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San Diego’s Most Admired Companies — 2013

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Shea Homes

SheaHomes

SheaHomes

Bolstered by their core values of honesty and integrity, respect for the individual, teamwork and competitive spirit, the J.F. Shea Company remains one of the few third- and fourth-generation family-owned businesses remaining in the country. Founded in 1881, the Shea family and its companies have worked on some of the country’s most notable projects, including the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) and the Hoover Dam. It lent its construction expertise to many other tunneling and dam public works projects, as well as shipbuilding during World War II. Moving into housing in 1968, Shea established a San Diego operation in 1986. Specializing in single-family attached and detached residences, Shea Homes San Diego continues to be a leader in the local housing market, offering homes for first-time buyers through the luxury market. Shea is heavily involved in numerous charitable ventures, such as a multi-faceted literacy program that urges parents to “Read With Your Child 15 Minutes A Day,” and has given away much of its model home furnishings to military families. Shea Home was the first “for sale” builder to open a new project in the Civita master -planned community in Mission Valley. Shea has been the recipient of the prestigious J.D.Power Customer Service Champion Award two years in a row.

California Bank & Trust

California Bank & Trust

California Bank & Trust

Voted “San Diego’s Best Bank” for three years in a row, California Bank & Trust (CB&T) has always been proud to call San Diego its home. With a rich history of serving the San Diego community for over 60 years, CB&T is now the largest financial institution headquartered in San Diego with 475 employes in the region and assets that exceed $11 billion. As specialists in business banking, CB&T not only meets the needs of area business leaders, but has set deep roots in the local community through 30 branch offices located throughout the area. Indeed, CB&T’s focus extends beyond highly sophisticated financial products and services. Each of the bank’s experienced and seasoned business bankers is dedicated to developing strong relationships with clients and takes great pride in not only meeting, but exceeding client expectations. CB&T’s local roots begins with its leadership. Tory Nixon, president of CB&T’s San Diego Division, has lived and been actively involved in the San Diego community for the past 25 years.  He earned his B.S. degree in business administration from San Diego State University where he was captain of the football team. He received his MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business. CB&T employees donate thousands of hours of time each year volunteering for local organizations to assist disadvantaged families, helping underprivileged people  start businesses, and working to improve the educational opportunities for San Diego’s youth.

Higgs Fletcher & Mack

Higgs Fletcher & Mack

Higgs Fletcher & Mack

Higgs Fletcher & Mack’s start in San Diego dates back to 1939. While the firm has grown to over 140 employees since then, its business philosophy and principles have remained the same: be good to your employees, work hard for your clients, and give back to the community that you serve. Higgs demonstrates this not just as a principle but also as a practice. A major component of Higgs’ philanthropic endeavors is its commitment to diversity and advancement in education. Each year, Higgs participates in the SDCBA’s Diversity Fellowship Summer Intern program, pairing a law student with a senior attorney to get hands-on, paid experience in the practice area in which they are interested. Not only do they offer their time for learning opportunities, they provide generous contributions to help the advancement of law students through their annual $10,000 scholarship, given to  deserving University of San Diego diverse law student. Over the past five years, Higgs’ attorneys have collectively contributed $50,000 in Diversity scholarship funds through USD School of Law. They have also expanded their giving this year to include California Western School of Law. Higgs has also taken a strong interest in increasing the diversity of its staff — significantly growing the number of  minority and women partners and associates within the firm over the past several years.  This year one of Higgs’ most senior female partners, Susan Hack, received  the Daniel T. Broderick Award, known in the legal community as the “Oscar” for attorneys. The award is given to a lawyer in private practice with substantial civil litigation experience who epitomizes  the highest principles of civility, integrity and professionalism. Higgs has consistently been ranked in U.S. News-Best Lawyers rankings for many years. The firm has 72 lawyers and since 2011 has grown by nearly 25 percent, adding 28 lawyers to its ranks.

Hughes Marino

Hughes Marino

Hughes Marino

When Jason Hughes and Dave Marino set out to form Hughes Marino, they aimed to create a different kind of commercial real estate company. Both Jason and Dave have long been tenant-only advocates — committed to providing conflict-free real estate services to their clients. But Hughes Marino takes the model a step further. Hughes Marino is more than a tenant representation firm. It is a professional services firm dedicated to supporting companies in all aspects of their real estate, from finding the best real estate for their company at the best economics, to managing the construction process, to reviewing operating expenses free of charge and to ensure that they are properly billed. Hughes Marino is committed to excellence and has the best team in town to ensure this. Hughes Marino is passionate about giving back to the community as the firm supports over 70 local nonprofits.

LightBridge Hospice & Palliative Care

LightBridge  has been a provider of exceptional progams that enhance the end of the journey for patients and their families throughout San Diego County. LightBri

LightBridge

LightBridge

dge is one of only five Joint Commission-accredited hospice agencies in San Diego. LightBride provides patients and their families with an individualized program of care that focuses on comfort, support and peace of mind, wherever a patient calls home. LightBridge has a comprehensive veterans program dedicated to the end-of-life care needs of our nation’s heros. LightBridge was the first in California, still the only hospice in Southern California, and one of only seven in the state to meet the stringent “We Honor Veterans” Partner Level IV requirements. LightBridge has performed nearly 100 honor ceremonies to recognize the service and sacrifices of San Diego’s veterans nearing the end of life. LightBridge created Ohr Ami, the first local hospice with a program dedicated to the specific needs of the Jewish community. LightBridge also formed LightBridge Medical Associates, San Diego’s first and only community-based outpatient palliative care consultation service.

San Diego Humane Society

San Diego Humane Society

San Diego Humane Society

Serving San Diego County since 1889, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. The Humane Society offers San Diegans a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care and educate the community on the humane treatment of animals. The Humane Society has campuses in San Diego and Oceanside, as well as an adoption center in the El Cajon Petco store.  The Humane Society is supported solely through contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from the Muttique retail store and and small fees for services.

Cognitive Medical Systems

Cognitive Medical Systems

Cognitive Medical Systems

After only 18 months in operation, Cognitive Medical Systems achieved profitability, secured $3.7 million in contracts and is poised to be a leader in driving clinical decision support standards for the health care industry. The certified HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned, and economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business already boasts an enviable client base that includes the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Science Foundation. In addition, they have partnered with the University of North Carolina’s Neonatal Care United to create a lab where quality improvement initiatives can be managed through Apple IPad devices.

Sentek Global

Sentek Global

Sentek Global

Sentek Global has created its its positive culture by which other firms should emulate. The company boasts a staff of well over 100 employees that call themselves “Sentekians” who give back internally.  Sentek’s CEO, Eric Basu, is constantly encouraging his employees to think differently and share their thoughts. As a result, a monthly “Skunk works” meeting takes place where employees can discuss challenges they’ve faced, new business ideas or comments from customers. In fact, one employee idea recently developed into a contract with the Department of Homeland Security to help develop a handheld device application that delivers emergency information, and was rewarded for the initiative. Sentek’s Wounded Warrior program provides pro bono training for returning service members from Afghanistan and Iraq to still be an active participant in national defense issues by providing them the training to be cyber warriors.

Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP

HechtSolberg

HechtSolberg

HechtSolberg has been an integral part of San Diego’s growth and development, providing legal guidance and expertise to the real estate and business community for more than 40 years. Shortly after its founding in 1972, HechtSolberg represented Avco Community Developers in the development of Rancho Bernardo, one of the first and largest master-planned communities in San Diego.  Building on that experience, the firm has focused on all aspects of real estate development and investment throughout San Diego and Southern California. In San Diego, HechtSolberg has helped pave the way for many other notable projects, including the master-planned communities of San Miguel Ranch, Scripps Ranch Villages and Calavera Hills as well as local icons including the the Plaza at La Jolla Village, the Meridian and Pinnacle Museum Tower. Managing Partner Mickey Maher has said that for the firm to continue to be successful, each and every employee must share the firm’s core values of integrity and ethical behavior.

