Daily Business Report-Nov. 26, 2014
The new Phillips Claud Telescope at San Diego State University’s Mount Laguna Observatory. (Photo: Jeneene Chatowsky)
New Eye in the Sky
A new telescope will let SDSU astronomers see farther into the universe than ever before
You couldn’t ask for a much better spot for gazing into the heavens than the Laguna Mountains in eastern San Diego County. At 6,100 feet above sea level, you’re above a good chunk of the ground-level atmosphere that occludes a telescope’s view.
The weather is clear most days of the year, and the calm westerly winds keep the air smooth, like the surface of an undisturbed pond. It’s far enough away from civilization that light pollution is minimal, yet San Diego State University’s Mount Laguna Observatory is only about an hour’s drive from the main campus.
“I would argue that in the continental United States, we have the best astronomical site,” said Allen Shafter, professor and chair of the SDSU astronomy department.
What has always been an outstanding site for astronomical research just got even better, thanks to the addition of the brand new 1.25-meter (about 50-inch) Phillips Claud Telescope. The $1.5 million state-of-the-art instrument was made possible by a gift from the late amateur astronomer and philanthropist Phillips L. Claud Jr., who funded more than half of the telescope’s cost.
The Claud Telescope is a reflecting telescope, meaning it uses precisely polished curved mirrors to reflect light and form an image. There is no magnifying lens.
While it can’t compete with the world’s largest reflecting telescopes, which measure around 10 meters in diameters, the Claud Telescope is about 10 inches larger in diameter than the 40-inch instrument that was formerly the observatory’s largest. Because a telescope’s light-gathering power grows exponentially with the surface area of its primary mirror, the new telescope is approximately 50 percent more powerful than the older 40-inch telescope.
In other words, it’s a dramatic upgrade for the Mount Laguna Observatory, one that will allow SDSU’s astronomers to see farther and more clearly into the night sky than before, as well as encourage students to hone their stargazing skills. — SDSU NewsCenter
U-2 Advocates Push Optionally Manned
Variant as a Rival to Global Hawk
The fat lady has not necessarily sung on the fate of the U.S. Air Force’s high-flying U-2 intelligence aircraft. Lockheed Martin has crafted a reduced-cost plan to “optionally man” its U-2, throwing a new possibility into the mix as Congress weighs whether to shift to an all-Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aircraft fleet for high-altitude reconnaissance.
With an optionally manned U-2, advocates for the so-called Dragon Lady say the venerable aircraft finally can match the endurance offered by the RQ-4B Global Hawk, which is made by Northrop Grumman’s Rancho Bernardo-based unmanned aircraft division.
Convincing lawmakers and the Pentagon likely will be an uphill battle, though.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense finally opted after more than a decade of waffling to commit to a U-2 retirement path in its fiscal 2015 budget request, carving a path for an all-Global Hawk fleet. But U-2 advocates are continuing to argue that its attributes — including a 5,000-lb. payload — are superior to those of the Global Hawk, a high-flying unmanned aircraft capable of lofting 3,000 lb. of sensors. The U-2 operates at 70,000 ft. while the Global Hawk is limited to 60,000 ft., reducing its slant angle — or sensor range — for targets. It also lacks defensive systems that the U-2 carries.
— Aviation Week
Cubic Reports Record 4th Fiscal Quarter, Strong Year
San Diego-based Cubic Corp. on Tuesday announced record sales and income for its fourth fiscal quarter, and strong results for the entire fiscal year. The maker of defense and transportation systems reported net income of $32.8 million, or $1.22 per share, on sales of $396.4 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30. Revenue was 16 percent higher that the year-ago quarter, and the record income compared with an operating loss a year ago.
For the entire fiscal year, net income attributable to Cubic shareholders was $69.5 million, or $2.59 per share, compared to $25.1 million, or $0.94 per, share in the same period a year ago. Sales totaled $1.398 billion, compared to $1.361 billion in the previous fiscal year.
Order backlog was a record-high $3.18 billion, primarily because of a contract to operate the fare collection system for Transport for London, the transit network serving the British capital.
“We are very proud of our record-setting quarter in sales, earnings, and backlog, which contributed to strong overall annual performance,” said Bradley H. Feldmann, president and chief executive officer. “We are humbled and thankful for the continued trust of our customers and the superb performance of our great employees. We expect our results to improve as we grow Cubic and expand our global market leading positions in the transportation and defense markets.”
— Times of San Diego
Chamber Hosts Scripps Healthcare CEO
Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Healthcare, will address the North San Diego Business Chamber and guests Dec. 3 at the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego, 1611 Bernardo Plaza Court in San Diego. Luncheon hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Van Gorder will discuss real leadership that leads to higher engagement, performance, and a culture of accountability. Topics will include how a no-layoff philosophy has led to higher accountability, how his own attention to seemingly minor details spurred bigger change, and how his own high standards for himself and his team improved morale and productivity.
Van Gorder is credited with presiding over a dramatic turnaround of the organization, catapulting Scripps from near-bankruptcy to a dominant market position. He outlines his methods in his book, “The Front-Line Leader.”
For more information, visit the chamber’s website at www.sdbusinesschamber.com.
EdgeWave Hires VP of Product Management
EdgeWave, a San Diego-based cyber security firm, has appointed Farley Stewart as vice president of product management. Stewart is rejoining the company after a decade of working in the cyber security field at multiple organizations.
Stewart was the CEO and founder of Internet Products Inc., which created iPrism Web Security, one of the first Web security appliances. Internet Products Inc. was acquired by EdgeWave, formerly known as St. Bernard Software, in 2000. After overseeing the acquisition, Stewart transitioned to product management, product marketing and business development roles at McAfee and Websense, shaping product strategy and execution.
Stewart will be responsible for shaping and shepherding product vision and strategy for EdgeWave.
Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree from the UC San Diego, and a master’s degree from the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management.
Megan Walker Joins Fisher & Phillips
Fisher & Phillips LLP has added Megan Walker as a new associate to its San Diego office. Prior to joining Fisher & Phillips, Walker worked as a summer associate at Epps & Coulson LLP in Los Angeles. Walker received her law degree from Ohio State University in 2014. While there, she was an articles editor for the Ohio State Law Journal. During her third year, she attended the University of San Diego School of Law as a visiting student and worked as a law clerk in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.
She received a bachelor’s degree in individualized studies, magna cum laude, from New York University. She also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where she earned an associate degree in applied science, summa cum laude, in fashion merchandising management in 2009.
Southwest Strategies Adds Todd Philips to Team
Southwest Strategies LLC, a public affairs firm in San Diego, has added Todd Philips to its executive management team. Philip has more than 19 years of public policy and executive management experience in public and private sectors and was most recently director of economic development policy for the North San Diego Business Chamber.
Prior to joining the chamber, Philips was the director of governmental relations and legislative affairs at San Diego Workforce Partnership. Before that, he successfully guided the San Diego City Council campaign for now U.S. Representative Scott Peters. He also managed the successful campaign of now California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ re-election to the San Diego City Council in 2004.
During his career, Philips has worked for CNN in Washington, D.C., Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones School of Management in Houston and the American Arbitration Association in San Diego.