Stories for November 1997

Monday, November 24


Designing interior space in offices and homes becomes a more complicated and crucial component of successful business and real estate transactions with each passing year.


Want to check up on how stock in Walt Disney Co. has been doing over, say, the last six weeks? No problem, just sign onto any of a dozen free Web sites that provide news and data on the Burbank-based company.

Economic indicators

In a warehouse that never gets warmer than 35 degrees Fahrenheit, Tropicana is demonstrating daily why the nation's leading juice company chose the City of Industry for its huge distribution center.


Unstable markets can be a problem, but this little-known market has big potential


Ron Burkle, chairman of Century City-based Yucaipa Cos., established himself as a major presence in the grocery business long ago.


Roger Engemann is known as one of the area's most successful independent asset managers. But he sold his firm, Roger Engemann & Associates, earlier this year to Hartford, Conn.-based fund management firm Phoenix, Duff & Phelps Corp., which manages $33


From entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, companies of all kinds are choosing Irvine Spectrum.


As California's economy continues to diversify and expand, a little-known dynamic is emerging: job creation on several of the state's 19 closed or realigned military institutions.


A strategic location with convenient freeway access to both Los Angeles and Orange Counties has made the City of Cerritos one of the Southland's most desirable business sites.


Publisher Dean Singleton dramatically expanded his L.A. newspaper empire last week by buying the 202,381-circulation Daily News and setting himself up as a major challenger to the Los Angeles Times in the county's growing suburbs.


Stock market jitters spooked buyers and issuers of initial public offerings in the third quarter, leading to fewer IPOs than were launched in the third quarter of 1996.


The California economy continues its strong economic performance, with the state's unemployment continuing to decline, so that the gap between the state's unemployment rate and the national rate is much smaller, according to a recent report by the Califor


In an age where we are daily bombarded with volumes of information, a well-conceived brand can cut through the clutter by concisely capturing the value of a product, service or company.


With accelerating growth within the hi-tech industry, savvy executives are thinking global now and looking to Europe for expertise and other benefits in their quests for a worldwide presence. Their reason for choosing Europe is obvious: The European marke

Monday, November 17


Sure, plenty of Los Angeles entrepreneurs are enjoying success right now, with the local economy chugging along at a healthy clip.


David L. Ferguson, 42, is general partner of El Segundo-based Chase Capital Partners, a $4.5 billion venture capital investment fund. Since 1984, Chase Capital (which also has offices in New York, Singapore and Hong Kong) has invested in 550 companies, an


To succeed in the infomercial industry, a business must excel in both retail and show business. Kent & Spiegel has done well in both areas.


MaxTech Holding Inc. owes a good deal of its skyrocketing revenue to computer modems, which represent about 40 percent of the company's sales.


That's the question facing the owners of many fast-growing companies, who must figure out ways of maintaining or at least approximating rapid revenue growth.


Jules & Associates Inc., an asset-based financing and leasing corporation in Los Angeles, is more or less like a bank one that helps companies finance new equipment purchases.


In 1983, Alexandra Rand had a startling insight: companies were spending thousands, or even millions, maintaining big in-house employee training departments but much of the job could be done by a machine.


After stints in the Navy and the insurance and real estate industries, Richard Gordon started a management consulting firm in 1983 that eventually turned into his current business, R.j. Gordon & Co. This year's fastest growing private company has 14 divis

Executive Summary List

The 100 fastest-growing private companies in L.A. County range from high-tech firms with $500 million in revenues to small textile plants and international seafood distributors. Annual revenues of at least $10 million were required for inclusion on the L


The 25 fastest-growing private companies in Los Angeles are posting revenue gains averaging 211 percent reflecting the region's economic rebound.


Comtrade Electronics USA's slogan says it sells "lightning-fast computers in a flash."


When the satellite industry was first getting off the ground, Tecstar Inc.'s predecessor was there. Now that's paying off handsomely for the company, which produces solar panels that supply satellites with electrical power.


The lure of sweet-smelling breath keeps wafting a Calabasas-based company into the front ranks of L.A.'s most successful private companies.


The biggest challenge in describing R.j. Gordon & Co. is listing all the different things it does.


Never mind the departure of Corporate America from L.A. The real action continues to emanate from those legions of entrepreneurs who are making this town a national hothouse for startup companies.


Wareforce Inc., which buys computers from large distributors and resells them to an account base of Fortune 1000 companies, is one of the few woman-owned companies among this year's fastest growers.


L.A.'s fastest-growing companies are about as eclectic a group as you'll come across. From the maker of breath freshener capsules to a recycling firm, from car dealers to software developers, these companies form a living, breathing catalog of what works


Started in 1989 by two graduates of Cal State Northridge with only $3,000 and no bank financing, Goldmine's product line centers on "contact software," a business program for tracking and recording sales contacts.


The entrepreneur is the modern-day hero, lauded for creating successful startups that enrich founders almost beyond the imagination. That's why publications have popped up with names like "Success," "Inc.," and, of course, "Entrepreneur."


A List of L.A.'s 100 fastest-growing private companies conjures up images of souped-up software outfits on the verge of being the next Microsoft.

Monday, November 10


Venture capital investment in L.A.-area companies slowed during the third quarter and was focused almost entirely in and around the San Fernando Valley.


The alarm clock goes off about 6:30 a.m., but Chris Mitchell, registered home health nurse, is already awake. Racing out from under a quick shower and shave, he alternates between getting dressed and making phone calls to doctors and patients.


Working against several mid-term deadlines, Woodbury MBA student Regina Bonilla needed to find critical information from the past six months on trade policies between Japan and the United States. She conducted her research using over 4,000 periodicals ab


Recently, the home health care industry has come under attack as media attention spotlights examples of alleged Medicare fraud and exploitation of the elderly and disabled. As a result, public and legislative trust in the integrity of this important healt


"I thought that if I ever wanted to get a college degree, I'd have to quit my job and go to a community college full time. Of course being a wife, a mother and a career woman, that wasn't an option. Taking classes on the weekends allows me to realize my d


Size is starting to matter in the home health care business especially for the non-profit sector.


Home health care, once the province of small, community-based non-profit organizations, has grown rapidly over the last decade into a business accounting for more than $30 billion a year and one that is dominated by health care giants and hospitals.


Los Angeles County government, often criticized for being behind the curve in health care trends, was way ahead of private industry when it comes to home health care it first started offering such services nearly 40 years ago.


Home health care agencies have been wildly popular ventures over the last several years due to their low expenses and fat profit margins. But as the federal Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) begins to implement reforms, home health care agencies


For health care companies considering the move into home health care, the story of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. serves as a sobering reminder of the pitfalls on the road to profits.

Monday, November 3


The widely watched Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 554 points in a single day last week, rattling investors and traders across the country. But with strong corporate profits and low inflation in place, was the extensive news coverage much ado about


It completely re-sodded Atlanta's Olympic Stadium within 36 hours after opening ceremonies, spruced up the Las Vegas strip with 1,300 palm trees and 84,000 shrubs, and landscaped all of Walt Disney Co.'s master planned community in Florida.


Every morning, Dick Clark steps into a van for the 45-minute ride from his home in Malibu to the ivy-covered headquarters of Dick Clark Productions Inc. in Burbank.


James A. Rosten learned the real estate ropes from his father, a Detroit dentist who dabbled in development.


To developers of the new downtown sports arena, the just-concluded struggle to win City Council approval of the $300 million project was merely the opening face-off in a game that could go into overtime.


The dangers of new politicians getting involved in complicated projects was never more sharply pointed out than it was by Councilwoman Laura Chick's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) activity in the construction of a new Madrid Theatre in her Third Cou


In a further sign of the robust health of the South Bay's industrial market, Watson Land Co. simultaneously broke ground last week on five count 'em, five projects. Three are speculative and two are build-to-suits.


And after years of recession, the cycle has been up in recent years, bringing a surge of activity to L.A.-area construction firms, several of which are among the 100 largest private companies.


The Justice Department says of its latest action against Microsoft, "We are not taking sides in a browser war."


With Boeing Co. expected to announce plans for its Douglas Aircraft division in Long Beach this week, city officials are optimistic that the facility will play a key role in the aerospace giant's overall strategy for the future.

entrep notebook

In today's ultra-competitive business environment, the ability to communicate is integral to success. The bottom line is, you are what you communicate.


KNAC is a radio station with fans, a playlist and deejays. It lacks just one thing a spot on the dial.


Several redevelopment offices throughout Los Angeles County have contacted the Southern California Gas Co. in recent months about using real gaslamps in their projects, reflecting a growing trend toward nostalgic cityscaping.


The historic 554-point drop happened last Monday, the same day the Business Journal came out (and it just so happened that our front-page lead story was about an upbeat economic survey that was clearly upstaged by the news of the day).

Company Index



The fight for San Fernando Valley secession is about to begin in earnest and many Valley business leaders say they are ready to join the campaign if they don't see substantive changes in city government.


An investment group led by Shamrock Holdings began construction on 11 sound stages and related offices in Manhattan Beach last week, and announced that it has signed Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. as anchor tenant.


With the exception of the Central Library, more images of L.A. history may be contained within the walls of Delmar Watson's photo studio than anywhere else in town.


Bank of America has named both Carl Ceder and Clark D. Brown vice president and private consultant in its private banking and investment services group. Both will work with Bank of America's retail bank customers to provide wealth management solutions to


The List of L.A.'s 100 largest privately owned companies reflects the economic diversity of Los Angeles County. Development- and construction-related businesses have the largest single share 19 percent of the combined 1996 revenues of the 100 companie


Nearby, a jackrabbit romps back and forth through the brush, while road runners scramble out of its way. Wild animal sounds and forest scents waft through the air.


This fall, the second windfall of class-size reduction money for California's public schools was made possible by California's booming economy.


Facing a $4 billion debt in its electric power generating operations and the future deregulation of the power market, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power may undergo a dramatic reorganization that would stabilize the agency's finances without th


A 25-year veteran of the securities business, Norman Sarafian has seen his share of stock market ups and downs. But nothing could have prepared him for the extreme market turmoil of last week, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged a record 554 poi


After a year of negotiations and threats to leave the city, five L.A.-based health maintenance organizations last week were close to an agreement with the city over how much they will pay in business license taxes.


Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. The market's nose-dive last week came out of nowhere as most nose-dives do and left the media's insufferable pundits pondering the inevitable: Why now? What does it mean? Are we in trouble? Is the sky fall

LA Stories

The Florida Marlins may be the champs of professional baseball, but they've got nothing on freshman Assemblyman Robert M. Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys.


Newspapers have devoted pages and large headlines to Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Hernandez and the eight-week investigation into his many cocaine purchases. In fairness to Mr. Hernandez and his constituents: Why wasn't Hernandez arrested the first or


Question: Even though I bought highly-recommended accounting software about a year ago, I find that there is a great deal of error in what takes place around the office. Why is this?


Movie stars like John Travolta and Burt Reynolds have proven that in Hollywood, no matter how dead your career might seem, there's always a chance of making a big comeback.


At first glance, it wouldn't appear that billionaire media mogul Ted Turner of Atlanta and 15-year-old Henry Francisco Salguero of Los Angeles have anything in common. But they do.


Hollywood the screenplay. Everybody's got one or is working on one or at least thinking about one.


Washington Mutual hasn't wasted any time taking charge at Great Western Financial Corp.


In the brave new world of cyberspace, visiting a furniture store or hiring an interior designer to remodel your living room could become as obsolete as eight-track tapes.

secession forum

With San Fernando Valley secession suddenly viable, the Business Journal invited community leaders and elected officials last week to discuss the reasons behind the secession movement and where it is heading.


Larry Keller, who for nearly a year was acting executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, is no longer acting not since Mayor Richard Riordan appointed him to take over the job of leading the nation's second-largest seaport on a permanent basis.


Long before Julius Caeser built the Roman Empire, a glorious civilization in southern Mexico was carving sophisticated hieroglyphs in the stone walls of its great palaces and temples.


That has certainly been the case for William M. Mercer Inc. and A. Foster Higgins & Co. Inc., two consulting firms that specialize in guiding clients through mergers.


Shirley and Michael Rewega of Palm Desert bought their whole-life insurance from Metropolitan Life. Among the choices they had to make was how often premiums should be paid.