Daily Business Report-Jan. 22, 2015
The founders of the AdBoom Group in their Downtown San Diego office. From left, Corey Baggett, Beau Hale and Eric Nordyke.
3 Local Companies Named
‘America’s Most Promising’
Forbes Magazine’s annual ranking of America’s most promising companies in 2015 included three high-growth San Diego startups.
Suja Juice ranked second, AdBoom Group third and PIRCH 25th on the list of 100 high-growth, privately held companies with under $300 million in annual revenue.
Forbes cited Suja Juice, a maker of organic juices, smoothies & teas, for generating $45 million in revenue last year with plans to double that in 2015. The company sells it products through 10 national chains, including Whole Foods, Publix, Target and Albertson.
AdBoom, an online advertising startup, has $105 million in revenue, according to Forbes. The two-year-old company was recently profiled by Times of San Diego.
PIRCH is a showroom retailer of upscale kitchen, bath and patio fixtures and furniture founded in 2008. Forbes estimated its revenue at $113 million.
“Placing one company before another is never easy but one thing you can be sure of is that each firm is going places — be it to an IPO, an eventual acquisition by a much larger player or simply on to greater profits,” Forbes said.
— Times of San Diego
Councilman Calls for Infrastructure
Financing Plan for 2016 Election Ballot
A plan to fund billions of dollars in infrastructure projects in San Diego could go before voters next year, Councilman Mark Kersey said Wednesday.
The plan to fund capital projects would join a crowded 2016 ballot, which is likely to include measures to raise the minimum wage, comprehensively amend the City Charter, and build a stadium for the Chargers. The 2016 election year will also include a vote for mayor and four City Council seats — one of which is expected to be a dogfight.
At a meeting of the City Council’s Infrastructure Committee, which he chairs, Kersey said his main goal for this year is to develop a financing plan to put before voters.
The committee also received a long-awaited five-year plan to patch up San Diego’s infrastructure, which identifies $3.87 billion in needs but only $2.16 billion in available funding. The document was touted as a groundbreaking but sobering look at the challenges ahead.
“Clearly, the needs are greater than the revenue sources,” Tony Heinrichs, a deputy chief operating officer for the city, told committee members.
The plan, several years in the making, takes into account repairs of city streets, water and sewer pipelines, buildings and other facilities, but not policy-driven items like a new stadium or an expansion of the convention center, or structures that have not undergone a condition assessment.
“This is a critical milestone in our city’s efforts to rebuild San Diego,” Kersey said. “This is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the challenges that we face.”
He said the data within the document will be updated over time, as conditions of facilities change and assessments are completed.
The largest of the big-ticket items listed in the report are $777 million over five years for stormwater improvements, $513.8 million over the same period for the sewer system and $415.5 million for road repairs, which Mayor Kevin Faulconer said last week will be his top priority.
Councilman Todd Gloria applauded Kersey for his “honest assessment” that San Diego must consider a new funding source to address the growing infrastructure deficit. “San Diego needs far more than the $2.16 billion in resources we have to fix our infrastructure,” said Gloria. “The $100 million more proposed by Mayor Faulconer last week won’t cut it, and as pointed out by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst, the city is even short of that amount.”
— City News Service
Illumina Debuts New DNA
Sequencer for Crime Labs
Illumina introduced Wednesday a new DNA sequencer for crime labs that the San Diego company said can identify leads from cases that might otherwise reach a dead end.
The MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System uses next-generation techniques to test DNA samples, checking what scientists call short tandem repeats, single-nucleotide polymorphism and other genetic markers.
“The system can be used for criminal casework and in a range of situations, including mass disasters, missing persons, and unidentified human remains,” the company said in the announcement.
The system can use “highly compromised samples” of DNA, Illumina said, and provide “physical information about bio-geographical ancestry and visible, physical traits, including hair and eye color.
“This information is often more reliable than eyewitness accounts and can be crucial in cases where traditional investigation does not identify a suspect,” the company said.
Matt Posard, senior vice president and general manager for new and emerging opportunities, said Illumina set out to “revolutionize the way forensic laboratories process and resolve their cases.”
Illumina has emerged as the global leader in gene sequencing and DNA array technologies. Last March, the editors of the MIT Technology Review named Illumina “the smartest company in the world.”
— Times of San Diego
Research: Enzymes Believed to Promote
Cancer Actually Suppress Tumors
Upending decades-old dogma, a team of scientists at the UC San Diego School of Medicine say enzymes long categorized as promoting cancer are, in fact, tumor suppressors and that current clinical efforts to develop inhibitor-based drugs should instead focus on restoring the enzymes’ activities. The findings are published in the January 29 issue of Cell.
Protein Kinase C (PKC) is a group of enzymes that act as catalysts for a host of cellular functions, among which are cancer-relevant activities, such as cell survival, proliferation, apoptosis, and migration. The discovery that they are receptors for tumor-producing phorbol esters, plant-derived compounds that bind to and activate PKC, created a dogma that activation of PKCs by phorbol esters promoted carcinogen-induced tumorigenesis.
“For three decades, researchers have sought to find new cancer therapies based on the idea that inhibiting or blocking PKC signals would hinder or halt tumor development,” said Alexandra Newton, professor of pharmacology and the study’s principal investigator, “but PKCs have remained an elusive chemotherapeutic target.” The reason, suggest Newton and colleagues, is that contrary to conventional wisdom, PKCs do not promote cancer progression; rather, they act to suppress tumor growth.
“Inhibiting PKC has so far proved not only an unsuccessful strategy in a number of cancer clinical trials, but its addition to chemotherapy has resulted in decreased response rates in patients,” said Newton. “Given our results, this isn’t surprising. Our findings suggest therapeutic strategies need to go the other way and target ways to restore PKC activity, not inhibit it. This is contrary to the current dogma.”
USD’s Online Master’s Degree in Education
Ranked in Top 100 Programs by U.S. News
The University of San Diego’s online Masters of Education degree has been ranked in the top 100 programs of its kind by U.S. News & World Report and is one of only two online programs from California universities in the ranking.
The program provides K-12 teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to advance in today’s classroom, while allowing them to continue work full time through the flexibility of online learning.
U.S. News ranked USD’s program 75th in the nation on its list of the 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs released in January. More than 250 schools were listed in the ranking. U.S. News based the ranking on student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology.
Paula Cordeiro, dean of USD’s School for Leadership and Education Sciences, said more than 120 educators are enrolled in the 20-month program. The first graduating class will complete their degrees in April.
USD is planning a new online master’s degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership in 2015.
Actress Kim Coles Keynotes
North San Diego Business Chamber Event
Actress and best-selling author Kim Coles is the keynote speaker for the North San Diego Business Chamber’s Leaders of Change event Jan. 28 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Maderas Golf Club, 17750 Old Coach Road, in Poway.
Cost is $39 for members, $59 for nonmembers.
Coles offfers humorous lessons in re-inventing yourself and your career.
Her pointers: Assess Your Career Today: What do you already have versus what you want to have. Shift Your Perception: Looking at your life from different perspectives with a fresh focus. Sprint Into Action: Turning your dreams into reality.
Coles is best known for her five-season turn as Synclaire on FOX’s comedy series “Living Single,”and has starred in numerous hit television programs including “Frasier,” “Six Feet Under,” and “In Living Color,” among others.
Coles was the co-host of the nationally syndicated daytime talk show, “In the Loop” with iVillage and has been a guest co-host for various shows, including “The View” and “Good Day Live.”
She is the author of the best-selling book, I’m Free But it Will Cost You: The Single Life According to Kim Coles.” Her newest book, “Gratitude Journal,” shares her own personal journey in order to inspire others, is available at www.openthegifts.com.
For information, call (858) 487-1767 or visit www.sdbusinesschamber.com.
Council Wants Municipal Purchasing
Contracts Investigated for Fraud
A City Council committee Wednesday directed San Diego’s city auditor to investigate whether any fraud occurred in municipal purchasing contracts that were found to be lacking sufficient oversight for compliance.
A report on the issue delivered to the Audit Committee was “alarming,” Chairman Scott Sherman said. The members of the panel voted unanimously for the follow-up examination.
The auditor’s office is conducting a performance audit of the city’s Purchasing and Contracting Department, which is expected to take another 10 days or so. However, the oversight deficiency was bad enough that city Auditor Eduardo Luna issued an interim report last week.
According to the report, monitoring was insufficient on contracts for goods and services that involved more than one city department. Officials with the departments thought oversight was being provided by purchasing and contracting. Meanwhile, purchasing and contracting employees believed the affected departments were overseeing the contracts.
Luna said in the report that the lack of oversight of citywide contracts opens the municipal government to a risk of overpayments, not receiving the goods and services, receiving substandard goods and services, and not obtaining required City Council approval when payments climb over the $1 million mark.
“This is a fairly significant internal control weakness area; it does expose us to significant fraud risk,” said Thomas Hebrank, a public member of the Audit Committee.
— City News Service
Scripps Hematology and Oncology
Conference Scheduled for Feb. 14-17
Hundreds of physicians and researchers from many of the nation’s leading cancer institutions will gather in San Diego Feb. 14-17 for Scripps Health’s 35th annual Clinical Hematology and Oncology Conference at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.
The conference will bring together experts in diverse areas of oncology and hematology to discuss the latest advances in diagnosing and treating blood-based cancers and solid tumors. It will also provide a forum where they can explore practical ways to bring these advances to their patients.
“This conference will provide an unusually broad perspective on a wide variety of blood-based cancers and solid tumors,” said conference director Michael Kosty, M.D., who is also medical director of Scripps Cancer Center at Scripps Green Hospital. “It will also offer an intimate environment where physicians can interact and discuss new ways to put the latest advances into practice to benefit their patients.”
Through Feb. 6, advance registration for the full conference is $650 for physicians; $475 for nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and allied health professionals; and $200 for fellows and residents. More information: (858) 652-5400.
Special MTS Trolley Celebrates
A trolley decorated with scenes from Balboa Park will cruise the streets of San Diego to celebrate the centennial of the Panama-California Exposition. “One hundred years ago the trolley was a very important part of the fabric of our city,” noted San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria, whose district includes the park, at a ceremony Wednesday to introduce the centennial trolley.
The 1995-vintage car is wrapped in a design by Metropolitan Transit System
staff artist Julie Andrews. It shows scenes of the park and its museums and carries the slogan “Still Fabulous After 100 Years.”
Carol Chang, president of the Balboa Park Conservancy, noted that in 1915 the crowds in the hundreds of thousands came to the exposition by trolley. “Transit is just as relevant in 2015,” she said.
“Public transit is a great way to get to the park, and you don’t have to worry about parking,” said MTS Chairman Harry Mathis. “It’s my dream that someday we will have trolleys running again in the park.”
For now, however, transit users have to transfer from a trolley line to a connecting bus to reach the park.
— Times of San Diego
San Diego-Based Naval Aviation Chief Retiring
The San Diego-based admiral in charge of all naval aviation will retire today and be replaced by the commander of air operations over the Atlantic Ocean.
Vice Adm. David Buss will step down as commander, naval air forces, and leave the Navy following 36 years of service.
Over his career, the 1978 Naval Academy graduate led one of the last squadrons of A-6 “Intruder” jets, commanded the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and directed strategy, planning and assessment in Baghdad, Iraq. He’s been in his current position as “air boss” since October 2012.
Buss will be replaced by Rear Adm. Troy “Mike” Shoemaker, who is scheduled for a promotion to vice admiral just before the change-of-command ceremony, according to the Navy.
The 1982 Naval Academy alumnus was most recently the commander, naval air force Atlantic. The veteran pilot has commanded several squadrons and air wings, has served as a flight instructor and in numerous shore-based staff positions.
The naval air forces commander is responsible for the material readiness, administration, and training of all naval aviation commands and for providing operationally ready squadrons and aircraft carriers to the fleet.
The change-of-command ceremony is scheduled to take place aboard the Stennis in San Diego Bay.
— City News Service