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Daily Business Report-Feb. 12, 2015

Daily Business Report-Feb. 12, 2015

 The decline is most dramatic in the construction industry.

Middle-Wage Jobs in San Diego Fell

Precipitously Over the Past Decade

The number of middle-wage jobs in the San Diego economy have fallen precipitously over the past decade, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and analysis by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

That decline is most dramatic in the construction industry. Since 2004, 23,000 fewer San Diegans work in construction and as a percentage of total employment, the sector now accounts for only 5 percent of the jobs in the region.

Manufacturing has also declined by some 10,000 jobs over the past 10 years, according to the data.

Over these same 10 years, the number of occupations in the region paying between $38,000 and $56,000 declined by nearly 52,000. At the same time, the number of lower wage occupations grew some 4,780 while the number of jobs in high wage/high skill occupations grew by nearly 77,000.

“The story of the past 10 years has been the hollowing out of San Diego’s opportunity economy,” said Erik Bruvold, president of the institute. “What we have been failing to do is find strategies that foster job growth in industries that require middle level skills that pay middle class wages.”

The report also found that the number of people employed in manufacturing has declined by more than 6,000 since 2004 while the number of San Diegans employed in the restaurant industry has grown by 23,000.

Among the findings:

• Health care services has grown substantially. In 2004, 110,000 San Diegans worked in the health care services sector. A decade later that number has swelled to more than 157,000. As a share of employment, the sector had growth from accounting for 8.5 percent of nonfarm employment in the region to more than 11.5 percent a decade later.

• As of 2014, 29 percent of occupations in San Diego County paid less than $13.07 an hour.

ecoATM’s kiosks can now be found in 1,890 locations in 42 states.

ecoATM’s kiosks can now be found in 1,890 locations in 42 states.

ecoATM Says It Outperforms Rivals by

Collecting More Than 

Four Million Cell Phones, Tablets and MP3 Players

ecoATM, the San Diego company that operates the nationwide network of automated electronics recycling kiosks, reported today that it has collected more than four million cell phones, tablets and MP3 players — nearly double the amount that online buyback competitors, such as Gazelle and uSell, have each reported.

“ecoATM was founded with a mission to reduce electronic waste at a time when only three percent of phones were recycled. That environmental commitment and the instant cash rewarded are why consumers choose our kiosks to recycle their devices,” said Maria Stipp, president of ecoATM. “The four-million milestone is a true sign of growth, as we have collected more than one million devices in the past six months alone, outpacing our previous collection rate by more than two months.”

The company’s kiosks can now be found in 1,890 locations in 42 states.

A survey from ecoATM found that less than half (49 percent) of Americans have sold, recycled or given their old smartphones to someone else after they are done using it. This lack of phone recycling and reuse leaves countless devices cluttering drawers and closets in American homes, or finding their way into landfills, contributing to the growing e-waste problem.

“ecoATM provides a convenient recycling option for consumers as e-waste continues to grow at a staggering rate,” said Kate Pearce, head of mobility research and senior strategist at Compass Intelligence. “While the collection of four million devices is an impressive milestone, we expect that by the end of 2015 there will be nearly 425 million idle or inactive mobile devices in the U.S., and of those, only about 100 million will be recycled — a relatively small percentage that we hope will continue to increase with smart solutions such as ecoATM.”

 The Georgia Street Bridge was initially constructed in 1914.

The Georgia Street Bridge was initially constructed in 1914.

$9.5 Million Tentatively Approved

To Repair Historic Georgia Street Bridge

The City Council Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday approved the expenditure of $9.5 million in federal funds to complete renovations to the historic century-old Georgia Street Bridge, which spans University Avenue.

The full City Council is expected to consider the funding sometime in March for final approval.

“This is a key infrastructure investment,” said Councilman Todd Gloria, whose 3rd District includes the bridge. “Today’s action ensured the historic Georgia Street Bridge will be repaired and preserved to remain a landmark between North Park and Hillcrest. I am grateful to the Infrastructure Committee for their support of this project and for the federal funds that are making the renovations possible.”

The Georgia Street Bridge was initially constructed in 1914 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The bridge requires seismic retrofitting and rehabilitation, and the city has been working with Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration to determine the most effective engineering alternatives to address the seismic, geometric and structural deficiencies in compliance with both Caltrans and historic guidelines.

The scope of the project includes seismically retrofitting and rehabilitating Georgia Street Bridge and the existing walls that  extend along University Avenue between Florida Street and Park Boulevard.

