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40 Under 40 Awards — 2016

40 Under 40 Awards — 2016

SD METRO is proud to present winners of our 40 Under 40 Awards for 2016, a group of men and women who represent some of the best and brightest minds of San Diego County.

 

 

Dr. Nicole Tempel Assisi

Nicole lAssisi

Nicole lAssisi

Dr. Nicole Tempel Assisi, CEO of Thrive Public Schools, is an outstanding educator in San Diego. She leads collaboration and innovation in her locality and the larger community. Prior to founding Thrive Public Schools, Assisi taught for the San Diego Unified School District and High Tech High. From there she helped found two of California’s most acclaimed charter operators — Camino Nuevo and the Da Vinci Schools in Los Angeles. Drawing from those experiences, Assisi — with the support of the Charter Schools Growth Fund — sought to open Thrive, a school designed to support students to become community-minded, career-inspired and college-prepared. The State Board of Education unanimously approved the charter in the summer of 2014, just months before the school opened its doors.

 

Jennifer Barnes

Jennifer Barnes

Jennifer Barnes

Jennifer Barnes co-launched Pro Back Office, an outsourced accounting and human resources firm in 2012 that provides professional consulting and accounting support to businesses ranging from startups to mid-size in all industries and, very importantly, entrepreneurial business owners with great aspirations. Drawing from her passion for efficiency, Barnes has championed a unique approach to outsourced services that better serve growing companies by providing a more personal, customized offering. Jennifer has simultaneously created a great company culture, providing more fulfilling opportunities for finance, accounting and human resource professionals. Jennifer and PBO have won several awards and accolades, including being one of San Diego’s Fastest Growing Companies for 2016. She has notably provided service to many nonpofit organizations in San Diego. She has served as a board member of Business Executive Council, San Diego Food Bank, San Diego Better Business Bureau and Junior Achievement Young Executives Board.

 

Shannon Brubaker

Shannon Brubaker

Shannon Brubaker

Shannon Brubaker, a partner at Best Best & Krieger, one of California’s largest law firms, is a highly regarded and sought-after litigator whose diverse practice centers on complex business and real property legal cases. Her legal portfolio doesn’t end there, however. Brubaker is also a fierce advocate for asylum seekers, whom she represents pro bono through various nonprofit organizations in Southern California. At Best Best & Krieger,

Brubaker represents a wide array of clients, including corporations, government and religious organizations, banks and individuals in all aspects of litigation from case intake to resolution. In addition to managing a demanding case load, She mentors young associates and is deeply involved in the firm’s hiring of new attorneys.

 

Laura Buckley

Laura Buckley

Laura Buckley

Laura Buckley is a partner and tax attorney at Higgs Fletcher & Mack. She represents international individuals and businesses with their state and federal taxation matters and business transactions. She specializes in cost-effective resolution of tax controversies before the IRS, Franchise Tax Board, the state Board of Equalization as well as the U.S. Tax Court. Prior to joining Higgs Fletcher & Mack, she was an IRS chief counsel attorney and a special assistant U.S. Attorney and was selected as national chair for all IRS Counsel’s young attorneys. Buckley has been selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. She is a member of the San Diego Rotary Club and is the current chair of the Young Tax Lawyer’s Committee of the California Bar Association. She has won numerous cases, including one in which the IRS was seeking $10 million in additional taxes from a client. Buckley and the IRS attorney spent weeks trying to settle. Two weeks before the trial, the IRS caved and conceded it could not prevail.

