Daily Business Report-June 8, 2015
A detailed view of seats at Qualcomm Stadium, Dec. 3, 2011. (Jake Roth-USA Today)
Qualcomm Stadium Still Not ADA
Compliant and its Costing Millions
Voice of San Diego
In 2001, the city of San Diego settled a lawsuit with disability rights activists by promising to make Qualcomm Stadium fully accessible to everyone by the following year.
But, despite multiple federal court orders and at least $5 million in repairs, the stadium still isn’t fixed. Every year that passes means more money the city has to pay out to make up for the stadium’s inaccessibility.
The legal settlement called for the city to provide discounted tickets and free parking for people with disabilities at Chargers games. These perks were supposed to end once the stadium was fixed.
But because the stadium repairs aren’t done, the programs have continued. Last year, taxpayers shelled out more than $600,000 in rent subsidies to the Chargers to pay for the discounted tickets and free parking at games.
This means that taxpayers likely have spent more than $10 million in facility upgrades and rent subsidies related to disabled access at Qualcomm Stadium, and the issue is still not resolved.
So the city will be paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars more annually for these perks for at least another four years, per the terms of the settlement.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has given no indication that he wants to end the ADA subsidies at all. Mayoral spokesman Matt Awbrey sidestepped questions about Faulconer’s position on them.
“The mayor is focused on a new stadium,” Awbrey said.
Connect Opens Nomination Period
For Most Innovative New Products Awards
Startup accelerator Connect has opened nominations for the annual Most Innovative New Product Awards. The awards, held in December, honor innovative companies along with groundbreaking new products.
Nominations for the MIP Awards will be accepted through July 27 in eight categories: Aerospace & Cyber Technologies, Cleantech, Communications & IT, Life Science Diagnostics & Research Tools, Mobile Apps, Pharmaceutical Drugs & Medical Devices, Software & Digital Media, and Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony dinner on Dec. 1.
To be eligible for the 2015 MIP Awards, the product must have been:
• Developed in the San Diego or Baja region.
• First introduced between March 2014 and August 2015.
• Never nominated for this award before.
• Generated revenue from sales (except free mobile apps).
More than 100 innovation products are developed and launched by San Diego companies each year. The majority of these companies compete in the four-month judging process. Only one in each category will be selected as the Most Innovative New Product of the year.
For more information or to submit a nomination online, visit http://connect.org/mipawards.
UC San Diego Selects Vice Chancellor
For Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
UC San Diego has selected a Texas A&M University vice president as vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion — the lead senior executive addressing diversity across campus.
Becky Petitt has 24 years of leadership experience in diversity work across the university community. She served as associate vice president for diversity, chief of staff to the Office of the Vice President and associate provost for diversity at Texas A&M University. An adjunct faculty member, Petitt taught courses focused on educational administration, social justice and organizational development.
A native of Texas, she received a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and both a master’s and doctorate in education from Texas A&M University. She is a recognized national speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion.
At UC San Diego, Petitt is a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet. She oversees the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which is charged to partner with all campus units to address diversity across all areas of UC San Diego’s mission including outreach, recruitment, retention and climate.
RF Industries Finishes Purchase
Of Rel-Tech Electronics Inc.
RF Industries LTD announced that it has completed the acquisition of Rel-Tech Electronics Inc., a Milford, Conn.-based manufacturer of custom cable assemblies and wiring harnesses, for a total purchase price of up to $3.1 million.
The acquisition of all outstanding shares of Rel-Tech consists of $2.1 million in cash, 50,467 shares of RFI’s common stock valued at $200,000 and, if certain financial targets are met over a three-year period, cash earn-out payments of up to $800,000. Privately-owned Rel-Tech had revenues of approximately $7.7 million for the calendar year 2014.
One of the two original founders, Ralph Palumbo, will remain as president of Rel-Tech while Wilfred LeBlanc has agreed to a three-year consulting agreement with Rel-Tech. Rel-Tech has also entered into employment agreements to retain the five key managers.
“Rel-Tech’s product lines are complementary to those of RF Industries and enable us to diversify and expand the company’s customer base and increase product distribution to the large Northeastern wireless market,” said Johnny Walker, president and CEO of RF Industries.
Founded in 1986, Rel-Tech is a designer and manufacturer of cable assemblies and wiring harnesses for blue chip industrial, oilfield, instrumentation and military customers.
Sanford-Burnham Scientists Find
Protein ‘Sensor’ for HIV Vaccines
In a scientific discovery that has significant implications for preventing HIV infection, researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have identified a protein that could improve the body’s immune response to HIV vaccines.
The study shows how a protein called polyglutamine-binding protein 1, or PQBP1, acts as a front-line sensor and is critical to initiating an immune response to HIV. When the PQBP1 encounters the virus, it starts a program that triggers an overall protective environment against infection and enhances the production of virus-specific antibodies.
The research, which identified PQBP1 as a target for improving HIV vaccines, was published online Thursday in the journa Cell.
“Vaccines work by teaching the immune system to react by mimicking a natural infection,” said lead author Sunnie Yoh, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Sumit Chanda, director of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at Sanford-Burnham. “Designing a drug that mimics the interface between HIV and PQBP1 would allow an HIV vaccine to more effectively re-create an immune environment that mirrors real infection.”
“PQBP1 acts as a sentry for innate immune response to HIV,” added Chanda. “Now that we know the gatekeeper, it will be much easier to find a key.”
— Times of San Diego
Patricia Trauth Named to State Landscape Architects Committee
Patricia Trauth, 59, of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, has been appointed to the California Landscape Architects Technical Committee by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Trauth has been principal landscape architect at AECOM Technology Corp. since 2008. She is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, San Diego Chapter, where she was president in 2014.
Trauth earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.
The position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Trauth is a Democrat.
Solomon Ward Firm Names New Managing Partner
Daniel E. Gardenswartz will take over as managing partner of Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith on July 1. He succeeds Michael Breslauer, who served as managing partner for four years.
Gardenswartz has more than 22 years of legal experience and 20 years with Solomon Ward. In his practice, Gardenswartz represents businesses and individuals in employment, business, consumer and construction litigation, including complex class action trials and business disputes. He also regularly advises senior executives and in-house counsel on dispute prevention.
A frequent lecturer at professional seminars focused on his areas of practice, Gardenswartz is also an adjunct law professor at Western CUNA Management School and member of various nonprofit boards. His law degree is from Emory University School of Law.