Dana and Melanie Harvey
Owners of Harveys Industries Inc., which makes Detroit by Harvey handbags out of seat belts
AGES: 34 and 33, respectively
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa And
FAMILY: Dana has one son. They also have two dogs that they take to work with them
FAVORITE TRIP: To visit Dana's home country in New Zealand
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Dana - architect or furniture designer; Melanie - policewoman or doctor
Dana and Melanie Harvey met at a Halloween party in 1995. He was a '20s style gangster, while she dressed as a woman from the Rococo period. The unusual meeting was fortuitous and predictive of the funky - and successful - business they started a short time later.
The Harveys started their own business in 1996 so they could work together. With no experience in the fashion industry and little knowledge of designing, they started making handbags out of vintage materials found in flea markets. Only Dana knew how to sew, a skill he learned in high school in New Zealand, while Melanie had been a successful manager of a computer-related company.
The first season, the Harveys made handbags out of recycled fur coats, old jeans, old beads and sometimes wood. These sold so well that they decided to look for a more unusual material for their bags. As they were restoring a 1950 Buick at the time, and installing new seat belts, they looked at the belts as a possible material. Not ones to shirk at adventures, the Harveys created a line of seat belt bags (which require special skills and very sturdy sewing machines to make) in 1997. They called the line "Detroit" (as in the motor city) by Harvey. They created bags out of the normal brown, black and gray seat bags. But shortly afterward, decided to get the belts (which are supplied by the companies that supply GM and Ford) dyed in a variety of pretty colors. They decided on 12 colors with names like Gremlin Green, Delorean Silver, Cadillac Blue and Ferrari Red. Initially, the bags were made in tote and pocket book styles, but they later expanded to briefcases and overnighters, among others.
Department stores, such as Marshall Field's in Chicago and Nordstrom, and recently Henri Bendel in New York, began to snap up the bags. So did many museum stores, particularly the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The bags rapidly became popular with teen-agers and people who like arty styles, in spite of the steep prices - often more than $100 per bag. Each bag holds about 6,000 pounds of pressure.
Dana says that the bags seem to sell themselves as their company, Harveys Industries Inc., does no advertising or marketing. Today, a mere five years after launching the seat belt bags, Harveys sells about 40,000 a year of them, all manufactured in a large factory in Orange.
The Harveys continue to make other bags, such as a line out of old jeans, but the seat belt bags have grabbed a lion's share (about 95 percent) of their business. Last year, they started making undergarment called "Unmentionables," all of which are highly styled, brightly colored and patterned, and designed by the multitalented Melanie. Next year, the Harveys will launch a line of outerwear. These include dresses inspired by the '40s and '50s, many of which have matching purses.
Most of these also are designed by Melanie. A zany, creative, adventurous and hard-working couple have created a very hot little company - and a new fashion fad. OCM - By Liz Goldner
Chairman, president and CEO of QLogic Corp.
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Laguna Beach
FAMILY: Married with two children, a daughter, 19, attending UC Berkeley and a son, 23, who is an investment banker in New York City
FAVORITE TRIP: Italy in summer 2001
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Politician
There is no question that H.K. Desai and his company, QLogic, are sizzling hot. In the past several months alone, QLogic, a Mission Viejo network storage equipment maker, was ranked 17th in Business Week's Top 100 High Growth Companies, 36th in Deloitte & Touche's Technology Fast 50, and in the top 20 of Business 2.0's 100 Fastest Growing Tech Companies. In August, Desai, called H.K. by his friends and employees, was named the second most influential storage networking executive in the country by ByteandSwitch, a leading online industry publication. Why the hubbub? Two little words not heard much lately in tech circles - growth and profits. In the third quarter, QLogic had revenue of $108.5 million, up 8 percent from the previous quarter and up 33 percent compared to the third quarter of 2001. Net income was $27 million compared to $17.7 million in the same quarter last year.
"We have been profitable for 28 straight quarters," Desai says. "And we are still growing even in this bad time." QLogic has grown an average of 42 percent a year for the past five years and Deloitte & Touche pegs the company's culminative five-year growth at 419 percent.
Born and raised near Bombay, India, Desai came to the United States to get a master's degree in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1971. After working for several technology companies in New Jersey and Ohio, he came to Orange County in 1978. He went to work for Emulex in 1990 and moved to QLogic when it was spun off in 1994. He was named president and chief technical officer in 1995, CEO in 1996.
Desai attributes QLogic's success to a comprehensive product line, a superior ability to bring new products to market quickly and a culture of openness. "We are the only company that provides a very broad product line for network storage," Desai says. "Brocade only does switches, Emulex only does HBA [host bus adapter], others only do silicon - we do it all, from end to end." The company's products include controller chips, host bus adapters, network switches and management software to move data from computers through fiber optic cable to servers and back again, converting information from electricity to light at one end and back to electricity at the other. Most of its business is in the United States and Japan.
QLogic uses subcontractors for manufacturing, staying sharply focused on product development. With more than 375 engineers among its 700 employees, the company has been able to design and deploy new technology faster than its rivals, staying a step ahead of the pack.
"I empower people," Desai says. "We have a more open management style and a more consensus-based decision-making process here than at many companies. If you involve many people in all levels in decision-making, it leads to a sense of commitment and teamwork. That leads to better execution."
"H.K. is a champion of airing things and getting things out on the table," says Frank Berry, QLogic's vice president of marketing. "If he senses there is an issue that people aren't being open about, he keeps it on the table until he figures out what the hidden agendas are and gets it resolved. That helps the management team in a big way."
Desai works 12-hour days, spending two-thirds of his time on the road telling the company's story to banks, brokers, fund managers and others with the ability to support its stock, and visiting major customers to discover their needs and inform them of upcoming technologies. The other third of his time is devoted to technology development and business strategy. In his absence, the general managers of QLogic's three business divisions keep things running smoothly.
Even though the company's stock has fallen with the general NASDAQ decline, it has held up better than most, staying above $20 a share while tech giants such as Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Broadcom dipped below $10.
With $571.9 million in cash and very little debt, QLogic is strongly positioned to weather any further economic downturn.
"We are a very cash positive company," Desai says. "We generated about $25 million in additional cash last quarter. And there is no structural problem with the storage business such as excess capacity in telecom. As soon as the economy recovers, storage will take off again." OCM - Steve Thomas
Pierre André Senizergues
CEO, Sole Technology
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Newport Beach
FAMILY: Single FAVORITE TRIP: Tahiti
ALTERNATivE CAREER: Engineer or PE teacher
Traditional business theories offer two rationales when starting a new company or launching a new product. The new enterprise is either supposed to fill a need or create one. In the case of Pierre André Senizergues, his company, Sole Technology, did both.
"I was a professional skateboarder and I finally decided to get a job," jokes Senizergues. "I had an interest in both technology and skateboarding and since I was involved in the action sports industry, I decided to start making shoes for the skateboard market. At the time, there were really only two other shoe companies marketing shoes for skaters."
Senizergues was determined to move the market from one led by form to one led by function. "I was the first skateboarder making shoes for skateboarders. I was the real thing and brought an international view to the skateboard market. I grew up in France and brought an international design element to the company. I was an engineer before I was a skateboarder so I understood the design part of the shoes as well as the function part of it."
Saying "I was a skateboarder" is like Willie Mays proclaiming he was a baseball player. The fact is that Senizergues was one of Europe's top skateboarders, winning the European championship several times, as well as winning several international freestyle championships.
Senizergues' expertise has led the company to post $100 million in sales since Sole Technology was founded in 1992. The company's brands, including Etnies, ES and Emerica are sold in 40 countries and Senizergues has just opened an office in China to oversee production and to break into the market.
Along the way, Sole Technology has tapped into the minds of customers by offering a complete line of intelligent, attractive action sportswear, including shoes and clothing, for snow sports, BMX, motocross, surfing, women and children. Sole Technology now dominates the skate shoe market.
Along with the design elements of his products, Senizergues also brought a keen sense of the marketplace to Sole Technology. "Our customer is both male and female, age 4 to 25," says Senizergues. "But what is really remarkable is that 80 percent of our customers don't skate - they're buying our shoes to walk in. They're looking for more comfort in a shoe."
