News

A Strong U.S. Economy Will Boost Global Growth in 2019

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

By Peter Coy, Bloomberg Business Judging by recent headlines, the global economy is on a wild roller coaster that’s going mostly downhill. There are Brexit, trade wars, Italy’s fight with the European Union, renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, a Chinese debt bomb, jittery stock markets, intermittent capital flight from developing nations, and more. The data tell a calmer and happier story. According to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy is on track to grow a healthy 3.7 percent in 2018. That’s exactly how fast it grew in 2017. The IMF’s forecast for 2019? Again, 3.7 percent. It’s a plateau, all right, but a high plateau—call it the Altiplano of...
UK Life Science Executives Visit the Cove @ UCI to Explore US Expansion in Irvine

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

As part of the Greater Irvine Chamber’s 2018 Life Science Showcase event, life science company executives from throughout the U.K. made their way to UC Irvine. In collaboration with UCI Applied Innovation, the Greater Irvine Chamber hosted 10 executives from U.K.-owned life science companies to position Southern California and UCI as a strong global brand for innovation and entrepreneurship. Applied Innovation worked closely with the Chamber to promote industry cluster growth in the region. U.K. life science company executives join the Greater Irvine Chamber and UCI Applied Innovation executives for a lunchtime presentation at the Cove @ UCI. Photo: Michelle Mar “When you study the facts, every indicator reveals...
US Chamber Awards Greater Irvine Chamber the Nation's Highest Accreditation

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The United States Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Greater Irvine Chamber with 5-Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community. “Receiving the highest honor in the chamber industry is a testament to our tremendous Board of Directors, dedicated volunteers, and exceptional professional staff,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “I’m extremely proud of our collective accomplishment as we continue our efforts to advance the economic vitality of greater Irvine.” The Greater Irvine Chamber is one of seven chambers in California to hold this distinction, and one of 120 in the nation....
Cox Automotive Renews as Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle Sponsor

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cox Automotive has renewed its partnership with the Greater Irvine Chamber as a Silver-level Leaders Circle sponsor. With more than 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents, Cox Automotive strives to understand client needs by pairing its insights and research with business goals – delivering inspired results to bridge the gap between consumers, manufacturers, dealers and lenders at every stage of the automotive experience. The organization focuses on continually improving its products to create faster vehicle transactions, enabling consumers to have a seamless online-to-offline experience. Leaders Circle members of the Greater Irvine Chamber are among the most influential companies and organizations in Irvine...
Strong Jobs Growth in October Powers US Economy Forward

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) praised the latest monthly jobs report, which shows that the U.S. economy continues to grow strongly and create jobs. However, a September trade deficit running 21 percent worse than a year ago means urgent action is required on the trade front. The monthly jobs summary reported 250,000 new jobs in October, including 32,000 new manufacturing jobs. So far this year, U.S. manufacturing has added 296,000 jobs, the best record since 1995. Unemployment remains at a historically low level of 3.7 percent, while 3.1 percent growth in average hourly earnings has finally broken through the 3 percent threshold.  Unfortunately, the latest federal data also reveals serious...
OC Business Journal Directory of Influence Features Greater Irvine Chamber Member Executives

Thursday, November 08, 2018

More than 50 executives from Greater Irvine Chamber member companies have been featured in Orange County Business Journal’s third annual OC 500 Directory of Influence. The directory features an impressive list of influential business and community leaders from a variety of Orange County companies, ranging from nonprofits to large corporations. Congratulations to the following professionals for this prestigious accomplishment: Barry S. Arbuckle, President, Chief Executive, MemorialCare Health System Paul Bay, President, Americas, Ingram Micro Steve Bilt, Chief Executive, Smile Brands Gary Brahm, Chancellor, Chief Executive, Brandman University Donald Bren, Chairman, Irvine Co. Richard Cabrera, Executive Vice President, Umpqua Bank Bill Carpou, President, Chief Executive, OCTANe Steve Case, EVP, Office Properties,...
Destination Irvine Recognized as Finalist in 2018 Stella Awards

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Destination Irvine was recognized as a finalist in the 2018 Stella Awards in the Best CVB/DMO Far West category. The Stella Awards are Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings comprehensive awards program, which recognizes organizations from around the globe that consistently deliver quality service and innovation to meeting and event professionals. Eligible organizations include hotels, convention centers, conference centers, destination  marketing organization (DMOs)/convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), destination marketing companies (DMCs), airlines, and cruise lines in 18 categories in six regions in the United States and worldwide. Finalists in each category are determined by meeting planners during an open voting period online,...
Help Make this Holiday Special by Donating to Toy Drive Benefitting Boys & Girls Club OC

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber Emerging Business Leaders Council is hosting a holiday toy drive to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Orange County. A collection bin is located in the lobby of the Greater Irvine Chamber office at 36 Executive Park, Suite 100 in Irvine. Donations of new, unwrapped gifts are encouraged through Dec. 12. Drop off hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Toys collected will be delivered to children ages 6 - 12 on Dec. 15 at the Boys & Girls Club Winter Wonderland event in Santa Ana. The...
Irvine City Manager John Russo Speaks to a Full House at Greater Irvine Chamber

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Irvine City Manager John Russo remarked on the master-planned city to a packed room of business and community leaders during the Nov. 1 Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs meeting. “This is a city that was built on a vision. This is a city that believes in a vision... It’s a city marked by ambition,” Russo said as he cited the brilliance of the Irvine Master Plan set in place more than 50 years ago. Additionally, he gave an overview and examples of what he sees as the five essential values for good governance: transparency, responsiveness, accountability, fiscal prudence, and decisiveness. As a...
Square Root Designs Joins Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Square Root Designs has joined the Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle as a Gold-level sponsor. The professionals at Square Root customize each project to their clients’ vision – from classic to contemporary, understated to over-the-moon. Square Root has been contracted by international and local celebrities, philanthropists, politicians, athletes, and artists, with event production in Japan, Miami, Nevada, Utah, and New York. The companies work has been covered by shows on Bravo, VH1, HGTV, the Style channel, and many more. Square Root floral designs for The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel have been established as the stapled look for the Ritz-Carlton brand throughout the...
Edwards Bets Big On Investments

Monday, November 05, 2018

Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member Edwards Lifesciences Corp., Orange County’s largest public company with a nearly $30 billion market value, is also one of its fastest-growing public companies, both in sales and stock growth. The Irvine-based medical device giant, which employs over 4,600 in OC, had two-year sales growth of 29 percent for the period ended June 30, with $3.5 billion in sales. The percentage gain was fourth-best on this week’s Business Journal ranking of the fastest-growing large businesses. More is in store, according to Chief Executive Michael Mussallem, who’s led Edwards since it became an independent company when spun out of...
IRS: 401(k) and IRA Contribution Limits Increase

Monday, November 05, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019. The IRS issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2018-83. Highlights of Changes for 2019 The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000. The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), which last increased in 2013, is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to...
Irvine Valley College Ranked #3 for Best Online College in California

Monday, November 05, 2018

Greater Irvine Chamber member Irvine Valley College was ranked third on the 2018-2019 list of Best Online Colleges in California created by the Community for Accredited Online Schools. The ranking for 2-year colleges was created using data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, and considered factors such as quality, affordability, flexibility, and program. “Irvine Valley College is committed to ensuring our students can pursue their educational goals as efficiently as possible,” said President Glenn Roquemore. “Offering a wide variety of online, hybrid and on-campus classes ensures that students have the flexibility to complete their education in...
Long-term Financial Planning and Transparency in Irvine

Monday, November 05, 2018

This month, the Irvine City Council will consider a significant change to how Irvine prepares and approves its budget. The City’s first-ever two-year budget, developed in the context of a comprehensive five-year financial plan, will be before the City Council at its Nov. 27 meeting. A first review will be before the Finance Commission at its Nov. 5 meeting. The Commission also is expected to provide input to planned Community Budget Workshop locations scheduled for early in 2019. Click here for the Nov.5 Staff Report. City Council approval of a two-year budget cycle would build on the recent Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, which...
Coded in OC Adds to its Roster of Tech Companies

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Coded in OC, a nonprofit initiative designed to highlight technology companies while growing and retaining a strong technical workforce in Orange County, has recently added four new members to its roster of tech companies: Parapxl, Bold Array, Arcules, and adQuadrant. These companies are featured on the Coded in OC website. Joining the initiative along with community partners Greater Irvine Chamber and Irvine Valley College, is fellow Chamber member UCI Applied Innovation, which is supporting the project with resources ranging from physical space at The Cove and mindshare, to amplifying Coded in OC messaging to their constituency.  Two Greater Irvine Chamber members that are part of...
Greater Irvine Chamber Welcomes Delegation of UK Life Science Companies

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

As part of its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) initiative, the Greater Irvine Chamber last week hosted a three-day Irvine Lifescience Showcase for executives from 10 U.K. life science companies seeking expansion to the United States. The executives are from Forte Medical, Ampersand + Ampersand, Austin Fraser, Medical Realities, Plasticell, uMed, Innovarius, Cambridge Epigenetix, Kokoon, Performance Fifteen, and the Association of British HealthTech Industries. The visiting executives joined more than 800 conference attendees at OCTANe’s Oct. 29-30 Medical Technology Innovation Forum (MTIF), which is focused on high-growth medical technology innovation and investment. Linda DiMario, executive vice president of the Greater Irvine Chamber, who...
OC Tech Funding Tops $100M in 3Q

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Orange County tech funding is growing. According to research from JLL, there was $106 million in total tech funding in the third quarter. It was the second consecutive quarter when tech funding surpassed $100 million and the fourth consecutive year when tech funding has surpassed $500 million. Venture capital and private equity has made up a bulk of the tech funding in the market, and a majority of the capital has gone to IT and software companies. Source: Globe St. Related article: Heavy Concentration of Orange County Startups Located in Irvine
US GDP Grows Above-Forecast 3.5 Percent on Consumers, Inventories

Friday, October 26, 2018

The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter as consumers opened their wallets, businesses restocked inventories and governments boosted spending, marking the strongest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2014. The annualized rate of gains in gross domestic product compared with the 3.3 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey and followed a 4.2 percent advance in the prior three months, according to a report from the Commerce Department. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, unexpectedly accelerated to a 4 percent increase -- the best since 2014 -- while the 0.8 percent gain...
CalChamber Issues Vote Record on Major Business Bills 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The California Chamber of Commerce has released a report of California legislators’ floor votes for the second year of the 2017-18 legislative session, focusing on priority bills for the state’s business community. This is the 44th vote record the CalChamber has compiled in response to numerous requests by member firms and local chambers of commerce that would like a gauge by which to measure the performance of their legislators. To help readers assess legislators’ vote records, the charts group bills into 12 areas: agriculture, food and natural resources; corporate governance; education; energy; health care costs, housing and land use; immigration; industrial safety...
Greater Irvine Chamber to Recognize Emerging Professionals at Inaugural 40 Under 40 Event

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber announces its inaugural 40 Under 40 event that will celebrate and recognize 40 emerging Orange County professionals under the age of 40. The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, 6 – 8 p.m. “Orange County and especially Irvine are home to some of the most highly-educated, innovative, and entrepreneurial young professionals in the world. Having the privilege to carry forward the recognition of this unparalleled talent is an honor,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “The Chamber is thrilled to shine the spotlight on the current and...
Three-day Lifescience Showcase to Highlight Irvine’s Assets to UK Delegation

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber on Oct. 28 is welcoming 10 life science companies from the U.K. seeking expansion to Orange County, and especially Irvine. Executives from Forte Medical, Ampersand + Ampersand, Austin Fraser, Medical Realities, Plasticell, uMed, Innovarius, Cambridge Epigenetix, Kokoon, Performance Fifteen, and the Association of British HealthTech Industries will attend OCTANe’s Medical Technology Innovation Forum, tour some of Irvine’s leading med-tech and innovation companies, and meet with leading hospitals, clinicians, healthcare executives and scientists. The three-day Lifescience Showcase will feature partners including Edwards Lifesciences, Hoag Hospital, The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation, and UCI Medical Center, MemorialCare, and OCTANe among...
401(k) Rule Change Would Ease Small Companies’ Path to Joint Plans

Monday, October 22, 2018

A new Labor Department rule would make it easier for small businesses to offer 401(k) plans, part of an effort to close a retirement-plan coverage gap that affects millions of employees. The proposed regulation would allow companies to band together to offer 401(k) plans sponsored by entities including business associations. Such arrangements, often called multiple-employer plans, are allowed now for employers with an affiliation or connection, such as companies with a common owner or members of the same industry trade association. The regulation—which the department said could go into effect as soon as early 2019 after a period for comments and possible...
Destination Irvine's AnaLaura Becerra Promotes City to Medical Technology Stakeholders

Monday, October 22, 2018

AnaLaura Becerra, director of corporate sales, Destination Irvine, developed professional relationships with more than 35 stakeholders from the medical and technology sectors during one-on-one meetings at the Oct. 14 - 15 Connect Medical | Connect Tech conference in Las Vegas. Becerra provided information on Irvine hotels and amenities to life-science companies with an interest in booking meetings in Irvine, including Syneos Health, Stratpharma, Siemens Healthineers, Solara Medical Supplies, Philips, and JTB USA, which has a strong presence in the Japanese market. She also connected with third-party planning organizations, Pinnacle Management, Russell Harris, TW Metals, Honeywell, RedHorse Corp., and Meetings Made Easy, on...
Irvine City Manager John Russo to Address Business, Community Leaders at Greater Irvine Chamber

Monday, October 22, 2018

Irvine City Manager John Russo will address business and community leaders during the Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs meeting on Thursday, Nov. 1, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Having served as a city councilmember, city attorney, and city manager, Russo will discuss how his experience at three California cities gives him a unique perspective as he leads Irvine in implementing the vision and direction of its city council. Russo has 23 years of results-oriented public service gained through leadership positions in Oakland, Alameda, and Riverside. The Brooklyn native graduated with honors in economics and political science from Yale University, and earned his law...
MacKenzie Corporation Makes Atlas-Explorer Available For Public Licensing Game-Changing Data Visualization & Analytics Tool Will Upgrade Sales & Marketing Processes

Monday, October 22, 2018

Greater Irvine Chamber member MacKenzie Corporation, a full-service data analytics and market research company, announced that its game-changing data visualization tool Atlas-Explorer is available for public licensing. After years of privatized use, this powerful yet easy-to-use program can be customized for your brand, your industry, and your unique corporate structure. The program synthesizes various sources of data into one location, converting the flood of data into a consumable, visually dynamic format that provides the information needed to understand your market and maximize your sales efficiency. According to MacKenzie Corp leadership, the Atlas Explorer program has far exceeded their already lofty internal...
California's Tax Revenues Beat Expectations by $1 Billion Over the Summer Months

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Californians paid some $1 billion in taxes above official projections during the first three months of the state’s fiscal year, in what could be a major boost to the government’s bottom line once Gov. Jerry Brown leaves office in January. A monthly report issued by the state Department of Finance attributed most of the unexpected revenue — $990 million — from personal income taxes paid between July 1 and Sept. 30. Sales taxes were slightly below expectations written into the budget crafted by Brown and state lawmakers in June, while corporation tax revenues were slightly above forecasts. The new tax windfall comes...
Enhancing Government Transparency in Irvine

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Irvine City Council will consider approval of an Irvine Sunshine Ordinance that would expand review time of nearly all upcoming agenda items to 12 days – which is four times longer than California law requires. The proposed ordinance will be heard during the City Council meeting beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23. An ordinance requires a second reading, which would be Nov. 13. “The 12-day window allows every community member the time they need to review agenda items thoroughly,” said City Manager John Russo. California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, requires an agenda be posted a mere 72...
MemorialCare Joins Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle

Thursday, October 18, 2018

MemorialCare has joined the Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle as a silver-level sponsor. “MemorialCare is proud to join the Greater Irvine Chamber at the Leaders Circle level. We look forward to a very productive and exciting year ahead,” said Chris Arias, Director of Business Development. MemorialCare is a nonprofit integrated healthcare delivery system that includes Long Beach Medical Center, Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Medical Center, and Saddleback Medical Center; award-winning medical groups – MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians; Seaside Health Plan; and convenient outpatient health centers, imaging centers, breast centers, surgical centers, and dialysis centers....
Destination Irvine Showcases Great Park as SoCal Go-To Sports Facility

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dave Lucey, director of sports sales, Destination Irvine, met with representatives from 40 sporting event planning and hosting organizations during the Oct. 1-4 TEAMS (Travel, Events, and Management in Sports) conference in Louisville, KY. Lucey was joined by City of Irvine staff members Chris Alfaro and Collum McLaughlin, and hoteliers Brittany Valverde of Hilton Irvine and Jeremy Yujuico of Doubletree Irvine. Together, they strengthened relationships with sports organizations such as USA Field Hockey, USL Soccer, and USA Rugby and provided updates on the newly completed sport facilities at the Orange County Great Park. The sports facilities, which opened last year, include a...
Emerging Business Leaders Holiday Party to Benefit Nonprofit Partners

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber Emerging Business Leaders Council will host its annual Holiday Party on Wednesday, Dec. 5. As part of the council’s initiative to help support local nonprofits that are members of the Greater Irvine Chamber, the party will feature a silent auction in which all proceeds will be donated to the organization’s nonprofit partners. “We are lucky enough to partner with nonprofits and feature them at our bimonthly mixers, but as we strategically planned for 2018, we wanted to gather all our nonprofit partners in one place and celebrate the great work they do by giving back to them,” said...
Greater Irvine Chamber and Destination Irvine Sweep 2018 MarCom Awards

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Greater Irvine Chamber and Destination Irvine have received top awards in the MarCom 2018 Competition for marketing and communication materials. The Greater Irvine Chamber received a Platinum Award for its Irvine Master Plan video, a Gold Award for its Irvine – Uniquely Qualified video, and an Honorable Mention for its Irvine UK Foreign Direct Investment video. Destination Irvine received a Platinum Award the organization’s website destinationirvine.com along with two Gold Awards, one for the 2018-2019 Official Irvine Visitors Guide and one for the video Irvine, CA. - Where Tech Meets Trek. “This prestigious recognition is a validation of all the great work being done at the...
Greater Irvine Chamber Hosts Students for Fourth Installment of Award-Winning Career Edge Program

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber, in collaboration with Google, Irvine Valley College, Webster University, Irvine, and professionals from the business community, on Oct. 6 hosted 33 students from Orange County colleges and universities for the Effective Business Communication Career Edge workshop instructed by Dr. Roopa Mathur, chair and professor, School of Business Sciences at IVC. Helping guide students as they learned business writing, presentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills during the session were volunteer mentors Brian Andersen, Telecomprehensive Solutions; Julie Cho, Cho Law Firm;  Dr. Cathleen Greiner, Rancho Santiago Community College District; Carlos Oregon, Thinkbox Technology Group; Pepper Russell, Greater Irvine Chamber;...
Greater Irvine Chamber Women of Influence Committee Initiates Outreach Aimed at Empowering Women

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Members of the Greater Irvine Chamber Women of Influence Committee have expanded their objective to assist in the planning of the annual event, to include community outreach aimed at empowering women and supporting local nonprofit organizations. “Launching this outreach initiative has allowed our committee members to meet with women within our community who are making a difference and inspiring each other to grow, both professionally and personally,” said Danni Remington Smithson, regional manager, Pacific Western Bank, and Women of Influence Committee chair. As part of the committee’s initiative, its members recently participated in the Huntington Beach Walk to End Alzheimer’s, hosted by...
Greater Irvine Chamber’s Jessica Welch Presents California Women’s Leadership Association Women to Watch in 2019 Award

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

As a 2018 California Women’s Leadership Association (CWLA) Community Heroes award recipient, Jessica Welch, IOM, vice president of operations, Greater Irvine Chamber, presented this year’s awards during the CWLA’s Women to Watch in 2019 luncheon. Women to Watch in 2019, who were formally recognized during the Oct. 11 luncheon, are Peggy Grande, Hon. Virginia Vaughn, and Laura Meier, for being active on the frontline of issues in their communities. “As a past recipient, it is an honor twice over to present this award to professional women who are making a difference in their communities,” Welch said. Welch was nominated in 2017 by her peers...
Greater Irvine Prosperity Political Action Committee Endorses Midterm Election Candidates

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Greater Irvine Prosperity Political Action Committee trustees met on Oct. 11 to create a list of endorsed candidates for the upcoming Nov. 6 midterm elections. The following candidates have demonstrated a pro-business agenda, and have received endorsement by the group:   Governor: John Cox Secretary of State: Mark Meuser U.S. House of Representatives (CA-45): Mimi Walters* U.S. House of Representatives (CA-49): Diane Harkey U.S. House of Representatives (CA-39): Young Kim CA State Senate 34th District: Janet Nguyen* CA State Assembly 55th District: Phillip Chen* CA State Assembly 68th District: Stephen Choi* CA State Assembly 72nd District: Tyler Diep CA State Assembly 73rd District: Bill Brough* CA State Assembly 74th District: Matthew Harper* *denotes...
Launch Pad - 10 Legal Considerations for Marketing and Selling Products in Canada

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Despite the talk of trade disputes and the apparent political divide between Canada and the United States the two countries continue to be closely connected in many ways, including with respect to consumers and consumer products.  Building your brand and product in the United States in many cases means that you have also built a reputation among Canadians due to the frequent travel of Canadians to the United States and the American media presence in Canada. This creates an ideal opportunity for many companies to launch their products and brands in Canada. While there are many similarities between the countries with...
California Receives Federal Grant for Global Trade Expansion Program

Friday, October 12, 2018

California has received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help California small businesses boost trade and exports abroad. The grant was allocated to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). “California is the 5th largest economy in the world and this announcement bolsters the state’s efforts to help more small businesses become international exporters,” said GO-Biz Director Panorea Avdis. “Small businesses can use these funds to connect with international customers, market products globally, and identify new business opportunities. These resources empower companies to scale-up operations,...
Irvine Honored with Information Technology Award