Among the work to be done:

• The bridge will be reconstructed from the arch ribs up.

• University Avenue will be lowered approximately 2 feet 4 inches underneath the bridge to increase the vertical clearance, and the lowering will transition to existing street grade before the Florida Street and Park Boulevard intersections.

• New soil nail walls will be constructed in front of the existing walls.

• New curbs and gutters will be constructed on both sides of University Avenue.

Construction is anticipated to begin by fall 2015 and last approximately one year. The renovations are being coordinated with Sandag’s North Park-Mid-City Bike Corridors Project improvements.

The city previously received $1,742,240 of federal funds to complete the engineering work. Wednesday’s action brought the total amount of federal funds to $11,742,240 for the project.

Scripps Leads Consortium to Develop

Program to Improve Care for Ebola Patients

Scripps Translational Science Institute will lead a consortium of four partners to develop a program through which wearable, wireless health sensors, a wireless vital signs monitoring platform and advanced analytics technology will be tested in a new “precision medicine” approach designed to improve health outcomes for Ebola patients, increase the safety of health care workers and reduce risk of spreading the virus to others.

The program will be funded by a grant that was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Joining Scripps in the new program are wireless vital signs monitor developer Sotera Wireless Inc., wireless health sensor developer Rhythm Diagnostic Systems, and personalized predictive analytics technology company PhysIQ. The program is dubbed STAMP2, short for Sensor Technology and Analytics to Monitor, Predict and Protect Ebola Patients. STAMP2 will test the effectiveness of the novel technology to monitor and analyze multiple vital signs of patients either suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Ebola virus.

STAMP2 represents a potential solution to current shortcomings in the management of Ebola patients, officials said. For example, the existing approach for monitoring patients suspected of an infection detects the infection only after a patient has become contagious and the virus has the opportunity to spread. And for patients confirmed to be infected, important changes in health status can be missed in periodic vital sign checks, even when carried out every few hours. In both cases, continuous monitoring of multiple vital signs, coupled with sophisticated, personalized data analytics, can lead to much earlier warning and with it, earlier intervention.

Data from the monitors will be transmitted wirelessly to a personalized physiology analytics (PPA) platform developed by physIQ, which will use advanced machine learning algorithms to detect subtle changes in a patient’s physiological profile over time, compared to the patient’s physiological baseline.

Level 10 Construction Selected as General

Contractor for Projects at USD and UC San Diego

Level 10 Construction has been selected as general contractor for two projects at the University of San Diego and one project at UC San Diego.

The two USD projects include remodeling the Manchester Conference Center and a major alteration of Loma Hall, home to the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering.

The UC San Diego project is a renovation of Mayer Hall’s Palacci Lab for the Physical Sciences Department.

Level 10 will begin tenant improvements for the USD Manchester Hall Conference Center in June, an 8,500-square-foot interior tenant improvement for the departments of Career Services and Undergraduate Admissions. The project will include mechanical and electrical upgrades, as well as a modification to the building entry colonnade with an all-glass curtain wall system

Level 10 is also providing fast-track tenant improvements to USD’s 11,654-square-foot Loma Hall. The first phase of the renovation, which included tenant improvements requiring the demolition of most of the first floor to transform it into a showcase space for the School of Engineering, was completed Feb. 6.

The new Loma Hall space includes a lobby, shop area, ideation space, rapid prototyping lab and restrooms. A sound-isolation ceiling is being installed in the shop area to eliminate noise transmission to the second floor.

Level 10 is also the design-builder for the renovations at UC San Diego’s Mayer Hall Palacci Lab, designed for physics and laser experiments. Harley Ellis Devereaux, San Diego, is the architect.

The improvements are on schedule to be completed April 1.

USD’s Technology Showcase to Feature

Apple Inc.’s Director of Learning

William Rankin, Apple Inc.’s director of learning, will discuss how new technologies can revolutionize education during the University of San Diego’s 10th annual Technology Showcase on Friday. The showcase takes place from noon to 4 p.m. in USD’s University Center.

Rankin will discuss educational technology and new methods to increase student learning and achievement. Rankin, who led an innovative program at Abilene Christian University to provide every student with an iPad or iPhone, will discuss how mobile technologies can promote active, engaged learning both in and out of the classroom. His presentation is from noon to 1:00 p.m.

“Technology in Motion” is the theme of the 2015 showcase. From 1 to 4 p.m., there will be a variety of faculty and vendor demonstrations, including a mock “classroom” where Blackboard and other digital media and technologies found in USD classrooms can be explored in-depth. Students and faculty will also share their success stories with new technologies in panel presentations.

Integral Communities Acquires Carlsbad

Property for Multi-Family Development

Integral Communities of Newport Beach has purchased 10.46 acres at Palomar Airport Road and Palomar Oaks in Carlsbad in hopes of titling it for a residential multi-family development for 200 units. The property is currently zoned for office or industrial uses, but Integral Communities is pursuing entitlements.

The seller, the Hamann Co., was represented by CB Richard Ellis. The buyer was represented by Lee & Associates.

A test shot fires from the Office of Naval Research-funded Electromagnetic Railgun prototype launcher located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division.

A test shot fires from the Office of Naval Research-funded Electromagnetic Railgun prototype launcher located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division.

General Atomics to Perform

Railgun Power Module Work

General Atomics was awarded a contract modification by the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command for research, development, fabrication and testing of power supply modules to be used in railgun pulse power containers.

Each container houses a number of modules, which provide portable energy used to fire projectiles from the electromagnetic railgun launcher. The Navy has authorized three prototype containers for delivery in 2015. Work will be performed in San Diego (30 percent) and in GA’s manufacturing facility in Tupelo, Miss. (70 percent).

This award is a modification to GA’s existing contract with the Office of Naval Research for the design and development of the Electromagnetic Railgun Repetition Rate Pulse Power System.

“This award reflects the continued success in developing pulsed power technology through our partnership with the Navy. We look forward to continuing that partnership and providing innovative power solutions to the fleet,“ said Nick Bucci, GA vice president.

The UC San Diego Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Institute

The UC San Diego Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Institute

Newly Named Shiley Eye Institute

Projects Bigger, Bolder Vision

The UC San Diego Shiley Eye Center has been renamed the UC San Diego Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Institute, encompassing the Shiley Eye Center, the Anne F. and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center, the Hamilton Glaucoma Center and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center.

“The new name more accurately captures the fullness of the work being done at Shiley,” said Pradeep Khosla, UC San Diego chancellor. “The Institute and Department of Ophthalmology, working hand-in-hand with the School of Medicine and other programs across campus, will leverage every possible tool and expertise, from genetics, bioengineering and pharmacy to pathology, neurosciences and stem cell research, to improve the treatment of eye diseases, find new cures and hasten the day when blindness is entirely preventable.”

The Shiley Eye Institute, part of UC San Diego Health System, employs 227 faculty and staff. In 2014, there were 106,470 patient visits and 4,862 surgeries. The Shiley Eye Mobile conducted 12,238 vision screenings, 2,011 eye exams, dispensed 1,288 pairs of free glasses and referred numerous children for more serious follow up care.

A new Vision Research Center is in the early stages of planning along with the creation of a framework to fund the project. The center is envisioned to accelerate the translation of new research into treatments for patient with blinding ophthalmic diseases.

Dawn Davidson to Co-Chair

Pacific Coast Builders Conference

Dawn Davidson

Dawn Davidson

La Vita at Orchard Hills

La Vita at Orchard Hills

Dawn Davidson, president of Del Mar-based Design Line Interiors, will once again co-chair the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, returning to San Diego in June.

With her husband Bill, president of Davidson Communities, Davidson will oversee the largest gathering of building industry professionals in the western region on June 24-25 at the San Diego Convention Center. Launched in 1959, the show now alternates between San Francisco and San Diego and typically attracts industry professionals from nearly 30 countries around the world.

Interior Design Award

Davidson’s firm, Design Line, recently picked up top honors at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas with a Gold Award for excellence in interior design.

Davidson accepted the award during the 35th annual National Sales and Marketing awards, the nation’s largest competition for sales and marketing professionals and communities. Design Line was recognized for its work at La Vita at Orchard Hills, an enclave of 72 new luxury homes built by Brookfield Residential in Irvine.

General Atomics Wins $279 Million Contract

Poway-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has won a $279.1 million contract to build 24 MQ-9 Block 5 Reaper attack drones for the Air Force.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio announced the deal, which includes spare parts and support equipment.

The Reaper is a variant of the General Atomics’ original Predator. The Reaper is designed for surveillance and attack missions using a suite of airborne sensors and the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missile. The craft can fly for 27 hours at an altitude of 50,000 feet.

Users include the U.S. Air Force, British Royal Air Force and Italian Air Force.

