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Daily Business Report-Jan. 22, 2016

Daily Business Report-Jan. 22, 2016

Tourism advertisement from the San Diego Tourism Authority.

San Diego Tourism Authority Launches

$10 Million Advertising Campaign

The San Diego Tourism Authority is launching its annual spring-summer advertising campaign this week — a $10 million program that includes TV, print, online and billboards in several U.S. cities, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“In the highly competitive world of tourism, advertising and marketing are vitally important,” said Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the Tourism Authority. “During the next several months, we will be promoting the destination extensively through multiple platforms to attract visitors to our region, in turn maximizing tax revenue for local governments.”

Last year, tourism in San Diego County generated a record $266 million in hotel tax revenue, which local governments use for services such as police, fire, parks and libraries.

In 2016, the Tourism Authority will focus on several new markets, including New York, Chicago and Dallas. The “Happiness is Calling Signs” commercial, which debuted last year, will air on television stations in these cities, as well as in Seattle, San Francisco and Sacramento, which are considered important feeder markets for San Diego. During the last two weeks of December, the television spot ran in 6,000 New York City cabs and was displayed on a large digital billboard in Times Square.

The campaign, which runs through June, also includes print advertising in several popular magazines including Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Golf Digest, Sunset, Bon Appetit, Runner’s World and Real Simple. Digital advertisements will run on HULU, ABC, FOX, TripAdvisor, and USA Today, among other outlets, as well as on digital billboards in Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The Tourism Authority is partnering with Brand USA, the organization that markets the United States as a visitor destination, to run digital programs in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Last year,  34.2 million visitors came to San Diego and spent $9.9 billion at local attractions, shops and restaurants, according to tourism officials.


Corina Antal

Corina Antal

Salk Institute Researcher

Makes Forbes’ ’30 Under 30’ List

Corina Antal, a Salk Institute research associate in Ronald Evans’ lab, has landed on the Forbes “30 under 30” list in science.

According to the magazine, the class of 2016 is comprised of “bright entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents” in 20 sectors.

Antal, 29, was first author of a study about a group of proteins that was thought to promote growth in tumors but actually suppresses their growth, which could pave the way to new cancer treatments. The study was published in the journal Cell.

Alexandra C. Newton of UC San Diego was the senior author of the study. Other San Diego area researchers on the paper include the Salk Institute’s Tony Hunter.


Cassandra Curtis

Cassandra Curtis

Co-Founder of Baby Foods Company Named

Finalist in SBA Women’s Business Challenge

Cassandra Curtis, co-founder of Once Upon a Farm, a San Diego maker of eco-friendly and nutritious baby food products, has been named one of 10 finalist in the 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating Women Business Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The challenge is a nationwide business competition to highlight innovative products and services created and launched by cutting-edge entrepreneurs.

The finalists will have the opportunity to compete for the top three awards totaling $70,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft. They have been invited to the the National InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge during Women’s History Month in Washington, D.C. on March 17 where they will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges.

An executive committee of SBA officials reviewed more than 180 semi-finalist nominations and selected 10 finalists whose products and services best met the competition criteria and presented the greatest potential for success.

Curtis co-founded Once Upon a Farm with Ari Raz. They each established baby food businesses of their own before joining forces in 2015. The organic baby food brand debuted in September 2015. In San Diego, the brand is found in such stores as Windmill Farms, Sprouts and Boney’s.




San Diego County Jobless Rate Drops Again

Non-Farm Jobs

• Up by 200 over the month

• Up by 37,500 over the year

The unemployment rate in the San Diego County was 4.7 percent in December, down from a revised 4.8 percent in November 2015, and below the year-ago estimate of 5.5 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported today.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.8 percent for California and 4.8 percent for the nation during the same period.

“While the unemployment rate decreased over the month, the number of individuals participating in the labor force also decreased, indicating that there is still work to be done for economic recovery,”said Tina Ngo Bartel, director of business programs and research for the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “We are optimistic, though, as year-over employment gains in all but one industry is a positive indicator for San Diego County.”
Between November and December:

Total nonfarm employment increased from 1,415,700 to 1,415,900, a gain of 200 jobs. Agricultural employment declined by 500 jobs, or 5.1 percent.

• Trade, transportation, and utilities recorded the greatest month-over gain, adding 2,000 jobs. Seasonal growth in retail trade (up 1,900) accounted for 95 percent of the increase in this sector, primarily from general merchandise stores (up 1,200). Transportation, warehousing, and utilities added 300 jobs and wholesale trade declined by 200 jobs.

• Five other sectors also added jobs over the month: financial activities (up 400); manufacturing, information and government (up 300 jobs each); and educational and health services (up 100).

• Four other nonfarm sectors posted month-over job losses. The most significant came from leisure and hospitality (down 2,200), mainly from accommodation and food services (down 1,600).

Between December 2014 and December 2015:

Total nonfarm employment increased by 37,500 jobs, or 2.7 percent. Agricultural employment declined by 200 jobs over the year.

• Educational and health services recorded the greatest year-over gain, adding 10,200 jobs. Healthcare and social assistance (up 9,400) contributed to roughly 90 percent of the job growth in this sector.

• Eight other sectors also added jobs over the year: professional and business services (up 7,000); construction (up 5,800); trade, transportation and utilities (up 5,500); government (up 3,700); financial activities (up 3,000); leisure and hospitality (up 2,100); manufacturing (up 1,800); information (up 900).

• One industry posted year-over job losses: other services (down 2,500). Mining and logging remained unchanged.



Salk Institute researchers, from left, Terry Sejnowski, co-senior author of the study; researcher  Cailey Bromer and Salk staff scientist Tom Bartol. (Courtesy of the Salk Institute)

Salk Institute researchers, from left, Terry Sejnowski, co-senior author of the study; researcher Cailey Bromer and Salk staff scientist Tom Bartol. (Courtesy of the Salk Institute)

Brain’s Memory Capacity 10 Times

More Than Previously Thought

The memory capacity of the human brain is 10 times more than previously thought — in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web — according to research conducted by the Salk Institute.

The new work also answers a longstanding question as to how the brain is so energy efficient and could help engineers build computers that are incredibly powerful but also conserve energy.

“This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” says Terry Sejnowski, Salk professor and co-senior author of the paper, which was published in eLife. “We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”

Read more…


A Potbelly restaurant in Houston.

A Potbelly restaurant in Houston.

Potbelly Expanding Franchise to San Diego

Chicago’s  Potbelly Corporation announced that it will be expanding its franchise to California — including a location in San Diego — and is now accepting franchisee inquiries. Its stores are known for their toasted sandwiches.

“We expect our franchisees to be strong multi-unit operators and brand ambassadors to make Potbelly an essential neighborhood hotspot,” said Aylwin Lewis, chairman and CEO of Potbelly.

California was selected for Potbelly’s next expansion because of its strong consumer interest for fresh, high quality ingredients and sandwiches, the company said.

Potbelly currently has 30-plus franchise shops domestically and internationally.  Individuals and groups interested in learning more about Potbelly Sandwich Shop franchise opportunities should visit or call (312) 475-3880.


Young Leaders Group Formed

By Regional Chamber of Commerce

James Lawson, board chair

James Lawson, board chair

Star Hughes-Gorup, board vice chair

Star Hughes-Gorup, board vice chair

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce has established a Young Leaders group of men and women ages 21 to 40 who will be tasked with bringing fresh perspectives to some of the region’s problems and challenges.

Chamber Young Leaders is designed to provide a platform for young leaders to share their insights and unique professional perspectives, as well as foster professional growth. Guiding the group’s activities are four pillars: professional development, mentoring, regional activism/causes, and networking. The full membership will vote on two to three causes which will be their focus for the year.

The group’s first meeting will be Feb. 29 at Park & Rec in University Heights.

Leading the group are Councilman Mark Kersey, honorary chairman; James Lawson, president of Presidio Public Affairs Group, board chair; and Star Hughes-Gorup, director of Hughes Marino, vice chair.

The group’s board of directors were selected through an application process based on participants’ proven success as industry leaders and commitment to community involvement and professional growth.

Group embership includes over 100 diverse, bi-partisan young professionals representing a variety of industries.

For more information, visit


Grand Pacific Hotel building

Grand Pacific Hotel building

HP Investors LLC Purchases

Historic Downtown Building

HP Investors LLC has completed the acquisition of 437 J St., a historic 15,000-square-foot retail and office property situated at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and J Street in Downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter. The property was purchased for $6.8 million.

The three-story Victorian building was originally constructed in 1887 as the Grand Pacific Hotel, and is among the most iconic buildings in the Gaslamp. The property currently houses executive office suites on its upper floors and retail on the ground floor.

HP Investors intends to raise the profile of the building through various building improvements and hold for long-term value.

The purchase marked the 13th acquisition by HP Investors in Downtown San Diego. Among the firm’s holdings is the adjacent, full-city block retail and parking garage project, Gaslamp Square, which the firm acquired in 2013 in a separate partnership.


Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient to 

Speak at UC San Diego Commencement

Muhammad Yunus, social entrepreneur, economist, founder of the global microfinance movement and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, will serve as the keynote speaker at UC San Diego’s All Campus Commencement on June 11. The event will mark the first time in 16 years that UC San Diego will convene all of its graduating undergraduate and graduate students for a campuswide commencement ceremony.

Yunus, a civil society leader, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for founding the nonprofit Grameen Bank, and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These loans are given to entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for traditional bank loans. The Grameen Bank, established in Bangladesh, has lent billions of dollars to impoverished people, mostly women, to start their own businesses.

Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves.

In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus has received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, two of the highest civilian honors in the United States.


City Salary Setting Commission Meets Jan. 27

The city of San Diego’s Salary Setting Commission will hold a public meeting on Jan. 27 to discuss future salaries for the mayor and members of the San Diego City Council. The public is invited to participate.

The meeting will be in the Civic Center Plaza building, 1200 Third Ave., Suite 300.

The commission is a group of seven citizens appointed by the Civil Service Commission that meets every two years to make recommendations for council and mayoral salaries.

Written comments and recommendations can be mailed: Salary Setting Commission, 1200 Third Ave., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 921012. They may also be faxed at: (619) 236-7114.


The Veterans Research Alliance received a $10,000 grant from Mike Farah, founder and commissioner of the American Polo Association — not $1,000, as the headline in Wednesday’s Daily Business Report stated.

Thecheck was presented to Steve Lewandowski, the executive director of the San Diego-based Veterans Research Alliance at Farah’s Celebrity Ranch in Hemet. Several military and veterans organizations were invited to apply for the grant.

Lewandowski said that the grant will help to fund research conducted by prize-winning scientists within the San Diego health care system.


Personnel Announcements

Sycuan Casino Names General Manager

Sycuan Casino has appointed San Diego native John Dinius as general manager. He had been serving as interim general manager since 2014.

Under Dinius, the casino received national recognition as one of the top 10 casinos outside of Las Vegas by Yahoo Travel.

During his time leading the organization, the casino launched its successful San Diego-centric brand in 2015, and introduced a large non-smoking gaming area.

Dinius, who has been an employee at Sycuan Casino for 22 years, worked his way through the ranks during his tenure. Starting as a bingo pull tabs clerk, he has also served as slot attendant, shift manager, operations manager and slot director — essentially holding positions at every level at the casino.


Patty Maysent Named CEO

Of UC San Diego Health

Patty Maysent

Patty Maysent

Patty Maysent has accepted the position as CEO of UC San Diego Health, the region’s only academic health system. Her appointment was approved by the UC Board of Regents.

Maysent is responsible for the performance and operations of UC San Diego Health, which employs more than 7,500 persons and has an operating budget in excess of $1.7 billion. She is the principal architect of its strategic plan, which concentrates on patient experience, clinical excellence, performance management and growth.

Maysent has more than 25 years of executive experience in hospital and health services. She joined the university in 2012, and served in chief of staff and chief strategy officer roles to CEO Paul Viviano. In 2015, she became interim CEO with the departure of Viviano to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

As chief strategy officer and interim CEO, Maysent developed strategic partnerships with Sharp HealthCare, Scripps Health, Tri-City Healthcare, El Centro Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Medical Center. She also expanded both UC San Diego Health Care and Physician Networks.

Prior to UC San Diego Health, Maysent served in several executive roles, including CEO of St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, where she negotiated and built the St. Jude Heritage Medical Practice Foundation.

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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: