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Daily Business Report-Feb. 26, 2015

Daily Business Report-Feb. 26, 2015

Jared Tangney, co-founder of  Electrozyme, holds the company’s personal hydration monitor. The company won a Connect Most Innovative Product Award in 2014. (Photo by Chris Jennewein)

San Diego Saw Record 228

High-Tech Startups in Six Months

San Diego entrepreneurs started a record 228 high-tech companies and venture capitalists provided $470 million in financing in the first half of last year, according to a new report.

The report by Connect, San Diego’s original startup accelerator, shows the growth and dynamism of San Diego’s innovation economy.

“These first half results demonstrate a thriving economy fueled by the growth of knowledge-based industries. More start-ups were founded in San Diego in the first half of 2014 than any other period in our city’s history,” said Greg McKee, Connect’s chief executive officer.

Among the other findings in the Innovation Report for San Diego County covering the first half of 2014 were:

Most startups, 128 in all, were in software, followed by 43 in electronics, computers and communications, and 39 in life sciences.

Startups created 885 news jobs at an average annual salary of $114,730.

A total of 3,334 patents were granted to San Diego-area companies, the largest number in Southern California and just behind two counties in Silicon Valley.

In addition to venture capital funding, companies raised $200 million in initial public offerings, $620 million in private placements and $1.6 billion in follow-on public equity offerings.

A total of $392 million in grant funding went to startups, almost half of it from the National Science Foundation.

CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985.

— Times of San Diego

Former Assembly Speaker Joins

ecoATM Firm’s Advisory Board

Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr.

Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr.

Willie Brown Jr., the longest serving California Assembly Speaker and one of only two African Americans to hold that post, has joined the advisory board of ecoATM, the San Diego-based company that operates a nationwide network of electronic recycling kiosks.

“I am excited about joining the board of advisors for ecoATM, as the company is a wonderful example of a California-born business that is technologically forward and environmentally friendly,” said Brown. “ecoATM puts money into the hands of consumers and encourages responsible recycling to protect the environment by recycling those old electronics in a safe and secure manner.”

Brown’s public service career spanned more than four decades. During that time, he also served as mayor of the City of San Francisco, which ended in 2004. He was Assembly Speaker for 15 years.

As Speaker of the Assembly, Brown was credited with helping create a regulatory climate which fostered technological innovation, economic growth and environmental leadership. Brown also presided over the city during the .dot com era, when San Francisco’s high-tech economy grew rapidly.

Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate

Hosts Real Estate Conference March 5

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate in the School of Business Administration at the University of San Diego will host its 19th annual Real Estate Conference on Thursday, March 5, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego from 7 to 11:45 a.m. The conference is a signature gathering of over 700 senior real estate executives and will present a keynote and three speaker panels. Speakers will highlight expected demographic, technological and capital trends and how those trends will impact the San Diego real estate market. The conference will offer a keynote and three panels.

Keynote speaker John Kilroy, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Kilroy Realty Corp., will offer his perspective on national and global dynamics impacting the real estate market.

A panel of industry leaders will address the topic: “Transformational Technologies Impacting Commercial Real Estate.”

A second panel will discuss “Demographic Impacts on Real Estate Strategy and Design.

The final panel will address: “Crowdfunding of Real Estate and its Future as a Viable Capital Source.”.

Registration for the event, which includes breakfast, costs $175 for an individual, $1,750 for a reserved table of 10 or $875 for a reserved half table of five. Register at: Or call (619) 260-2379.

The Airspace Lounge at Lindbergh Field

The Airspace Lounge at Lindbergh Field

Airspace Lounge Opens at Lindbergh Field

For $25 per day, San Diego International Airport travelers can use the newly opened Airspace Lounge, located in the corridor between Terminal 2 East and Terminal 2 West.

The lounge offers panoramic views of the airfield, seating areas, a full food and bar menu and shower facilities.

Operated by Swissport, Airspace Lounge is open 365 days a year and available to all Lindbergh Field passengers for as low as $25 per day. American Express Platinum and Centurion card holders receive complimentary access to the lounge. The lounge also welcomes Admiral’s Club, Japan Airlines, and British Airways members and guests.

“With record numbers of passengers passing through the airport, it’s especially important to provide a first-rate travel experience for each and every passenger,” said Thella F. Bowens, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “Airspace Lounge provides passengers traveling with any airline a quiet location to sit, catch their breath and take a break from the busy airport experience outside.”

Bruce Binkowski Stepping Down

As Head of San Diego Bowl Game Association

Bruce Binkowski

Bruce Binkowski

The man who has led the San Diego Bowl Game Association for the past 14 years will step aside and be replaced by a longtime associate, organizers of the Holiday and Poinsettia Bowls announced Wednesday.

Bruce Binkowski — labeled the “Voice of San Diego” — has been with the association for 37 years, spending the last 14 as executive director.

He will serve as a consultant for a year as Mark Neville transitions into the job.

“Bruce’s leadership through the years has been exemplary and a key reason the bowl games enjoy the success they realize today,” said association President Vincent Mudd. “We are so appreciative of Bruce’s leadership for so many years and we are happy he will continue to serve us and assist with the transition to our new director. He will prove to be an invaluable asset to Mark as he steps in to fill his shoes.”

Mark Neville will replace Binkowski

Mark Neville will replace Binkowski

Binkowski was the Holiday Bowl’s first paid employee when it debuted in 1978 and was promoted to executive director in 1991. Separately, he provided a recognizable voice on the radio and as a public address announcer for numerous local sporting events.

Neville will succeed him Sunday. Since starting with the Holiday Bowl in 1991, he has led sponsorship, marketing, advertising and media relations efforts.

“We are confident Mark is the right guy to lead the San Diego bowl game effort moving forward,” Mudd said. “His experience and knowledge of the industry is tremendous and he’s been by Bruce’s side learning the ropes for many years now. He is ready and we’re grateful for his passion and professionalism.”

Binkowski was honored with a lifetime achievement award Monday by the San Diego Hall of Champions. — Times of San Diego, City News Service


USS San Diego Returns After 7-Month Voyage

The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego returned to its namesake home port Wednesday following its maiden deployment with two other vessels.

The San Diego, amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and dock landing ship USS Comstock carried troops of the Camp Pendleton-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit on a seven-month voyage to the Western Pacific and Middle East.

Commissioned in May 2012, the San Diego sailed 26,000 nautical miles while its sailors and Marines helped with air strikes against Islamic State targets and moved three National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration researchers out of the path of a storm near Hawaii, according to the Navy.

Capt. Steve McKone, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5, said his crew “had a very intense deployment that required us to execute multiple mission sets simultaneously for long periods of time.”

The 11th MEU landed at Camp Pendleton Monday, while Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Detachment 2, returned to Naval Air Station North Island Tuesday.

— City News Service        

Gary Hulbert, a conservator, working on the mural.

Gary Hulbert, a conservator, working on the mural.

Alice Uncovered at San Diego State

The first phase of a two-stage project to restore the so-called “Alice in Wonderland” mural, located in San Diego State University’s Hardy Tower, is drawing to a close with many of the artwork’s colorful images now uncovered.

Damages have also been discovered requiring repairs before the restoration can be completed.

Conservator Gary Hulbert began the restoration in late December. He has been working inch by inch to remove several layers of wall paint from the mural first covered over by maintenance workers decades ago.

In recent weeks, Hulbert has managed to uncover Alice and many other characters in the original mural. He said he is generally pleased and may be a little surprised by what he found under the wall paint.

“I think maybe the unexpected was how good condition the Queen of Hearts and some of the figures were underneath because I knew there was quite a bit of water damage towards the top of the mural,” he said. “But Alice — there was a figure above her (in good condition) and then down the rabbit hole is in just incredible shape.”

The figure Hulbert found above Alice is that of a man holding a hat, probably the artist’s interpretation of the Mad Hatter. The character was discovered after Hulbert removed panels from a dropped ceiling likely added several years after the mural was painted.

“He has a bow tie,” said SDSU Anthropology Department Chairman Seth Mallios, who has led the effort to preserve many of the campus’ historic artworks. “In many popular images of the Mad Hatter since the time the character was created, he is depicted wearing a bow tie.”

