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San Diego Scene 6.2011

UCSD alumni are innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders who continue to change the world across all industries, from science, technology, medicine and public service to business, education, politics and the arts. And they continue to make headlines. Recently San Diego-based Cymer Inc., founded by alumni Robert Akins and Richard Sandstrom, was named by Forbes as the No. 1 most innovative tech company in the U.S. for its leading role in deep-ultraviolet photolithography systems. Alumnus Gary Jacobs is co-founder of San Diego’s High Tech High International, an innovative new model of education that was one of three schools in the nation vying for President Obama to speak at this year’s commencement (didn’t make it). And alumna Megan McArthur, who served as a space shuttle Atlantis crew member on the final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope, continues to make history as a scientist and NASA astronaut.
Akins, Sandstrom, Jacobs and McArthur are just a sampling of the university’s visionary alumni making a global impact. These four, and many more, will be coming back to campus to celebrate their achievements—and the achievements of all alumni—during the third annual Alumni Weekend, June 16-19. 

“The single greatest measure of a university is the quality of its graduates,” said Armin Afsahi, executive director of UCSD Alumni, a group that represents UCSD’s 130,000 alumni. “Our graduates advance business, discover cures, support causes and transform communities. In June, UCSD will be celebrating this diverse group of individuals who are making a difference in the world.”


Eco-Eventerprise was chosen as “The Next Big Thing” at the Junior Achievement Entrepreneur’s Showcase on May 12. A panel of judges chose the best student-run company among 13 competitors and found that the Eco-Eventerprise business concept deserved top honors. The business, developed and ran by a team of 10 local students at Harmonium’s Epicentre, creates artwork for events utilizing all eco-friendly and recycled materials such as water bottles, cardboard and newspaper. The outcome is handcrafted centerpieces based on the desire of each client. The Junior Achievement program gives high school students the task of starting their own company. Under the guidance of a business volunteer, students decide on a product or service, market it to their community and schoolmates, and carry the responsibility of managing company finances. All teams were evaluated on three criteria: business plan, two minute elevator business pitch and their trade show booth. As the first place team, Eco-Eventerprise will now compete in the national competition this summer in Washington, D.C.

Construction has begun on the Scripps Cardiovascular Institute, the first of three new towers planned at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla as part of its 25-year master plan. The 383,000-square-foot Cardiovascular Institute and adjacent 26,000-square-foot central energy plan are expected to be completed in January 2015 with tenant move-in the following April. Scripps Health retained McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. as the design-assist general contractor in 2009 and since then it has been working on preconstruction for the new $465 million project at 9888 Genesee Ave. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is the construction management firm. HOK Architects is the project architect. The new towers will eventually replace the existing hospital. The campus also will include research and graduate medical education facilities, an outpatient treatment center and medical offices.

Two veteran litigators — Steven C. Vosseller and Robert G. Knaier — have joined the trial attorneys team at The Gomez Law Firm. Vosseller, a 1997 graduate of Washburn University, most previously managed his own boutique trial firm.  Prior to that, he worked for two defense firms, and one of San Diego’s plaintiff’s firms. Since 2004, he has obtained over $27 million in judgments and settlements for his clients. He has been named a top 10 San Diego Personal Injury Attorney in voting by peers, and has acted as the co-chair of the San Diego County Bar Association’s General Civil Litigation Section. Knaier  is a 2003 magna cum laude graduate of Cornell Law School. Immediately following graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Richard C. Wesley of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Since 2004, he has worked in the litigation department of Latham & Watkins LLP, in its San Diego Office. His practice there focused on product liability, mass torts and consumer class actions.

San Diego County Credit Union has named Judy Flores as its new chief financial officer and Michelle Pagni as senior vice president of human resources. Flores has more than 25 years of credit union experience. She was previously the president/CEO of Heritage Community Credit Union in Sacramento and of McDonnell Douglas West Federal Credit Union in Huntington Beach. She also held leadership and management roles at The Golden 1 and SAFE credit unions. Flores was a founding member and officer of the Credit Union National Association CFO Council. She has also been involved with the California Credit Union League. She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University in Sacramento. Pagni has held positions with credit unions and banks during a career spanning more than 17 years. Pagni attended Chapman University and Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and is char of the Port of San Diego Personnel Advisory Board. She is also a member of the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management and HRD Network, a networking trade group for credit union professionals.

Michael Cunningham, founder of Cunningham Graphics International, has been named dean of San Diego State University’s College of Business Administration. Cunningham has taught management courses at SDSU since 2005 and previously taught at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and New York University. He earned a Ph.D. and master’s degrees from New York University and a bachelor’s dgree from the University of Massachusetts. Cunningham will begin on June 20. Gail Naughon, the current dean, is leaving the university to focus on her work as CEO and chairman of the board of Histogen Inc., which she founded in 2007.

