Forget deal-making on the golf course, Mammoth Resorts wants local tech executives to do more of their business in the great outdoors.

The resort has just launched a business-to-business division to sell 100 company memberships to an exclusive lodge named Skybox. The midmountain lodge can be reached by cable car, has a dining facility and will serve as an exclusive business club for tech, media and entertainment companies in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.

“We think active recreation can take the place of the traditional golf course” for business networking, said Rudy DeFelice, head of new market opportunities at Mammoth. “We think that we are at a moment in time that there is a shift in attitudes toward work. This generation is really into active recreation and sports, so we think there is a real opportunity to facilitate that.”

Mammoth would like companies to think of a Skybox membership as similar to buying a corporate suite at L.A. Live’s Staples Center. Annual memberships start at $30,000 and will include a certain number of employee passes to the invite-only club. Some membership plans will include free flights to nearby Mammoth Yosemite Airport and lodging.

Mammoth Resorts generates about $200 million revenue a year, a majority of which comes from paid winter sports on items such as ski passes. But the company, headquartered in Mammoth Lakes, would like to use its corporate sales program to boost revenue year-round, said DeFelice.

Corporate members will get access to guided experiences, such as downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking, sightseeing and fly fishing. For the more hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, “expeditions” are planned, which will include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and backpacking.

In addition to the Skybox club, the resort will launch a business conference and speaker series in July named Mammoth Institute.

“The institute is really the think tank. It’s designed to be the intellectual component of the business,” said DeFelice. “Rather than conference rooms, we will use campfires to exchange ideas.”

Wiring Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles has long been a business district reserved for financial services, law firms and Fortune 500 corporations. But now that it is becoming a hot tech hub, demand for Internet bandwidth is ballooning.

“There really is a rebirth of downtown L.A. in the last couple of years and I really believe in some ways technology is leading the way,” said Jon DeLuca, chief executive of downtown telecommunications firm Wilcon. “The renaissance of downtown in the last few years is driving bandwidth demand.”

Wilcon builds private fiber-optic networks and data centers for large businesses, government departments and educational institutions. The company has installed and maintains about 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cable along telephone poles and within underground pipes throughout Southern California, said DeLuca.

As real estate developers realized better Internet access was needed to pull in corporate tenants, demand for private networks has risen steadily.

It can take one to six months to get city permits and bring fiber optics to a building, said DeLuca. Once a building is wired up, fiber-optic cables rarely require upgrading. Instead, companies are improving their Internet capabilities by changing the data transmission equipment at either end of the network.

“If I’m an IT manager or CIO and my big data requirements keep doubling every two years, how do I stay ahead of that?” asked DeLuca. “By building my own fiber-optic network and by swapping out the (data transmission) boxes.”

And it’s not just tech companies that are demanding greater Internet bandwidth, he said. As technology becomes increasingly engrained in everyday business, older industries are asking for more bandwidth as well.

“Law firms now have a heightened need for network security, so we are seeing demand from law firms in the downtown market,” he said.

Rebooting

Onestop Internet of El Segundo has hired Minesh Mehta as senior vice president of sales and business development. Onestop handles e-commerce operations such as fulfillment, online marketing, customer service and Website design for brick-and-mortar retailers such as True Religion Brand Jeans and Bonobos. Mehta previously worked at e-commerce backend software maker Demandware Inc. of Burlington, Mass. He will be tasked with further growing Onestop’s revenue. Mid-Wilshire’s Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has hired Novell Morris as vice president of information technology. Morris will be responsible for corporate IT infrastructure as well as overseeing planning for store operations, including public website design and in-store Internet access. Prior to joining Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Morris was vice president of information technology at Johnny Rockets.

Staff reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 232.

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