Friday, October 12, 2018

The City of Irvine has been awarded for its “exemplary Information Technology (IT) practices” by MISAC, the Municipal Information Systems Association of California. MISAC announced the Technology Achievement awards for 2018 this month. Public agencies are recognized for best practices in IT standards and the use of technology for: budget, strategic planning, operations, customer satisfaction, Internet solutions, and security. “My colleagues on the City Council and I take great pride in Irvine being a leader of innovation in California,” said Mayor Donald P. Wagner. “Technology advancement enables us to provide exceptional services to the public. I am proud of our staff’s diligence in...
Pay Gap a Priority for Women in the Workplace

Friday, October 12, 2018

In a recent all-female survey, 42 percent of respondents cited the pay gap as the most important issue they face. Female professionals share several challenges in today’s workplace, such as career advancement, re-entering the workforce and sexual harassment, to name a few. But according to a recent Korn Ferry survey, 40 percent of women professionals said they’ve missed a promotion or an opportunity simply because they’re female. What’s more, the most important issue facing women in the American workplace is the pay gap, with 42 percent of respondents selecting that over gender discrimination (26 percent), glass ceiling (25 percent) and sexual harassment...
US Consumer Prices Up Slight 0.1 Percent in September

Friday, October 12, 2018

Consumer prices edged up a slight 0.1 percent in September as energy prices retreated after a big gain in August. The Labor Department said that the September gain in its closely watched consumer price index followed a 0.2 percent rise in August. It was the smallest monthly gain since June. Inflation has been on a slight rise this year after a prolonged stretch when prices kept falling below the 2 percent target set by the Federal Reserve. For the 12 months ending in September, consumer prices were up 2.3 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.1 percent in...
TN Visas Remain Under NAFTA Replacement

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Despite rumors that the TN visa category would be eliminated when the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was replaced, the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) appears to preserve the status quo. Consensus over the replacement trade agreement was announced on the evening of Sept. 30. Notably, the text of USMCA’s Chapter 16 – granting temporary entry for certain Canadian and Mexican business professionals and the right to engage in business activities at the professional level – remains essentially unchanged from the original NAFTA text. While all three countries are required to ratify the agreement, U.S. employers seeking to continue to hire...
US Producer Prices Increase for First Time in Three Months

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

U.S. producer prices rose for the first time in three months amid a surge in gauges reflecting airfares and rail-transportation costs, a Labor Department report showed in Washington. Highlights of Producer Prices (September) Producer-price index rose 0.2 percent m/m (matching est.) after a 0.1 percent drop in prior month; up 2.6 percent y/y (est. 2.7 percent) after 2.8 percent gain Excluding food and energy, core gauge rose 0.2 percent m/m (matching est.); up 2.5 percent y/y (matching est.) after 2.3 percent PPI excluding food, energy and trade services, a measure some economists prefer because it strips out the most volatile components, rose 0.4 percent...
CalChamber Stops All 29 Job Killer Bills

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

On his final day to act on legislation, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed the last surviving California Chamber of Commerce-opposed job killer bill. AB 3080 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) would have banned arbitration agreements beneficial to employees, employers and the courts. “We are grateful to the Governor for vetoing this bill and recognizing that, had it become law, AB 3080 would have been preempted by federal law,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “The Governor’s veto saved California employers from a significant amount of unnecessary litigation.” In his Sept. 30 veto message, the Governor stated: “Since this bill plainly violates federal...
Chamber VP Shows it’s Possible to Juggle Work, Life, and School Thanks to Brandman MyPath™

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Getting a college degree wasn’t part of Jessica Welch’s game plan when she was growing up in Washington state. Jessica Welch, vice president of operations at the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, is able to do work on her Brandman MyPath™ competencies during her lunch hour or at home. The degree program's flexibility has made all the difference, she said. Her family, both for economic and religious reasons, didn’t make it a priority. When she graduated from high school and moved to Southern California 16 years ago, a booming economy and a good job in the mortgage industry didn’t require one either. Marriage,...
Charles Antis Delivers Powerful Message on Corporate Social Responsibility

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

In front of a sell-out crowd at the Greater Irvine Chamber’s Oct. 4 Legends & Leaders event at the Hilton Irvine, keynote speaker Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, told of touchpoints that led to his commitment to corporate social responsibility. From experiences such making a house call early in his career where he encountered a family in a dire situation but without the means to resolve it, Antis was inspired to adopt a purpose before profit approach to business. As the central tenet to his corporate philanthropy, he shared that the purpose before profit philosophy ensures...
Greater Irvine Chamber Enters Strategic Alliance with Executive Next Practices Institute

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber is partnering with the Executive Next Practices Institute (ENP) to sponsor ENP’s forums and thought leadership events, which are attended by C-suite and senior executives from leading Orange County companies. “We are delighted to form an alliance with the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, bringing value to the members of both of our groups, which represent the upper echelon of business owners, entrepreneurs and executives in Orange County,” said Scott Hamilton, CEO, Executive Next Practices. “This was a natural alliance for the Chamber to make for a number of reasons. Executive Next Practices offers very high quality programs...
Greater Irvine Chamber Partners with Vincit California for Coded in OC Initiative

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber is partnering with software development and design company Vincit California as they launch Coded in OC, a website that highlights Orange County software development companies, which are helping to fuel the local economy. The recently launched site promotes several prominent companies that produce their software in Orange County. Companies that register are vetted before receiving a Coded in OC insignia to place on their website showing their commitment to growing the local economy and workforce. “The importance of Coded in OC is to grow the local economy by encouraging companies to invest in local talent, grow and retain the local workforce,...
Trade Report: California Exports Rise Despite Tariff Wars

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

California’s merchandise export trade maintained a growth trajectory in August despite a fall-off in farm exports, according to a Beacon Economics analysis of U.S. trade statistics newly released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Foreign shipments by California businesses totaled $15.18 billion for the month, a nominal 3.3 percent gain over the $14.69 billion recorded one year earlier. Although exports of manufactured goods were up 4.6 percent to $9.99 billion from $9.55 billion in August 2017, exports of non-manufactured goods (chiefly agricultural products and raw materials) dropped by 6.3 percent to $1.54 billion from $1.64 billion. The value of re-exported goods rose by...
A Look at the Bills That Did and Did Not Make California Law This Year

Friday, October 05, 2018

California’s Legislature revved into high gear when it came to writing laws in 2018, sending the most bills to the governor’s desk in more than a decade. In all, Gov. Jerry Brown weighed in on 1,217 pieces of legislation passed by the state Senate and Assembly. He signed 1,016 into law, and most will take effect on Jan. 1. Some of the new laws are momentous, others minuscule. Taken together, they are a grab bag of limitations and expectations on the personal and professional lives of Californians. Few residents will agree with all of them; some might not pass legal muster. And...
Governor Signs New Employment Laws for 2019

Friday, October 05, 2018

Governor Jerry Brown signed several key employment law bills that businesses need to be aware of for the coming year. With a few strokes of his pen on Sept. 30, the last day to sign or veto bills, Governor Jerry Brown altered the landscape for California employers in a number of significant ways. Here are some of the new laws taking effect in January 2019 that employers should anticipate: Assembly Bills Lactation Accommodation (AB 1976): Under current state law an employer must provide a location other than a toilet stall for an employee to express breast milk. The location must also be private...
Irvine Schools Will Turn Orange in Support of Irvine Public Schools Foundation

Friday, October 05, 2018

On Thursday, Oct. 18, the 40 schools in Irvine will come together to Turn Irvine Orange in support of Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), and educational excellence in Irvine on IPSF Giving Day. Students, parents, teachers, and community members are invited to wear orange to school, work and in the community, and post photos on their social media to celebrate this day of raising awareness for the causes that they care about. “For us, IPSF Giving Day is more than a day to donate to our Educational Excellence Fund, it gives us an opportunity to bring the community together to recognize...
US Weekly Jobless Claims Near 49-Year Low; Factory Orders Surge

Thursday, October 04, 2018

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength, which should continue to underpin economic growth. The labor market, which is viewed as being near or at full employment, is steadily boosting wage growth, which could help to support consumer spending as the stimulus from the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. “The momentum in the labor market remains strong and we expect the unemployment rate to continue to decline,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped...
Greater Irvine Chamber Receives Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber won three Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The Chamber received a Silver Award for its Business Outreach Rally in the category of Business Retention and Expansion Program of 3 Years or More, a Silver Award for its Global Microsite in the Special Purpose Website category, and a Bronze Award for its Career Edge program in the Human Capital category. The awards were formally presented to Linda DiMario, executive vice president, and Pepper Russell, research and support services manager, Greater Irvine Chamber, during the Oct. 2 IEDC Annual Conference, in Atlanta, Georgia. “I’m...
Linda DiMario Recognized for Business Excellence and Leadership in Orange County

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Linda DiMario, executive vice president, Greater Irvine Chamber, received an Excellence in Business award from the British American Business Council of Orange County (BABC), and the Leadership in the Success of Orange County award from OCTANe. “Receiving these awards is such an honor,” said DiMario. “The partnership that we have built with both organizations is essential to the economic development work of the Chamber, particularly our work to help U.K. companies expand here, and our mission to enhance the vitality of the innovation and life science sectors in Irvine.” Formally presented during the Sept. 26 British American Business Awards event, the Business...
Department of Homeland Security Representative Addresses Greater Irvine Chamber International Development Committee

Monday, October 01, 2018

Among its high-profile and critical functions, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) monitors trade security. During the Greater Irvine Chamber’s September International Development Committee (IDC) meeting, a representative from the Southern California DHS office provided insights on the ways in which the organization protects trade in Orange County. Discussed were the resources that the Department of Homeland Security offers to businesses with international trade relations, including providing information on trade, finance and transportation activity, trade policy, and other economic security decisions. “It was reassuring to know that the Department of Homeland Security not only protects the U.S. against terrorism, but it also...
Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs Committee Recommended Positions on Nov. 6 General Election Ballot Measures

Monday, October 01, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs Committee has provided a list of the measures that will appear on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot with their accompanying recommended positions on each. The committee offers their position recommendations with the interest of local businesses in mind.   Support: Proposition 1 – Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs, loans, grants, and project and housing loans for veterans. Proposition 3 – Authorizes bonds to fund projects for water supply and quality, watershed, fish, wildlife, water conveyance, and groundwater sustainability and storage. Proposition 5 - Changes requirements for certain property owners to transfer their property...
Here Are the Key Differences Between NAFTA and the US, Canada, and Mexico's New Trade Pact

Monday, October 01, 2018

The U.S. and Canada on Sunday sealed the deal on a new trade agreement that, along with an earlier U.S.-Mexico agreement, opens to door to a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The new deal, dubbed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is expected to be signed by the leaders of the three member countries — U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto — in Nov. The deal must also be approved by each country's legislature before it can come into force. While Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, said...
Irvine Spectrum Center Named Best Shopping and Dining Destination in Orange County

Monday, October 01, 2018

The Irvine Spectrum Center has been named the Best Shopping and Dining Destination in the county by the Orange County Register. Irvine Spectrum is not one to rest on its laurels as a go-to spot for shopping, dining and entertainment since it opened in 1995. A $200-million redesign for 2018 emphasizes its community vibe with expanded lawns, more outdoor seating and shaded areas, refurbished and new fountains and updated landscaping. Thirty new tenants join more than 150 stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. Along with more than 1,500 more parking spaces, Irvine Spectrum Center is bringing enhanced interactive technology to all of its...
Southern California Edison Remains Committed to Wildfire Prevention and Response

Monday, October 01, 2018

In response to the growing risk of wildfires in Southern California, Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member Southern California Edison (SCE) is taking action to address wildfire prevention, response, and liability, and is committed to working with state leaders on practical policy solutions to more effectively address these issues.  Senate Bill 901 (SB 901) was signed recently into law. While this legislation is a step forward, SCE believes that more work still needs to be done to address wildfire prevention, response, and liability, and remains committed to working with state leaders on practical policy solutions to more effectively address these issues. SCE...
The FCC’s 5G Plan Deserves 5 Stars

Monday, October 01, 2018

This week, 5G will be front and center as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take up a plan to eliminate regulatory barriers for deployment and the White House will hold a summit to address spectrum, infrastructure, and technical standards. While it will require many different forms of communications technologies such as satellite and cable to bridge the digital divide, 5G promises to revolutionize how people and devices connect. It is critical that our leaders promote policies that encourage the deployment of cutting-edge communications equipment. What is 5G and why does it matter? 5G is what its name implies – it is...
What Will Irvine Look Like in 20 Years?

