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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022


Entrepreneurial Itch

Emile Haddad turns 64 this month. Based on comments at the Business Journal’s latest Excellence in Entrepreneur Awards event, the founder and chairman emeritus of FivePoint Holdings LLC clearly isn’t ready to move into retirement mode, despite handing over the CEO role at the Irvine-based land developer last year.

The world has more duplicators than innovators, Haddad, the keynote speaker at the May 26 event, told attendees. To stay ahead of the pack, he said entrepreneurs tend to frequently jump to new opportunities.

That idea is clear from Haddad’s bio, which includes starting a weatherproofing company in Beirut while in his 20s, to moving from the war-torn country to the U.S. and taking on a variety of opportunities—tenant improvement work, general construction and ultimately homebuilding, before leaving a stable CIO position at Lennar during the Great Recession to start Five Point.

A 2017 IPO for FivePoint (NYSE: FPH) and an induction into the Ellis Island Medals of Honor that year would serve as career cappers for some. Haddad said the entrepreneurial buzz eventually caught up with his again, which resulted in him leaving his CEO role at the developer last year. He told the crowd he wasn’t pushed out, and he didn’t leave for health reasons, contrary to some speculation.

Never let a job title, or prestige, get in the way of doing what you want, Haddad told the EIE crowd.

As for what is next, “I want to be an entrepreneur,” he said.

For more on the event and the five latest winners of our Excellence in Entrepreneur Awards, see stories throughout this edition.

The five EIE winners featured in this edition were selected from nearly 100 nominees. Based on recent reports, many of those fellow nominees are well on their way to bolstering their case for awards next go-around.

Among notable news, famed sports agent Leigh Steinberg, whose Steinberg Sports & Entertainment is heavy with football clients, is getting into baseball.

The Newport Beach firm announced last month that they are forming a partnership with Riverside’s Reynolds Sports Management to create a new division, dubbed Equity Baseball.

It will be the baseball division of Steinberg Sports and led by Chairman Larry Reynolds, who was the founder and president of Reynolds Sports Management. Reports say the new group should have over 100 clients.

Another EIE nominee, Dan Rodrigues, co-founder and CEO of Irvine cloud-based clinical and practice management software company Tebra (previously known as Kareo), last month was named in The Healthcare Technology Report’s list of Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs of 2022.

That report is heavy on OC executives. Others include Edwards Lifesciences CEO Mike Mussallem (featured in last week’s Business Journal); Crossover Health founder and CEO Scott Shreeve (a 2021 EIE award winner); and Ben Bergo, co-founder and CEO Visus Therapeutics, which has offices in Seattle and Irvine.

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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