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Daily Business Report — Feb. 26, 2010

San Diego Economic Indicators Rise

The University of San Diego’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 0.6 percent in January, led by an increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance. There were also solid increases in building permits, local stock prices, help wanted advertising and the outlook for the national economy, according to economics professor Alan Gin, author of the report. The only component to decrease was local consumer confidence. With January’s increase, the USD Index has now advanced for 10 months in a row.

Gin said there is no change in the previously reported outlook for the local economy. A bottom in terms of economic activity is likely in the first half of 2010, if it hasn’t already occurred. Unlike the national economy, where the Gross Domestic Product is reported quarterly as a gauge of the strength of the economy, the only measures that come out frequently at the local level are the employment and unemployment numbers. “The problem is that employment is typically a lagging indicator, as firms usually wait until they are sure that a recovery has taken hold before they make the big commitment to add permanent staff,” said Gin. “The situation will probably be more difficult in this recovery as many firms took steps to be much more efficient and are unlikely to hire back as many employees as they let go during the downturn.”

January’s increase puts the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for the county  at 107.9, up from January’s revised reading of 107.2.

2010 Economic Outlook Forum Scheduled for March 4

The 2010 Economic Outlook Forum, a program presented by the San Diego Regional EDC and Point Loma Nazarene University, will be held March 4 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. The program, which includes a keynote speech and a panel discussion, lasts from 6:45 to 9:30 a.m. The theme is, “The New Economic Reality: How ‘new’ and how ‘real’?” Specific regional issues that will receive special focus include biotechnology, defense, small business, real estate, and international trade, among others.

The keynote address will be delivered by Lynn Reaser, chief economist at the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute (FBEI)  at Point Loma Nazarene University and president of the National Association for Business Economics. FBEI Executive Director Randy M. Ataide will chair a panel discussion of industry leaders. Panelists are Anthony Sorge, CEO of Genlantis; Hugh Constant, executive vice president of the World Trade Center in San Diego; Rear Adm. William D. French, commander of Navy Region Southwest; and Kenneth D. Slaght, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Information Technology. Sponsorships and ticket information on the event can be found at pointloma.edu/Fermanian or by contacting either FBEI Director Cathy Gallagher at (619) 849-2564 or San Diego Regional EDC Events Manager Emily Norman at (619) 615-2969.

Chamber Board Opposes Amendments to CCDC Ordinance

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce board voted Thursday to oppose proposed amendments to the Centre City Development Corp.’s Planned District Ordinance that would allow hotel projects to be appealable to the City Council on any basis. The board claimed that the amendments will increase building costs, stifle development and the revitalization of Downtown and cost the region thousands of jobs. “Our current process works because developers know that if projects meet standards, they’ll be approved within six to eight months,” said Chamber President and CEO Ruben Barrales. “These amendments open the process up to ambiguity and discourage critically needed development Downtown. In these difficult economic times, we must do all we can to encourage builders and developers to do business in our region.” The issue is expected to go before the City Council Land Use & Housing Committee in late April or May.

McClellan-Palomar Airport to Get New Runway

Hazard Construction of San Diego submitted the winning bid of $7.9 million for construction of a new 5,000-foot runway at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. Work will start in April. The county planned to renovate the existing runway in five phases, but had funding only for the first two. The FAA in August, however, came forward with funding for the entire project.

County officials said the airport will close for one week starting at 11:30 p.m. on April 25 for phase one construction, after which it will reopen for one week of normal flight operations. The alternating schedule will continue until all five phases of construction are finished.

The new runway will be 23 inches of soil treated with cement, recycled asphalt grindings from the existing runway and new asphalt. Expected life span will be 20 years. The runway renovation will complement the new 18,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art terminal that opened last year. Fixed based operators (FBOs) and airport tenants have been offered free aircraft parking at other county airports, and a two-month rent moratorium during construction. Testing had determined the potential for collapse of the supporting soils and pavement surface of the existing runway, which could lead to catastrophic runway failure.

Port to Study New Vision for its Public Arts Program

The Port of San Diego will hold a public meeting on March 3 to consider a consulting team’s recommendations to improve the port’s public art program. The meeting will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon  in the board room of the Port Administration Building, 3165 Pacific Highway. Todd Bressi and Meridith McKinley of Via Partnership, a St. Louis-based consulting group, have been conducting research to determine a new vision for the program. Bressi and McKinley will present their recommended goals and creative directions at the meeting. Their proposed plan outlines how the public art department will commission, exhibit and manage artworks. The plan also includes recommended policies and procedures that will clarify how public art decisions are made as well as the roles and responsibilities of port staff, tenants, the public art committee and the Board of Port Commissioners. The proposed master plan will be reviewed by the port’s public art committee on March 17 and presented to port commissioners on April 6.

Cushman & Wakefield Executive Receives New Position

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson, senior managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, has been tabbed to oversee California activity for the Distressed Assets and Receivership Services Group. “Eric was chosen for this key position due to his exceptional knowledge of real estate development, management, leasing and sales processes, along with his proven track record for creating value for commercial real estate assets,” said Stath Karras, Cushman & Wakefield’s executive managing director of national investment sales and who also oversees the Cushman & Wakefield Resolution Group.  Johnson has 30 years of experience in the industry. Most recently, he was senior managing director of Cushman & Wakefield’s North San Diego County and Riverside County operations, a position he previously held with Burnham Real Estate prior to its acquisition by Cushman & Wakefield in early 2008.

Marissa Fox Joins Best Best & Krieger

Marissa Fox

Marissa Fox has joined Best Best & Krieger LLP as an associate in the law firm’s San Diego office. She is in the business planning and transaction practice group as a business litigator. Prior to joining BB&K, Fox was a legal associate at Surfrider Foundation and an associate attorney at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP. She also served as a judicial extern for Superior Court judges Judge Allan J. Goodman and Denise de Bellefeuille. Fox is a former semi-professional snowboarder. She received her undergraduate degree with highest honors from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2003 and her law degree from University of California Davis, King Hall School of Law in 2007.

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Names Director of Food and Beverage

Gilbert Santana, an 18-year veteran of the hospitality industry, has been appointed director of food and beverage at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina. He will oversee all facets of the food and beverage division, including the Red Marlin restaurant, SWIM poolside bar and lounge, in-room dining, banquets and catering services. Santana most recently served as the director of food and beverage at the Hyatt Regency Long Island, N.Y. Previously, he was the assistant food and beverage director at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Fla. Santana’s resume also includes positions at the El Conquistador Resort, Hyatt Regency Cerromar and Hyatt Dorado Beach, all located in Puerto Rico.

James H. Francis Promoted to Executive VP of Union Bank

James H. Francis has been promoted to executive vice president of Union Bank in San Diego. He is the deputy director of the consumer asset management division, which includes consumer and mortgage lending.

Francis has been with Union Bank since 1986 when he joined as a senior analyst in Los Angeles. He moved to Northern California to be part of the bank’s financial services group and was promoted to senior vice president in 1995 after launching the community development finance division, a unit that funds affordable housing transactions, including debt and equity positions. Francis received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California Davis.

Caffe Calabria Holds Tasting Party to Benefit Haiti Relief

Caffe Calabria Coffee Roasing Co. in North Park will hold a tasting party March 5 for Victory at Sea, a Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter produced in collaboration with Ballast Point Brewing Co. Proceeds from the 6 p.m. event will benefit Doctors Without Borders’ relief efforts for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Guests will have the opportunity to sample three varieties of Victory at Sea, Yellowtail Pale Ale, complimentary food from North Park’s restaurants, music from 94.9, and fresh roasted coffee and espresso drinks. “The generosity of our friends and customers in San Diego and North Park makes me confident that this event will be a success,” said Caffe Calabria founder Arne Holt. “We are excited about the chance to improve the lives of people in Haiti and facilitate the recovery process.” Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/99895. For more information, call (619) 683-7787.

Fund Established to Benefit Military Educational Pursuits

The Clark Realty companies and the San Diego Foundation have established the Pacific Beacon Scholarship Fund to benefit the educational pursuits of active military residents of the Pacific Beacon and Palmer Hall residents at Naval Base San Diego. The housing projects were developed through a public-prvate venture between the Navy and Clark Realty Capital. The scholarship fund is currently seeking applicants who demonstrate a passion for post-secondary continuing education in the field of their choosing. Applicants must be active duty, enlisted, unaccompanied Navy personnel and a current resident of Pacific Beacon or Palmer Hall. Interested candidates can download a scholarship application at pacificbeacon.com. The scholarship fund will provide assistance with the cost of tuition, course materials and books at any nationally accredited college or university in any field of study, regardless of Navy educational requirements. Applications must be received by April 30. For more information, e-mail inquiries to scholarships@pacificbeacon.com.

Hospitality Student Conference Opens Today at Petco Park

The 12th annual Hospitality Student Conference will be staged today at 8 a.m. at Petco Park. Local hospitality businesses and professional associations will provide a day of education for 350 local high school students who are studying either culinary arts or hospitality at their schools. Participating schools include San Diego High, Valhalla, Fallbrook, James Madison, Mt. Miguel, Hilltop, Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa and Morse High School. During the breakfast, more than 20 local companies and educational institutions will be on hand to offer advice and explain the post-high school options within the world of hospitality. The companies will include, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton along with SeaWorld, SDSU, Johnson & Wales University, Grossmont and Mesa colleges. Students will hear from Richard Anderson, general manager of Petco Park, and Crissandra Riddle, a young hospitality executive with the new Hilton Bayfront Hotel. Previous conference attendees, themselves now in college, will provide advice and guidance.Local educators, hospitality businesses and SDSU faculty organized the event, while students from San Diego State’s Hospitality & Tourism Management School will escort and mentor the high school students and will oversee the various activities throughout the day. Student intern Sarah Terwilliger, who is interested in a career in meetings and events, played a key role in the planning the conference. The San Diego chapter of the California Restaurant Association and the California Hotel & Lodging Association are the primary sponsors of the conference. Additional sponsorship is from HSMAI (Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International), Petco Park, Conrad N. Hilton Mentorship Center at SDSU, HFTP (Hospitality, Financial & Technology Professionals), Johnson & Wales University and Viejas.

LEASES

• The Empire Electrical Group leased 9,306 square feet of office and warehouse space at Hazard Commercial Complex, 8825 Rehco Road, San Diego. The three-year lease is valued at $295,932. Dean Asaro of CB Richard Ellis represented Empire Electrical Group and the lessor, Hazard Commercial Complex LLC.

Federal Contracts Awarded to San Diego-Area Companies

Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems Inc. in San Diego was awarded a $77,915,492 federal contract by the U.S. Air Force, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., for maintenance and support to the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node system supporting overseas contingency operations.

Pacific Science & Engineering in San Diego won a $23,674,727 federal contract from the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, for professional, administrative and management support services.

(Source: Targeted News Service)

Business Datebook

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 4

WORKSHOP: The Asian Business Association will present its latest Pacific Rim Entrepreneur Series, “Doing Business With Sempra Energy Utilities-SDG&E and Southern Cal Gas,” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Courtyard Marriott, 8651 Spectrum Center Blvd., San Diego. Keynote speakers: Caroline Winn, director of Supply Management, and Carolina Herrera, director of Diverse Business Enterprises. Cost for ABA and partner members, $10; nonmembers pay $15. To reserve, call (858) 277-2822, Ext. 102, or visit abasd.org.

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.

March 17

BREAKFAST MEETING: Influenza experts will discuss lessons learned from the swine flu pandemic at BIOCOM’s monthly breakfast meeting, 7 to 9 a.m., Hyatt Regency La Jolla, 3777 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego. Speakers: Brian Plew, head of public health, Life Technologies; Larry R. Smith, v.p., vaccine research, Vical Inc.; John D. Tamerius, senior v.p., clinical and regulatory affairs, Quidel Corp. For information, call Valerie Sanderson (858) 455-0300, Ext. 112.

MEETING: The March meeting of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) San Diego will feature Jo Dee Jacob presenting “Building and Nurturing a Winning Team.” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton La Jolla, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla. Jacob is CEO of The San Diego-Imperial Council of Girl Scouts. $35 for members, $45 for nonmembers. For more information, visit nawbo-sd.org.

March 18

MEETING: Web content strategist Shelly Bowen, principal of Pybop LLC, will speak on “Virtual Story Telling: How to Grow Your Business with Social Media,” at the meeting of the San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN), 6:30 p.m., Joyce Beers Community Center, Uptown Shopping Center, Hillcrest. Free and open to nonmembers. For more information, call (619) 281-6951 or visit sdpen.com. $45 for BIOCOM members, $90 for nonmembers.

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.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: info@probolskyresearch.com