Monday, October 01, 2018

Emile Haddad of Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member FivePoint is experimenting with something that at first glance appears antithetical to the Southern California lifestyle—a home without a garage. And a homeowner who’s not a car owner. “These will be the first single-family homes with no garages,” Haddad said. “We all love our cars, but the minds of the next generation won’t love them as much as we do.” It’s a proof-of-concept project that will entail 50 to 60 homes. A timeframe for opening hasn't been set, he said. A builder hasn't been chosen for the homes, which are being designed by...
Irvine is Safest City for 13th Year

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Irvine is the Safest City of its size in the nation, according to FBI data. The information released shows that Irvine has the lowest rate of violent crime per capita of any city in the nation with a population of 250,000 or more. This is the 13th consecutive year Irvine has earned the Safest City designation. This year, Irvine also had the lowest rate of total Part 1 crime for a city of its size. The FBI’s Annual Uniform Crime Report measures Part 1 crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft and arson.  “The men and women of...
Business Outreach Rally Volunteers Needed

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber will host its ninth Business Outreach Rally on Thursday, Oct. 25. Chamber member volunteers participate in the award-winning program to outreach to local businesses, conducting primary research on their most pressing needs. The volunteers will set out with a goal of discovering the challenges businesses face and will provide copies of the Chamber’s Business Outreach Resource Guide, which features information about support resources offered through the Chamber and its partner organizations. The Chamber is seeking volunteers for two, or both, shifts: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakfast and coffee will be provided.   12:30 – 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided.   Volunteers will receive...
Greater Irvine Chamber Legislative Policy Handbook Approved by Board of Directors

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee has recently published its 2018-2019 Legislative Policy Handbook, which reflects the interests of the local business community. The handbook serves as the policy platform for the Chamber and is used as a guide by the organization to remain consistent in its advocacy functions.  Ranging from consumer privacy to workforce preparedness, the handbook provides policy objectives, positions, and backgrounds on issues that are important to the Chamber and its members. The Government Affairs Committee updated the handbook, outlining details of the Chamber’s position on issues.  The Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors approved the...
Starr's Perspective on the Success of Irvine's Balanced Master Plan

Monday, September 24, 2018

By Bryan Starr, President & CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, as published in the October 2018 issue of Irvine Standard. As an Irvine resident, I have always been pleased to learn of the many distinctions our city receives for being a great place to live and do business. Now, as the President and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber, directing the organization’s mission to promote Irvine, I am keenly aware of the reason we have emerged as one of America’s great cities: it’s our balanced Master Plan. Many cities may have ample housing but few jobs. Some have plenty of jobs but few parks...
Delivering LA and Southern California to the Global Market - How Does Your Business Plan Fit?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Southern California has a huge business presence globally. It is one of the most vibrant business environments in the world. Los Angeles is the third largest municipal economy in the world. Tokyo is the largest and New York is second. LAX is the 4th busiest airport in the world and the Port of LA ranks as the busiest port in the western hemisphere. This growth of SoCal’s economy brings with it opportunities for businesses from around the world to participate in the building of infrastructure and providing services throughout SoCal. It is an opportunity to gain market share in this...
Economic Advisory Council: U.S Economic Expansion Continues, But Growth Surge May Be Temporary

Friday, September 21, 2018

Far from losing steam, the U.S. economy has been on a solid upswing lately. But as always, a deeper look at the data suggests that there are issues to keep an eye on, according to a recent report by the California Chamber of Commerce Economic Advisory Council. The United States is currently in the midst of the second longest expansion in the nation’s history at 111 months and counting. In July of next year, we will officially be in the midst of the longest expansion on record. Below are some of the highlights from the economic report. Read the full report. A Deeper Look Consider...
Governor Signs CalChamber-Supported Bill Protecting Businesses from Lawsuits

Friday, September 21, 2018

A California Chamber of Commerce-supported bill related to food and consumer product packaging was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. CalChamber supports AB 2632 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles) because it protects consumer product and food manufacturers from lawsuits by clarifying package labeling requirements regarding the amount of product and packaging. Specifically, AB 2632 would ensure that consumer product and food manufacturers cannot be deemed to have violated California’s “slack fill” law when the product’s exterior packaging contains information that clearly communicates the amount and size of the product contained in the packaging. Slack fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume...
Irvine Voted Best OC City in Which to Live

Friday, September 21, 2018

The City of Irvine has been voted “Best City to Live in” for the third consecutive year by Orange County Register readers. Irvine’s commitment to safety, its unparalleled parks and open space, and quality of education helped it maintain its status as the best place to live in Orange County. Register readers select the best categories, so this is particularly important in that so many community members took the time to choose Irvine as No. 1. “The Register confirms what we already know here in Irvine. This is the best place to live in Orange County! Our public safety, our schools, our...
Just Who Is An Independent Contractor?

Friday, September 21, 2018

A sweeping new California Supreme Court ruling restricting who is an independent contractor is shaking up an exceptionally diverse range of industries. The ruling, issued in April, affects an estimated 2 million independent contractors working in healthcare, beauty salons, gig economy jobs like Uber and Lyft, journalism, music, real estate, education, financial planning, agriculture, construction, technology, insurance, transportation and more. The decision is praised by the California Labor Federation as offering workers protections like minimum wage, unemployment, workers’ compensation and disability insurance. But some independent contractors say they like their freedom and have no interest in being employees. “The interesting rub on this...
New Proposition 65 Rules Include Supply Chain Liability

Friday, September 21, 2018

Minimizing liability is quintessential for any prudent business. Liability could mean costly lawsuits, the loss of valuable business opportunities or relationships, large monetary penalties, serious financial or reputational damage, or even product recalls. Under Proposition 65, liability for businesses can be all of the above. For decades, companies selling products, food or beverages in California or that manufacture, supply or distribute products sold in California have wrestled with the requirements of Prop. 65. In 2017 alone, nearly 700 cases were settled with defendants paying more than $25 million in plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and penalties—not including defense counsel fees, business interruption and other...
Overview of November Ballot Measures

Friday, September 21, 2018

Following are brief summaries of the measures that will appear on the November 6 General Election ballot. When the California Chamber of Commerce has taken a position, the reasons for that position are summarized. The CalChamber encourages employers to share this information with their employees. Businesses are within their rights to do so—just remember: no paycheck stuffers, no coercion, no rewarding or punishing employees (or threatening to do so) for their political activities or beliefs. Proposition 1 CalChamber Position: Support Authorizes Bonds to Fund Specified Housing Assistance Programs. Legislative Statute. Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for existing affordable housing programs for low-income residents, veterans,...
Award-Winning Career Edge Program Offers College Students Insights for Early Business Success

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber, in collaboration with Google, Irvine Valley College, Webster University, Irvine, and the business community, will host students from Orange County colleges and universities for its fourth series of Career Edge workshops. Students that participate in Career Edge will have an advantage during their job search and will bring distinctive and marketable soft skills to the jobs they land, greatly increasing their success rate and on-the-job performance. Qualified business professionals are needed to volunteer as mentors to help guide students through the award-winning Career Edge program as they learn business writing, presentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. For more...
British American Business Council OC to Honor Greater Irvine Chamber

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The British American Business Council in Orange County (BABC OC) will formally honor the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, and Chamber Leaders Circle members Edwards Lifesciences and The Irvine Company during the BABC OC 2018 Innovation Awards Dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 26. The Greater Irvine Chamber is being recognized for its partnership with the British American Business Council, in support of its foreign direct investment initiatives. Together, the organizations collaborate to promote the vitality and diversity of Irvine’s life science sector to companies in the U.K. Linda DiMario, executive vice president, Greater Irvine Chamber, will participate in a panel discussion during the...
Greater Irvine Chamber’s Whit Peterson Participates in National Discussion on Business Advocacy

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Whit Peterson, director of government affairs, Greater Irvine Chamber, joined Chamber professionals from across the nation to meet with U.S. Chamber of Commerce staff at the 2018 Chamber Federation Advocacy and Growth Conference in New Orleans, on Sept. 12 – 14. “Having access to U.S. Chamber staff is valuable for bringing local issues to the national conversation and to learn of the work being carried out on the national level that addresses business-related issues,” Peterson said. “Tapping into their expertise as well as making contacts with other chamber professionals from around the country is important as we work toward a shared vision.” Co-hosted...
Is Canada ‘Ripping Us Off’? Or Is It the Best US Trade Partner?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The $4 trillion in goods exchanged last year between the two nations was about evenly divided between imports and exports. With President Trump’s repeated vows to punish Canada with auto tariffs, you might think that the border was a southbound one-way street, running wholly against the U.S. auto industry. On a recent campaign trip, Trump said Canada was "ripping us off" and threatened a tariff on cars from Canada that "would be the ruination of the country." It would be a massive escalation of the trade hostilities that began this year with U.S. tariffs on washers, solar cells, aluminum and steel. But the...
Greater Irvine Chamber’s Jessica Welch Promoted to Vice President of Operations

Monday, September 17, 2018

Jessica Welch, IOM, has been promoted to Vice President of Operations at the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce. The promotion follows more than a decade of service at the Greater Irvine Chamber, most recently as Senior Director of Operations and previously as Director of Programs and Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. “Jessica has dedicated 11 years of her career in service to this organization. In that time, she has risen through the ranks achieving a key spot on the Chamber’s executive management team. She continues to demonstrate exceptional leadership and professionalism earning her the respect of her colleagues, the...
Orange County Great Park Reaches a Development Milestone as One of California’s Largest Public Sports Parks as it Debuts its Championship Stadiums and Fields

Monday, September 17, 2018

More than 1,000 residents, baseball and softball families, elected officials, and community leaders gathered to celebrate the completion of all stadiums and fields at the Orange County Great Park Sports Park on Sept. 16.  The completion of the 194-acre Sports Park is a major step in the public-private effort to develop the entire 688-acre Great Park into a metropolitan park rivaling the best in the nation. The Sports Park, built and funded by FivePoint's joint venture, is twice the size of Disneyland. FivePoint had committed to build the Sports Park in five years. It was completed ahead of schedule in just four...
Updated Family and Medical Leave Act Forms Are Now Available

