Stories for March 2011

Thursday, March 31

Great American Group Cuts Losses in Q4

Great America Group Inc. had lower losses for its fourth quarter while the company’s revenues dropped due to less activity in its auction and liquidation segment.

Wednesday, March 30

Local Businesses Deal With Property Damage From Weather

A couple of Woodland Hills businesses have temporarily relocated their offices due to building water damage that resulted from the recent heavy rains.

City Council Supports District That Would Boost Tourism

City officials have cleared the way for the creation of a tourism marketing district that would help attract more visitors to the city.

Monday, March 28

Valley Included in Bank of America Hiring Spree

Bank of America plans to hire 21 new small business bankers in the San Fernando Valley as part of a larger hiring effort.

The Facilitator

David Fisher’s Group Provides a Place Where Manufacturers Can Help Each Other Out in a Non-Competitive, Non-Threatening Way to Help the Industry Work Better

PROFILE: David Fisher, president of S&H Machine, started a group to help manufacturers deal with issues and problems concerning how to run their businesses.

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Some Manufacturing Employers Gain Workers in Region

JOBS: Military program helps boost employee count among Valley-area’s largest companies.

THE LIST: Some of the region’s largest manufacturing companies brought more jobs last year to the area where aviation and aerospace manufacturing have a stronghold. Includes the 2011 SFV'S LARGEST MANUFACTURING COMPANIES list for download (pdf)

Manufacturers Prove They’re Indispensable

FROM THE NEWSROOM

Commentary Column by Editor Jason Schaff

Dissecting an Asian Odyssey

KALEIDOSCOPE - OUR CHANGING VALLEY

Commentary by Martin Cooper, President of Cooper Communications, Inc. and Immediate Past President of the Los Angeles Quality and Productivity Commission

Rocketdyne: Valley Fixture Despite Its Name Changes

PROPULSION: Firm has managed to morph and overcome government’s whims.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has been a fixture in the local manufacturing scene, acting as a major employer and bringing innovations to aerospace and other industries.

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Oldest Manufacturers Found a Niche and Stuck With It

HISTORY: Companies made their products market leaders.

Having a unique product niche has been the key to a long life for the Valley’s oldest manufacturers.

International Sales Increase For Firms During Downturn

TRADE: More companies of all sizes looking globally.

Companies see increase in international sales during the economic downturn as more Valley manufacturing firms of varying sizes seek more global markets.

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Environment First for This Car System, Mileage Second

AUTOS: HydroLectric Power System looks to mass produce invention which cuts emissions.

COMPANIES TO WATCH: HydroLectric Power LLC systems clean vehicle exhaust emissions by changing water into hydrogen vapor in a small device to achieve complete fuel combustion inside a motor.

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Manufacturer Finding Niche In Active Wear for Women

Apparel: Sports bra firm entering marketing phase.

COMPANIES TO WATCH - RISERS: Two new manufacturers to watch: Active Inner Actions and Hydrolectric Power LLC.

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A Good Idea Can Actually Become a Successful Business

ENTREPRENEURS: Owners find they must always evolve and change to stay ahead of the pack.

IDEAS: It’s one thing to have an idea and another to make that idea work as a successful manufacturing business.

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Even the Most Traditional Manufacturers Going Green

ENERGY: Firms look to cut costs but downturn made investments difficult for some.

KenWalt Die Casting, a very traditional industry, is using solar energy to help power its facility in Sun Valley into the future. Other local manufacturers are also finding the benefits of alternative energy.

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Efficiency Tactics Help Manufacturers Improve Flow

PROCESSES: ‘Lean manufacturing’ methods are must-haves for many firms. Subhead

Lean manufacturing is an efficiency model that has been used for many years. Companies that have utilized the system’s various components are finding there is payoff.

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Companies Seek New Business Lines, Enter Into Mergers

ISSUES: Rocketdyne waits for NASA decision.

Despite difficulties in the overall manufacturing industry in the past several years, some companies seek opportunities.

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Delta Scientific

BARRICADES: Firm responds to terrorism.

Delta Scientific products consist of high-security vehicle barricade systems, parking control equipment and guard booths.

Frazier Aviation, Inc.

PARTS: Company crucial to aerospace.

SKETCHES: Frazier Aviation, Inc. manufactures military and commercial aerospace structural components.

Moore Industries

AUTOMATION: Firm has wide impact globally.

SKETCHES: Moore Industries products are used in petroleum extraction, power generation and transportation.

