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Daily Business Report-March 3, 2014

Daily Business Report-March 3, 2014

Illumina sells everything from sequencing machines that identify each nucleotide in DNA to software and services that analyze the data.

The World’s Smartest Company Calls San Diego Home

Illumina Tops MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies list

After outflanking and outlasting competitors, Illumina is on top of the genome-sequencing business — just as that market is about to soar in importance. The San Diego-based biotech innovator altered the course of health care when it announced that it shrunk the cost of sequencing a human genome to $1,000. Its understanding of markets combined with its innovative sprit is one of the reasons that Illumina was labeled the “World’s Smartest Company” by MIT Technology Review. Qualcomm, another San Diego powerhouse, also made the list, at No. 18.

Genome sequencing for the masses is finally arriving. It will no longer be just a research tool. Reading all of your DNA (rather than looking at just certain genes) will soon be cheap enough to be used regularly for pinpointing medical problems and identifying treatments. This will be an enormous business, and one company dominates it: Illumina.

The San Diego–based company sells everything from sequencing machines that identify each nucleotide in DNA to software and services that analyze the data. In the coming age of genomic medicine, Illumina is poised to be what Intel was to the PC era — the dominant supplier of the fundamental technology.

Reports MIT Technology Review: Illumina already held 70 percent of the market for genome-sequencing machines when it made the landmark announcement in January: using 10 of its latest machines in parallel makes it feasible to read a person’s genome for $1,000, long considered a crucial threshold for moving sequencing into clinical applications. Medical research stands to benefit as well. More researchers will have the ability to do large-scale studies that could lead to more precise understanding of diseases and help usher in truly personalized medicine.

The Shrinking Balboa Park Centennial

The nonprofit civic committee charged with planning next year’s Centennial Celebration of Balboa Park started opening its books Friday and responded to reports of internal chaos and fundraising shortfalls, NBC San Diego reports. NBC 7 got a look at the Balboa Park Celebration Inc.’s numbers, which will soon be made public on the group’s website.

The chairman revealed that the operation is cash-starved, based on “working numbers” from their auditors for the eight months ending on Jan. 31. As a result, plans for the celebration are being shrunk.

“First fundamental of the deal is we’re not going to go into the red,” said Ben Clay, chairman of the Balboa Park Celebration Inc. “We’re going to do what we can afford, and if we can’t afford it, we’re not going to do it.”

The celebration honors the anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Calfornia Exposition, during which the park made its worldwide debut.

The original vision for the centennial carried a potential price tag of $50 million, according to planners who were urged to “think big, think globally.”

The starting concept included a series of major productions to attract a global audience of visitors, as well as locals, but corporations and philanthropists wouldn’t back the $50 million sponsorship costs.

The latest production team has outlined backup plans ranging from $22 million to $2 million.

With assets and liabilities now balanced at under $600,000, the $2 million plan seems most do-able, planners said.

“I got beat about the head and shoulders from people saying, ‘Why are you commercializing our park?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Well, how are we going to pay for this thing?’” said Clay. “If I can’t get sponsors to put stuff in and fund this, we’re dead. Well, without any money, that’s where we are.”

Open government advocate Donna Frye said an earlier reality check and outside input might have saved time and overhead expense, which are largely covered by public funding.

“It’s not just a vision that belongs to a small group of people meeting in secret and not telling people how their money is spent,” said Frye. “Balboa Park belongs to the public. It belongs to everyone in San Diego.”

The Centennial Committee said they’ve made a wide outreach to park stakeholders and communities of interest in San Diego, throughout the U.S. and abroad.

They plan to post the latest, certified financial details on their website within the next week or so, though they maintain that it’s not required to make the disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

New Smart Parking Meters Coming to San Diego

Smart Meter

Smart Meter

San Diego interim Mayor Todd Gloria on Friday announced a contract to bring new smart parking meters to San Diego.

“Smart meters will vastly improve the parking experience for San Diegans and visitors who will no longer have to search for coins when they visit some of our most thriving neighborhoods,” Gloria said. “With more user-friendly parking meters, customers will be able to more easily patronize the small businesses throughout downtown, uptown and mid-city, contributing to the economic development of the city.”

The cooperative procurement contract with the city of Sacramento for the purchase of new single-space parking meters from IPS Group Inc. will be considered by the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee and then the full City Council in the coming weeks.

It is anticipated that installation of the new equipment could start within six weeks of contract approval. The smart meters would use the city’s existing meter poles and housings.