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) has released updated forms for managing leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employers must use the current FMLA forms, which are also available on the federal Department of Labor website. As we previously reported, the DOL has to submit forms to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review every three years. The DOL submitted the FMLA forms to the OMB in April, and requested a three-year extension of the current forms, without any changes to the substance of the forms. The OMB did not approve the new forms before the June...
#ShopIrvine Initiative Promotes the City's Retail Centers

Friday, September 14, 2018

One component of the Irvine Master Plan is the city’s retail centers. The Irvine Spectrum Center, Woodbridge Center, and Diamond Jamboree offer diverse shopping and dining experiences to visitors and residents alike. These Irvine destinations continue to evolve, providing shoppers with eclectic options that remain at the pinnacle of style, relevance, and ambiance. Timing of the #ShopIrvine initiative couldn’t be better. Recently completed renovations at two of Irvine’s most popular and picturesque shopping centers – Irvine Spectrum Center and Woodbridge Village Center – are primed to add significant value to shopping and dining in Irvine. Irvine Spectrum Center, which draws more than...
Campaign to Attract United Kingdom Life Science Companies to Irvine Yields Results

Friday, September 14, 2018

Irvine is home to one of the most robust life science sectors in America, a sector where British-owned life science companies are a strong presence. Because the mission of the Greater Irvine Chamber is to enhance Irvine’s economic vitality, we looked to expand the life science sector by launching an aggressive foreign direct investment initiative to recruit U.K. life science companies for expansion to Irvine. The Chamber conducted thorough research into the market to effectively position Irvine/Orange County in a competitive field. We learned that while California is a very strong global brand, most U.K. companies still thought of Boston first...
Greater Irvine Chamber Welcomes Its Newest Board Members

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber recently welcomed five new members to its Board of Directors. They are Orange County entrepreneurs and executives that will support the Chamber’s mission and serve in a fiduciary role. Vivian Atkinson, Owner, Express Employment Professionals As the long-term owner of an Irvine-based staffing and recruiting company, Vivian Atkinson has a vested interest in helping local employers grow and supporting the reputation of Irvine as a great place to do business. Prior to settling in Irvine, she worked in commercial real estate for Colliers International and McDonalds Restaurants of Canada. Born and raised in Shanghai, and having become both...
Irvine’s Tech Strength Attracts Bay Area Companies

Friday, September 14, 2018

As envisioned by the Irvine Master Plan, the city was built around a major university – what is now the University of California, Irvine (UCI) – to ensure area employers would always have a readily available workforce skilled in the latest technology. Irvine-based companies recognize this as a distinctive asset. And, executives at Bay Area tech firms are noticing. One such firm diving into Irvine’s high-tech talent pool is Vincit, a digital design and app development agency. Vincit California has successfully expanded from Finland to Irvine’s Spectrum Business Center – by way of Silicon Valley. After starting its U.S. venture in the...
Next-Generation Connectivity Comes to Irvine

Friday, September 14, 2018

Irvine’s planners have designed this city so it can adapt to the future. One area where you see that happening is technology. Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle members Google Fiber and Southern California Edison are quickly deploying their fiber-optic networks using underground conduit installed over the past few decades. “Irvine Company had the foresight to install a vast network of conduit,” said Erin Schultz, head of the Google Fiber operations in Orange County. “This infrastructure, coupled with their understanding of the importance of access to high-speed internet, has paved the way for a strong partnership with Google Fiber.” Google Fiber offers Irvine residents...
The New Mall Experience

Friday, September 14, 2018

A row of old kitchen equipment is all that remains of the Red Robin restaurant that left the Irvine Spectrum Center in June. Now, the air conditioning cools powerful computers, high-tech headsets and dozens of high-definition screens. The traditional shopping mall menu of burgers and brews has made way for “Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future,” a virtual reality attraction based on the “Terminator” film franchise. And since the late-August opening, it has attracted visitors who said they hadn’t been to a mall in months. “I brought my brother up from San Diego to play and it was so realistic,” said Karen...
California Approves Goal for 100 Percent Carbon-Free Electricity by 2045

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ahead of a summit meant to galvanize regional action on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that would put California on the path to eliminating fossil fuels from its energy sector. Senate Bill 100 speeds up the state’s timeline for moving to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, and requires that all retail electricity be carbon-free by 2045. California is the second state to adopt such a goal, after Hawaii. “It’s not going to be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done,” Brown said at a signing ceremony in Sacramento. “California is committed to doing whatever is...
US Policy Expert: Trade Talks to Open Markets Work Better than Tariff Wars to Boost Economy, Jobs

Thursday, September 13, 2018

In an era where “trade is invading every zone,” increased tariffs on imports are the wrong way to generate prosperity for U.S. businesses, a trade policy expert told a California Chamber of Commerce gathering last week. John Murphy, senior vice president of international policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that the rest of the world is moving forward in areas where the United States has stepped back from trade talks. If the United States doesn’t get back to working on opening markets to American goods and services, “we’re going to be on the outside looking in,” Murphy said at the...
AnaLaura Becerra Joins Greater Irvine Chamber Staff

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

AnaLaura Becerra, CMP, CTA, has joined the Greater Irvine Chamber professional staff as Director of Corporate Sales for Destination Irvine. In this role, Becerra promotes Irvine as a corporate meeting, convention and event destination to meeting and event planners in the local, regional, state, and targeted national meetings markets to generate group hotel room nights through overnight stays. “I’m looking forward to working with hotels and other venues to showcase Irvine to visitors and to attract corporate, government, and association groups to the city for their meetings and overnight stays,” Becerra said. Prior to joining the Chamber staff, Becerra was a national...
Irvine Residents Learn About Irvine City Council Candidates

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber hosted the 2018 Irvine City Council Candidates Forum at the Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center on Sept. 5. The event provided residents the opportunity to meet and hear from the candidates running for Irvine City Council. Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner welcomed those in attendance, stressing the importance of the forum and the role it plays in keeping Irvine residents informed.   Nine of the 12 city council candidates who participated in the forum were Kev Abazajian, Farrah Khan, Anthony Kuo, Frank McGill, Lauren Johnson-Norris, Carrie O’Malley, John Park, Liqing “Lee” Sun, and Jaci Woods. Jerry Amante, the...
Irvine Ranked Best Place in California to Raise a Family

Monday, September 10, 2018

Whether you are currently expecting or already have children, deciding where to raise your family is an important decision. In an effort to help you choose the perfect city to call "home," a new report by WalletHub ranked the best and worst places to raise a family. The experts at the personal finance website compared the family-friendliness of more than 180 cities across the country based on 46 key metrics. The data set ranges from the cost of housing to the quality of schools. Irvine in Orange County came in as the second-best place in the U.S. and the top place in California to...
New 280,000 Square-Foot Ice Arena in Irvine Will Have Four Practice Rinks for Ducks, Figure Skaters

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mounds of dirt sit in the space that will be used by thousands of kids on ice skates. The ground-level concession stand and skate shop have exposed beams but will soon be bustling with families. And the expansive upstairs lobby is where countless parents will watch their children. The Great Park Ice skating facility is a construction site, but it’s not difficult to envision that it might someday help produce the next locally trained NHL player or Olympic figure skater. “I don’t think it’s that far off,” said Art Trottier, vice president of the Ducks’ RINKS program that has grown hockey at the...
UCI Ranked Highest-ever 7th Among Public Universities by U.S. News & World Report

Monday, September 10, 2018

U.S. News & World Report has rated Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member University of California, Irvine the seventh-best public university in the country in its 2019 Best Colleges evaluation, released today. UCI also placed 33rd among all American universities – public and private – marking its highest-ever performance in both categories since the magazine began reviewing colleges in 1983. The rankings are derived from 16 measures of academic excellence, weighted by relevance to high-quality education. “We are delighted that UCI has once again been recognized as one of the premier universities in the nation,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “This year’s rankings...
Bruce Tromberg to Lead the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Friday, September 07, 2018

Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic and professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at the University of California, Irvine, has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health to head the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Headquartered in Maryland, NIBIB was formed in 2000 to spur the invention and implementation of new technologies to research, diagnose and treat human diseases. It’s one of 27 institutes and centers under the NIH, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tromberg will take on the role of NIBIB’s second director in early...
Heavy Concentration of Orange County Startups Located in Irvine

Friday, September 07, 2018

A majority of Orange County’s tech startups are located either in the Airport Area or Irvine Spectrum submarkets. Airport Area startups have raised $195.2 million compared to the $152.2 million raised by their Irvine Spectrum counterparts. Collectively, the two account for 91 percent of startup funding in Orange County. Tech and startup companies alike are drawn to these two submarkets because of the high concentration of millennials, strong retail and lifestyle amenities, and the depth of available labor. Orange County startups have greatly contributed to the technology sector, emerging as a significant driver for the local economy and driving growth for the...
US Wage Gains Pick Up to 2.9 Percent While Payrolls Rise 201,000

Friday, September 07, 2018

American wages unexpectedly climbed in August by the most since the recession ended in 2009 and hiring rose by more than forecast, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to lift interest rates this month and making another hike in December more likely. Average hourly earnings for private workers increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier, a Labor Department report showed Friday, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the median projection for 2.7 percent. Nonfarm payrolls rose 201,000 from the prior month, topping the median forecast for 190,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9 percent, still near the...
TCA’s New Payment Method: Simple and Sticky

Thursday, September 06, 2018

For those of us who never dedicated windshield space to the toll roads transponder and are still chasing the 4-inch plastic box all over the dashboard—relief is on the way. Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member Transportation Corridor Agencies, operators of state routes 73, 133, 241 and 261, are replacing the hard-case transponder with adhesive 6C tags. The Band-Aid-sized stickers, which will be available on July 1, are cheaper to make, store and mail. TCA says the switch will save toll-road operators about $3 million a year, and that it’ll pass on the savings to 1.3 million account holders by eliminating...
Economic Vitality Council Meeting Identifies Solutions for 21st Century Workforce Development Challenges

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber Economic Vitality Council Meeting held in August provided business and community leaders an opportunity to explore 21st-century solutions to common obstacles in business development. The biannual meeting brought together the Business and Workforce Development Committee and International Development Committee members and community partners to tackle a variety of issues. One of the topics discussed was how the Chamber can help Irvine businesses attract and retain talent. As an alternative to traditional job fairs, the group discussed career education programs including coaching junior high and high school teachers and counselors with information on career opportunities in the life science and technology...
Former US Secretary, Dept. of Homeland Security Slated as Keynote for World Affairs Council of Orange County Cybersecurity Event

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The World Affairs Council of Orange County presents Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age with keynote speaker Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Hotel Irvine at 6:45 p.m. Chertoff was the second ever Director of Homeland Security. Chertoff’s unique background leading up to that strategic appointment, combined with his government service and private sector work since then, give him comprehensive expertise in cyber technology and how it can impact and even control us.   Chertoff has developed proposals for how we can protect ourselves in...
John Wayne Ride-Share Growth Prompts Fee Revamp

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

John Wayne Airport will raise fees paid by ride-share companies, limousines and shuttles starting Sept. 1 to be comparable with other airports and profit from fast-growing firms, including Lyft Co. and Uber Technologies Inc. Transportation companies here currently pay $2.25 per pickup of passengers and nothing to drop them off. Beginning Sept. 1, the fee applies to both pick-ups and drop-offs. Then on March 1, each fee rises to $3. Transportation fees haven’t changed at JWA since 2002, and rates were the lowest of six airports, including those in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Ontario, Burbank, and San Diego, which already charge $3 to...
Karen Maldonado Named Member of the Month for July 2018

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Karen Maldonado, business development manager, IES Communications, has been named the Greater Irvine Chamber Member of the Month for July 2018. Since joining the Chamber in 2016, Maldonado has become actively involved in a number of the organization’s committees and events. She is currently a member of the Tuesday Leads Group, and has participated in two Business Outreach Rallies to survey Irvine businesses. She has attended the Business Outlook Breakfast and is involved with the Economic Vitality Council. “Through involvement in Greater Irvine Chamber, I have grown my network, learned from others, and helped others grow. The commitment of the members to...
Orange County Soccer Club Enters World of eSports

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member Orange County Soccer Club makes United Soccer League and U.S. professional soccer history, establishing the club's first eSports team. This digital extension of the club’s on-field squad launches with the creation of a FIFA 11v11 team, which will compete in the Virtual Pro Gaming league. As the world’s favorite sport, it translates well from the field to the eSports world. For more details, visit orangecountysoccer.com/esports.
Small Business Awards Program in 68th Assembly District Begins in September

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Each month Assemblyman Steven S. Choi will recognize a small business in the 68th Assembly District as the Small Business of the Month to help promote and salute local entrepreneurs who contribute to their community.    To qualify for recognition, nominees must have fewer than 100 employees and be located within the 68th Assembly District, which includes Irvine, Tustin, Orange, Lake Forest, Villa Park, and Anaheim. Nominations are due to Assemblyman Choi’s office on or before the last Friday of each month and will be recognized the following month. For more information and to nominate a business, contact Jose Martinez, senior field representative, Office...
US Second-Quarter GDP Growth Raised to 4.2 Percent

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

U.S. economic growth was a bit stronger than initially thought in the second quarter, notching its best performance in nearly four years and putting the economy on track to hit the Trump administration’s goal of 3 percent annual growth. Gross domestic product increased at a 4.2 percent annualized rate, the Commerce Department said in its second estimate of GDP growth for the April-June quarter. That was slightly up from the 4.1 percent pace of expansion reported in July and was the fastest rate since the third quarter of 2014. The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the January-March period. The...
USA Water Polo Picks Irvine for its National Headquarters

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

A proposed plan to build a world-class aquatics facility that would serve as the national headquarters for USA Water Polo at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine was presented to the Irvine City Council during the Aug. 28 council meeting. The site would also provide the opportunity for Irvine to serve as a venue for the 2028 Olympic Games and the preceding Olympic trials. At present, Irvine hosts at more than five well-attended water polo events, generating $2 million annually in direct spending. The economic impact for Irvine hotels and businesses is approximately $160,000 annually in transient occupancy tax for...
State Supreme Court Ruling Protects Employers, Preserves Workers’ Comp Exclusivity

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The California State Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of employers finding that an employee’s tort claims against a doctor who reviewed workers’ compensation cases is preempted by the workers’ compensation law. In December 2016, the California Chamber of Commerce filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of King v. CompPartners, Inc. (S232197), arguing that the appellate court erred by ruling that utilization review doctors—who look at records to decide whether a worker’s treatment was appropriate, but do not examine the patient personally—have established a physician-patient relationship and therefore owe a duty of care to the injured workers. CalChamber had urged the state high...
US, Mexico Reach Preliminary Trade Update Agreement

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

According to President Trump and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, as of August 27, the United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement in principle, subject to finalization and implementation, to update the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with modern provisions representing a 21st century, high-standard agreement. According to the USTR, the updated agreement will support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America. The California Chamber of Commerce looks forward to learning more details of this agreement, and to a completed trilateral free trade agreement including Canada that allows...
‘Ban-the-Box,’ Baby Bonding Regulations Moving Forward

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) is currently considering amendments to the state Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to address two fairly recent laws — the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) and the statewide ban-the-box law — both of which became effective on January 1, 2018. Baby Bonding Integration The draft regulations integrate the NPLA — which requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child — into the existing California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA also provides for baby-bonding leave, but applies to employers...
Dave Lucey Honored as 2018 Connect Sports Game Changer

Monday, August 27, 2018

Destination Irvine’s Dave Lucey, director of sports sales, was honored as a 2018 Game Changer at Connect Sports, an industry conference held in Salt Lake City, Aug. 23-25. “This is a well-deserved recognition of Dave. He’s one of the Chamber’s super stars and has brought more than double the amount in bookings for Irvine hotels since he arrived at Destination Irvine,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “Dave has effectively put Irvine on the map as a sports tournament destination.” During the event, Connect Sports formally presented awards to 21 of the sports tourism industry’s “sharpest minds – the people who...
How Richard Sudek is Growing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Monday, August 27, 2018

Firms with connections to the University of California, Irvine have raised more than $18.9 billion over the past 10 years, according to Richard Sudek, an angel investor and executive director of the school’s Applied Innovation center. Nearly 40 percent of the capital the companies raised came in the past couple of years, a timeline that coincides with Sudek’s tenure at the center. “There’s an upward trend that shows that UCI, and what we’re doing at Applied Innovation, is really accelerating the startup activity here in Orange County and generally for UCI alums,” he said, adding that he’s particularly proud “that about...
17th Annual Irvine Global Village Festival Moves to Orange County Great Park

Friday, August 24, 2018

Travel the world at the 17th annual Irvine Global Village Festival on Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. This all-day event, now at the Orange County Great Park, features more than 100 performances representing cultures from around the world, international cuisine, kids’ crafts and activities, cultural and religious exhibits, and an international marketplace.  Festival admission and on-site parking are free. A variety of sample-sized servings of food will be available for purchase, with prices ranging from $2 to $5; bringing cash is encouraged. Orange County Great Park is at 8000 Great Park Blvd. in Irvine. For more information on the...
Greater Irvine Chamber Hosts Demystifying Business in Japan Panel

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber, in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, hosted on Aug. 22 a panel discussion on Demystifying Business in Japan. The panel, moderated by Linda DiMario, executive vice president, Greater Irvine Chamber, featured several expert panelists who shared their experiences and successes navigating the Japanese market. Panelists included Michael Delaney, chief development officer, Worldwide Environmental Products, Pat Cassidy, commercial officer, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Mohammad Sadjapour, CEO, Militus Cyber Solutions. Each of the panelists shared their extensive and practical experience working with a U.S. company entering the Japanese market. They suggested specific strategies to improve the likelihood of success...
Irvine Featured in Smart Meetings’ ‘The Real Cities of Orange County’

Friday, August 24, 2018

Irvine was recently highlighted as a top option in Orange County for meetings in the meeting-industry publication, Smart Meetings. The article features several cities in the county that offer attractive options for meetings groups. Here’s what they had to say about Irvine: Why we love it: Irvine almost always appears on lists of best places to live, work and do business. It’s one of America’s largest and most successful master-planned urban communities. That plan emphasized responsible growth and preserving the natural environment. Today, there are more than 100 global corporations there. There are also more than 16,000 acres of preserved natural habitats, and...
Irvine is a Globally Positioned City for Globally-minded Companies

Friday, August 24, 2018

Linda DiMario, executive vice president, Greater Irvine Chamber, was recently featured in a Global Trade Magazine Podcast. DiMario, who leads Economic Development initiatives at the Chamber including business attraction, discussed ways for companies to find success in the global marketplace, how a major piece of that puzzle is location, and how Irvine, as a master-planned community, works for globally-minded companies. “Those that created the city did so with a long-term vision. This is sustainable and responsible growth and development,” DiMario said. On foreign direct investment, she said, “Irvine, California is a very smart solution to United States expansion plans.” Listen to the podcast here.
US, New Zealand Conclude Talks for Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The United States and New Zealand concluded two days of meetings on July 20 under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), noting the strong and growing trade relationship between the two countries and discussing a full range of bilateral issues. U.S.-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Members of the U.S. Congress have requested negotiations for a free trade agreement with New Zealand for years. New Zealand and the United States have been strong partners and good friends for more than a century. Political ties are close, business links are strong, and cultural links are many and varied. In the aftermath of September 11, New Zealand...
Edwards Grows HQ After $36 Million Land Buy Next Door

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member Edwards Lifesciences Corp. has proposed a major expansion of its Irvine headquarters, paving the way for Orange County’s largest public company to add hundreds of jobs to its local operations. The medical device maker, whose market valuation is $28.7 billion, recently filed plans with the city to build two office and laboratory buildings, an employee amenities facility, and a parking structure on 7.6 acres next to its current headquarters on Red Hill Avenue. The buildings would total about 471,450 square feet and be built in three phases over a period of years, city records indicate. Office, lab,...
Executive Leadership Changes at City of Irvine

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Longtime public works employee and city engineer Mark Steuer has joined the City of Irvine as Public Works Director, and Kaitlyn Nguyen also has been hired as Economic Development Manager. “Kaitlyn Nguyen and Mark Steuer are dynamic and innovative public executives who will bring new ideas and energy into an already excellent City organization,” said Irvine City Manager John Russo. Steuer becomes part of the City’s executive management team which includes the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, and Deputy City Manager, the Director of Public Affairs and Communications, and the department directors of Community Development, Community Services, Public Safety, Transportation, City Clerk,...
Shanghai Delegation Visits Greater Irvine Chamber

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A delegation of 22 Shanghai government executives met with Linda DiMario, executive vice president of the Greater Irvine Chamber on August 13. The delegation traveled to Irvine to gain insights on the city and its assets that foster business growth. The meeting highlighted Irvine’s strengths as a master-planned community; the city is an economic powerhouse, with strong life science and technology sectors, and a robust innovative eco-system. It also provided an opportunity for the executives to learn about the Irvine Master Plan, the Chamber’s role in Irvine’s growth and business resources available through the Chamber. “Delegations visiting from China are always fascinated by the...
California Legislature's #MeToo Bills Draw Opposition from Business Groups

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Less than a year after the Me Too and “We Said Enough” movements reverberated around California’s Capitol, a pack of bills that seek to address sexual harassment in the workplace is drawing pushback from business groups that fear a sharp increase in lawsuits. Among them: efforts to ban nondisclosure and limit nondisparagement agreements, end forced arbitration, make harassers personally liable, and extend the statute of limitations to file a claim with the state. “As employers, you want to protect your workforce and the employees that you have working for you,” said Jennifer Barrera with the California Chamber of Commerce. But she said...
Irvine Spectrum Center Unveils $200 Million Expansion That Converted One Mega Store into 30 Smaller Shops

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A tarp-covered fence at the Irvine Spectrum Center separates established merchants from their new neighbors, who bustle about readying for their imminent grand opening. Printed across the temporary divider, a message beckons: “Experience the Expansion.” Visitors will be able to do just that when the curtain comes down Aug. 18, revealing the Spectrum’s $200 million renovation. Among the dozens of just-unveiled shops and eateries will be Stance, a San Clemente-based sock couturier launched in 2009.  “We’re receiving inventory, training staff and putting the finishing touches on the interior,” co-founder John Wilson said. “We can’t wait to turn on the lights, open the door and welcome...
Pay Data Disclosure Bill Amended to Remove Job Killer Status

