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San Diego Magazine's 50 People to Watch 2011

The movers, shakers and cookie makers to keep an eye on this year.


Nathalie Sherman


Sherman’s jewelry line, Sophia & Chloe, began when her first child was born and working a paralegal’s hours became impossible. She’d always “dabbled” in jewelry making, but in 2003, after a few trunk shows and gifts to friends and family, the line took off. A self-described girly-girl, Sherman seamlessly meshes symbolism with style — a reconfigured om and peace sign, Buddhist and Moroccan kiss symbols. Her newest endeavor is her philanthropy division: Some pieces give 40 percent to Rady Children’s Hospital; some send 25 percent to Kiva, a worldwide micro-lending organization. Watch for more celebrities like Ali Fedotowsky to don Sophie & Chloe baubles in 2011.


Derek Jaeger, Adam Koven
& Nate Ransom

While we love a good cupcake (okay, actually, we’re almost over that craze), it’s the fancy cookies from The Cravory that have everyone in our office clamoring for a taste. Founders Koven, Ransom and Jaeger use complex and often savory flavors and boast 950 different combinations. The pancakes-and-bacon cookie is perfect with a morning cup of coffee; the birthday cake flavor tastes like three bites of your childhood; a box of the rosemary balsamic goodies is a delicious dessert contribution to any potluck. You can order them only online at thecravory.com (or line up a year’s worth with the cookie-of-the-month club), but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a storefront location to open in 2011.

Nate Benedetto

His popular, folded-square guide to the city’s urban gems, Urbanist, has more points on the map than ever before. Coffee shops, one-room boutiques, funky salons and right-now beer pubs dot the foldout map seen under the arms and stuffed in the messenger bags of uptown dwellers. It helps that Benedetto’s also a star real estate broker with Strom Commercial who specializes in lofts and urban spaces in neighborhoods like East Village, Little Italy and University Heights. If the future of media is hyper-local, then this local broker is a key source for insider info in 2011.

Michelle Lerach

Lerach is mostly known as the owner of Cups, an organic cupcakery and teaching kitchen in La Jolla. Besides serving organic homemade strawberry milk “on tap” and baking cupcakes such as Death by Chocolate, the former labor law attorney is on a mission to change the landscape for sustainable farming. Cups runs classes in which local farmers and chefs teach how to cook delicious meals using whatever’s in season. Lerach also volunteers at area elementary schools to teach kids about healthy cooking. Recently, she took a two-month sabbatical to work on an organic goat farm. In 2011, we’ll watch as Lerach creates a collaborative with Slow Food USA & World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming to educate and certify the next generation of sustainable and organic farmers.

Mike Sager

The La Jolla – based longtime Esquire writer-at-large lived especially large in 2010, winning a national Elly Award (the Oscars of magazine writing) and a spot on the New York Times bestseller list with rocker Vince Neil’s autobiography, to which Sager contributed. Up next: visiting wounded Marines he’s written about, and publication of High Tolerance, “a novel of sex, celebrity, murder, miscegenation .  .  . and marijuana,” he says. “Think Crash meets Weeds, set in Hollywood during the Writers Guild strike of 2008.”

Ian Ward & Lucien Conner

Snake Oil mixologists Ward and Conner continue to turn taste buds with their fresh array of liquid blends, most recently at chef Brian Malarkey’s Searsucker eatery. Concoctions like the Peter Rabbit (Pimm’s No. 1 Cup gin, with bruised basil, fresh lemonade and house-­pickled baby globe carrot) and the ever-popular Treaty of Paris (burnt sugar – cherry – nutmeg reduction, aged rum and housemade tobacco cologne) are just two of the duo’s big hits. In 2011, they’re slated to create drink menus at the Sundance Film Festival and at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach for Aston Martin, as well as for the new brunch program at Quality Social downtown.

