SAN DIEGO NEXT 40 FINALISTS LIST
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 the finalists revealed so far, listed alphabetically.
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 CFO 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 fintech 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 600 user accounts and a social media following of 2,000. Lendit is now developing a software platform the rental companies. Andrew served in the United States Marine Corps from 2010 -2014.
Diego Alarcon Director 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 CFO and COO 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 Director 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.
Anton Burman Senior Associate ACI Apartments Burman has achieved more than $60 million in total sales transaction at ACI. Of those sales, more than $34 million was completed in a one-year period. One transaction, the close of a 68-unit El Cajon property for $14.1 million, was recently a finalist in the Best Real Estate Deals of 2017 by the San Diego Business Journal. He also is active in the neonatal nonprofit Miracle Babies.
Innesa Burrola President Boutique Recruiting Burrola has grown her company by about 300 percent for consecutive years and has been on the SDBJ fastest-growing private companies list for three years in a row. She has been honored as a top recruiter by LinkedIn. She was born and raised in Russia and was the first family member to obtain a degree in the United States. She volunteers at the San Diego Jewish Academy. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a mother and a business owner and achieve it all before age 30, and she did!
Scot Chisholm Co-founder and CEO Classy Chisholm has spent the past 10 years building a social enterprise technology company serving the nonprofit community. Since 2011, fundraising on the Classy platform has doubled each year—resulting in thousands of nonprofits collectively raising over half a billion dollars. Classy also hosts an annual awards program to spotlight the innovative work nonprofits are implementing around the globe. In addition to his work with Classy, Chisholm is on three soccer-related boards of directors – Street Soccer USA, SF City Football Club and ASC San Diego. He previously served on the founding board of directors at Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster relief organization. Prior to co-founding Classy, Chisholm worked as a senior consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton on its economic and business analysis team.
Matthew Cole President Cubic Transportation Systems Cole is an internationally experienced executive, having first joined Cubic at its European headquarters in Surrey, England. Since then, Cole, who was born near London, has taken on roles of increasing responsibility in the company, which took him to Australia in early 2009 and San Diego in late 2011. In addition to leading the transportation division, he also serves as senior vice president at the corporate level. Major accomplishments have included the successful redirection of a critical project on the verge of major litigation, re-securing a large, long-term customer that had previously been lost, and achieving financial targets in each financial year. His unit also secured more than $2.5 billion of business in first 10 quarters, including major contract wins in New York and Boston, both of which have options to grow to more than $1 billion.
Alysse Cooper President ICE Cooper was responsible for $9 million in sales last year, about 60 percent of the company’s revenue. She is negotiating ICE’s first international opportunity with the Gemological Institute of America in Belgium. She is co-chair of IIDA’s Design Connect trade show, the largest furniture trade show in Southern California. She has been on the NAIOP Developing Leaders council for four years in addition to serving as co-Chair in 2017.
Edward Cox CEO Dthera Sciences Cox is about to celebrate his second year as chief executive of Dthera Sciences. The publicly traded company is involved in non-pharmaceutical therapies that seek to lessen anxiety in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and/or Dementia. Cox previously served a year as CEO of EveryStory, a similar therapy developer that was acquired by Dthera in 2016. He also held key leadership roles with Apricus Biosciences, Inc. and Bio-Quant, Inc., plus others. Cox graduated with a Master’s Degree in management from the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida.
Marie Crivello Senior Vice President, Client Relationship Manager Bank of Southern California Crivello has been successful in supporting local businesses through their next phase of growth. In 2017 she partnered with more than 50 businesses for a total of $48 million in loans. In 2018, she has already written loans for more than two dozen local businesses totaling about $20 million in financing. Crivello is the bank’s top producer and continues to surpass company goals. She has been the recipient of the company’s coveted Banker of the Year award several times over the past five years.
Anna Crowe Founder and CEO Crowe PR In addition to her role as CEO, Crowe also is an adjunct professor of international marketing at the University of San Diego. Crowe has worked for the university since 2010. Nearly four years ago, she founded Crowe PR, capitalizing on a passion for improving the bottom line for technology, health and wellness, and hospitality brands. The firm also has an office in New York. She studied accounting at Rutgers University in New Jersey and later earned her Master’s in business administration from the University of San Diego. For the past year, she has volunteered as a board member for EO San Diego, the local arm of the 10,000-plus business networking group Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
Crystal Culhane Associate Fish & Richardson P.C. Culhane was selected by Fish & Richardson to participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Pathfinder Program. She is actively involved as a member of Athena San Diego, a professional development organization for women in science and technology fields. Culhane earned a doctorate in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University.
Clayton Dean Co-Founder, President & COO Circa Interactive Dean raised the company’s revenue by 46 percent in the past year. He was the lead in acquiring clients at prestigious institutions Tulane University and New York University, and he helped forge a partnership with a web engineering firm to leverage artificial intelligence to talk to potential students. Circa Interactive was named one of the 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2017 by the San Diego Business Journal.
Brian Dersch President and CEO Dersch Design & Engineering Dersch is a licensed professional engineer and project leader with specialties that include microgrid, renewable energy and energy storage, medium voltage power distribution and lighting design. As president and CEO, he is behind projects in California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii and New York. Dersch’s volunteer affiliations include the ACE Mentor Program that encourages high school students to consider architecture, construction and engineering futures; the Surfrider Foundation, which seeks to protect our beaches; and Habitat for Humanity International.
Caroline Dessert CEO The San Diego LGBT Community Center Dessert is a veteran fighter for equality who has led the San Diego LGBT Community Center since 2016. But her presence at the center began years earlier, when she served as its public policy and community organizing coordinator from 2007 to 2009. In between, she served as the executive director of Immigration Equality. Dessert also previously worked for the California Department of Justice in the Officer of the Attorney General as a deputy attorney general in the public rights division, consumer law section. At San Diego’s LGBT Community Center, she leads a paid staff of more than 50 people, as well as more than 1,000 volunteers who assist the center in its various outreach activities.
Ryan Egli Senior Vice President CBRE Egli is an experienced real estate professional, specializing in the leasing and sales of Class A and B office and biotech/laboratory facilities. He leads the growing life science practice group for the San Diego office. Egli has been frequently honored by CBRE as a top producer in his 12 years. He previously worked as an associate with Colliers International and before that, he was a business consultant for IBM, working in the company’s supply chain and operational solutions practice. Ryan studied engineering at Miami University, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Kristin Elliott CEO Precision Measurement Engineering Elliott is not only a general manager of Precision Measurement Engineering, Inc., she’s also CEO and founder of Aquasend Inc. – an early stage business pursing technology and software integration for inland aquaculture farmers. It’s a nice compliment to Precision Measurement Engineering, Inc., a leading manufacturer of oceanographic and freshwater monitoring equipment. Kristin’s father started Precision Measurement Engineering in 1982, and she has been involved in the family business since 2006. Since becoming CEO, she has tripled the company’s annual revenues with expected growth to $2.5 million this year. Elliott is a graduate of UC San Diego and has an MBA from Cal State University San Marcos.
Amanda Elsasser Manager of Club Membership Sales, Services & Special Events Hotel Del Coronado Elsasser quickly transitioned to Manager of Club Membership Sales after joining The Del team in November 2014 as catering manager. Through Amanda’s leadership over the past three years, The Del reached 1,000 memberships in 2018. She led Club at The Del sales to its most profitable year, resulting in $1.5 million in sales from new memberships. In college, she participated with her debate team at the Oxford Union, and was recognized as 20th best speaker at the World Debate Championships in Dublin, Ireland.
Brad Engel President 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 CaseyGerry 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 Seismic 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 ClearBalance 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 President 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 Director 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.
Greg Gershman Principal Lee & Associates, Inc., North San Diego County Gershman has closed more than $60 million in deals since arriving at Lee. He qualified as a shareholder in the shortest time period and is the youngest shareholder in Lee history. He was a top producer in 2014-2018. Gershman also is on the Lee & Associates Executive Committee and played a major role in creating a training program for the next generation of young brokers. He was named Lee’s Rookie of the year 2014.
Marin Gertler Design Director | Studio Director Gensler Gertler is currently leading the design for several high profile projects in downtown San Diego, including the redevelopment of Horton Plaza, the 850-room Fifth Ave Landing hotel, multiple buildings at the Seaport Village redevelopment and the first new office building in the heart of Little Italy. He received the American Institute of Architects Young Architect of the Year Award (2017-2018).
Anne Elise Goetz Partner Higgs Fletcher & Mack In April, Goetz was selected as a new Fellow to the American College of Mortgage Attorneys. In 2017, she was lead borrower’s counsel on commercial mortgage-backed securities loans totaling more than $54 million and was the lead borrower’s counsel for a $217 million credit facility. Goetz was honored by the San Diego Business Journal in the Best of the Bar in 2015, as well as the San Diego Daily Transcript’s Young Attorney award in 2011 and 2012.
Alyssa Gutner-Davis Program Manager Cleantech San Diego Gutner-Davis oversees the San Diego Regional Energy Innovation Network program for startups that are developing solutions to help California meet its energy goals. The program is the result of a five-year, $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. Her leadership requires a great deal of technology domain expertise, organizational and communications skills, and enthusiasm to keep partners engaged. There are 20 energy startups in the program.
Flossie Hall CEO Health Momma While applying to medical school, Hall realized helping others become healthy before they have to see a doctor was her calling. She started her meal prep company while her husband was deployed and she is highly involved in the military community. Healthy Momma has created more than 100 jobs, 75 percent of which have been held by active duty, military spouses and dependents. Her company has been featured multiple times on television and in magazines. She has been nominated twice for SDBJ’s Most Admired CEO.
Michelle Hammer Director of Marketing PayLease Hammer started in 2010 as a customer service representative and has helped grow the marketing team from two to 16 people. She was instrumental in implementing more defined KPIs and establishing marketing attribution for her company’s campaigns. Hammer worked with the marketing analytics team to develop a new lead flow in salesforce.com. She was the main organizer behind PayLease’s charity golf tournament that raised almost $20,000 to benefit Fresh Start Surgical Gifts.
Jamie Hampton CEO Mixte Communications Hampton worked in advertising and public relations agencies and an environmental organization before founded her firm in 2014. Mixte operates among the intersections of small business, community, environment and social justice, or as she puts it, “nice companies.” The Oregon transplant first entered the San Diego scene as an account supervisor for Bailey Gardiner in 2004 and later served as San Diego Coastkeeper’s marketing and communications director. She also managed to squeeze in time to be a board member on the San Diego Leadership Alliance’s communications committee. Hampton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Oregon, where she also played women’s rugby – a sport she also has coached at the high school level.
Matt Hendry Project Manager Gilliland Construction Management Hendry has worked in San Diego’s construction industry for more than 15 years, including 10-plus years in construction management. He has overseen a variety of projects, including ground-up core and shell buildings, Class A office tenant improvements, downtown high rise unique office build outs, medical office tenant improvements and hospitality remodels. A licensed general engineering and general contractor, Hendry holds a LEED AP BD+C Accreditation. He has worked for Gilliland Construction Management since December 2015. Prior to landing in San Diego, Matt studied construction management, construction and engineering at the University of Florida.
Eric Hepfer Director Hines While working on Hines’ La Jolla Commons II project, Hepfer incorporated a system that allows the building to run on fuel cells. The building may eventually be carbon neutral/net zero. Hepfer is guiding the Mission Valley Riverwalk project through the community outreach and approval process, with a goal of breaking ground in mid-2020. Before his business career, Eric served five years as a Submarine Officer in the Navy and was a two-time Navy achievement award winner.
Ryan Hill President Hill Construction Company After earning a degree in Construction Management, Hill took the reins of the family custom home business. He has led the company in the completion of multiple custom home projects in San Diego County and will soon add the company’s first completed projects in Orange County and Palm Desert. The company also has a project underway in Beverly Hills. Two projects were recently selected for recognition in trade publications.
Whitney Hodges Senior Associate Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP Hodges is a senior associate in the San Diego offices of the global law giant, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. She works in real estate, land use and national resources, and also serves on the firm’s pro bono and diversity and inclusion committees. Hodges is a registered lobbyist with the city of San Diego, the County of San Diego, and the San Diego Port Authority. A native San Diegan, Hodges graduated from Rancho Bernardo High School and the University of Southern California before entering its law school. In her spare time, she volunteers with the San Diego Humane Society, chairing its Young Professionals Committee. In that capacity, she engages millennials in animal welfare causes through mixers and networking events.
Ari Hoffman Success Fanatic MindTouch Last year Hoffman was responsible for 72 percent of the company’s unpaid inbound lead generation. His job is to turn the company’s 43 million monthly users into brand advocates. Hoffman’s most notable career achievement was selling a company he had founded – GOBIE h2o – to Shark Tank investor Daymond John. Hoffman was named a 2017 Finalist for Marketing Leader of the Year by Turning Point Executives.
Andrew Holets CEO Pro Kids/First Tee of San Diego The nonprofit serves youth by imparting the conviction that “Success Is Par for The Course” combining academic counseling for low-income students with golf. Holets revitalized the organization and went from a deficit of $650,000 to a credit of $400,000 after paying off all organizational loans, paying off the existing line of credit, and adding $100,000 to the cash reserve. He oversaw the number of annual scholarships was increase, grew membership 8 percent, and grew high school age participation 15 percent. He once served two years in the United States Peace Corps in Kazakhstan focusing on public health and community development.
Dr. Irene May-Ling Hutchins Hematology/Oncology Fellow Scripps Cancer Center Dr. Hutchins is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of San Diego’s 2018 Woman of the Year. In 10 short weeks, she raised more than $240,000 for the organization, which supports local blood cancer researchers and blood cancer patients. Dr. Hutchins set a record for funds raised by a female for the San Diego Man & Woman of the Year campaign.
Timothy Hutter Partner Allen Matkins Hutter is a business and real estate litigator focusing primarily on contract, construction, joint venture, entitlement, land use and landlord/tenant litigation. He joined the California-based Allen Matkins in its San Diego office in 2009, following his graduation from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. In 2016, he was appointment to serve on the San Diego Historical Resources Board, advising city officials on development projects that may affect historical resources. He has served as the board’s vice chair since March 2017. In 2013 and 2014, Timothy was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Emerging Generation Award.
Aly Jamison Owner Jamison PR Jamison in the past six months has helped the Rain Group secure numerous business awards, increase media exposure and increased the company’s social media presence. Jamison has surpassed her goals for new leads on social media, website visits and new followers and earned Accreditation in Public Relations.