Hulbert said he is pleased to have found so much original paint from the mural still on the wall. More distressing to the conservator, however, is damage to the wall on which the mural is painted surrounding a stairwell window.

“There’s quite a bit of water damage toward the top left and along the bottom left of the window,” Hulbert said. “Water seeped behind the mural in the stucco layer and plaster layer and it’s pretty loose sand-like material right now.”

Hulbert will dig out the loose areas and patch them, causing as little damage to the surrounding original paint as possible. In the second phase of the restoration, damaged areas will be in-painted to help return the mural to its original appearance.

— By Tobin Vaughn/SDSU NewsCenter

Read more…

Strong Growth in Utilities Fees

Leads to Projected Surplus for San Diego

Strong growth in fees paid to the city by utilities and cable television companies and gains in tax revenues are projected to increase the city of San Diego’s general fund by $14.2 million more than expected, according to a report delivered Wednesday to the City Council’s Budget Committee.

The improvements in the general fund reported by city Financial Management Director Tracy McCramer were partially offset by expenses that are expected to be $9.3 million higher than planned for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Among the revenue growth in the report:

• Franchise fees paid by San Diego Gas & Electric and cable TV companies are projected to be $5.4 million higher than the $70.7 million that had been expected, partly because of higher energy rates and consumption, according to financial management staff.

• Hotel room taxes will provide an extra $2.2 million, for a total of $94.5 million.

• Sales taxes are projected to add $2 million, to $259.1 million; and

property taxes are projected to increase by $1.1 million, to $446.6 million.

For expenses, wages and salaries are projected to be $8.3 million higher citywide, totaling $504.9 million.

The biggest hikes are for overtime, workers’ compensation and disability pay in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, totaling $9.3 million, and the San Diego Police Department— $6.8 million.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the committee that SDPD overtime costs primarily stemmed from a need to train newly minted officers in the field.

— City News Service


Personnel Announcements

Habitat for Humanity Hires Director of Development

San Diego Habitat for Humanity has hired Karen Begin as director of development, whose mission is to help guide the organization’s continued growth.

Begin is charged with leading the affiliate in meeting its fundraising goals, as well as being an integral part of developing and implementing strategies that will bring additional success to Habitat in the coming years.  She will be focused on forming tactical developmental partnerships and leveraging existing resources in order to foster growth of San Diego Habitat for Humanity and its programs.

Begin previously spent five years as associate vice president of charitable giving at The San Diego Foundation, where she increased support for Foundation-led initiatives and worked with donors to establish charitable funds. Prior to that, she served as the development director at North Coast Repertory Theatre.

Qualcomm Co-Founder to be Inducted

Into Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame

 Qualcomm Inc. co-founder Andrew Viterbi

Qualcomm Inc. co-founder Andrew Viterbi

Connect, the startup acceleration program in San Diego, has selected Qualcomm Inc. co-founder Andrew Viterbi for its highest honor — induction into the Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Viterbi is being honored for his extensive contributions to Wi-Fi, 3G cellular and digital-satellite communications, speech recognition, DNA analysis and engineering education locally and globally.

An award luncheon honoring Viterbi will be held on March 19 at Estancia La Jolla.

In 1985, Viterbi co-founded Qualcomm Inc. (with Irwin Jacobs, Harvey White, Adelia Coffman, Andrew Cohen, Klein Gilhousen, and Franklin Antonio). He served as chief technical officer until 1996 and vice chairman until 2000. Under his leadership,  Qualcomm received international recognition for innovative technology in the areas of digital wireless communications based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technologies.

Viterbi’s most prominent research contribution is the Viterbi ålgorithm, one of the most important mathematical concepts of the 20th century, a means of separating information from background noise. The Viterbi Algorithm is used in most mobile phones and digital satellite receivers, as well as in the fields of magnetic recording, voice recognition and DNA sequence analysis.

Viterbi is the 13th inductee into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Past inductees are  Irwin Jacobs, Walter Zable, Ivor Royston, William Rastetter, J. Robert Beyster, Neal Blue, Linden Blue, Peter Preuss, Gene Ray, Howard “Ted” Greene, Ron Taylor and Peter Farrell.

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Voice Your Opinion

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.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: