San Diego’s Top Influentials highlights the Who’s Who in San Diego business, profiling the top newsmakers of 2013. Click here to view all the profiles.
Our editor's picks for the top news stories written by The Daily Transcript's editorial staff over the past year.
The watchword at Meissner Jacquét Investment Management Services is teamwork. “We sought out individuals who could communicate effectively with their peers and with clients, and establish logical processes to arrive at collaborative decisions,” said Jerry Jacquét, principal in charge at Meissner Jacquét, the firm he founded in 1992 with fellow leasing agent Timothy P. Meissner.
San Diego County Credit Union is proud to be San Diego’s largest locally owned financial institution. What truly sets SDCCU apart from other financial institutions is that they offer big bank products -- in many cases, superior banking products -- but without the big bank costs. As SDCCU continues to grow, technological innovations continue to be a cornerstone for its success.
Chase Commercial Banking serves more than 23,000 corporate, state, municipal, financial institution and nonprofit clients in the United States with annual revenue generally ranging from $20 million to $2 billion. The firm offers a comprehensive set of financial products and services, including credit, equipment finance, real estate finance, treasury services and provides clients with access to the investment services of J.P. Morgan.
Since childhood, Ignacio De La Torre has had a healthy fascination with how things work. That fascination has served him well, whether he was disassembling household objects, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at UCLA, or throughout the course of a 24-year career with AT&T, including his current role as regional vice president of external affairs for the communications giant, specializing in government relations.
As the interim CEO and executive vice president/chief operating officer of Tri-City Medical Center, Casey Fatch oversees and assesses the performance of about 2,100 employees (including a medical staff of 500 to 600), and has overall responsibility for TCMC's operations and strategic planning. It's not a job for the faint of heart, even with TCMC's renowned Cardiovascular Health Institute right on the premises.
Robert Felix,president of Innovia Community Management Cooperative, doesn't have an office -- instead, he works from his home in Carlsbad. "It doesn't really pay to have an office," he explained. "Either that, I'm on a plane or in a hotel -- might as well be efficient."
Just about two years ago, Armando Flores set out to start something more personal than just another construction company. “I wanted to just be a little bit more of a boutique remodeling company,” Flores has said of his passion and the company he owns, Charco Design & Build Inc.
It took 20 years for the career path of Dave Bialis to lead back to his native Southern California, but his homecoming in February 2011, to become senior vice president and general manager for Cox Communications' California operations, was one he'd long hoped for.
Comparing service as an artillery officer in the Marine Corps and service to small businesses as a banker might seem like a stretch, but not to Dan Adams, who did the former and is doing the latter as business banking area manager for Wells Fargo Bank.
Thella Bowens became CEO and president of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority within two months of it being established after the airport’s separation from the Port of San Diego.
Growing up in the 1960s, Larry Blumberg decided it made sense to join the U.S Navy instead of waiting to be drafted. He thought he would serve a tour, but ended up liking it so much that he stayed for 30 years and retired as a Navy captain about 20 years ago.
Torrey Pines Bank CEO Gary Cady describes the local commercial bank as “a community bank with capacity.” “We’re larger than the small guys, with a higher level of service,” he explained in a recent interview. “Our customers, they are for the most part closely held operating companies, entrepreneurs with more complex financial demands. They are used to dealing with other entrepreneurs.
As a deep-sea diver and underwater photographer in the Navy, Brian Cahill's best work was done mostly underwater and out of sight. But since he surfaced as a construction professional more than two decades ago, his best work has been on dry land and in full view. Cahill joined Legacy Barnhart Construction in 1992 and has been there ever since. Barnhart was acquired in 2010 by Balfour Beatty Construction and, in 2012, Cahill was named president of the company's Southwest Division.
Brigadier Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese has served in the Marine Corps since being commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from Indiana University in 1983. His posts have included assignments in Operation Desert Storm, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, and as an operations officer for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
When he was a youngster in Flint, Michigan, Gordon Carrier would frequently ride his bicycle past a little yellow house he remembers as looking different than any of the other houses in the entire area. Now a founding member and design principal of the San Diego-based architecture firm, Carrier Johnson + CULTURE, with award-winning projects throughout the world, Carrier credits the house with inspiring his initial interest in becoming an architect.
Chris Rowe, owner and president of Echo Pacific Construction, believes strongly that a team can accomplish some amazing things as long as the team members don't care who gets the credit for doing so.
Some 24 years into her career at AMN Healthcare Services Inc., President and CEO Susan Salka still feels “blessed and fortunate” to be with the health care staffing company, even as new and greater challenges face the health care industry.
Not unlike many of the chemical compounds his Pharmatek Laboratories formulate on behalf of its pharmaceutical clients, company co-founder and president Tim Scott's role comprises many complex elements, including overseeing the company's sales and marketing, legal, facilities management, accounting, business operations, and science and manufacturing aspects.
Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders took over as president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in April of 2013. And since then, has been helping San Diego have a stronger political voice and improved business relationships.
Most people would consider a Grand Funk Railroad concert an unlikely place to contemplate a life-changing decision. But that's exactly where in 1971, Russ Valone, president and CEO of San Diego-based MarketPointe Realty Advisors, began to think about attending college elsewhere than West Virginia University, in his home state.
From 2011 to 2013, Capt. Winton Smith served as commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego, the main homeport of the Pacific Fleet and the largest surface Navy base in the Pacific.
John Vorsheck, Marcus & Millichap vice president and San Diego regional manager, says his office completed 260 transactions worth $1.2 billion in 2012 and expects when the numbers are tallied it will fare at least as well in 2013.
Due to a five-year noncompete agreement, Steve Games sat out the real estate market downturn after he and his partner, Nyda Jones-Church, sold Prudential California Realty.
All the research, all the consensus-building, all the prognosticating comes down to this: the San Diego Association of Governments has at least three major local projects that are “ripe” for progress in 2014, according to SANDAG’s executive director Gary Gallegos.
As a political science major at UC San Diego, Steve Holland had his sights set on a career as an attorney. That was, however, until a neighbor made some observations about Holland that made him rethink his career path.
Retired Navy Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering is passionate about saving energy, using it wisely and conserving water. In a way, that’s part of his job, considering that Hering is executive director of the California Center for Sustainable Energy in Kearny Mesa.
One of Mark Riedy’s greatest influences has been the relationships he’s built and fostered in his years at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego.
Taking a play from her own book, all indicators point to an "A+" for Lynn Reaser, chief economist of the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University, and chief economist of the state of California’s Controller’s Council of Economic Advisors.
During his last two years as an undergraduate at the University of San Diego, Tim Penick worked about 20 hours per week at T.B. Penick & Sons, the construction firm his great-grandfather founded in 1905. He started with the company full time after graduation and, since 1999, has served as its president.
After a lifelong career of government service that included 24 years in the Navy, three years as a civil servant, and six years as a member of the Senior Executive Service, Howard Pace had a bit of anxiety two years ago when he transitioned to the private sector to become vice president and chief strategy officer of ViaSat, a global producer of satellite and other digital telecommunications products, both for commercial and government clients.
As a boy, Stephen O’Connell wanted to be a firefighter or an FBI agent. “I couldn’t do either of those. I’m afraid of fire and I don’t like guns,” O’Connell said. Since October 2102, O’Connell, 42, has been CEO of North Island Credit Union. His job may not be as glamorous as fighting fires or chasing down bad guys for the FBI, but it can be every bit as challenging as he oversees a financial institution with about $1.1 billion in assets, 10 branches and about 290 employees.
Throughout the course of his four-decade professional career, Bob Nelson has wielded his considerable influence in a number of ways. He used the clout of the advertising and public relations company he once owned to develop campaigns in support of various political initiatives. He served in advisory capacities to elected officials at the highest levels of government, as well as on the boards of business and nonprofits. And, since 2011, Nelson has been vice chair of the Board of Port Commissioners for the Unified Port of San Diego.
Eric Lester is a self-described Navy brat that saw quite a bit of the world during his father’s 22 years in the service. Though his eyesight wasn’t quite good enough to enable him to fulfill his vision of being a fighter pilot, Lester has nonetheless found a way to be an asset to the U.S. government and military: as a principal in the management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
Having visited 104 countries throughout the world, Linda Lee, as president of the 11,000-member San Diego Association of Realtors, is the worldwide face, voice and ambassador for San Diego's residential real estate market. Her professional influence transcends San Diego County.
Paul Jacobs is no stranger to change. As chief executive officer of wireless chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) for the past nine years, he's helped changed how people communicate. Now the change he's helping initiate is a little more personal.
As an eighth-grader in his hometown of San Mateo, Jason Hughes was paired up with a local commercial real estate broker for “Take a Kid to Work Day.” The experience turned out to be a life-changer for the young man of modest means, starting him on a path to a highly successful career.
AmericanWest Bank’s midyear acquisition of eight Southern California branches from PacTrust Bank “gives us the opportunity to expand our brand,” said Jim Horton, senior vice president of the San Diego market for Spokane, Wash.-based AmericanWest Bank.
Teresa Halleck, president and CEO of San Diego County Credit Union, said the most important lesson she’s learned is to treat everyone with respect.
In one way or another, Bill Hall has been involved with the San Diego waterfront for the past 40 years, whether as a Navy officer, business executive, president of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the San Diego Port Commission or today as chairman of the San Diego Port Tenants Association.
As the son of a frequently promoted FBI agent, Derek Hulse got used to moving around quite a bit as a youth. But when his parents announced -- midsummer, following his sophomore year in high school -- that they were moving to Las Vegas and leaving behind life in the Kentucky community he had come to love, he was devastated. Little did he realize that being uprooted because of his father’s career would strengthen his character in ways that continue to serve him well: Hulse just entered his fifth year as a commercial real estate broker in the San Diego office of Colliers International.
A job in his father's metals business was always a fallback option for self-described Hoosier Damian McKinney, but he had grown tired of Indiana's “overcast and cold weather.” So, with his father's blessing, McKinney eschewed Notre Dame for its biggest rival, USC, where he earned a degree in business administration and subsequently founded McKinney Advisory Group, a San Diego-based commercial real estate firm with offices in Honolulu, Long Beach and Orlando, servicing clients throughout the world.
Gary Levine is intent on creating healthy environments. Not only for his employees at GS Levine Insurance Co., but also for the clients his company serves.
In San Diego, 2013 will go down as a year when -- despite the turmoil at the mayor’s office, the federal budget sequester and two-week government shutdown -- local stock prices soared to all-time record heights, the jobless rate dipped below 7 percent and home prices pushed toward prerecession levels.
Warmer weather may have been partly responsible for enticing Jim Roherty from his hometown of Janesville, Wis., to Arizona State University in Tempe. But ASU's Del E. Webb School of Construction Management and its reputation most appealed to Roherty, now the president of locally owned and operated Pacific Building Group.
A year ago this time, Americans were on the brink of a fiscal cliff. The start of 2013 was poised to bring the expiration of several key tax cuts which had been created to encourage investments and propel the economy.
Dan Broderick, president of Cassidy Turley of San Diego, said 2013 has been "pretty healthy" for his 95-broker offices, but worries about how company mergers, moves and other factors will impact leasing in 2014.
In a year that propelled the stock market to record highs, shares in nearly a dozen San Diego companies more than doubled in price, driven by new product discoveries, rebounding consumer activity and several major mergers and acquisitions.