Daily Business Report-Aug. 5, 2020
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Daily Business Report-Aug. 5, 2020
101 Ash St. (Photo by Adriana Heldiz, Voice of San Diego)

City’s real estate assets director resigns

amid scrutiny over Ash Street deal

The city of San Diego owns a vast portfolio of properties and now it will need a new boss to manage it. The city acknowledged Monday that Cybele Thompson, the director of real estate assets Faulconer had recruited after his election in 2014 to clean up the department, was resigning. The move comes after years of controversy about the city’s purchase of a high rise downtown that used to be the headquarters of Sempra.

Cybele Thompson
Cybele Thompson

But more than that, the city’s clumsy and reckless acquisition of properties has been the most recurring failure for Faulconer’s administration. Thompson was the second top manager to leave in the midst of the ongoing revelations about the purchase of 101 Ash Street, the building that hundreds of city employees were meant to occupy for the long term, potentially saving taxpayers millions in annual rent. But they have never been able to move in (well, they did once, but asbestos concerns led to immediate evacuations) and the city last week acknowledged Thompson and her staff never called for an independent inspection of the building before purchasing it and claimed to the City Council it would only need a power washing.

Jesse Marx and Lisa Halverstadt broke the news of Thompson’s departure and reviewed the list of stumbles that led to it. Click here for their report.

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La Jolls Institute for Immunology receives

$1 million to support COVID-19 research

La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) has announced a $1 million gift from GHR Foundation, an independent global philanthropy based in Minneapolis.

This significant gift will support the work of the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (CoVIC), a global partnership headquartered at LJI. CoVIC is led by Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., a professor in LJI’s Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research.

CoVIC is squarely aimed at accelerating discovery, optimization, and delivery of life-saving antibody-based therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

With more than 50 different efforts currently underway to find therapeutic antibodies across the globe, CoVIC provides a concerted and coordinated effort to compare these antibody candidates side by side under standardized criteria ultimately determining which ones are most likely to protect people and why.

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image via iStock
image via iStock

Inside California’s beleaguered

unemployment department

CalMatters

What’s it like working at California’s unemployment department, where nearly 1 million claims are likely to remain backlogged until September? Some overwhelmed, overworked and frustrated employees have quit, citing increased pressure, outdated technology, red tape and inadequate training, the Los Angeles Times reports.

One state worker, who was recently transferred to the Employment Development Department to help handle an unprecedented volume of claims, said she was given an 800-page instruction manual and left to figure things out for herself. Others said they weren’t given authority to handle certain claims, leaving them unable to help angry, crying customers who had called the department hundreds of times.

Samuel Kihagi, a temporary EDD employee who recently quit: “When we have someone who hasn’t had their money for months and they are calling this line, and they get me and all I can do is tell them, ‘Your payment is pending and I can’t do anything for you,’ that to me is kind of pointless.”

Tracie Kimbrough, who’s worked at EDD for 10 years: “Many times we are not able to do what is needed to assist our claimants (because of) outdated technology, limits on what we are allowed to do … even if we have the skill set to do what is needed.”

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Mitek provides technology at no cost to

Gift Card Bank to deliver donations

Mitek, a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software programs, and Gift Card Bank, a nonprofit donating gift cards and financial support to those impacted by COVID-19, announced a new partnership to bring Mitek’s Mobile Verify technology to its donation platform.

Mitek is providing its solution free of charge to help Gift Card Bank quickly and accurately verify the identities of individuals requesting support, protecting against potential fraud attempts by scammers who file fraudulent donation requests.

As of June 2020, Americans had filed more than 47 million jobless claims since the onset of the coronavirus. As these claims continue to grow, however, so do the number of scams related to relief funds – with Americans reporting fraud losses of more than $93 million due to COVID-19 scams so far, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“In today’s rapidly evolving digital economy, identity verification is critical to ensuring peoples’ online safety and security,” said Max Carnecchia, CEO of Mitek. “We’re proud and grateful that our fraud prevention technology will help an innovative organization like Gift Card Bank deliver financial assistance to people who are hurting the most.”

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Cubic subsidiary secures $172 million

contract for inflatable Satcom antennas

GovCon Wire

A Cubic (subsidiary has secured a five-year, $172 million contract from the U.S. Special Operations Command to produce satellite ground terminals designed to receive and transmit data and voice communications.

GATR Technologies will supply 1.2- and 2.4-meter inflatable satcom antennas plus ancillary equipment for phase 3 of a Small Business Innovation Research program, the Department of Defense said Monday.

The command is obligating $5K in fiscal 2020 procurements funds at the time of award.

Work under the firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quality contract will take place in Huntsville, Ala., through August 2025.

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Escondido Small Business Grant Program detailed

The city of Escondido has partnered with the San Diego North Economic Development Council to administer the Small Business Grant Program to support local businesses. Escondido small businesses are eligible to receive up to $15,000 to help make rent payments, maintain payroll, buy protective equipment such as gloves or wipes, and/or to make physical improvements to the business space to help comply with COVID-19 requirements.

Businesses must be located within the city of Escondido, hold a current city business license, have annual revenues of less than $1 million, and must have experienced COVID-19 related hardships.

All applications received will be ranked and scored by the San Diego North Economic Development Council, which will then recommend awards to the city. Awards are at the discretion of the city of Escondido and will be prioritized according to the City’s adopted economic development and business recovery strategies and availability of funds.

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SDG&E brings EV chargers to 4 park and ride lots

San Diegans who use Park and Ride lots to access public transportation now have more electric vehicle (EV) charging options, thanks to the recent installation of 88 EV chargers at four different locations throughout San Diego County.

Park and Ride locations in Chula Vista, National City, El Cajon, and Oceanside are now each equipped with 20 Level 2 (240 volt) chargers and two direct current (DC) (480 volt) fast chargers under an initiative led by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) called the Electrify Local Highways program.

“SDG&E is ready to power your drive with new EV charging options open to the public,” said Estela de Llanos, vice president, clean transportation sustainability, and chief environmental officer. “Working collaboratively with our local transportation agency partners, SDG&E is excited to take another step toward accelerating the clean transportation movement to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in our region.”

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Can sleep protect us from forgetting old memories?

Research shows how sleep encodes new memories while preventing damage to old ones

From lowering your risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease to improving your concentration and overall daily performance, sleep has been proven to play a critical role in our health. In a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that sleep may also help people to learn continuously through their lifetime.

Writing in the August 4, 2020 online issue of ELife, researchers used computational models capable of simulating different brain states, such as sleep and awake, to examine how sleep consolidates newly encoded memories and prevents damage to old memories.

“The brain is very busy when we sleep, repeating what we have learned during the day. Sleep helps reorganize memories and presents them in the most efficient way. Our findings suggest that memories are dynamic, not static. In other words, memories, even old memories, are not final. Sleep constantly updates them,” said Maksim Bazhenov, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at UC San Diego. “We predict that during the sleep cycle, both old and new memories are spontaneously replayed, which prevents forgetting and increases recall performance.”

Bazhenov said that memory replay during sleep plays a protective role against forgetting by allowing the same populations of neurons to store multiple interfering memories. “We learn many new things on a daily basis and those memories compete with old memories. To accommodate all memories, we need sleep.”

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography

and AltaSea sign education partnership

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles is joining forces with Scripps Institution of Oceanography to connect Scripps Oceanography students, innovators, and scientists with AltaSea’s blue economy entrepreneurs for a broad-based research, education, public outreach, and workforce development partnership designed to bring about a greater understanding of the ocean and to advance the Blue Economy in Southern California.

The partnership with Scripps provides AltaSea’s innovative businesses access to students and scientists from one of the world’s leading oceanographic institutions, and gives Scripps students the opportunity to make meaningful connections with many of the cutting-edge blue economy startups working or testing their products at AltaSea.

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Thomas Dolan joins Bank of Southern

California as chief strategy officer

Thomas Dolan
Thomas Dolan

Thomas G. Dolan has joined Bank of Southern California N.A., a community business bank headquartered in San Diego, in the newly created position of chief strategy officer.

As executive vice president, chief strategy officer, he will serve as a member of the company’s executive management team where he will be responsible for leading the company’s strategic initiatives, regulatory compliance, investor relations, and identifying new lines of business that align with the company’s growth and revenue objectives.

Dolan is an accomplished senior executive with extensive experience providing strategic and operational leadership in highly entrepreneurial, growth-oriented financial institutions. He brings 37 years of industry experience often serving in leadership roles as a C-Suite executive, most recently in chief operating officer and chief financial officer roles.

Dolan holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

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Andrea Myers elected president

of The Junior League of San Diego

Andrea Myers
Andrea Myers

Andrea Myers, a partner at the law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, has been elected president of The Junior League of San Diego. Myers’ term was effective July 1, 2020 and she will serve as president through June 2021.

Following in her grandmother and mother’s footsteps, Myers has carried on her family’s active involvement in the organization. Myers joined the League in 2010 and has served in several leadership roles, including the fund development director and chair of the Nominating Committee. She passionately dedicates herself to furthering the Junior League’s mission of building better communities and developing the next generation of women leaders.

Myers has been credited with spearheading several fund development efforts. She increased the nonprofit’s revenues by more than 60 percent in just three years, after relaunching the chapter’s signature fundraiser, a Kentucky Derby-themed Food & Wine Festival. Her work broke fundraising records and was honored by The Association of Junior Leagues International for innovative and successful fundraising.

In addition to her board responsibilities, Myers currently serves as a project chair for the restoration of the League’s historic headquarters in Banker’s Hill.

As a partner at the San Diego-based law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, she is a trial attorney, focusing on complex business matters as well as real estate, professional liability and estates and trust disputes.

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Elite Status award for Sharp Rees-Stealy

Medical Group and Sharp Medical Group

Sharp HealthCare’s affiliated medical groups, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group and Sharp Community Medical Group, have been awarded “Elite Status” by America’s Physician Groups (APG) — the organization’s highest ranking — as part of its 2020 Standards of Excellence survey. This is the 11th consecutive year APG, the nation’s leading professional organization of accountable physician groups, has recognized both Sharp Rees-Stealy and Sharp Community Medical Group.

This is the highest possible honor awarded by the nation’s leading association for physician organizations practicing coordinated care.

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S.D. Women’s Week Leadership Conference Goes Global

New virtual format with no boundaries features Daymond John, Linda Cureton, Ed Smart, Amy Trask

San Diego Women’s Week, celebrating 11 years of inspiring, empowering and connecting women is now virtual with leadership events for all ages and professions. Attendees enjoy virtual networking, keynote speakers, panel discussions, and more, all wrapped around creative solutions to everyday issues affecting leaders in the workplace and in their daily lives.

WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 26 – Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

WHO: Keynotes for 2020 Leadership conference include:

  • Daymond John from Shark Tank: Powershift, Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome.
  • Linda Cureton, Former CIO – NASA: Managing and Leading in a Tough Environment.
  • Ed Smart, Father of Elizabeth Smart: Two Miracles, and Standing up for Yourself.
  • Amy Trask, Former NFL Team Executive – Los Angeles Raiders: Leadership Vulnerabilities.

WHERE: Wednesday – Virtual Women and Wine 6-7:30 p.m.

Friday – Virtual Leadership Conference 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Click here for complete list of speakers and additional details.

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