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Monday, Aug 15, 2022


Dear Readers,

The Business Journal is rethinking how we can better listen to, learn from, serve, and represent all our readers and area businesses, in light of the national Black Lives Matter protests.

One area we can improve on: supporting local African American-owned businesses.

We’re honored to partner with the OC Black Chamber and OC Business Council on ways to strengthen our community. See page 13 to see how these groups are working to further the discussion.


Good luck finding a real estate deal that didn’t turn out to be a good investment for Donald Bren.

Other matters? There’s at least one long-ago art deal the Irvine Co. chairman might regret come July 10, when a live auction at Christie’s featuring Wayne Thiebaud’s “Four Pinball Machines” takes place.

Thiebaud, a postwar-era painter now 99 years old, is “known for his sumptuous depictions of cakes, ice cream cones, lollipops and other ordinary objects,” reports note.

A price of up to $25 million is expected for Thiebaud’s 1962 piece of work, which has been out of the public eye for some 20 years.

Bren reportedly paid $143,000 for it in 1981; it would later be showcased at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Newport Harbor Museum of Art (now the OC Museum of Art, and in Costa Mesa).

Bren sold “Four Pinball Machines” in 1982 to San Francisco investment manager Ken Siebel and his wife, Judy, according to Bloomberg. A price wasn’t disclosed for that sale, but “it’s certainly one of [my] very best investments,” said Siebel, who is the father-in-law of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

For Edwards Lifesciences, the Monday blues might not be such a bad thing. OC’s largest public company recently unveiled a color system so that some employees can work on-site in Irvine.

“While some employees will continue to work remotely, others are allowed to come on-site while adhering to a special color-coded system that ensures physical distancing and safety measures,” company officials told our Alexa Corbett. The company still has much of its local base working from home, it said.

The company’s new color-coded system correlates to days of the week and specific “work zones” at its expansive and expanding campus off Red Hill Avenue.

For example, the blue group may work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of one week, then Tuesday and Thursday of the subsequent week. A green group of employees might have an inverse schedule to the blue group.

Employees are also coming back to physically distant workspaces and are screened upon entry with a temperature check, the company says.

A recent real estate acquisition push for Edwards isn’t a result of a need to find more space for distancing measures, officials said. Deals near the company’s HQ were planned prior to the pandemic; see page 11 for more.

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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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