— By Times of San Diego

The SpaceX Falcon 9 with the DISCOVR satellite seconds after launch from Florida at 3:03 p.m. Pacific Time. (Courtesy SpaceX)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 with the DISCOVR satellite seconds after launch from Florida at 3:03 p.m. Pacific Time. (Courtesy SpaceX)

After Decade Wait, Scripps-Inspired

Satellite Launched From Florida

A “space weather” satellite with scientific objectives and instruments originally proposed and designed by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanograpy finally headed into space Wednesday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Deep-Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, will observe Earth from a vantage point 932,000 miles away known as the L-1 Lagrangian point,

where a satellite remains fixed between the sun and the Earth, providing a constant view of the entire sunlit portion of Earth.

The $340 million mission was originally scheduled to begin Sunday, but was postponed twice, first because of a problem with tracking radar and then because of weather at the launch site in Florida. SpaceX confirmed that Wednesday’s launch was successful and that the spacecraft was on its way to L-1.

The successful launch comes after a very long wait. The satellite was completed in 2001, but put into storage because of a lack of funding and a suitable rocket to carry it. There was also a political dimension. The satellite had been conceived by Vice President Al Gore, and it was ridiculed by Republican lawmakers as “GoreSat.” Finally, in 2012, the mission was given a go-ahead.

The satellite and its mission were championed throughout the long period by Scripps Distinguished Research Scientist Emeritus Francisco Valero

The principal mission of the satellite is to measure space weather. A suite of instruments will observe solar flares, solar wind, and the Sun’s magnetic field variations during solar flare activity. These phenomena can disrupt a wide variety of processes on Earth, from satellite communications and control to electrical distribution systems.

The Scripps instruments will also measure the solar energy reflected back to space by Earth as well as the infrared radiation emitted by the planet. Such observations are essential to determine Earth’s energy budget, which is the fundamental driver of climate.

“DSCOVR was ahead of its time and still is,” said Charles Kennel, who was director of Scripps when the institution’s involvement with the project first began.

Personnel Announcements

L’Auberge Del Mar Adds Managers

Kurtis Hurt

Kurtis Hurt

Greg Bringardner

Greg Bringardner

Kurtis Hurt has joined L’Auberge Del Mar as director of restaurants and Greg Bringardner is the new restaurant manager.

Hurt spent the last five years at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, Ariz., where he was most recently director of banquets. While working for Ritz-Carlton, he was honored with a number of company awards for outstanding performance including Leader of the Year in 2013. Prior to Ritz-Carlton, Hurt worked for the Wild Flower restaurant in Tucson, Ariz.

Bringardner will oversee operations of the hotel’s Kitchen 1540 restaurant. He is a native of France and has spent several years working for restaurants and hotels throughout Europe including Starwood New Caledonia; Potel Et Chabot, Paris, France; Hotel Scribe, Paris, France; Hotel Ritz Carlton Arts, Barcelona, Spain; Lenotre, Paris, France; and La Reserve Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland.

Steven Herrick Named Managing Partner

Steven L. Herrick

Steven L. Herrick

Steven L. Herrick has been named managing partner for Tully Rinckey PLLC’s San Diego office. Herrick has served clients at Tully Rinckey from its early beginnings when he worked from the firm’s Albany, N.Y. office. He spearheaded the firm’s opening and expansion into Washington, D.C.

Herrick established Tully Rinckey’s San Diego office, the first on the West Coast.

Herrick has almost 35 years of experience in all facets of litigation, practicing before federal and state courts, the Merit System Protection Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as representing clients in arbitration, mediation and agency proceedings.


Cirque du Soleil's 'Varekai'

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Varekai’

Cirque du Soleil Returns

To San Diego With ‘Varekai’

A dormant volcano, a mystical forest and an ancient prophecy are the ideas behind the journey of Icarus in Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai,” which comes to San Diego later this month for seven performances.

The word “Varekai” means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies, the universal wanderers. The production features Québec-based Cirque do Soleil’s trademark drama, acrobatics, innovative music and otherworldly sets.

The critically-acclaimed production that has been seen by over 8 million people worldwide since it first premiered in Montreal in 2002.

An international cast of more than 50 will perform at the Valley View Casino Center from Feb. 25 to March 1. Nighttime shows are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 through Feb. 28, and at 5 p.m. March 1. Early shows ate at 4 p.m. Feb. 28 and 1:30 p.m. March 1

Tickets are available at or by calling (888) 929-7849. Prices range from $35-$115.

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