Orange County Business Journal

Augie’s Other Job: OCMA’s Other Menu; IrvCo.’s Other Plan

Jerry Sullivan Monday, January 11, 2016

How’s Augie Nieto these days? The Corona del Mar resident is still fighting to put amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on the list of medical challenges that have been conquered, working through his nonprofit Augie’s Quest, which has raised more than $45 million for the ALS Therapy Development Institute (www.als.net) he chairs in Cambridge, Mass. Nieto does all that from the wheelchair to which he’s been confined since ALS got its grip on him after an initial diagnosis in 2005. He’s the first to appreciate “the irony of a guy in a wheelchair who can’t move” making a pile on the sale of a fitness company—but that’s what happened when elliptical fitness machine maker Octane Fitness LLC fetched a $115 million price from publicly traded Nautilus Inc. in the closing days of 2015. Nieto was chair of Octane, which accounts for his second fitness fortune. He was a pioneer of the industry as founder and president of Life Fitness for nearly 25 years until its sale to Brunswick Corp. in 1997 …

Credit the Orange County Museum of Art for what appears to be a timely and refreshingly circumspect talk on “Islamic Culture in Contemporary American Life,” slated for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 24. Yale University scholar and writer Zareena Grewal will lead off and then engage in conversation with artist Sandow Birk, Professor Reuven Firestone of Hebrew Union College, and Professor Amir Hussain of Loyola Marymount University, a Roman Catholic institution. Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council will moderate … Extra credit for OCMA on the food trucks it plans to bring in for the event, a lineup that likely will require kosher and halal specialists to go with whatever other foodie delights might set up shop at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Center …

Anyone else hear that an especially notable figure around these parts is teaming up with a nonprofit that helps kids? It’s hush-hush for now, but expect details to radiate through the local media in short order …

Last month we told you about a lot of the steps Irvine Company has taken to use less water and meet state-imposed, drought-driven calls for big cuts. This week we can tell you the developer has plans in place for the very real possibility of a winter of inundation that seems to be taking shape, thanks to the much-anticipated El Nino, which reared its head last week. Look up the next time you’re on an Irvine Co. property, and you’ll likely notice trees in proper trim in preparation for rains that might be enough to loosen roots and gusting winds that could give tree canopies a test …

Look up in the Spectrum area, and you’ll see a genuine beauty that Irvine Co. has nearly completed at 200 Spectrum Center. Wait until next year, and you’ll see the Mazda brand atop the 21-story office building. See related photo and story by our Mark Mueller on page 1 … Look around the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary over near UC-Irvine, and you’ll find that the local chapter of the Sea & Sage Audubon Society is setting records for alliteration on behalf of nature walks. A flier from the Audubonners promises “Bees, Birds, Bug, Bobcats, Blossoms, Bunnies, Bladderpod, Bulrushes & Butterflies” on the first Saturday morning of every month.

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