Jonathan Cohen

The La Jolla – born designer has been very busy since his first show at New York Fashion Week last September. Women’s Wear Daily reviewed the show and dubbed Cohen as a designer with “unbridled imagination,” and Harper’s Bazaar titled him a “Young Designer to Watch.” He’s been selected by L’Oreal to design a six-piece collection for its fall product launch, and he’ll be showing his fall/winter collection at the Flag Art Foundation in February. Watch for embroidered luxury — and a star to rise from local roots.

Jeff Hunter

Hunter may be a relative newbie to San Diego by way of Calgary, but this scratch golfer appreciates no longer having to deal with brutal winters. The former pub and nightclub owner just opened Flavor Del Mar, transforming a Del Mar Plaza space to give it 180 degrees of Pacific Ocean view and a cool California coastal contemporary vibe. With chef Jason Maitland’s seasonal cooking, it’s definitely a restaurant to watch in 2011 — and Hunter plans to expand his local empire in the near future.

Lucila de Alejandro
& Robin Taylor

Suzie’s Farm burst onto the scene last year and is poised to grow its footprint further in 2011. Owners de Alejandro and Taylor are at every other farmers’ market plus Whole Foods and major food events like Celebrate the Craft. And they host their own dining events in the fields. The couple has operated Sun Grown Organic Distributors for 25 years, but their new 70-acre Imperial Beach organic farm quickly has become a favorite among San Diego chefs as the farm-to-table movement grows. How many farms have two chefs, a pizza oven in the fields and plans for “weed” dating (farmer-style speed dating)?

Carl DeMaio

November’s defeat of Proposition D set up pension-reform enthusiast City Councilman DeMaio to unveil his Roadmap to Recovery. “We have to rethink how city government operates if we’re going to solve the financial problems and secure the quality of services we need,” he says, promising to spend 2011 campaigning for fiscal change and promoting his plan. Would a balanced budget be too much to ask for in San Diego? DeMaio will certainly try. And he’s been squawking enough on the morning news circuit to make us think he may be practicing for a mayoral campaign.

Tommy Gomes

It may not sound appealing, but Uni GOOP, “the ultimate fish bait,” is a big deal for San Diego’s Catalina Offshore Products. And Gomes, the company’s public face, is its creator. He comes from a long line of Portuguese fisherman based in Point Loma — and lo

ng ago, he spent time in prison and dealt with alcoholism. Today, he’s a fixture in San Diego’s food community. A sustainable-seafood activist, he’s launched Collaboration Kitchen, where chefs prepare seafood meals for Catalina Offshore’s guests. He also works with rehab

centers and supports numerous charities. As sustainable seafood becomes just as important as local produce, Gomes is the right guy to know.

Dan Link

A Marine lance corporal sentenced to a minimum 15 years in prison after conviction of his wife’s second-degree murder. An instructor at a summer volleyball camp sentenced to six years after his conviction for sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl. It was all in a week’s work for San Diego Deputy District Attorney Link, who, in addition to his day job prosecuting criminals, will serve in 2011 as president of the San Diego County Bar Association — at 35, the youngest ever to take the reins in the organization’s 110 years. Link also teaches fifth graders and junior high students through the Project Lead program, and he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.

Danielle Gano

Does it seem that the once-annual independent fashion and emerging designer showcase Thread happens every weekend? Not quite, but it is growing and traveling to cities like San Francisco, Phoenix and Los Angeles, and rising PR star Gano has the account. Her company, Elle Communications, also recently snagged national chain Smashburger as a client, as well as the hot Jedediah Clothing line, swank Red Velvet

wine bar and the San Diego Music & Technology Conference. As local brands launch, we’re seeing more and more turn to Gano and her team to generate buzz.

Scott Wagner

Building upon great success in his Chili Co. Catering business, Wagner recently opened his first restaurant, Eden, in the behemoth space on University Avenue where the mul­ti­million-dollar Universal club and Dish restaurant failed after just over a year in business. With the huge space filled again with people devouring purple potato empanadas, banana leaf – wrapped halibut or a bottomless mimosa on Sunday, Hillcrest feels like it has its mojo back. And chef Scotty wants to keep it that way. He’s hired publicist Rob Correia, who’s generating buzz of his own with a new video production company, to be sure Eden  maintains a cruising altitude in the community. Watch for the bar/club side of the space to open early in 2011.

