OCBJ WEEKLY LISTSABOUT THE LISTS: Click on a headline for a summary and analysis of a weekly List (each story includes a FREE download for paid subscribers)
Top Firms Employ Perks From Pizza to Flex Time
Would you go bowling with your boss?
30 Firms Do $909M In Work, Grow Revenue 16%
Orange County’s 30 largest tenant-improvement contractors continued to grow last year, combining for $909 million in local work.
Boost Employment By 6%, Big Four Again Lead Pack
Orange County’s largest accounting firms combined to grow the industry’s local work force by 6% over the year through June for the fifth consecutive year of gains as the economy and business regulation expanded.
Local Employment Up 9%, Firmwide Staff Rises 19%
Orange County’s top management consulting firms experienced 9% growth to employ about 1,760 locally in the year ended June 30, many of them adding staffers.
ECONOMY: Largest up 20% overall, 9.2% on local hires
Orange County’s biggest women-owned businesses generated more than $3.75 billion in revenue last year, a 7% annual increase and the sixth consecutive year of growth.
Big 5 Strengthen Positions; 8 Newcomers on List
Orange County-based restaurant chains continued to grow in the past year, reaching $16.4 billion in revenue, a hike of about 8% from a year ago.
Increase for Largest Here Surpasses State, Nation; Revenue Up 9.1%
Call it a Triple Crown: The largest Orange County-based private companies combined to post impressive increases in revenue, as well as local and company employment, Business Journal research shows.
Nearly 3M SF Completed; Projects Spread Across OC
Orange County’s top commercial real estate developers posted their most active year of completed projects in a decade with a variety of sizeable product types opening across the region over the year ended April 30.
Revenues Here Highest Since ’09, Backlog Down
Orange County’s largest commercial construction companies took in the most revenue since the Great Recession, although a shrinking backlog and ominous economic reports raise questions about the industry’s continued growth.
Toba New No. 1 After Versant, Ventana Exit OC
The most active venture capital firms with local headquarters or significant operations and ranked by amount invested in OC companies combined for about $56 million in 39 portfolio deals last year. That’s about 35% less money than the top VCs invested in 2014 in about the same number of completed local deals.
Slow Growth Comes As Biggest Tweak Leadership
A lot can happen in a year, and the past 12 months were no exception for the 53 largest apparel companies based in Orange County. The top three on this week’s Business Journal list are under new leadership, one emerged from bankruptcy, and several others have traded hands. A few firms also notched significant local staffing changes, the metric the list is based on.
HOSPITALITY: Great Wolf raises top 50 to 21,508 rooms
There have been a few changes on a list that rarely sees them.
TECHNOLOGY: 39 Largest Combine For 8,000-Plus Jobs
The county’s largest software makers grew employment by 5.1% in the 12 months through April as several emerging companies joined the ranks of the largely mature local industry.
ECONOMY: WD, Toshiba react to external, internal factors, trim staff
Orange County is home to a vibrant sector of companies that make and market consumer electronics, the largest among them accounting for more than 4,500 jobs, even with a recent rough patch for local employment at the top.
$225M Provided, Up 31%, In 440 Loans, Up 16%
Small-business lending in Orange County continued to grow in recent months, based on this week’s Business Journal ranking.
Tight Worker Supply Brings Creative Challenge
Orange County employment agencies had solid revenue gains last year while placing essentially the same number of workers—a sign, they say, of an uptick in demand to find new workers for clients in their bread-and-butter businesses.
ECONOMY: Edwards Lifesciences fills vacuum, claims top spot
The two biggest sales of locally based public companies in Orange County’s history brought an equally historic reduction to the rest of the field. The 100 entries that make up this year’s list of the largest public companies had a combined market capitalization of $98 billion as of March 31, down 53% from a year earlier.
Year of Corporate Tweaks; Advantage Remains No. 1
Orange County’s largest advertising agencies posted an estimated 12.8% gain in revenue last year, the second consecutive year the group has surpassed the $1 billion benchmark.
30 Biggest Combine to Stay About Even at $618M
The local printing industry isn’t dead, but it’s not growing either. That’s the takeaway from a review of Orange County’s 30 largest commercial printers, which combined for $617.7 million in sales last year, about the same as in 2014.
Special Issue: list will be centerpiece of June 20 edition
The Business Journal is preparing its annual list of privately owned companies for publication in June.
Investment Sales Help Push Up Total By 16%
Increased property sales volume, particularly for larger buildings and land sites, in addition to gains in leasing activity, resulted in another strong year for Orange County’s largest commercial brokerages.
5M SF of Buildings Added Over Past Two Years
Orange County’s largest commercial property managers’ local portfolios grew modestly over the past year as they made larger gains outside the area.
Slight Declines Seen In Jobs, Billings Flat
Orange County’s largest environmental consultants faced a tough landscape last year, with no big increase in government spending—a staple of the segment—and aftershocks from the difficulties in the energy sector.
43% Increase on Gains In Home, Commercial Work
Orange County’s largest title insurers’ business picked up last year, and they’re preparing for another active year in transaction volume and potential industry consolidation.
THE LIST: 3,000 workers here, 45,000 overall
The Business Journal’s inaugural list of food and beverage suppliers based in Orange County shows an industry that notched a 5% increase to more than $16 billion in revenue last year.
ECONOMY: 80 Take in $16B- Plus, Keep Employment Flat
The largest minority-owned businesses with headquarters in Orange County combined for just a little over $16 billion in revenue last year, up 9% over 2014’s number and the same percentage increase as last year’s.
New Community Count Now Picking Up Across OC
New-home sales in Orange County took a step back last year as two of the region’s three largest master-planned developments brought no new offerings on line until late in the year.
Orange County hospital and medical group executives say this year will be a busy one for them, with new outpatient centers, technology and changes in how they deliver healthcare. The Business Journal’s Vita Reed asked several local CEOs to share their plans as the year rolls out. Edited excerpts of their responses follow.
Plans Efficiencies, New Academic Programs, More
A new leader has taken the helm of UC Irvine Health, the University of California-Irvine’s healthcare enterprise, directly overseeing its academic work and with proximity and oversight of its clinical work, something he said is unique among the five UC campuses with extensive medical operations.
Biggest Combine to Reverse Previous Year’s 21% Decrease
Net patient revenue at Orange County’s 28 largest hospitals jumped significantly over the past 12 months while the centers posted a narrow pretax loss.
List of 86 Offices Includes Nine Newcomers
Partner ranks at Orange County law firms grew more in the past year while the number of overall attorneys and firm employees were flat.
Numbers for 43 Biggest Up About 16%, Ranks Shift
Orange County banks and thrifts increased local deposits 15.8% for a total of $96.9 billion in the year ended June 30.
36 Biggest Still Employ 27,000-Plus in County
The biggest foreign-owned companies with regional headquarters or significant operations in Orange County employ more than 27,000 here, about the same as a year earlier.
Slight Increase in Current Stock, Several Newcomers in Works
Meeting space is meeting space, right?
ECONOMY: 3.4% hike to 267,243 jobs; Disney keeps No. 1 spot
Orange County’s biggest employers grew their combined work force at the fastest rate in years.
Regulations, while they remain a common key challenge for all financial institutions, aren’t the only burden on bankers’ minds. There are other concerns that may be specific to a bank or credit union, including its size, customer base, and other factors. The Business Journal’s Jane Yu asked local bank and credit union executives to discuss their current concerns other than regulations. Their responses touch upon a variety of topics, ranging from data security and competition from online lenders to finding skilled talent and catering to younger generations. Here are edited excerpts of their responses:
20 Institutions Based Here See 38% Increase to $24.2 Billion
Orange County-based commercial banks have recorded the biggest year-over-year increase in assets in more than 10 years.
25 Biggest Combine For 8% Increase to $18 Billion
The biggest local credit unions have picked up the pace of growth, notching an 8% increase in combined assets to $18 billion.
Boost Employment Bases By 4%; None Drop Jobs
The largest chipmakers in Orange County added jobs in the past year amid a wave of industry consolidation that included four companies with local operations.
Revenue Up 41%, Local Hires Double Overall Economy
Orange County’s fastest-growing public companies got faster this year.
Industry Watchers Speculate It Could Be Ripe for Consolidation Trend
Improving fortunes in the housing market and a disciplined operating plan have provided a boost to the fortunes of William Lyon Homes Inc. during its return to the public markets.
Banc of California Focuses on Service In SoCal for 176% Revenue Growth
Fast growth continues for Banc of California Inc.
Terra Tech Sales Up 754%, Largely On Cannabis Demand Surge
Terra Tech Corp.’s crops of basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and lettuce are a steady line of business, but the Newport Beach-based company’s newer line of products derived from another leafy green is the big growth driver.
Programs, Research Added to Meet Increased Demand
Orange County colleges and universities are launching and expanding programs in big data to train students to capture and analyze the reams of information that’s become available in an age when data storage capacity has ballooned.
Schools Teach Students To Turn Inspiration Into Work
Chapman University plans to open a business incubator for arts and culture-based enterprises at the end of a two-year, $200,000 grant the European Union awarded the school last month.
Specialization, Speed Enhance Schools’ Efforts
Numbers are down in the Business Journal’s annual survey of MBA programs that serve Orange County—and that’s a good thing.
Biggest Firms Combine For $570M, Up 13%
Orange County’s insurance brokers grew for the fifth straight year, notching a 13% increase in combined revenue last year.
40 Biggest Combine For $474M in Local Work
Orange County’s architecture firms combined for a 9.1% increase in local billings this year following a modest 1.6% increase in local billings last year, and are on track to return to the 13% surge they had in 2013.
Increase Total By 1.7% Following 1.5% Decrease
Orange County’s top engineering firms with headquarters or significant operations here have recovered from a 1.5% drop in billings last year, posting a 1.7% increase in local billings during the 12-month period ended June 30.
Fewer Companies, More Jobs in All 3 Categories
The number of entries on this week’s Business Journal lists of fastest-growing private companies based in Orange County is down by about 10% from a year ago.
Combined to Donate $145M, Increased OC Giving 22.8%
Private foundations based in Orange County spent more money in their own backyard last year as they trimmed their overall giving.
36 Active in OC Donate $1.2B, $21M+ of it Local
Corporate foundations active in Orange County marked their fifth year of yearly increases in total cash contributions and cash contributions to OC charities.
18 Biggest Companies Add Just Nine Employees
Employment at the county’s largest contract electronics makers was flat over the past 12 months, despite steady sales growth in the industry worldwide.
MARKETING: Biggest here add duties, combine for 12% hike in jobs
The 40 biggest public relations firms based in Orange County are doing more with more—additional services, bigger budgets, new hires.
Verizon Trims 1,000 in OC, Leads to 2nd Drop in a Row
A companywide restructuring fueled the second straight year of significant job losses among Orange County’s largest telecommunications companies.
Anaheim Stays Atop List, Irvine Grows Most at 3.2%
Orange County’s population growth kept pace and inched up by 1% last year to slightly above 3 million.
Wealthiest List Shows Diversity of OC’s Fortunes
Real estate, technology, healthcare, inheritances.
Firm Uniquely Emphasizes Office Design, Worker Space
Hyundai Capital America is often identified locally in connection with the large, transparent building next to the San Diego (405) Freeway in Irvine known as The Michelson.
Dollar Value Up 16.2% After 29%, 20% Increases
Orange County’s largest tenant-improvement contractors continued their growth trend last year but slowed in all aspects, including local revenue and number of employees.
A diversity of business sectors, ample capital held by investor groups, and demographic factors are some key drivers behind a robust mergers-and-acquisitions scene in Orange County. The fast pace of M&A activity means professional services providers, such as accountants, are in high demand to carry out sound due-diligence procedures and provide guidance. The Business Journal’s Jane Yu asked local accounting firm executives to share their thoughts on M&A activity in Orange County, as well as to discuss expectations for future trends and client concerns. Here are edited excerpts of their responses:
Employment Up 4.4%, Top Spots Unchanged
Orange County’s largest accounting firms combined to grow the sector’s local workforce by about 4% over the past year, marking the fourth straight year of modest gains.
27 Firms Eke Out 1% Gain to 1,551 Jobs Here
The pace of employment growth at Orange County’s top management consulting firms slowed over the past year, driven primarily by job cuts at the biggest.
Orange County’s biggest women-owned businesses generated $3.5 billion in revenue last year, notching a 5.6% increase and extending a streak of gains to five years.
More Than $70M in Sales To A-List Customers
Priti Sharma moved to Chicago from India at age 16 and at the time had no idea that she would one day own a multimillion-dollar company.
RESTAURANTS: $14.9B in sales and 17,923 local workers
Business is strong for Orange County-based restaurant chains, mirroring a year of eating heartily nationwide.
Biggest Based Here Surpass Broader Economy on New Hires
The biggest private companies based in Orange County have been big on building the local workforce over the past year, adding jobs at a faster pace than the county’s overall economy.
2 Million Square Feet Finished, Most Here Since 2008
Orange County’s top commercial developers nearly doubled the number of completed projects in the region in the past year while pushing their backlog of active projects to a level not reached since the last real estate boom.
Jobs, Backlogs Up Despite Few Mega Local Deals
Orange County’s largest commercial construction companies had solid growth in revenue, jobs, and work backlogs last year, despite a relatively small number of mega projects to call their own.
At least 8 Active OC Firms Chart Their Own Courses
Orange County’s private equity scene covers a wide range of industries and market segments, a reflection of the diversity in characteristics and specialties of the investment firms here.
100% Hike in Dollar Volume, 60% Increase Last Year
The biggest venture capital firms in Orange County continued to increase their investments in local companies, though the pace of growth slowed compared with a year earlier.
51 Biggest Based in OC Employed 10,000-Plus Here
The 51 largest apparel companies based in Orange County employed a local workforce of 10,148, according to this week’s Business Journal list.
Special Report: Centerpiece of July 6 edition
Is your company women-owned? The Business Journal wants to hear from you.
21 Firms Have $720M In Locally Generated Revenue
The largest staffing firms in Orange County combined for a modest increase in revenue last year, coming off a small dip in 2013.
FINANCE: Value rises 52%; number of loans up 35%
Small-business lending in Orange County rose substantially in recent months, according to this week’s Business Journal lists based on information from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Biggest Here Eke Out Modest Gain, Employ 7,991
The largest software makers in Orange County added jobs for the fourth straight year, albeit at a slower clip.
Trend Affects Company Image, Viability, Execs Say
Chief financial officers are increasingly becoming an essential part of the conversation about data security, a topic much discussed today as businesses rely more on collection and analysis of “big data” for various aspects of their operations.
THE LIST: IFE sector offsets cuts at top-ranked Boeing
Employment at Orange County’s largest aerospace and defense contractors was roughly flat for the third straight year.
Special Issue: List will be centerpiece of June 22 edition
The Business Journal is preparing its annual list of privately owned companies for publication in June.
Industry Execs Caution on Trade-Off of Privacy
The chief marketing officer of the future could look more like Star Trek’s Captain Kirk than the guys from the “Mad Men” show.
Newcomers Help Boost List’s Total, Account for 40%
Orange County’s largest advertising agencies posted an estimated 9% gain in revenue last year, enough to push the group over the $1 billion benchmark.
Use of Data to Help Clients Refine Targets One Key
The largest commercial printers based in Orange County combined for $585 million in revenue last year, a 7.5% increase from their total in 2013.
Drugmaker’s Sale Brings Much of Big Lift; Edwards, Broadcom Chip In; HCP Moves In
Orange County’s 100 biggest public companies combine for more than $207 billion in market capitalization, a gain of 62% from a year earlier.
Leasing Activity Picks Up, Sales Volumes Still Strong
A sharp increase in leasing activity, continued strength in the for-sale market, and the effects of industry consolidations propelled Orange County’s largest commercial brokerages to a banner year in 2014.
Grow on Economy, Buys, Expanding Services, Goats
The largest environmental consultants with offices in Orange County billed $602 million in 2014, an 8% jump over last year’s $556 million.
New Home, Commercial Pick Up Some of Slack
Business for Orange County’s largest title insurers plummeted last year as refinance activity significantly declined.
Value Doubled, Even Without $70B+ Sale of Drugmaker
Orange County-based companies were buyers and sellers in 303 corporate mergers and acquisitions in 2014, a year of robust local deal activity that involved slightly fewer deals and many more dollars.
THE LIST: Outpace general market with 8% boost in jobs
The largest minority-owned businesses with headquarters in Orange County combined for $14.4 billion in revenue last year, a 9% increase over 2013.
Claim Center Stage With Inviting Decor, Food, Drink
Having a glass of wine with friends is no longer the cutting-edge trend. We are now having cocktails.
Irvine Ranch, Pavilion Park, RMV Counter Nat’l Trend
Sales at Orange County’s best-selling masterplanned residential developments showed no signs of slowing last year and are poised for more growth this year, despite a cooling trend across much of the country.
Less Risk, Fast Sales Appeal to Publicly Traded Firms
Orange County’s largest masterplanned developments are driving a bulk of the recent new-home sales in the region, but plenty of builders are also finding success buying land for residential projects off the beaten path.
Healthcare is more often being delivered outside of traditional hospital walls, a trend that has been driven to some degree by the Affordable Care Act, as well as by technological improvements. Orange County hospitals are no stranger to the shift. The Business Journal’s Vita Reed talked to several hospital executives to discuss outpatient offerings and their purposes. Edited excerpts of their answers follow.
28 on List Have Second Down Year in a Row
Pretax profits dropped steeply at Orange County’s largest hospitals during the past year.
Law Requires the Hospitals To Assume Social Obligation
More than a few of Orange County’s prominent hospital operators deliver something in addition to their standard healthcare: “community benefits.”
43 Combine for $84.1 Billion, Mirroring Year-Earlier Rise
Commercial banks in Orange County continued to grow local deposits, notching another 8% increase over the year through June for a total of $84.1 billion.
Attorneys Work With UCI Program to Boost Fine Arts
Put together a few attorneys sharing a passion for the arts and a local university that fosters artistic talent, throw in some creative thinking and readiness to provide support, and you’ll get Off-Center, a collective launched by a committee of local lawyers and educators in concert with University of California-Irvine’s art department.
Headcount Up 3.2%; More Make List Due to Growth
The biggest law firms in Orange County grew their workforces in 2014, breaking a two-year streak of cuts in attorney headcount.
Much of this week’s issue is dedicated to a look back at 2014, which has proved to be a remarkable year in many respects for the community of business in Orange County (see overview, page 1; coverage by industry, pages 5 through 18).
Plenty of Business Backers for Santa Ana School’s Focus on Arts, Academics, Dual Immersion
The idea of charter schools was little-known concept in Orange County in 1999, recalls Susan Mas.
Every Category Is Higher, Including Costs, Clients
More people needed a lift last year, and local donors and charitable organizations responded with more money and more people to offer help.
NONPROFITS: Program adapts to schools’ needs
She was about 10 years old, a painfully shy girl with huge brown eyes and a mop of shiny brown hair. She had a nice smile—when it could be coaxed to appear.