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Daily Business Report-Jan. 12, 2015

Daily Business Report-Jan. 12, 2015

The foundation is completed for the $555 million San Diego Central Courthouse in Downtown San Diego.

Massive Concrete Pour Completed for

San Diego’s New Central Courthouse

Rudolph and Sletten finished off 2014 by completing concrete pours totaling more than 16,300-cubic yards for the mat foundation at the new San Diego Central Courthouse.

Over the course of three Saturdays in December, crews from Rudolph and Sletten teamed up with concrete subcontractor Morley Construction Co. in a carefully orchestrated operation that saw more than 1,600 truck trips to the central Downtown location.  They delivered concrete from four Hanson Aggregate plants throughout San Diego County to the site bordered by B and C and State and Union Streets.

“Because of our location in the heart of Downtown, we had to work out a schedule with the city that would minimize impacts on traffic, jail and courthouse employees, and the guests at the neighboring W Hotel,” said Howard Mills, Rudolph and Sletten’s project executive for the 22-story courthouse.

The 704,000-square-foot project is budgeted at $555 million. It includes 71 courtrooms, space for jury services, jury assembly administration, supervised waiting area for children, holding areas, secure area for in-custody detainee transport. There will be a pedestrian bridge connecting the new courthouse to the Hall of Justice, where civil cases will be heard, across the street.

The first day’s pour, on Dec. 13, made up approximately 42 percent of the total with more than 6,800 cubic yards of concrete delivered to the site between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Trucks arrived approximately every 67 seconds, emptying their loads into one of five concrete pumps on the site every 4.5 minutes. The schedule was repeated on two successive Saturdays.

Because of the volume of the pour required to create the mat foundation that reached thicknesses up to 18 feet, the foundation was engineered with a thermal cooling system to assure consistency between surface and core temperatures, Mills explained. In all the system consists of about 12 miles of 1-inch piping in and around the foundation, of which about 8 miles is located in the actual slab.

In addition, because of its proximity to San Diego Bay, the site required a dewatering system of 22 wells that pump out more than 300 gallons of subgrade water a minute.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the San Diego project is the largest project underway in San Diego and the largest new courthouse in the state’s construction project.

Rudolph and Sletten and their subcontracting team are preparing to begin work on structural steel in late January. Project completion set for fourth quarter 2016.

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QuickFire Chief Executive Officer Craig Lee

QuickFire Chief Executive Officer Craig Lee

Facebook Acquires San Diego’s QuickFire Networks

Facebook has acquired video-compression company QuickFire Networks, a San Diego-based company, QuickFire announced the deal on its website without disclosing terms. The local startup will help Facebook show clips quickly without sacrificing as much of the quality.

QuickFire Networks was founded on the premise that the current network infrastructure is not sufficient to support the massive consumption of video that’s happening online without compromising on video quality. QuickFire Networks solves this capacity problem via proprietary technology that dramatically reduces the bandwidth needed to view video online without degrading video quality, QuickFire said.

“Now we’re ready to take the next step in our growth. Facebook has more than one billion video views on average every day and we’re thrilled to help deliver high quality video experiences to all the people who consume video on Facebook,” wrote QuickFire Chief Executive Officer Craig Lee on the company’s website. “As part of this, some key members of our team will be joining Facebook and we will wind down our business operations.”

Facebook has been making a push to get its users to upload video directly to its site, instead of linking to videos on other sites like Youtube. Hosting the videos keeps Facebook users on the service and gives the company more control over how the videos can be viewed and placed around advertising. Quickfire’s technology could help speed up that process.

A Facebook spokeswoman would not disclose the terms of the deal.

The Razer Forge TV

The Razer Forge TV

Razer’s New Gaming System Wins 2 Top

Awards at Consumer Electronics Show

A gaming system produced by a San Diego company picked up two top awards last week at the giant Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Razer Forge TV, an Android-based unit that brings “hard-core gaming” to big-screen televisions, was the “People’s Choice” winner as well as the “Best Gaming Product.”

The product features a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 16GB of memory and HDMI output to a large-screen TV, and supports up to four controllers for multi-player games.

The company has won awards for five straight years, a record for the event.

Founded in 2005, Razer Inc. is backed by IDG-Accel and Heliconia Capital Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore investment company Temasek.

— Times of San Diego

Rep. Peters Joins Bipartisan Group

Seeking Repeal of Medical Device Tax

Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) joined a bipartisan group calling for repeal of the medical device tax included in the Affordable Care Act, saying the tax unfairly penalizes manufacturers of innovative technology. He noted the San Diego region supports a medical device industry comprised of 240 companies employing more than 11,000 workers.

“At a time when the main concern for majority of Americans is job creation, Congress needs to be supporting the growth of businesses that make their products in America and employ American workers,” Peters said. “San Diego’s and America’s economic future depends on the success of our innovators. Congress needs to support them by repealing this tax.”

“As an advocate for innovation companies, Connect applauds the current effort to repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax which passed as part of the Affordable Care Act,” said Greg McKee, CEO of Connect, an organization that supports local startups.

“The tax is inequitable, hitting small and medium sized companies much harder than larger companies that can absorb the costs, thereby inhibiting innovation and growth.”

The tax levies a 2.3 percent fee on medical devices ranging from artificial joints to MRI machines and is projected to raise almost $30 billion over the next decade.

— Times of San Diego

Chevy Volt owner Joseph Gray

Chevy Volt owner Joseph Gray

California Electric Vehicle Owners

Shocked by Electric Rate Changes

TEMECULA — It has long been public policy to encourage the adoption of both electric vehicles and residential solar systems in California.  That’s why many EV owners were recently shocked to learn that the California Public Utilities Commission is allowing Southern California Edison to discontinue a popular EV rate plan — (TOU-D-TEV) — that will directly undermine the investments these early adopters have made.

One EV owner, Joseph Gray, who is being affected by these changes, created the website ProtectOurRates.com to help educate the public.  “EVs are still relatively new so many are considering purchasing one or have recently done so.  It’s not uncommon for EV owners to also consider investing in solar systems based on the benefits of net metering in tandem with EV rate plans,” said Gray.

Gray, who purchased a Chevy Volt back in 2011, invested an additional $68,000 to have solar installed at his home in 2013. Less than a year and a half later, he is confronted by the fact that he won’t be seeing a return on his investment as planned.  He cites SCE’s termination of the TOU plan as the culprit. “SCE is shortening the summer season from seven to five months while shifting peak hours from 10-6 p.m. to 2-8 p.m.  This will be devastating to owners of solar systems who have previously earned the majority of their solar credits from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.during the summer season,” said Gray. “I feel these changes are a direct attack on EV owners who have invested in residential solar and that SCE hasn’t been transparent in this.”

Gray said EV owners are frustrated because they made their investments in good faith and their solar systems were engineered and sized based on existing EV charge plans and net metering.  He is asking for others to sign an online petition asking the CPUC and SCE to grandfather in existing EV and solar system owners so their investments are not compromised so significantly by these changes. “This is not only the right thing to do, it is what the CPUC should have demanded,” he said.

AMN Healthcare Completes Acquisition of

Onward Healthcare, Locum Leaders and Medefis

AMN Healthcare Services Inc. of San Diego announced the completion of the acquisition of Onward Healthcare, Locum Leaders and Medefis from OGH, LLC for a total purchase price of $82.5 million.  Onward Healthcare is a national nurse and allied health care staffing firm. Locum Leaders is a national locum tenens provider. Medefis is a provider of a SaaS-based vendor management system for healt hcare facilities.

“In addition to immediately bolstering AMN’s delivery of candidate supply during a strong demand environment, our recent acquisitions also build on the portfolio of innovative workforce solutions we offer in the marketplace,” said Susan Salka, president and chief executive officer of AMN Healthcare.

San Diego Employers Association Presents

35th Annual Employment Law Update

The San Diego Employers Association will present its 35th annual Employment Law Update — an opportunity for employers to obtain latest labor and employment law news — on Jan. 14 at Crown Plaza San Diego, 2270 Hotel Circle North, Mission Valley. Hours: 7:30 a.m. to noon. Breakfast included.

The event will summarize the latest labor and employment law news that directly affects employers. Attendees will learn about the latest rulings and legislative developments in California and about their impacts on businesses in San Diego.

Topics include Key Legal Developments, Top Employers’ Mistakes of 2014, and Headline News for Employers.

Speakers include Rich Paul  of Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton; Lonny Zilberman of Wilson, Turner, Kosmo; and Christopher Olmsted of Ogletree Deakins.

Cost: Early Bird Registration (before Dec. 27): $105 SDEA members/$125 nonmembers. Regular rates: $125 members/$145 nonmembers.

To register, visit www.sdeahr.org or call (858) 505-0024 or email info@sdeahr.org.

Nonprofit Announces Plans to Create

Documentary on U.S. Foster Care System

Voiceless, a new nonprofit organization based in San Diego, is setting out to create a documentary exposing the U.S. foster care system. The organization was founded by Richard Montaño, owner and operator of Montaño Companies and Mindy Tucker Fletcher, foster care advocate and wife of former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

The founders said the documentary will expose both the accomplishments and failures of the foster care system with the purpose of driving awareness to the facts and the solutions readily available to drive change. The crew is already in place and filming and production will begin in April, 2015.