Thursday, August 16, 2018

As a result of recent amendments, a California Chamber of Commerce-opposed bill dealing with pay data disclosure has been removed from the job killer list. SB 1284 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) was amended on August 8 to help rectify the public shaming aspect of the bill and therefore remove the job killer tag. CalChamber remains opposed to SB 1284 because of the administrative burden it still places on employers by requiring them to turn over pay data information that could give the false impression of pay disparity where none may exist. Creates False Impression of Wage Discrimination SB 1284 requires employers to collect pay data in...
These Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in the US Right Now

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More than half of the 25 highest-paying jobs this year were in the technology sector, shows a new report.  For the fourth consecutive year, the technology sector boasted the highest-paying jobs in the U.S., according to an annual report from Glassdoor. Thirteen of the 25 highest-paying jobs this year were in tech, up from 11 in 2017, according to the report. Within the industry, enterprise architects, software development managers, software engineering managers and software architects received the highest pay, with the lowest average base salary well over $100,000. The report gathered salary data from millions of employees, examined job titles that received a minimum of 100 salary reports over...
US Housing Starts Rebounded in July on Single-Family Gain

Thursday, August 16, 2018

U.S. new-home construction rose less than forecast in July amid a rebound in groundbreaking for single- and multi-family houses, indicating the industry was trying to regain its footing at the start of the second half. HIGHLIGHTS OF HOUSING STARTS (JULY) Residential starts increased 0.9 percent to a 1.17m annualized rate (est. 1.26m) after a downwardly-revised 1.16m pace in prior month, government figures showed Thursday Multifamily home starts rose 0.7 percent; single-family climbed 0.9 percent Permits, a proxy for future construction of all types of homes, rose 1.5 percent to 1.31m rate (matching est.) after 1.29m pace  Key Takeaways A strong labor market, lower taxes and improved...
US Retail Sales Rise More Than Forecast in Broad-Based Advance

Thursday, August 16, 2018

U.S. retail sales rose by more than forecast in July as Americans snapped up clothes and headed to restaurants, extending solid consumer-spending gains to the start of the third quarter. The value of overall sales advanced 0.5 percent from June, whose gain was revised down to 0.2 percent, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent gain. Excluding purchases of autos and gasoline, sales climbed 0.6 percent, topping the median estimate for a 0.4 percent rise. The data suggest consumer spending is continuing to drive the economy early in the quarter. Tax cuts...
Good Sportsmanship: Irvine Ups Old-School ‘Gaming’

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Destination Irvine and area hotels are courting more sports-related meetings and events as facilities at the city’s Great Park continue to open. Many amenities are community-based, including basketball courts and playgrounds near Great Park Neighborhood homes. But the “hundred acre wood” of offerings—in June, Great Park Sports Complex topped 101 acres of fields and facilities—goes beyond kid-friendly to include a newly opened championship soccer stadium and four sheets of ice under construction that will be suitable for NHL or Olympic-level hockey. “Irvine was a decent sports area prior to the Great Park, now it’s a hot spot,” said Dave Lucey, director of...
US Economy to Grow at 3.1 Percent in 2018, CBO Says

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The U.S. economy is projected to grow by 3.1 percent this year, as more government spending and tax cuts help propel an expansion, the Congressional Budget Office said. But the robust run of growth may stall as early as next year, with the U.S. economy expected to slow down in 2019 and during the following decade once temporary government policies expire, according to the nonpartisan CBO’s report. Economic growth will slow to 2.4 percent in 2019 and to 1.7 percent in 2020, staying at about that level over the next decade, the CBO projected. If the CBO’s numbers prove correct, U.S. economic growth...
Congresswoman Mimi Walters Receives Spirit of Enterprise Award from the US Chamber of Commerce

Monday, August 13, 2018

For her continued support of the business community, Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA 45th District) was presented with the Spirit of Enterprise Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the Greater Irvine Chamber. Chamber members had the opportunity to meet and hear from Congresswoman Walters during the Aug. 8 event, which was hosted by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center. She discussed topics such as free trade and economic growth, and provided updates on a number of initiatives in which she is currently involved. “I am committed to promoting free trade, which supports...
How Irvine, California’s Masterful City Plan Helps It Grow and Thrive

Monday, August 13, 2018

In the early 1980s, the City of Irvine consisted of a bustling university, commercial and industrial parks, thousands of acres of strawberry and tomato fields, and about 30,000 residents scattered in neighborhoods. Then new business started to move in. A new magazine, Entrepreneur, set up shop near John Wayne International Airport. Broadcom and Western Digital came to town and transformed the business landscape forever. Finally, the Irvine Co., landholder of the former 150,000-acre Irvine Ranch, worked with city officials to create a city around the university that also set aside 60,000 acres for open space. Today, Irvine is one of the most vibrant life...
New Projections Show Future of Work in California

Monday, August 13, 2018

California will add two million jobs in the next decade, with the fastest job growth coming in sectors that require college degrees, according to new projections from the California Employment Development Department. The number of jobs that require at least an associate degree will grow by 810,000, or 12 percent, by 2026. By comparison, jobs that do not require a degree will grow by 1.1 million, or 9 percent. One major exception to that trend will be personal care aides — workers who take care of the elderly so they do not have to leave their homes. As baby boomers age, California...
Lorie Eber Named Greater Irvine Chamber Ambassador of the Year for Second Consecutive Year

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Lorie Eber, owner and principal of Lorie Eber Wellness Coaching, has been named the Greater Irvine Chamber 2018 Ambassador of the Year. This is the second consecutive year in which she has earned the title. Upon joining the Chamber in 2014, Eber soon realized the value of being an engaged member. In 2015, she became an Ambassador for the Chamber, serving as a team leader for two years before becoming chair for the 2017-18 term. She also joined the Monday Leads Group and served as its chair from 2016-17, following her role as vice chair from 2015-16. “Working with people in a committee setting is a...
Pepper Russell Promoted to Research and Support Services Manager, Greater Irvine Chamber

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Pepper Russell has been promoted to Research and Support Services Manager for the Greater Irvine Chamber. Since joining the Chamber staff in 2015, Russell has served in a support role for Economic Development, previously as Executive Assistant for Economic Development & Tourism. “I’m proud to be a part of the professional economic development staff at the Greater Irvine Chamber,” she said. “I’m looking forward to contributing in my new role to help ensure the business community in the greater Irvine area continues to thrive.” Russell’s area of responsibility includes collecting, organizing, and evaluating data and research from a variety of resources on...
UCI Awarded $5 Million NSF Grant to Boost Low-Income Engineering Enrollment

Friday, July 27, 2018

Aiming to increase the number of low-income engineering students specializing in advanced manufacturing, University of California, Irvine has won a $5 million National Science Foundation grant that will provide scholarships to nearly 200 community college transfers. “We’re excited to launch the UC Irvine Pathways to Engineering Collaborative, which will train, mentor and tutor dozens of talented men and women as they study engineering at Irvine Valley College and UCI,” said project leader Lorenzo Valdevit, associate professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering. Under the program, each participating undergraduate will receive up to $10,000 annually over five years. In addition, researchers from UCI’s School of...
Vincit California Named 2018 Greater Irvine Chamber Entrepreneur of the Year

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Vincit California has been named the Greater Irvine Chamber’s 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year. “I am grateful to the Chamber for creating such an open environment for new businesses to launch from,” says Ville Houttu, CEO of Vincit California. “The award belongs to my diligent and fun-loving team, as well as to our wonderful clients and partners making all this possible.” In addition to a successful expansion from Finland to Irvine, Vincit, a digital design and development agency, supports local schools and programs for junior developers including Orange County Code School, UCI Continuing Education Web Development, and Learning Fuze. Vincit was selected three...
Waiting Time Penalties: Ignorance of the Law Won't Get You Off the Hook

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Employers in California can be penalized if they fail to timely pay an employee who quits or is terminated. These penalties are referred to as “waiting time” penalties. Labor Code section 203 states that if an employer “willfully” fails to pay all wages due to an employee at the time of termination (or within 72 hours if the employee quits without notice), the employer owes that employee one day’s pay for every day that the final paycheck is late, up to 30 days. These waiting time penalties apply not only when an entire final paycheck is late, but also when the...
More than 400,000 California Entrepreneurs Use Bizfile in First Year

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Since its release last year, more than 400,000 entrepreneurs throughout the state have utilized bizfile, California’s online business filing and search services, according to government data released this month. The California Secretary of State (SOS) created the online portal in an effort to bring the process of filing business documents into the digital age. The agency's goal was to ensure that customers would no longer have to drive to an office and wait in line to search for business records or file financial statements. Rather, customers could simply go online, and at the click of their mouse, file or search for...
State Approves $2.7 Billion for Water Storage Projects

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A state commission approved $2.7 billion in funding for a variety of water storage projects across California, but the money doesn’t guarantee that any of them will be built. The California Water Commission action was part of a complicated new process designed to depoliticize awards of state water bond funding by judging projects according to stringent guidelines that some of the biggest projects had trouble meeting. High-profile projects such as the Temperance Flat dam proposal on the upper San Joaquin River lost out, winning a fraction of what backers wanted and throwing the project’s future into doubt. Proponents of another big dam project, the Sites...
Antis Roofing CEO Charles Antis to Deliver Keynote on Corporate Social Responsibility at Greater Irvine Chamber Legends & Leaders Event

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber’s second annual Legends & Leaders event on Thursday, Oct. 4, will feature keynote speaker Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, the Chamber’s 2018 Business of the Year. Antis will discuss his innovative “Give to Grow” approach to Corporate Social Responsibility. As the central tenet to his corporate philanthropy, Antis will share how the “Give to Grow” philosophy ensures that the company, its employees, and the entire community thrive together. Antis is a community-minded business leader and roofing industry expert. Currently, he serves on the Board of the National Roofing Contractors Association, is a member of...
Both Employers and Employees Get Benefits Under the Workflex in the 21st Century Act

Monday, July 23, 2018

There’s a new entry in the paid-leave debate, and it supports a trend already occurring in the modern workplace: Employers are increasingly embracing workplace flexibility by offering more options for their employees regarding when, where, and how work is done. This approach is one that both workers and employers can embrace. The Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219) is an innovative, national approach to increasing the availability of paid leave and flexible work options for families that also helps employers navigate a patchwork of conflicting regulations. The Workflex bill, introduced by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), stands apart from previous national proposals by relying...
Businesses and Consumers Reel From Trade Measures

Monday, July 23, 2018

The evidence is stacking up and the word is spreading: Tariffs are a major financial strain on American consumers and businesses alike. The Trump administration has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on imports from around the world, provoking retaliatory actions from other nations and boomeranging back to hit the American economy. A new analysis and online interactive map by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce show the state-by-state impact of this brewing trade war on American businesses, farmers, and consumers – and it isn’t pretty. As of last week, approximately $75 billion worth of U.S. exports are now subject to retaliatory tariffs, making American-made goods...
Dave Lucey Earns Director of Sports Sales Role for Destination Irvine