Matt Gordon

Chef Gordon has developed a huge following as executive chef and co-owner with Scott Watkins of North Park’s Urban Solace. Gordon is now preparing for the opening of Solace and Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas, taking their contemporary American comfort-food concept to a more aquatic arena in a “green,” LEED-certified building. “We want Solace to be a recognizable sister to Urban Solace,” Gordon says, “but we’ll focus more on seafood because of where we are.” Will duckaroni morph into lobsteroni? We’ll be watching.

Dr. Brent Eastman

Eastman has a three-point plan to fix our ailing healthcare system: Improve quality and safety, make it accessible, and reduce costs. “It’s a very exciting time to be involved in healthcare,” says the chief medical officer and corporate vice president of Scripps Health. A trauma surgeon and expert in emergency surgical care, he also just finished serving as chairman of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons.

Kawhi Leonard

A nominee for the prestigious Wooden Award, Leonard is a major reason the Aztecs are among the top teams in college basketball this season. The team’s leading scorer and rebounder as a freshman, the 6-foot 7-inch sophomore led SDSU to the NCAA Tournament last season before losing to Tennessee. Leonard and the Aztecs are shooting high again. “Our goal is to win the [Mountain West] Conference title and be playing as late into March as we can,” he says.

Ali Fedotowsky
& Roberto Martinez

When the Bachelorette made San Diego her home after choosing local beau Roberto Martinez in the show’s 10th season, we were sure it was only temporary. She’d move in with the man, then head north to Hollywood for a talk show, hosting gig or whatever else reality-TV stars do post-primetime. But Fedotowsky appears to be falling for our fine city — and planting roots. Regularly hiking the hills at Torrey Pines State Beach, looking at real estate in Hillcrest and Little Italy (and tweeting about it) and even hosting a fund-raiser at a local Volkswagen dealership — crazy how this city sucks you in, right, Ali? Welcome home. We wish Roberto all the best with his State Farm agency launching in 2011.

Chris Jennewein

Plowing a “content farm” is the last place we thought we’d find Jennewein, the career newspaperman-turned-mastermind behind the original Sign On San Diego. After stints in Vegas and at San Diego News Network, Jennewein is now overseeing the launch of dozens of local media sites under the umbrella Patch.com, a national online start-up with $50 million in seed money from AOL. Trained journalists, generating a high volume of original content in communities like La Mesa, Santee, Poway and Coronado, all for pennies on the dollar? Sounds like a patchwork of growth in 2011.

Jason Hughes

With his main business of representing commercial real estate tenants, this Irving Hughes partner found himself in the middle of a political tug-of-war when the city (his 15-year client) asked him to review the financials for a proposed Civic Center Plaza. His numbers varied greatly from CCDC’s and turned up the heat on the redevelopment debate, essentially killing plans for the new building. Is there a future in politics for Hughes? “Never — not in a million years,” he says. “I’m happy to be a loud voice on the sideline.” We’ll be watching from the stands.

Nathan Fletcher

We had to wonder if he lit a celebratory cigar with a dollar bill. Assemblyman Fletcher’s 11th-hour sponsorship of the bill to remove the $3 billion cap (with a B, as in $3 billion wasn’t enough) on the CCDC’s downtown development spending, just as plans for a downtown Chargers stadium were gaining support, stole the spotlight brilliantly during election week in November. Where some leaders rely on studying the studies of past studies to keep the public involved (and to stay elected), Fletcher went rogue, straight to Sacramento, and came back to shove, rather than sell, the bill of goods onto local citizens via the morning news circuit. Bold? Brazen? Worth watching in 2011? All of the above.


Joseph Christopher Rocha

Rocha’s story made international headlines as the military dog handler who endured 28 months of documented abuse by superiors because of his perceived sexual orientation, prior to finally coming out at the Naval Academy Prep School. Cited on eight pages of the federal court decision that ruled the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional, Rocha is one of the more visible advocates for lifting the ban on gays in the military. He has appeared on broadcasts on CNN and other national networks. Born to a drug-addicted mother, Rocha, 24, has committed to a life of public service. Currently a senior at USD, he’s applied to several Ivy League law schools and is determined to earn a Marine Corps commission.

Tony Gwynn

Serious health problems have sidelined Mr. Padre again. In November, Gwynn underwent more radiation and chemo treatments for parotid cancer, a disease he was initially diagnosed with in 1997. And in August, back problems prevented him from fulfilling his duties as an analyst on Channel 4’s Padre broadcasts. But those ailments aren’t expected to derail his return this spring as baseball coach at his alma mater, San Diego State. We wish we were watching Gwynn for a different reason—but we’re thinking positive and planning to watch him walk right back onto the field and into the announcers booth.

Sean Monzet

As one of only 10 local stations owned and operated by NBC Universal, NBC San Diego has been a test market of sorts for the past year in the network’s push to integrate TV  programming with more robust, interactive online content at the local level. And thanks to Monzet, director of integrated media, it’s starting to take off. In addition to reaching 1 million hits on radio personality Chris Cantore’s popular SoundDiego blog, Monzet’s team here just launched The Feast, an online resource that pulls reviews and buzz from all over the Internet (including San Diego Magazine experts) about where to eat, shop and play around town. We’re hoping this New York – born marketing star stays put in San Diego to watch it grow.

Jose Luiz Barbosa

Few high schools can boast of having a four-time Olympian as a head coach, but El Cajon’s Granite Hills has such a distinction. A two-time medalist in the World Championships and once the world’s No. 1 in the 800 meters, Barbosa, who became the school’s head cross-country coach in August, represented Brazil in the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics (His best finish was fourth in 1992.) The Granite Hills kids have gravitated toward him, says assistant principal Mike Fowler: “There’s renewed excitement regarding distance running at our high school.”

Jeff Bagby

At 2010’s Great American Beer Festival, Pizza Port took home 12 medals — impressive even by San Diego (and Pizza Port) standards. Head brewer Bagby, an influential figure in the local beer community, travels to Europe annually, hosts beer dinners, talks with other brewers and always experiments. His plans this year? “There are tons of places to pull inspiration from and make beers better,” he says.

Marye Anne Fox

Since becoming UCSD’s first permanent female chancellor in 2004, Fox has continued to put the university at the forefront of academic news. Besides raising more than $1 billion for the school and establishing research and partnership ventures, she’s expanded private-sector partnerships, lowered barriers to technology transfer and increased opportunities to create a diverse student body. President Barack Obama recently awarded Fox the National Medal of Science for her research on renewable sources of energy. To celebrate ­UCSD’s 50th anniversary, Fox is challenging staff, students and alumni to perform 50 hours of community service. In April, former president Bill Clinton and world leaders converge on campus for the Clinton Global Initiative University, to discuss solutions and empower student leaders.

Dean Spanos

Spanos, the San Diego Chargers’ owner, holds the future direction of the club in his hands. The team’s ongoing clash with the city over a new stadium has many speculating — particularly since November, when the Chargers announced they were selling a minority share of ownership — that they might call the city’s bluff and pack for Los Angeles. Spanos isn’t saying, allowing attorney Mark Fabiani to speak for him.

Al Kidd

After taking over the San Diego Sports Commission and the San Diego Hall of Champions, Kidd has reenergized San Diego’s sports community. He’s formed partnerships with U.S. Soccer and the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote sports tourism. The Business Improvement District Council also turned over management duties to Kidd and his team for Balboa Park’s mega-popular December Nights. As various Balboa Park leaders jockey for power positions leading up to 2015’s centennial celebration, we’re looking for Kidd to take a seat near the head of the table.

Cooks Confab

Take a dozen or so chefs who enjoy cooking and, well, drinking together, set them loose at a different venue every other month for a major dining event, and you have the Cooks Confab. If there’s a leader, it’s probably Waters Fine Catering executive chef Andrew Spurgin, but the confablieri boasts San Diego’s crème de la chefs, all committed to local, sustainable and seasonal cooking. Alongside the eats comes a little education and a lot of charitable giving to organizations such as Slow Food San Diego. Miss out on Camp Confab, their autumn overnighter at Suzie’s Farm? Stay tuned. They plan another one this year.

Kelly Bennett

There’s a conversation budding about the arts in San Diego, and it’s happening on Bennett’s new blog, Behind the Scene, for Voice of San Diego. The nonprofit site’s CEO, Scott Lewis, says, “Our goal is to cover arts with the same focus on personalities, organizations and developments that other news agencies have when they cover sports. Sports reporters don’t just go to the weekly performance.” At a time when the arts community is in a huff about shrinking local arts coverage in local media, the blog is generating a great deal of inter­action. When a recent skirmish between the Union-Tribune’s editors, a local artist and several critics and writers blew up, Bennett’s blog — not the U-T or the artist’s blog — was the place the community was hashing it out. The Point Loma Nazarene alum (who also plays violin in local band The Tree Ring) says, “We’ve been trying to tell stories about the art and drama of making art in San Diego.” And succeeding early on, indeed.

Ann Berchtold

Thanks in part to Berchtold’s efforts, Mayor Sanders declared September as Art Month. Art Month San Diego, which Berchtold founded with Julie Schraeger, is a movable venue for galleries and artists to show and sell their work to the global marketplace. The result? “We’re starting to have artists from San Diego recognized in a bigger international picture.” Berchtold is also founder of the San Diego Art Prize, to be exhibited in the spring at La Jolla’s Athenaeum. She happens to be engaged to developer David Malmuth, an influential advocate of waterfront art.

Jeff Light

He’s not in the business of making friends, it seems, in the world of local media. Charged with massive layoffs of journalists and employing younger, cheaper reporters who crank out more blogs and less arts and literary coverage, Union-Trib­une editor-in-chief Light is taking a hard line with critics of the new realities of journalism. But we’re seeing innovative, interactive features online — we loved the U-T’s precinct map that sorted election results in a block-by-block, neighborhood comparison. We’re noticing a strong social media presence, with reporters active on Twitter. And we’re watching a media company that’s finally operating in the black. Light promises a more-moderate political stance will be coming to the editorial pages, with input from a wider range of San Diegans. Is the troubled ship finally righted? Or just level enough to initiate a profitable sale for Platinum Equity?

Fred Maas

When the Centre City Development Corporation’s CEO resigned in 2008 amid allegations of a conflict of interest with a major downtown developer, Maas, the agency’s chairman of the board, volunteered to take the top job — without pay — until a replacement could be found. He finally stepped down as “acting” head of CCDC on December 31, with items on the table like the controversial schoolbrary and a downtown Chargers stadium, and with the $3 billion cap on redevelopment investment lifted. Pivotal moment to exit, indeed, but Maas says he is excited to focus on his new company, Pacific EcoCompanies, which attracts investors to clean-tech and sustainable development businesses. Less controversial, but still worth watching.

Quentin Sponsolee

Sponsolee wasn’t overly ambitious when he started up TerraMoto Transportation. The entrepreneur simply wanted to “revolutionize transportation” as we know it. What he’s come up with is San Diego’s first and, so far, only green executive-class transportation serv­ice — think shiny black Priuses instead of Towncars — for which clients pay less. The company also donates a dollar toward planting trees for every trip. TerraMoto grossed $450,000 in sales its first year of operations, with biotech companies and hotels its largest customers. Sponsolee, 29, plans to expand to Los Angeles this year and roll out nationwide within five years.