Christopher Weil & Company Inc. (CWC)

CWC

CWC

CWC is a Carmel Valley-based financial services firm that services clients nationwide. For over 40 years, CWC, together with its affiliates, works hard to be effective investors, managers and advisers for their clients. The firm is both a securities broker-dealer and a registered investment adviser, enabling it to provide a comprehensive  and integrated mix of client services. CWC is innovative in responding to client needs and dedicated to nimble, intelligent customer service with a personal, family touch. CWC demonstrates the highest level of honesty and integrity in its business practices. With both marketable securities and private equity, CWC recommends investments in which it is also personally invested.  This fact does not guarantee success; but it does promote focus. CWC supports San Diego Social Venture Partners, National Conflict Resolution Partners, San Diego Youth Sympthony and Conservatory, Peacemaker Awards, Mainly Mozart and the Preuss School.

R3 Strategic Support Group

R3

R3

R3 is a company that, despite sequestration and the current economic challenges, doubled its revenues and employee base this year. Currently more than 60 individuals call R3 their employer. The success of the service-disabled, veteran-owned small business company is due to its ability to operate in agile environments and still provide innovative strategic solutions to rapidly identify requirements, capture resources and maximize  readiness that accelerate its clients success. R3 is a proud supporter of the EOD Warrior Foundation and serves on the  Executive Advisory Board for the National Defense Industrial Association EOD Committee.

Allison+Partners

Allison+Partners

Allison+Partners

Allison+Partners is one of the fastest-growing mid-size global communications firms. Scott Allison and co-founding partners Andy Hardie-Brown and Scott Panksy wanted to create a positive and highly entrepreneurial environment where talented people at all levels could do great work and thrive. The core values encourage employees to keep an entrepreneurial mindset, maintain an enthusiastic personality, empower others, exceed expectations and collaborate environments. Allison+Partners offers digital, creative and marketing services to clients across the U.S. The firm has been recognized with awards for its work for  Baja California’s Secretary of Tourism, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego and various community organizations. Some of its other clients include Toyota, Kampgrounds of America, AV Concepts, Alaska Communications and Great Call.

Walden Family Services

Walden Family Services

Walden Family Services

Walden Family Services is a most admired and inspiring local organization.  Walden Family provides foster care and adoption related-services throughout Southern California’s major regions. The nonprofit is 37 years old, making it among the oldest, most established organizations serving the needs of abused and neglected children. The children Walden focuses on are medically fragile, have severe behavioral needs and/or are developmental disabled, pregnant teens and teen parents. Additionally, Walden focuses on foster youth, ages 18-21, who have aged out of the foster care system. Walden served more than 600 children and youth in 2013 and on any given day serves more than 200 children in over 150 certified homes in Southern California. Sixty-five percent of the Walden youth achieved permanency in 2012, either through reunification with biological relatives or adoption. Administrative costs make up only 11 percent of the annual budget.

CyberFlow Analytics

CyberFlow Analytics

CyberFlow Analytics

CyberFlow Analytics is a next-generation dyer security company that solves security with advanced mathematic and data analytics.  Founded only this year by Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi, a former CTO of AT&T, CyberFlow has already attracted global attention with a $2 million strategic investment from Toshiba. With over 90 percent of business affected by cyber security breaches, CyberFlow is committed to protecting  networks from advanced persistent threats. Eslambolchi and his team are revolutionizing the cyber security industry in order to protect businesses and property, including those that we depend on for our health and security. CyberFlow is automating the once manual process of forensic analysis with a real time virtualized model of security detection. This technology will dramatically increase the ability of enterprises to gain visibility into their networks, perform forensic analysis in real time, and reduce risk at lower cost.

AV Concepts

AV Concepts

AV Concepts

AV Concepts is at the forefront of immersive technical solutions. AV Concepts resurrected Tupac at Coachella 2012, projected the San Diego skyline on the side of the Midway and wowed audiences at Comic-Con.  Most recently, it created the holographic performances of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Easy-E for Rock the Bells. The holographic illusions the company has created have become so iconic that they’ve been integrated into pop culture, making appearances on both “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpson’s.”  It is the only company in the world experienced in creating outdoor holographic projections in uncontrolled environments. AV Concepts has patented numerous new technologies, making the stuff of sci-fi a reality. The core of AV Concepts’ business is to provide high-quality audiovisual and staging for events, and the company has proven to be one of the best.

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Voice Your Opinion


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