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Daily Business Report — Jan. 9, 2012

Algae-to-Fuel Research Stimulates Job Growth in San Diego

San Diego’s research efforts to produce new transportation fuels from algae continue to grow at a rapid pace, generating more than double the number of jobs for local workers in 2011 than were available in the region just two years ago, according to a study by SANDAG, “Research in algal biofuels employed 466 workers in San Diego and provided more than $41 million in payroll and $80.9 million in economic activity for the San Diego region in 2011,” the study said.
 “Algal biofuels continues to show strong growth in the region, despite the sluggish economy.” The number of jobs in 2011 is an increase over the 410 identified in 2010 and is more than double the number of workers (215) in 2009. The SANDAG study found that 366 employees are presently engaged in private sector research in algae biofuels in the San Diego region with an additional 100 academic faculty and research assistants. Their purchase of goods and services in the region generated an additional $32.9 million in additional economic activity in the region in 2011.

Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology at UCSD and director of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, said the growth in jobs over the past two years is a consequence of the investments made in the region’s basic research laboratories to demonstrate that transportation fuels can be made from algae in a commercially viable way.
 “The research in the laboratory worked,” he said. “We got algae to grow fast in the laboratory, we got that algae to make significant amounts of oil and we found a way to extract that oil to make fuel. The proof of concept is done and now the algae biofuels industry is starting to build commercial facilities that will demonstrate economic viability.”
 Mayfield said the completion of those commercial facilities, the first of which is expected to be completed this summer, will provide a further economic boost to the San Diego region and generate even more jobs for biofuel workers as local companies figure out the most commercially viable way to turn the crude oil extracted from algae into diesel or gasoline.

To prepare for the jobs growth, a consortium of local groups have been training biofuel workers at UCSD and Mira Costa College with a $4 million grant from the state’s Department of Labor. The grant involves the work of a number of local partners, which include UCSD, UCS Extension, San Diego State University, Mira Costa College, SD-CAB, CleanTECH San Diego, BIOCOM Institute, BIOCOM, San Diego Workforce Partnership and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

Valley Corporate Center Acquired by Peregrine Realty Partners

Valley Corporate Center

Valley Corporate Center, a 178,000-square-foot office building in Mission Valley, has been acquired by Peregrine Realty Partners, a Newport Beach-based real estate investment company. The price was not disclosed. The seller was The Hearn Co. based in Chicago. The 12-story structure is known as the Ameritrade building because of the brokerage’s building-top signage. Currently, the building is 85 percent leased. Valley Corporate Center is the sixth acquisition by Peregrine Realty Partners in Southern California in 2011, including Old Town Plaza, a 60,000-square foot-office building in San Diego, and three industrial parks in Carlsbad. The buyer and seller of Valley Corporate Center were represented by Louay Alsadek and Evan August of CBRE and Phil Marino of Transwestern.

Oceanside Building Sells for $650,000

A 4,700-square-foot bank-owned building at 1220 South Coast Highway in Oceanside has been purchased by David Baker at a price of $650,000. The building is leased to Auto Sound and Image, a car customization store. The seller, Premier America Credit Union, was represented by Jack Nooren of NAI San Diego and Charles Carmichael of NAI Capital. The buyer also was represented by Nooren.

Cubic Security Systems to Provide Threat Detection System in Canada

Cubic Security Systems, a subsidiary of Cubic Corp., is providing an advanced detection technology to help law enforcement teams identify and respond to threats from chemical, radiological and explosive weapons in public transit settings under a Canadian government-funded pilot program to be launched this year in Edmonton, Canada. Cubic demonstrated a preproduction prototype of its Clear-Use detection system during the 2011 SecureTech public safety and security conference Oct. 25-26 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. During the demonstration, Cubic’s system detected radioactive test isotopes and highly diluted TNT and established simulated threat alerts to the command and control center and wireless smartphones Canadian authorities will begin testing the concept at Edmonton’s Churchill station in late March. “Cubic’s transportation business has made public transportation more convenient by pioneering smart cards and other fare payment technologies that make it faster and more convenient for passengers to use public transit,” said Walt Bonneau Jr., president and general manager of Cubic Security Systems. “Now Cubic is working to make transit systems safer with Clear-Use, an innovative and practical fare media threat detection technology that automates the inspection process.”

Brigham Black Heads NAIOP San Diego


Brigham Black, senior vice president of Pacific Office Properties, has been installed as 2012 president of NAIOP San Diego, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. He leads a 36-member board of directors and its 530 local members. The 2012 NAIOP board of directors includes executive committee members John Garrigan (president-elect) of LBA Realty; Paul Twardowski (past-president) of Hines; Tom Turner (secretary/general counsel) of Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch LLP; and Jeff Burges (treasurer) of BURGES property+company.

General Dynamics Unit Receives $95.9 Million Navy Contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems a $95.9 million contract for production and systems support of U.S. and U.K. Trident II submarine strategic weapons systems. The contract has a maximum value of $225 million if all options are exercised. General Dynamics Advanced Informational Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics. “We have a 50 year partnership with the Navy supporting strategic weapons systems and this award is a validation of our team’s performance in supporting the modernization and enhancement of the Trident program,” said Lou Von Thaer, president of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. The Trident submarine force is considered the backbone of the U.S. and U.K. navies’ nuclear deterrence strategies.

Mary Ball Heads Alzheimer’s Association

Mary Ball, a former executive with Cox Communications in San Diego, has been named president and CEO of the San Diego/Imperial chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Ball most recently was vice president of Our Greater San Diego Vision with The San Diego Foundation. She heads an organization with a fiscal year budget of $2 million and 19 employees. Ball spent 15 years at Cox Communications where she led sales and business development and oversaw external relations. She previously served as hief of staff for county Supervisor Dianne Jacob. Ball earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from the University of San Diego.

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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