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Hike in Discretionary Spending Helps Adult Novelty Firms

SPECIALTY: One Valley company benefiting from Charlie Sheen notoriety.

ADULT: The Valley’s three major adult novelty manufacturers benefiting from an increase in discretionary spending by consumers

Superior Monitors Quake

AUTOS: Disruption possible in Japan supply.

Superior Industries International Inc. is assessing the impact of the earthquake in Japan on its supply chain to that country’s automakers.

Northrop Installs New System

AEROSPACE: Assembly line seen as industry model.

Northrop Grumman Corp. has started using a new assembly line at its facility in Palmdale as the aerospace giant continues its huge presence in the area.

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Making It Work

Firms Seizing Opportunities

Manufacturing in the greater Valley area has seen numerous changes over the past year including Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s increased expansion to other business models, acquisitions involving several companies and the addition of a new Mission Foods plant.

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Friday, March 25

Local Four Seasons Gets New General Manger

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village has hired a veteran with the hotel chain as its new general manager.

Thursday, March 24

Natural Gas Company Receives Funding

Alternative fuel supplier Applied Natural Gas Fuels Inc. has received $5 million in financing for its operations.

Wednesday, March 23

Alarcon Proposes New Filming Incentive

Production companies and entertainment industry workers would receive discounts from area businesses during filming under a proposal from Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon.

Hospitalist Company Purchases Michigan Practice

IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc. added to its holdings in Michigan with the acquisition of an acute care hospitalist practice.

Tuesday, March 22

Forest Lawn Gets New Executive Leader

Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries in Glendale has named one of its current executives as the new president and CEO.

Anthem Agrees to Delay, Reduce Rate Increase

Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to lower its premium rate increase and delay other rate increases after a request to do so by the California Department of Insurance.

Monday, March 21

Viking River Cruises to Launch New Ships in 2012

Viking River Cruises plans to build four new cruise ships that are set to launch at the start of its 2012 sailing season, announced the company that has U.S. headquarters in Woodland Hills.

Cameron Schavee Brushes Teeth

This is the tease of the story.

Friday, March 18

Teledyne Makes Addition to Imaging Services

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. has acquired a majority interest in a company that makes infrared cameras.

University to Add Focus on Global Economic Research

California State University Channel Islands is launching its Institute for Global Economic Research next month on the university’s campus.

Thursday, March 17

Future Sylmar Retail Center to Bring Jobs

Local officials called a planned 20,000-square-foot retail development in Sylmar an economic boost for the community at the future center’s groundbreaking celebration today.

Natural Gas Producer Begins Trading Shares

Liquified natural gas producer Applied Natural Gas Fuels Inc. will begin trading its common stock on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board.

Wednesday, March 16

Americana at Brand Expansion to Include Nordstrom

A Nordstrom store will be part of the expansion of The Americana at Brand, announced Caruso Affiliated, developer of the Glendale shopping complex.

This is a Test: ReachLocal Offering Daily Deals Through Facebook

Online marketing firm ReachLocal Inc. will participate in the testing of a new Facebook site offering discount deals from businesses.

Superior Earnings Improve in Q4

An increase in the average selling price of its aluminum wheels contributed to improved earnings in the fourth quarter when compared to a year ago for Superior Industries International Inc.

State Regulators Investigate Health Net Security Breach

The California Department Insurance and the California Department of Managed Care are conducting their own investigation into Health Net’s loss of several server drives that contained enrollee and employee information.

Tuesday, March 15

Several Companies Donate Money for Japanese Victims

The Walt Disney Company, United Technologies Corp., Amgen and Northrop Grumman are donating millions of dollars to help those affected by Japan’s recent 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

Animal Behavior College Moves to Santa Clarita

The Animal Behavior College is moving its headquarters to Santa Clarita Valley from Northridge.

Green Team, College to Teach Businesses Sustainability

The San Fernando Valley Green Team is partnering with Pierce College in a program that will teach businesses and homeowners how to better conserve energy and water.

Monday, March 14

Health Net Investigates Lost Server Drives

Health Net Inc. is conducting an investigation into several server drives that are unaccounted for from its data center operation located in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

New Assembly Line in Use for Fighter Plane

Northrop Grumman Corp. has started using a new assembly line in Palmdale for making the fuselage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

HemaCare Reports Net Loss for Quarter and Year

A facility closure and corporate leadership changes contributed to lower earnings and revenues in 2010 for HemaCare Corp.

Government Services Ain’t What They Used to Be

CAPITOL OFFENSES

Here are some examples of worthy programs that used to work well but have emerged as Catch-22 situations for policy makers and stakeholders like us.

SolarWorld Gets Biggest Project

ENERGY: Deal with LADWP is showcase for long-standing firm.

SolarWorld of Camarillo has signed a deal to develop a solar system for L.A. Dept. of Water and Power. The advanced system involves bulk distribution of energy.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER - Colleges & Universities

ABOUT THE LIST - Greater Valley-based institutions ranked by full-time equivalent students in 2010-2011 school year. Includes the 2011 SFV'S LARGEST COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES list for download (pdf)

VALLEY BIZ SEEN

Photographs of recent business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

LEADERSHIP: 20 IN THEIR 20s

Profiles of young executives: Steven Derryberry, Lindsay Fontaine, Tim Gaspar, Josh Mann, Stephen Rischall, Clark Hill, Madison Schwartz and Antonio Diaz.

LEADERSHIP: 20 IN THEIR 20s, continued

Profiles of young executives: Nathan Ryan, Zachary Zigmond, Jonathon Nostrant, Michelle Boyer, Jordan Landes-Brenman, Kelly LaRussa, and Nicolas Ramirez.

CEO of Magazine Made A Turn in His Career Path

PUBLISHING: Wurth chronicles how top-level executives made it big.

LEADERSHIP: 20 IN THEIR 20s - David Wurth, CSQ - C-Suite Quarterly magazine

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Networking Masters Found High-Level Connections

MARKETING: Duo finds friends first, business second.

LEADERSHIP: 20 IN THEIR 20s - Parham Nabatian and Kayvan Mott, Infinite Communications

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Young Executive Has Earned Trust of Hospital Leaders

HEALTH CARE: Kendrick, 29, is one of top people on staff.

LEADERSHIP: 20 IN THEIR 20s - Justin Kendrick, Palmdale Regional Medical Center.

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More It Changes The More It Stays The Same

FROM THE NEWSROOM

Commentary by Editor Jason Schaff.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

Entreprenuer Tries Hand at Film, Television

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

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Institutional Investor Partners to Buy Wilbur Medical Plaza

OFFICE: Property has surgery center and houses physicians from Providence Tarzana.

REAL ESTATE Column by JESSICA VERNABE

Competition For Sales Leads to Creative Campaigns

Publicity: THQ using food trucks, rallies and red balloons to promote “Homefront” game.

ADVERTISING, MARKETING and PR Column by Mark Madler

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Planning a Strategy Leads to Where the Investors Are

Money: Keep conversations short, work the room and plan follow up meetings.

ADVENTURES IN STARTUPS Column by Matt Crowley

Car Legend, Galpin Put Pedal Down for CHP Charity

Drawing: Ford dealership gets car at a discount.

GIVING: This is a regular feature on philanthropic activities by Valley-area businesspeople and companies.

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Valley Driven

Antelope Valley car dealer Lou Gonzales discusses the switch from the Saturn brand to Chevrolet, what buyers are looking for these days and the future of the Lancaster Auto Mall.

Interview with Lou Gonzales, owner of Antelope Valley Chevrolet in Lancaster. He’s a long-time area businessman who didn’t give up on the industry or the area after his Saturn business folded in the demise of the brand.

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Method Fest Takes Break for 2011

Funds: Corporate support dried up during the recession.

Facing difficulties in attracting corporate sponsors, the organizers of the Method Fest film festival are taking a break this year to regroup and work on ways to grow the festival.

Earnings Increase for DTS With Adoption of Blu-ray

Audio: Technology developer targets networked-entertainment as growth area in 2011.

Digital audio company DTS reports strong earnings as Blu-Ray DVDs, which contain the DTS audio format, become mainstream.

Changes in Media Lead to New Department at Law Firm

Expertise: Existing clients can now use firm for marketing and advertising issues.

Law firm Michelman & Robinson forms advertising, marketing and media department.

Expansion at Van Nuys Studio Meets Filming Needs

Improve: Avenue Six adds New York-style streetscape for a backdrop.

Avenue Six Studios adds to filming opportunities with a New York streetscape to its facility in Van Nuys

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Pact for Cleanup

AVIATION: Bob Hope Airport in deal with Lockheed.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority will pay $2 million to Lockheed Martin in connection with a lawsuit over responsibility for contaminated groundwater in the area of Bob Hope Airport.

Retail Mix Develops for Mall

SHOPPING: Westfield readies portfolio for Village project.

Westfield starts lining up its retail mix at the proposed Village development that will link Topanga Plaza and the Promenade in the next several years. The company in the past few weeks has been giving more details about the project and sending out glossy brochures to the neighborhood.

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Vitesse Returns to NASDAQ

TECH: Move eases disruption at Camarillo firm.

Vitesse Semiconductor returned to the NASDAQ after a five-year absence.

Time Machine

United Online Adapts Again With Nostalgia Website

United Online taps into the appeal of nostalgia with new website, Memory Lane.

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Friday, March 11

Salem Communications Earnings Rise

Salem Communications Corp. had higher net income and revenue for the fourth quarter and full year of 2010 compared to previous losses.

Wednesday, March 9

EPA Reaches Settlements on Cleaning Contaminated Water

Six companies, including aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, have agreed to pay more than $3 million to help clean up contaminated groundwater in North Hollywood and Glendale.

Caruso Affiliated To Purchase Hotel Property for Americana Expansion

The owner of the Golden Key Hotel in Glendale has agreed to sell the property to Caruso Affiliated, which will use the site as part of its expansion of The Americana at Brand shopping center.

Tuesday, March 8

Income Improves for AeroVironment in Q3

Net income grew by nearly 76 percent in the fourth quarter for manufacturer AeroVironment Inc. when compared to the same period a year ago.

LTC Properties Inc. to Buy Skilled Nursing Facilities

Westlake Village-based LTC Properties Inc. has agreed to acquire four skilled nursing properties in Texas that include a total of 524 licensed beds.

Despite Job Losses Manufacturing Still Strong in Southern California, Says Report

Los Angeles County continues a 20-year pattern in a loss of manufacturing jobs, according to a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Monday, March 7

Method Fest Going Dark for 2011

Facing difficulties in attracting corporate sponsors, the organizers of the Method Fest film festival are taking a break this year to regroup and work on ways to grow the festival.

California United Bank Had Losses in Quarter and Year

California United Bank had net losses for 2010’s fourth quarter and full year but had year-over-year growth in assets, deposits and loans.

Friday, March 4

Burbank Firm in Wall Street Journal Top 10

Burbank-based eSolar Inc. came in third in the Wall Street Journal’s Top 10 Clean-Tech list, which ranks venture-backed clean-tech companies.

Thursday, March 3

DineEquity’s Fourth Quarter Shows Greater Net Loss

DineEquity Inc. had a wider net loss for the fourth quarter and year of 2010 while sales at its Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants increased.

Holiday Season Helps Improve Crown Earnings

A strong holiday season contributed to Crown Media Holdings increasing its net income in the fourth quarter when compared to a year ago.

SolarWorld Contributing to DWP Array

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power will use solar panels made by SolarWorld to produce up to 11.6 megawatts of power at a facility in the high desert.

Wednesday, March 2

Maguire Moving Ahead With Hangars at Van Nuys

Leases: Aviation company in talks to get more time to meet timeline for improvements.

Mark Madler reports on talks between Los Angeles World Airports and the largest leaseholder at Van Nuys Airport to extend the time needed to construct new hangar and office space.

Image Extends Distribution Agreement for Canada

Image Entertainment Inc. has extended a distribution agreement to release its content in Canada.

Lighting Company Moves to Glendale

Event lighting and rental company Kinetic Lighting plans to relocate to Glendale from North Hollywood.

Tuesday, March 1

Hospitalist Group Gets Contract for Massachusetts Hospitals

IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc. has expanded its New England market presence by entering into an agreement to provide exclusive hospitalist services to two hospitals in Massachusetts.

Airport, Lockheed Reach Settlement Over Contaminated Groundwater

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority will pay $2 million to Lockheed Martin in connection with a lawsuit over responsibility for contaminated groundwater in the area of Bob Hope Airport.

CrowdGather Receives $7.8 Million in Financing

Online community network CrowdGather will sell shares in the company to investors for $7.85 million.

IRIS International Reports Lower Quarter Earnings

The effect of an acquisition and unfavorable foreign currency contributed to IRIS International Inc. having lower earnings for the fourth quarter when compared to a year ago.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

Advisor Changes Business Model, Goes Global

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

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Dodd to Head up Studio Lobbying Organization

Former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd has been named as the new chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.