Michael Volpe

Staff Reporter

Michael Volpe covers media and marketing, hotel developers and owners, law and accounting. He can be reached at volpe@ocbj.com.

Phone: 949-833-8373

Recent Stories

Daphne’s Boss Eyes Revival From San Clemente Base

RESTAURANTS: Greek chain plans makeover, eyes dinner gap

Daphne’s Greek Cafe owner Bill Trefethen is looking at ways to revamp the company’s restaurants and boost business

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Law Firms Go After Lateral Hires for Instant Business Boost

LEGAL: Firms cherry picking to add to rebounding practices

Law firms are increasing lateral hires to boost business

Optimistic Outlook for PR, Clients Get Back to Growth

SparkOC, Register Team Up on Website for the Arts; Fond Farwell on Way to New Venture

The county's public relations firms are optimistic about business picking up in 2011, in the Media and Marketing column

Dance Contest Dinner Show Set for Anaheim

ENTERTAINMENT: Diners to judge Latin, hip hop, other styles

A dinner show that pits dancers from various styles against one another is set to open in Anaheim early next year

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Hyundai Increases Sponsorship With Top Cable Show

Cornerstone Brings Irvine Co. Pedigree; Vertical Bets With House; Orange Label Up to BAT

Hyundai Motor America renewed its sponsorship of TV show “Burn Notice,” in the Media and Marketing column

ProFun Gets Ferrari World Park Done in Persian Gulf

THEME PARKS: Tustin firm in joint venture for management

Tustin’s ProFun Management Group opened a Ferrari-themed park in Abu Dhabi earlier this month

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Newly Combined Toshiba Division Selects Ad Agency

Surfer Magazine Parent Buys Video Site Operator Grind Networks; Echo Media, Others Hire

Irvine's Toshiba America Information Systems has hired Goodness Mfg. to handle its advertising, in the Media and Marketing column

Old Guys Rule Brand Targets Boomers Abroad for Expansion

APPAREL: Sales in Germany, Spain, South Africa, others eyed

Old Guys Rule in San Clemente targets baby boomers and is growing sales despite a slump in the clothing industry.

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Big Bank Marketing

With similar offerings in a competitive market, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and others turn to advertising to sell customers on services and convenience

Big banks in Orange County rely on marketing campaigns to stand out.

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Dog Days

Wienerschitzel Hopes for Happy Birthday After Expansion in Inland Empire Stumbles

Irvine’s Weinerschnitzel has big plans for its 50th anniversary after struggling last year with its expansion in the Inland Empire

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RiechesBaird to Take Hoag Brand Beyond the Bluffs

Hill & Knowlton on Solid Ground With Mazda; Boost Mobile Steps Up UFC Sponsorships

Newport Beach’s Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian hired RiechesBaird in Irvine to launch a branding campaign, in the Media and Marketing column

Claim Jumper Obtains Court Approval for Sale

Irvine-based Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC on Wednesday obtained bankruptcy court approval for its sale to Houston-based Landry's Restaurants Inc.

Automakers See October Gains

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America led a gain in sales for automakers with operations here in October.

Donors Boost Cal State Fullerton’s $26M Endowment Fund

EDUCATION: Fledgling fund helps offset cuts in state support

California State University, Fullerton’s endowment fund has grown by 50% since 2007, mostly through alumni and other private donations

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Stars Give Suzuki Hatchback a Spin at El Toro Course

Editor & Publisher Gets New Team, Irvine HQ; Blue C Moves to Costa Mesa, Adds Clients

Brea’s American Suzuki Motor is set to see one of its cars featured in a History Channel TV show, in the Media and Marketing column

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BJ’s Defies Downturn, Sees More Growth in 2011

RESTAURANTS: T-shirts and Pizookies instead of cutbacks

BJ’s Restaurants is seeing record growth even as some casual dining competitors continue to struggle in a down economy

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Casual Gamers Fuel Gains for Future Ads

ADVERTISING: Games draw players; players draw advertisers


Baby Boomers Factor in Demand for Medical Offices

Construction and Tenant Improvements in L.A., Inland Empire Keep Golden Growing

FAST-GROWING PRIVATE COMPANIES - #8. Golden Construction Development Co.

Most Gets More Thanks to National Realtors Account

Adds Website Work to Media Buying and Creative Duties as Big Client Continues to Pay Off


New Mazda Ad Team Hires Creative, Execs

AUTO: New faces, locals, vets from Doner make up team

Mazda’s new advertising shop Team Mazda is busy building its employee ranks

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Wunderman’s Workload: Autobytel Fills Toshiba Gap

Billboards Aim High at John Wayne Airport; Mazda2 Goes With Soul Singer on Tour

Irvine’s Wunderman has taken on more advertising duties with customer Autobytel, in the Media and Marketing column

BJ’s Restaurants Surges After Beating Estimates

Huntington Beach-based BJ’s Restaurants Inc. saw its shares surge Friday, a day after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results.

KOCE Readies To Become Region’s PBS TV Flagship

MEDIA: Move will bring added dues; plans to work with others

KOCE is preparing to become the region’s flagship PBS station after Los Angeles’ KCET ended its partnership with the TV programmer

Patent Lawyers See Rebound in Filings Next Year

LAW: Filings fell during slump as litigation took center stage

Patent filings took a hit during the recession but local law firms expect a comeback by next year

Fisker Hiring for Karma, Other Cars

AUTO: Luxury hybrid set for ’11; pair of models in works; IPO?

Irvine’s Fisker Automotive plans to up its workforce in preparation for the release of its hybrid luxury sedan

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Mitsubishi Marketing Team Debuts Virtual Test Drive

Management Shift at WebVisible; Kim Kardashian Wears L*Space Swimsuit in Tourism Ad

Cypress’ Mitsubishi Motors North America is offering a virtual test drive of one of its autos as part of a marketing campaign, in the Media and Marketing column

Corinthian Colleges President Resigns, Shares Fall

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc., which faces the prospect of renewed federal regulation and persistant Wall Street skepticism, saw its shares fall Tuesday after its president announced his intention to resign this month.

School Overseers

Brandman Board of Regents Reflects Military Roots, Chapman Ties

A look at the board of regents for Brandman University

Downturn Helps Drive Enrollment Up at Local Schools

LOCAL COLLEGES: Gains come despite higher tuition rates

Admissions at local universities are up even as public schools deal with major budget cuts

Wunderman Won’t Seek Renewal on Toshiba Account

Ignite Health Joins Forces With N.Y. Branding Shop; MKM Lands Water, Beer, Skateboards

Toshiba’s laptop unit in Irvine is putting its advertising account up for review with incumbent ad shop Wunderman bowing out, in the Media and Marketing column


For-Profit Schools Start Implementing Changes Ahead of Federal Rules; Enrollment Still Up

For-profit university operators saw an increase in enrollment during the first stages of the recession but lately are seeing numbers drop in the face of government scrutiny

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Pizza Chain Plans Makeover

RESTAURANTS: Zpizza looks to redo some 100 eateries

Irvine’s health-conscious zpizza is planning a makeover of its nearly 100 restaurants

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WebVisible Names CEO, Cuts Jobs

Irvine-based WebVisible Inc., which helps businesses buy and target online ads, announced an executive restructuring as a NetZero Inc. cofounder takes the top spot on the heels of job cuts.

Register, Other Freedom Sites Take Over Mobile Operations

Startup Luxury Magazine Bask Enlists Editor; Disney Push Includes Visitor Videos, Pictures

Freedom Communications ended a two-year deal with Verve Wireless and has taken over its mobile content operation, in the Media and Marketing column

Corinthian Colleges Inc.

Fastest Growing Public Companies - No. 10: Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. was at the head of the class until the proposed federal regulation threw it back a grade.

Midsize Ambitions

Kia Looks To Follow in Hyundai’s Footsteps with Sedan

Kia Motors America is hoping to follow in its corporate sibling Hyundai’s footsteps with its revamped Optima sedan

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Automakers See September Gains

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America and Irvine’s Kia Motors America Inc. bucked August declines in sales to lead local automakers with big gains in September.

Corinthian Fires Back at Proposed Rules

EDUCATION: Proposal could cut off funding to some schools

Santa Ana’s Corinthian Colleges is pushing back against education reforms that could potentially cripple it

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Moving Target Estate Tax: Work for Lawyers, Accountants

PROFESSIONS: Retroactive threat prompts work on wills

Local lawyers and accountants expect an increase in work as uncertainty about estate taxes comes to a head

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Hyundai Marketing Rolls On During Executive Search

Mazda, Others Use Social Network Games for Marketing; Morgan Lands Dance Restaurant

Hyundai is looking for a new vice president of marketing after losing its last two to General Motors, in the Media and Marketing column

Bryan Cave: Bell Ringing Parties, Fun Committee

Profile of Bryan Cave LLP on the Business Journal’s second annual Best Places to Work list

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Corinthian Sees Delay in Proposed Regulations

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. and other for-profit college operators got a reprieve from proposed federal rules that could cut funding for students at some of the company’s schools.

Corinthian Colleges Shares Rally on Possible Regulation Delay

Shares of embattled Santa Ana-based vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. rallied Thursday on speculation of a delay in proposed federal rules that could cut funding for students at some of the company’s schools.

In-N-Out Opening Second Restaurant in Texas Expansion

Irvine-based In-N-Out Burgers Inc. took another step in an aggressive eastward expansion Monday with plans for a second restaurant in Texas.

Celebrity Software Lures Brand Affinity Investment

Clothing Maker Sullen Does IPad Catalog for Tradeshows; Pimco Debuts Reworked Website

Irvine-based Brand Affinity Technologies has developed software for tracking celebrities and athletes, in the Media and Marketing column

Hyundai Pushes into Luxury Market with Equus

AUTO: Automaker looks to continue market share growth

Hyundai Motor America is gearing up to release its second luxury vehicle

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Sales Wind Down TV Station Owner Acme

MEDIA: Quiet end to company once coveted by Tribune, others

Acme Communications in Santa Ana is selling off its TV stations and winding down operations

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Bicycle Trade Show Returns to Anaheim

The Anaheim Convention Center has signed San Juan Capistrano-based Interbike International Bicycle Expo to return to the convention center after a 14-year hiatus.

Hyundai Expanding Fountain Valley Headquarters

Hyundai Motor America Inc. is looking to double the size of its Fountain Valley headquarters.

Atlanta Publisher Takes Over Riviera, Other Luxury Titles

St. Joseph, Radio Disney Promote Kids Health; Motorcycle Magazine Cycle News Shuts Down

Luxury magazine Riviera was sold to an Atlanta-based publisher, in the Media and Marketing column