San Diego Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program

After an undefeated run in international waters at the Italia Cup in 2010, plus several first- and second-place finishes in regional regattas, the San Diego Yacht Club junior sailing team is set for a spectacular year in 2011. Junior commodore Jake Reynolds leads quite a team. We’re betting SDYC junior sailor Nevin Snow will be fiercely defending the Mallory Cup Championship (a national high school sailing regatta) title he won last year in his junior year at Cathedral Catholic with skipper Judge Ryan, who’s now a freshman at UCLA. Crosstown rival Point Loma High School went on to win the Baker trophy (another national high school sailing championship) a few weeks later, thanks to the team of SDYC junior sailors Kevin Laube, Jake LaDow, Olin Paine, Shone Bowman and Reynolds. And all but Laube (who graduated last June) will be back to defend the title this year.

Maya Gabeira

One of surfing’s greatest female athletes now calls Cardiff home, though chasing big waves around the world means she’s only home four months of the year. The 23-year-old Gabeira, a native of Brazil, holds the record for largest wave ever ridden by a female (off the coast of South Africa, with 40-foot wave faces that day), earning her a Billabong XXL Big Wave award, as well as a 2009 ESPN ESPY award. For 2011? If the swells cooperate, we’ll watch her tackle Cortes Bank, a monster wave 115 miles west of Point Loma in the middle of the ocean. “I wanna conquer some more big waves, maybe get something bigger,” she says.

Brian Maienschein

Maienschein has a plan we think is worth watching in 2011. When the former city councilman signed on as commissioner of United Way’s bid to put an end to homelessness, back in 2009, he began lobbying for permanent housing. Since the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness began, nearly 200 people have moved in off the streets, and thousands more have gotten healthcare. “To continue to do nothing about the problem,” Maienschein says, “actually costs more. This project is changing the way we resolve homelessness.”

Eric Northbrook

Commercial real estate broker Northbrook was paralyzed following a motorcycle accident in Baja in 2006. The outpouring of aid he received, combined with the lack of guidance during and after treatment, led him to found the Head North Foundation, which provides financial and practical assistance to those faced with the daily challenges of spinal cord injury. For 2011, Northbrook and Head North plan to get more involved with the military community through the Veterans Administration and to continue reaching out to spinal-cord injury sufferers. “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it,” says the father of two.

Martin Wollesen

“San Diego is actually a pretty creative place,” says Wollesen. As the artistic director for Art Power! UCSD, he oversees dance, music, spoken-word and film programming, with an eye for innovation. The Loft is a prime example — an arts venue/Zanzibar Café on a science campus, the only one of its kind at any university in the country. On tap for 2011: shows as diverse as the Wonderland International Contemporary Dance Festival, jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and best-selling author David Sedaris.

Mike Viscuso

What do downtown clubs On Broadway, E Street Alley, Red Circle Café and Deco’s have in common? Viscuso. Beginning in 1993, he has worked to put San Diego on the nightclub map. The Massachusetts-born mini-mogul got his start in Tyler, Texas, and now owns hot spots here and in Los Angeles. His latest velvet-rope venture, Boudoir, opened in December with a so-sultry dominatrix on staff. In 2011, we’ll be watching as Viscuso turns from the glut of Gaslamp dance parties to serve cocktails and California coastal cuisine on Girard. The former Jack’s La Jolla is set to reopen as Mike’s La Jolla early this year.

Carin Canale-Theakston

As head of the life sciences division of public relations giant Porter Novelli, Canale-Theakston was a key advisor to companies like Invitrogen (now part of Life Technologies). She recently started her own agency and took many of the big-fish biotech clients with her, including Life Technologies and OncoGenex. From lobbying for stem cell research to planning a media blitz to launch a new drug, Canale-Theakston’s an expert in navigating the industry. And considering the newfound flexibility of working for herself, we’re betting her insider reputation is about to blow up.

Roxana Velasquez

Last spring, the San Diego Museum of Art broke with its 84-year history and appointed Velasquez as its first female executive director. Born in Chicago and raised in Mexico City, she has a track rec­ord as director of world-class collections, including the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and Museo Nacional de Arte. In March, Velasquez will announce details of an exhibition featuring works of art from museums and collections around the world. Here’s hoping she brings in some new ­faces for the gallery walls and lecture podiums. We can’t wait to see what kind of international influence she’ll have on the Music at the Museum programs planned for 2011.

