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OCBJ INSIDER

“I’m usually known as Autumn Strier’s husband,” quipped Keith Strier, speaking to our Peter J. Brennan last week.

Autumn Strier is the co-founder and CEO of the Irvine-based nonprofit, Miracles for Kids, which provides financial aid, housing, and counseling to families with critically ill children. A frequent sight in our paper, she penned a back-page Leader Board for us last November, discussing how businesses can enact Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

Keith Strier, who lives in South Orange County with Autumn, their three children and four dogs, is no slouch himself—despite getting less local press. He’s the vice president of worldwide AI initiatives for computer graphics giant Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA), which had a nearly $540 billion market cap as of late last week.

See Brennan’s front-page story about Nvidia donating a supercomputer to Chapman University to advance local AI and educational opportunities.

The Nvidia exec’s getting more press of late. Last week, Strier was one of 27 appointments to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee, a new Department of Commerce group that will advise President Joe Biden on a range of AI-related issues.

“Perhaps there are ways I can leverage this over time to bring more attention to OC and our growing economy,” he says.

Aluminum Moves, Part 1: Department of Justice officials tell the Business Journal that a civil asset forfeiture case against the Chinese owners of a prominent Irvine warehouse at the corner of Main Street and Von Karman Avenue remains on hold, until related and ongoing criminal cases tied to an international aluminum caper are wrapped up.

Last week, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner ordered the Chinese owners of the Irvine building and other large Southern California industrial properties to pay $1.83 billion in restitution “for participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States” via a scheme in which “huge amounts” of aluminum were exported to the U.S. as pallets to avoid paying tariffs, and subsequently melted down for other uses.

The case has been ongoing for years, and the Business Journal in 2016 was first to report on the involvement of the property at 2323 Main St., after a line of trucks began queuing up at the site to unload shipments of aluminum pallets.

The owners of the airport-area property, which operate under the Von Karman – Main Street LLC name, bought the 261,000-square-foot building in 2009 for an undisclosed price. It’s likely worth more than $70 million now, given prices for area industrial sites.

Aluminum Moves, Part 2: $1.6B-valued Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (Nasdaq: KALU), long one of the most valuable public companies based in Foothill Ranch, in recent weeks moved its headquarters designation to Franklin, Tenn., regulatory filings indicate.

It’s one of several OC firms to have moved their headquarters to the Nashville area of late; others include Mitsubishi Motors North America and cold-chain logistics firm Cryoport Inc. (Nasdaq: CYRX).

Kaiser’s move had been in the works since mid-2021. The producer of semi-fabricated specialty aluminum products employed 70 locally as of December, according to its latest annual report.

See next week’s print edition for our latest list of OC’s largest public companies.

Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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