Sara Jensen Vice President of Business Development Innovative Employee Solutions Jensen works at one of San Diego’s largest women-owned businesses and is responsible for developing the company’s strategic vision and sales plan. The company provides outsourced payroll and human resource services. Jensen joined the company in 2011 and has been promoted twice. Prior to joining Innovative Employee Solutions, she worked for the American Cancer Society. Jensen is a graduate of Western Washington University.
Keith Jones Managing Partner Ace Parking Management Inc. Jones is the third-generation managing partner of his family’s homegrown business. Ace has more than doubled its business in the past 10 years with gross revenues growing to more than $700 million. Jones, who studied business and philosophy at New York University, has been in his current role since 2004. He has been a member of the Young Presidents Organization since 2010 and also serves in director roles at CalPrivate Bank, Sharp HealthCare and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Dan Kagan COO Scientist.com Kagan has played a pivotal role in building and leading Scientist.com. Under his leadership, Scientist.com has grown from 10 to 60 employees, has partnered with 30 large pharma and biotech companies and has seen its revenue skyrocket from $300,000 in 2014 to $50 million in 2017. Scientist.com was named the No. 2 Fastest-Growing Private Company in San Diego County by the San Diego Business Journal. Dan is a strong advocate for healthy living and endurance activities. He has completed six marathons, several triathlons and two full-length Ironman competitions.
Ashok Kamal Executive Director Tech Coast Angels-San Diego Kamal has spent the past two years leading Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investing group in the country, and invested in nine startups including three in San Diego. He has helped galvanize and grow the local startup scene, especially in collaboration with Startup San Diego and the San Diego Venture Group and donates time mentoring young entrepreneurs and underprivileged youth. Plus he can rap – he found of The School of Rap, which he launched at the UCSD Ignite 2018 conference.
Leonid Kandinov Lead Business Development Attorney Robbins Arroyo LLP Kandinov is a first generation American who emigrated from Uzbekistan at age 6. He earned 45 units of college credit while in high school, paving the way for his full scholarship to San Diego State University as a recipient of the first President’s Diversity Scholarship. He graduated as valedictorian in just 2.5 years. Since joining Robbins Arroyo LLP in 2011, Kandinov has served in various capacities, most recently within the Business Development Department. He is among the top three generators of new business for the firm.
Suman Kanuganti Co-founder and CEO Aira Tech Corp Kanuganti has spent the past four years with Aira Tech Corp – a startup he co-founded – but his footprint on San Diego’s technology sector is much larger. Kanuganti arrived in San Diego in 2007, working as a product development consultant for Qualcomm. A little more than a year later, he joined Intuit as its chief technology officer, working on the ongoing development of products such as Mint, Turbo Tax and QuickBooks. At Aira, he is developing technology that connects blind and visually impaired people with a sighted agent to assist them with common activities. The users wear specially designed glasses equipped with a camera that provide a feed from which a sighted agent can assist the user in real time, from reading a restaurant menu to filling in an application.
Leigh Keith Co-founder and President Perfect Bar LLC Keith is co-founder and president of Perfect Bar LLC, a brand of energy bars created by her nutritionist father, Bud Keith. She is one of 13 siblings to launch the company in 2005. In her role, Leigh is responsible for steering her family’s business operations. This includes sales management, product development, distribution channel management, marketing communications, pricing, market research and customer service. Last year, the family made the hard decision to sell a minority stake in the company to San Francisco-based private equity firm, VMG Partners. The undisclosed investment was quickly put to work, with Leigh and the rest of her family increasing the number of bars made per shift from 20,000 to more than 100,000.
Alex Klingensmith Senior Wealth Advisor/COO Labrum Wealth Management Klingensmith’s leadership and strategic hand has enabled the firm to more clearly see its future. He launched the Financial Detox program, which has opened up opportunities to explore beyond the traditional methods for communicating with customers. He has also been instrumental in partnering with Charles Schwab’s advisor network, leading to additional growth opportunities. Klingensmith believes that both his and the firm’s future are heavily rooted in the development of the best customer experience possible.
Shailendra Kulkarni Shareholder Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel APLC Kulkarni is the youngest shareholder at Sullivan, Hill, Lewin, Rez & Engel, a full-service business law firm based in San Diego. Recently “Shay” successfully prepared, filed, and argued a motion on behalf of a real estate developer client to invalidate a mechanic’s lien in excess of $800,000. He recently attained the rating of AV Preeminent from Martindale Hubbell, the leading attorney rating service in the industry and also for four consecutive years has been named a Rising Star by the Super Lawyers organization.
Victoria Lakers CEO Frank Management Consulting Lakers is responsible for building and selling a signage and graphics company that developed and executed visual communications solutions for more than 500 clients, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Since then, she has focused her attention on helping small to medium businesses, social enterprises and impact investment funds create and carry out strategies pertaining to finance, capital raising, marketing and sales. Lakers also serves as CFO for Three Squared, Inc., driving its financial strategies and oversight for the company that deals in construction management. She also serves as director of Changemaker Chats, a woman-focused educational series.
Cameron Lamming President and COO RAR Hospitality Lamming has led RAR Hospitality during a pivotal two-year growth period and in June was promoted to COO and president. Lamming helped The Lafayette Hotel become a pioneer in business space in North Park, while preserving its history and bringing in tourism dollars into the neighborhood. He leads RAR Hospitality’s consulting division, which includes clients such as Beijing-based Wanda Group, a Fortune global 500 company and China’s largest commercial property company. He is serving as the Managing Partner over several hotel developments in Southern California.
Dr. Samuel Lance Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Lance is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery at UC San Diego and a volunteer surgeon at Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. He serves on the Rady Children’s Hospital Complex Sleep Apnea Program, helping children who have difficulties with breathing during sleep. Additionally, Dr. Lance serves in the UC San Diego Burn Clinic treating burn victims. He hasn’t missed a Surgery Weekend since he began volunteering with Fresh Start in 2014, which takes place approximately every six weeks as plastic surgeons donate their time to provide free surgery to kids with facial deformities.
Jeff Lerner Head of Marketing DMV.ORG Lerner launched the first email marketing campaigns for the organization, highlighting the benefits and services that DMV.ORG has to offer users. Additionally, Lerner has revamped the social media offering for the organization, including its first Instagram account He also is leading the re-branding and expansion of the DMV.ORG Impact program, which is focused on giveback to the local community and driver safety organizations.
John Lincoln CEO Ignite Visibility Lincoln has become a high-profile leader in the SEO and digital marketing space while growing Ignite Visibility to revenue of more than $6.3 million and a place among the San Diego Business Journal’s 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies. The company has received numerous honors from trade groups in SEO and PPC. Lincoln has taught digital marketing at UC San Diego since 2010 and is a corporate trainer and a writer for Inc., Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Search Engine Land and more. Lincoln recently published Digital Influencer, a best-selling book on Amazon and created a documentary called “SEO: The Movie.”
Taryn Lomas COO UE.co Lomas has been with the company since 2008 and was named COO in January 2018. She is actively involved in diversifying the company’s client base and has inspired 48 percent of company employees to participate in a volunteer opportunity in 2018, with organizations such as Special Olympics San Diego and Women Who Code San Diego.
Laura Maly Co-founder Wonderist Agency Maly co-founded Wonderist Agency in 2012, then followed that up by co-founding both Merger Labs and Nomos Marketing earlier this year. Wonderist offers marketing management services to dental practices. Merger Labs specializes in mergers and acquisitions, and Nomos works with lawyers and their unique marketing needs. Prior to taking the entrepreneurial leap, Laura worked for Sony Pictures Entertainment as its media manager. She studied advertising and business at Florida State University and merchandising and related marketing operations at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
Carlos Martinez Principal Haskell & White LLP Martinez worked with the team on an initial public offering earlier this year for One Stop Systems LLC that resulted in 12.8 million shares being traded to establish the company with a market cap or more than $50 million. He also completed an aerospace transaction involving a private equity firm and a client. Martinez is program chair for the San Diego chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, and in that role put together a joint program for the Aerospace and Defense Forum and ACG.
Kevan McLaughlin Founder and President McLaughlin Legal McLaughlin graduated law school in 2009 and founded a tax litigation and estate planning practice. He was recognized several times by the San Diego Daily Transcript’s annual peer nomination program as a top young attorney, and he has been honored by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine as a top tax attorney and the San Diego Business Journal in its Best of the Bar recognition. McLaughlin has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer Rising Star every year since 2015.
Channelle McNutt Principal Consultant Jones & Associates Consulting McNutt specializes in diversity and inclusion, organizational change and leadership development. She joined the firm after serving as the assistant director of annual fund and regional development for San Diego State University. In that role, she lead a culture change initiative that sought to reduce turnover and increase employee engagement and retention. She also led a team of 25 to raise private philanthropic support for the university and developed strategies to raise philanthropic support for university partners. McNutt completed undergraduate and master’s course work at San Diego State, earning an MBA in 2017.
Jesus Mendoza Associate Director Willis Towers Watson Mendoza has spent the past 12 years specializing in the insurance needs of public entities and biotech companies. This year he has implemented several tailored health and benefits renewal strategies and worked with new services such as a wellbeing allowance.
Hao Meng San Diego Market Manager Lyft Meng is Lyft’s first San Diego market manager. Meng oversaw the launch of a first-of-its-kind pilot project with the U.S. military via a one-year demonstration project at Camp Pendleton, which aids passengers seeking rides within and off base, as well as service members and their families who drive for Lyft to earn flexible income.
Jared Mettee Project Manager Sundt Construction, Inc. Mettee is a LEED accredited and DBIA professional in the construction industry. He has been a Sundt employee since 2005 and helped develop the company’s use of digital record documents and use of mobile technologies. He was involved in the completion of Golden West Student Services Project, which came in on time and about $850,000 under budget.
Joseph Morstad Director of Business Development Balboa Commercial Real Estate Morstad has a passion for sharing his insights on commercial real estate and has led Balboa’s efforts in sponsors and hosting events. He co-hosted a happy hour for brokers to learn more about 1031 Exchange for their clients and how to get financing. He created Balboa’s new brand “your common sense CRE lender,” as well as designed its new website. Morstad recently attended the American Bankers Association’s Commercial Lending School. He is an avid golfer known for his towering drives.
Heather Moyer Co-founder, President and CEO HNM Systems Inc. Heather in 2011 co-founded HNM Systems Inc., a multimillion-dollar international company that seeks out talent for the telecommunications sector. Rather than screen potential employees and send companies choices, HNM vets its only employee pool and offers clients individuals or groups of people who can take on short- or long-term assignments, then return to HNM when the job is done. The business model was conceived by Moyer, who previously served as an executive officer for a technical staffing firm in San Diego that achieved 900 percent growth over six years. She studied business administration at San Diego State University.
Taylor Moyer CEO Managed Laboratory Services Inc. Moyer’s work at the helm of the women-owned Managed Laboratory Services Inc. requires that she marry cutting-edge technology with lab operation expertise. The goal is to provide lab support and lab operations solutions to the company’s clients. Over the years, Managed Laboratory Services has been named one of the fastest growing companies in San Diego multiple times. Taylor has been with Managed Laboratory Services since 2008. But it is not the only hat she wears. Moyer also works as president of Boots in Bio, a nonprofit that seeks to help men and women with military experience transition into civilian lives that include jobs in the biotech and pharma industries.
Kevin Murphy President Murphy Jones APC Aside from expanding his practice, Murphy has been recognized by a San Diego Rising Star in Super Lawyers magazine and Modern Luxury San Diego. In 2016 he was named Best of the Bar, Administrative License Defense, by the San Diego Business Journal. Murphy also volunteers his time to legal and community organizations and donates copious legal services and finance donations to non-profits in San Diego.
Hilda Mwangi Director World Trade Center, San Diego While working for the UK Government Office in San Diego, Mwangi was responsible for fostering trade and investment within the Life Sciences sector. She supported a trade mission led by Scott Peters and the San Diego World Trade Center and facilitated meetings between San Diego business and civic leaders and UK counterparts. She has worked for the Maryland General Assembly, the United Nations, the U.S. Embassy in London, and the British Consulate-General in Los Angeles.
Justin Namaha Partner Troutman Sanders LLP Namaha serves as pro bono general counsel for The Honor Foundation, helping hundreds of Navy Seals and other Special Forces successfully transition from active duty. He also provides pro bono assistance to Cammies & Canines, a non-profit combatting San Diego’s homeless veteran challenges. He recently instituted Troutman’s office hours in San Diego to counsel entrepreneurs from The Rosie Network. Namaha developed a relationship with client CrossFit Inc. while on active duty with the Marines. He competed in the worldwide CrossFit Games where his team achieved three top-five finishes.
Ilo Neukam Founder and Marketing Strategist The Collective SD Since launching The Collective in April 2017, Neukam has worked with more than 15 organizations, spanning from San Diego to Stockholm and including non-profits and biotechs and startups to Fortune 500 companies. She was honored with the Junior League’s 2018 President’s Award for outstanding work and exceptional leadership. She is Vice President of Marketing for the local Junior League chapter.
Jeffrey Ryan Niles CEO Concierge Cleaning Services Niles is the owner of Concierge Cleaning Services and in four years has grown a small business to be included for the past two years as one of the San Diego Business Journal’s 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Niles was a finalist for the SDBJ’s Most Admired CEO Awards.
Kate Nowlan COO Graced By Grit Nowlan is the founder of apparel company Graced by Grit. She is passionate about empowering and inspiring young women and is on the board of Girls on the Run. She founded Gritty Girls, which inspires females from 10 to 21 to discover and develop their grit. In June, Graced By Grit merged with another apparel company, Hylete, and Nowlan is the top executive.
Seth O’ Byrne President, O’Byrne Team Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty O’Bryne is a San Diego Association of Realtors Award of Excellence Winner and Realtor of the Year in 2017. He has partnered with Realtors from Seattle, Aspen, Los Angeles and throughout San Diego developing real estate marketing. He was the marketing partner and featured agent for Zephyr Development on The Park, Bankers Hill. O’Bryne’s team has been No. 1 among units sold with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He sold $76 million in real estate in 2017.
Seth Odell Vice Chancellor, Marketing National University System Odell started his educational marketing career at UCLA. At Southern New Hampshire University, he was part of the marketing team that helped the institution grow from 7,000 to 70,000 students in four years. In 2017, Odell joined the National University System and launched The Agency at NUS, a full service integrated advertising agency that is projected to save more than $2 million in expenses next year.