Senizergues is not content to drive the company's growth by looking in the rear view mirror. "Sole Technology is still growing really fast as far as the action sports industry is concerned," he says. "Teen-agers are migrating from classic sports to action sports. There is a huge migration of kids coming our way. My goal every year is 20 percent growth."
And does he still skate? "Yes, I still skate but only about once every two months. The funny thing is, a few months ago, I went skateboarding for the first time in a long time and happened to be right where there was a Los Angeles Times photographer who needed a shot of a skateboarder. We wound up on the cover."
When you're hot, you're hot. OCM - By Steve Smith
Left fielder for the World Champion Anaheim Angels
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Tustin Ranch
FAMILY: Married to Teresa; they have three children - two girls and a boy
"He is one of the most underrated players in the major leagues. All he does is produce without going out of his way to draw attention to himself. He is a very straight-laced kind of guy. He's consistent, but not flamboyant."
Who is he? Garret Anderson, as described by Tom Singer, East regional columnist for Major League Baseball.com, the sport's official website. Singer is a former contributor to Churm Publishing Inc. who over the course of a long career has covered
thousands of baseball games - and interviewed thousands of players. He knows talent.
Anderson this year is a leading candidate to win the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.
There is a dawning recognition by his peers, the press and the fans that this is a player who consistently plays at a higher level than others. Yet, despite the wild success of the Angels, his national exposure remains a work in progress. Or, maybe not. It is now the World Champion Anaheim Angels and it was Anderson who, in Game 7, laced a bases-loaded double to provide the 4-1 final margin. Following are other moments earlier on in games where his star shone brightly: As Anderson hit a dramatic home run in the playoffs against the New York Yankees, the TV network flashed a misspelling of his first name. Bet they won't misspell Anderson's name in the future.
In Game 1 of that series, down 3-1, Anderson hit a two-run, two-strike double against Roger Clemens. In Game 2, the Angels down 5-4 in the eighth inning, Anderson led off with a game-tying home run. In the opening games, he ran the bases well, played left field with expertise and, by doing so, didn't surprise those who have followed a remarkable career. We could go on, and we will. In the American League Championship Series against Minnesota, it was Anderson who in Game 3 got the Angels on the scoreboard with a home run ... and ended a 2-1 win with a diving catch in left field. It was Anderson in the clinching win against the Twins who, in the now-famous 10-run inning, walked with the bases loaded to give Anaheim a 7-5 lead. In Game 2 of the World Series, it was Anderson who hit the single to drive in the tying run (9-9) that set up the eventual 11-10 win against the San Francisco Giants.
For the past two years, the Orange County resident has won the Gene Autry Award as his team's most valuable player. Teammates choose that player. They believe in him.
Anderson is emerging from a shadowed, superb baseball career into the limelight. Sometimes that requires the playoffs, and showing off at Yankee Stadium, and the World Series, and now as a champion
Will we see a different Anderson next season, one who will hear the applause and feel the pressure? "The key thing is to maintain a perspective," Singer advises. "He'll be fine."
Singer, who has interviewed his share of grunting ballplayers, surly superstars, and dumb jocks, continues to be impressed with Anderson as the whole human being. "He is very intelligent, and if you corner him, and engage him in a conversation, he says very profound things, not just one or two words. He has missed only a few games in the last few years. I think it is a source of pride, that he comes to play at the park every day. For Garret, it's always been a goal."
A career .297 hitter, Anderson has played 150 games or more each year since 1996; in the past three seasons, he has driven in 363 runs - one of the best totals in the major leagues.
He graduated from Kennedy High School in Granada Hills in 1990 and played his first game as an Angel in late 1994. OCM - By Craig Reem
Steve High, Tim Carr & John McMonigle
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Laguna Beach
WHAT HE DOES: President, Strada Properties
FAVORITE TRIP: "The market has been too hot to take a vacation"
ALTERNATive CAREER: Architect Tim Carr
AGE: 36 CITY OF RESIDE
NCE: Newport Beach
WHAT HE DOES: CFO, Strada Properties
FAMILY: Married; one child FAVORITE TRIP: Fiji
ALTERNATivE CAREER: Bad musician John McMonigle AGE: 37
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Newport Beach
WHAT HE DOES: Founding partner, Strada Properties
FAMILY: Married; three childrenn FAVORITE TRIP: Paris
ALTERNATivE CAREER: Public service/politics
The roots of any successful company grow toward a strong desire to exceed the expectations of both customers and employees. By developing the right philosophy, successful companies attract and keep customers because the staff shares the vision of the founders and has equity in the company's achievements
For Steve High, Tim Carr and John McMonigle of 2-year-old Strada Properties, getting the right price for a home may be the footnote to all of the effort that precedes it. Whether it's careful screening of their 130-plus agents or becoming the first real estate brokerage to put a computer with a common server on the desk of each agent, Strada has reached for the stars and has recently passed the moon.
How hot is Strada? In 2001, Strada's average home selling price was $1.089 million. As of Sept. 1, Strada has opened and/or closed 798 transactions - almost 60 percent above the entire year 2001 - and the company is on track to exceed $1 billion in sales in 2002. Strada's agents consistently rank in the top 5 percent of the market by serving well the coastal Orange County real estate market from San Clemente to Huntington Beach.
"We wanted to be the best in our industry," says High, "and from the moment that we started the company, the most important things were client service plus attracting the best agents and focusing them to help us become the best real estate brokerage company in Orange County." High also points to Strada's stellar advertising and marketing efforts to help create the image they needed to attract the high-end homes they targeted.
A Strada advantage has been the development of that in-house advertising and marketing firm, The Strada Studio. The in-house element enables Strada to precisely control the look and feel of all of their marketing and sales materials so each conforms to a consistent presentation in the marketplace.
Those images can be deceiving anywhere but at Strada where High, Carr and McMonigle walk the walk in lockstep toward higher and higher goals. "Our goal is to take the best agents in the community, pool them together with the best marketing and the best service and we've been pretty successful," says Carr.
"Clients have come to expect more out of us and the amount of professionalism that is required of us is so much more than it was 15 years ago," says High. "Now you see people with really strong educational backgrounds and work experience coming into real estate. When I first got in the business it was a lot of housewives and part-timers that were doing this but it's a real professional business. We want our agents to be the strongest ones out there technically because our clients expect it. Everything is the information age now - they want to know and they want to know quickly and that is what has separated our company from the others."
John McMonigle, Strada's most recent entry in the annual "Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate," confirms that what makes Strada so unique and so successful is its people. "So much is happening here. Deals are made in the hallway and there is almost this feeling like you can't miss a day or you'll miss something exciting." OCM - By Steve Smith
Rock promoter/manager/event planner
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Fullerton FAMILY: Single
FAVORITE TRIP: To Tuscany where she stayed in a 1,000-year-old castle
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Doing music supervision for film
Rock promoter Linda Jemison says she has the best job in the world. Her biggest thrill comes from "discovering new talent and bringing it out to the masses." Through Linda's Doll Hut, the legendary Anaheim rock 'n' roll club she owned for more than a decade, Jemison helped launch the careers of Weezer, Offspring, Social Distortion and other groups that have gone on to fame and fortune. Besides putting on music shows, Jemison plans corporate events and manages the up-and-coming band Wonderlove. Born and reared in Anaheim, Jemison started studying record engineering and producing at Golden West College while still in high school.
"I knew where I wanted to go right out of the gate," she says. Jemison honed her P.R. skills working for two nonprofit organizations after college. At the American Lung Association, she worked her way up from office girl to head of direct mail fund-raising in one year. In 1989, she and a partner bought the Doll House Tavern on Manchester Boulevard just north of Disneyland with the intention of developing it as a venue for local musicians.
"There was no place around for local bands to play and be treated fairly," Jemison says. "I was a drummer in a band as a teen-ager and playing in local clubs was terrible. We were constantly mistreated and taken advantage of. A lot of promoters in the 1980s - and today - are very greedy. They cheat bands out of money and even charge them to play in their venues. A lot of them look at music promotion as a fast, easy score, not as a career.
"I wanted to turn it around and set a new standard for promoters."