David Titus, co-founder and managing director of Windward Ventures, has joined the San Diego Venture Group as its first full-time president. Since January 2010, Titus has been managing director of strategic initiatives for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and will continue as a special adviser to the organization. He also is an executive committee member of CONNECT and a former officer of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists. Titus’s Windward Ventures has invested in 24 Southern California early stage technology companies since 1997, of which five remain active. He is board representative to three of the companies and chairman of one private company.

Students from San Diego Platt College, Media Arts and Design School recently wrapped up their fundraising project to assist victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Selling green tea and Japanese snacks on campus, students were able to generate $3,100. empowered themselves to engage in the electoral process,” said Hancova. “Platt College feels a special connection with Japan because a group of 25 students visited the country on a cultural and educational visit in 2009,” said Marketa Hancova, dean of education. “We returned impressed by the people, culture and lifestyle of Japan.”

California State University trustees have approved plans for a mixed-use housing and retail development adjacent to San Diego State University that will house up to 1,600 students and a grocery store, restaurant and other retail shops designed for both the campus and the community. Plaza Linda Verde, as it is called, is to be located immediately south of the SDSU Transit Center. It is to be built in two phases, the first one to include housing for 600 students and up to 45,000 square feet of retail shops, the second phase to include housing for 1,000 additional students and another 45,000 square feet of retail space. Campus officials said construction of the first phase could start as early as 2013 “as soon as market and enrollment conditions allow.”
To build the second phase, however, SDSU would need to purchase additional land that is not now in the university’s master plan boundary. But Cal State trustees approved a change to the master plan to include property south of SDSU, between Aztec Walk and Montezuma Road, which would be needed for the second phase.
Despite slower growth in enrollment in recent years, campus officials said demand for on-campus housing remains high and research shows that students who live on campus receive a higher GPA and graduate faster than their peers. They say Plaza Linda Verde will help to meet that demand.

Philanthropist and activist Stephen R. Brown, retired partner at Luce Forward, has been selected to receive the Global Citizen Diplomat Award from the San Diego Diplomacy Council “for his seemingly impossible accomplishments in Afghanistan in education, technology and medicine.” Brown will be honored at the organization’s annual meeting June 16 at El Vitral restaurant 815 J St. For the past nine years, Brown has devoted as much as 60 hours a week, amassed contributions in the millions of dollars, and made 11 trips to Afghanistan. “In the days after 9-11, I made a promise to myself to do something meaningful to help my country fight the war on terror and to make another attack less likely,” he said. Fellow Rotarian Fary Moini from the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary spurred his initial interest shortly after 9-11. By November 2002, they and Flouran Wali, a San Diego Afghan leader, traveled to Afghanistan to facilitate the building of a school in Jalalabad. The Jalalabad Rotary School, in operation since May 2004, now serves 5,500 students, including 1,500 girls. To enable girls to study at the school, Brown and his supporters initially subsidized the salaries for eight female teachers.

The San Diego chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners has presented 2011 BRAVO! Awards to six women for outstanding contributions in business and the community. The honorees:
Mindy Bortness: Woman Business Owner of the Year. Bortness owns Communication Works Inc., which is dedicated to helping companies hire the right people in the right jobs in the first place, then growing and engaging those individuals.
Adrienne Moch: Women’s Advocate of the Year. Moch is the immediate past president of the NAWBO chapter. Shortly after she joined NAWBO in March 2008, the chapter president unexpectedly resigned, leaving a leadership void. Moch accepted the post and was able to take the membership from less than 40 members to 100 when she relinquished her position in July 2010. Moch is a freelance writer and editor.
Mia Roseberry: Trailblazer Award. Roseberry established the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Homes. She made a career change from special education teacher to helping medically discharged single service members with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder transition to successful independent living.
Kristen Victor: Green Community Award. Green’s company, Sustainability Matters Inc., founded in 2010, serves as a bridge between suppliers of sustainable building materials and end users, independently researching sustainability claims and compiling information. Her company serves commercial, government and trade professional clients.
Suzanne Weinstein: Signature Award.Weinstein founded In Sync Consulting 10 years ago, an international executive coaching and team leadership development firm that’s helped more than 400 individuals and organizations to date.
Deirdre Maloney: Rising Star. Maloney launched Momentum San Diego less than a year and a half ago. It helps nonprofit organizations meet their missions through better business. Her book, “The Mission Myth,” is due out in September. She’s also been recruited to teach marketing for the University of San Diego’s master’s degree program in nonprofit leadership.

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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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