Matthew Odgers Attorney Odgers Law Group Odgers is the owner and founder of Odgers Law Group, and he recently opened his third office in Cardiff. He started “Protecting those who Protect,” which offers pro-bono estate planning to active duty and veteran military members and police officers. He also offers pro bono legal work helping Nigerian citizens with asylum applications. Matthew was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star 2018. After college he spent a year in Seoul, South Korea, teaching English, and he also studied International Law in China.
Mike Opera Director of Paid Social Media Power Digital Marketing In addition to leading the Social Media Department in 2018, Opera worked alongside the CEO to develop the technical strategy on three new product offerings: Explainer Video Creation, Conversion Rate Optimization, and Funnel Marketing. Since 2016 he has grown the Social Media Department to 20 people and revenue from $300,000 to $2.5 million in revenue in 2017.
Sara Pagano Managing Director Biocom Institute Pagano uses more than a decade of nonprofit and event experiences to help inspire next generation life science workers. Biocom is the largest advocate for California’s life science sector. Prior to joining Biocom in 2013, she worked for USO San Diego, Discover Pacific Beach and the San Diego Senior Sports Festival. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Westfield State College and holds a certificate in event management from University of San Diego. In her spare time, Sara enjoys chasing her toddler, playing with her furry friend Miles and getting outdoors.
Jason Paguio Board Director Asian Pacific American Coalition - San Diego Jason is a leader in the Asian American community and helped produce civic and cultural events promoting civic engagement. He is the founder of multiple 501(c)(3) education-based nonprofit organizations as well as the co-founder and owner of a small manufacturing company. Paguio is also the Land Use Policy Advisor and Grants Advisor to Kristin Gaspar of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and serves as a Staff Officer of Communications for the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Renato Paiva Executive Director Access Youth Academy Access Youth Academy is a non-profit that serves low income students by helping them go to college. Paiva has won many awards as a squash coach, including USA Coach of the Year and the US Olympic Award in 2012. At Access Youth Academy, he has helped placed 55 students in college, yielding more than $6.3 million in scholarships and raising more than $10 million to serve low-income families.
Aviva Paley Co-founder and Senior Director Kitchens for Good Paley has been selected for several prestigious awards and fellowships including Food Tanks list of 20 Food Leaders Under 40, The UC Global Food Initiative’s 30 under 30 Food Leaders Award, The ROI Fellowship, and the Arianne de Rothschild Fellowship. In 2018, Kitchens for Good was recognized as the first culinary apprenticeship program by the state of California. After learning that only 9 percent of all eligible children were receiving an after-school supper, Paley developed a program and secured the capital needed to increase the organization’s meal production from 150 a week to 1,200 a day.
Christopher Pearson Senior Marketing Manager Directed Pearson in 2018 took over Directed’s marketing department after the unexpected departure of the VP of Marketing. He did this while being fulltime in a University of Southern California executive MBA program. One of Pearson’s passions is sharing his love for physics and electronics with the younger generation. He’s taken part in a number of STEM volunteering events throughout North County.
Haley Peterson Account Manager Intesa Communications Group Peterson has expanded the company’s reach to North County. In 2017, she was named by the Vista Chamber of Commerce a “40 Under 40 Best and Brightest.” She is a graduate of Cal State University San Marco’s Leadership North County program and earned a credential from the California States Association of Counties.
Dr. Lindsay Pfeffer Dentist I-Ortho San Diego Dr. Pfeffer was named one of 2018’s Top Dentists by San Diego Magazine. As a business owner she employs and mentors women ranging from 5 years old to 70. As a volunteer faculty member at UC San Diego Medical School’s free clinic, she provides care for the poor. The program serves to help create more compassionate healthcare professionals while providing more than $2 million in free care.
Patrick Pierce PR Manager Oster and Associates In 2018 Pierce was selected to become a board member for the Mission Valley Planning Group. He has led Oster and Associates to embrace and engage with the cannabis. Pierce provides PR support for select Southern California startups and is involved with a number of charitable organizations including Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Emily Pippin Director of Communications & Marketing Academy of Our Lady of Peace Pippin led a redesign of the school’s website and developed a strategic enrollment management plan. Pippin has been increasing the school’s participation in local awards and recognition programs. She also worked with students to start the Women in Business (WIB) Club on campus. In its inaugural year, the club boasted more than 50 members.
Richie Ploesch Director of Partnerships Autism Spectrum Therapies Ploesch supports AST’s clinical leaders across the U.S. in major cities, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore in order to provide additional services to children with autism while educating the community. During his time at Grossmont Union High School District, Ploesch revolutionized the system for delivering behavioral support services districtwide and the number of students receiving quality support increased each year. Ploesch has also operated his own private international consulting company, which allowed him to bring the latest teaching technologies to families of children and young adults with autism in India and the Philippines.
Anthony Pretto Vice President of Operations The Kobey Corp. Pretto is the third generation to work in his family’s business, Kobey’s Swap Meet. As a little boy, he was the poster child of advertisements and in 2007 he joined the company full time focusing on social media and advertising. Over the past 11 years, he has continued to learn every aspect of the organization while working alongside his mother and father every day. Today, he handles the operations of Kobey’s Swap Meet. This year, Pretto is spearheading a Nonprofit Day at Kobey’s, where he plans to invite over 250 nonprofit organizations to have an information booth or garage sale for free.
Mariangela Pretto Digital Sales Manager Entravision Communications MariangelaPretto manages a team of five account executives and handles all of the digital advertising sales for San Diego, Imperial counties and Tijuana. She works with over 50 clients with yearly advertising budgets ranging from $5,000 to over $500,000. Pretto was named the Top Performing Sales Executive in San Diego and was award Rising Star in 2015 by her organization. She is an active member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the advertising organization, SDX. Pretto is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian. She is known by her nickname “Cookie.”
Matt Price Vice President of Sales Reliant Funding In 2018, Reliant Funding surpassed $1 billion in total funding and has serviced over 31,000 small businesses with the coaching, sales and revenue leadership Matt Price provides. Price has been with Reliant since the beginning. He joined the founder of Reliant Funding to develop a small business funding startup in 2008 and was integral in the research and execution of process related to capital need and selling to American small businesses. Price has grown 3 departments within the company (direct sales, wholesale, underwriting) by at least 20 percent each in the past 90 days, which will bring the company to new heights by the end of the year.
Alicia Quinn Director of Programs Mission Edge In 2018, Alicia Quinn launched the Social Enterprise Accelerator and Impact Lab (SAIL). Through this program. she has engaged 28 San Diego nonprofits in 2-4 month curriculums to build their social enterprise models and increase their sustainability. Quinn is a board member at Barrio Logan College Institute, a San Diego-based nonprofit that aims to break the cycle of poverty by preparing students to be the first in their families to go to college. Quinn has recently been named the VP of Programs at Natural High.
Renata Ramirez Marketing and Communication Director University of San Diego Renata Ramirez is one of the youngest marketing directors of a business school, overseeing all marketing and communication strategies for the entire school. She helped successfully launch its latest program, which is an experiential learning opportunity that gives San Diego-based students the opportunity to live, work and gain professional experiences in 5 countries in less than a year. Through her marketing strategies and efforts, she tripled the number of students enrolled in the graduate programs offered at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Ramirez is fluent in three languages and is learning a fourth.
