Mediha DiMartino

Staff Reporter

Mediha DiMartino covers media, marketing, auto dealers, government, nonprofits and education. She can be reached at dimartino@ocbj.com.

Email: dimartino@ocbj.com
Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 224

Recent Stories

Because It’s There, And Because It’s Fun

Climbing Bug Attracts OC’s Elite

Daniele Struppa walked into Jim Doti’s office in 2006, and saw a photo of him standing atop a mountain peak, next to a makeshift cross fashioned out of spare poles, climbing gear and tape.

He Rolls Differently

Entrepreneur’s ‘Shark Wheel’ Aims to Spin Circles Around Competition

Commuting is a hassle for most people. For David Patrick, gridlock provided his biggest aha moment.

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Kaiser Buys in NJ

Kaiser Aluminum Corp. in Foothill Ranch bought Columbia, N.J.-based 3D metal printer Imperial Machine & Tool Co. on undisclosed terms.

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Rand’s Klein Shrugs Off the Unexpected

TECHNOLOGY: distributor is ‘predictor of marketplace’

Rand Technology Inc., an Irvine-based company that has no recurring revenue, notched a 160% two-year growth rate for the period ended June 30. Founder and Chief Executive Andrea Klein, who views the lack of predictability as a challenge rather than a problem, has figured out a way to bring more stability to Rand’s bottom line and boost its revenue amid fears of looming trade war.

TCA’s New Payment Method: Simple and Sticky

MARKETING: Adds frequency discounts, interstate portability

For those of us who never dedicated windshield space to the toll roads transponder and are still chasing the 4-inch plastic box all over the dashboard—relief is on the way.

Irvine Co. Debuts Big Bet on Spectrum Center

RETAIL: Local, lifestyle are themes of $200M redo

More than a dozen new stores and eateries sprouted in the north section of the Irvine Shopping Center that not too long ago housed Macy’s department store. New tenants are national and local favorites—Sephora, 85°C Bakery Cafe, Stance, Afters Ice Cream—that complement the rest of the 150 shops at the outdoor center.

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How Richard Sudek is Growing The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

INNOVATION: Came to UCI in 2014 and ‘moved very quickly’

Firms with connections to the University of California-Irvine have raised more than $18.9 billion over the past 10 years, according to Richard Sudek, an angel investor and executive director of the school’s Applied Innovation center.

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Ex-Boeing Staffer Engineers Sweet Enterprise

Dirty Cookie Scales Milk Shots Famed Chef Created

Shahira Marei jumped from managing projects at Boeing to serving cookie-enveloped milk shots. The career switch was rather drastic, but it was her ties to the aerospace giant that made her Dirty Cookie business a possibility.

They Caught a Fish…or They Didn’t: It Was That Good

OC Execs Share Their Fish Stories and Passion

Most anglers consider fishing an escape, an antidote to our plugged-in lifestyles. For several Orange County executives, it’s also a great way to entertain clients—the sport provides ample opportunity for uninterrupted conversation and reeling in the catch can be a team effort.

How Ethika Stayed Hip And Got Underwear Sales to Hop

Matt Cook Brought Business Chops to Small Apparel Company; Brand Influencers Were Already There

There are a lot of easier ways to make money than starting an apparel brand, according to Ethika Inc. Chief Executive Matt Cook, who joined the underwear manufacturer in 2012, little more than a decade after its founding.

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Local Businesspeople Skydive to Decompress

Divers Hone Skills, Make Pals Like POTUS

Most executives associate the term parachute with a golden one they can count on if they part ways with the company they’re running.

Action-Sports Brand to Broadcast Events on Facebook

MEDIA: Two web series are also in works

Nitro Circus has pulled yet another stunt. The actions-sports entertainment company signed a deal with Facebook to broadcast 28 events on the social media giant’s Facebook Watch video app.

Ad Firm INK Bets On Its Own Creativity

MARKETING: Starts with businesses it knows best

A Laguna Beach-based ad agency that’s helped numerous entrepreneurs take their brands to the next level is now cultivating its own business ideas.

Boardriders, With New Execs, Ready to Ascend

APPAREL: Billabong purchase closes; companies co-locate

Boardriders Inc., just before the recent closing of its purchase of Billabong and after the January disappearance of President-elect Pierre Agnes, named its new executive leadership team and is contemplating co-locating the combined company in Boardriders’ Huntington Beach headquarters.

Pang for ‘Green’ Cosmetics Grew Into Retail Brand

Got Lift With Letter Sent to Paris Boutique

Most cosmetics startups consider landing on Sephora shelves as a benchmark of success. For Laguna Beach-based Ilia Beauty Inc., the nod came from Colette, an influential Parisian boutique frequented by Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion gurus.

Execs Orchestrate Soul-Soothing Downtime

Moonlighting Gigs Build Client Bases, Help Charities

Orange County is the birthplace of a number of national headliners—No Doubt, Cold War Kids, Sublime, The Offspring and Social Distortion.

Bigger Newport Film Festival Draws Local Sponsors

Eight Days of Flicks Include New Theater

Several Orange County companies are taking lead roles in producing the upcoming Newport Beach Film Festival.

Karma Company Store Fits Right in on Tony Mile

AUTOMOTIVE: Gets traffic from nearby dealers

Karma Automotive LLC’s landing in Newport Beach was a good one—so good it’s in the process of doubling its presence there.

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Experian Ads Portray Its Service as Cyber Savior

Spots Point Up Frequency Of Online Data Thefts

Experian PLC’s latest round of TV commercials continues its spotlight on the proliferation of personal-data theft and its credit-monitoring service, which uses proprietary technology to peruse content posted on parts of the internet not indexed by conventional search engines.

Now Showing at SC Metro: Appliance Showrooms

Manufacturers Say High-End Cluster Lifts All Kitchens

The Costa Mesa theater district, home to Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory, has added another showroom to its repertoire—the Fisher & Paykel Experience Center, where a reference to a high note is more about a 36-inch stove’s British thermal unit output than about a vocal range.

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PE Firm Reduces Interest in Trade Show Operator

MARKETING: Onex down to 65% of Emerald Expositions

Onex Corp. is further reducing its stake in Emerald Expositions Events Inc., less than a year after the San Juan Capistrano-based trade show operator completed its initial public offering and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Kawasaki Motors Gets Unexpected Oscar Limelight

OC Operator Helped Keep One Speech Short

Did you recognize the Jet Ski Jimmy Kimmel offered for the shortest acceptance speech at the 90th Academy Awards?

Vans Celebrates Women With Skating How-Tos

Clinics in Observance Of International Celebration

Vans Inc. in Costa Mesa has scheduled more than 100 skateboarding clinics in Brooklyn, Chicago, London, St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Bangalore, São Paulo, Mexico City, and other major cities to “inspire a new wave of women’s skateboarding progression.”

Execs Get Flyboy High Outside of C Suite

EXEC PILOTS

Most of us, at least as children, “have looked at the birds and thought that they might be having more fun,” said flight instructor Michael Church, who’s helped a number of Orange County-based executives follow through with the fascination by getting a license to operate their own set of wings.

Skincare Brand Drunk Elephant on Sales Binge

RETAIL: Puts second HQ in Newport Beach; $100M in 2018?

Orange County’s where the party’s at, just ask the folks at Drunk Elephant Holdings LLC.

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Oakley Visualized Olympics Exposure Sans Big Spend

Competitors Wore Its Goggles on the Slopes

Oakley Inc. wasn’t a sponsor of the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, but its oval-shaped logo got plenty of airtime. Nearly a dozen athletes won medals while wearing Oakley’s Harmony Fade goggles, including Chloe Kim, who won gold in the snowboard halfpipe, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, first in giant slalom, and snowboarder Red Gerard, who won in slopestyle

Ad Shop Plays With Cutting-Edge Tech

MARKETING: Sees opps where rivals fear to tread

Think of Super Toy Box as a digital ad shop that picks up technology-heavy assignments traditional advertising agencies tend to shy away from.

PacLife Celebrates Sesquicentennial This Year

Insurer Started in Sac, Moved to NB in 1972

Pacific Life in Newport Beach plans to celebrate its 150th birthday all year long.

Taco Bell Execs Shift After CEO Moves to Chipotle

RESTAURANTS: Former Starbucks VP joins elevated vet

Taco Bell Corp.’s January shuffle in the top ranks was apparently a sign of things to come.

P.J. Salvage Founder Taps Apparel Vet as Successor

RETAIL: Not just PJ’s, now ‘bed to brunch’

P.J. Salvage hired Simon Cohen as president in November, the first shift in top management at the Irvine-based apparel manufacturer since Peter Burke bought it out of bankruptcy in 1997.

J.D. Power Takes Its Auto Data Expertise to China

Partners With BitAuto Holdings on Digital Projects

J.D. Power in Costa Mesa formed a partnership with China-based automotive website BitAuto Holdings Ltd. to “build the most efficient automotive big data center and artificial intelligence platforms serving China’s automotive industry.”

OC Companies Take Advantage of Super Bowl Fever

Various Tacks to Get Vast Audience’s Attention

Several Orange County-based companies were part of the enormous marketing push around Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4.

Realty One Promotes Its ‘Coolture’ in Times Square

Billboard Campaign 20K Plays on Several Screens

Realty ONE Group launched a series of video ads on Times Square digital billboards last month in New York to get noticed by industry professionals attending the Inman Connect conference at a nearby hotel.

Loss of Leader Leaves Boardriders in Murky Waters

APPAREL: Head of newly combined surfwear giant lost at sea

Boardriders Inc. lost President Pierre Agnes less than a month after the Huntington Beach-based action sports giant announced a deal to acquire main competitor Billabong International Ltd. in Australia.

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Old Boys Club

They call themselves The Old Boys. Just don’t confuse them with the stuffy office crowd your father’s generation had to contend with.

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Porsche Products Arm Moves to OC, Shifts Mall Location

RETAIL: Porsche Design sells merchandise, not cars

Shortly before Porsche Motorsport North America left Orange County for Carson in 2016, another brand-inspired outfit moved in—Porsche Design.

BJ’s Enlists Little Heroes to Peddle Lighter Selections

Preschoolers Talk Up New Menu in Latest Ad

A new TV commercial by BJ’s Restaurants Inc. in Huntington Beach employs Generation Z to test its new EnLIGHTened menu, which is “loaded with vegetables and grains.” Spoiler alert—it passed.

Volcom’s Paris Owners Fish For Buyer After Six Years

APPAREL: Will Costa Mesa designer come back home?

Kering SA announced this month it will spin off Volcom LLC, the Paris-based owner of the Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Brioni brands.

Product Appraiser Adds Apps to List of Its Subjects

J.D. Power Certifies Exceptional Offerings

D. Power’s Power Circle Ratings serve as a seal of approval on various products and services, most notably in the auto industry. The Costa Mesa-based market research company is now looking into customers’ satisfaction with apps. It launched the Mobile App Certification Program, which recognizes brands providing “an exceptional mobile app experience.”

Oakley Video Opens Window Into Inner Workings

Oakley Inc.’s headquarters in Foothill Ranch was featured in the most recent video the eyewear and helmet manufacturer posted on its social media channels.

Good Karma in Carmaker Leadership Change

AUTOMOTIVE: CEO hands wheel to fellow turnaround man

Tom Corcoran did what he came to do—get Karma Automotive LLC up and running, and ready for the next big leg of its journey: China.

BPOY 2017 Marketing: Steve Jun

Agency Boss Reeled in Big Fish

Steve Jun transferred to Huntington Beach in 2015 to help boost INNOCEAN Worldwide Americas’ growth beyond its core automotive account, Hyundai Motor America Inc.

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Marketing: Marisa Thalberg

She Loaded Up That Taco

Taco Bell Corp. “wasn’t a turnaround job” when Chief Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg took over the reins in June 2016. Systemwide sales that year at the Irvine-based Mexican-themed fast food chain were up 6% to about $9.6 billion.

New Dealership Offers Classic and Vintage Cars

AUTOMOTIVE: Makes pricey statement ‘about OC car culture’

On a recent evening at the Morris and Welford dealership in Newport Beach, no one was kicking the tires, opening engine hoods, peeking into the glove box, or tinkering with the car radio.

Airport Advertising Contract Is Up for Bidding

JWA Ads Land $1M+ Annually for County

John Wayne Airport and the county of Orange are looking for a new partner to pick up an advertising concessions lease.

2018 Economic Preview: Retail & Marketing

We’ve all heard and read “Amazon” and “death of bricks-and-mortar” in the same sentence many times this year. Expect the rhetoric to continue in 2018, all while brands and retailers continue to adapt to the new normal.

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Santa Would Approve: Milk on Mag’s Holiday Issue

Food & Wine Wrap To Celebrate Its Charms

A takeover of Time Inc.’s Food & Wine magazine’s holiday issue is the newest installment of the California Milk Processor Board’s “Food Loves Milk” campaign.

Karma Names CEO

Irvine-based Karma Automotive LLC tapped Liang Zhou to replace Thomas Corcoran as chief executive of the luxury carmaker.

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Vans Brand Cues Up Song Lists for Apple Listeners

Chosen to Be One Of 60 Curators of Playlists

House of Vans, a string of music venues hosted by Vans Inc. in Costa Mesa, is now one of more than 60 curators for Apple Music, tasked with perusing 40 million songs available on the streaming platform and developing playlists that its audiences would appreciate.

Galardi Group Gets President

Galardi Group Inc. appointed J.R. Galardi president, replacing Dennis Tase who retired in May 2016.

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