Daily Business Report-Oct. 22, 2015
Carol Wallace, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corp., has been with the agency for 24 years.
Long-Time Convention Center CEO
Carol Wallace to Step Down in December
Carol Wallace, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corp. for the past 24 years, announced Wednesday that she will step down from the post on Dec. 31, but will serve as a consultant through 2016.
The corporation runs the San Diego Convention Center, a facility with an annual budget exceeding $33 million and 540 full- and part-time employees.
When she came to San Diego in 1991, Wallace played a pivotal role in convincing key constituents to expand the San Diego Convention Center, resulting in its expansion in 2001. Current attempts to expand the center have been mired in city bureaucracy.
After retirement from this post, Wallace said, she will continue to work in the meetings and convention industry as a consultant. “I look forward to continue contributing to the industry in a new capacity,” she said.
During her tenure, the Convention Center has been recognized across the industry for its outstanding service excellence: 11eleven Planner’s Choice Awards from Meeting News; 10 Prime Site Awards from Facilities and Destinations; Best Staff from Trade Show Week; and Best Convention Center from Southern California Meetings + Events.
“Carol is truly a recognized leader in this industry and San Diego has been fortunate to have her manage one of our most important community assets, a facility that has been ranked in the top three internationally,” said Stephen Cushman, chair of the Convention Center Corporation board of directors. “She has built a top notch team and their record of success running the facility is a testament to her leadership and passion for the industry.”
Wallace has been recognized as a leader in advancing key policy and strategic initiatives for the industry over her 35-year career. She is currently serving on the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a group responsible for advising the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on ways to strengthen the travel and tourism industry and expand economic opportunities for American businesses, including domestic job creation and visa waiver initiatives. She recently completed service as the North American representative on the AIPC International Association of Congress Centres board of directors, advancing the work of convention and meeting facilities internationally.
In September, Wallace joined the board of directors of the Professional Convention Management Association.
Before coming to San Diego, Wallace was part of the team at the Colorado Convention Center that planned, constructed and opened the original facility in 1990.
Sunroad Completes Renovations
At Bloom Offices in Carlsbad
Sunroad Enterprises has completed major renovations at the Bloom Offices at 5858 Dryden Place in Carlsbad, where 11,000 square feet of space are available for lease.
Bloom Office amenities include high-speed Internet, furnished offices, utilities, parking, coffee/tea service, mail distribution, postage capabilities, conferences rooms, copy/print/scan services, and on-site personnel to assist with office needs.
“Bloom was named for the Floral Trade Center which occupies the ground floor, 55,000 square feet of the building, and accommodates over 20 floral vendors,” said Cindy Nelson office manager for Bloom Offices. “Having such a beautiful use on the property motivates, sparks creativity, and is a perfect complement to the fast paced businesses which have already flocked to the space. As the Floral Trade Center has grown, so has this space blossomed since its renovation. It’s a very exciting time to be working here.”
ViaSat Buys 23 Acres in Carlsbad
For New World Headquarters
ViaSat Inc. has acquired 23 acres of land for its global headquarters off El Camino Road and Gateway Road in Carlsbad from Irvine-based HCP Inc.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
USD School of Business Ranked
In Top 20 for Part-Time MBA Program
The Professional MBA program at the University of San Diego School of Business is again the top part-time MBA program in San Diego and maintains its place among the top 20 part-time MBA programs offered by U.S. universities, according to rankings released this week by Bloomberg Businessweek.
This year’s rankings are based on feedback from students from the Class of 2015 and alumni who graduated between 2006 and 2009. The USD Professional MBA program ranked first in San Diego, fourth among all schools in the state of California and 13th among all schools in the United States, out of a total of 177 schools on the list.
The Professional MBA program, formerly called the Evening MBA program, recently launched a hybrid format which allows students to study at their own pace off-campus via distance learning while also retaining face-to-face contact with faculty and peers through a once a month meeting on the USD campus.
Attorney Has Plan for Convention
Center Expansion and New Stadium
Attorney Cory Briggs Wednesday night announced plans to begin circulating a wide-ranging initiative that would raise San Diego’s hotel room tax to 15.5 percent while creating a mechanism to expand the convention center, build a stadium downtown and raise money for tourism promotion.
His intent is to qualify the proposed measure for next June’s ballot, although it is unclear where the funds would come from to finance what would be a costly signature-gathering effort. San Diego Union-Tribune
Richard Alleshouse and
Pacific Surf Design
Riding a Wave of Success
Pacific Surf Designs, a company co-founded by Rady School alum Richard Alleshouse, is riding a wave of success — literally — just two short years after it started. Pacific Surf Designs engineers and manufactures surf simulators and recently installed the largest surf simulator in the world, dubbed the Supertube, at a waterpark in France.
Even more impressive is the company’s rapid growth and increasing market share. Alleshouse, who previously worked in the surf simulator industry, wanted to start an entrepreneurial venture after getting his MBA at the Rady School. The market for surf simulators, which are waves recreated by projecting a very thin sheet of water over a particular wave shape, is growing. Surf simulators can be found in water parks, cruise ships, hotels, private residences and entertainment venues. Alleshouse realized that there was a great opportunity within the industry to produce better quality products and compete with the industry leader, which had 99 percent of the market share. He launched Pacific Surf Designs in late 2012 with the aim of creating an innovative, high-quality product.
“Within two years we went from being a startup to having probably the best licensing in the industry as well as building the largest sheet wave in the industry,” said Alleshouse. “We’ve also had one patent granted with two more pending, and more coming. That will essentially give us the whole next generation of designs and excitement for this industry.”
The success of Pacific Surf Design is also a product of Alleshouse’s unique skill set. He has an engineering background and an MBA, which gave him the confidence to start his own business and take on the industry leader.
“Being in the Rady School MBA program, I was exposed to the startup environment,” Alleshouse said. “I learned how to start a company. After two years of the MBA program, I knew I wanted to start a company but wasn’t sure what type of company I wanted. Then I realized there was a real opportunity in the surf simulation industry where there was only one supplier, which wasn’t meeting the needs of the market. The Rady MBA program made becoming an entrepreneur seem so natural, like something everyone does.”
The future of Pacific Surf Designs continues to look bright. The company is working on licensing its sheet waves to make it easier to integrate into water park designs. Alleshouse said that the company wants to focus more on boutique customers, and may get into the operation of the waves, which presents another growth opportunity.
“Right now we’re on the cusp of really taking off,” Alleshouse said.
Guns for Gifts in San Marcos
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies will collect unwanted guns and exchange them for gift cards Saturday. No questions will be asked.
The exchange will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station, 182 Santar Place.
The Sheriff’s Department asks that people bring the unloaded weapons in the trunks of their vehicles. A uniformed deputy or officer will provide further information at the event and make the exchange. All gift cards are for Walmart and were purchased using asset forfeiture funds from the Sheriff’s Department, Oceanside and Carlsbad Police Departments.
A rifle or shotgun can be traded for a $50 gift card, handguns for a $100 gift card, and assault weapons for a $150 gift card. More than one weapon can be turned in to deputies, but each vehicle can only receive a maximum of $200 in gift cards.
All the weapons collected will be destroyed. Deputies collected 1,102 guns at two events in 2013 in San Marcos and Encinitas.
The event is being held in partnership with Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido, Cal State San Marcos, the California Highway Patrol, Palomar College Police and the District Attorney’s Office.
Cal State San Marcos Hosts
Women’s Hackathon Saturday
More than 100 female high school and college students from San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles counties will gather at California State University San Marcos Saturday for the institution’s fourth semi-annual Women’s Hackathon.
The 12-hour event, which challenges teams of students to work collaboratively to design a website, game or mobile app that addresses one of two selected real-world challenges, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the University Student Union Ballroom.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings. Yet, at current rates, only 29 percent of those positions will be filled by women. The Women’s Hackathon seeks to inspire female students to pursue computer and information science degrees and careers.
“A hackathon exclusively for young women provides a safe environment for them to share their creativity, collaborate with each other and build friendships,” said Professor of Computer Science Youwen Ouyang, the event organizer. “We know that the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness, yet women are vastly underrepresented in these fields. We simply must do more to expose young women to the opportunities in computer science and STEM.”
Fresh & Easy Announces Closure;
3,000 Employees to Lose Jobs
City News Service
Owners of the financially struggling Fresh & Easy grocery chain announced Wednesday plans to “wind down” the business as it looks for a buyer of all or part of the company.
The El Segundo-based company did not provide a timeline for store closures or numbers of how many workers will lose their jobs.
“Over the last two years, we have been working hard to build a new Fresh & Easy,” according to the company. “While we made progress on stemming our losses and moving the business closer to break-even, unfortunately we have been unable to obtain financing and the liquidity necessary to continue to fund the business going forward.
“As we start the process for an organized wind down of the business, we continue to work to sell all or part of the business.”
The company operates nearly 100 stores in three states, with more than half of them in the Southern California area.
Citing an anonymous company source, the Los Angeles Times reported that stores will be closed over the next few weeks, and about 3,000 employees have already received layoff notices.
UC San Diego Extension Offers
College Courses at High Schools
UC San Diego Extension has launched a pilot program at three local high schools that will offer college courses to select junior and seniors. The aim of the program, which is offered through a partnership with San Diego Unified School District, is to allow students to earn university credits, helping them better prepare for the demands of higher education while reducing the time and cost of college.
“This will allow qualified high schoolers to earn college credits at no extra cost to them,” said Ed Abeyta, director of pre-collegiate programs at UC San Diego Extension. “It is like advanced placement, or AP, courses on steroids, with students taking college classes that deliver the academic rigor for which UC San Diego is known.”
The classes are being offered at La Jolla High School, University City High School and Point Loma High School. Officials at San Diego Unified selected those three campuses because the school site leaders requested to participate in the pilot program and pledged to offer the proper support system to ensure the program’s success. San Diego Unified staff also identified juniors and seniors at those schools who were ready for the challenge of university coursework.
Courses offered will include college-level calculus, biology, sociology, engineering and earth sciences, with up to 35 students in each class. UC San Diego Extension will provide oversight of the curriculum and the instruction as well as ensure course units earned are transferrable at all University of California campuses.