Eric Ramos Director of Analytics BusinessOnline Eric Ramos has promoted a data-driven culture at BusinessOnline with the development of the marketing technology platform, Data Weld. This allows analysts to be more efficient and productive with their time. Analysts are saving up to 28 percent of their time on reporting which, for an agency with 60 clients, would be equivalent of close to $500K in hours that can be applied to more client value work such as optimization and driving insights. Through Ramos’ work, Data Weld platform won the SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) Best Use of Technology/Tool, recognizing the game-changing technology.
Hope Reilly Senior Manager of Public Affairs & Chief Social Media Strategist Southwest Strategies Hope Reilly manages more than a dozen projects and oversees all social media strategy development and implementation at Southwest Strategies. She has been recognized with more than two dozen awards, including two prestigious Silver Anvil awards, the highest distinction bestowed upon public relations professionals by the National Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She is an active member of the Junior League of San Diego and served as co-chair of the league’s 2018 Food & Wine Festival, which is its largest annual fundraiser.
Chris Ross Executive Vice President JLL Chris Ross is co-leader of a three-person, full service real estate team at JLL that specializes exclusively in health care leasing and sales. Ross’ most impactful accomplishment in 2018 was assisting a large healthcare provider with securing a 60,000-square-foot lease. He also advised this client on several strategic acquisition and expansion opportunities. He has closed over 350 transactions valued in excess of $360,000,000. Ross played a major role in JLL San Diego’s earning the business of its largest client. Ross earned a degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in business.
Angela Ryan Studio Manager Ware Malcomb Angela Ryan expertly juggles the design, planning and pursuit of projects for Ware Malcomb. Recently, she worked alongside her team, and lead specific phases of the following projects: 3D Systems, Trellisware Technologies, Goodix Technology, Novasyte and ACE Fitness. Ryan is CID and NCIDQ certified, which is the industry’s recognized indicator of proficiency in interior design principles and a designer’s commitment to the profession. Ryan is a member of a number of nonprofit organizations and is also EDAC certified (Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification). Ryan is an associate professor at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.
Dr. Marjan Rashedi President, Medical and Dental Director North County Dental Surgery Center Dr. Rashedi has led SmileBuilders Children’s Dentistry and the North County Dental Surgery Center since 2013 and 2016, respectively. She is also a staff member at Rady Children’s Hospital. She belongs to the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, California Dental Association, San Diego County Dental Society, and the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry. She graduated from the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, after completing her undergraduate work in molecular, cell and developmental biology at UCLA.
Kyle Sandsmark Marketing Manager Host Healthcare Inc. Kyle Sandsmark has helped Host Healthcare achieve remarkable accomplishments during his tenure there. He has helped increase total website traffic by 31 percent, increased organic traffic 124 percent and increased leads by 48 percent, leading to more sales. Sandsmark is not only a leader at Host Healthcare, but he is also a leader in the marketing industry. He has been on the board for the San Diego American Marketing Association for three years. Sandsmark has led several philanthropic events with Host Healthcare, leading beach cleanups and organizing events that give back to Rady’s Children Hospital.
Katie Sawyer CEO San Diego Women’s Foundation In Katie Sawyer’s first year as executive director, SDWF granted $200,000 to support homeless youth and welcomed over 30 new female philanthropists as members. Sawyer worked with other funders to offer San Diego’s first-ever learning opportunity specifically for the members of collective giving circles, in partnership with San Diego Grantmakers, Social Venture Partners, Women Give San Diego and RSF Women’s Fund. She was recognized by Assembly Member Todd Gloria as one of District 78’s 2018 Women of the Year.
Rachel Scatizzi Thompson Partner Smith &Scatizzi LLP Rachel Scatizzi Thompson is a founding partner of an all-female San Diego law firm, Smith &Scatizzi LLP, and the 2016-2018 president of the Junior League of San Diego, a local nonprofit focused on training women to effect community change. Rachel was the first woman to hold this position for two years. She also managed a caseload of more than 30 contested family law matters at any given time and increasing her firm’s revenue to its highest level in three years. She has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for four consecutive years and is recognized in the legal community for her passionate advocacy and results.
Zachary Schalgel Assistant Director of Government Affairs UC San Diego Health Schalgel is a longtime advocate for public health, having joined UC San Diego Health in 2007. He is the creator of the award-winning Here initiative to expand healthcare access, provide workforce education and development, and promote clinical research for underserved South Bay and southeast San Diego communities. He also works closely to promote events and services with The LGBT Center and manages all external volunteer activities for staff throughout UC San Diego Health. Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, Zachary worked as a community representative for Congressman Bob Filner, advising the politician on health, environmental and educational issues. Zachary is studied political science and government at UC San Diego and Grossmont College.
Taylor Schulte Founder and CEO Define Financial Taylor Schulte launched Define Financial in 2014. Schulte grew gross revenue of the firm by 60 percent in the last year. He was named a Five Star Wealth Manager in San Diego Magazine for the four consecutive years and was also named to Investopedia’s Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors list in 2018, along with many other awards. Schulte is a regular contributor to national media outlet Kiplinger and to San Diego Downtown News. He holds a Certified Financial Planner designation and is a member of the San Diego Financial Advisors Network.
Amanda Schultz Brochu Senior Director of CalFresh& Advocacy San Diego Hunger Coalition In her first year overseeing the organization’s advocacy activities, Amanda Schultz Brochu has created long-term system changes to improve access to federal nutrition programs affecting nearly 500,000 people. She is overseeing the creation of a College Student Disabilities document to connect students with disabilities to CalFresh. She has been working with colleges, universities, and County of San Diego HHSA to offer same-day service events on campus allowing students to apply for and verify eligibility, a process that can normally take up to 30 days to complete. These models can serve up to 150 people in one day.
Adam Seery Co -Founder Harvest Small Business Finance Adam Seery co-founded a company that in less than two years ranks in the top 15 SBA loan originators in the country for fiscal year 2018. He was the number-one-producing business development officer in his firm. The firm has grown to 70 employees — half in Southern California and the other half spread across the country. His firm secured one of only 14 nationwide nonbank SBA lender licenses available, allowing it to lend on behalf of the U.S. government through SBA 7A and SBA 504 real estate loans without being a bank. Since May of 2016, the firm generated approximately $350 million in total loan originations.
Dina Segal Vice President, Associate General Counsel Renovate America Inc. Dina Segal successfully lead negotiations of the company’s partnership with one of the biggest providers in the energy home improvement space, making energy efficiency improvements more accessible to homeowners and bringing opportunity to the energy efficiency industry. She also leads negotiations with cities and counties throughout California and Florida. Segal is a member of the advisory board at Universal Stabilization Technologies, an early stage biopharmaceutical R&D company. She also founded the San Diego chapter of SunLaw, a group that addresses the unique needs of women in-house counsel.
David Shapiro Owner, Managing Partner Law Office of David P. Shapiro Shapiro touts himself as someone who helps good people through bad situations when they are charged with a crime. Since opening his office in 2010, he has handled more than 1,000 state and federal cases, from misdemeanors DUIs to felonies. He previously worked as an associate attorney at Steigerwalt and Associates. Shapiro completed his undergraduate work in legal studies at the University of Buffalo. He earned his law degree from the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. While in law school, Shapiro worked to secure rights for prisoners in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the California Public Defenders Association.
Josh Shapiro Executive Director UC San Diego Center for Applied Research and Evaluation Shapiro’s work involves evaluating workforce trends and conducting regional economic studies, program evaluations and other data-driven projects. He is one of the core evaluators of the effectiveness of the Department of Labor’s $500 million Wired initiative, which involved 15 regions across the country. He has also worked on a number of labor market and innovation reports including a grant from the National Science Foundation on the role social and cultural dynamics play in regional innovation. Shapiro is trained in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, with a specialization in survey design. He holds degrees from UC San Diego and Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining the UC San Diego community, he spent about a year volunteering with Americorps.
Chancelor Shay Director, B2B & Infrastructure Development (W)right On Communications, Inc. Chancelor Shay led a strategic B2B public relations campaign that launched a new iOS-based software solution for warehouses and 3PL distributors in mid-2017. In 2018, it earned national recognition with a silver award for Best B2B Product Launch from Bulldog Reporter. His efforts produced media coverage in The Wall Street Journal which earned the attention of Arianna Huffington, who Tweeted a link to her 3 million followers. He also managed communications to support an international merger between a Vista-based pool equipment brand and a Barcelona-based company. He earned coverage in PC Magazine for the client’s robotic pool cleaner.
Kiran Shelat Executive Director Classics 4 Kids Classics 4 Kids has made tremendous strides through increased grant funding, added staff positions, growth in programs, and increased community outreach and partnerships; the efforts helped music education programs to reach almost 30,000 elementary students, teachers and parents in San Diego — in one year! Over the past ten years, Shelat has served in numerous leadership roles at American Red Cross, Jewish Family Service, Senior Services of Northern Kentucky and World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati. Kiran was a finalist for the 2016 Women Who Mean Business Awards from the San Diego Business Journal.
Shivani Singh CEO Dharma Express Shivani Singh is a former NASA rocket scientist turned entrepreneur. Singh has brought personal development to the tech world and academia through apps, powerful speaking, neuroscience-based systems, experiential programs and proven results. She has helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs, leaders, and scientists around the world start companies and create change. Her work has led her to launch leadership programs with companies such as Lululemon, Disney, Sage Human Capital and Stanford. Singh is the author of the book, “Discover Your Dharma,” which won the Best New Age Book of the Year from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Pierre Sleiman Founder and CEO Go Green Agriculture Go Green Agriculture is an innovative hydroponic produce company. Pierre Sleiman has steadily improved and expanded his business, and continues to implement the latest technology to minimize his footprint. Currently, his business only utilizes 1/5 of the land typically required for farming and 80 percent less water while maintaining year-round production of healthy, organic food. Sleiman’s company had over 400 customers just three years after he founded the company from his college dorm room. He has received several honors for his innovative, environmentally conscious business, including one of 15 individuals chosen for President Obama’s “Champions of Change” award in “The Future of Agriculture.” recognition.
Bryan Smith Project Manager Fuscoe Engineering Inc. Bryan Smith is currently working on the UC Riverside Barn Project which includes renovation and addition to the existing barn dining building, a new kitchen expansion, a faculty/staff dining building, a ticketing tower and a new theater building on 1.5 acres. He is the project manager providing civil engineering services, including grading and site improvement plans, utility infrastructure design and storm water management support. Smith joined the higher education strike force team at Fuscoe. He collaborates with others to seek out opportunities in the higher education industry. Smith was a major player in getting this strike force assembled.
Adam Svet CEO Eastridge Workforce Solutions Adam Svet was included in the San Diego Business Journal’s 2018 “The San Diego 500, The Book of Influential Business Leaders.” Under the Professional Services category, Svet was recognized for his transition to Eastridge CEO in March of 2017. Forbes ranked Eastridge as one of the top 100 professional recruiting firms in the nation. The ranking was determined by industry-led surveys and resulted in over 20,000 nominations. Since transitioning to CEO, Svet has sold two noncore business units and made a key acquisition in the Boston metropolitan area, which expanded Eastridge’s national reach.
Jason Svet President, Workforce Technology Eastridge Workforce Solutions Jason Svet’s leadership is driving one of the fastest growing divisions at Eastridge. His division has been growing at an approximate rate of more than 30 percent year-over-year growth the past 4 years, and it is on pace to achieve this result again in 2018.Svet is building out the infrastructure for both his technology and workforce management teams to double in top line revenue over the next 3 to 5 years. During the recession, Svet faced one of the most intimidating challenges of his career. Eastridge’s IT team was inefficient. He reorganized the IT Team, created crucial efficiencies, and turned the technology team into a service delivery team. Svet achieved his president role at Eastridge just after the age of 30.
Sarah Syed Head of Marketing & Communications CV Sciences Sarah Syed successfully launched a new blogger program to get CV Sciences hemp-derived CBD in the hands of influencers. She also handled the launch of a new product line. Syed works to bring hemp extracts, including flagship product PlusCBD Oil, to the mainstream. She has grown PlusCBD Oil to the number No. 1 selling hemp extract product line in the natural products channel. Syed serves on the board of nonprofit Hemp Roundtable, a coalition with the goal of securing passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Congress that would establish hemp as an agricultural commodity.
Avi Tal Co-founder and President Agentology Inc. Tal co-founded Agentology in August 2013. The technology-based company offers real estate agents tools to more efficiently reach potential clients based on their online searches. Earlier this year, under Avi’s leadership, Agentology raised $12 million in a financing round led by an early-stage Bay Area-based venture capital firm Defy. The company – which employs about 150 people in San Diego – last year raised a $4.5 million funding round led by Freestyle Capital, with participation from Entry Ventures Group and OurCrowd. Prior to co-founding Agentology, Tal co-founded OnSite Latin America, a digital network that caters to business and leisure travelers in Latin America. He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Arizona.
Sarah Thompson Executive Director Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation Sarah Thompson organized six free heart screenings since 2017 for 3,858 participants to identify cardiac anomalies that put teenagers at risk for sudden cardiac arrest or death. Fifteen lives were saved. She exceeded organizational fundraising goals by 32 percent in the past year. Thompson created a statewide automated external defibrillator (AED) program to place AEDs in California high schools. She also implemented new legislation (Eric Paredes Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Act) that became law July 1. She recently transitioned to a director position at Blair Search Partners.
Katie Tran Director, Marketing & Events San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Katie Tran has been an integral force in the recent merger of the chamber and LEAD San Diego, helping to enhance LEAD events and programming while continuing to direct her portfolio of more than 60 chamber events. In July, Tran will be speaking at a national conference for event planners, sharing her expertise on event planning, management, and attendee experience through the use of a customized event app. Chamber events over the past several years have grown in attendance and profitability while keeping costs at a minimum. Last year, she received the Cvent Event Management Certification.
Travis Trautvetter Vice Chair Cushman & Wakefield Travis Trautvetter completed more than $392.5 million in 30 real estate transactions totaling nearly 1.2 million square feet during calendar year 2017, with 2018 year-to-date closings and pending sales valued in excess of $500 million, totaling over 2 million square feet. Trautvetter consistently ranks as a top producer in San Diego. With Cushman & Wakefield bolstering nearly 2,500 producers in the Americas, his production extends far beyond the boundaries of San Diego.