Under the proposed contract, about 97 percent of San Diego’s parking meters would be replaced. The new technology allows motorists to use a credit card to pay for parking.

The contract with IPS Group would be for an initial period ending in December 2018 and may allow for extensions. The estimated cost of the parking meter equipment ranges between $2.125 million and $3.4 million, and the total contract cost that the City Council will consider will also include additional related costs.

The city examined options for parking meter contracts, and Sacramento’s most closely matched San Diego’s specifications and bidding process. San Diego has entered into previous cooperative contracting agreements for multiple-space meters and has a cooperative agreement for back-office parking administration systems with the city of Inglewood. — City News Service report

New Holiday Inn Express Going Up in Mission Valley

Holiday Inn Express rendering

Holiday Inn Express rendering

Dempsey Construction is handling the ground-up construction of the new 87-room Holiday Inn Express on Hotel Circle South in Mission Valley. The $10 million project features the construction of a six-story concrete and wood frame structure located directly behind the Vagabond Hotel. Dempsey construction project manager Paul Prellwitz said that in order to accommodate the new structure, a portion of the Vagabond Hotel has been demolished and a significant amount of grading and site work completed on the property’s southern end. Construction completion is set for early 2015.

The Holiday Inn Express is being developed by The Hotel Investment Group. The project architect is Robert F. Tuttle Architect of Temecula.

A New Mayor for San Diego

San Diego gets a new mayor today, six months after a sexual-harassment scandal forced Bob Filner from office. Kevin Faulconer will be sworn in as the city’s 37th mayor. Faulconer will leave his 10th floor City Council office and move one floor up to fill the remaining three years of Filner’s elected term. Filner was forced from office in August because of a storm of allegations involving inappropriate sexual conduct with women that ended in criminal charges and civil lawsuits. Filner eventually pleaded guilty to a series of false imprisonment and battery charges linked to three victims.

The City Council will be presented with the certified results of the runoff and then the Republican lawmaker will be sworn in. That ceremony was scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on Euclid Avenue. Faulconer had served on the city council since 2006. — KPBS report

Mission Bay Automotive Buys Building for Relocation

Mission Bay Automotive has purchased the 5,247-square-foot industrial building at 1735 Morena Blvd. in the Bay Park area of San Diego for $1.28 million. The building, previously occupied by Bear Fence Co., will be the new service location for Mission Bay Automotive. Cassidy Turley represented the seller, Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC. Cushman & Wakefield represented the buyer.

Mission Bay Automotive is relocating from the 4,000-square-foot building it occupies at 1125 Morena Blvd. to accommodate its growing business. Owner Troy Archer said the company is working on tenant improvements with plans to open its new location in early summer.

Focus on 'big data'

Focus on ‘big data’

MIT Enterprise Forum Event Explores ‘Big Data’

The MIT Enterprise Forum will conduct a March 12 program on “big data,” the new IT buzzword. “In an age where more and more things are connected, monitored and captured, big data is the explosion of digitized data that not only impacts your business, but also your personal life,” the organization states. The program will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the Medical Education and Telemedicine building at UC San Diego. Cost to attend ranges from $15 to $65.

Panelists will include Navid Alipour, managing partner of Analytics Ventures, the moderator; Mike Alfred, co-founder and CEO of BrightScope; Ted Reguly, director of customer programs and projects for SDG&E; and Meyar Sheik, CEO of Certona.

For more information, visit

Southwest Value Partners Acquires Business Park for $52 Million

San Diego-based Southwest Value Partners has purchased Continuum, a 152-acre master-planned business park in Chandler, Ariz., for $51.75 million. . The campus includes a 463,658-square-foot office building along with 81 acres of land for future development. The seller was Capital Commercial Investments of Austin, Texas. Cassidy Turley brokered the sale.

Havas Edge Announces Appointments

CARLSBAD — The Havas Edge agency announced the hiring of Chris Brombach as director of client services, Keth Gerr as general manager of digital services in its Portland, Ore. office and Lisa Miller as human resources director. The appointments follow the recent appointment of Eric Bush as chief financial officer of the company.

Brombach’s background in media includes over 15 years at such agencies as Carat, DDB, PHD, and Kovel/Fuller while working on brands such as Mitsubishi Motors, 3-Day Blinds, P&G, Visa, Jiffy Lube, and SCAN Health. He was previously with InterMedia Advertising.

Gerr has more than 20 years of digital experience, working at such agencies as K2Design, Ogilvy & Mather, and R/GA.

Miller has more than 15 years of experience in financial services and tech/big data sectors. Within the advertising industry, she has worked at such agencies as McCann-Erickson Worldgroup and Young & Rubicam.


Women in Blue

Women in Blue


San Diego Police Foundation honors three trailblazers

Patricia Duke, Jennifer Shen and Daphne Hearn are considered trailblazers in their careers — leaders chosen to receive the 2014 Women in Blue Award from the San Diego Police Foundation.

Patricia Duke

Patricia Duke

Duke is assistant sheriff with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Shen is manager of the San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory and Hearn is special agent in charge of the FBI office in San Diego. They will be honored at a March 5 luncheon at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in Downtown San Diego. Registration is at 11:30 a.m. and the program and lunch at noon.  New San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman will give the keynote address. to register, call (619) 232-2130.

As the first woman to lead the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Services Bureau, Assistant Sheriff Patricia Duke’s career has taken her from front-line cop to her current executive position in law enforcement, leading one of the largest operations of its kind in the U.S. She directs all law enforcement operations for San Diego County and nine cities.

Jennifer Shen

Jennifer Shen

Daphne Hearn

Daphne Hearn

Jennifer Shen brings “CSI” to life, leading the San Diego Police Department’s Crime Lab.  She oversees eight units with 71 employees that help keep SDPD at the forefront of efficiency and technology as it continues to serve the citizens of San Diego.

Since 1991, Daphne Hearn has led the Organized Crime, International Operations, Special Operations and 25 of the FBI’s  56 offices in the La Cosa Nostra families crime investigation.

“Women in Blue puts leadership, wisdom and inspiration in the spotlight,” says Sara Napoli, president and CEO of the San Diego Police Foundation. “The stories of women leaders in law enforcement continue to impart wisdom that is both inspiring and practical, providing role models for young people aspiring to leadership in any field.”

New Venture Capital Firm Launches in San Diego

Jeff Belk, a San Diego technology veteran and former Qualcomm executive, announced the formation of a new venture to identify and seek funding for early-stage entrepreneurial projects and take them to the next phases of development.

The venture, Bright Light Management, will initially focus its efforts in the mobile health, wearables, wireless, genomics, big data and consumer-lifestyle services and applications sectors, Belk said.

Bright Light Management will partner with OurCrowd, a venture funding firm.

“For decades, funding options available to emerging San Diego companies have often been limited, with a heavy reliance on Silicon Valley for funding,” said Belk. “With the recent emergence of equity-based crowdfunding, accredited investors in communities like San Diego can now directly participate in the growth of emerging companies and help to drive the San Diego County economic engine in new ways.”

Founded by leading Israeli venture capitalist Jon Medved, OurCrowd has created an advanced platform for investors. With initial investments largely focused on the Israeli startup community, OurCrowd is now expanding its model into other markets, with San Diego a natural starting point, said Medved.

Corporate Directors Forum Explores Executive Pay

Executive pay — and CEO compensation in particular — often raises eyebrows, and few topics unearth more opinions. The Corporate Directors Forum will delve into the issue at a March 19 program at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. The breakfast and program is from 7 to 9 a.m. Panelists discussing executive pay will be Karin Eastham, director at Illumina Inc. and three other biotech companies; David Knopping, partner at Radford; and Linda Lang, director at WD-40 and former chairman and CEO of Jack in the Box.

SDG&E Reports Record in Diverse Business Spending

San Diego Gas & Electric reported today that 44.9 percent of products and services were provided by women, minority and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses during 2013 totaling $453 million in purchases. That was a record of spending with diverse suppliers, according to the utility. The total included $25.6 million spent with service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Local Colleges to Receive Funds to Expand Energy Field Programs

Cuyamaca College, Palomar College and San Diego City College  are among colleges selected to lead a regional program funded by a $350,000 state grant that will improve and expand the training provided to students in the booming clean energy field so that they will be better equipped to find good-paying jobs. In addition to the initial funding from the Proposition 39 Clean Energy Workforce Training Program, the 13 participating colleges will receive portions of a $518,000 program improvement award to align energy efficiency and related programs within the regions, purchase or update equipment, offer industry-recognized certificates, and provide professional development for instructors.

The colleges in the program will be assessing the training they offer to determine what needs to be updated and improved, and will be working together to ensure that students are receiving similar training throughout the region.

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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: