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OCBJ INSIDER

Galas & Gatherings

Orange County Museum of Art CEO Heidi Zuckerman told the Business Journal at the end of September that OCMA had raised about $74M of the $94M cost for its new home in Costa Mesa, which opened to the public on Oct. 8.

You can add more to that fundraising total, following its Oct. 1 Art Sense Opening Gala. The “Utopian black-tie” event drew a crowd of about 400 business execs, arts patrons, artists, and other community leaders, and netted over $2.1M for the museum and its operations in its inaugural season.

The sum raised is double the achievement of any previous OCMA fundraising event.

The gala was chaired by Jennifer Segerstrom and co-chaired by Lisa Merage.

Ultra Premier table hosts included Marta and Raj Bhathal, Lily and Paul Merage, Lisa and Richard Merage, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, South Coast Plaza, Keiko Sakamoto and Bill Witte, and Lugano Diamonds, and several others.

Premier table hosts included Alexandra and Alan Airth, Jennifer and Joe Duran, Susan Etchandy, Bob Olson, and Connie and Peter Spenuzza, among others.

The gala honored artist Sanford Biggers, whose 16-foot-tall outdoor sculpture, Of many waters…, serves as one of the inaugural exhibitions at OCMA and can be seen on its rooftop deck, where the evening’s dinner was held.

Irvine hotel developer Mayer Corp. built one of the better places to watch the Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach, the Waterfront Beach Resort along PCH, so no wonder Chairman and COO RJ Mayer found a choice spot on the ninth-floor Offshore 9 rooftop lounge of the hotel to view festivities on the last day of the airshow event on Oct. 2.

Also in attendance at the Whittier Trust-hosted event was another local hotel exec, Don Sodero, as well as Ted Shown, president of Irvine-based freight forwarder Aeronet Worldwide; Tony Smith, CEO of Irvine software firm Restaurant 365; and Chapman University President Emeritus Jim Doti, a Whittier board member.

For more on the Pacific Airshow, see Emily Santiago-Molina’s page 4 story.

The founders of business accelerator Octane, now in its 20th year, remain active in the world of innovation.

Mike Mussallem continues to helm medtech giant Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW), OC’s largest public company by market cap. Another Octane founder, former Conexant Systems head Dwight Decker, is back in OC and again involved in the semiconductor industry.

Ophthalmology leader Jim Mazzo counts board and exec ties to three (AcuFocus, LensGen, and Visus Therapeutics) of the six firms that were up for the Outstanding Innovation in Medical Technology/Life Sciences award at Octane’s Sept. 29 High Tech Awards.
For more on Octane’s first in-house product announcement, see page 10. Keep an eye on the Business Journal later this month for more on the group’s link up with the city of Irvine for an innovation-driven partnership.

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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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