The ethic of enlightened altruism that Jemison began to develop while working for nonprofit organizations is reflected in the name of her company, Guardian Angel Entertainment. During her ownership of Linda's Doll Hut - the name change occurred after she and her partner split up - every weekend in December was devoted to fund-raising events for local charities. She continues to organize benefit shows and also advises scores of local bands on a pro-bono basis. "
The biggest part of my world is trying to give something back," she says of her work with struggling bands. "I know they need to be educated and guided and I like passing on knowledge."
After 12 successful years - not just putting on shows to make money but building relationships with bands, managers and record companies - Jemison sold her club in 2001. "It was time to move on in my career," she says. "I had made a lot of great contacts in the music business and I wanted to try new things." Her first venture was Linda's Stargazer Lounge at the Grove of Anaheim, a courtyard club intended to bring in its own audience to hear local bands and to keep the Grove's audience on the premises for a while after the main shows.
"I brought the Doll Hut crowd into that venue," Jemison says. "It worked well."
Recently, Jemison was hired as talent buyer for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. "I book local and touring bands to perform one hour prior to game time just outside the main entrance. The bands get to play in front of 10,000-15,000 people and they get free advertising in the program as well as getting paid." Jemison has organized corporate events for Reprise Records and other companies. "I love doing corporate event planning," she says. "Getting a budget and an idea of what they want and then putting the whole thing together - Arnold Rachlis
Rabbi of University Synagogue
AGE: 53 CITY OF RESIDENCE: Irvine
FAMILY: Divorced with two sons, Adam, a junior at Brown University, and Michael, a junior at University High
FAVORITE TRIP: Journey to his father's ancestral village in Eastern Europe
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Politics
Rabbi Arnold "Arnie" Rachlis, spiritual leader of University Synagogue in Irvine and a former White House Fellow, rejected religion as a teen-ager. He couldn't reconcile the supernatural theology of Judaism as he knew it with his own intellectual integrity. It wasn't until he was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in English, that he heard the first faint voice of his calling.
"I had a very strong Jewish identity from my parents who were both immigrants (his mother escaped the Nazis but all 33 members of her extended family perished in the Holocaust), and I wanted to be in a helping profession, but it never occurred to me that I could be a rabbi," Rachlis says, sitting in his Irvine office surrounded by photographs of himself with various presidents of the United States. "Then I took a religious thought class and learned about Reconstructionism."
The newest of the four major branches of Judaism practiced in the U.S. - the others are Orthodox, Reform and Conservative - Reconstructionism has a liberal theology that allows for a modern understanding of divinity and embraces the equality of women and all people.
"It was a religion that allowed me to take my intellect along with me," Rachlis says. "It was too late to change my major, but I took more religious thought classes and by the time I graduated I had decided to go to rabbinical school."
After graduating in 1975, Rachlis went to Chicago where he built a congregation of 600 families virtually from scratch, became president of his national rabbinical organization as well as the youngest president ever of the powerful Chicago Board of Rabbis. He also hosted two television shows, "Of Cabbages and Kings" on ABC-TV, and "Hayom," a syndicated cable show on contemporary Jewish issues.
In the mid-'80s, he was one of 12 selected - out of 40,000 who applied - to be a White House Fellow. Rachlis says his year as a fellow was the most formative of his life. An ardent Democrat, he worked in the Reagan White House and at the State Department as a Senior Foreign Affairs Adviser.
"I worked on the Reagan-Brezhnev summit and got to see part of Iran-Contra unfold. As a fellow, you have a lot of access but not very much responsibility, so it was a great chance to observe and learn. I came away less partisan than when I arrived."
The fellowship gave Rachlis entree into the highest circles in the land, and for the past decade he and his family have been regulars at the Renaissance Weekend - formerly in Hilton Head, now in Charleston, S.C. - where Bill and Hillary Clinton gather with many of the nation's political, scientific, literary and artistic luminaries for five days of informal think-tanking and merrymaking. "The thing I am most grateful for about Renaissance Weekend is all the amazing people my kids have had a chance to meet and get to know," Rachlis says. "My best memory is of my oldest son Adam playing football on the beach with the president of the United States when he was 9 or 10 years old. I remember President Clinton rubbing his head and saying something like, 'Nice going, Adam!' As a child of immigrants, that was an extraordinary thing for me. It really reinforced my love of America."
Drawn by the need for another challenge, Rachlis left his Chicago congregation in 1991 and moved to Orange County to start a new synagogue. As in Chicago, he has built the congregation from a handful of people to 600 families.
"University Synagogue is the fastest-growing synagogue in Orange County," Rachlis says. "We have the highest attendance of any synagogue on Friday nights - more than 500 people last Friday night. We are building a new facility with room for much more growth. We will easily be at 800 families or more within a few years."
Rabbi Rachlis attributes the success of his synagogue to the quality of the members ("You know you are going to meet some of the most accomplished people in the Jewish community in Orange County"); the non-hierarchical social structure ("Hebrew speakers don't look down on non-Hebrew speakers; there are many interfaith couples"); creative worship services incorporating music, dance, meditation and storytelling; and a theology that makes room for many different beliefs and lifestyles.
"It is a very open and honest place. We don't ask people to come in and pretend to believe something they don't. There is no question that can't be asked. We make sure that everyone - young and old, rich and poor, gay or straight, theologically liberal or conservative - is part of the community. We are not perfect, but we do the important stuff well." OCM - By Steve Thomas
Business school professor at UCI
Age: 60 City of Residence: Irvine
Family: Wife Karen; four children ages 14-33
Favorite trip: Family train trip to Seattle
Alternative career: Retire as a greeter at Wal-Mart
Richard McKenzie is frustrated. Oh, don't misunderstand. The Walter B. Gerken Professor of Enterprise and Society at UCI's Graduate School of Management (GSM) is thrilled to be part of this list, although he points out, "I'm not even in the top 25 of my own family!" But here's the rub. McKenzie has developed a one-of-a-kind business course that delves extensively into the rise and fall of the Enron Corp., instantly synonymous these days with ethics, or lack thereof. While there has been a welcome flurry of media interest in this innovative course, he claims we're getting it all wrong.
"I've tried to tell the media it's NOT an ethics course. It's better than that," he protests.
"Telling students, 'Thou shalt not cook the books' doesn't take very long. What's important is not Enron or the scandal, but that we're analyzing the company from multiple perspectives: economics, journalism, accounting, finance, organizational strategy, business ethics and law."
Traditionally, most MBA programs study several different cases from only one discipline, like organizational behavior. But one of McKenzie's students suggested the reverse approach - to study one company from multiple disciplines - and the idea was born; the first class began eight weeks ago.
"The multi-disciplinary approach is rather unprecedented in graduate business programs across the country. Studying one case that's live, prominent and complex is something we should have been doing all along." Other universities are planning similar offerings as they realize the need to be both relevant and timely.
UCI students immediately recognized the value. Within 20 minutes of opening enrollment, all 55 available seats were filled, with 250 hopeful students on a waiting list. Not surprising, since McKenzie casts a very wide net, not only to GSM students, but to business executives and alumni as well, ranging in age from 24-55.
"The students are the real unheralded story. We usually don't mix full-time students with executives," explains McKenzie. "But imagine someone who's 24 being teamed with a CEO, or a vice president from Morgan Stanley. That's a bit unusual."
This five-week course was taught by professors and visiting lecturers, including a federal prosecutor, a defense attorney and an award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter who had access to major players in the Enron scandal.
The biggest draw was lecturer Sherron Watkins, the Enron executive-turned-overnight heroine, who dared to question Chairman Kenneth Lay about the company's shady financial dealings in a confidential e-mail that later became the cyber-shot heard around the world.
Of course, says McKenzie, ethical concerns will be broached. How could they not? Question is, can ethics courses instill a moral backbone in students before they enter corporate life?
"The evidence is mixed. Jeffrey Skilling, Enron's former CEO, had an ethics course at Harvard, and look what happened," says McKenzie, who also writes for Investor's Business Daily. "But it does raise a sexy accounting issue about when to count an expenditure as an expense or an asset. As you move from an industrial-era economy to a service-based economy, what you count becomes a real sticky issue and I plan to address that in a future column."
Will this extraordinary course be offered again? "We aren't likely to duplicate the Enron course since it's going to be old news soon. But the same multi-disciplinary model could be applied to Microsoft during and after the antitrust settlement," the professor suggests.
Given the stampede to register for the Enron course, and the overwhelmingly favorable response so far, the lines for McKenzie's next brainchild are probably already forming. OCM - By Lynn Armitage talent, food, venue and so forth. I can book any kind of entertainment, from rock or blues to jazz or comedy or even magic."
Jemison says the Orange County music scene is the most exciting it has been in a long time. She credits Martin Brown with Live Magazine and the Orange County Music Awards, and COOL radio, which gives top local bands generous airtime, with amping up the scene. "The chance to get on the radio and be in the awards shows has given bands more energy and ambition. There is a lot of talent out there that is finally getting discovered."
How is Jemison faring in the midst of the Orange County entertainment world as she pursues her expanding career? "I'm the happiest I have ever been in my life right now," she says. OCM - By Steve Thomas
Chairman and CEO, The Ruby Restaurant Group
City of residence: Laguna Beach Family: Wife Julie
Favorite trip: Prince Edward Island in Canada, where Cavanaugh found the former family farm that his great-grandfather farmed. The owner is still planting potatoes Alternative career: Creative director of marketing
It is about 312 walking steps along the Balboa Pier to an idea. Wedged between Lifeguard Station A and M, in sight of the Newport Beach Pier to the north and Dana Point to the south, the pier is home to anglers, seagulls, walkers, natives...and the first-ever Ruby's Diner. Doug Cavanaugh knows. He jogged those 300-something steps more than 20 years ago when this diner was an old bait shop. The then-26-year-old, new-to-the-restaurant-business guy, along with his Foothill-Tustin High School buddy, co-founder and CFO Ralph Kosmides, saw potential. They thought Ruby's - named after Cavanaugh's mother - would be an interesting "hobby." The 35-seat diner, opened in December 1982, rang up $700,000 in sales ($63 on day one), on a first-year projection of $150,000. They quickly realized something was clicking, that this idea of a clean, 1940s nostalgic idea with Coke posters and swing and Big Band music, with good food rather than the greasy stuff, could be portable, expandable, regional, even national. The family diner theme took off.
The privately held Newport Beach-based restaurant company celebrates its 20th anniversary this Dec. 7. It will do a record $75 million in sales this year amid a grand plan to expand from 38 restaurants (15 in Orange County) in seven states to nearly 100 in five years across the country.
"You need good food and good service," says Cavanaugh, perhaps best described as a practical CEO who understands that with passion comes the details.
"Otherwise, you lose it all. This company is truly a restaurant company. Obviously, we're in it to make money, but it's become more than that. It's become a living thing."
When the Cavanaughs moved to Tustin in 1968, the youngster spent many days of his first Orange County summer at Disneyland as the family lived in a friend's motel across the street from the park while their new home was being built. "The Disney standard got emblazoned in my brain."
Cavanaugh, in his numerous visits, noted the Disney way - cleanliness, orderliness, service. That impression paid off. Ruby's is a carbon copy, in many ways, of the impression one has walking down Disneyland's Main Street.
On an early morning a few days ago, as Cavanaugh arrives for breakfast at the original Ruby's, he fleshes out his thoughts: "So much is tied to this location. The beginning of the company, how my father helped us build this restaurant. So this is like a handmade boat."
The senior Cavanaugh, a developer, saw the fruits of this first venture. He died two months after opening day, in February 1983.
The work of his son had just begun. Ruby's Diner is undertaking its biggest expansion push with plans for 60 new restaurants in the next five years, with a particular focus in Colorado and Washington. Most will be franchised as the company tests its magic in a truly national way. Can Ruby's be all-American as it has been a Southern California phenomenon? Cavanaugh believes so.
He notes that restaurant failures are part jumping in and part losing focus.
"It's one of the easiest businesses to get into. But it's a game of nickels and dimes, with tight margins. You need tight controls. There are a lot of moving parts in this business."
Perhaps it is an ability to accept mistakes and move on. "Ralph and I look at each other and ask, 'When do we have to stop learning lessons?'"
Among the business lessons in this most difficult of businesses: "Be relentless in the quality of our food," continually tweak the brand (a new menu is due out in January), hire people who understand that service is the mission, match up well with franchisees, and don't "lose your soul."
"Over the next 10 years," Cavanaugh says with directness, "we hope to make Ruby's a national brand." OCM - By Craig Reem
Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Leading African novelist, playwright and dissident is now a distinguished professor at UC Irvine
4 CITY OF RESIDENCE: Irvine
FAMILY: Wife Njeeri; daughter Mumbi, 8, and son Thiong'o, 7, and four grown children from a prior relationship
FAVORITE TRIP: A green place, full of flowers in different shapes and colors
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Mathematician or physicist
That Ngugi wa Thiong'o now makes his home in Irvine is a testimony to the growing cosmopolitan nature of Orange County and the turmoil of the modern world. It's rare when a single person is both an acclaimed artist (in this case a novelist and playwright) and a leading scholar. But when you listen to Ngugi's life story it is all one piece.
Born in Kenya just before the Second World War, Ngugi (the n is silent) came of age during the last days of the British Empire. In Kenya, the Mau Mau rebellion paved the way for independence in the early '60s and the presidency of Jomo Kenyatta. Born in a large peasant family, Ngugi grew up speaking Gikuyu - the local tribal tongue - before excelling at English in secondary school. After finishing his education in England at Leeds University, Ngugi began writing plays and novels - often with a political message.
His 1977 novel, "Petals of Blood," was a searing portrait of life in neo-colonial Kenya. The Sunday Times of London described the novel as exploring all the shapes, forms and colors power could take. Enjoying critical acclaim and a teaching career at the University of Nairobi, Ngugi's life suddenly plunged down a dark alley when his play "Ngaahika Ndeenda" ("I Will Marry When I Want") was performed in Gikuyu in an open air theater in Limuru, west of Niarobi. Like his other work this play was sharply critical of the inequalities in Kenya but "the powers that be" decided that this drama cut too close to the bone because Ngugi was now communicating with average Kenyans in the local language of the most powerful tribe - the Kikuyu.
Arrested without charges or a trial, Ngugi's new home was cell No. 16 of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, where he remained in solitary confinement from December 1977 to December 1978. Released after protests from Amnesty International and the death of President Kenyatta, Ngugi says that the new president, Daniel Arap Moi - who remains president today - "released the political prisoners so that the prisons were cleared for his own people."
While in prison, Ngugi began to think about the relationship between African languages and English. He says, "I decided that from then on I would write in Gikuyu." And he did, secretly writing a novel, "Devil on the Cross," on toilet paper. Several years after he was released from jail, Ngugi again tried to put on theater for local audiences in local languages and again Kenyan authorities ("Moi's thugs") razed the structure. When Ngugi traveled to England in 1982, he was warned that he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned. This was no idle threat; since independence in 1963, scores of political opponents and critics of the Kenyatta-Moi regime have been assassinated. Politics can be a rough business in nations without democratic norms.
Living the life of a dissident intellectual in exile, Ngugi first taught in the United Kingdom and then came to the United States. In the late '80s, he taught at Yale University and published a groundbreaking book, "Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature," on the importance of marginalized languages in the modern world. Living and teaching in New York for a decade at NYU, he has now joined the UC Irvine faculty as the director of the International Center for Writing and Translation as well as a distinguished professor of English and Comparative Literature.
Prof. Karen Lawrence, the university's dean of humanities, says, "Ngugi wa Thiong'o is a major writer and public intellectual who has helped shape crucial debates about language, culture, society and politics. He is one of the founders of modern African literature and an important theorist of postcoloniality." The new International Center for Writing and Translation was inaugurated in a two-day celebration in April attended by Wole Soyinka, the 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature; Bei Ling, distinguished Chinese poet and publisher; and Jacques Derrida, the Algerian-born French philosopher and writer. Ngugi says his goal at the center is to "give visiblity to genius even in the most marginalized languages."
