San Diego’s Top Influentials highlights the Who’s Who in San Diego business, profiling the top newsmakers of 2012. Visit for the full report. Click here to view the finalists.

  • Industry leader hopeful about upcoming year

    The Cassidy Turley San Diego president and CEO said his offices’ sales and leasing volume exceeded $1.25 billion last year, and the figure should be exceeded in 2012.

  • Other’s successes are Wells Fargo president’s personal trophies

    Steve Bernstein got into banking by accident. He earned his degree in political science and psychology from San Diego State University and went on to work for a councilman who was also deputy mayor.

  • Opportunity isn’t handed out on a silver platter

    Teofla Rich began her banking career low on the totem pole, and learned quickly to take it upon herself to gain more responsibility.

  • New venture increases focus on design, inside and out

    In 2011, Armando Flores set the foundations for a new company. In 2012, he took the new company and made it a business.

  • Construction executive heavily involved in local community

    Tim McBride seems to be a busy person. He helps run Southern Contracting Electrical as the company’s president and CEO, and he is also involved with the National Electrical Contractors Association San Diego chapter in various ways.

  • Restaurateur, business mogul

    The owner of Donovan’s Steak & Chop House has a long history of success in the restaurant industry.

  • Shore Total Office founder leads with family values

    In 2005, Ricardo Lopez walked away from the corporate world and bought a small business.

  • CEO runs one of San Diego's healthiest companies

    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.

  • Accountant brings years of CFO experience to clients

    One of the last places you might look for an aspiring equine veterinarian from Sydney is in a San Diego public accounting office. Yet there sits Michael Green, with not only decades of accounting experience, but years working as a chief financial officer to boot.

  • Patent lawyer says ‘be yourself’

    As a patent lawyer, Roger Denning has learned about topics ranging from how golf balls are made to the biochemistry behind a new drug.

  • Property lawyer's longevity can be attributed to his creativity

    Veteran attorney Robert Caplan has accomplished a lot in his 50-plus years practicing law, and he's not done yet.

  • Sullivan Hill attorney takes leadership role to new level

    Madeline Cahill-Boley is an enthusiastic proponent of mid-sized law firms.

  • Land use attorney helping build San Diego

    San Diego attorney Paul Robinson loves serving, whether it’s for a community agency or a local civic group.

  • Leading one of the largest accounting firms in the country

    New York City-based CohnReznick LLP had its first post-merger partners meeting in Washington, D.C., in December 2012. Wade McKnight, as office managing partner for CohnReznick’s San Diego office, was there. What struck him about the meeting was the lack of any division between those who were previously with J.H. Cohn LLP, and those who were previously with Reznick Group P.C.

  • Perkins Coie partner takes innovative approach

    Perkins Coie's San Diego office generates a lot of repeat customers, and a big reason for that is John Schnurer.

  • Opus Bank founder breaks barriers, fills void in industry

    In the two years since founding Opus Bank, Stephen Gordon dreamt big and started working whenever someone said it was too difficult.

  • CFO adapts easily to economic, regulatory environment

    Originally from Oslo, Norway, son of a Norwegian father and Canadian mother, Eric Ellingsen tells a classic American success story. As an international salesman, his father moved the family around a lot. Ellingsen spent his high school years in Venezuela and Montreal, Canada. He got his undergraduate degree from a regional college in Virginia and headed west in his early 20s to California, where he took an entry-level accounting position at California Bank & Trust in 1999. He got his MBA in 2005 from the University of California, Los Angeles, while still working for the bank. Now 36, he’s the bank’s chief financial officer.

  • New bank executive hopes to push, grow brand

    Jim Horton is just getting started as the new senior vice president of the San Diego market for Spokane, Wash.-based AmericanWest Bank. The third-quarter acquisition of Security Business Bank — where Horton was chief banking officer — expanded AmericanWest Bank’s regional footprint to seven branches between downtown San Diego and Carlsbad, and one in Palm Desert, Calif.

  • Credit union CEO increased customer base, assets since taking post

    Teresa Halleck, president and CEO of San Diego County Credit Union, attributes her successes to “hard work, determination and collaboration.”

  • Chase exec enjoys helping local businesses expand

    Jim Wening, president of Chase's middle market banking division in San Diego, has this philosophy for both life and business: "Always be in motion."

  • Publisher's Message

    Welcome to the 2013 edition of San Diego's Top Influentials. This annual publication is filled with valuable insight into viable San Diego County market segments and its business leaders.

  • Internet abuse can kill a company: What can you do about it?

    Allowing open Internet access to any and all technology can reduce productivity, expose the network to security threats, jam up bandwidth, deteriorate the quality of service in IP-based applications and slow down critical programs that are running the business.

  • Sharp opens new medical center; SeaWorld files for IPO

    Big changes came to the local health, hospitality and education sectors in 2012. While the health care industry works out how to adapt to reforms outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the hotel industry saw a number of acquisitions and a local attraction made national news. Here are some of The Daily Transcript’s top health, hospitality and education stories of 2012.

  • Latest generation of family business builds company through diversity

    Since assuming the role of president at Baker Electric a dozen years ago, Ted Baker — the fourth generation of Bakers to run the company — has watched the industry change dramatically. His willingness to adapt has kept Baker Electric in the conversation among the San Diego area’s longest-lasting and stable electrical contractors.

  • One changemaker molds a new generation of others at USD

    The University of San Diego was recently named by the global nonprofit association Ashoka as one of its “Changemaker” campuses, a distinction of which Dr. Julie H. Sullivan is duly proud.

  • Health is borderless, says life sciences veteran

    An Orange County native who grew up doing all the "normal" Southern California activities, Howard Asher began his career in life sciences when Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) recruited him in 1969, straight out of college, to sell its hip and knee implants.

  • Qualcomm banks on the smartphone craze

    Steven Altman, vice chairman of Qualcomm Inc. and a member of Qualcomm’s executive committee, provides direction and guidance on key initiatives across all areas of the business, as well as on overall vision and strategy.

  • Viejas chairman leads by consensus, traditional values

    Anthony Pico has spent 26 of the last 30 years as chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

  • Provost sets bar high for Alliant University

    At Alliant International University, where he is provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Russ Newman brings two worlds of experience to the table: He’s credentialed as both a clinical psychologist and a lawyer. Besides having served him well for 14 years as executive director for professional practice for the American Psychological Association (APA), that dual knowledge has given Newman, 59, a keen perspective about students’ needs at Alliant, which offers degrees in both psychology and the law.

  • The ‘Robin Hood of health care’

    This year’s Ernst & Young regional entrepreneur of the year for life sciences and health care is Dr. Arthur Gruen, an emergency medicine physician, inventor of a disposable laryngoscope, the medical director and chief of emergency services at Sharp Memorial Hospital, and founder and CEO of EA Health Corp.

  • Scripps executive ready for next frontier of health care

    Gary Fybel is at the precipice of exciting advances in the health care industry. As chief executive and senior vice president of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, he’s working to further a 25-year master plan that will create a modern, multibillion-dollar hospital complex, while also witnessing the rapid evolution of medicine, technology and health care reform.

  • SDSU dean seeks to graduate companies, students

    As dean of the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University, Michael Cunningham is implementing a strategy to move the business college’s U.S. News & World Report ranking into the top 50. It’s currently ranked 87.

  • Groundbreakings, new projects mark the year

    2012 was a big year for commercial real estate, as several hotels were sold and changed ownership and area malls responded to pressure from Internet retail sales by renovating their properties. In the construction industry, the public sector saw more of the spotlight as projects dealing with government-approved developments or tax payer-funded work made the front page more often in 2012.

  • Developer teams with nonprofit to help end homelessness

    James Silverwood — Affirmed Housing Group CEO, who oversees all company financial negotiations, property acquisitions, construction, and asset management — has more than 30 years experience in real estate development as a general contractor and developer.

  • Industry veteran reflects on three decades of success

    Jerry Jacquet, Meissner Jacquet Investment Management Services principal, has more than 30 years of experience in commercial asset and property management, leasing oversight, acquisition/disposition, and repositioning.

  • President of Good & Roberts influencing more than just those in his industry

    Robb Good, president of Good & Roberts Inc., is a busy man. Aside from running the day-to-day operations at the Vista-based general contracting firm, he also is helping a startup company get off the ground and helping underprivileged youth.