Bonnie Wright

When Wright wants to raise a little hell, she puts on a choir robe and sings in the Martin Luther King Community Choir. Otherwise, she’s a behind-the-scenes champion of the musically avant-garde, via the Fresh Sounds concert series at Sushi Performance & Visual Art. “It’s not a struggle,” she says of producing “art-noise” concerts in a Britney Spears world. “It’s a mission.” We see converts in 2011.

Tom Wornham

It’s hard to imagine how 2010 could have been busier for Wornham, who not only was president of the Century Club (hosts of San Diego’s annual PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines) but also chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. On his watch, the Century Club signed Farmers Insurance as title sponsor of the golf tournament, after financially strapped Buick backed out of the last year of its contract. Wornham’s tenure at the chamber presented a slightly less challenging issue: deciding whether he should shave the mustache he grew for a charitable contest before introducing former president George W. Bush at a chamber event.

Lee Burdick

After just over a year on the board, San Diego Port Commissioner Lee Burdick has started putting the brakes on the Steve Cushman steam engine (he’s terming out after 12 years on the board), and we think there’s more where that came from. At a recent board meeting, Burdick halted what was thought to be a sure-thing approval for a Continental Maritime (owned by Northrop Grumman) lease extension, pleading for another month to review the policy of granting tenants long-term renewals based on past improvements rather than future commitments. Even if the policy doesn’t change and the lease renewal is granted, Burdick made the Port’s board and staff, not to mention one of the city’s three largest shipyards, wait. When the last time Northrop Grumman waited for anything? 

Lorie Zapf

Following an election year during which her strong personal views on gays and her private life were closely scrutinized, Republican Zapf won District 6, a stronghold for Democrat Donna Frye. “When you meet people and talk to them, it makes all the difference in the world. I stood for the same things they did,” she says, noting that the city’s current pension debacle drew the most vociferous comments among her constituency. Her victory gives Republicans three of eight seats on the city council — and another strong advocate of pension reform.

Margarita Wilder

Economic forecaster Global Insights projects that by 2014 the Hispanic population will control more than $20 billion in San Diego. It’s Wilder’s job to help advertisers reach this important audience. Now vice president and general manager of Entravision’s local holdings, she climbed the media chain from El Paso’s KINT-TV to Entravision’s Albuquerque market before she was tapped to run the Spanish-language media giant’s holdings here: KBNT (Univision Channel 17), KDTF (Telefutura Channel 51) and Northern Baja’s XHAS and XDTV. Considering that the county’s Latino population grew by more than 50 percent the past 10 years, and one in four residents in San Diego is Hispanic (per Census Bureau data), we’ll watch Wilder’s reach extend farther than ever over the county’s four major Spanish-language TV and radio stations.

Rich Cherry

The director of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative is working on major improvements to the park’s technological infrastructure. After stints at the Skirball Cultural Center and Guggenheim Museum, Cherry now manages a $3 million grant from the Legler Benbough Foundation and an additional $700,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to launch everything from free, park-wide WiFi access to smart-phone apps to a new online portal within balboapark.org to access, view and interact with more than 20 of the park’s cultural institutions. If he can unite such disparate entities as the World Beat Center, the San Diego Air & Space Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden through new technologies, we expect to watch Cherry operate in the ever-political Balboa Park landscape for years to come.

Aleah and Nick Valley

Anyone who’s planned a wedding knows the usual extent of advice for the groom involves getting there on time and not getting too tipsy the night before. The Valleys’ event-planning expertise is changing that. They’re committed to making San Diego a leading city for weddings and large-scale private events (the days of having to drive to Los Angeles for a good photographer are over, they say), and Nick’s contribution of solid groom advice, style tips and overall input sets their serv­ices apart. How to wear a three-button suit? Properly stock a bar? Gifts that will impress the inlaws? Their Valley & Co. blog answers them all, in addition to scores of gorgeous ideas, trends, locations and fashion. The couple has big plans for 2011, including launching an e-zine and opening a New York office.

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