Daily Business Report-Jan. 29, 2015
A cleaner cab is a better cab
Supervisors Approve Plan to Entice
Cabbies to Buy Cleaner Cabs
The county Board of Supervisors approved a $360,000 program on Wednesday to entice cabbies to buy cleaner cabs. The pilot project will give taxicab owners $4,000 rebates to scrap their older, gas-powered taxis and buy newer, hybrid electric, compressed natural gas, or alternative-fuel vehicles that create less pollution.
Supervisor Greg Cox, who brought the idea to the board, said the program could mean cleaner air for everyone: taxi passengers at San Diego International Airport, people living in surrounding neighborhoods and the entire region. “We could see a reduction of three to five tons of harmful air pollutants each and every year,” he said.
Cox said that the pilot program was intended to complete the effort the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority started several years ago to convert the fleet of taxicabs that serve the airport to less-polluting vehicles.
Officials from the County’s Air Pollution Control District said 271 of the estimated 354 taxis that regularly serve the airport have already converted to cleaner vehicles, but that 83 remained older model, gas-powered cars and vans. APCD will oversee the rebate program.
Leading Economic Indicators
Up in November and December
The USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose a strong 1.3 percent in November and followed it with a solid 0.8 percent gain in December.
Both months featured big positive moves in initial claims for unemployment insurance and help wanted advertising and gains in all the other components except for building permits.
November benefited from a sharp increase in local stocks prices and a smaller drop in building permits.
With the gains in November and December, the USD Index has increased for seven consecutive months, and November’s gain was the largest monthly gain since February 2011.
San Diego’s economy did well in 2014, with jobs increasing by about 34,000 (before revisions). With the strong uptrend in the indicators and with most of them positive, the forecast is for continued growth in the local economy at least through the end of 2015.
The forecast for the year ahead is for job growth in the 35,000 to 40,000 range, which will drive the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate below 5 percent. Sectors expected to do well are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and leisure and hospitality.
FDA Approves Dexcom’s Newest System
For Continuous Glucose Monitoring
The FDA has approved Dexcom’s newest advancement for patients managing diabetes, the G4 Platinum Continuous Glucose Monitoring System with Share. The Dexcom Share receiver communicates with an app on the patient’s phone to transmit glucose information to apps on the phones of up to five designated recipients or “followers” who can monitor a patient’s glucose information from almost anymore.
“The Dexcom Share receiver represents a significant step forward for our company and our mobile strategy, but more importantly, it will provide a huge improvement for people managing their diabetes and for those parents and caregivers who help them each and every day,” said Kevin Sayer, president and CEO of Dexcom. “The FDA understands the importance of this type of innovation and the need to regulate it appropriately, and we could not be more pleased with the speed at which they reviewed and approved this important innovation.”
The Share receiver is anticipated to ship to new patients in early March. 2015.
Sanford-Burnham Research Offers
Hope for People With Hair Loss
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham have successfully used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. This is the first step toward development of a cell-based treatment for people with hair loss, a disease that affects more than 40 million men and 21 million women.
“We have developed a method using human pluripotent stem cells to create new cells capable of initiating human hair growth,” said Alexey Terskikh, associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program at Sanford-Burnham. “Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn’t limited by the availability of existing hair follicles.”
The research team developed a protocol that coaxed human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells. They are a unique population of cells that regulate hair-follicle formation and growth cycle. Human dermal papilla cells on their own are not suitable for hair transplants because they cannot be obtained in necessary amounts and rapidly lose their ability to induce hair-follicle formation in culture.
“We developed a protocol to drive human pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into dermal papilla cells and confirmed their ability to induce hair growth when transplanted into mice,” said Terskikh. “Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects. We are currently seeking partnerships to implement this final step.”
San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
Approves New Bus Services Contract
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System approved a new bus services contract agreement with Transdev Services Inc. that could bring the total value to $735 million if multiple options are exercised. The contract was awarded after a competitive bidding process.
Under the six-year agreement, Transdev will operate 52 of 95 bus route services from MTS facilities in Chula Vista and El Cajon, using MTS buses and uniforms with MTS branding. Transdev has been under contract with MTS to provide similar services for the past eight years.
“This is great news for MTS and for our riders,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. “The Transdev team offered a number of important cost-savings solutions and provided innovative ways to improve service for our customers. Transdev is an international company with great experience and depth in providing transit services, including a long history with MTS.”
As part of the new contract, MTS will provide 311 buses and two major facilities for operations, maintenance and fueling. The contract also includes funding for more than 700 Transdev operators, mechanics and administration positions in the San Diego region.
One of the priorities under the new contract is the finalization of the consolidation of the Chula Vista Transit Operations into the new South Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility with a new 16-bus bay maintenance facility and a new, two-story administration building.
SDSU College of Extended Studies
Offers Variety of Programs for Veterans
San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies offers more than 25 programs year-round that are approved for veterans’ education and military spouse benefits.
Programs are available to both active duty military and those who have completed their enlistment, and include certificate programs, career training programs, degree programs, and professional skills courses. The College offers programs to the military in fields including: business finance and administration, construction, educational services, financial services, health and human services, homeland security, hospitality, human resources, and information technology.
The My Career Advancement Account ( MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 ($2,000 per fiscal year) of workforce development scholarships to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or associate’s degree in a portable career field and occupation. For questions, call the Military OneSource Career Counselor at (800) 342-9647.
Classes are available either online or on-site at SDSU. Most SDSU College of Extended Studies on-site classes are held in the evenings, to better accommodate work and family schedules.
For more information concerning SDSU College of Extended Studies military benefits, call (619) 594-3047.
Supercomputer Center Announces
International Chemistry Collaboration
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the UC San Diego campus is a new partner in an international collaboration to develop computational models and software for simulations of bifunctional catalysis, which is a high relevance for biomass conversion to liquid fuels and raw materials used in the chemical industry.
The research is co-funded by a three-year award from the National Science Foundation’s Divisions of Chemistry and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, and the French National Research Agency, with the combined award valued at almost $815,000. Three institutions are involved in the collaboration: SDSC and the University of Delaware in the U.S., and the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France, bringing together research teams with complementary expertise.
“Detailed computer simulations can play a key role in understanding how these catalysts function at a molecular level and guide the development of improved catalysts for industrially viable processes in biorefineries,” said principal investigator Andreas Goetz, an SDSC researcher.
Cubic Segment Receives $9.9 Million Contract
Mission Support Services, a business segment of Cubic Corp., was awarded a contract valued at $9.9 million by the U.S. Air Force to support the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Human-Centered Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division in the counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear and survivability mission areas.
The five-year contract will focus on research, analysis, testing and evaluations of technology that will enhance the U.S. Air Force’s joint CBRN counterproliferation and survivability mission in the areas of cyber, electronic warfare, consequence management, alternative energy and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
Integral Senior Living to Manage
Two Senior Living Communities
Integral Senior Living, a manager of senior living communities, has been chosen to manage two new communities in Escondido — Felicita Vida Senior Living and Vista del Lago Memory Care scheduled to be completed this summer.
Currently under construction, Felicita Vida Senior Living is an assisted living and memory care community. It will offer studio, one- and two- bedroom apartments for residents. It is located at 630 Monticello Drive, Escondido.
Vista del Lago Memory Care is currently undergoing a complete remodel of an existing building and outdoor area. Upon completion the newly renovated community will feature various state of the art services and amenities including a demonstration kitchen, multiple activity areas and generous outdoor courtyards. The single-story will have 56 memory care units for residents. Vista del Lago Memory Care is located at 1817 Avenida del Diablo.
Chargers Stadium Panel to be
Revealed by the end of the Week
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday he would announce the members of his Chargers stadium task force by the end of this week. The Chargers hope Steve Cushman isn’t among them. The Chargers have been critical of the mayor for naming Cushman to lead a group studying stadium financing options.
Councilwoman, Fire Union Chief Call
For More Temporary Fire Stations
With groundbreaking just a few days away for a temporary fire station designed to reduce response times in San Diego’s Skyline neighborhood, Councilwoman Myrtle Cole and a firefighter union leader Wednesday called for more provisional facilities in the city.
Encanto is a neighborhood that could use such a station, according to Cole and Alan Arrollado, the firefighter’s union president.
Their comments came after San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief
Javier Mainar delivered an annual report, to the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, on progress made in implementing recommendations of a consultant that were issued four years ago.
— City News Service
Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Names General Manager
Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar San Diego announced the appointment of Jim Hollister as hotel general manager and director of operations for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants’ Southern California and Arizona markets. In his new role, Hollister will oversee the hotel’s day-to-day operations, focusing on guest and employee engagement, develop growth and branding strategies, and support six other markets, increasing regional presence for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.
Hollister previously was with Hotel Palomar Phoenix, where he spent two years as general manager. He joined Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2005, first overseeing the FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., also as general manager. Prior to joining Kimpton, Hollister spent 15 years with Wyndham, most recently as corporate general manager, based in Phoenix,
Casey Gerry Schenk Adds New Associate
Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP has expanded its legal team with the addition of new associate attorney Srinivas Hanumadass,
who will focus his practice on serious personal injury and product liability litigation.
Hanumadass spent seven years as a civil litigator at San Diego-based Wingert, Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP, where he prac
ticed various areas of law, including insurance defense litigation ranging from personal injury and wrongful death to labor and employment law. Prior to that, he was an attorney with DiCaro, Coppo & Popcke, practicing health care law. He earned a J.D., cum laude, from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Hanumadass is the current president of the South Asian Bar Association.
Colliers International Names Vice President
Peter Orth has joined the San Diego office of Colliers International as vice president. Orth specializes in retail sales and leasing along the I-15 corridor and has completed over $700 million in transactions during his career. A 30-year industry veteran, Orth has received numerous industry awards including Dealmaker of the Year by the San Diego County Commercial Association of Realtors, and he consistently ranks among the Top 10 retail brokers in the region.
Orth has been awarded the Volunteer of the Year by the Philanthropic Council of San Diego and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Outstanding Citizen.
Tayler Marshal Joins Witham Mahoney & Abbott
Tayler Marshall has joined the law firm of Witham Mahoney & Abbott LLP as an associate. Marshall is a 2014 graduate of the Northeastern School of Law in Boston. Prior to joining the firm she served as a legal intern to Rady’s Children’s Hospital. Marshall is the first attorney to join Witham Mahoney & Abbott since the firm started one year ago.
The firm, which launched in January 2014, was founded by three former Seltzer Caplan partners — Charles Witham, Matthew Mahoney and Daniel Abbott.
Clearpoint Agency Adds New Coordinator
Clearpoint Agency, a public relations and digital marketing firm, has named Julie Willis as account and media relations coordinator. The firm also announced the expansion of its coastal Encinitas location at 511 Saxony Place to more than1,820 square feet.
Willis comes from a background in consumer media relations, social media management, research and campaign planning for multiple clients. Her agency experience includes working with brand-name clients such as Petco, Electra Bicycle Company, Eufora International and more. Willis also worked in the nonprofit sector including in-house for The Salvation Army Kroc Center, and on the agency side for San Diego Repertory Theatre, Mama’s Kitchen, Senior Community Centers, and Planned Parenthood.