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Daily Business Report-Aug. 20, 2015

Daily Business Report-Aug. 20, 2015

Robert Brill-designed set of ‘The Creditors,’ a 2009 La Jolla Playhouse production. Photo: La Jolla Playhouse

 Renowned Set Designer Brings

New Perspective to UC San Diego

The Division of Arts and Humanities at the University of California, San Diego announces the appointment of Tony-nominated set designer Robert Brill as the newest faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Robert Brill’s appointment is a major addition to our faculty that will solidify our reputation as a top national program for the next generation,” said Jim Carmody, chair of the department. “His national network of connections will be an asset for new student recruitment and in placing graduates in the professional world.”

Robert Brill

Robert Brill

Brill, a 1988 alumnus of UC San Diego’s undergraduate program in theater and dance, is considered a leading figure in American theater. His set designs for theater, opera and dance have been featured on and off Broadway, in every major U.S. city and internationally during the past three decades. He is a founding member of Sledgehammer Theatre, and he received the Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design, as well as other drama distinctions.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity to return to San Diego, an area that for the past 30 years has had a profound influence on the trajectory of my life and my career,” said Brill of his new role.

Returning to UC San Diego as a faculty member, Brill will teach set design and manage curriculum design in the university’s M.F.A. scenic design program. He also will be responsible for recruiting, admitting, mentoring and supervising M.F.A. scenic design students. Importantly, Brill will be involved in the theater and dance department’s season selection process and production supervision.

“He will bring new energy to the department as a whole and to the teaching of design at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Carmody.

Brill has a strong connection to the La Jolla Playhouse where he has designed nearly 20 productions and served as its first artist-in-residence during the 2013-2014 season. That relationship complements the support that students gain from the partnership between UC San Diego and the playhouse, which remains a wholly separate organization from the university.


Chicken of the Sea headquarters

Chicken of the Sea headquarters

Chicken of the Sea Reports Exceeding

2020 Goal of Reducing Landfill Waste

San Diego-headquartered Chicken of the Sea reported Wednesday that it has exceeded its initial 2020 goal to reduce landfill waste by 30 percent per case and is investigating options to move toward a zero-waste facility.

The manufacturing company said it experienced a 50.5 percent decrease in the amount of waste it takes to produce a case of product — far surpassing its goal.

The achievements were reported in the company’s 2014 corporate sustainability report.

Other findings:

• With a 6.5 percent decrease in the amount of electricity from 2012 to 2014, the company is on track to meet its 20 percent reduction goal in electricity and natural gas use. However, during the same period of time natural gas use increased by 21.6 percent on a production-adjusted basis and is now one of the company’s top environmental priorities.

• Over a two-year period, Chicken of the Sea saw an 11.6 percent decrease in the amount of water it takes to produce a standard case of product. Chicken of the Sea is investing in a variety of water conservation measures, including using new technologies, reducing point-of-use water and increasing water recycling.

• By the end of 2014, Chicken of the Sea had completed sustainability audits for 57 percent of its seafood vendors and suppliers and is on track to audit 80 percent by the end of 2015. Launched in 2013, the third-party audits look at the company’s suppliers’ labor and human rights performance, environmental management systems, and overall business practices. Chicken of the Sea will audit additional suppliers each year and re-issue audits every three years.

Cubic Wins Tunnel Contract

From Transport for London

Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a business unit of Cubic Corp., has been awarded the Tunnel Outstation Maintenance Services  contract by Transport for London.

The contract, delivering maintenance of Intelligent Transportation Systems infrastructure within Transport for London’s 12 road tunnels and the associated 90 kilometers of road corridors, extends Cubic’s history in delivering this service for the next 10 years.

Supported by radio systems supply partner, Simoco EMEA, Cubic is to start mobilizing the contract this month and begin full service delivery by February 2016.

“London’s 12 tunnels are used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day. We are therefore always looking to ensure that the technology within them is kept as modern and dynamic as possible,” said Dana Skelley, director of asset management at Transport for London. “This new contract is key to keeping our tunnels operational, allowing us to help keep London moving as part of our wider Road Modernization Plan.”

Registrar Validates Signatures for

The Agua Hedionda South Shore Plan

The County Registrar of Voters has confirmed that Caruso, a development company, collected enough valid signatures to force the Carlsbad City Council to either approve its development plan — the Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan (“85/15”) — or to put it to a public vote. The council is expected to make a decision at its Aug. 25 meeting.

According to the registrar’s office, a stand-alone special election would cost between $450,000 and $550,000, and the city would be responsible for paying 100 percent of the cost.

Canyon Crest Academy

Canyon Crest Academy

6 San Diego County High Schools

Make Newsweek’s Top 500 List

City News Service

Six high schools in San Diego County were included in a list of the top 500 public high schools in the country released Wednesday by Newsweek.

The San Diego contingent was led by River Valley Charter High School of Lakeside, which ranked 94th in the country, helped by a 100 percent graduation rate. All of the school’s graduates were headed for college, according to Newsweek data.

Following in order were Westview High, near Rancho Penasquitos, 97th; Canyon Crest Academy, Carmel Valley, 117th; Del Norte High School, 4S Ranch, 209th; Torrey Pines High School, Carmel Valley, 336th; and Classical Academy, Escondido, 493rd.

The top high school in the country was Thomas Jefferson High of Alexandria, Va., where all the students graduated and nearly all went to college. Students at the school posted an eye-popping average Scholastic Aptitude Test score of 2,182.

In a separate list of the top 500 high schools that was adjusted for poverty rates, Kearny High in Kearny Mesa ranked 89th, Patrick Henry in San Carlos was 169th, Westview was 238th, Del Norte 384th, and Canyon Crest 442nd.

The top high school nationally when adjusted for poverty levels was Success Academy in Cedar City, Utah, according to Newsweek.

Civic San Diego to Fund Projects

That Benefit Low-Income Community

City News Service

Civic San Diego announced Wednesday it is looking for projects to fund with New Markets Tax Credits, which allow corporations or individuals to make donations and receive credits against their income taxes.

The agency, which assists the city of San Diego in development in Downtown and other urban areas, is looking for projects to finance with $83 million of funding. To qualify, a project must be located in, or directly benefit, a low-income community by creating quality jobs, or providing goods or services to low-income people, according to the agency.

“Civic San Diego’s New Markets Tax Credit program is one example of how our organization has quickly and nimbly responded to the dissolution of redevelopment and continued to invest in our communities in projects that make a positive difference,” said Civic San Diego President Reese Jarrett. “The New Markets Tax Credits attracts capital to projects that provide community services and benefits that contribute to improving the overall quality of life in San Diego.”

The financing program is intended to provide no more than 20 percent of a project’s total cost, and is best suited for large capital projects of $8 million or more, according to Civic San Diego.

As part of its announcement, Civic San Diego said an $8 million donation from Bank of America Merrill Lynch will go to the Urban Corps of San Diego County to help the job-training nonprofit pay down its mortgage and fund operations.

Urban Corps youth work 24 to 30 hours each week learning tangible job skills and earning vocational credits.

Pacific Cove Apartments

Pacific Cove Apartments

Positive Investments Acquires Three

Apartment Complexes for $17.4 Million

Positive Investments has purchased three apartment projects in San Diego from the Mundt Trust for a combined price of $17.4 million.

Pacific Cove, which has 81 units and is located at 4019-4027 Oakcrest Drive, sold for $7.750 million and is 100 leased. The Genesis Apartments, which sold for $5.412 million, is located at 5492-96 Imperial Ave., and is 98 percent leased. Casa Serena, with 37 units and located 6433-6456 Shaules St., sold for $4.241 million and is 100 percent leased.

Positive Investments, based in Arcadia, plans to do some renovations in the complexes.

Cibus and Rotam to Develop

Herbicide-Tolerant Rapeseed

San Diego-based Cibus, a leader in non-transgenic breeding and precision gene editing, and Rotam, a company in the crop protection industry, have announced a new agreement to cooperate in the development of herbicide-tolerant rapeseed in China.

The herbicide-tolerant rapeseed will be produced in China to help meet the country’s growing demand for high quality, non-transgenic rapeseed oil. Rotam will take the lead in choosing rapeseed breeding partners and establishing the relevant business model to commercialize both the seeds and herbicides in China.

Global rapeseed production has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, rising from the sixth largest oil crop to the second largest. Between 1999 and 2008, rapeseed oil made up 13-16 percent of world vegetable oil production The Chinese breeding society believes with its launch in China, Cibus and Rotam will provide a way to strengthen the Chinese rapeseed industry by lowering the cost of production and increasing yield.

Salk Institute: Receptors in Brain

Linked to Schizophrenia, Autism

The loss of a critical receptor in a special class of inhibitory neurons in the brain may be responsible for neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and schizophrenia, according to new research by Salk scientists.

The importance of the receptor, called mGluR5, in other areas of the brain had been previously established. Until now, however, no one had studied their specific role in a cell type known as parvalbumin-positive interneurons, thought to be important in general cognition and generating certain types of oscillatory wave patterns in the brain.

“We found that without this receptor in the parvalbumin cells, mice have many serious behavioral deficits,” says Terrence Sejnowski, head of Salk’s Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, , which led the research published in Molecular Psychiatry on Aug. 11. “And a lot of them really mimic closely what we see in schizophrenia.”

Read more…

Workshop for Warriors Awarded

$75,000 by JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Workshops for Warriors announced has been awarded a $75,000 grant by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to assist in its efforts to train veterans transitioning into civilian life with job skills and placement. Funds will be used for advanced manufacturing training for veterans.

Founded in San Diego in 2008, Workshops for Warriors provides veterans and injured vets with training in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Since 2011, 194 veterans and wounded warriors have been trained on-site and received third-party nationally recognized credentials, with 100 percent of graduates obtaining jobs in advanced manufacturing.

“We recognize that many employers have job openings but no properly trained job applicants,” said Myeisha Peguero Gamino, JPMorgan Chase’s vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Southern California. “Through our initiative called New Skills at Work, we are working with great partners like Workshops for Warriors to close that skills gap.”

SDtexty website image

SDtexty website image

SDSU Graduate Wages War

Over Used-Book Prices

Times of San Diego

It’s a textbook case of how to fight what some call profiteering. A San Diego State University graduate is waging war over used-book prices.

International business alum Ryan Heimpel — who once kept his name secret — is promoting, his online marketplace. Using it, students buy and sell used textbooks directly, bypassing the bookstore and online brokers.

“It’s all about cutting out the middleman,” Heimpel says. “I was sick and tired of selling my textbooks back to the bookstore for $10 at the end of the semester only to see them on the shelf again for $100 the following semester.”

Realizing he wasn’t alone, he launched the work-around in late 2012. (When the SDSU student newspaper first wrote about the site, Heimpel didn’t want his name used — preferring to be known as “Texty.”)

The site’s domain name was registered in June 2012, according to online records. By September, the site said: “Don’t get ripped off by the bookstore. Buy, sell or trade textbooks directly with other SDSU students.”

After seeing the site go viral at SDSU, Heimpel teamed with students at UC San Diego and founded He says that site also saw immediate demand. He plans to launch a marketplace for San Diego community college students in the next year.

With SDtexty, the seller posts a used book for $60 or $70 — deriving more money than the “buyback” deal offered at the SDSU bookstore.


Personnel Announcements

Chula Vistan Appointed to Peace Officers Group

Joshua Eustice, 38, of Chula Vista, has been appointed to the California Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training by Gov. Jerry Brown. Eustice has served as a correctional officer at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility since 2006. He was a security manager at Law Enforcement Security Services from 2003 to 2005 and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1995 to 2002. He is vice president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association chapter at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. The position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Eustice is a Democrat.

Latitude 33 Promotes Staffers to Partner

Tara Lake

Tara Lake

Giovanni Posillico

Giovanni Posillico

Tara Lake and Giovanni Posillico have been promoted to partners at Latitude 33, the San Diego-based planning and engineering firm.  The addition of Lake and Posillico expands the firm’s leadership to eight partners.

Lake’s experience includes more than 17 years of working in private and public sector urban planning. She has a broad background in residential, mixed-use and commercial entitlements along with land planning, landscape architecture, public sector planning and mobility planning.

Posillico’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in civil engineering land development, urban infill, single family and multi-family residential as well as commercial, military and institutional projects.


ConAm Group Appoints Executive VP

Julie Brawn-Whitesides

Julie Brawn-Whitesides

San Diego-based ConAm Group announced the appointment of Julie Brawn-Whitesides as its new executive vice president of property management. Brawn-Whitesides will be a member of the company’s senior management team and will be responsible for overseeing management operations for ConAm’s nationwide apartment portfolio.

A 22-year veteran of the multifamily industry, Brawn-Whitesides was previously responsible for an 80,000-unit national portfolio as the executive vice president of FPI Management.

Founded in 1975, The ConAm Group of Companies is a real estate management and investment firm specializing in multifamily housing.


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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?

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