 

Melissa Cameron

Melissa Cameron

Melissa Cameron

Melissa Cameron is vice president of Southwest Strategies, one of San Diego’s largest public affairs and communications agencies. In her five years at the company, she has been promoted six times. During that time she has directed and managed a variety of accounts, working on issues of public outreach, land use planning and development, crisis communications, media relations and government relations. Cameron has also volunteered and has worked on a number of political campaigns since the age of 15, moving from stuffing envelopes to managing campaigns. She is in line to become president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

 

Chris Cate

Chris Cate

Chris Cate

Chris Cate is the first Asian-American elected to the San Diego City Council in over 50 years. He has served as vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. As a long-time taxpayer advocate, he has championed local and state legislation which ensures that cities and public agencies exercise accountability, efficiency and fiscal discipline on behalf of their taxpayers who fund them. During his tenure he successfully wrote the analysis for Proposition B, a local initiative that will save taxpayers more than $1 billion over 30 years. In his first year on the City Council, Cate has focused on four key areas: public safety, economic development, infrastructure and civic engagement. He has established new neighborhood watch captains in Clairemont and Mira Mesa to partner with the San Diego Police Department. The council passed his legislation to make it easier for the 35,000 home-based businesses in San Diego grow and expand in the city and oversaw the repairing of over 50 miles of streets and 9,000 linear feet of sidewalks in District 6.

 

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang is a real estate attorney with the San Diego law firm Gresham Savage. She handles real estate financing, acquisitions, commercial leasing and advising on local and state zoning issues and code enforcement.

Prior to law school, Chang worked as a business analyst in DaimlerChrysler Corporation’s Office of the General Counsel, where she gained considerable in-house transactional experience. As a board member of the Duke Club of San Diego from 2005 to 2014, Chang served on the Alumni Admissions interview team for over six years, interviewing prospective college students for admissions committee consideration. She also served as liaison with other school alumni groups in San Diego, organizing events and service projects.

 

Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe

Carol Lynn Curchoe

Carol Lynn Curchoe

Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe was a high school dropout who obtained her Ph.D. in just three years from the University of Connecticut. She is one of the three women founders in biotech and clean energy. She is a founder of 32-ATPs LLC, a biological energy development company and co-founder of EduPaper Products (STEM Education). Her technology, the 32-ATPs biological supercapacitor, recently won the Utah Innovation Award for Clean Technology. She is a molecular and cellular biologist whose work has been published in Biology of Reproduction, STEM cells and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and cited nearly 200 times.

 

Amanda Currie

Amanda Currie

Amanda Currie

Amanda Currie is senior vice president of Amobee, a leading global marketing technology company. She is a seasoned executive, entrepreneur and an expert in digital marketing and technology. Currie was co-founder and vice president of Frontline Direct, which was acquired by Adconion Media Group in 2008, and she was with Adconion Direct when it was acquired by Amobee in June 2014. This last year has been record-setting for Amobee, and Currie has led the way overseeing strategic partnerships, business development and marketing efforts as the head of the San Diego office, the delivery hub of the global company. She has continued to develop the company’s core technology platform, Amobee Brand Intelligence, which analyzes and aggregates over 60 billion digital content engagements — what people view, read, interact with and share daily across multiple platforms.

 

Crista Curtis

Crista Curtis

Crista Curtis

Crista Curtis is a long-time Southern California resident who is leading business development for OpTerra Energy’s recently opened Solana Beach office. She currently works with local school districts, cities and counties to develop synamic energy savings programs that utilize renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Curtis and her team of engineers were recently awarded a contract to implement comprehensive energy savings projects with the La Mesa-Spring Valley United School District. They maintain an on-going relationship with the San Dieguito Union High School District and its solar program. Curtis is a graduate of UC Riverside. She is actively involved with Cleantech San Diego and the League of California Cities. She is a member of the Seacoast Community Church in Encinitas and has participated in many of the church’s missions to Rwanda, Brazil, Egypt and Costa Rica.

 

Arika Daniels

Arika Daniels

Arika Daniels

Arika Daniels founded the San Diego-based communications firm Scatena Daniels with Denise Skatena. It’s an agency that focuses on nonprofits, foundations and social-minded companies. Arika said her goal in starting Scatena Daniels was to be able to make a difference in her job every day, while doing what she loves best. “Working with companies that have heart” has proven to be the answer. Arika’s work has earned multiple awards from the Public Relations Society of America and International Association of Business Communicators. She has spent a lot of time doing pro bono work, most with Chula Vista’ Mission, a national nonprofit providing therapy and mentoring resources for young motherless girls.

 

Melissa Deen

Melissa Deen

Melissa Deen

Melissa Deen is vice president of marketing for Sunrise Management, which currently oversees more than 13,000 multifamily units throughout California and the Southwest. She participates in strategic planning, corporate innovation and identification and implementation of industry best practices. She leads the marketing and business development initiatives for the company. She is a member of the Masters Academy and Executive Committee at Sunrise. Election to the Masters Academy recognizes consistent outstanding performance and a mastery of the skills required in an individual’s particular area of expertise. Deen is actively involved with the Building Industry Association of San Diego and a past president of the yGEN Council of BIA.She has been the only woman president of the council in its 10-year existence within a male-dominated industry.

 

Matt DeLoach

Matt DeLoach

Matt DeLoach

Matt DeLoach’s winemaking passion grew from four volunteers in 2012 to a company of 50 employees today. He started with an idea of pop-up dinners with guest chefs and wine pairings, but the vision flourished into something much larger. A hobby grew into a business, Abnormal Wine Company, with a tiny tasting room to showcase his wines to the public. From there, an upscale restaurant was built as an expansion to the wine tasting room, featuring both an urban winery and craft brewery inside. In addition to his restaurant business, Matt started Valio Con with partner Andrew Wilson, an annual tech conference for designers and makers. Since 2011, they have invited tech companies, designers and innovators around the world to Mission Bay to share about success and risks in the digital industry.

 

Kristin Elliott

Kristin Elliott

Kristin Elliott

Kristin Elliott joined her family’s environmental water monitoring business, Precision Measurement Engineering (PME), 10 years ago and has been working towards creating a dynamic and dedicated team, defining the company vision and increasing growth. She has grown the company’s annual revenues from $300,000 to over $1 million. Its revenues are expected to grow to $1.5 million this year. Elliot has a very busy schedule, dividing her time between growing and developing PME, being involved with various business organizations, such as the San Diego Entrepreneur’s organization, and raising her two young children. PME attracts customers and businesses from throughout the world and has worked on various coastal monitoring projects with Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

 

Maresa Friedman

Maresa Friedman

Maresa Friedman

Maresa Friedman founded The Executive Cat Herder after running Global Operations & Market Development for Halo Business Intelligence, a global analytics firm.  She specializes in creating high impact changes with simple execution strategies. Her simple, no frills, and direct approach to project engagement has created a fractional COO/CMO model that has been embraced within the technology community. LinkedIn has named Friedman in the top 1 percent for Social Selling in the technology industry. She was also a judge for the Business Intelligence Stratus Awards and is currently a contributor to the Innovation Enterprise a platform connecting leaders from startups to Fortune 500 companies. She writes for the Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Data Officer and CFO channels. She is also on the board for the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. She is also a founding member of The Collective Access, an organization dedicated to empowering the underserved within the San Diego Community.

 

Matthew Geaman

Matthew Geaman

Matthew Geaman

Matthew Geaman is an exceptional architect and respected leader at Joseph Wong Design Associates. While an undergraduate at the University of Illinois he was inducted into the Architectural Honor Society, an academically elite group of students who demonstrated an uncommon degree of scholarship and excellence. He earned his Master of Architectural at Illinois with high honors. At Joseph Wong, he had complete oversight of the design and construction of the San Diego Community College District’s North City Campus while still an intern. He led Wong’s winning response effort to secure the $32 million San Diego Mesa College Social and Behavioral Science Building. He also led Wong’s winning efforts to secure two projects at UCSD. Joseph Wong says that in his nearly four decades of practice, he has “not encountered another individual with the skill, depth and breadth of knowledge and commitment to improving the design and construction industry at such an early point in their career” as Matthew Geaman.

 

Star Hughes-Gorup

Star Hughes-Gorup

Star Hughes-Gorup

Star Hughes-Gorup is a director at Hughes Marino, the largest tenant representation company in San Diego. Star, the daughter of Hughes Marino founder Jason Hughes, has made a name for herself representing the young startups that are turning Downtown San Diego into a fledgling tech hub. Now, with a mastery of the market, her expertise and determined work ethic have not gone unnoticed. She was named a 2015 Broker of the Year by one of the largest landlords in Southern California, the Irvine Company. To date, Star has been instrumental in accelerating transactions for more than 1 million square feet in San Diego’s commercial markets. She is a vocal advocate for gender equality and is an active member of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, which is committed to advancing the status of women in society and in the workplace.

 

Alreen Haeggquist

Alreen Haeggquist

Alreen Haeggquist

Alreen Haeggquist is co-founder and managing partner of Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck LLP. She is dedicated to the advancement of women in the workplace as well as representing employees who have been wrongfully terminated or otherwise harassed and discriminated against at work. The overwhelming majority of her clients are women who have suffered egregious wrongs at the hands of their employers. Currently, Haeggquist is representing women plaintiffs in employment claims against such major corporations as Trader Joe’s, Sharp Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente. Her work as a litigator is squarely focused on ensuring women are given a fair shake in the workplace and are provided an opportunity to advance. All partners in her firm are women. She has won numerous awards, including being named a Super Lawyer for her work in employment litigation. She is a graduate of California Western School of Law.

 

Srinivas Hanumadass

Srinivas Hanumadass

Srinivas Hanumadass

Attorney Srinivas Hanumadass has achieved many successful results over the course of his relatively short career, among them — vindicating the free speech rights of physicians before the California Supreme Court; obtaining a complete judgment in a sexual harassment/disability discrimination case in a bench trial and helping secure a $1.3 million award on behalf of his clients under the California whistleblower statutes in a jury trial. In just his first year at the CaseyGerry law firm, he has helped his clients obtain millions in successful verdicts and settlements. Hanumadass is the past president of the South Asian Bar Association and is the Scholarship Committee chair of the Lawyers Club of San Diego.

 

Shana Hazan

Shana Hazan

Shana Hazan

Shana Hazan is the senior director of resource development for Jewish Family Services in San Diego, where she oversees the agency’s institutional and individual fund development, government relations and public policy works. Hazan and her team raised $14 million last year for the agency’s vital programs and services, such as the Positive Parenting Program that provides free parenting workshops throughout San Diego County to help parents strengthen their families. Passionate about high-quality early education, Hazan designed and secured $450,000 in funding for the Linda Vista Kindergarten Readiness Network. She also sits on the board of directors of CORE Educational Services which broadens educational opportunities for older youth through strategic partnerships with nonprofit and for profit organizations. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University.

 

Sean Karafin

Sean Karafin

Sean Karafin

Sean Karafin joined the staff at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in early 2015 as executive director of policy and economic research. Karafin has developed a reputation for sound economic research and advocacy that creates economic growth in the San Diego region. He has been the lead author on several high-profile research projects that have received media coverage and shaped the policy decisions of organizations and elected officials. Prior to joining the chamber, Karafin served in multiple roles at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. Sean also has mentored several interns and his involvement in the chamber’s Young Leaders program helps to ensure that the next generation of business leaders have the tools and connections they need to succeed.

 

Angie Lasagna

Angie Lasagna

Angie Lasagna

Angie Lasagna is vice president of community relations and external affairs for Mission Federal Credit Union. She began her banking career as a drive-up window teller at Grossmont Bank. Before joining Mission Federal, she was with Navy Federal as the bank’s member outreach manager, and was also regional marketing and public relations manager for USA Federal. At California Bank and Trust she advanced from a customer service representative to marketing officer. She has received numerous awards and honors in her career and has been on the boards of several nonprofits. Lasagna is currently chairwoman of the Credit Union for Kids Committee, and has served as chair for Miracle Maker for Rady Children’s Hospital. She has been a top fundraiser for City of Hope and for Kid’s NewsDay. She is a member of the boards of the San Diego Council on Literacy, Shoal Creek Elementary and Make-A-Wish Foundation. She earned a Certificate in Meeeting and Event Planning from San Diego State University.

 

Jamie Moraga

Jamie Moraga

Jamie Moraga

Jamie Moraga is founder, president and CEO of intelliSolutions Inc., a woman-owned small business in the defense industry that is headquartered in San Diego. In addition to her leadership of intelliSolutions, Moraga was 2014 president for the San Diego Military Advisory Council and continues to serve on the National Defense Industrial Association Board of Trustees in Washington, D.C. Prior to starting intelliSolutions in 2006, she worked more than seven years in a communications, public relations, public affairs, program management, and marketing capacity where she managed a number of clients and supervised a variety of teams with emphasis in multiple areas, including the defense industry.

 

Lupita Morales

Lupita Morales

Lupita Morales

Lupita Morales is the medical services manager for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts where she helps serve the medical needs of over 3,000 children and teens with physical deformities. She has organized and supervised screening clinics to spread Fresh Start’s mission to transform the lives of children with deformities caused by birth, trauma or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery. She has established partnerships with local groups, including the San Diego County School District, Ronald McDonald House Charities as well as with Hospital Infantil De Las Californinias, and ConnectMed International and the International Program at Rady Children’s Hospital. She has worked to empower women in North County and Tijuana to escape a life of prostitution by providing the women with safe housing. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a Meeting and Event Planning Certificate from Cal State San Marcos.

 

Margie Newman

Margie Newman

Margie Newman

Margie Newman, owner and managing director of Intesa Communications Group in San Diego, has gone from an unknown to ubiquitous in a little over three years. Since relocating here in 2012, Newman founded Intesa, a full-service PR and web design firm; opened Intesa’s Washington, D.C. office; and joined the boards of the International Association of Business Communicators and the San Diego Council on Literacy. Newman was press aide to former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, serving as assistant for communications to the governor after his 2002 election. She later directed communications for the governor’s Books From Birth Foundation.

 

Jason Paguio

Jason Paguio

Jason Paguio

Jason Paguio

Jason Paguio is president and chief executive officer of Parade Band Foundation and chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Steve Miesen of Chula Vista. He serves on the board of the Asian Pacific American Coalition, a partnership focused on cultivating civic engagement to forward the voices of San Diego’s 300,000-plus Asian American community. Paguio has taught leadership and created one of San Diego’s fastest growing leadership camps in partnership with San Diego State University. He is a founding member of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation and is a member of the board of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Young Leaders. He has won the President’s Award from the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, and the Filipino Press named him the Rising Star of Chula Vista.

 

Stacey Lankford Pennington

Stacey Pennington

Stacey Pennington

Stacey Lankford Pennington is the principal and founder of SLP Urban Planning, an urban planning and design firm she founded in 2006 that is focused on integrating best practices in sustainability and community engagement. While Pennington spent several years balancing a broad spectrum of clients and projects, her current focus is on the urban planning and design, community engagement, activation and marketing of Makers Quarter, a block located in the Upper East Village of Downtown San Diego. Makers Quarter has broken ground in 2016, and will continue to reach development milestones throughout the year with Pennington leading the charge.

 

Kim Reed Perell

Kim Perell

Kim Perell

Kim Perell is president of Amobee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singtel, one of Asia’s leading telecommunications groups. Amobee is a leading global marketing technology company with 550 employees spread across 20 offices worldwide, and serving over 1,000 leading brands and agencies, including Lexus, Kellogg’s and Kraft. Perell was previously CEO of Adconion Direct,which was acquired by Amobee in 2014 for $235 million. Under her direction, over $1 billion in ad spending was served across Adconiion Direct’s marketing platform. Prior to Adconion, Perell was the chief executive officer and founder of Frontline Direct, a leading performance marketing company which self-funded from her kitchen table and grew to over $100 million in annual revenue. The global expansion of Amobee Brand Intelligence allows advertisers to activate media based on historical and real-time data and insights from over 60 billion content engagements daily across the web, mobile, social and video content.

 

Marjan Rashedi

Marjan Rashedi

Marjan Rashedi

Marjan Rashedi is medical and dental director of North County Dental Surgery Center and president and pediatric dentist at SmileBuilders Children’s Dentistry. She founded the dental surgery center in 2015. This state-licensed ambulatory surgery center is Medicare certified and is the only dental ambulatory surgery center in San Diego County providing general anesthesia services to pediatric dental patients. Pediatric patients now have convenient access to a facility that can provide services to restore their oral health and alleviate pain in a timely manner. Dr. Rashedi focuses on post operative oral health care and believes in spending time educating patients and their families about proper oral hygiene, diet advice and disease prevention.

 

Julie Seal

Julie Seal

Julie Seal

A true innovator, Julie Seal started Mirus Promotions in 2009 and the company has become a thriving experiential marketing business. As of this year, Mirus Productions has supported clients in their fields and event marketing efforts coast-to-coast and completed its first brand promotions north of the border in Canada. She has created a new web platform that streamlines processes and procedures for clients, internal staff and her team. Clients are able to use the platform to schedule events, post-metric events, photos and expenses. She is a long-time supporter and fundraiser for UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, the Aztec Mentor Program at San Diego State, the Rescue House, Breast Cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego. Mirus Productons was recognized as one of San Diego’s Most Admired Companies by SD METRO Magazine in 2015. Mirus executed more than 3,000 promotions nationwide in 2015.

 

Matt Semic

Matt Semic

Matt Semic

Matt Semic became partner in Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering in San Diego in just three years after joining the company. Only 15 employees were on staff when Semic arrived. That number has grown to 54 employees thanks, in large part, to his efforts to establish a dynamic company culture. About half of Latitude 33’s team consists of millennials. Semic worked hard to create a satisfying environment at the company with such perks as working only half-day on Friday, monthly group outings, team activities and participation with charitable community projects. Semic led diversification efforts of the firm’s work portfolio by entering more progressive markets, which created more than 50 percent revenue growth for Latitude 33 in each of the past two years.

 

Kelly Souza

Kelly Souza

Kelly Souza

Kelly Souza is senior vice president and office manager for Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate. She has booked over $1.1 billion in new commitments for the bank between 2005 and 2011. She underwrites all major commercial asset types, builds financial models and sensitivity analysis, obtains credit approvals and negotiates legal documents with clients. Souza is a member of the policy advisory board of the Burnham Moores Center for Real Estate at USD, an undergraduate mentor at USD and a member of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties. She is the recipient of the prestigious Wells Fargo “Golden Spike” award for excellence in sales and service. Souza also placed first in the Superseal sprinting triathlon in the 31-34-year-old women’s category in her first attempt at a triathlon. Souza graduated Summa Cum Laude in three and a half years from the University of San Diego.

 

Melissa Stayner

Melissa Stayner

Melissa Stayner

Melissa Stayner is a licensed geologist and the director of marketing for LGC Valley Inc., a geotechnical engineering consulting firm. She also is a board member of the Building Industry Association’s Young Generation of Leaders — or yGEN — which has become politically active in informing government decision makers of the big impact that housing development fees, for example, are having on potential new home buyers. Stayner also is using her expertise as a member of the North Park Planning Committee, which currently is advising the city on its update of the Greater North Park Community Plan. One test before Stayner in her new role is working with community opposition to achieve an agreeable solution regarding the Community Plan update, specifically the neighborhood’s climate action strategy.

 

Meg Storer

Meg Storer

Meg Storer

Meg Storer is vice president of government and community relations for 2-1-1 San Diego. The mission of 2-1-1 is to serve as a nexus to bring community organizations together to help people get appropriate services efficiently, and to provide vital data and trend information for proactive community planning. Storer is a graduate of the North County Leadership Class as well as an alumnus of Fieldstone Foundation Emerging Leaders Class. She has served as a long-time board member of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems. She has served as a founding member of the San Diego Veterans Coalition. Her ability for consensus organizing and solution focused approach has been instrumental in bringing people together. Storer holds a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego and a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

 

Brad Termini

Brad Termini

Brad Termini

When Zephyr opened its doors in 2008 at the height of the residential real estate slump, the company hit the grounding running, acquiring property for multifamily and single home development throughout San Diego County. Now, the company, led by Co-CEO Brad Termini, is one of the most active private builders in San Diego. Since Zephyr’s inception, Termini has overseen more than $750 million in development — focusing on opportunistic investments in urban and suburban areas, alike, with previous projects successfully executed in La Jolla, La Mesa and Oceanside. Termini is involved in all aspects of the business, and communicates regularly with architects, designers and subcontractors. Under his direction, the company is building residential developments in premium locations across San Diego County.

 

Tomas Urtasun

Tomas Urtasun

Tomas Urtasun

Tomas Urtasun is a vice president of Focuscom Inc., a public relations and marketing agency. He is the board treasurer for the San Ysidro Health Center Board and this year joined the board of the San Diego Taxpayers Association. He serves as the main point of contact for many of Focuscom’s wide client base while also serving as a business development and daily strategic operations manager. His approach to his work and volunteering exemplify a dedication to a wide range of specialties. Urtasun’s personable, compassionate nature has led him to volunteer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of San Diego County. Urtasun, who is bilingual, holds a bachelor of arts degree from Gonzaga University and a master’s in business administration from the University of San Diego.

 

Alberto “Beto” Vasquez

Alberto Vasquez

Alberto Vasquez

Alberto “Beto” Vasquez, who was raised in Logan Heights, one of San Diego’s most impoverished neighborhoods, rose out of that environment to attain a bachelor’s degree at UCSD and to find challenging work at San Diego City College and with San Diego Councilman David Alvarez. Vasquez is currently employed with the city of San Diego and the San Diego Community College District and serves as community representative for Councilman Alvarez. As an outreach specialist for San Diego City College, Vasquez works directly with underrepresented groups and helps to develop programs serving disenfranchised populations. He constantly strives to strengthen relationships between communities, students and his campus. One example is the Big Clean Up, a community beautification project he founded that annually brings together about 200 volunteers, businesses, and donors.

 

James Wright

James Wright

James Wright

James Wright is chief executive officer of the Classroom of the Future Foundation. Classroom of the Future was founded in San Diego in 1997 and has grown to be a trusted resource for school districts throughout the county. As the newly appointed CEO, Wright leads the development and execution of the organization’s strategic plans and objectives. He has positioned the organization as a critical resource for schools seeking contemporary teaching methods and technology. He also serves on the board for Resounding Joy, a local nonprofit that provides therapeutic and recreational music therapy to children, veterans and the elderly. Wright holds a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington Universiy and a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego.

 

Laura Godfrey Zagar

Laura Zagar

Laura Zagar

Attorney Laura Godfrey Zagar is a trend-setting partner in Perkins Cole’s national environmental and energy practice group. She is an authority on energy and infrastructure development, and has been an integral player in innovative and critical projects devoted to assisting California’s battle to combat climate change and meet renewable energy goals, including transmission lines, wind farms, solar farms, and water projects. Zagar is fully involved in the San Diego community, giving hundreds of hours to important causes. She is on the executive committee for Equality California, the state’s premiere LGBT civil rights organization, and serves on the organization’s Governance Committee. She chaired Equality California’s Equality Awards in 2016 with Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, County Supervisor Dave Roberts, and Jason Anderson of CleanTech San Diego.

 

William Zakrajshek

William Zakrajshek

William Zakrajshek

William Zakrajshek is co-founder and owner of Hillcrest Social, a social media app that promotes LGBT and gay-friendly businesses throughout San Diego County. Hillcrest Social features events, photo feeds, venues, DJs, local talent and a live chat for people to connect. In its short two years, it has garnered 7,000 loyal subscribers and secured sponsorships such as the Del Mar Fairgrounds, House of Blues and Porto Vista Hotel. He also launched an application called “DJ WillZ-Mobile,” making him the first DJ in the region with his own application available in all major markets. He has spearheaded the annual “Ugly Sweater Party” as a fundraiser for the Warm Smile Project, benefitting children and the elderly in Tijuana. He also partnered with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for an LGBT day at the races, which is now known as “Out at the Races.”

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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.

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