke is a 92-year-old British medical products manufacturer known globally for its respiratory care products. Novitz brings company-based sales management experience to Clement Clarke’s marketing expansion effort. He is known in the industry as a strong organization builder, skilled at training and leading an effective, professional sales and marketing team.


Christine Cooper will join La Costa Resort and Spa as the director of sales. In her new position, she will oversee all group sales efforts for the resort and lead a sales staff of 12 people. Previous to this position, Cooper held a 13-year sales career with Fairmont Hotels, and was most recently the director of group sales for the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Cooper graduated from UC Davis and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.


Leavitt Insurance Agency of San Diego has named Thomas A. James and Andrew James president and broker, respectively. Thomas James, most recently with the Willis Group, brings more than 30 years of insurance brokerage and agency management experience. He specializes in construction, real estate development, property management, nonprofits and production of event services. Andrew James joins the company with eight years of experience in the insurance industry, most recently with the Willis Group. He is a graduate of the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary, and the University of San Diego School of Law. His focus is in real estate, property management, life sciences, technology and professional liability exposures.


Randy Kay has joined international law firm Jones Day as partner. Kay’s previous position was at the San Diego office of DLA Piper, where he focused his practice on intellectual property and business litigation. In 2008, he was named in the prestigious “Top 50 Under 45” list published by the IP Law & Business, and in the San Diego Daily Transcript’s list of San Diego Top Attorneys in Intellectual Property Litigation in 2008 and 2009.

Foley & Lardner LLP appointed Amar Thakur as partner in the company’s San Diego and Del Mar offices, where he will be working with the Intellectual Property Department in the IP Litigation Practice Group. Previously, Thakur was the co-chair of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. His practice is devoted to intellectual property litigation and technology transaction matters.

California business and real estate law firm, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP will induct David Osias as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. The American College of Bankruptcy is recognized for its professional excellence in and exceptional contributions to the fields of bankruptcy and insolvency law. Osias is a chair of the firm’s bankruptcy and creditors’ rights practice and a partner in Allen Matkins’ San Diego office. He is widely recognized for his authority on creditor and debtor rights in out-of-court workouts and restructurings, federal and state-court receiverships, and reorganization and liquidation bankruptcy proceedings. Osias’ induction will be held at the Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States on March 12, 2010.

Louis J. Blum will join Marks, Golia & Finch LLP as a partner of the firm effective Jan. 1, 2010. Blum started with the firm as a summer associate in 2001, and focuses his practice in the areas of construction law, civil litigation, business litigation and intellectual property law for the firm’s construction clients. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997 and his law degree from the USD School of Law, cum laude, in 2002, where he was a member of the Law Review and Order of the Coif.

The intellectual property law firm, Sughrue Mion PLLC has appointed Karen B. Dow as a partner in its San Diego office. Dow has more than 20 years of patent experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical issues, including work as patent counsel for Eli Lilly and Co. and Triton Biosciences. Previously, she worked for the San Diego office of DLA Piper and was also a partner with Townsend and Townsend and Crew for 15 years. Dow earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowling Green State University and her juris doctorate from the Indiana University School of Law.

Media and Marketing

After a nationwide search, Ashley Green has joined Alternative Strategies as the new client relations manager. Alternative Strategies is a full-service marketing firm that offers public relations, advertising, graphic and Web design and special event planning services to a wide array of clients. Previously, Green worked for First Transit Inc., where she was promoted within a year to project manager. In her new position, Green will be responsible for adding new clients to the company’s roster, providing quality support and assisting clients in reaching their business goals.

Digital Group Audio, developer and manufacturer of innovative audio/video products, welcomes Justin Liu as its new director of marketing. Liu will be responsible for product line expansion and distribution of the company’s benchmark product, Livespeakr, a multifunctional speaker system that delivers high-quality sound on the go. He has a background in sales with Nordstrom Inc., where he gained an understanding of consumer trends. Liu earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and is a member of the Triathlon Club of San Diego.


Rachel De Quesada will join the San Diego Natural History Museum as the new museum events manager. She will be managing all facility usage, both for external clients and internal museum activities, and will serve as the lead staff for fundraising galas and member/donor events. De Quesada has previously been account manager at TK&A Custom Catering/Simcha Kosher Catering; event coordinator and outreach manager at the New Americans Museum; and event coordinator with the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County.

Technology and Manufacturing

Qualcomm Inc. promoted Warren Kneeshaw to vice president of investor relations within the company’s global marketing and investor relations group. Kneeshaw joined Qualcomm in 2003 and is currently vice president of finance within the Qualcomm Technology Licensing division. He will transition into his new position during the next couple of months, at which time he will be responsible for the company’s investor relations program and relationships with shareholders and equity analysts. John Gilbert will take on a new role as vice president of finance for FLO TV Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm. In his new position he will be responsible for accounting, financial analysis, and strategic and finance functions.

Taiyo Yuden (USA) Inc., a manufacturer of electronic components and recorded media devices, promoted Jennifer Dufek to controller. Previously, Dufek was the director of FP&A for Taiyo. As controller, she will handle all of the accounting and administration duties for the company. Taiyo Yuden is the third largest manufacturer of multilayer ceramic capacitors in the world and supplies products to all of the leading consumer electronics companies in the market.


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