If objectives for the Voiceless film are met, the $1.6 million film will yield a savings of $16 billion to taxpayers, the founders said.

The film’s director and producer, Johnson McKelvy, has been the recipient of eight Emmy Awards for his documentary work over the past 20 years. Samson Chan will serve as director of photography. An award-winning photographer, he captures athletes, Hollywood heavyweights and real-life heroes for documentary and commercial projects.

Aaron R. Cohen is a writer and television producer with 18 Emmys and a Peabody Award for documentary writing experience. Jeff Reilly, the film’s editor, has cut high-profile projects for HBO, ESPN, NBC, CBS, Sony Pictures, Nike, Dick Clark Productions and more.

Tim Smith Heads San Diego Chapter of

American Society of Landscape Architects

Tim Smith

Tim Smith

Tim Smith, founder of Wynn-Smith Landscape Architecture Inc., is the new president of the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Smith established Wynn-Smith Landscape Architecture in 1993 and has developed a wide range of experience in the design of outdoor spaces across the United States, Europe and Mexico. He has a particular interest and extensive experience in equestrian and farm/ranch master planning. Smith is one of only a few landscape architects in the U.S. who specializes in designing equestrian facilities.

Smith is a graduate of the University of Arizona and a resident of Ramona, with offices in Poway.

Other executive board members for 2015 are: Rich Risner
, Grounded Modern Landscape Architecture, president-elect; Joy Lyndes, Coastal Sage Landscape Architecture, treasurer; and Todd Schechinger, 
Schmidt Design Group Inc., secretary

Personnel Moves

Sullivan Hill Adds Shareholder

Catherine Hanna-Blentzas

Catherine Hanna-Blentzas

Sullivan Hill, a business and trial law firm in Downtown San Diego,  has named Catherine Hanna-Blentzas a shareholder in the firm. She joined the firm as an associate in 2010.

Hanna-Blentzas focuses her practice in construction, insurance, real estate, and commercial and business litigation. Her construction law practice spans both public works and private projects, and involves a wide variety of issues including breach of contract, contract interpretation, and general contractor/subcontractor disputes. She also advises policyholders regarding insurance coverage issues, securing insurance coverage on their behalf, and representing them in declaratory relief and bad faith actions.

Hanna-Blentzas earned her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, and her B.A. from UC Davis.

 

Dr. Rocky Reston Joins Cognitive Medical Systems

Dr. Rocky Reston

Dr. Rocky Reston

Dr. Rocky Reston has joined Cognitive Medical Systems as its new chief medical informatics officer. Reston’s 30 years of expertise covers health care, clinical informatics and information systems infrastructure for a variety of organizations, most recently as the CMIO for the University of Louisville Physicians.

Reston is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, board certified in clinical informatics and anesthesiology. He received his doctorate in medicine from the Uniformed Services University’s F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in Bethesda, Md. Reston also holds a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics, Electromagnetics and Biosensors from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

 

FIT Bodywrap Announces New Hires

FIT Bodywrap, a San Diego-based company focused on wellness technology, has named Skylar Burnworth as senior marketing coordinator and Kara Willingham as support and training manager. Burnworth has a background in marketing and is in charge of development and implementation of FIT Bodywrap’s marketing efforts. She also leads design and production initiatives that amplify the company’s core values. Prior to her current role, Burnworth held the sales and training manager position at FIT Bodywrap.

With over eight years of experience in the sales and spa industry, Willingham is responsible for educating and providing ongoing support and training to FIT Bodywrap Certified Providers and consumers alike. Prior to joining FIT Bodywrap, Willingham held the position of sales manager and spa director at the Hotel Indigo in Del Mar.

Jacqueline Jackson Reappointed

To Independent Living Council

Jacqueline Jackson, 59, of San Diego, has been reappointed to the California State Independent Living Council by Gov. Jerry Brown. She has served on the council since 2013.

Jackson has been an independent nonprofit management consultant since 1994. She was development director and consultant at the San Diego Center for the Blind from 2002 to 2004, director for charter school development at Norman and Norman Inc. from 1996 to 2005 and an education consultant at the Schools Future Research Foundation from 1994 to 1996. Jackson was director of education, health and family support services at the Urban League of San Diego from 1988 to 1994.

Jackson earned a master’s degree in education leadership from the University of San Diego. The position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Jackson is a Democrat.

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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.

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You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: info@probolskyresearch.com