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Daily Business Report-Feb. 3, 2014

Daily Business Report-Feb. 3, 2014

Taylor Guitars co-founder Bob Taylor with Secretary of State John Kerry at the Award for Corporate Excellence ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Taylor Guitars Receives U.S. State Department

Award for Efforts to Protect the Ebony Trade

Three years ago, Taylor Guitars, the El Cajon-based guitar maker, partnered with a Spanish distributor of guitars to purchase an ebony mill in the west Central African country of Cameroon. The exotic ebony is a highly prized wood, especially by makers of musical instruments, because of its aesthetic and tonal qualities, as well as its strength.

That acquisition, and the efforts that Taylor Guitars subsequently made to transform the ebony trade and to improve the lot of its mill employees, were noted by Secretary of State John Kerry last week in naming Taylor Guitars as the recipient of the State Department’s  2013 Award for Corporate Excellence. The annual award recognizes U.S. businesses that play vital roles around the world in supporting democratic values such as human and labor rights, environmental protection, open markets and sustainable development.

Taylor Guitars' Crelicam ebony mill.

Taylor Guitars’ Crelicam ebony mill.

Presenting the award to Taylor Guitars co-founder Bob Taylor, Kerry said the company fundamentally changed the entire ebony trade through its ebony mill, Crelicam.

“Taylor Guitars has become an effective advocate for legal and policy reforms to improve the permitting process around the ebony trade to better protect both the environment and the rights and needs of other forest users,” said Kerry. “Taylor ensures that its works are protected, and they ensure that their workers likewise benefit as a result of this.”

Our vision was to transform the way that ebony is harvested, processed, and sold into a new model of responsible social forestry while enriching the lives of our 75 employees through meaningful work,” said Taylor at the award presentation. “To accomplish this, we assumed the role of guardian of the forest, and we operate with the philosophy to use what the forest gives us. To us, this means using ebony of all colors and all variegations, including wood that features spotted or streaked coloring, wood which prior to our involvement would have been left to deteriorate on the forest floor.”

Taylor Guitars is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Walter J. and Betty Zable Bequeathed

More Than $6 Million to USD Athletics

University of San Diego President Mary E. Lyons announced today that Walter J. Zable, who died in the summer of 2012 at the age of 97, and his wife, Betty Zable, who died in 2007, designated more than $6 million from their estate to the University of San Diego in support of Torero Athletics and to fund athletic scholarships. Walter J. Zable, a member of the University of San Diego’s Board of Trustee from 1977 to 1996, and Betty, leave behind a legacy of philanthropic support to USD and Torero Athletics.

“We are forever grateful to the Zables for their generous support of USD’s athletics program,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons. “Their generous contributions during the last four decades have allowed USD to create several endowed scholarships that will provide educational opportunities for countless outstanding Torero student athletes.”

In 2006, the University honored Walter by naming the field at Torero Stadium the “Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium.”

“Walter was a true inspiration to all who knew him. Because of his own experience as an outstanding collegiate athlete, Walter understood the opportunities collegiate sports can provide many young men and women who otherwise might not attend college,” said Ky Snyder, executive director of Torero Athletics.

A leading innovator, Walter founded Cubic Corp. a small electronics company in 1951. In just over a decade, Walter along with his wife, Betty, the company’s first secretary, and a handful of employees, grew the company by nearly 600 percent. By 1968, Cubic had introduced more than 60 products and services and recorded sales of over $28 million. Today, Cubic Corp. employs more than 8,000 people around the globe and recorded sales in 2012 of nearly $1.4 billion.

San Diego Installs GE Lighting’s LightGrid

GE Lighting’s LightGrid outdoor wireless controller

GE Lighting’s LightGrid outdoor wireless controller.

San Diego is installing a new intelligent lighting system called LightGrid that will link its city street lights to the industrial Internet. GE Lighting developed the system that will replace 3,000 city lamps with LED lights equipped with GPS beacons and wireless control technology to measure and manage energy usage.