  • Kilroy VP takes REIT into mixed use in San Diego County

    Brian T. Galligan, vice president of asset management for the San Diego and Orange County regions of Kilroy Realty Corp. (NYSE: KRC), is about to lead the REIT into the mixed-use arena in San Diego County.

  • Design-build work shores up Filanc business

    Performing the design-build delivery method on construction projects helped Mark Filanc and J.R. Filanc Construction Co. excel in the last few years.

  • N.N. Jaeschke CEO sees community management as managing a lifestyle

    Robert Felix has worked in the common interest development industry for 32 years, 20 of which he spent managing large-scale resort communities across the country. Earlier this year, after being named president and CEO of N.N. Jaeschke Inc., his first priority was coordinating the community management and property services divisions.

  • Evanco Realty president says specialization is key to success

    Craig Evanco’s priorities are clear-cut and two-fold: family and work, in that order.

  • Leading the charge in struggle for solar industry's future

    A recent meeting of the newly created San Diego chapter of the California Solar Energy Industries Association proved one thing: Dan Sullivan is admired in the San Diego solar community. Attendees there revered Sullivan as a pioneer in the local industry.

  • From fiercely independent teenage milkman to telecom expert

    Dale Stein grew up as a middle child in a family of six children, the son of a journeyman lineman father and librarian mother, in a small town southwest of Chicago that had a population of less than 2,000.

  • Sempra Energy CEO a pioneer in her field

    When Debra Reed was named CEO of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) in June of 2011, it marked the first time in the company's history that its top executive was a woman. But it's actually one of many such milestones in Reed's career, one of the most notable of which occurred in 1988, when, after 10 years with the company, Reed was named as the first female officer of the company.

  • Biotech leader shows it is possible to 'have it all'

    Magda Marquet’s mother was a very strong woman who always advised that she find her own path. She asked Marquet to promise her one thing — “never be financially dependent on a man.”

  • AIS puts San Diego’s health sector in the cloud

    Instead of providing cloud services to the masses, American Internet Services opted to go with a specialized route.

  • Helping small businesses navigate the intricacies of accounting

    Matt Garrett, founder and chief executive of San Diego-based TGG Accounting, has an unusual wish: he’d like for there to be more companies like his in the accounting industry.

  • Silvergate Bank officer uses her network to embrace change

    Karen Brassfield has adapted to and embraced changes in companies, titles and technology through more than 40 years in the banking industry.

  • Padres president keeps faith in a team, city that kept faith in him

    For Tom Garfinkel, president and chief executive for the San Diego Padres, 2012 was a year that could have made certain men lose faith.

  • Hotel industry veteran has business down to a science

    Despite a national economy that remains sluggish, the hotel industry in San Diego is picking up. That’s good news for hotel management company RA Rauch & Associates.

  • In-house counsel helps global firm move forward in health care

    As CareFusion (NYSE: CFN) continues to expand its international reach, ramp up innovation and strengthen its operational foundation, Joan Stafslien’s role within the company continues to grow.

  • RedIT gains ground in Mexico

    Murray Case is a smarty pants, holding MBA and AB degrees from Harvard University, but the CEO of redIT is as humble as they come.

  • Respected leader with a new, larger task at Caterpillar

    A person of many roles, Jim Umpleby has, for some time, been anything but a typecast player in San Diego or within Caterpillar Inc.

  • Sapphire CEO looks at the future of fuel

    When Cynthia (CJ) Warner ditched her comfy executive role at a big oil company to pursue a startup that produces crude oil from algae, people thought she was crazy — but she’s never looked back.

  • Treating staff like family is secret to Burger Construction’s success

    Growing up on the dirt roads of Rancho Santa Fe, Jack Burger started his construction career building tree forts in his youth.

Archived Reports

Top Influentials - 2015

San Diego’s Top Influentials highlights the Who’s Who in San Diego business, profiling the top newsmakers of 2014.

Top Influentials - 2014

San Diego’s Top Influentials highlights the Who’s Who in San Diego business, profiling the top newsmakers of 2013.