Chamber Member Smart Utility Systems Plans to Hire 200

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Smart Utility Systems today announced plans to add 200 workers this year at its new headquarters in Irvine and an international expansion plan with new offices in Asia.

The company, which makes subscription software geared for utilities and municipalities, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new 35,000-square-foot space at Newport Gateway, a two-tower office campus near the Irvine-Newport Beach border that has attracted several technologies companies, including virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR Inc., interactive development firm and technology startup Cie Digital Labs, and Acorns Grow Inc., a mobile investment software company. Smart Utility employs about 150 in Irvine and another 150 in India. Its customers include the City of Glendale Water and Power, Southern California Public Power Authority and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, among others. Smart Utility provides smart grid integration services and its app and related software are billed to help consumers manage energy and water, pay bills, get alerts and analyze use patterns.

“We took this challenge in front of us to change the world and provide that information and knowledge to everybody so they can help in this energy challenge we have,” founder and Chief Executive Deepak Garg said earlier today before the Cleantech Connect water and energy innovation forum at Smart Utility’s headquarters.

Irvine Mayor Steven Choi took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The forum included talks from 5-Hour Energy cofounder Ravi Sajwan, Planet Water Foundation Chief Executive and Founder Mark Steele, and representatives from the Irvine Public School Foundation, San Diego County Water Authority, and University of California, Irvine researchers, among others.’


Thursday, January 21, 2016 OCBJ

Irvine Business Forum Sees Demographics and Improved Growth

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Matt Morrison

The effects on local and world economies of stagnant economic growth and a demographic shift from younger to older were among themes explored at the 2016 Irvine Business Outlook forum Friday morning.

Hundreds of business leaders, public officials and others gathered at the Irvine Marriott hotel for the event presented by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce and UC Irvine. Keynote speakers were Bill Maurer, dean of the UCI School of Social Sciences, and Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney.

Varney, 67, a newly minted U.S. citizen, blended humor and economic insight in his native British accent. He chose to become a citizen last year after more than 30 years of reporting on Wall Street and international markets.

“I pay a lot of taxes here,” Varney quipped. “I might as well get the right to vote.”

Varney said this will be the first year he would participate in an American election. While not overtly stating his political preference, Varney noted with a sly grin that he works for Fox News and was paid to speak to a group of Orange County business leaders.

The U.S. general election in November could be the most important in decades for the national and world economies, he suggested. With the country’s economic growth stagnant at around 2% or lower in recent years, recovery from the recession of 2007 to 2009 is not as strong as political leaders would have us think, he said. The U.S. economy needs to grow by 4% annually to boost markets here and abroad, he said.

Varney said longer life expectancy and falling fertility rates around the world are creating a delicate imbalance between an aging population and a shrinking workforce to support it. He noted that in the period of one generation, life expectancy in the United States has increased by about five years for both men and women.

Maurer, recognized as an expert on the anthropology of money, finance and law, agreed that the aging population is a concern, but he believes there’s a solution.

“Try to think about it in terms of potential business opportunities, because they’re clearly there,” Maurer told the audience. “We can do well by doing good with this population.”

Maurer’s presentation also included an outline of how the federal government continues to redesign U.S. currency to try to outpace counterfeiters. Beginning with the $10 bill — possibly with a female portrait replacing the traditional image of Alexander Hamilton by 2020 — all paper currency valued over $1 will have newer designs with built-in security features.

In the increasing movement toward electronic payments, security is an even higher priority, Maurer said.

“Consumer-protection issues loom large in a lot of the new services that we’re getting,” he said.

Many mobile apps have sophisticated security systems built in, he added, “so don’t worry too much. But at least know what you’re doing before you start playing around with it.”

Copyright © 2016, Daily Pilot

Chamber Member SERVPRO® Named to Entrepreneur’s Top 10 Franchise List for 7th Consecutive Year

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Cleanup and restoration franchisor retains top ranking in restoration
services category and climbs to #4 ranking overall in the 2016 Franchise
500 rankings

Irvine, CA (Grassroots Newswire) January 19, 2016 – SERVPRO®, a cleanup
and restoration franchise company, maintains its hold on the top ranking
in the Restoration Services industry for the 13th consecutive year and
moves up to the number four spot overall in the 2016 Franchise 500
rankings from Entrepreneur magazine.* This is the seventh consecutive year
SERVPRO has been included in the magazine’s Top 10 list, standing out in a
group of more than 951 franchises that qualified for inclusion in the

Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 selection process uses “objective,
quantifiable measures of a franchise operation” to help would-be
entrepreneurs identify franchise investment opportunities. Some of the
most important factors considered by Entrepreneur in developing the list
each year are “financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of
the system.”

“This recognition confirms that SERVPRO is a dynamic organization that
continues to grow and strives to always provide superior support for its
franchisees, and by extension its customers,” said Sue Steen, Servpro
Industries, Inc., chief executive officer. “The recognition that the
company earns year after year in this prestigious list is confirmation of
a commitment to excellence that starts at the top and is evident in the
service that each franchisee provides to each and every customer.”

According to SERVPRO franchise owners in the Irvine area, a number of
differentiators set SERVPRO apart from the competition and fuel the
attractiveness of the company to both existing franchisees and would-be
entrepreneurs looking for a strong business opportunity. Key among these

* SERVPRO’s strength as a brand with a national footprint, wide-spread
market penetration, laser-focused brand messaging, and the ability to
create national partnerships with organizations such as the PGA TOUR and
the American Red Cross.
* SERVPRO’s commitment to being a learning organization, which keeps
training and support at the forefront of the company’s culture and
philosophy of success and helps franchisees plan, track, and deliver
best-in-class services to consumers.
* SERVPRO’s focus on continued development and support for proprietary
software and systems to allow the company’s operational capacity to keep
pace with an aggressive growth strategy.

Steen adds, “One of the potential pitfalls of growing too quickly is
outpacing your capacity to train and support the franchisees. SERVPRO® is
a conservative company, and early on we took the time to build a strong
system and put the building blocks in place to support growth without
sacrificing support to our franchisees.”

“Today,” Steen continues, “as a mature franchise organization with more
than 1,700 locations under a single brand, recognition like this makes it
clear we are reaping the rewards of having laid a solid foundation and a
framework to handle quick growth. As our brand continues to grow, we will
continue our winning strategy of supporting and improving upon our
infrastructure and investing resources in training and support.”

SERVPRO® specializes in fire and water cleanup and restoration services,
helping both commercial and residential customers recover from property
damage emergencies “Like it never even happened.” For more fire prevention
tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services,
please visit

For more information on SERVPRO® in the
Irvine area, please contact one of the local business owners below.

* For SERVPRO® of Costa Mesa, please contact Tayler Carano who can be
reached at (949) 566-8887  or
* For SERVPRO® of Irvine, please contact Rodney Sibley who can be reached
at (949) 474-7776 or
* For SERVPRO® of Orange/Villa Park, please contact Dorothy Bisaha who can
be reached at 714-628-1340 or


Kim Kramer Brooks
Corporate Communications Coordinator
Servpro Industries, Inc.
(615) 451-0200 ext. 1644

Tallia Hart Named to Executive Position!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

IRVINE, Calif., (January 6, 2016)The Irvine Chamber of Commerce today announced that Tallia Hart, president and CEO of the Chamber, was selected to serve as vice chair on the executive committee of the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) for the 2016 program year and chair of the 2017 W.A.C.E. annual conference to be held in LA. In addition, Hart was named president-elect for the Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives  (S.C.A.C.C.E.) and will serve as the organization’s president in 2017.

“Tallia’s strong leadership and management skills along with the respect amongst her peers were instrumental in her selection to serve on the executive committee,” said Dave Kilby, president and CEO of W.A.C.E. “We look forward to her contributions in the year ahead in helping to advance the association.”

As part of the executive committee of W.A.C.E., Hart will take on multiple leadership roles including serving as chair of the association’s 2017 Annual Conference, helping to define the event’s program, and acting as a liaison for the association’s 850 chamber professionals represented among 17 Western states and Canada. As president-elect for the S.C.A.C.C.E., Hart will leverage her experience in working with board, membership and other community leaders to build on the association’s past successes and develop new programs that will lead the organization into the future.

Hart, an Accredited Chamber Executive, has been involved and held a series of leadership positions with W.A.C.E. since 2003 and S.C.A.C.C.E. from 2008.  She was honored with the William Hammond Award given for excellence in Chamber of Commerce management in 2006. Hart will assume her positions on February 4, 2016.

About The Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.)

The Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) is the premier organization for education and professional development for chamber executives and staff. The association’s mission is to promote and enhance professional development of chamber of commerce executives. W.A.C.E. now represents over 850 chamber professionals in 17 Western states and Canada. Additional information is available at

About The Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (S.C.A.C.C.E)

The Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives is membership organization dedicated to the education and advancement of Southern California chamber management professionals. The S.C.A.C.C.E. was started in the 1980s as a vehicle to bring local Southern California chambers of commerce together for professional development and networking. Additional information is available at

About The Irvine Chamber of Commerce

The Irvine Chamber of Commerce is one of the most influential Chambers in Orange County, representing more than 800 businesses in the area. The Irvine Chamber’s mission is to promote an economic climate that strengthens the competitiveness of local businesses while offering members a wide range of benefits, services, programs and information. The organization serves as a catalyst for local economic growth by: promoting the city as a dynamic business and tourism destination; providing valuable training and networking opportunities; and advocating for the interests of the business community with federal, state and local officials. The Irvine Chamber is funded by member businesses, signature events, advertising and a Hotel Improvement District voluntary assessment on sold hotel rooms. The Irvine Chamber does not receive any city funding, any portion of the 8% Transient Occupancy Tax collected or any resident-funded tax. The Irvine Chamber remains the largest business organization in Orange County and one of the most innovative in the nation, and has received a Four Star Accreditation with the United States Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit

Social Media:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube; #IrvineChamber, #IrvineBusiness.

MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Welch

714-573-0899 x 225

Rose Parade Floats — Including Those of Disney and Irvine — Run on Volunteer Energy

Monday, January 4th, 2016

From the Orange County Register – Dec 30, 2015

Joan Deleskiewicz huddled with other volunteers, meticulously cutting dark purple statice flowers from their long stems.

Nearby, Chris Buck, director of the hit movie “Frozen,” knelt down to paint floorboards. Others in the Azusa warehouse stood on ladders and scaffolding, carrying boxes of pumpkin seeds and other plant material, gluing feverishly so that Disneyland’s 150-foot-long float could make its grand appearance in the 127th annual Rose Parade by dawn Friday.

float_workIn the weeks, and then just days, and now final hours leading up to the parade, volunteers who want to be a part of the News Year’s Day tradition work long shifts doing whatever is needed to complete floats.

While most Rose Parade floats are built entirely by professionals – and the electronics and mechanics of all modern floats are made by pros – several floats are still largely finished off and decorated by volunteer labor.

“It’s just a small box, but I’m going to call all my friends to let them know that I cut the flowers for that,” said Deleskiewicz, 47, of Garden Grove, referencing the carton of petals that add some color to a section of the float known as “Disneyland Diamond Celebration – Awaken Your Adventure. ”

“It’s fascinating to be part of this.”

Prepping the massive floats for their public appearance requires a mix of time and volunteers, said Chris Paulson, media relations spokesman for Phoenix Decorating, a float-building and -marketing company that helped design the city of Irvine’s float, which is 55 feet long, 18 feet wide and 25 feet high.

Working for free seems to be popular, at least if that work is connected to the Rose Parade. Paulson said more than 700 volunteers a day signed up this season to help decorate floats at Phoenix Decorating’s Pasadena location. Some started as early as 8 a.m., and others stayed as late as 11 p.m.

A few hundred thousand people usually watch the parade live in Pasadena, and tens of millions more tune in on TV. This year’s grand marshal is documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and he’ll be followed by 44 floats, 20 marching bands and 400 horses. This year’s theme is “Find Your Adventure.”

Not all of the float work can be done by volunteers.

On Disney’s float, for example, faux snow will fall around an ice castle featuring Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf the snowman and other “Frozen” characters. In the center, Mickey, Minnie and other Disney icons will wave from a Sleeping Beauty Castle bedazzled with plant material that looks like diamonds. And fans will get a glimpse of the “Star Wars” land planned for Disneyland, with the Millennium Falcon flying overhead and Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and Storm Troopers from the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” movie marching around the float.

At one point (about 9 a.m. if you’re watching on TV) more than 100 performers will come out of Sleeping Beauty Castle and fireworks will be shot off the float.

Much of that requires expert engineering and design.

But while Disney leverages Rose Parade buzz (and its engineering skills) to hype its brand, the city of Irvine is doing the same to hype itself, just as other float sponsors – the California Milk Advisory Board, the Lakers, a group called South Dakota Tourism – are hyping themselves.

The float known as “Innovation Rocks” is sponsored by Destination Irvine, the tourism arm of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

In a nod to UC Irvine’s 50th anniversary, the Irvine float features the school’s mascot, Peter the Anteater, wearing a lab coat. He’s surrounded by an array of bubble-spewing beakers, a helix and animated gears.

“We’d like to think the float is a rallying point of pride and awakening to Irvine’s reputation globally,” said Linda DiMario, the chamber’s vice president of economic development.

“We’re known as one of the safest cities in America. But there’s also an enormous amount of science, technology and innovation coming out of the city … We want to celebrate that.”

DiMario said the Irvine float cost $200,000, with the city’s 16 hotels footing the bill. Disney did not disclose the cost of its float. Irvine’s float will make its television appearance at 8:50 a.m.

This week, Elicia Hernandez, a junior at Western High School in Anaheim, and other teens volunteered to help garnish the Irvine float.

As she placed flowers – the parade requires floats to be covered with natural materials – Hernandez mused on the design tip she’s picked up as a Rose Parade volunteer.

“It’s the little details that help make the float beautiful.”

Beatrice Castruita of Hacienda Heights took a break from her work on the “Frozen” float. After five years as a volunteer, she’s noticed that “there’s a camaraderie amongst the volunteers.”

“I love it,” the 69-year-old said.

“You meet so many different people … It’s inspiring to see the work behind the scenes and watch what you have done on the parade route on Colorado Boulevard.”

Contact the writer: 714-704-3764 or or follow on Twitter @OCDisney

Jeroen Quint Tapped as New General Manager of Hotel Irvine

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Hospitality Executive with Global Background Joins Orange County’s New Lifestyle Hotel

IRVINE, Calif. – Jeroen Quint, a veteran hotel executive most recently with Atlanta-based Capella Hotel Group, has been named general manager of Hotel Irvine, the recently repositioned 536-room Orange County hotel owned and operated by the Irvine Company.

In his new position, Quint will oversee all day-to-day operations of the popular lifestyle hotel located in the heart of Orange County’s social and business scene.

“We are thrilled to have Jeroen join our team,” said Ralph Grippo, president of resort properties for the Irvine Company. “He is a dynamic leader with extensive credentials and an impressive international background in independent luxury hotels, and we are confident his expertise will be invaluable as we continue to reposition Hotel Irvine as the top Orange County destination and community hub for meetings and events, socializing and business and leisure travelers.”

Quint says he’s excited to be in Orange County and jumped at the opportunity to run Hotel Irvine. “The Irvine Company is an industry leader as well as an independent operator – which allows us to be more flexible, customer centric and quality oriented than larger hotel chains – and I look forward to working with the team,” he said. “Additionally, I was attracted to Hotel Irvine’s forward thinking new concept and keen focus on both technology and guest services.”

In his new role, Quint says he will strive to reinforce Hotel Irvine’s status as a premiere hotel for travelers by concentrating on individual guest recognition, as well as working to enhance its position as a community hot spot for casual socializing, special events and other gatherings – with innovative food and beverage programs. “Hotel Irvine is not only an appealing destination for out-of-towners, it is a hub for locals, and I will work to cultivate that appeal by enhancing services in all venues, from banquets to room service.”

With this in mind, Quint plans to leverage his extensive background to further personalize and enrich Hotel Irvine’s guest experiences. “Our focus is to develop a culture that is all about the guest – with unique dining options such as EATS Kitchen & Bar and dynamic services such as Club 12 – creating an ongoing dialogue with our clientele and enriching their experience with compelling customized services.”

He will also bring his strong background in food and beverage operations to the forefront. “My tenure with Wolfgang Puck – known for his innovation, drive for quality and passion for excellence – will be an important asset, as our dining venues and catering services are an integral part of Hotel Irvine.”


A native of the Netherlands who has worked all over the globe in luxury hotels, Quint was with Capella Hotel Group for six years, serving as general manager of the 124-room Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina in Santa Lucia where he oversaw a $30 million renovation and rebranding project. Furthering his experience in running high-end independent hotels, he was general manager of the 96-room Lough Eske Castle in Ireland and of Borgo Egnazia, a landmark luxury resort in Puglia, Italy.


Quint’s considerable experience in food and beverage operations include his tenure as general manager for Washington D.C.-based Wolfgang Puck Catering as well as working as food and beverage director for The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown and assistant food and beverage director for The Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in Virginia. He began his career at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cologne, Germany, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international hospitality management from the International Hospitality College, The Hague in The Netherlands.  He is fluent in English, Dutch and German.

About Hotel Irvine

Hotel Irvine, a Lifestyle Hotel is the Irvine Company’s new spin on hospitality that puts the focus on the consumer. The hotel is designed to feel like a home away from home, a place where staff anticipates the needs of guests at every opportunity. Hotel Irvine’s “HI” experience is personal at every touch point with all the usual offerings found in a typical hotel yet in an entirely new way that is anything but typical for Orange County, California. Updated rooms offer ample space, and a refreshing sleek and modern décor combined with current technology, relevant books, magazines and updated amenities. Fresh communal spaces abound with a gastropub inspired restaurant, a chic and modern bar and a Marketplace featuring hundreds of products reasonably priced combined with a variety of hot and cold options for those on the go.

Hotel Irvine is one of three hotels in the world-class portfolio of Irvine Company Resort Properties® including Pelican Hill Resort and Island Hotel Newport Beach. Just minutes from John Wayne Airport, Hotel Irvine features 520 guest rooms, 16 suites, and the thoroughly updated and transformed collection of venues includes more than 50,000 square feet of event space with indoor and outdoor rooms and the largest ballroom in Orange County.

A member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection™, guests at Hotel Irvine are eligible to enroll in the iPrefer® guest loyalty program to earn points, status and special benefits upon every stay.


About the Irvine Company

The Irvine Company® is an internationally renowned real estate development company known for its award-winning master-planned communities, its vast portfolio of high-quality investment properties and its leadership in conservation and natural resource management.  The growing real estate portfolio encompasses office, apartment, retail and resort holdings located throughout California’s premier markets, including assets in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, and holdings in Northern California.  As a steward of some of America’s most beautiful and scientifically important open space and parklands, the company has donated more than half of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch® in Orange County — 50,000 acres — to permanently preserve these lands. The U.S. Department of Interior and the State of California have designated these parklands as “Natural Landmarks,” one of the most prestigious land preservation designations. The privately held, diversified company traces its roots to the 1860s with the formation of The Irvine Ranch® from Mexican and Spanish land grants.


Hotel Irvine is located at 17900 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92614. For reservations, contact Hotel Irvine at 888-230-4452 or visit


# # #

Bringing ‘Innovation Rocks!’ to Life with Statice and Strawflower

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Thursday, Dec 17, 2015

By: Laura Berthold Monteros
There’s a giant blue anteater with open arms smack dab in the middle of the Destination Irvine float, “Innovation Rocks!” Blue is one of the most difficult colors to create with flowers, because a true blue is rare in nature and flowers that we see as blue might look more purplish on television. Dyed flowers, even those tinted with special products while growing, are not allowed on Rose Parade floats. Every color on a float is the natural color of the material used. But there’s a giant anteater named Peter who needs to be blue.

DI sat down with Lyn Lofthouse, floral director at Phoenix Decorating Company, to ask about Peter and find out more about decorating a Tournament of Roses float. Lyn met her husband, President/CEO of Phoenix Chris Lofthouse, on the job. She has worked on floats for more than 30 years, starting in the art (painting) department and moving to contracting, which is welding and sculpting the metal frames. At the end of a shift, she would often help the floral designer.
“I had been a crew chief, so I knew floats,” she said. While the company went through several floral designers, Lyn continued working as a contractor. “Finally, I just took over the job-I had trained two people. I slowly moved into it…. I’m always looking for what’s the best material for each individual prop and where it is on the float.”

Lyn orders the materials, both dry and fresh, to be applied to specific floats. The first order is sent in April and monthly after that, increasing to weekly in December. The materials come from all over the world, though she gets as much as she can from the United States. South Dakota, New York, Hawaii, California; south of the border to Mexico and South America and across the sea to China and Japan. She favors Mom-and-Pop growers, those with 10 to 40 acres.

“Mom and Pop farms are fun to work with,” she said. “Different parts of the world have different growing seasons. I learned to have more than one grower in one place. Whoever has it, I will call.” Requests are created for each float and set aside specifically for the float.
“Everything I order is for that float,” she said. “You can’t wing it.” Decorators get the materials from the flower tent, where they are massed in buckets on the floor and tables. The people staffing the tent make sure the right quantity of flowers goes to the right float. Lyn said she doesn’t worry if the order comes in a couple hundred short, but if it is several hundred, she has to pull from another float.
She puts together a book for each float that is given to the crew chief, who manages the decorating process. “Front to back materials, even glue,” she said. If there are special materials, the book explains how to use them. If it can’t be adequately explained on paper, she puts a note in to come to her for a visual. But now, back to Peter.

“Blue is always hard, unless it’s iris petals which can be true dark and light blue,” Lyn said. For Peter, she has ordered statice, but “statice leans to the lavender side.” She puts in special orders to growers that Phoenix works with regularly so they can grow the materials each float needs, including the light blue statice she ordered in July.
Down at the float barn, Rosemont Pavilion in the Rose Bowl area, crew chief Lauren stood by volunteers cutting the blue petals off statice stems for “Innovation Rocks!” last Saturday. She said that Peter is three different shades of blue. “There’s a different shade in every shipment,” she said. “We will wait until it’s all cut, and figure as we go.”

Statice and strawflower are two of the most common flowers used in “dry dec,” which is decoration with dry materials such as seeds, oatmeal, natural wood, rice, beans, lentils. Most of the solid colors on the Destination Irvine float are these two materials, such as the red strawflower used on a beaker. The orange flask is powdered lentils. The centers of the poppies are hyacinth root (the black, hairy-looking thing in the photo), purple statice, and fresh flowers.
Lyn said that statice is shipped in each week in December for the upcoming weekend’s dry dec, which occurs the first three weeks. Though it dries on the stem in the field, it has to be cut and shipped immediately in water buckets to avoid rot. Every Friday, crew members cut down the stems to ready the flowers for the volunteers to snip. Some of the dry materials are pulverized in blenders to create a smoother look.
At Rosemont Pavilion, Kiwanis International is responsible for supplying volunteers. Members of Key Club (the high school Kiwanis auxiliary) Teresa and Ricky were gingerly applying onion seed in narrow rows to simulate the pages of the books at the front of the float.
Though there were no Irvine volunteers working on the float, crew chief Lauren noted that she is from nearby Lake Forest. I love that the float represents so much science,” she said. “There’s so much industry in Irvine.”

Laurine, a one-year Irvine resident who is with the Lutheran Hour Petal Pushers, said “I think the float is amazing! I love Irvine. I think it’s beautiful and safe.”

Rose Parade Creates American Memories, New Adventures for Businessman Dan Han & Irvine Parade-goers

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Dan Han, at right, holds the artist’s concept of “Innovation Rocks!” the Destination Irvine 2016 Rose Parade entry. Left to right, Wendy Haase, Destination Irvine; Sam Murray, Managease, Inc.; Kate Klimow, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of California, Irvine; Linda DiMario, Destination Irvine; Tallia Hart, Irvine Chamber of Commerce; Dan Han, Ignite Payments Agape.

By: Laura Berthold Monteros

What is your first Rose Parade memory? Even those who have never been to the parade in person probably have memories of watching it on television, and some, like scientist Greg Weiss in an earlier post, may have special traditions to go along with it. For Irvine businessman Dan Han, his first “American memory” is of watching The Tournament of Roses Parade on TV when he was a child.”My family emigrated from South Korea when I was 6 years old to find a better life and live the American Dream,” he states. “As a child I had no background in the English language and no concept of American culture. Living in my grandfather’s house, we shared the space with my aunts and uncles and their families, 12 people in total. One of my first experiences with American culture was watching the Rose Parade on television.”As a child I was enthralled by the color and pageantry of the event. Seeing the floats and characters as they paraded down the street, my imagination ran wild about what life in America would be like. Seeing all of the happy families and people attending and participating in the parade, I thought that America was a great place to be.”Han is a member of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors. His business, Ignite Payments Agape, provides payment processing solutions for businesses by providing ways to accept various forms of payments. These include credit cards and online commerce as well as newer technologies such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Google Wallet. He says, “By accepting payment methods other than cash, businesses open themselves to a much larger audience. A larger audience and more ways to pay generally translates into more revenue for the business.”With such a warm memory of the Rose Parade, when he learned the Chamber is sponsoring “Innovation Rocks!” Han says, “I was ecstatic because it brought back those memories from my childhood just coming to the United States. The float will bring Irvine further in the minds of the people throughout the US and around the world. The design is a great representation of the various and diverse education and business opportunities that are here in Irvine.
“Irvine and its various communities are very family centered with great access to parks, education, shopping and dining. It also boasts incredible cultural diversity in its population. I believe the exposure that is brought on by this float in the Rose Parade will encourage businesses to move here and want to do business in Irvine. Irvine is already an economic hub with several corporate headquarters and regional offices, ample manufacturing, and huge service industries; coupled with the amazing standard of living, it’s a great place to be.”

Dan Han looking at height of DI floatSeeing the float for the first time a few weeks ago at Phoenix Decorating Company in Pasadena, Han craned his neck to see the tip top of the 25-foot-high creation. He says, “The float was huge! Much bigger in real life than I envisioned. The float portrayed many of the qualities of Irvine in relation to the theme of ‘Innovation Rocks!'”

Han says that the business of payment processing must also be innovative in using cutting-edge technology to ensure clients are up-to-date on quickly evolving transaction methods. Currently the parent company, Ignite Payments, is moving merchants to NFC technologies. He says, “When I got into this industry, I was looking for something where instead of selling a product or gadget I was providing a service that had a direct benefit. We meet that by helping merchants to reduce the costs of accepting payments, and providing a personal level of service that is rare in our industry.”

The name of his office, Ignite Payments Agape, reflects that commitment. “As a Christian myself I wanted my business to embody the values that I’ve found through my faith,” Han says. “Agape means brotherly love, or the love we have for one another. With that mission we strive to always do what’s best for our customers, even when it’s hard or doesn’t work in our favor. We will always go the extra mile to meet the needs of our customers to the best of our abilities.”


Find Your Adventure at the 2016 Rose Parade


Honda opening show for 2016 Rose ParadeWhen “Innovation Rocks!” glides along Colorado Blvd. on New Year’s Day 2016, Irvine fans will want to be prepared for a glorious experience. These tips will help them be as savvy as seasoned parade-goers.

• The parade starts at Orange Grove just south of Colorado Blvd. promptly at 8 a.m. and takes about two hours to get to the end of the route on Sierra Madre Blvd. Parade-goers can find a good spot on the street up to an hour or two before the parade arrives, but the closer the spot is to the beginning of the route, the earlier they should arrive. Grandstand seats, available from Sharp Seating Company, provide the assurance of a reserved seat and a place to sit. Viewing is best from the south, or “camera side” of Colorado Blvd.

• To get there, get on the 210 West into Pasadena. Exits from Allen to Fair Oaks and head south to the parade route. Drive time increases closer to Colorado Blvd., so allow plenty of extra time. Reserved parking is available from Sharp Seating (626) 795-4171 and Easy Parking Service (626) 286-7576 and there are plenty of private lots that sell slots for the Rose Parade on the spot.

• Public transportation from Irvine isn’t readily available, but a compromise is to exit at Madre/Sierra Madre Villa, turn right and right again into the free parking structure for the Metro Gold Line. Take the train to Allen Avenue, Lake Avenue, Memorial Park, or Del Mar station and follow the crowd to Colorado Blvd.

• Dress in layers; early mornings can be very cold, but it warms up through the morning. Travel light with tote back to stash snacks, beverages and those extra layers. Keep money or wallets in a front pocket and limit valuables to cash, credit card, ID, car keys, and tissues. Food, beverages and souvenirs are sold along the parade route.

1. There are three demarcations for street viewing: the sidewalk, the curb, and the blue line.

The blue line is the absolute limit for street viewing.  Viewers may not block the sidewalk.  There must be enough room for people to easily pass between storefronts and the viewers.

2. Don’t throw things.  Silly string, marshmallows, tortillas, anything.

3. Don’t bring contraband.  Weapons, sticks, poles, glass bottles, alcoholic beverages, ladders, or any items which may cause injury or interfere with the parade or spectators’ enjoyment of the parade are banned.

Helpful links

Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game 2016: Complete guide to all events

Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau website, or call the hotline (877) 793-9911 after Dec. 29

Tournament of Roses Parade Day Guide

Accessibility issues: Leave a voice mail at (626) 744-4782 or email Robert Gorski, City Accessibility Issues Coordinator,

‘Find Your Adventure’ in a National Park with Ken Burns or in a chemistry lab at UCI

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Laura Berthold Monteros

Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015

Ken Burns_11Tournament of Roses Pres. Mike Matthiessen made an inspired choice for the 2016 Rose Parade Grand Marshal when he chose award-winning documentarian Ken Burns. Burns, who won an Emmy for his PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, is a great choice for this parade. Themed “Find Your Adventure,” it is a collaboration between the Tournament and the National Parks Service in celebration of the NPS’ centennial. Burns accepted the honor via video. “I would never have imagined getting to watch the Rose Bowl Game as Grand Marshal,” he said. “I’ll see you in Pasadena and in one of our parks.”

Greg WeissHere in Irvine, Greg Weiss finds his adventure in the Weiss Lab at UCI, but he also is a Rose Parade fan and watches the event every New Year’s Day with his family. He understands, as Burns said, “The Rose Parade is an annual tradition woven into the fabric of America.” Weiss spends the day making waffles and watching the parade start to finish. He’s only gone to the parade once, as a kid in Palos Verdes. The city provided a bus and grandstand seating, but as a grown-up, his research has kept him busy. “I should see it this year,” he said.

As a professor in chemistry, Weiss likes the idea of “Innovation Rocks!” with its blocks from the periodic chart and Erlenmeyer flasks. And Peter the Anteater, of course. “Everyone loves anteaters,” he said. An anteater mascot is approachable and not intimidating. “Anteaters are extremely appropriate for Irvine. I don’t know if you know, we live on a big anthill.” He added, “I’m really excited about the float being about chemistry this year.

What Weiss is working on is a rather amazing process that will aid in diagnosing cancer through untangling proteins so their structures can be studied and diagnostics created. He tests the process using hard-boiled egg whites processed in a machine called a vortex fluid device, as demonstrated in this YouTube video. He says this research is “right at the interface of physics, chemistry and engineering.

“Proteins are kind of like origami,” he explains. The paper can be folded and unfolded, but the unfolded paper doesn’t have the same beauty. “Unfolded proteins still have the ‘creases’ in them. They can figure out how to get back into shape if they are given the right conditions.” The raw egg white is like the folded origami, and the boiled white tangles up the protein strands with each other, like crumpled origami paper. The device pulls them apart and then refolds them by applying the pulling action of shear stress.

Just as it takes energy to refold origami paper, it takes energy to refold the proteins. “We apply a kind of energy, called mechanical energy,” Weiss explained. “It drives the proteins to refold. When the protein is unfolded, it still has enough information to refold, like creases in origami paper. The mechanical energy and shear stress can drive the refolding.” The practical application of unfolding and refolding proteins is to develop diagnostic tools. “It’s something I’m passionate about,” he said. “My father died of cancer, my wife fought off breast cancer last year.”

Vortex Fluid Device UCIHe said, “Cancer results from proteins run amok. Those proteins become like pirates that take over the cancer cell,” Weiss stated. “When we study these pirate proteins, we often get a thing like a rumpled mess. We need to produce the actual folded protein that is causing cancer, so we can study them and produce diagnostics. Cancer is a disease that results from an assault on the DNA itself, like spending time in the sun or some chemicals. When DNA gets changed, its code gets changed and that means proteins do, too. Sometimes such changes cause cancer, which makes them good targets for diagnostics and research.”

Whether or not Weiss can get away from the lab long enough to take a trek to Pasadena, he’s enthusiastic about “Innovation Rocks!” and raising the profile of UCI, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. “Many people don’t know what a world-class university they have in their midst,” he said, which includes the arts, humanities and social sciences as well as hard science. The float, he said, celebrates the university and the accomplishments of both the school and the city of Irvine. He said he is extremely honored that it’s part of the Rose Parade. “I’m excited to have UCI and my research presented.”

See the parade and floatsIf the Rose Parade is impressive, the events surrounding it are pretty exciting, too. The most popular are Decorating Places, Dec. 27-31, where the floats can be seen in their final stages of flowering, and Showcase of Floats, Jan. 1-3, the post-parade display of all the creations. Food and beverages are sold at one of the decorating locations and all throughout the post-parade viewing area. Free parking is available both places, but most parking is in paid lots that benefit schools or scouts for Showcase of Floats.

Bandfest presents all the Rose Parade bands in field shows, Dec. 29 and 30, and Equestfest, Dec. 29, is an opportunity to see the parade horses perform in an arena. Tickets to all these events and shuttle tickets to the Showcase are available through Sharp Seating or at the venues, but both Bandfest and Equestfest often sell out so advance purchase is recommended. A new event, Live on Green, takes place Dec. 29 and 30, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Dec. 31, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center. Admission is free. It includes activities for the family, exhibits and displays, food and music.

About Destination Irvine

Under the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit 501(c)6, Destination Irvine, funded by a self-imposed assessment through a Hotel Improvement District (H.I.D.) positions Irvine as a destination for visitors, meetings and groups. Destination Irvine through direct sales efforts including database marketing, lead generation, trade show participation, and familiarization
tours, sells the destination. In addition, Destination Irvine promotes Irvine through marketing, advertising and public relations efforts.


CSA Group Opens New State-of-the-art Laboratory in Irvine, California

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Facility offers expanded services for medical devices and ingress protection testing

 Irvine, CA – October 29, 2015 – CSA Group, a global provider of testing and certification services and a leading standards development organization, today announced it opened a new state-of-the-art laboratory in Irvine, offering testing and certification services including expanded services for medical devices and a new ingress protection testing laboratory.



The new laboratory in Irvine is 38,000 square feet and specializes in testing and certification across a variety of sectors including information technology equipment, medical devices, laboratory and industrial equipment, lighting products, and fuel burning and electric appliances.

“The new laboratory allows us to broaden our service offerings for our local clients,” said Rich Weiser, CSA Group Regional Vice President United States and Mexico. “CSA Group is dedicated to expanding our services in the United States to help our clients reach
North American and global markets faster and more efficiently. With the added capacity in this laboratory, we will be able to meet the growing needs of our clients in southwestern United States.”

The Irvine lab is able to evaluate and test products to applicable standards for North America, Europe and other international markets. The facility also offers U.S. Field Evaluation services for electrical and fuel burning equipment plus Field Sanitation Evaluation services for food preparation equipment. The lab is also one of only four facilities approved for field evaluation services for Los Angeles County.


In addition to the above services, the facility in Irvine, offers testing in the areas of electric vehicle supply equipment, lighting systems, pool and spa products, home appliances, process control, transformers, power supplies, water pumps, and energy efficiency verification. CSA Group also has certification and testing labs throughout the US including Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas and Seattle and employs more than 1,800 people across the globe.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an indep
endent, membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, transportation, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit

Allison Hawkins
Manager, Corporate Affairs