LightGird allows for remote operation and monitoring of streets and roadway lights through a web-enabled central management system. Operators can adjust brightness according to traffic, and dim or brighten street lights as needed. They can also accurately measure the energy used for each light pole and pay only for energy consumed. GE lighting estimates it will save the city $250,000 annually with the new system. San Diego is the first U.S. city to install this system, and it will be finished this spring.

GirlTECH: Making Computer Science Cool for Women

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the UC San Diego, in a partnership with other local universities and industry support groups, is launching a non-profit collaborative community program aimed at encouraging and educating young women to learn and apply computing skills.



The program, called GirlTECH San Diego, is being launched this month by a partnership that so far includes UC San Diego, San Diego State University, the University of San Diego, and Point Loma Nazarene University. Workshops will begin later this quarter.

“Some young women lack interest because they don’t realize that computing will empower them in any field they pursue, and those with an interest in computing don’t necessarily pursue greater skill development because it’s either not available at their school or because they lack self-confidence to participate in what is perceived as a male-oriented geek environment,” said Diane Baxter, SDSC’s education director. “GirlTECH San Diego creates opportunities for young women with an interest in computing to be empowered by that interest, and to share that interest with peers in a social, collaborative, positive, and directed learning environment.”

The program was created in response to recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Workforce Readiness that underscore the fact that women hold less than 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs, and that San Diego alone faces a shortage of more than 4,000 software experts (San Diego Software Industry Council, 2011).

Initially, GirlTECH San Diego will be focused on providing afterschool computing clubs for secondary school girls in educational community settings at various levels.

McClellan-Palomar Airport runway.

McClellan-Palomar Airport runway.

County to Hold First McClellan-Palomar Master-Plan Workshop

CARLSBAD — The County of San Diego will start the process of creating a new master plan for McClellan-Palomar Airport Wednesday by holding a public forum to get feedback from people about what they think the airport should look like in the future. The meeting is scheduled to be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 5 at the city of Carlsbad’s Faraday Center at 1635 Faraday Ave. in Carlsbad.

The workshop will include a presentation about the master-plan process, upcoming events, a review of previous master plans and the airport’s existing facilities, and forecasts of how much traffic the airport expects to get in the future.

The county, which owns and operates McClellan-Palomar Airport, is the lead agency in the master plan process and is working with all of the user groups to ensure the creation of a plan. The new master plan will have to be approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

Wednesday’s meeting is the first of a series of anticipated public workshops.

Sunroad International Flower Market to Open in March

Sunroad International Flower Marke

Sunroad International Flower Market

CARLSBAD — A grand opening for the Sunroad International Flower Market — currently undergoing interior improvements — has been scheduled for March. When complete, the market at 5858 Dryden Place will provide a new home for tenants of the former Carlsbad Floral Trade Center, which is being redeveloped into office space. CBRE Carlsbad is handling leasing of the Flower Market. Some of the new tenants include Mellano & Company, Holland Flower, Floral Supply Syndicate, Corina’s Wholesale and Ramirez Wholesale.

“This new facility will allow the floral industry to continue to thrive in North County,” said Mike Mellano, CEO of Mellano & Company. “Sunroad International Flower Market offers both a great place to do business and a welcome level of certainty to the local flower industry.”

San Diego Employers Association

Offers Programs to Assist Businesses

The San Diego Employers Association is launching two programs this years designed for businesses interested in training and developing their workforce.

The first program is SDEA’s Management Essentials Webinar Series. The six-week online series features several classes including Employment Law, Strategic Interviewing, Performance Management, Leadership in the Workplace, Resolving Conflict, and Documentation/Discipline/Discharge.  The Webinar Series takes place online on Thursdays starting on Feb. 20 from 3 to 5:15 p.m.

The second course series is SDEA’s Advanced Management Essentials. The six-week program takes place on-site at SDEA’s Training Facility in Kearny Mesa and covers topics including Leading Organizational Change, Business Ethics, Project Management, and Advanced Employment Law. The Webinar Series takes place Wednesdays starting on April 30 from 5 to 8 pm.

For more information, visit

Cities Sign Up for ‘NextGen’ Regional Communications System

Changing technology means San Diego County’s current Regional Communication System, (RCS) relied on by public safety agencies, will soon be obsolete, KPBS reports. The estimated $105 million price tag of the NextGen RCS will be shared between about 40 agencies, including fire, police, public transit agencies and cities.

Sue Willy of the Sherriff’s department said the current radios used by public safety agencies were new back in the 1990s. “And the system is no longer supported by the manufacturers,” she said, “so parts are not available, the software is no longer supported. So there’s a limited amount of time we can continue to operate on the system.” She compared it to operating an old car… at some point it becomes necessary to pony up the money for a new one.

The city of San Marcos has agreed to contribute more than $2.5 million to buy more than 400 of the new radios. Vista has committed $1.75 million for 285 radios. Cities have till the end of March to sign up. The city of San Diego has its own communication system that is interoperable with the county’s. The county plans to award the lucrative contract next year, but the new system is not projected to be ready to go till 2018.

Filner Sexual Harassment Lawuit Set for Next Year

Trial of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the city of San Diego and disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner is scheduled for Feb. 20 of next year. Irene McCormack Jackson, Filner’s onetime communications director, alleges the then-mayor told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and that he could not wait to consummate their relationship. It was mediation over her lawsuit that led the then-70-year-old mayor to resign last August after less than nine months in office. The City Attorney’s Office agreed to defend Filner in exchange for his agreement to step down.

Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss set the trial date after lawyers for the city asked for the case to be heard in 2015. McCormack Jackson’s attorney, Gloria Allred, argued for an earlier start. — Reported by City News Service

San Diego Musical Theatre Opens 2014 Season with ‘Cats’

San Diego Musical Theatre’s opening production for 2014 will be “Cats,” a musical based on the popular poetry of T.S. Eliot. It will be staged March 21 through April 6 at the North Park Theatre.

The production, directed by James Vasquez with choreography by Janet Renslow, features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“Cats” tells the story, in song and dance, of the annual gathering of Jellicle cats at which time one special cat is selected to ascend to the Heaviside layer. “Cats” opened at London’s New London Theatre on May 11, 1981, and ran for a record-setting 21 years. The London success was nearly matched on Broadway where it ran at the Wintergarden Theatre for just over 18 years.

Principal cast members are: Cody Walker as “Munkustrap,” Kurt Norby as “Old Deuteronomy,” Justin Ray as “Rum Tum Tugger,” Jeffrey Scott Parsons as “Skimbleshanks” and Debbie Prutsman is “Grizabella.”

The production also features Danielle Airey, Jim Chatham, Liz Daniels, Alexis DeDonato, Deborah Fauerbach, Courtney Fero, Max Gidaley, Kyrsten Hafso-Koppman, Kyle Hawk, Dylan Hoffinger, Keith Johnson, Aurore Joly, Arielle Meads, Joy Newbegin, Steven Rada, Bailey Sonner and Eric Taylor.

Show times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Single tickets are $26, $36, $46 and $56. For individual or group tickets, contact the Administrative Office at (858) 560-5740 or visit

This year’s season also includes “Annie Get Your Gun” May 9-25, “Next To Normal” Sept. 26-Oct. 12 and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” Dec. 11-21.

Water Delivery Cutoff  Won’t Affect San Diego County

Amid California’s severe drought, water officials announced Friday the State Water Project may not make any deliveries this year — an unprecedented decision that impacts residents and farmers across two-thirds of the state, but will not have an immediate impact on San Diego County, according to the San Diego County Water Authority.

Twenty percent of the county’s water supply generally comes from the state’s system of canals, pipes and dams that delivers melted snowpack and rainfall runoff from Northern California to water agencies across the state.

San Diego County gets the majority of its supply, 60 percent, from the Colorado River.

“The decision of zero allocation makes voluntary conservation measures increasingly important,” said Jason Foster, director of public outreach and conservation with the Water Authority.

Foster said the preliminary cutback are a serious indication that statewide water supply conditions are worsening.

“This reduction in available deliveries means that Southern California would likely have to take about another 100,000 acre feet of water out of storage to meet demand,” Foster said. “We were already expecting storage to come down several hundred thousand acre feet if conditions were to remain dry.”

One acre-foot of water is what two typical families use in a year, Foster said.

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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: