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.

Tease photo

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).

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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

ECONOMY: Centerpiece of Sept. 17 Special Report

Is your company growing fast?

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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%.

New Business Journal List Highlights RIAs

Independent Wealth Managers Surging

The Business Journal is introducing a new list this week showing large or better-known registered investment advisers, also known as RIAs.

Hotel Rooms Snapshot: Hilton Still Tops, Others Move

51 Properties’ Total Stable; Tower, Refreshes Added

In the league of Business Journal lists, hotels sketch out a stable game. Room totals—the metric for this week’s list—pivot little, if at all.

Women-Owned Businesses Wanted for Annual List

List Will Be Centerpiece of July 9 Edition

Is your company women-owned? The Business Journal wants to hear from you.

Tease photo

Largest Makers Held Payrolls Steady

Early Returns on Major Moves At Big Three Coming Soon

The largest consumer electronics makers in Orange County shrank payrolls slightly compared to last year.

SBA Lenders See Big Shakeup as Growth Slows

Loans Up 13.2% By Dollar, 5% by Number

A 13.2% growth in Small Business Administration loans by dollar value would normally be a celebration in Orange County.

Apparel Companies Hemmed Their Job Lines

Losses Eased And Several Bucked Trend

Orange County’s largest apparel companies showed they aren’t immune to the ongoing headwinds facing the apparel industry as local employment in the 12 months through March fell slightly for the second year.

No Advantage, Small Gains For 2017 Ad Agency Roster

Data the Driver in ‘Media Landscape Changing Quickly’

The Business Journal’s list of Orange County’s largest advertising agencies swelled its ranks and grew revenues modestly over the past year.

Trend Sets the Trend As Local Printers Adapt

Fighting Disruption With Digital Printing, Packaging

Orange County’s largest commercial printers posted only steady results in 2016, but the 29 companies on this week’s Business Journal list picked up the pace last year.

Private Companies Wanted for Annual List

Special Issue: List will be centerpiece of June 18 edition

The Business Journal is preparing its annual list of privately owned companies for publication in June.

Tease photo


Publicly Traded Cos. See 15.4% Boost to Market Cap

Orange County’s publicly traded companies probably popped a lot of champagne bottles during the past year.

Tease photo

Having a Record Year

17% Gains in Past Year As Leasing, Sales Climb

Another active year in building, apartment and land sales, along with solid leasing activity across all product types, made for a strong year among Orange County’s largest commercial brokerages.

Tease photo

OC Food Makers, Purveyors Healthy; Tests Coming

Big Eaters, Small Plates Abound In OC, On List

If the Business Journal’s snapshot of local food and beverage suppliers reflected an average Orange Countian’s food intake, the three largest ranked companies would, by revenue, provide 75% of our diet, which would consist mainly of butter, bourbon and Big Macs.

Law Firms Boost Lawyers 2.7%; Employment Flat

Same Firms Top Annual List Of County’s Biggest

Orange County’s biggest law firms grew their attorney count by 3% while promoting partners at a slower pace and keeping employment flat, based on the Business Journal’s annual list of legal firms operating here. Last year, the attorney count was flat.

Rising Rates Take Bite Out of Title Cos.’ 2017 Work

Commercial, Homebuying Business Pick up Refi Slack

The country’s biggest title insurers are striking optimistic notes on the health of their industry, despite the expectation of additional interest rate hikes, which have already put a crimp on refinance business.

Condo Surge Lifts New-Home Sales to 15-Year High

4 Master-Planned Areas See Two-Thirds of Action

New-home sales reached a 15-year high in Orange County last year, thanks to a surge in condominium and attached-home sales and continued development at the area’s four largest master-planned communities.

A Record-Setting Year for Transformative Gifts

Big Giving Up And Unprecedented in 2017

This is the Business Journal’s first ranking of largest charitable gifts. Was an easy inspiration. The Susan and Henry Samueli gift to the University of California-Irvine, the Fowlers’ and Kecks’ to Chapman University, the Argyros’ to Segerstrom Center (and others) were front-page stories, in some cases record in scope, even on a national level.

Tease photo

Banks Increase OC Deposits 9%, Cut Jobs

FINANCE: BofA, JPMorgan outgrow top-3 rival Wells Fargo

Banks operating in Orange County are attracting more deposits with fewer employees and branches, based on the Business Journal’s annual list.

Top Care Providers Experience Exec-Level Change

UCI to Fill Two Positions; Providence Taps New Head

High performers like UC Irvine Medical Center and Providence St. Joseph Health—its local network comprised of seven hospitals—experienced changes on the executive level in the year ended Sept. 30, the former in search of a new chief executive, the latter naming a regional head to oversee Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Environmental Consultants Grow, Seek Balance

Solitary Work Connects Care, Corporate Concerns

They say there’s balance in nature.

Revenue, Hiring Flat at Minority-Owned Businesses

Activity Level Belies Slow-Growth Numbers

2017 revenue and hiring at Orange County-based minority-owned businesses showed little change from 2016, according to Business Journal research—including slight declines at companies such as No. 3, Alorica in Irvine, and No. 7, New American Funding.

Employment Agencies Repair Flat and Grow

Growing Economy and Wage Boosts Lifted 2017 Placings

2017 was a better year for the Orange County operations of employment agencies. The placement firms saw growth across nearly all metrics, from annual revenue to number of temporary and permanent workers landing jobs with clients.

Little Change in Meeting Space Last Year, Lots in Focus

Events Digs Make Splash as SF Up 2.1%

Meeting space is what the community of business is, at least for the 52 hotels on this week’s list.

Autos Lead Modest Pace of Jobs Growth

Top Foreign-Owned Cos. Still Show Some OC ‘Braun’

Orange County’s automakers helped drive a modest uptick in employment last year among the largest foreign-owned companies with major operations here.

Wanted: Best Places to Work for OCBJ’s List

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Website to take entries through March 16

Is your workplace great?

Tease photo

OC’s Nonprofits Increase Revenue 7.2%

Donors Boost Giving To Assist Homeless

The issue of rising homelessness was one of the keys to a 7.2% boost in revenue among nonprofit organizations in Orange County.

Tease photo

Local Employers Edge Up Worker Count to 289,000

List Adds Bigger Players, County Workers in 2017

Orange County’s largest employers added about 2,300 jobs over the previous 12 months for modest growth of 1%.

Streak Ends for OC Malls

Ownership, Executive, Plan Changes in Group of 35

A seven-year growth streak has ended for Orange County’s largest shopping centers.

Tease photo

OC Auto Dealers See Sales Decelerate

Karma Now Biggest OC Automaker Employer

The 39 largest auto dealers in Orange County combined for $5.16 billion in sales for the 12-month period that ended June 30, a 1.4% increase that marks the second straight year of a significant slowdown from recent years, according to this week’s Business Journal list.

OC-Based Banks’ Growth in Assets Slows Down

14% Increase Doesn’t Compare to Prior Years

Orange County-based commercial banks boosted assets a normally admirable 14% to $36 billion in the 12 months ended June 30.

Credit Unions Boom Again With 10% Asset Growth

Increase Tops 10% For First Time in Decade

Orange County’s credit unions are back to growing assets by double-digit percentages.

On the OC Fast Track

Fastest-Growing Cos. Use Buys to Bump Sales 44%

Orange County’s fastest growing publicly traded companies increased revenue by $16 billion in a two-year span.

50 Honorees, 5 Awards in 1st Civic 50 Orange County

‘Corporate Philanthropy Is in a Renaissance’

The list in this Special Report is unusual for the Business Journal in two ways. It’s a first—the first list of local-market Civic 50 honorees in the country. And it’s likely a first Business Journal list without financials. Rightly so.

Aerospace and Defense Reverse Job Slide in ‘17

M&A, Growing Business Lines Highlight Sector

Two big takeovers and a headquarters move to Orange County shook up the local landscape for the largest aerospace and defense contractors with operations here.

Total SoCal MBA Enrollees Down Slightly

Competition for Students Results in Fewer Applications

Southern California schools with MBA programs showed a slight decrease in the number of Southern California enrollees, down about 2% from a year ago, based on the Business Journal’s annual survey. The number of enrollees dropped from 12,418 in September 2016 to 12,171 last month. It was a smaller drop than that reflected on last year’s list, when there was an approximate 6% change from September 2015 to September 2016.

Insurance Brokers Average 7.8% Rise in OC Revenue

25 Firms Report Strong Growth for Fifth Year

Orange County’s largest insurance brokerages continued solid growth as local revenue climbed above 7% for the fifth straight year.

Architecture Firms Finding Work Outside of OC

Firmwide Billings Climb At Faster Pace than Local

Orange County’s architecture firms reported they’re growing their business faster outside the county.

Engineering Firms’ Local Billings Increase 6.2%

AECOM, Arcadis, Jacobs Experience Good Years

Orange County’s top engineering firms reported a 6.2% rise in OC billings to $1.6 billion.

Private Cos. Grow 2-Year Sales 90%, Top $19B

This Year’s Ranks Led by the ‘Big As’ Grew Jobs 30%

In life, in lists, it’s rough to do apples-to-apples comparisons. In culling our weekly lists of every business silo and subsilo, of firms of all ownership forms and makeups, we have several goals: to compile as comprehensive and accurate a roster as possible; to produce features on the best and the brazen; and to analyze beyond a comparison of numbers. As an editor wrote one sentence ago, “It’s very difficult to do apples-to-apples comparisons.”

Medical Device Makers Grow Employment 8.1%

HEALTHCARE: 39 biggest add over 1,500 workers in strong sector

Medical device makers with operations in Orange County added 1,560 employees over the 12 months ended July 30, for a growth rate of 8.1%, according to Business Journal research.