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Daily Business Report — Feb. 21, 2011

S.D. Green Chamber Becomes U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce

David Steel

The Green Chamber of San Diego County has morphed into the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce. “We have accomplished tremendous growth since our founding in 2009,” said CEO David Steel. “Expanding our presence by becoming the U.S. Green Chamber allows us to bring our message of advocacy and sustainability to help more businesses across the country.” To increase its reach and awareness, the chamber is actively creating strategic alliances with like-minded groups such as E2-Environmental Entrepreneurs Organization, chambers and workforce partnerships, said Steel.

“There is a strong sense of urgency from business leaders everywhere to learn best practices for sustainability,” said Lee Stein, E2’s Southern California chapter director. “With its rapid membership growth, exceptional events and recognition from other well-respected organizations, the U.S. Green Chamber is poised to make a significant impact on the environment and these businesses’ bottom line.”

Steel is president and CEO of Smarter Light, a LED lighting company that helps individuals and corporations replace their current lighting with environmentally gentle LED lighting. He also is a founding board member and CFO of Conscious Humanity. Previously Steel served on the board of directors ofthe San Diego Entrepreneurs Organization.

Better Business Bureau Mixer March 3

The San Diego Better Business Bureau will host a business-to-business networking mixer from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 3 at the Tilted Kilt, 310 10th Ave., in Downtown San Diego. The public is invited. San Diego Padres TV commentator Mark Grant is scheduled to attend. Following the mixer, a behind-the-scenes tour of Petco Park will be available. Admission is $25 per person. For information, visit sandiego.bbb.org or call Andrea McNelis at (858) 637-6199.

Women’s Resource Fair Set for March 5

The 22nd annual Women’s Resource Fair on March 5 will offer medical, legal and social services to low-income, homeless and abused women and their children. The event, sponsored by the Lawyers Club of San Diego, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Programs, the San Diego County Bar Association and San Diego County Bar Foundation, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Golden Hall of the Downtown Civic Center, 202 C St. More than 500 women are expected to attend the fair and more than 100 organizations will provide services. The event is organized and staffed entirely by volunteers. \Resources and services offered at the fair will include: assistance in applying for public benefits such as food stamps and Social Security; medical and dental services for women and children; confidential legal assistance with family law, child support, restraining orders, public benefits,programs, immigration, housing, and consumer protection questions; job skills, education and employment counseling; seminars on job application skills, self-defense, and personal care; mental health services, including spiritual counseling; and shelter referrals.

Sen. Juan Vargas Introduces Superstore Measure

State Sen. Juan Vargas has introduced the “Small and Neighborhood Business Protection Act” as Senate Bill 469 — which would require developers of superstores to submit a report studying the economic impact a proposed superstore will have on the surrounding community’s small and neighborhood businesses, jobs, property values, public services, tax revenues, traffic, and Main Street business districts. Vargas, a Democrat, said the bill will ensure the public has comprehensive information about the impact of superstores that measure more than 90,000 square feet in size and dedicate more than 10 percent of their floor space to grocery sales, before one can be built in a local jurisdiction. The bill would require the applicant of the superstore to pay for the study, resulting in no additional financial expense to the local government that will review the study.

Jack in the Box Promotes Michael E. Verdesca

Michael E. Verdesca has been promoted to vice president and chief information officer for Jack in the Box Inc. Verdesca was previously division vice president of systems development for the fast food chain and had been serving as acting CIO since October 2010. In his new role he is responsible for all IT functions and company call centers, including guest relations. Before joining Jack in the Box in 2006, Verdesca held management positions for several major retailers. From 2002 to 2006, he was director of supply chain & marketing systems for Longs Drugs Corp. in Walnut Creek. From 1999 to 2002 he was with e-Luxury, the North American E-commerce division of Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton in San Francisco. From 1995 to 1999, Verdesca was with Williams-Sonoma in San Francisco. He was previously a planning & allocation analyst for Harry & David in Medford, Ore. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Conrad Prebys Gifts The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Conrad Prebys, a trustee of The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has made a contribution to establish the Conrad T. Prebys Endowed Chair in Vision Research for Tom Albright, a professor and director of the Vision Center Laboratory at Salk. As part of their senior scientist endowed chair challenge, Joan and Irwin Jacobs will match the donor’s gift with an additional $1 million to establish the donor’s named chair at $3 million. Prebys is the owner of Progress Construction Co. and a developer of real estate enterprises in California and Texas. Throughout his career, Albright has been seeking new avenues to understand the neuronal structures and events that underlie visual perceptual experience, and their contributions to knowledge, behavior and consciousness.

Q&A With Downtown San Diego Partnership Chair

Rich Bach

Rick Bach, head of Turner Construction Co.’s San Diego operations, is the new chairman of the San Diego Downtown Partnership, a  nonprofit organization promoting Downtown San Diego. He responds to a series of questions about the organization’s priorities and goals:

1. As the incoming Chair of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, what will be your major priorities once you take over the position?

My major priority will be to broaden our membership base to include residents, small business and others. I We will continue to promote downtown development and will push to see the Convention Center Expansion, the Civic Center and a possible downtown NFL stadium. We will also continue to promote, support and protect CCDC. Finally, we will continue to influence and shape public policy that benefits downtown and our membership. In 2011 you will see the formation of a PAC.

2. What would be your highest priority?

As we are a membership based organization, my highest priority will be making the organization more focused on the needs, wishes, and desires of our membership base.

3. As the senior vice president of Turner Construction Co., you are involved in some major projects Downtown, such as the new library and the expansion of Lindbergh Field.  How will your involvement in those and, in reality, all of Turner’s projects help you when you take the reins of the DSDP Board?

In some respect, all of Turner’s projects interact with a vast array of city agencies, particularly the two that you mentioned; the new downtown library and Lindberg Field. Those agencies all interact with the Partnership as well.  The relationships that I have formed combined with my experience with working on downtown projects will greatly enhance my ability to serve the Partnership.

4. What is the working relationship between the Downtown Partnership and the San Diego City Council?

The Partnership has a very productive and constructive working relationship with the City Council.  Of course, the Council represents other areas of the city outside of downtown, so occasionally downtown issues are not as high a priority as in outer districts.

5. Why is the Downtown Partnership’s work so important? Couldn’t its work be accomplished by the CCDC and the City Council?

No, not to the same extent. The DSDP membership base is largely private businesses, non profit-organizations and individuals who may not otherwise have a direct voice or platform to be heard by the City Council and the CCDC.

6.  Do you believe that the board of the Downtown Partnership should    endorse candidates for the San Diego City Council and Mayor of San Diego?  If yes, why? If no, why not? .

No, it has never been our position to support individual political candidates. We will however fully support or oppose issues, ballot measures or other initiatives which may have an indirect effect on candidates.

7. Should the Downtown Partnership board take positions on City, County and State ballot measures?

Yes; particularly to the extent they effect the growth and development of downtown

8. What groups or entities would you consider to be allies of the Downtown Partnership? And Why?

I think we have several: certainly businesses and business groups that are in or have an interest in downtown; CCDC, the BIA and AGC and certainly the Chamber and EDC.

9. Do you believe economic conditions are harming the Partnership’s efforts in any way?

The current stresses on the economy have been a challenge to maintaining our membership base.  However, we have been extremely pleased that many of our members continue to find relevance and value in our mission and continue to provide strong support to the Partnership.

10. Now that the strong mayor form of government has been permanently installed, describe what the relationship between the Partnership and the Mayor should be.

The strong Mayor form of government will allow us to continue open dialog and complete transparency on issues that affect our membership base.  This furthers quality of life for downtown businesses and residents.

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

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