Monday, July 23, 2018

Dave Lucey has been promoted to Director of Sports Sales for Destination Irvine. Lucey’s priority is to promote Irvine's sports facilities, including the Orange County Great Park Sports Complex, as a preferred destination for large-scale sporting events to state, regional, and national markets, bringing millions of dollars in economic impact to Irvine annually. “We are very impressed with Dave’s sports industry knowledge and the depth of his network within the sports industry,” said Linda DiMario, executive vice president, Greater Irvine Chamber. “We are so fortunate that he is putting that experience and reputation to work for Irvine.” Lucey was previously Sales Manager for the...
Greater Irvine Chamber Named a Best Place to Work by Orange County Business Journal

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber has been named one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Orange County by the Orange County Business Journal. Pennsylvania-based Best Companies Group conducted the research on behalf of the Journal, grouping companies by the size of their staffs: large, with 250 or more on the payroll; medium, with 50 to 249 workers; and small, with 15 to 49 employees. “The Board of Directors congratulates the professional staff at the Greater Irvine Chamber for being named a 2018 Best Place to Work by the Orange County Business Journal,” said Kate Klimow, chief administrative officer and director of external...
Irvine Police Department’s Ray Chips to Provide Active Shooter Response Training at the Greater Irvine Chamber

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber Emerging Business Leaders Advisory Council is hosting an Active Shooter Response Training Luncheon on Friday, August 3, 11:30 a.m.  – 1 p.m. Ray Chips, program specialist for the Irvine Police Department, will provide information on the most up-to-date tactics on how to handle an active shooter situation, as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security. Chips’ career has been centered on ensuring community safety. Prior to his current position, he served as a Public Safety Assistant for the Irvine Police Department, specializing in crime prevention and emergency management. He was also the Director of Safe Schools for the Anaheim...
Irvine Ranked Fourth Nationally for Quality of Life in Business Facilities Magazine

Monday, July 23, 2018

In its 14th Annual Rankings Report, Business Facilities Magazine ranked Irvine as one of the top 10 metropolitan cities within the nation in its Quality of Life category. Irvine is one of the nation's largest and most successful master-planned urban communities, encompassing 66 square miles and featuring some of the best outdoor recreation, family activities, shopping, dining, sports facilities and meeting venues across the nation. Business Facilities is a national publication that has been the leading location source for corporate site selectors and economic development professionals for more than 50 years. For more information on Irvine’s assets, visit DestinationIrvine.com.
Port of Long Beach Sees Busiest Month Ever

Monday, July 23, 2018

ONE Competence arrived at the Port of Long Beach on July 3, 2018. Container cargo volumes reached record heights at the Port of Long Beach last month, surging past the previous mark and distinguishing June 2018 as the Port’s best month ever. Trade increased 14.2 percent in June, compared to the same month in 2017. The Port’s terminals moved 752,188 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), 4.4 percent higher than the previous “best month” record set in July 2017. Through June, the Port has handled nearly 4 million TEUs. The figure is 14.5 percent above the pace set by 2017, the Port’s busiest year...
The Historic Tariff Increase in One Chart

Monday, July 23, 2018

The U.S. economy has been performing particularly well since President Trump took office. The administration’s policies, most notably regulatory reform and tax reform, deserve considerable credit for this improvement. However, the recent actions on tariffs – and the responses by our trading partners – threaten these gains. Major exporters stand to lose from coast to coast. A recent U.S. Chamber analysis found that in California about $5.6 billion in exports are at risk due to the already implemented retaliatory tariffs, including more than $1.4 billion in exports of electric vehicles, harming one of America’s nascent growth industries. In Washington State, more than $6.2 billion of exports are threatened...
Brian Andersen Named 2018 Greater Irvine Chamber Member of the Year

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Brian Andersen, founder and CEO of Telecomprehensive Solutions, a telecommunications and technology consulting company, has been named the 2018 Greater Irvine Chamber Member of the Year. Since joining the Chamber in 2013, Andersen has been actively involved in the Chamber, joining a number of committees, and attending various events. He currently serves as co-chair of the Chamber’s Business and Workforce Development Committee, working to educate, inform, retain, grow, and expand existing businesses in Irvine. He is also involved in the Chamber’s Economic Vitality Council where he collaborates with other members, finding ways to energize the start-up eco-system, improve business retention, and cultivate a collaborative...
Wendy Haase Promoted to Senior Director of Destination Irvine

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wendy Haase has been promoted to Senior Director for Destination Irvine. In this new role, Haase becomes the de facto executive director of this high-performing destination sales and marketing division of the Greater Irvine Chamber. She will oversee and manage the corporate sports and association sales team and initiatives, as well as all meeting and leisure marketing strategies. She previously served as Director of Tourism Marketing for the organization. “Wendy has earned this opportunity to lead Irvine’s destination marketing organization,” said Linda DiMario, Greater Irvine Chamber’s executive vice president. “She has continually demonstrated a great commitment to raising the profile of Irvine as a...
California Now World's 5th-Largest Economy, Surpassing UK

Saturday, May 05, 2018

California's economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world's fifth largest, according to new federal data made public Friday. California's gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, according to the data. Meanwhile, the UK's economic output slightly shrank over that time when measured in U.S. dollars, due in part to exchange rate fluctuations. The data demonstrate the sheer immensity of California's economy, a state that is home to nearly 40 million people, a thriving technology sector in Silicon Valley, the world's entertainment capital in Hollywood and the nation's salad bowl in the...
Irvine Inspired Showcases the City as Orange County’s Economic Engine

Friday, May 04, 2018

As recently promoted in the Orange County Register, Irvine is a vibrant center of technology, education, employment, and fiscal fitness. “Irvine was master-planned to be an economic powerhouse,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce. It’s part of the long-term vision of the city. All of that planning is coming to fruition.” Irvine has evolved into a contemporary, multifaceted city that has more than 17,000 companies, employing some 250,000 people, resulting in a jobs-to-population ratio of 94.8 percent, the best ratio of all American cities of its size or larger. From global companies locating their U.S. headquarters...
OCTANe Announces 2017 Results and Strategy: Building the SoCal of Tomorrow

Monday, March 19, 2018

For Orange County and the entire Southern California region, 2017 was a pivotal year for innovation. The region has some of the nation’s best engineering talent, top-ranked universities, and a community of investors and innovators. With that in mind, Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member OCTANe has been creating collaborative and strategic relationships with many organizations and creating the SoCal of tomorrow. The OCTANe 2017 Impact Report gives an overview of the region’s tech growth engine for the year as well as a forecast through 2025.   “The year 2018 will begin a new growth period for OCTANe as we execute...
Greater Irvine Chamber FDI Delegation Makes Meaningful Impact During Its Two-City Visit in U.K.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A delegation led by the Greater Irvine Chamber, the first ever economic development delegation to visit the New United States Embassy in London, traveled across the pond on a two-city foreign direct investment (FDI) mission in the U.K., Feb. 12-16. The goal of the mission was to build awareness for Irvine/Orange County and its life science industry strength and to identify, connect with, and encourage U.K.-based life science companies to look at Irvine/Orange County when they consider expansion into the U.S. The delegation collaborated with two of the U.K.’s most prestigious associations in the life sciences field: One Nucleus and the Association of...
Greater Irvine Chamber Earns Top Communications Award from Western Association of Chamber Executives

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce was awarded first place in overall Chamber Communications Programs for the entire Western United States, the highest honor of Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) in that category. The award was formally presented to members of the Chamber staff at the W.A.C.E. annual conference, held this year in Henderson, Nevada, Feb. 7-9. “We have put a great deal of emphasis on our strategic communications efforts this year, communicating the great work of our organization. As a testament to our effectiveness in raising our profile, the Greater Irvine Chamber has been honored with a major award...
Greater Irvine Chamber's Career Edge Named Outstanding Program of the Year

Friday, February 09, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber’s Career Edge was named the 2017 Outstanding Program of the Year by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.). The award was formally presented to members of the Chamber staff on Feb. 8 at the W.A.C.E. Annual Conference held this year in Henderson, Nevada. “In addition to the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received from students, educators, and the business community, recognition from our colleagues across the Chamber industry is further indication of the value of the Career Edge program and the Chamber’s role to ensure a highly-skilled, 21st-century workforce that our employers seek,” said Linda DiMario, executive...
The Power and Influence of the Greater Irvine Chamber Membership Continues to Expand

Monday, February 05, 2018

With more than 800 member businesses, the Greater Irvine Chamber remains one of the largest chambers of commerce in Southern California, and the power and influence of its membership continues to expand at record pace. Dinh Ta, business development manager for the Chamber, has introduced 31 businesses as new members in that many days during January 2018. Ta first surpassed a membership record in May 2017, with 28 new members, followed by 30 new members in November. The previous monthly average was 17 new members each month. Ta has exceeded other all-time new records in membership, including bringing on six new...
Bloomberg News: Linda DiMario weighs in on Amazon HQ2 Process and the Economic Development Game

Friday, February 02, 2018

In a Jan. 30 article, Bloomberg News reported what Greater Irvine Chamber executive vice president Linda DiMario had to say about the Amazon HQ2 process and economic development: Economic development professionals are torn as to whether the campaign by cities and metro regions to win Amazon’s second headquarters will change the way the game is played. “Some people thought it was the most inefficient RFP process they’ve ever seen, but I saw it as quite brilliant, and I think it’s going to be good for other businesses,” said Linda H. DiMario, executive vice president of economic development and tourism for the Greater Irvine...
Greater Irvine Chamber’s Linda DiMario Lends Expertise to Texas City in Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Monday, January 22, 2018

Linda DiMario, executive vice president of the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, traveled to Aransas Pas, Texas last week under the auspices of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to lend a hand to the City and its business community in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. With a focus on the Downtown core, DiMario met with City Manager Gary Edwards, Mayor Ram Gomez, City Council members Carrie Scruggs, Vickie Abrego and Billy Ellis, city management, the Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce, Destination Downtown, UNITY, the Library Board, business owners, property owners and San Patricio Economic Development Council discussing how to...
2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report Highlights State’s Sector Strength, with Irvine Playing a Prominent Role

Monday, November 20, 2017

The 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report, developed by California Life Sciences Association in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers and published annually, evaluates the profound impact of California’s life sciences sector on the state’s economy in the areas of sector employment growth, wages, research funding, and life sciences venture investment.  With Irvine ranked as the third most popular destination of life sciences in the state and the leader in medical device and ophthalmology, the findings in this year’s report confirm that California continues to lead the nation in the life sciences industry, supporting highly-skilled and well-paying jobs in communities across the state. Key findings include: California’s...
What Will Irvine Look Like in 20 Years?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Emile Haddad is experimenting with something that at first glance appears antithetical to the Southern California lifestyle—a home without a garage. And a homeowner who’s not a car owner. “These will be the first single-family homes with no garages,” Haddad said. “We all love our cars, but the minds of the next generation won’t love them as much as we do.” It’s a proof-of-concept project that will entail 50 to 60 homes. A timeframe for opening hasn't been set, he said. A builder hasn't been chosen for the homes, which are being designed by Haddad’s Five Point Holdings LLC. Haddad foresees a new generation...