Clay Treska COO/Co-Founder Family Proud Clay Treska co-founded Family Proud providing patients and families social support services. He is responsible for the construction of initial stage budget and managing the fiscal strategy program. Treska is also a policy analyst at UC San Diego Health, where he implements department operational and financial assessments program for programmatic optimization and cost savings purposes. Treska is also a cancer patient advocate. After being diagnosed with cancer and enduring a double bone marrow transplant, Treska completed the Ironman World Championships Triathlon in Kona Hawaii, 8-weeks after being discharged from the navy hospital.
Dale Turner Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Service Officer San Diego County Credit Union Dale Turner is responsible for all sales and service functions of SDCCU’s 43 branch locations and consumer call centers, with total employee responsibility of 550 team members. Since assuming this role, SDCCU’s customer service has improved tremendously, directly impacting its growth to $8.4 billion in assets, serving more than 387,000 members and leading to its 18th year being named San Diego’s Best Credit Union in the San Diego Union-Tribune Readers Poll. Turner worked on improving the customer’s experience when calling into SDCCU. As a result, average answer speeds improved over 1,000 percent
Adolfo Ventura Director of Operations MAAC Ventura joined MAAC more than 13 years ago. The social services agency focuses on promoting self-sufficiency for low- and moderate-income families through nutritional and home weatherization and improvement programs and affordable housing complexes. Ventura is a 2001 graduate of University of California at Berkeley. In 2007, he received a master’s degree in leadership and management from University of San Diego. Ventura volunteers as treasurer on the Media Arts Center San Diego’s Board of Directors, advocating for equitable and engaged communities. He also serves on the board of the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, which seeks to promote economic empowerment for all.
David Vogel Partner Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP David Vogel is a real estate and business lawyer, Vogel represents a developer of a proposed master plan community in transactional matters that are key to the future success of the project. The project plans to add thousands of new homes upon completion. He works closely with financial institutions to develop best practices and procedures for loan programs. Vogel helped form Whole Sports, a nonprofit organization focusing on amateur youth sports. Now a mature and successful organization, he provided advice, counsel and guidance to the founder and the organization. Vogel was a volleyball player while at Stanford and has also completed a 70.3 Ironman Triathlon.
Collin Waring Attorney CGS3 Recently Collin Waring has represented the buyer in the acquisition of a $47.5 million multifamily property in Plano, Texas; a residential developer in the acquisition of multiple multifamily projects totaling more than $45 million; the seller in the disposition of a $34 million multifamily property in Orange County; the buyer in the acquisition of a $12 million multitenant office building in Kansas City; the buyer in the acquisition of a $9 million multitenant industrial property in San Diego County and the buyer in the acquisition of a $2.5 million industrial property in Los Angeles County. Waring is highly skilled competitive golfer with a plus two handicap.
Music Watson Chief Communications and PR Officer San Diego County Office of Education Music Watson in charge of designing and implementing a comprehensive communications strategy for the County Office of Education, which supports nearly 800 schools across 42 districts, serving more than 500,000 students. In the wake of school shootings, Watson developed a strategic communications plan for the San Diego County Office of Education. She helped design the ethics training program at the City of San Diego which increased citywide awareness of ethics and compliance program elements by up to 29 percent. She launched a new program in partnership with 91X and Belly Up, titled “Inspired by Music,” to give grants for arts education.
Briana Weisinger Startup Advocate University of California, San Diego Briana Weisinger is the first startup advocate at UC San Diego. In 2018, she chaired the second annual Ignite innovation conference, bringing more than 100 expert speakers, mentors, and judges to inspire the next generation of student entrepreneurs. She was named to the US delegation for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India, and was invited to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul on resources for female entrepreneurs. In order to recognize and empower student entrepreneurs, she created the Ignite Prize for Most Commercial Potential to honor graduate student researchers in engineering.
Parisa Weiss Shareholder Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek Due to the personal nature of her practice, many of Parisa Weiss’ career triumphs occur behind closed doors. She was elevated to shareholder of the firm earlier this year, and SCMV now has four women partners out of 24 total partners. Weiss represents both individuals and businesses in estate planning, trust administration, probate administration and probate conservatorships. Weiss is heavily involved with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (SDVLP), working to better the lives of thousands of women, children and men throughout San Diego County.
Rhett Wheeler Risk Manager Bill Howe Plumbing, Heating & Air, Restoration & Flood Wheeler joined the company in 2016, and as risk manager he has decreased incidents of unsafe and distracted driving within the company and reduced fuel costs. He visits job sites at least once a month, identifying areas for improvement as well as serving as an encouraging voice to the 125 employees to follow all safety procedures. Wheeler previously worked for 14 years with the Dominos pizza brand, working his way from an entry-level position to become a district manager. In his spare time, Rhett likes to play guitar and spend time with his family.
Dylan Whitman Co-Chairman BVAccel Whitman co-founded BVAccel – as in Brand Value Accelerator – and in less than five years grew the e-commerce agency to more than 100 employees, annual revenue of $10.85 million and offices across the country, in Mexico and Australia based on their expertise in selling on Amazon and Shopify. Whitman is active in the local Entrepreneurs Organization chapter, donates his time to the EO Accelerator program and also is a veteran who was deployed to the Middle East for 18 months shortly after 9/11. Whitman recently stepped aside from the CEO duties after acquiring and integrating a competitor, Rocket Code. He has recently been part of starting two other companies – a retail consumer brand company and an ecommerce software company Retention Rocket.
Chris Williams Associate VP Colliers International Chris Williams currently represents the largest portfolio of multitenant office space in North County along state Route 78 and I-15 corridors. He completed one of only three build-to-suit office deals in the 78 Corridor since 2015, which are typically the most complex commercial real estate transactions. This brought a new campus for Pima Medical Institute in North County. This deal was honored as a finalist in San Diego Business Journal's 2018 Best Real Estate Deals. Williams also represented one of the other two build-to-suit deals in 2016. During his career, Williams has closed more than 600 deals totaling more than 2.8 million square feet and valued at more than $316 million.
Nicholas Wilson COO Douglas Wilson Cos. One of Nicholas Wilson’s primary responsibilities is to guide the expansion of the firm into the senior housing market, resulting in Sienna at Otay Ranch, with 111 beds for assisted living and memory care. In 2018, Wilson was appointed to the prestigious California Receivers Forum board. He currently serves as president of the Urban Land Institute Young Leaders group with over 200 young professionals in the real estate industry. At age 32, he was the youngest member to be named to the Executive Committee of the San Diego Downtown Partnership.
Bree Wong Vice President SWS Engineering Inc. Wong leads SWS Engineering’s business development, brand awareness, client and employee relations, and marketing strategies. She joined the full service civil engineering, land planning, land surveying and land development company in 2007. In January, she became president of Commercial Real Estate Women San Diego, or CREW. As president, she oversees the development of business networking opportunities and other programs for the organization’s membership, which has increased more than 60 percent in the past three years. She also serves on the Healthcare Educational Programs Committee for the American Institute of Architects San Diego. Bree’s philanthropic activities include working with the San Diego Housing Federation and the March of Dimes, the latter of which she became involved with after the premature birth of her twin sons, Liam and Ryder.