In the next few months, Ngugi will publish "The Wizard of the Crow," a 1,200-page epic that will be the longest African novel ever published. It will be published first in Gikuyu, then in Swahili and English (Knopf).
Ngugi says, "I was possessed unlike anything I have ever written. I wrote every day from May 1997 to May 2002. When I was done my wife said, 'Congratulations, now can we go to the cinema?'" The novel, an ambitious Homeric narrative that crisscrosses the world from East Africa to India to New York, could be a major book. One early reviewer writes, "The novel's aspiration [is] to give narrative voice and symbolic life to the experiences of those at the periphery, those who speak from the margins of what is often so glibly referred to as globalization."
UC Irvine has won several Nobel Prizes in the hard sciences. It is, of course, impossible to predict, but Ngugi wa Thiong'o could someday win the Nobel Prize in Literature. His reputation continues to grow. OCM - By Kevin O'Leary
Brings world-class exhibits to Bowers Museum
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Huntington Beach
FAMILY: Husband Danny; son James, daughter Linda
FAVORITE TRIP: China/Tibet
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: An artist
Bowers Museum President Peter Keller has a secret weapon he uses when he wants to bring never-before-seen exhibitions to his renowned facility in Santa Ana. That weapon is Anne Shih. She may not be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, but this superwoman of culture crisscrosses continents in search of rare and exotic works of art and historic artifacts that have never been seen outside the country of origin - and often not even within the country.
The current Bowers exhibition, "Symbols of Power: Masterpieces from the Nanjing Museum," is an example of diplomatic negotiating skills. Many of the 260 objects (some dating back 5,000 years) have never been shown before and include bronze, ancient currency, fine porcelain, religious objects, paintings, clothing, court objects, jewelry, and other items that trace the history of China. How did Shih persuade the Nanjing Museum to part with its treasures?
Shih, a modest woman who sits on the Bowers Board of Governors, is reluctant to take full credit for her efforts, although Keller praises her as the ultimate "culture broker." Her persuasive nature and love of art helped her convince Nanjing museum officials to not only lend the Bowers a few prized items, but to co-organize the exhibit. Of course, it helped that Shih had previous experience dealing with China. She took eight trips to China in the span of five years to secure the Bower Museum's highly acclaimed 2000 exhibit, "Secrets of the Forbidden City: Splendors from China's Imperial Palace," which just completed a multi-city tour of the United States as a Bowers Museum presentation.
Shih was instrumental in securing a jade exhibition from her native Taiwan in the mid-1990s, and helped bring an Egyptian exhibit to the Bowers several years later. Shih spent many weeks in China last year (including her September trip when she was stuck in that country for a week following the 9-11 attacks) to complete the organization of the current exhibit, but Shih is not stopping there. She has been spending time in Tibet working on organizing an exhibit of Tibetan artifacts, the next in what she hopes is a long line of exhibits that brings the mysteries of the Far East to the Western civilization.
"I am always working on the next exhibit," says Shih. "I have to carry a tank of oxygen in Tibet because of the altitude, but I love the people there. I feel so special when I am there. I cannot think of anything else I would want to do. My passion is the Bowers. If I don't work here, I feel so sorry. I love it."
Anne Shih is one secret weapon that, while no longer quite so secret, is certainly a powerful player on the international museum scene. OCM - By Christopher Trela
Sheriff of Orange County
City of Residence: Orange
Family: Wife Debbie; son Matthew, 12
Favorite trip: Family trip to Yellowstone National Park
Alternative career: Statewide elected office of some kind
Sheriffs aren't supposed to be as nice as Michael Carona. In our mind's eye, they're iron-tough guys in long, dusty overcoats, with nasty tempers or steely reserves, poised for the draw. Carona, however, breaks the mold as Orange County's two-term sheriff. In four short years, Carona has forged a reputation with his posse as a worthy, innovative leader and all-around "nice guy." The only ones who should fear him are those running against him, which could explain why he was unopposed in this year's election. And, of course, those running away from him.
This nice guy doesn't finish last. Approachable, affable and with a touch of aw shucks charisma, Carona has elevated Orange County to premier status as the safest county in the country. And people are taking notice. The right people, like President Bush and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, are borrowing many of the visionary ideas for our nation's security from a terrorism response plan Carona and his team drafted and already had in place long before 9-11.
In fact, the sheriff considers homeland security his greatest accomplishment so far. "Orange County was light years ahead in developing a response plan to terrorism. To be asked to share our blueprint with the rest of the nation is a huge pat on the back for the forward-thinking men and women who conceived it." He has become a Larry King-type expert, appearing on national newscasts to discuss child abductions and the sniper shootings back East.
Carona's toughest moment was his very personal and televised involvement in the kidnapping case of Samantha Runnion, the 5-year-old Stanton girl who was abducted in broad daylight by a stranger and later found murdered. The tragedy continues to break his heart.
"We moved so quickly when we got the call, we believed we'd find Samantha alive. We were all destroyed when we didn't. Although we ran a good operation and caught the bad guy, we didn't bring a little girl home safely."
We learned a lot about Carona through Samantha's story and the national media attention. He showed us what it was like to be human; that real strength doesn't come from handcuffing criminals but from the heart. And most important, it's not a good idea to anger a lawman who is also a father.
Four days after finding Samantha, investigators made an arrest, for which Carona credits the media. "Engaging the media to hunt criminals is counter-intuitive to law enforcement. But it worked tremendously well."
A maverick at heart, Carona has been stepping outside established boundaries since he first took office, pushing groundbreaking programs through his half-billion-dollar budget - ideas that aren't always embraced by colleagues. Consider his drug treatment program, one of few therapeutic jail communities in America.
"Einstein said, 'If you continue to do the same thing over again and expect different results, you're insane.' So we're tweaking the process, and people's lives are being turned around. Recidivism rates in Orange County for drug-addicted offenders have plummeted from 60-80 percent to 2 percent as a direct result of this treatment program."
His long-term vision? "To be the best-run law enforcement agency in America." He sits up two inches taller. "We're solving cases already that people say we can't. We want to be a leader across the board with safe communities and the lowest crime rates, and we'll accomplish this one day at a time." Explains a deputy: "I love working for Mike. He's a great supervisor and such a nice man, too." OCM - By Lynn Armitage
UC Irvine distinguished professor and forensic memory expert
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Irvine
FAVORITE TRIP: Traveling to the Hague to testify in a Bosnian war crime trial
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Private eye
Elizabeth Loftus is both revered and despised for her work exploring the nature and reliability of memory, especially so-called repressed memories of sexual abuse. According to a profile in Psychology Today, she "has been called a whore by a prosecutor in a courthouse hallway [and] assaulted by a passenger on an airplane shouting, 'You're that woman!'" At the same time, she has appeared as a savior to people wrongly accused of horrendous crimes.
"My views are controversial," says Loftus. "I go against the politically correct. I believe that sometimes the sex abuse didn't happen and accusations are false. Just because someone has a memory of something does not mean that the event actually happened. A lot of people don't like that opinion."
The schizophrenic perception of Loftus' work extends into academia. She recently left the University of Washington, after an exceptionally productive 27-year career there, in large part because university officials accused her of unethical behavior and seized some of her files. Under investigative journalist norms, her behavior would have never been questioned, but in the sometimes-PC world of campus politics other values can trump the search for truth. The far more prevalent side of academic opinion regarding Loftus is shown by the fact that UC Irvine jumped at the chance to acquire her talents when they became available, hiring her in September as a distinguished professor - the highest UC faculty rank - in the school of Social Ecology.
"We are extremely proud to have Elizabeth Loftus join our faculty," says Dean C. Ronald Huff. "A world-class scholar who has been widely recruited [she previously turned down recruitment offers from Harvard] and received many honors, she will add tremendously to our growing expertise in the areas of psychology and law."
Loftus, who was educated at UCLA and Stanford, has published more than 250 articles and 20 books, many of which have gone through multiple editions and been published in other languages. She is one of the 25 psychologists most frequently cited in introductory psychology textbooks. In April, the Review of General Psychology named her one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, along with luminaries such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, B.F. Skinner and Jean Piaget.
Employing bedrock solid science in studies involving more than 20,000 subjects, Loftus has shown that memory is highly malleable - that eyewitness testimony is not necessarily reliable and that false memories can be implanted in people's minds by various forms of suggestion. She has applied her science in the real world by serving as an expert witness in some of the most explosive court cases in modern times.
"I was doing very theoretical work in graduate school and right after I got out, looking at how information is organized in long-term memory," Loftus says. "It was stuff that maybe five other people in the world would care deeply about and I wanted to do something with more social relevance. So I settled into studying the memory of witnesses."
In her early work, Loftus showed people films of staged auto accidents and then planted small bits of false information with the questions she asked about their recollections. Later, when she asked them about the specific detail she was focused on, many people "remembered" what she had subtly suggested, not what they had actually seen - a stop sign became a yield sign, for instance.
Her discoveries led to recognition of what is now called the "misinformation effect," a basic principle of modern psychology.
The next stage of her work led to another fundamental psychological revelation known as the "lost in the mall syndrome."
"We found that we could create entirely false childhood memories," Loftus says. Through suggestive techniques and the use of the subject's own imagination, Loftus and her colleagues were able to get 25 percent of the people they studied not just to believe that they had been lost in a mall as a child but to actually remember the experience in detail. Loftus believes that therapists sometimes implant similarly artificial memories of sexual abuse in their patients.
"In a typical case, a young woman goes into therapy with a problem - an eating disorder or low self-esteem or sexual dysfunction - and the therapist says, 'You know, everybody I've seen with those symptoms was sexually abused as a child. Maybe something like that happened to you.' Even when the patient denies it, the therapist may press the point because they have a sex abuse agenda."
Her testimony about the unreliability of repressed memory has helped free a number of people falsely accused of sexual abuse. It also helped California businessman Gary Ramona win a half million-dollar judgment against his daughter's therapist for planting false memories in her mind.
"I feel very good when I get to work on behalf of someone I believe is innocent," Loftus says. "Ordinarily, it doesn't matter too much if there are some errors in memory. But when someone's freedom is at stake, it matters."
Loftus also testifies in other types of court cases in which fate turns on the reliability of memory.
Despite the controversy that helped bring her here, Loftus is delighted to be back in Southern California where she grew up. Like everyone else, she loves the weather, which is much sunnier than overcast Seattle.
"I have my computer at home and at work set up so that the first thing I see on the screen is the weather. I see a sunny face over Orange County and a cloudy, drizzly thing over Seattle. I look forward to seeing those two symbols for many years to come!"
As a distinguished professor, Loftus will teach one class per quarter at UCI, devoting most of her time to research.
"There is an extraordinary collection of psychologists at UCI and I am looking forward to some wonderful mental stimulation and collaboration with my colleagues in various departments."
Loftus' presence at the university also will serve as a draw to help recruit the brightest psychology graduate students and other eminent faculty. OCM - By Steve Thomas
Head of Homeland Security for California
AGE: 48 CITY OF RESIDENCE: Sacramento
WHAT HE DOES: FAMILY: Engaged
FAVORITE TRIP: Florida Keys
ALTERNATivE CAREER: Doctor To anyone who does not live here, laid-back Orange County would seem to be the last place in California to cultivate the state's top terrorist cop. After all, what kind of terrorist training could possibly have occurred working for seven years for the Orange Police Department?
If you are self-starting crime buster Ed Manavian, location is irrelevant.
Manavian left the Orange Police Department in 1984 to join the state's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, which proved to be just the training he needed for his new role.
As head of the year-old California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) - operating under the state attorney general's office - Manavian oversees a crew of 44 agents and support staff not just following terrorism leads, but trying to stop attacks before they occur. "When we started, everybody stepped in and understood what had to be done," he says. "We were using existing intelligence sharing systems that we had on the narcotics side of the house - that's where my background is - and figured that if those systems worked for narcotics organizations they should work for terrorist organizations. We're finding that to be true. We didn't have to reinvent the wheel, we didn't have to go out and find another system, we just added another block for terrorism and went to work."
Manavian's work has even received national recognition. "Right now, we're in a special project with the New York Police Department and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The DIA came to us back in May to start this project because they recognized that California was the only state that was up and running with investigators and a network setup so that information could be shared using a secure network. No one else had that. We were selected along with the NYPD to be the model."
For Manavian, the mission is clear. "The biggest goal of the CATIC is to make sure we have the process to get information from officers in the field and detectives who run across things so that they have a place to put that information to have someone follow it up. Most police departments do not have the resources to follow up on a lot of things. CATIC is here to support agencies that don't have intelligence capabilities within their departments.
"The best advice is to do what President Bush has been saying all along. We have go be vigilant, we have to be alert and if we see anything suspicious to call local a local police department. That's how cases are going to made."
That's a hot tip. OCM - By Steve Smith
Linda & Loretta Sanchez
Congressional Sister Act
Linda Sanchez Age: 33
Family: Married to Mark Valentine, no children, one English sheep dog
City of residence: Lakewood What she does: Labor leader, candidate in 39th congressional district Favorite trip: Childhood trips to Mexico Alternative career: Teaching
Loretta Sanchez Age: 42
Family: Married to Stephen Brixey, no children, one overweight Persian cat
City of residence: Santa Ana What she does: Congresswoman, 46th district
Favorite trip: Touring Tierra del Fuego in Chile's Patagonia region
Alternative career: "An astronaut, so I could find a cure for a rare disease in zero gravity"
Move over Whoopi Goldberg - Orange County is about to come into possession of the most famous sister act in the nation. If Linda Sanchez wins her congressional race in the newly created 39th district - as most observers believe she will - and joins her sister Loretta on Capitol Hill, they will be not just the first sisters but the first closely related women of any sort ever to serve in Congress together.
"With men, there have been brothers serving together, fathers and sons, uncles and nephews but, if we both win, we will be the first two related women to be there at the same time," says Linda. That historic breakthrough and the fact the sisters are both young Latinas all but guarantees a publicity storm in Washington and around the country when they walk up the capitol steps arm-in-arm for the first time.
Even though the heavily Latino 39th district is in Los Angeles County - including all or parts of Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Cerritos, La Mirada, Whittier and several other cities near the O.C. border, Orange County has a solid claim to the celebrated sisters who were reared and schooled in Anaheim.
Loretta's 46th district includes Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana. She burst onto the political scene in the fall of 1996 when she mowed down six-term right-wing Republican Bob Dornan, establishing a Democratic foothold in the heart of a county long known for its conservative bent. She went on to power and prominence during the second Clinton Administration, serving as co-chair of the Democratic National Committee during her second term in congress and emerging as a world-class fund-raiser with the ability to fill her own coffers and help other Democratic candidates around the country fill theirs. Hard work on traditional Democratic issues such as education and attention to constituent needs rapidly expanded her powerbase among white as well as Latino voters. During the current election cycle she was unchallenged in the primary. Even though her political success helped inspire her sister's bid for office, Loretta was surprised when Linda told her she planned to run.
"I was a little shocked, to tell you the truth. But then she went into this whole list of things about why she was running and how she was going to win and she quickly won me over.
"Probably the biggest way I've helped her is by raising money. I have a number of donors who are excited about having her in Congress and we have raised several hundred thousand dollars for her campaign. I have done some events with her and walked the district with her. And I've given her some ideas about policies and issues."
Loretta has mentored Linda since she was child. "In a lot of respects, she was like a second mom," Linda says of her big sister. "She took a real interest in me and exposed me to things my parents weren't in a position to expose me to. I remember her taking me to the ballet, for instance. That was a realm my parents weren't familiar with. When it came time to go to college, she told me which were the best schools and helped me fill out the applications."
After earning an undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and going to law school at UCLA, Linda became a civil rights lawyer and then a top labor leader, taking over as head of the AFL-CIO in Orange County in 2000. After a successful tenure, during which Orange County janitors and in-home assistance workers were unionized, she resigned from her labor job in December 2001 to campaign full time.
"I decided to run in August 2000 as I saw the names of the people who were emerging as candidates to represent the new district in Congress. Initially there was a pause when I called Loretta and told her my decision. Then she started asking me the same questions she would ask any candidate - 'Why do you want to run? What is your strategy to win? How are you going to raise the money you will need?' Once I answered those questions she became very supportive. She has been a tremendous asset in my campaign."
In March, Linda won a tough six-way race for the Democratic nomination, beating her nearest rival by about 1,000 votes. Since then, she has run a strong general election campaign against Republican Tim Escobar and Libertarian Richard C. Newhouse.
If elected, Linda plans to work for job creation, increased federal spending on education and increased access to health care.
"Unemployment is as high as 12 percent in some of the cities in the district and schools are very overcrowded. South Gate Middle School has 4,000 students! Many part-time and even full-time workers have no access to health coverage through their jobs and can't afford to purchase coverage on their own. Many children and elderly are unserved.
"It is a working-class district and I come from a working-class family and those are the issues I am focused on."
Linda's issues are similar to Loretta's issues and Loretta says she will be glad to have another colleague on the hill to help fight for the Democratic agenda. But she also says having her sister in Congress is more exciting to her than having another Democrat in the House. "
I would probably support her even if she was running as a Republican," Loretta says. "Blood is thicker than water." OCM - By Steve Thomas
Marketing whiz behind Roxy
AGE: 46 RESIDENCE: Laguna Beach
FAMILY: Wife Debbie; 12-year-old daughter Ali
FAVORITE TRIP: Fiji
ALTERNATivE CAREER: Memorabilia collector
Huntington Beach-based Roxy is one of the strongest brands ever to come out of Orange County. What started as an afterthought of a girls' swimwear line at Quiksilver in the early 1990s has grown to dominate the market it created: surf lifestyle clothing and accessories for girls and young women.
Like many great ideas, today the concept of an authentic girls' surf line seems so obvious, the need and opportunity so clear. That wasn't the case when Randy Hild came to Quiksilver in 1992 as part of the company's purchase of the Raisins swimwear brand. That year Roxy did approximately $1 million in volume. This year it will surpass $150 million and is predicted to overtake the volume of Quiksilver's men's line within a season or two. A combination of factors led to the success, and Hild is one of them.
Prior to hiring Hild, there was no separate team working on women's lines at Quiksilver. "Bob McKnight, the founder and CEO of Quiksilver, decided to bring people in who understand women and the market to try and get Roxy off the ground," Hild says. "I started overseeing Roxy as brand manager, all aspects of the brand." At the time men's and women's lines were handled by the same people. Hild brought in separate reps, separate designers, a separate marketing team. He built a company within the company.
"My job was to build an image and a brand and a marketing package with Roxy. I wanted people who were thinking it, living it, breathing it. That meant bringing in a whole network of women's-only reps who were passionate about the product, intuitive and part of the surf culture."
Once the structure was in place to take advantage of Quicksilver's financial, design and systems advantages, the line needed a product. That product was boardshorts for girls, the product that drove the success of the company while encouraging and empowering girls to be athletic in the ocean. With boardshorts they could surf comfortably and athletically without worrying about their bikini bottoms.
"It happened in Hawaii. Specifically, on the beach, on the North Shore during a contest," Hild says. "Bob McKnight was sitting there and he saw girls wearing guys' boardshorts. We knew girls had been buying Quiksilver guys' shorts in small sizes. It kind of all came together. Bob said, 'Why don't we do boardshorts for girls.' Then it came to me; my job was to implement it."
It was a case of great timing coupled with smart moves. Quiksilver brought in world champion professional surfer Lisa Andersen to help with the design and to promote the shorts. Lissa Zwahlen created innovative designs. Hild hired models who surfed to promote the clothes. Innovative ad campaigns caught the eye of the consumer. Fashion magazine editors gave enthusiastic editorial coverage after Hild held fashion shows in New York.
"The whole package came together. We had the boardshorts and Lisa Andersen at the same time that Baby Boomers' kids were entering their teen years and becoming significant consumers. Quiksilver was behind it with the structure, funding and systems already in place. All those things came together to create this trend which we're still kind of chasing."
The rest is history. Today there is a Roxy cult. The logo sticker of two hearts is everywhere. Whether they wear it or not, there's not a girl in Orange County between the ages of 12-20 who doesn't know the brand. That's a tremendous marketing accomplishment in just a few years. But Hild, who is senior vice president of marketing for all of the 11 Quiksilver brands (including Raisins), isn't done. He's going global.
Hild sees Roxy as having global brand potential, citing Asia, Europe (especially Eastern Europe) and Australia as key markets. The key, he says, is "to stay authentic and connected to the lifestyle of surfing. That is the unique thing we captured. Instead of us having to make up an identity and lifestyle like most of the other fashion brands - Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch come to mind - Roxy supports a lifestyle that exists: the California beach lifestyle.
"We have this lifestyle of girls who really surf, who are really in the water. It's unique, it's authentic and it's pure. That's the foundation of Quiksilver and it's the foundation of Roxy. It's an authentic lifestyle we project, a living style that's uniquely Southern Californian."
Keeping it authentic locally while growing globally is the next challenge. "Being a public company we've got to grow; Wall Street kind of demands it. But we've also got the tremendous need to maintain the roots. Those are the two mantras. They're kind of yin and yang, opposites of each other. It's the challenge and the job we're given, to maintain the careful balance between the two.
"We have a global opportunity. We have two stores in Moscow. But we certainly haven't penetrated the Russian market yet. There's an opportunity for the industry to grow and permeate markets that aren't necessarily connected with an ocean."
If the concept of girls in Moscow wearing Roxy seems strange, keep in mind how urban brands have spread fashion and lifestyle far from the urban streets where they began. Orange County fashion history includes many forgotten brands that grew too quickly only to lose their core audience and quickly lose relevance. "We worry about that every day with every decision we make," Hild says. "Is it authentic and real, and is the person at the beach going to relate to it and be inspired by it?
"The global youth market can be inspired by the California lifestyle," Hild says. "As long as you do it with integrity and don't try and be something you're not. The California beach lifestyle is healthy and real. We're going to take it to the world and share it." OCM - By James Reed
Founder/president of Canning Hunger
AGE: 59 CITY OF RESIDENCE: Brea
FAMILY: Wife Judi; three children
FAVORITE TRIP: Camping, fishing and waterskiing with friends and family at Trinity Lake in Northern California
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Owner/operator of a fishing lodge Norm Whan quickly did the math as he peered down at the 50 pounds of food he and his brother, Rocky, had collected 10 years ago from neighbors on his street. "If there had been 10 of us, we would have had 500 pounds. And if there had been 100 of us, we would have had 5,000 pounds," he envisioned. His dream has since become a reality. Today, Whan is joined by 100,000 people across the U.S. in his efforts to relieve hunger. More than 11,000 of those live in Orange County.
The 59-year-old is president of Canning Hunger, a Brea-based nonprofit agency that is dedicated to filling in the gap between the food currently available and what is still needed to end hunger in America.
"I wanted to find the other billion pounds of food. And that's when I discovered that people who have food are willing to share it with people who need food if you make it convenient for them," he says. "All I had to do was come up with a system to get it."
His strategy, which expands upon his own success, involves regular neighborhood food collections. One person, for example, can collect 100 pounds of food per year simply by volunteering 90 minutes to visit 25 neighbors four times a year. Using this approach, the organization provided approximately $52 million worth of goods and services last year to food banks and other agencies that serve the hungry, $12 million of which went to Orange County.
"One of our greatest obstacles in ending hunger is getting people to believe that there is hunger in this country," says Whan, who earned the top award of $50,000 earlier this year at the 45th annual Disneyland Resort Community Services Awards on behalf of Canning Hunger. "A lot of people think the hunger issue is a homeless issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. The homeless only make up 4 percent of the hunger issue. Over 80 percent of the hunger issue is made up of the working poor."
According to statistics from the Second Harvest Food Bank, 32 million people in the United States go to bed hungry on a regular basis. Of those, 400,000 live in Orange County. The majority of each group are children and seniors.
Whan, who recruits, trains and equips Christian volunteers to help reduce these numbers, still has a way to go before he reaches his goal. Three million volunteers and 1 billion pounds of food are needed each year to fill the gap.
Sound lofty? Consider, then, just one of his available avenues: churches. Not only do these entities offer a large volunteer base, they serve as a place of familiar ground. His working relationship with Mission America and its Lighthouse Ministries alone makes his goal an obtainable one. The organization represents nearly 200,000 churches and 150 para-church organizations with combined memberships of more than 100 million people.
Whan, who initially moved from Illinois to Orange County in 1959 with the idea of striking it rich, says, "It's way more of a blessing to give than it is to get. I really have discovered that over the years. Serving people who can't serve themselves is something we need to get way more committed to." OCM - By Sandy Bennett
Dr. Tom Amberry
World's greatest free-throw shooter
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Leisure World in Seal Beach
FAMILY: Wife Helen; four sons, nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren
FAVORITE TRIP: Chicago (to coach the Chicago Bulls in free throws)
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Nothing - this is it
If Shaquille O'Neal could do what Tom Amberry does, he'd never get fouled again. Amberry, who turns 80 on Nov. 13, has the uncanny ability to shoot free throws with an accuracy of 99.5 percent, a feat most basketball players only dream about. Amberry is not a born athlete. He's a retired podiatrist who took up basketball 10 years ago and discovered a fool-proof method for putting a basketball through a hoop.
In 1993 at age 71, Amberry - a resident of Leisure World in Seal Beach - stepped up to the free-throw line at a local gym and proceeded to sink 2,750 free throws in a row. He had to stop after 12 hours - the gym was closing and they asked him to leave. That feat was witnessed by 10 people who submitted sworn affidavits to the Guinness Book of Records. Amberry is now listed as the greatest free-throw shooter of all time. Once his prowess with the basketball was established, Amberry found himself in demand as a free-throw coach and motivational speaker. He has appeared on local and national TV shows, and has had many "shoot outs" against NBA players. He has never lost.
Amberry now coaches the Chicago Bulls on free throws, and has his own book and video available for sale (on his website at www.freethrow.com) to anyone who wants to improve their free throw skills. And when he's not on the road giving a speech or coaching players, he shoots 500 free throws a day - and usually makes them all.
"It's as easy to miss them as it is to make them," says Amberry. "Everyone knows how to shoot free throws, but not everyone can make them. Free-throw shooting is a lot like putting in golf. You have to separate it from the rest of the game. I use a one-handed method like everyone else, but it's the pre-shot workup that's the most important thing."
Among Amberry's secrets: Bounce the ball three times with the inflation hole in the ball pointing up, staring at the hole as you bounce the ball. Hold the ball with the fingers, not the thumbs. Place the thumb in the seam groove. Look above the rim and shoot without jumping. Imagine your arms are 15 feet long and you're dropping the ball in the basket. Form is key, but so is concentration.
"When I'm shooting a free throw, I don't think of anything else," says Amberry. "I am 100 percent positive I will make a basket. Never have a negative thought on the free-throw line. Once you learn to put your body in the proper position and shoot correctly, the rest is mental." His positive attitude has proven to be a motivational tool that has helped not only college and pro athletes improve their game, but high school students as well.
"I have inspired countless kids to do their best," he says proudly. "I tell them how to do it, and they transfer that to themselves. Anyone can do it. I have never had anyone who did not get better using my technique. If I can do it, anyone can."
So what would the former podiatrist-turned-free-throw-pro do for a career if he wasn't tossing a ball into a net?
"Nothing else," he states. "I love every day of this. There's no such thing as a bad day shooting free throws." OCM - By Christopher Trela
President of the Orange County Market Place
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Newport Beach
FAMILY: Wife, Deana; three children
FAVORITE TRIP: Far East in 1984
ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Travel industry
When you think of crowds, Disneyland and the Irvine Spectrum Center often come to mind. Yet, there's another venue that draws approximately 2 million people each year. It's Jeff Teller's place. Teller is president of the Orange County Market Place, the largest weekly swap meet event in Southern California that attracts between 35,000 and 45,000 visitors each weekend. Founded in 1969 by his father, Bob, the Costa Mesa destination has since transformed from a place to buy one's discarded goods into a festival for all ages. Besides quality shopping, entertainment and "taste of" components have been added to the mix.
And the 36-year-old, who used to peddle his Big Wheel around the 60-plus-acre grounds located on the Orange County Fairgrounds, grew up through it all. "
It allows me a little different way of looking at things and that helps as we determine policy and shape our future," says the organization's only employee who used to make a living as a vendor at the Market Place. "That input, I think, is unique and valuable to us as we go forward."
One of his first business ventures came when he was just 9 years old. Looking for a way to earn $500 to purchase a much-desired all-terrain vehicle, he opened a stand at the swap meet called Jeff's Peanut Joint. Besides a number of other childhood entrepreneurial endeavors, he worked independently for approximately 12 years as a vendor, selling everything from computers to women's clothing alongside numerous other retailers. Nearly 1,200 merchants currently set up shop each weekend. Some come to gain additional exposure for their place of business; others, to take advantage of the Market Place's unique opportunity to create and start a company at a very low cost.
"By pursuing a business in this kind of environment, you've insulated yourself somewhat from the failure of opening up a brick-and-mortar type of location where you have to sign a lengthy lease and have considerable financial obligations for an ongoing period of time," he says. "Where this is basically at their whim. They can choose to participate or not to participate."
In addition to his hands-on experience as a merchant, Teller's expertise is further enhanced through a number of other positions.
The Newport Beach resident, who learned the business from the ground level up, served as an intern in the company's food service division and expanded from there. Eight years ago, he joined the Market Place team, serving as vice president for two years until his appointment in August to president.
Besides the Orange County Market Place, Teller will head the company's other ventures as well, including a consulting component that assists cities, state agencies and private enterprise interested in Market Place shopping activity. In addition, he oversees activity at the company's new enterprise on the grounds of the University of Las Vegas - The Silver State Market Place - which opened last November.
"I hope to continue along the same successful path that's been laid out for the first 34 years of the company by my father and continue to refine and enhance the established business that we already have," he says. At the same time, he will continue to give back to his community. Among his involvement, he is chairman of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and is a professional services reserve for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. He also sits on the board of trustees for his synagogue and is a member of the professional leadership board at Vanguard University. OCM - By Sandy Bennett
Commercial contractor and developer
AGE: 51 CITY OF RESIDENCE: Newport Beach WHAT HE DOES: FAMILY: Married FAVORITE TRIP: Downtown Santa Ana ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Special Forces Apache helicopter pilot
Michael Harrah has a dream. A tall dream. He wants to erect a 37-story office building in downtown Santa Ana. If it happens, Harrah's high-rise will be the tallest structure in Orange County. A challenge of this magnitude isn't really a stretch for the burly 6-foot-6 Harley-riding businessman who looks more like a biker than the land baron who owns more than 2 million square feet of office space in Santa Ana. Based on his track record, Harrah's dream has a good chance of becoming a reality.
Harrah is president of Caribou Industries in Santa Ana, a construction and property management company with more than 100 employees. He made a name for himself several years ago when he began buying chunks of property in downtown Santa Ana when no one else wanted them. He helped renovate and transform the crumbling Masonic Temple into a multipurpose venue that has played host to everything from jazz concerts to wedding receptions. He was instrumental in securing old office buildings on Main Street and turning them into a viable campus for the Orange County High School of the Arts (he also made a high six-figure donation to the school). He has helped put people back into a once-blighted section of the city that not too long ago had a vacancy rate of more than percent. Along the way he's made a lot of friends and a few foes, but that's part of the package that goes along with being a man on a mission.
Constantly on the go (with little time to waste for an interview), Harrah reportedly works 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. He appeared as a stunt man in the recent Austin Powers movie, but his passion remains his role as downtown developer. Some say that in Harrah's hurry to get projects approved he can appear to be abrasive and self-serving, but even City Manager David Ream admits that those methods have resulted in a new lease on life for downtown Santa Ana.
Harrah has plenty of projects pending, but his chief goal is his One Broadway Plaza office building: 36 floors of top-name companies, with a five-star restaurant on the top floor. Harrah expects some opposition to his plan, but he's faced negative feedback before and come out on top. In fact, that's where he proposes to end up - on top of the 37th floor of his building, looking out at a Santa Ana that he helped restore. Now that's a tale that's hard to top. OCM - By Christopher Trela