OCBJ WEEKLY LISTS

ABOUT THE LISTS: Click on a story headline for analysis of a featured weekly List (paid subscribers)

Brokers Report 9.4% Increase in Reps

Merrill Lynch Retains Top Spot

Rumors of the deaths of brokers may be slightly exaggerated this year, according to the Business Journal’s annual list.

Restaurants Turn Focus to Post-COVID-19 Operations

Operations Upended; Lessons Quickly Learned

Restaurants chugged along during the first couple months of 2020.

COVID-19 Forces New Solutions, Old Conversations for Apparel

Pandemic Accelerates Push for Change

Apparel companies were perhaps barely getting a handle on the marketplace’s more recent shifts. Then came COVID-19.

Temp Agencies See Growth Stalled

Place 11% Fewer Workers in 2019

Orange County’s largest employment agencies reported no growth in 2019, reflecting an industry that has stalled in the past three years, and is set for an uncertain future as unemployment rates ratchet up.

Top SBA Lenders Boost Production 77%

Irvine’s CDC Wins Title for 2nd Year

The Business Journal’s annual list of lenders in the Small Business Administration program isn’t so much the calm before the storm as it is the storm before the tornado before the hurricane.

CRE Brokers See More Gains, Brace for Fallout

$32B in Local Deals Over Past Year, Up 3%

The coronavirus and its economic implications could serve as the catalyst to bring about a reset to the real estate market, which has been on a bullish tear over the past decade.

Development Boosts Property Managers Portfolios 4%

8 Consecutive Years of Gains; Firms Now Trimming Expenses

Orange County property managers have been wearing different hats of late.

Ad Agencies Mobilize Amid Pandemic, Hope to Maintain Growth

16% Gain for 23 Firms on List

Orange County’s largest advertising agencies were on the up last year, but the disruption to business across industries from the coronavirus pandemic has firms in wait-and-see mode.

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Some Sectors Sparkle for Environmental Consultants

New Projects, Regs, Boost Some; Locals Flat Overall

Environmental consulting firms locally were flat to minimally higher on OC billings and workers for the year ended Dec. 31, with some companies reporting robust work levels because of new regulations or projects—or both.

Law Firms Flat Overall, Volatile One-By-One

Firms Hold, Fold; 91 Bigs Have Some 2,800 OC JDs

The Business Journal’s list of Orange County’s largest law firms is like the first moments after a trial ends: there are winners and there are … opposing counsel.

China, Coronavirus Worries for Biggest Chipmakers

Local Employment Down Nearly 6%

Orange County chipmakers, whose local employee count fell about 6% last year, are bracing for additional fallout from the coronavirus that originated in China and continues to spread across the world.

Bank of America Gains $1B in OC Deposits

Deposits Up, Headcount Down, Branches Move

Bank of America Corp. claimed the top spot on the Business Journal’s annual list of 41 banks operating here; its deposits climbed 5.6% to $24.1 billion as of mid-2019.

Venture Capitalists Investing in Food, Data, Security

13 Groups: $2.1B in Funds, $81M of Local Buying

For venture capital based in OC there’s an 800-pound gorilla and everyone else.

Hospitals: Some Changes in Revenue, Fewer in Ranks

31 Facilities; $9.1 Billion; A Few Double-Digit Swings

To say hospitals are stable is a good thing, especially for people spending time there.

$227M Total, 61 Gifts; OC Steps Up

Total, Average, Donor Count, No. 1: All Rise

Some say “Give Till It Helps,” while others use the old school cry “Give Till It Hurts.”

Home Sales Down as Builders Eye Affordability

Only 8 Builders See Year-Over-Year Gains

A nationwide push for more affordable housing and gaps between phases of development at the area’s largest master-planned communities contributed to a sizeable drop in home sales last year locally.

Meeting Space Totals to Rise 6%

2 Luxe Hotels On Way in Anaheim

Hotel developers in Orange County are committing heavily to groups and convention-goers.

OC’s Largest Nonprofits Grow Revenue Nearly 6%

Generates $1.7B in Revenue; Expenditures of $1.4B

Orange County’s largest nonprofits reported their combined revenue increased 5.6% to $1.7 billion for the 12 months ended June, according to the Business Journal’s annual list.

Employment Surges 3% Among Top Employers

ECONOMY: Disney, UCI, healthcare lead the pack

Orange County’s biggest companies remain on a recruiting push.

OC Retail Buoyed By New in Fashion, Food

Sales of $8.8 Billion Represent 4.5% Gain

Pop ups, first-to-market concepts, beauty and food have helped fuel growth for Orange County’s largest shopping centers, setting the group up nicely as they enter the key holiday selling season.

Pacific Premier Becomes King of OC-Based Banks

Acquisition Helps Pass Banc of California

A new leader tops the Business Journal’s annual ranking of the biggest banks with headquarters in Orange County.

Credit Unions Growth Accelerating Again

Boost OC Memberships 7.5% to 797,620

Orange County’s credit unions saw their asset growth increase again, according to the Business Journal’s annual ranking.

Public Companies’ Fastest Growers Soar 33%

MARKETS: 34 firms report $27B in sales

Orange County has again demonstrated the ability to spur fast-growing publicly traded companies.

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OC Auto Dealers Down Modestly, Carmaker Jobs Up

Mitsubishi Departs OC; Rivian Ramps Up

Sales took a dip among Orange County auto dealers amid an industry landscape that continues to evolve locally.

Aerospace, Defense Firms Boost Employment

Luckey’s Anduril Grows; Top 31 See 4% Push

Aerospace and defense contractors in Orange County pushed up their employment numbers, proving once again in the words of one local flight pioneer, Tustin’s Abe Karem, that “the best place to do aircraft is Southern California.”

MBAs Reflect National Trends: Fresh Choices Rule

Brandman Enrollment Up, Nabs Corporate Partners

Traditional MBAs are in decline across the country.

Community Colleges: Enrollment Mixed, More Grads

Institutions Get Grants, Join With Groups on New Work

Local community colleges saw full- and part-time enrollment drop this year, by 0.6% and 3.5% respectively, for an overall decline of 2.6%.

Local Insurance Brokers Report 12% Increase in Sales

Epic, Marsh Risk, Burnham Lead Growth

Orange County’s largest insurance brokers as a group saw their revenue grow 12% last year, up from a 6.3% jump in 2017. The 23 biggest brokers with headquarters or significant operations here combined for more than $782 million worth of policies.

Edwards Lifesciences Leads Device Maker List

22% of Workers at 26 Cos. Employed by Edwards

It’s a shorter list this year. Don’t tell Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Orange County’s largest public company (NYSE: EW) by market cap—at $45 billion last week—is also its biggest medical device maker by a wide margin.

OC Drugmakers: Short List, Big Dollars, New Ideas

Local Employment 19% Up to More Than 2,800

To be shortlisted is a good thing. So, too, with Orange County drugmakers. This year’s edition of the annual list ranks 10 companies by employee count topped by Allergan PLC in Irvine, with more than 1,300 workers and some seven decades of work in the county.

Fast Grower Lists Show 48% Sales Rise

No Industry Dominates; Irvine Attracts Most

From electric bikes to dental technologies to customized sandwiches, Orange County’s eclectic mix of private companies continue to thrive.

New No. 1 Among Local Architects in Strong Year

17 Firms See Double Digit Growth; List Tops 8% Up

A strong year for architecture firms may or may not presage more development and construction in the not-too-distant future, but it definitely altered the upper echelons of the Business Journal’s list of top local shops ranked according to OC office billings for 12 months ended June 30.

Two Public Engineering Firms: Triple-Digit Growth

Big Firms Hit High Notes; Salas O’Brien Up 311%

Engineering firms with operations in OC posted 13% growth to $1.2 billion in local annual billings—and only about a third of that expansion came from the perennial big three.

Look North for OC’s Fastest-Growing City

ECONOMY: 22 cities see population drop

Orange County’s new hot spot is Brea, when looking at population growth in the Business Journal’s annual ranking of cities by population.

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PacLife New No. 1 for Local Corporate Giving

Also Up: Edwards, Angels, Broadcom, Sunwest

Newport Beach-based Pacific Life Foundation, affiliated with the largest private company headquartered in OC, Pacific Life Insurance Co. with $10.7 billion in annual revenue, is the biggest cash giver locally, at $4.7 million.

Telecoms, Wireless Employment in OC Down Slightly

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA Retain Top 3 Spots

Employment at the top telecommunications and wireless companies in Orange County dipped to about 7,100 workers, a 2.8% decline from year-ago levels.

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TI Contractors Up 11% to $1.3B

Tenant-improvement contractors’ sales last year grew 11% in Orange County to $1.3 billion in billings on 26 million square feet of work, according to Business Journal research.

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SeneGence Tops Women-Owned List

Beauty products distributor SeneGence International in Foothill Ranch topped the Business Journal’s ranking of women-owned businesses with more than $1 billion in companywide revenue last year.

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From Big to Bigger: Private Cos. Grow 7.3%

ECONOMY: $102B of sales for largest operators

The large are getting larger—sometimes much larger—in this year’s snapshot of the biggest private companies in Orange County.

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Commercial Development Activity Ticks Up

4.2M SF in Past Year; Retail Still a Question

Office projects continued to drive commercial development in Orange County last year, and not just in the county’s largest office market.

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Construction Firms Report 6% Jump

Steady Growth Expected to Continue

Revenues for Orange County’s largest commercial construction companies reached a new post-recession high last year.

Broker-Dealers Down Slightly Amid Changes

Merrill Lynch Climbs To No. 1; Wells Fargo Slips

Orange County’s largest broker-dealers trimmed their staffs slightly over the past year amid uncertainties in the financial outlook and changes in the industry.

RIAs Find Their Models Paying Off

Wealth Managers Report Boom; Duran Sells to Goldman Sachs

It turns out being a money manager can be a profitable investment itself.

VC Firms Boost OC Investment 5% After 2017 Drop

14 Firms, 65 Deals, $54.5 Million Invested

Venture capital firms based in Orange County boosted 2018 local investments, led by Adventus Ventures and CerraCap Ventures.

County Hotels: 79% Full; 3,000 Rooms on Way

Starting Rates Still Strong; Coast, Disney-Area Luxe

The more things stay the same, the more they change.

Job Declines Continue for Apparel Companies

Staffing Down Nearly 50% Since 2000

Local employment was down for the third consecutive year among Orange County’s largest apparel companies.

Employment Flat for Consumer Electronics Makers

WD Cuts in Irvine, While ViewSonic Doubles Size

Last year, Orange County’s consumer electronics sector was marked by mergers and acquisitions, relocations and other major corporate developments.

OC’s Chipmakers Grow Amid Buys, New Uses

Marvell, Microchip, And Skyworks See Big Gains

The largest chipmakers in Orange County boosted local employment significantly in the past 12 months, buoyed by big takeovers amid ongoing global consolidation.

SBA Lending Dollars Grow 34%; Rankings Expand

Average Loan Lower; 29 Lenders Join Listings

The Business Journal’s lists of Small Business Administration lenders are in upheaval this year. Not one of the 38 on our dollar value list retained its spot from a year ago. Fourteen reported growth topping 100% and 22 new lenders joined the list (see page 25).

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Employment Agency Revenue Flat; Direct Hires Up

LABOR: 30 Firms Boost Corporate Workers, Too

Orange County’s largest employment agencies hit a speedbump on this week’s Business Journal list.

Ad Agencies See $2.6B, 7% Uptick in Business

52 Companies Employ 3,700 OC Workers

There was some reshuffling to this year’s rankings of Orange County’s largest advertising agencies as some firms reported double-digit growth while others reported a double-digit decline.

OC’s Public Cos. Jump 22% in Year

Edwards, Chipotle Lead Increase

Orange County’s publicly traded companies reported a combined 22% gain in their market capitalizations for the 12 months ended March 29, aided by a first quarter rebound and huge gains by the area’s two most valuable public firms.

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Commercial Brokers See Slow, Steady Growth

Sales, Leases Up 5% Year-Over-Year

Orange County commercial sales and leasing activity grew in 2018 for the ninth year in a row, albeit at a slower clip than the prior year.

OC Portfolios Rise on Development Push

Tenants Set The Standard at Offices

Local commercial property managers grew their Orange County portfolios, surpassing 200 million square feet for the second consecutive year.

Commercial Printers Don’t Stop the Presses

Work Increased 1.6%, Jobs Up 4.4%

Orange County’s largest commercial printers on this week’s Business Journal list were able to eke out modest gains in local work last year.

Environmental Firms See 5% Jump in Local Billings

New Sites, Now Litigation Free, Drive Demand

The largest environmental consultants in Orange County saw their third consecutive year of billings increases, buoyed by government and commercial work, as well as the end of litigation pertaining to a number of long-delayed sites in the area.

Attorney Totals Largely the Same Despite Changes

Count Up Less Than 1%; Double-Digit Firm Shifts

First thing we do is count all the lawyers. This week’s Business Journal list of the top law firms in Orange County ranked by number of attorneys here show about 2,700 spread across 88 firms, from No. 1 Knobbe Martens with more than 150 to the four firms tied at No. 85, which have 10 apiece, the cutoff for being ranked this year.

Homebuying Slump Adds to Title Insurers Woes

Transactions Down 20% Amid Rising Rates

Title insurers continued to see a decline in business last year, a trend they hope will stabilize in 2019 and end two years of consecutive losses.

Soup to Nuts, But No Jell-O: A Feast for OC Foodies

County Fills Shopping Cart Just Fine From Food Suppliers List

Charting foodmakers in Orange County is like nailing Jell-O to the wall—given that the powdered gelatin, an early patent of which predates the 1889 formal founding of OC by 44 years, is possibly the only edible substance someone isn’t making locally.

Bank of America Overtakes Wells Fargo As OC’s Biggest

Banks Deposits Grow Just 2.1%

Bank of America Corp. is back, taking the top ranking for the first time in seven years on the Business Journal’s list of the 40 biggest banks doing business in Orange County.

Outpatients Push Healthy 7% Hospital Revenue Hike

UCI, Kaiser, Hoag: $3B, 37% of List’s Net Revenue

Orange County hospitals grew net patient revenue 7% year-over-year to $8.5 billion, largely due to the continuing move toward more outpatient visits.

2018 Giving Totals Rise, Excluding Big Outliers

Tough to Top Samuelis’ Transformative $200M

It’s hard to beat $200 million from a tech billionaire to develop and fund an entire health sciences college at a major research university and a $120 million campaign led by the Muscos and with giving from multiple donors to save a church and monastery with historical roots dating to the 12th century—two record-breaking donations announced in 2017.

Builders Top 5,000 Sales Again; Prices Near $1M

Close to $5 billion was spent on new Orange County homes in 2018—builders’ second-best sales year in the last 15.

Meetups: Hotels Hike Indoor-Outdoor Counts

Beach Resorts Big Gainers on List’s New Approach

In a list that rarely sees changes, the New Year brings a new look to the Business Journal’s ranking of OC hotels by total meeting space.

Foreign Firms’ Employment Flat, With Exceptions

Foreign Firms’ Employment Flat, With Exceptions

The biggest foreign-owned firms in Orange County by employment saw little change in their combined workforce in 2018, but specific companies and industries made notable moves and what the list doesn’t reflect, at least not yet, could be even more influential on the group.

Nonprofits Grow Their Ranks, Add Revenue

$1.7 Billion for OC’s 95 Largest Organizations

Nonprofit organizations in Orange County hit double digit growth on this year’s Business Journal list, reporting $1.7 billion in revenue for the 12 months ended June 30, up 11% year-over-year.

OC’s Biggest Bosses Increase Employment 1.4%

More Local Companies Add Rather Than Subtract

Disneyland, despite all its well-publicized labor problems, once again retained the title of Orange County’s largest employer with 30,000 workers, based on the Business Journal’s annual list of biggest employers.

Local Auto Dealers Continue Sales Increase Streak

OC-Based Automakers, Meanwhile, Up Workforce

Orange County’s largest auto dealers reported their seventh straight year of increased sales.

Top Retailers Turn Tide on Online Competition, Up Sales

$8.6 Billion at Top 37 Shopping Centers in OC

Redevelopment and reinvention appears to be paying off for Orange County’s largest shopping centers.

OC Banks’ Asset Growth Slows

Report 10% Climb, 28% Jump in Profits

Orange County-based commercial banks’ asset growth slowed to 10% to $37.8 billion for the 12 months ended June 30.

Firms’ Expansion Slackens

Rate of Asset, Member, Worker Growth Slows

Orange County’s credit unions reported slowing growth in assets, members and employment, based on the Business Journal’s annual list.

Life in the Fast Lane

IPOs, Relocations, New Markets Add to Ranks

It’s getting a bit harder to be one of Orange County’s fastest-growing public companies. But for those who make the cutoff, the payoff remains sweet.

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Aerospace, Defense Firms Add Few OC Employees

Seeing Pickup as Pentagon Expands Military Budget

Local employment at Orange County’s largest aerospace and defense contractors was flat in the past year in a wave of industry consolidation and increased spending on national defense.

50 Honorees, 8 Awards on 2nd Civic 50 OC

Giving Works in Many Ways—Witness These

Young Carson Kropfl recently spoke at my Chapman University journalism class. You may know Carson; when the San Clemente resident was 11, he created and later patented a nonfolding skateboard that fits into a school locker and snugly into a backpack—a good enough market and message that Richard Branson had to outbid Mark Cuban on “Shark Tank” to buy 20% of Carson’s company, Locker Board.

Local MBA Enrollment Reflects US Decline

6.5% Drop Steeper As Intl. Schools Take Share

Enrollment in area schools MBA programs fell in the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

First Community Colleges List Shows Flat Enrollment

About 230K Students At Schools on Directory

This year marks the debut of the Business Journal’s list of OC community colleges, which features enrollment in the 12 months ending on Sept. 30.

Local Insurance Brokers Continue Growth Apace

Producers’ Progress Slows In 6-Year Streak of Gains

The largest insurance brokerages in Orange County continued their way up last year, local revenue rising 6.3% to $745.4 million—the sixth straight year of steady growth. However, it’s the first time since 2012 that revenue growth dipped below 7%, as post-recession growth plateaued.

Architects Ride Strong Economy to New Heights

OC Billings Top $500M for First Time

It’s been a good year for architecture firms in Orange County, who have benefited from increased work as corporate clients look to reimagine their workspaces, as well as a continuing boom in residential development in the county.

Engineering Firms Extend Strong Local Showing

OC Billings Up 10% For Areas Top 38 Firms

Orange County’s top 38 engineering firms reported another year of growth with a nearly 10% increase in OC billings to $1.2 billion.

Some Popped the Gate, Some Just Kept Growing

Others Reinvented Themselves in the Roundup of Fastest-Growing Private Cos.

The Business Journal’s 2016 and 2017 lists of fastest-growing privately held firms sported a statistical anomaly.

Medical Device Makers’ Employment Rises 4.5%

Top Four Increase Headcount Above Average

Medical device makers with operations in Orange County added over 900 employees in the year ended July 31, up 4.5% year-over-year, according to Business Journal research. The top four reported above-average growth, fourth-ranked Microvention Inc. in Aliso Viejo up 29%, the biggest move.

OC’s No. 1 Drugmaker, Allergan, Keeps Downsizing

Dendreon Plans to Grow; Peregrine Drops Off List

Compared to robust activity in the medical device sector, the eight biggest drugmakers with headquarters or significant operations in Orange County reported lackluster local employment of 2,153 in the year ended July 31, down nearly 20%.

Corporate, Private Foundations Sharpen Focus

Updated Rankings Focus On Local Contributions

This year’s Business Journal list of corporate and private foundations lost a few names after we narrowed rankings to firms most connected to Orange County charities, as opposed to earlier lists based on both local and total contributions.

Coworking Explodes in OC

Base Tops 1.2M SF, 67 Locations

Entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups have a million reasons to smile about Orange County’s rapidly growing base of coworking locations and their wide array of customer amenities.

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Communications is the Answer to 4% Job Gains

Telecoms, Wireless Cos. Extend Job-Growth Hat Trick

The largest telecommunications companies and related wireless equipment makers grew employment at a modest clip in the year ended July 31.

PR Agencies’ Staffing Up 8% as They Help With Tech

Clients Tap Them For Targeted Ad Campaigns

Orange County’s biggest public relations firms added more desks in the 12 months ended July 31.

HMO Members Up 4% in OC; PPO Numbers Flat

Providers Turn to Tech to Control Costs

To HMO or PPO, that’s the question. Orange County’s top health maintenance organizations experienced growth in the former and decline in the latter during the 12 months through July.

Delta Dental Sees Steep Decline in OC Membership

Low-Cost Plan Not A Hit with Dentists

Net dental enrollment in dental HMO and PPO plans decreased more than 25% to about 2 million members in year through July.

In Our Annual List of OC’s Wealthiest …

Our 18th annual special report on the wealthiest in Orange County again has the same man at the top – Donald Bren – but it also showcases new members, a higher starting point and surprising stories.

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Fastest-Growing Private Companies Wanted for Business Journal’s Annual List

ECONOMY: Centerpiece of Sept. 17 Special Report

Is your company growing fast?

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Tenant Contractors’ Growth Slowest Since 2009

Executives Say It’s a Blip, As Work Still Booming

Firms in Orange County’s tenant contractor industry reported slowing revenue growth last year, the lowest rate since 2009.

Biggest Women-Owned Cos. Stretch Growth Streak

2017 Sales Up Almost 6%, Though Club Lost Members

2017 was another good year to be one of Orange County’s largest women-owned businesses.

Biggest Accounting Firms Step Up Hiring By 3.3%

Local Industry Climbs For Seventh Straight Year

Orange County’s largest accounting firms accelerated hiring in the year ended May 31, pushing it up 3.3%, more than the 2.1% reported a year earlier, based on the Business Journal’s annual list.

Management Consultant Employment Up 1.7%

Getting Demand in Banks, Healthcare, Construction

Orange County management consulting firms ranked on the Business Journal’s annual list reported a 1.7% increase in staff consultants to 1,959 in the year ended May 31.

Active Year for Restaurants, Even Before Chipotle

$4.5B Chain to Debut At No. 2—Next Year

Boy, will this list be different next year.

22 Private Cos. Have Double-Digit Growth

110 Firms Combine For $100B in Annual Revenue

Strong sectors of the economy, acquisitions, and emerging markets and technology drove double-digit revenue increases at several Orange County private companies—including three top-ranked businesses, where revenue totals make bigger bumps harder to come by.

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Irvine Office Projects Dominate OC Development

4M SF of New Ones Opened Here in Past Year

Orange County’s commercial development community was buoyed over the year ended April 30 by a surge of office openings, primarily in Irvine, the country’s biggest office market.

Construction Firms Report Solid Gains; 10-Year High

$9.1B in Commercial Work By Local Offices

Orange County’s largest commercial construction companies defied some worrisome regional trends to post their best revenue year in a decade.

Broker-Dealers Grow Representatives Staff 2.6%

Firms Adapt to Trends, Including Robo Rivals

While the talk on Wall Street is about a decline in the number of stockbrokers, Orange County’s largest broker-dealers are coping.

VC Firms Reduce OC Investments 22% to $65.1M

Execs Say They’re Still Bullish on Local Startups

Venture capital firms based in Orange County decreased their local investments last year by about 22%.

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