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Daily Business Report — Feb. 23, 2010

Changing to Green

Custom Q Inc. has become the latest San Diego company to take advantage of the popular “green” movement. It has changed its name to GreenHouse Holdings Inc., effective today. The company describes its work as “providing sustainable energy solutions for a broad range of applications, from residential to commercial and governmental.”

Quidel Completes Diagnostic Hybrids Acquisition

Quidel Corp. has completed its acquisition of Diagnostic Hybrids Inc. for $130 million in case. Diagnostic Hybrids, based in Athens, Ohio, manufactures direct fluorescent in vitro diagnostic assays used in hospital and reference laboratories for a variety of diseases, including viral respiratory infections, herpes, Chlamydia and other viral infections and thyroid diseases.The company reported $51 million in revenues in 2009, an increase of 34 percent over 2008. An estimated $5 to $7 million of 2009 revenue is attributable to demand for the company’s market-leading direct fluorescent antibody kits for the detection of Influenza A and B viruses. In 2009, Diagnostic Hybrids’ operating income was $9.3 million or 18 percent of revenues. Excluding the impact of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic on the business in 2009, the company’s three-year organic compounded annual growth rate has been 20 percent.

Treating Dolphins as ‘Nonhuman Persons’

Loyola Marymount University professor Thomas White insists that dolphins are nonhuman persons. He presented research on the subject at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Diego on Sunday. White, the author of “In Defense of Dolphins: The New Frontier,” spoke on a panel on the “Ethical Implications of Dolphin Intelligence: Dolphins as Nonhuman Persons.” He and other experts discussed scientific research showing that dolphins are highly intelligent and, like humans, appear to be self-conscious, unique individuals with personalities, memories and a sense of self. They are vulnerable to pain and suffering and experience fear, dread and grief, the research suggests.

“Dolphins should be considered nonhuman persons,” says White, “because they have the kind of consciousness that, in the past, we thought was unique to our species. They’re not just aware of the world around them, but they have the ability to look inside and say ‘I.’ They have a sense of choice and will.” Because of these attributes, White believes, dolphins should be given “moral standing” as individuals. Humans have always believed that moral standing as an individual entitles them to special treatment. White says dolphins need to be treated in a similar way. If that happens, certain human fishing practices would need to change, as would policies regarding the hundreds of captive dolphins used in entertainment facilities.

High-Priced Condos Still Sell Downtown

People are still buying million-dollar condos. In the past 14 months, there were 10 sales priced over $2 million in Downtown (ZIP code 92101) and Sapphire captured six of those sales totaling more than $19 million. That’s according to Chuck Sigmon, director of sales and marketing at Sapphire. Five of the six sales at Sapphire were private penthouses worth more than $2 million and the other was a top-floor penthouse selling for $6.15 million. A development of Centurion Partners, Sapphire Tower is a 32-story project located on the southwest corner of Kettner Boulevard and A Street. It has 97 luxury homes in studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and penthouse designs

Gen-Probe to Repurchase Common Stock

Gen-Probe Inc. announced that its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $100 million of the company’s common stock over the next year. “Based on our healthy balance sheet and strong anticipated cash flows, we believe we can increase long-term shareholder value and offset dilution from employee option programs by buying back stock, while at the same time retaining the strategic and operational flexibility to invest appropriately in our business,” said Herm Rosenman, Gen-Probe’s senior vice president for finance, and CFO. Repurchases may occur from time to time and at Gen-Probe’s discretion. In the fourth quarter of 2009, Gen-Probe had 49.5 million shares of common stock outstanding. As of Dec. 31, 2009, the company had $501.1 million of cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, and $240.8 million of short-term debt.

SANDAG Gets Highway Funds for Border

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $20.2 million to SANDAG to complete the development of a six-lane highway that will connect Otay Mesa and future Otay Mesa East border crossing to Interstate 805. The construction is expected to alleviate truck traffic through residential communities and improve air quality by reducing congestion at the border.

San Diego Rep Introduces ‘Wise Latinas’ Speakers

Attorney Nadia P. Bermudez, businesswoman Olga Diaz and National City Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis will be featured at the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s “Wise Latinas” roundtable on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the theater’s Lyceum Lobby. They will discuss how Latinas are helping shape the San Diego community. Theater Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse is hosting the event. “I was intrigued by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s comments about the unique experience a ‘wise Latina’ can offer to a company, a team of artists or a community,” said Woodhouse. “We are looking forward to a lively and informative discussion with Nadia, Olga and Alejandra about what they bring to their careers and how they give back to the community in a unique way.” Bermudez is a partner at GCR LLP (Garcia Calderón Ruíz) and is president of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. She was appointed to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Bipartisan Advisory Committee and is the chair-elect for the Employment Law and Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section. The roundtable will precede the theater’s main event — a work by a Latino theater ensemble in “Culture Clash in AmeriCCa.” The production is playing at The Lyceum Theatre through March 7. For more information about the roundtable event or to purchase tickets,  visit sdrep.org or call (619) 544-1000.

California Coast Credit Union Honored by League

California Coast Credit Union’s Member Care Unit and Member Assistance Program have earned second place in the state in the California Credit Union League’s Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action. The award recognizes extraordinary credit union programs and services. California Coast’s Member Care Unit was created to proactively focus on assisting members who are facing  financial hardships and to avoid foreclosures. The Member Assistance Program is a loan modification program designed to assist members with secured and unsecured loans, who have made payments for more than 12 months and recently become 45-90 days delinquent.

San Diego County Credit Union Cited by Fannie Mae

San Diego County Credit Union has been designated by Fannie Mae as a Prime Alliance Lender of the Year. Officials said the credit union’s selection was based on success in overcoming mortgage market challenges and changes, loan origination performance and efficiencies, growth in mortgage business and helping borrowers to stay in their homes. “We are proud of this award, which recognizes our credit union’s excellence in mortgage lending and commitment to serve our members’ needs,” said Tum Vongsawad, interim president and CEO .

UEI College Opens San Marcos Campus

International Education Corp., the operator of UEI College, has opened its newest California campus at 20-85 Montiel Road in San Marcos. The new branch is the 11th campus in Southern California. “UEI College has been serving the residents of San Diego County for many years and we are thrilled to expand our reach through our third campus in the county,” said Fardad Fateri, president and CEO of International Education Corp. “We are convinced that our new campus in San Marcos will effectively address the needs of residents for top-quality career education programs as well as the employers in need of top talent.”

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

The 30th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off at 11 a.m. on March 13 from the corner of Sixth and Juniper streets, travels north on Fifth Avenue to Upas, then west for a block and south on Sixth Avenue to conclude at Laurel Street. The parade judging platform will be located on Fifth Avenue between Spruce and Thorn streets. The Irish Festival along Sixth Avenue from Laurel to Quince streets runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the same day, offering two entertainment stages, two beer gardens, a Kids Zone and a Celtic Village. Details of the event can be found online at stpatsparade.org. The parade and festival are presented by Guinness. Serving as Grand Marshal will be the oldest living Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Lt. John Finn. He’ll be accompanied by other heroes of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf in a parade with 150 entries. To begin the day, a Catholic Mass will be conducted by the oldest practicing Priest in California, Msgr. Patrick O’Neill, starting at 7:15 a.m. in the Imperial House, 505 Kalmia St.

The Irish Festival’s two beer gardens will open at 11 a.m. Entertainment on the festival’s two stages will run from 1 to 5:30 p.m. The Festival and its entertainment are free to the public, and there is no charge to enter the beer garden, but visitors must show identification to be served.

2010 Paso Robles Grand Tasting Tour

Got wine? The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance brings the winemakers out of the cellar and down to San Diego for its 2010 Grand Tasting Tour. Coming to San Diego Feb. 23-25, the tasting event features three days of festivities that will give wine lovers the opportunity to taste and explore more than 150 wines from California’s fastest growing wine region.

• CRAVE – A Paso Robles Wine Country Experience. Feb. 24, 8 to 10 p.m., NTC Promenade, McMillin Event Center. Enjoy five Paso Robles varietal tasting bars, featured and paired with the culinary artistry of ChileCo Catering. Contemporary, lounge-like music in a relaxed atmosphere complete this tasty two-hour tour. $45 in advance; $55 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit pasowine.com.

• Paso Robles Wine Country Grand Tasting. Feb. 25, 6 to 8 p.m., Wine Steals, East Village. Be among the first to experience Wine Steals’ newest location, located within Petco Park.  Taste more than 150 award-winning wines from over 40 Paso Robles wine producers with cuisine prepared by Wine Steals’ newest Gastro Pub concept. Tickets are limited in this intimate immersion into Paso Robles Wine Country. $55 in advance; $65 at the door. To purchase tickets or a complete schedule, visit pasowine.com.

Business Datebook

Feb. 23

LUNCHEON: State Controller to Speak at Asian Business Association Luncheon State Controller John Chiang will be the guest speaker at the Asian Business Association’s Rice Club Luncheon at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. Chiang will discuss the financial condition of the state and how it impacts small business. Registration is at 11:45 a.m. followed by networking and buffet from noon to 1 p.m. and the program from 1 to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $25 for ABA members, $30 for nonmembers and $35 at the door. To register online, visit abasd.org.

Feb. 24

DIGITAL FORUM: A forum on social media marketing will feature social media strategist and coach Jason Baer, who will lead a panel discussion on the topic. Sponsored by LEAD San Diego and Bailey Gardiner. 7:30 a.m., continential breakfast and networking; 8 a.m., presentation by Baer; 8:45 a.m., panel discussion. USD’s Joan B. Kroc Theatre, San Diego. $20 general admission, $15 for LEAD San Diego members. For more information, call (619) 280-5323.

Feb. 25

PANEL: A panel discussion of the Barrio Logan community plan update — the first in a series — will be held from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. in the Harborside Room of the Holiday Inn Embarcadero, 1355 North Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego. Discussion will focus on the planning process and the roles of the city and citizens. Cost for the continental breakfast and program is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Cost at the door is $35 for all. Student admission is $10. For reservations, call (619) 232-7196.

Feb. 27

WORKSHOP: The San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers sponsors a “Day with Designers,” a public workshop to provide information on practical interior design basics and how to select an interior designer, among other tips. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Art Institute, 7650 Mission Valley Road, San Diego. Advanced tickets available for $35 by visiting ASIDSanDiego.org. Tickets at the door are $45. For more information, call (858) 646-9896.

March 6

FORUM: “Doing Business in a Difficult Time,” a forum presented by the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. for small businesses. 9 a.m. to noon, SEDC offices, 4393 Imperial Ave., San Diego. Will include information on enterprise zone tax advantages, storefront improvement program, loan programs and marketing. $10 cost includes breakfast. For reservations, call (619) 527-7345.

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of San Diego Metropolitan Magazine, the North Park News, Kensington News and the West Coast Craftsman. (619) 906-4104.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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