From the Publisher Entrepreneurialism is the future
Put Libya and the debate over the federal budget aside and the real issues facing us are nowhere near either Tripoli or Washington.
The first problem is one which only we can fix among ourselves: obesity. The second one may be even more obvious: too much government.
Obesiy is a national crisis and no amount of diet fads, bills or trips to the gym are putting a dent in the number of Americans who are classified as clinically obese.
A recent study by the Center for Disease Control reports that 32 percent of men and 35 percent of women fit the clinically obese definition.
A pair of Canadian doctors believe the answer is to issue vouchers for individual choice, letting one who is overweight to choose how best to improve their health. Interesting but what was missing in their idea was how best to pay for it. Sounds like a parallel to food stamps with the government picking up the tab.
Those who are obese are at risk for many health-related illnesses but mainly diabetes and issues of the heart.
And what is left largely unsaid is that many employers shy away from hiring them, either because their weight makes them a health risk on a company’s health insurance (providing it is offered) or a belief that their appearance could be considered a detriment to a company’s image. It may sound unfair but reality is a fact, particularly in today’s economy.
The second problem is unmistakable: government at every level.
Stephen Moore, the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal, opines that “we’ve become a nation of takers, not makers.”
Moore backs up his assertion with some sobering statistics, saying that there are more people working for the government than in manufacturing.
“There are nearly twice as many people working for the government – 22.5 million – than in all of manufacturing – 11.5 million.”
In California, where our budget deficit is $15.4 billion and no resolution in sight (sound familiar!), 2.4 million Californians work for state government. San Diego County employees over 18,000.
A more disturbing observation which Moore makes, citing surveys of college graduates, is that more and more of them want to work for the government “because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring and because he offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence.”
It is as Moore suggests “that we have a real problem on our hands when 23-year-olds are not willing to take career risks.”
Not too surprising is that small businesses provide just about the only element of good news on the employment front. Small companies, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, create three out of every four new jobs. They are the key to job growth and economic recovery.
A trend which continues to swell among small companies is how they have become virtual centric. Rather than having an employment center, i.e., an office where everyone shows up at the same place, people engaged in the company’s work are doing it from their homes or office space rented on either an hourly or daily basis. A huge advantage for employers is their ability to classify their staffs as independent contractors, rather than as W-2 employees.
All of this brings me to our magazine’s Most Trusted Brands piece in this issue of SD METRO.
Nearly all of them have been driven to success by classic entrepreneurialism.
A San Diego restaurateur, Robert O. Paterson, opened the first Jack in the Box at 6270 El Cajon Boulevard in 1951. The company now operates 2,200 restaurants in 19 states, employees more than 29,000.
Ralph Rubio is a great success story. The story of Rubio’s goes back to his college days when he and his buddies would head for the Baja village of San Felipe. He spotted a small taco shop which advertised a fish taco. Ralph and his father formed a partnership and Rubio’s, now Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, was born in 1983. The company has sold more than 50 million tacos.
Don Wollan and Dan Shea, wildly successful with their own fast food restaurants, wanted to do someone on a more sophisticated scale than selling hamburgers. So they took another gamble and opened Donovan’s on La Jolla Village Drive in 1999. Eleven years later there is a Donovan’s in downtown San Diego, in Phoenix and two new restaurants, the Circle of 5ths and a soon to be launched new seafood restaurant, both on 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp.
Jason Hughes and his newly constituted commercial real estate company, has been at the forefront of tenant representation since Jason moved to San Diego in the early 1990s. Hughes Marino is unique in that it represents only tenants, never landlords. The company’s team of specialists at any given time are representing approximately 150 active tenants throughout San Diego County.
The San Diego roots of Willis Allen, the premier boutique real estate company in the city, go back 95 years. Willis Allen, Sr., bought the company in 1940 and put his name on the business. Since 1981, Andy Nelson has been the driving force behind Willis Allen and the company has doubled in size since Nelson acquired it outright in 1995.
Craig Edwards founded Rancho Santa Fe Insurance 25 years ago and it, like Willis Allen, has become the city’s premier, full service insurance agency from its base in the Ranch. Some clients refer to the company as “the Rolls Royce” of insurance companies.
Henry Schubach founded Schubach Aviation, a chartered flight business from Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, in 1992. The company is San Diego’s most experienced and largest charter fleet and has flown more San Diegans to more destinations than any other charter service.
The story of San Diego’s entrepreneurial spirit and success is best illustrated by Irving Jacobs’ brilliant launch of Qualcomm in 1985. Dr. Jacobs, the company visionary leader, has inspired a culture of industry-leading innovation in the world of wireless technology.
Entrepreneurialism inspires and creates. Our future lies in this and future generations of 23-year-olds willingness to take risks. Government will not.