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Daily Business Report-May 4, 2015

Daily Business Report-May 4, 2015

‘Fallen Star’ by Do Ho Suh at UC San Diego. (Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann)

UCSD’s Public Art Collection

Receives $1 Million Endowment

A $1 million gift announced last week will help UC San Diego preserve and grow its internationally renowned 18-piece collection of public artwork.

Sun God by Niki de Saint Phalle. (Photo by Philipp Scholz Ritterman)

Sun God by Niki de Saint Phalle. (Photo by Philipp Scholz Ritterman)

The site-specific sculptures make up the Stuart Collecion, which was launched more than three decades ago with the now famous “Sun God” by Niki de Saint Phalle.

The new gift by Mary Looker of Manhattan Beach will establish an endowment to help foster the growth of the art collection for years to come.

“The sculptures that comprise the Stuart Collection, created by some of the most eminent artists of our time, lend a unique distinction to UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

“We are fortunate to have these contemporary works to enrich and engage the campus and local community, and we are grateful to Mary Looker and all of our generous supporters.”

Looker is a member of the Friends of the Stuart Collection, a network of 130 arts enthusiasts who help fund new projects.

The collection was started by James Stuart DeSilva, a San Diego businessman who built a successful tuna fishing fleet. He used his middle name for the collection to deflect attention from himself.

Times of San Diego

San Diego Firm Awarded $3 Million Contract

For Evaluation of Checkpoint Security Scanner

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded a contract valued at $3 million with San Diego-based One Resonance Sensors LLC to evaluate the company’s MobiLab ES checkpoint security scanner, which detects explosives in electronic devices. The agreement funds the evaluation of the scanner at a number of government facilities in the U.S. and Europe.

“MobiLab ES provides a compact and powerful solution for screening electronic devices,” said Pablo Prado, co-founder and CEO of ORS. “We are very pleased to be working with DHS to evaluate our technology, which we believe will significantly increase airport security while minimizing passenger delays and disruptions.”

The MobiLab ES uses chemical-specific radio-frequency technology to provide safe and fast detection of concealed explosive materials. The screening system offers airport security checkpoints the ability to inspect electronic items for explosives in seconds without requiring the devices to be powered on.

Last summer, new emergency airport security measures were put in place to require travelers on selected flights to power up electronic devices as a part of the security screening process. The new measures slowed security checkpoints and inconvenienced passengers, who were delayed or forced to surrender their electronic items. MobiLab ES now offers a reliable, safe and highly accurate way to scan electronic devices for explosives, said Prado.

San Diego-Based iTECH Acquired

By Universal Power Group Inc.

Universal Power Group Inc., a Texas-based supplier of batteries and related power accessories, and a third-party logistics provider, has acquired San Diego-based iTECH, a manufacturer of smart lithium-ion and other batteries, chargers, docking stations, vehicle cradles and power subsystems for the medical, safety and security, communications and handheld markets.

“iTECH is a leader in the development and manufacture of innovative power solutions, using an engineering-centric approach to provide clients with highly customized power management systems,” said Ian Edmonds, president and CEO of UPG. “We believe there is great synergy between our two companies which, together with our ProTechnologies subsidiary, strengthens our position in the growing lithium-ion sector of the battery marketplace.”

Following the completion of the acquisition, the senior management team for iTECH will remain in place. iTECH will continue to operate independently, aside from opportunities to combine resources and share best practices.


Santee officials have defended the economic benefits of the deal with HD Supply.

Santee officials have defended the economic benefits of the deal with HD Supply.

West Sacramento Claims Santee

Hijacked Sales Tax Revenue

The mayor of West Sacramento blasted Santee for being a “rogue city” that hijacked sales tax revenue to which it is not entitled.

City leaders in West Sacramento are fuming over the loss of $600,000 in sales tax revenue from HD Supply, a home improvement products distributor with a large facility in West Sacramento. The city of Santee made a sweetheart deal to hijack the money, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee.

The Florida-based company consolidated its point-of-sale operations in Santee so that all its local sales tax would go to that city. In return, Santee agreed to rebate 50 percent of its collections if HD Supply’s California tax revenue exceeds $500,000 annually, the newspaper said.

“They are simply hijacking 100 percent of the sales tax and sending it to this rogue city,” West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon told the Bee. “Why would we keep zoning for industrial development if it doesn’t provide stable revenue to cover the costs associated with it?”

West Sacramento City Manager Martin Tuttle told the newspaper that HD Supply had previously fielded orders from its office in West Sacramento, making the city the point of sale for orders and netting the city nearly $1 million annually.

Santee officials have defended the economic benefits of the deal with HD Supply. “It’ not like we went and sought them out,” Pedro Orso-Delgado, Santee’s acting city manager, told the paper. “They came to us and we established a dialogue.”

Santee’s finance director, Tim McDermott, told the Bee that the 20-year- agreement with HD Supply has netted Santee about $1 million.

In response, West Sacramento has championed Senate Bill 533, introduced by state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento. The bill would close loopholes that allow companies to reassign their sales tax to another area without having to close their original location.

If passed, the bill would not affect the existing agreement between HD Supply and Santee. The bill was to be heard in the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee today, according to the paper.

City News Service

A Baxter robot (right) and other manufacturing tools at MiraCosta College’s Technology Career Institute.

A Baxter robot (right) and other manufacturing tools at MiraCosta College’s Technology Career Institute.

MiraCosta College Holds Open House

For Technology Career Institute

CARLSBAD — MiraCosta College will hold a Tuesday open house for its Technology Career Institute, a comprehensive technology training program designed to provide skilled workers for such industries as high-tech manufacturing, maritime technology, robotics and biotech manufacturing.

Many such jobs were transferred overseas in the ‘90s and early 2000s, but companies are seeing the benefit of having locally educated and trained workers and the pendulum is swinging back to the American workforce, according to college officials.

Programs housed at the Carlsbad location in a building leased from the city of Carlsbad on Las Palmas Drive include: Innovative Manufacturing (robotics, machining, engineering) and Homeland Security.

“Community colleges throughout the country are customizing offerings to meet the needs of local workforces, San Diego County notwithstanding,” said Linda Kurokawa, director of Community Services & Business Development, which encompasses the TCI programs. “Companies that are headquartered or have locations in San Diego, such as Lockheed Martin, have an increasing need for qualified, trained engineers with specializations in, robotics, biotech manufacturing, and maritime technology, and our new campus is designed to help meet that workforce demand.”

Classes at TCI began in late March.

El Cajon Business Owner Brian Milholland

California Small Business Person of the Year

Brian Milholland

Brian Milholland

Brian L. Milholland, founder and president of Milholland Electric Inc. in El Cajon, has been named California Small Business Person of the Year for 2015.

Milholland will join other Small Business Week Award winners at a May 6 awards program in El Centro sponsored by the San Diego District Office of the Small Business Administration.



The SBA also announced other winners:

Small Business Exporter of the Year

John & Yvonne Burgun, owners, Roo-hide Saddlery LLC, El Centro.

Family-Owned Small Business of the Year

Don B. McDougal, president and CEO, Grand Tradition, Fallbrook

Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year

Chuck Forrest, president, KMEA, National City

Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Amanda Horton, founder and president, Empire National Construction Co. Inc., San Diego

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

La Sonja Peisker, small business development manager, California Department of Transportation, San Diego

Small Business Journalist of the Year

Katherine P. Harvey,  former retail and small business reporter, U-T San Diego (Recently moved to Oregon to start her own business.)

Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year

Danetta Jackson, Small Business and DVBE Outreach Program manager, Department of General Services, West Sacramento.

Women In Business Champion of the Year

Sigmund Penn, mentor and volunteer, SCORE San Diego

The Small Business Awards Luncheon, sponsored by SBA and the Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center, will be held Wednesday, May 6,  11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Barcelona Event Center, 330 Wake Avenue, in El Centro. Individual seats: $35. Register at: or contact Katie Luna at (760) 312-9800.

City Council to Debate

Mayor’s Budget Proposal

The City Council today will begin five days of public hearings to scrutinize Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The mayor has proposed spending $3.2 billion, 7 percent more than the current fiscal year. The plan includes increasing operating hours at recreation centers, repairing 300 miles of roads and upgrading broadband Internet access at public libraries.

The hearings will continue throughout the week:

Tuesday’s session will focus on San Diego’s capital improvement program, public works, and transportation and storm water.

Wednesday’s hearing will feature libraries, recreation centers and the San Diego City Employees Retirement System.

Thursday’s session will involve the San Diego Housing Commission, Civic San Diego and the San Diego Convention Center Corp.

Friday’s hearing will focus on the real estate assets, purchasing and contracting, information technology and human resources departments. Friday afternoon will be reserved for further discussion on infrastructure, if needed.

The City Council is scheduled to vote to adopt a budget next month.

City News Service

Qualcomm Institute Formally Opens

Innovation Space at UC San Diego

The Qualcomm Institute will formally open the new 6,000-square-foot Innovation Space on Thursday, May 7. That’s where industry partners, faculty startups and national labs can lease space in order to benefit from proximity to UC San Diego students and faculty and services offered by the institute.

The Qualcomm Institute is the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

The Innovation Space currently has seven tenants — one nonprofit organization and six companies. They are:

• Comhear Inc. signed a multi-million-dollar deal in 2014 to develop products jointly with the Qualcomm Institute’s Sonic Arts R&D group, led by Peter Otto. “In our collaboration with the Qualcomm Institute, Comhear has now developed a suite of innovative audio software, products and services for spatial conferencing in unified communications, gaming, music, and streaming video,” said Otto.

• Technosylva, which has offices in Spain and California, develops advanced GIS-enabled software solutions for wildfire protection planning, operational response as well as firefighter and public safety. Products include software models and programs for fuels mapping, fire behavior analysis, simulation modeling and wildfire risk assessment.

• RAM Photonics LLC has worked closely with the Qualcomm Institute’s Photonic Systems Lab over the past three years, and currently licenses technology from UC San Diego. The company has three target markets for its specialty, high-performance fiber systems: telecommunications; data communications; and medical imaging.

• VirBELA was incubated at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management with a $1.7 million grant from the Graduate Management Admission Council. VirBELA used that grant to develop and demonstrate an immersive, 3D virtual-reality campus environment that hosted a global business-simulation competition for management students at top universities on three continents. It has several customers for its virtual campus technology.

• STEAM Engine Inc. is an education technology startup co-founded by Qualcomm Institute research scientist/explorer Albert Yu-Min Lin; chief creative officer Vijay Lakshman, a master game designer; and former National Geographic president and STEAM Engine chief executive officer, Tim Kelly. The STEAM Engine team at QIIS will be part of developing the first game-based immersive learning platform focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

• Sinopia Biosciences is a startup spun out of UC San Diego bioengineering professor Bernhard Palsson’s Systems Biology Research Group. Sinopia applies systems biology and bioinformatics to hematology and pharmacology.

• Foundation for Learning Equality (FLE), a nonprofit, was started by a team of UC San Diego researchers helping to make universal education a reality. As its website proclaims, FLE is “bridging the global digital divide by bringing the online learning revolution offline.”


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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: