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Irvine Mayor Don Wagner Wins Orange County Supervisor Seat in Special Election

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Irvine Mayor Don Wagner won a special election on March 12, filling a vacant seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “I’m declaring victory and thanking the voters of the 3rd Supervisorial District for their trust,” Wagner said. “I ran for it and I wanted it because they do good, important work on the Board of Supervisors, and I’m very much looking forward to doing some of that work to solve the county’s problems.” Wagner will represent the inland Orange County 3rd District seat for 21 months. He likely will take office either March 26 or April 9. He also will be...
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Irvine Ranks as One of the Happiest Places to Live in America

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Abundant parks and open spaces; family-oriented, multicultural connected villages; and world-class educational institutions are features that contribute to Irvine’s unparalleled quality of life, landing the city in the No. 2 spot on Wallethub’s list of happiest cities to live in the United States. WalletHub compared 182 of the nation's largest cities and evaluated them on three main categories: emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. California swept the ranking, totaling 14 cities in the top 50. A master-planned community, Irvine’s beautifully manicured office parks are surrounded by more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields, and dedicated open...
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Multitude of Irish-US/California Trade, Investment Ties in Spotlight

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The strong trade and investment links between Ireland and the United States, as well as California, were celebrated last week at a California Chamber of Commerce breakfast held in conjunction with CalChamber Board events. The CalChamber Council for International Trade meeting, sponsored by Frontier Communications, was one of several gatherings in the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day featuring the release of the US-Ireland Business 2019 report by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Ireland. Speaking at the March 15 breakfast were the Honorable Simon Harris, Irish minister for health and former minister of state; Carin Bryans, vice president of AmCham...
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UK Fieldfisher Law Experts Detail Implications of Brexit for Irvine/US Medical Device Manufacturers and Distributors

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Deal. No deal. EU extension or second referendum. The one word everyone agrees upon when describing Brexit and its implications for the U.K. and every company that does business in the country is: uncertainty. Although the March 29 deadline is looming, negotiations with the EU for a delay and Parliament debate continues. Fieldfisher, the European law firm specializing in lifesciences and technology law visited the Greater Irvine Chamber on March 19. Alison Dennis, Partner with the London Office, met with the Chamber and its foreign direct investment delegation in 2017, just months after the Brexit vote. Knowing that Irvine has a...
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HSBC Returns to OC World Trade Week as the 2019 Presenting Sponsor

Monday, March 18, 2019

HSBC is the presenting sponsor for the fifth-annual Greater Irvine Chamber Orange County World Trade Week (OCWTW) Breakfast and Forum, to be held on Thursday, May 16, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Irvine Marriott, 18000 Von Karman Ave. A continued sponsor of the program, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, serving more than 39 million customers through four global businesses. The bank’s network covers 66 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North America, and Latin America. HSBC has been connecting Americans to global opportunities since 1865. The OCWTW 2019 program...
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Leads Groups Training Ensures Best Outcomes for Business Development

Monday, March 18, 2019

Greater Irvine Chamber Leads Groups provide members with the opportunity to expand their network of trusted professionals through structured, non-competitive meetings to exchange referrals and leads, which have a proven track record for increasing business development for participants. Leads Groups members closed nearly $20 million in sales during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and have reached nearly $8 million in closed business so far for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. In addition to increasing business development for participants, Leads Groups contribute to the economic development of greater Irvine. “Our Leads Group members support the growth of Irvine’s local economy in a unique way,” said Bryan Starr,...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Offers Fifth Annual John Colvin Memorial Scholarship

Friday, March 15, 2019

For the fifth year, the Greater Irvine Chamber will award John Colvin Memorial Scholarships, of $2,500 each, to two students who have been accepted to or are currently enrolled in a four-year degree program at a university or college in Irvine. Eligible students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, a demonstrated commitment to a fitness lifestyle, and an objective of contributing to the health and economic vitality of Irvine and California in the future. The Chamber established the scholarship, in coordination with the Colvin family, in honor of John Greg Colvin, a long time-resident of Orange County, active Chamber member, and past...
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California Still a Top Exporting State

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The U.S. Department of Commerce now has 2018 trade statistics available through the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) “Trade Stats Express.” In 2018, California exported $178.4 billion to 230 foreign economies, up from $172 billion in 2017. California’s top export markets are Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, and South Korea. California is one of the 10 largest economies in the world with a gross state product of more than $2.5 trillion. International trade and investment are major parts of the state’s economic engine that broadly benefit businesses, communities, consumers and state government. California’s economy is diverse, and the state’s prosperity is tied to exports...
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Chinese Delegation Visits Greater Irvine Chamber

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A trade delegation of more than 20 business leaders and government officials from the Chinese province of Shaanxi in March visited the Greater Irvine Chamber to learn about services available through the Chamber, and how the organization operates as a business association. The Chamber’s economic development team presented on Irvine’s strengths as a master-planned community; the city is an economic powerhouse, with its strong life-science and technology sectors, and robust innovation eco-system. As part of their visit, the delegates met with Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. Driving forward economic development in the region, the Greater Irvine Chamber regularly hosts international delegations...
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Irvine Again Recognized for Safety

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Irvine has once again been recognized for its safety. In its fifth-annual Safest Cities report, SafeWise, ranked Irvine as the second safest city–of any size–throughout California, following only Danville with a population of 45,000. The news follows a report released in September 2018 by the FBI which ranked Irvine the safest city of its size in the nation for the 13th consecutive year. The information released showed that Irvine has the lowest rate of violent crime per capita of any city in the nation with a population of 250,000 or more. Click here to view the full list.
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Irvine Councilmember Anthony Kuo Speaks at Greater Irvine Chamber

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Irvine City Councilmember Anthony Kuo provided updates on Orange County Great Park progress and traffic improvements to business and community leaders at the March 7 Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs Committee meeting. Councilmember Kuo pointed out how tax revenue collected from shopping and dining in Irvine goes back into the city’s general fund, financing public works, community development, and public safety. Referencing the city’s ample parks, retail shopping centers, and world-class schools, Councilmember Kuo highlighted the exemplary quality of life that Irvine residents enjoy. Councilmember Kuo was elected to the Irvine City Council in 2018, bringing nearly eight years of experience as a planning commissioner,...
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Jessica Welch Appointed to Western Association of Chamber Executives Academy Steering Committee

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Jessica Welch, IOM, vice president of operations for the Greater Irvine Chamber, has been appointed to the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) Academy Steering Committee. As part of her service, she will provide direction on curriculum and will serve as a class advisor. “W.A.C.E. Academy provides chamber professionals with insights that help them succeed in their career and lead their organizations to better serve their members and communities,” Welch said. “The breadth of knowledge that Academy faculty and volunteers share with colleagues is impressive and demonstrates the strength and collaborative nature of the chamber industry. It’s an honor to be...
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Susan DeGrassi Named 2019 Woman of Influence

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

For exemplary professionalism and commitment to providing leadership within her community, Susan DeGrassi, director of cause, Antis Roofing and Waterproofing, has been named the Greater Irvine Chamber 2019 Woman of Influence. DeGrassi was formally recognized with the inaugural award in front of a sell-out crowd at the sixth-annual Women of Influence event on March 8. “I truly appreciate the recognition by the Greater Irvine Chamber as this year’s Woman of Influence. I value the many mentors I’ve had during my career, and that I’ve played a part in using my gifts and resources to help guide and serve others. It is amazing...
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Volunteer Facilitators Sought for Greater Irvine Chamber Career Edge Workshop for College Students

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Business professionals interested in community service are invited to help facilitate students from Orange County colleges and universities as they participate in the Greater Irvine Chamber’s Career Edge workshop, Successful Business Etiquette and Workplace Behaviors, on Saturday, April 6, at the Greater Irvine Chamber, 36 Executive Park, Ste. 100,  8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. “Facilitators from the Irvine business community play an important role in engaging students in the Chamber’s Career Edge program. Facilitators can draw from their professional experience to help inspire and guide students to develop soft-skills, which are highly sought by employers,” said Linda DiMario, vice president, Greater...
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California Employers: Beware More Stringent Criminal Background Check Requirements

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling has made already strict background check requirements even more stringent. The court held that the disclosure required under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) can consist only of the FRCA disclosure; it can’t contain any additional information, including the disclosure required under California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) (Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC,913 F.3d 1169 (9th. Cir. 2019)). The FCRA requires that prior to obtaining an applicant’s consumer report, an employer must provide the applicant with a disclosure of its intention to do so and obtain the applicant’s consent. The disclosure...
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New Required Poster for California Employers Starting April 1

Monday, March 11, 2019

Last week, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the Fair Employment and Housing Council’s (FEHC) changes to the Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability notice (now called Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave), adding information about the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA). California employers covered by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the NPLA are required to post this new notice starting April 1, 2019. The NPLA is a narrowly tailored California leave law that took effect last year. Both the CFRA and NPLA provide 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave to bond with a newborn...
US Adds Just 20K Jobs; Unemployment Dips to 3.8 Percent

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hiring tumbled in February, with U.S. employers adding just 20,000 jobs, the smallest monthly gain in nearly a year and a half. The slowdown in hiring, though, might have been depressed by harsh winter weather and the partial shutdown of the government. Last month’s weak gain came after employers had added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January, the most in nearly a year. And over the past three months, job growth has averaged a solid 186,000, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. Despite the tepid pace of hiring in February, the government’s monthly jobs report included several positive signs that...
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Advocacy Releases “Small Business GDP, 1998–2014”

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy: they create two-thirds of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness. A new report shows that they account for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity. This is a significant contribution, however this overall share has declined gradually. U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is the market value of the goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States. Across the 16 years from 1998 to 2014, the small business share of GDP has fallen from 48.0 percent to 43.5 percent. Over the same period, the amount of...
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Survey: US Businesses Added a Solid 183,000 Jobs Last Month

Thursday, March 07, 2019

are continuing to hire even as economic growth is likely slowing. Payroll processor ADP said that last month’s job gains were down from the 300,000 added in January, a figure that was revised up sharply from 213,000. It was also below last year’s average monthly gain of about 235,000. Hiring occurred across all major industries tracked by ADP, including professional and business services, which includes high-paying fields such as accounting and engineering, which gained 49,000 jobs. Education and health care added 37,000. Construction gained 25,000 jobs and manufacturing 17,000. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a forecasting firm that compiles the ADP...
Trade Policies and Tax Reform Are Working For Small Businesses

Thursday, March 07, 2019

During the State of the Union, President Trump highlighted the bold changes to trade policies and tax reform that he is making in order to fight for American workers and businesses that will expand prosperity. This reform is working. Based out of Chino, Thin Metal Sales had been experiencing a decline in sales due to the high availability of imported, low-cost steel. Jonathan Mulvihill knows his company inside and out since he began working summers at Thin Metal Sales at the age of 12. The company was founded by his uncle in 1976 and acquired by his father in 1983; in 2017...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Ambassador Training Program Graduates Three New Members

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Three Greater Irvine Chamber members have recently graduated from the Chamber’s Ambassador Training Program. Christina Kim, Claire Na, and Amina Rafiqzada completed the four-month program with the guidance of an Ambassador mentor, and have joined the Ambassadors Committee. “Ambassadors play an important role in engaging and acquainting newer Chamber members to the benefits of their membership,” said Vivian Atkinson, chair, Greater Irvine Chamber Ambassador Committee. “Ambassadors benefit from formal training; it sets a foundation for success by laying out clear expectations and helping Ambassadors in training to further develop their leadership skills, which they can apply in the business community on...
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Successful Greater Irvine Chamber-Led Delegation to UK Showing FDI Progress

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The Greater Irvine Chamber in February led a delegation focused on foreign direct investment and composed of Irvine city officials, executives, and lifescience and technology experts to London, where they formally interviewed company executives from those industry sectors who are considering expansion to the U.S. “Two previous missions and a lot of groundwork and follow-up has enhanced the reputation of Irvine in the U.K. so that company executives were eager to meet with us and discuss expansion opportunities,” said Linda DiMario, executive vice president, Greater Irvine Chamber. “Our foreign direct investment work is gaining measureable traction and progress among U.K. lifescience companies...
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Irvine is Home to Most California Distinguished Schools in Orange County

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Irvine Unified is home to the most California Distinguished Schools per district in all of Orange County. Irvine High, Rancho San Joaquin Middle, Sierra Vista Middle, and Woodbridge High each received the distinction. “Distinguished School award winners represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful school climate efforts ranging from real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention,” a statement from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said. The California Distinguished Schools program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for achieving exceptional student performance for two consecutive school years or closing the achievement...
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US Chamber’s Small Business Awards Submissions Open

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with MetLife, is accepting nominations and submissions for the Dream Big Awards, which recognize the very best in American small business. The awards program honors the achievements of small businesses and highlights their contributions to America’s economic growth. The Dream Big Award winners will be formally recognized at the annual Small Business Summit, Oct. 16 – 17, in Washington D.C. at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Awards nominations and submissions will be accepted in the following categories: Dream Big Small Business of the Year Emerging Business Achievement Award Green/Sustainable Business Achievement Award Minority-Owned Business Achievement Award Veteran-Owned Business Achievement Award Woman-Owned...
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OCTA Seeks Volunteers to Serve on Public Committees

Monday, March 04, 2019

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is looking for new committee members for two public committees. The committees are the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Taxpayer Oversight Committee (TOC). These committees help advise OCTA on a wide range of policies, procedures, and actions. OCTA strongly encourages residents and community leaders to get involved and help improve the quality of life for all Orange County residents. The Citizens Advisory Committee actively participates in helping examine traffic solutions, providing input to OCTA’s transportation studies and communicating with their constituencies. Committee members also participate in roundtable discussions and hear special presentations on various transportation...
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CalChamber Continues Fight for Worker Opportunities

Friday, March 01, 2019

Legislative intervention is needed to provide clarity to employers and prevent loss of opportunities for millions of individuals following last year’s court decision upending the test for determining who is an independent contractor, the California Chamber of Commerce testified last week. Speaking at an informational hearing of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on February 26, CalChamber Executive Vice President Jennifer Barrera outlined the challenges employers face in the sudden change from the independent contractor test in use for nearly 30 years. Barrera explains that legislation clarifying employer obligations is needed to prevent loss of opportunities for millions of individuals following last...
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CalChamber Joins in Launching Coalition Supporting U.S.-Mexico-Canada Pact

Friday, March 01, 2019

The California Chamber of Commerce has joined more than 200 companies and associations in launching the USMCA Coalition, which will advocate congressional approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The coalition includes a diverse group of businesses, farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, and technology companies in support of the USMCA. To join the coalition, click here. Over the coming weeks and months, the USMCA Coalition will make the case for expeditious passage of the agreement to members of Congress, and will work to educate employers and members of Congress about the benefits of the new deal. The effort will harness the advocacy strength of a broad...
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California's Lieutenant Governor to Focus on Foreign Trade

Friday, March 01, 2019

California's lieutenant governor has a new role promoting the state as an international trading partner. Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis will head a committee tasked with reopening trade offices in foreign countries and promoting the state's trade interests, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced. The new committee is the latest example of California seeking more influence on the global stage during the Trump presidency. California already has a trade office in China, opened under former Gov. Jerry Brown, and Newsom wants to reopen a trade office in Mexico. Kounalakis, a Democrat and former ambassador to Hungary under former President Barack Obama, said she's excited to...
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Irvine’s Balanced Checkbook

Friday, March 01, 2019

By Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber, as seen in the March issue of Irvine Standard. You probably know Irvine has been ranked No. 1 in public safety for 13 consecutive years. But you might not know why. One reason is another No. 1 ranking Irvine just received: Tops in California in fiscal strength — beating every other large city from San Francisco to San Jose to San Diego. How did the city become so fiscally strong? Think of the well-maintained shopping centers you visit, and the strength of your home value. Retail and property taxes fund two-thirds of the city’s budget. Now think...
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March 12 Special Election for 3rd District Supervisor

Friday, March 01, 2019

A Special Election will be held on March 12 for the purpose of electing a County of Orange 3rd District Supervisor to fill a vacancy left by the November 2018 General Municipal Election. The Registrar of Voters will host a mobile “pop-up” election booth for early voting on Monday, March 11, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Irvine Civic Center. The “pop-up” Early Voting Service Center is open to all Orange County residents who reside in District 3. Services include: In-person Early Voting Secure Ballot Drop-Off, including Vote-By-Mail Ballots Replacement Ballots Full-Service Voter Assistance Same Day Conditional Voter Registration On Tuesday, March 12, Election Day, the Irvine Civic...
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California is No. 1 in Medical Device Industry

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Despite complaints about the high costs of doing business, California is unrivaled when it comes to the size of its medical device industry — not to mention the range of innovations. From medtech employment to patent numbers to the amount of venture capital investment, California is well ahead of other states. It accounted for nearly a fourth of the U.S. medical device industry’s revenue in 2017, according to IBISWorld. Top 10 Medical Device States California Minnesota Massachusetts Florida Indiana Pennsylvania New York Texas Illinois New Jersey The Golden State’s medical device industry is actually made up of a number of major hubs running down the length of the state: Orange County Orange County exported more than...
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Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner Delivers State of the City Address

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner on Feb. 26 delivered his State of the City Address, providing an opportunity for constituents to hear updates on the city’s traffic improvements, homelessness, two-year budget, and continued development of the 688 acres at the Orange County Great Park. Highlighting continued financial support of Irvine’s public schools, the city’s reputation as one of the nation’s safest communities, and its vibrant business community, Mayor Wagner told a capacity crowd at the Irvine Civic Center, “People want to make Irvine their home because of our quality of life.” “Mayor Wagner, the City Council, and the city’s management team have proven...
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Irvine's Culinary Diversity Headlines OC Restaurant Week

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

This year, more than two dozen Irvine restaurants are participating in the 11th annual Orange County Restaurant Week, March 3 – 9, offering food lovers unique dining experiences from a diverse range of cuisines. Participating Irvine Restaurants: Agora Churrascaria Andrei's Restaurant Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana Bistango Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen CUCINA enoteca Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse Del Frisco's Grille EATS Kitchen & Bar EMC Seafood & Raw Bar Eureka! Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen Il Fornaio Kabuki Japanese Restaurant Paul Martin's American Grill Puesto - Los Olivos Puesto - Park Place Ruth's Chris Steak House Square One Pizza Taco Rosa TAPS Fish House & Brewery Texas de Brazil The Melting Pot Twenty Eight Yard House During the weeklong event, 125 of some of the best restaurants in Orange County will offer...
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Irvine’s Travel Attractions Featured in Houston Family Magazine

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

As featured in Houston Family Magazine, a publication highlighting events, articles, and information for Houston kids and their families. When you think of Southern California, more famously known as Orange County, Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort and Buena Park’s Knott’s Berry Farm may come to mind. However, there is so much more to see and do whether you are interested in oceanfront parks, surfing, shopping or trying out some thriller amusement park rides.  Irvine encompasses 66 square miles and features some of the best outdoor recreation, family activities, shopping, dining, sports facilities and meeting venues in California. If you would prefer to stay in...
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Study: EU Single Largest Foreign Investor in US

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The European Union, currently a 28-nation bloc, is the single largest foreign investor in the United States, with $2.37 trillion in foreign direct investment, according to a recent study by the EU Delegation to the U.S. The U.S. and the EU enjoy a balanced trade relationship to the benefit of both: $528 billion in U.S. exports of goods and services to the EU in 2017 and a commensurate $629 billion in EU exports of goods and services to the U.S., the study found. This trade and investment relationship generates nearly 7 million jobs for U.S. workers. An online interactive data tool lets users explore...
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2019 Woman of Influence Award Nominees Announced

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

An impressive group of women have been nominated for the Greater Irvine Chamber’s inaugural Woman of Influence Award. Each of the nominees has demonstrated exemplary professionalism, held a leadership role in her community, and has served as a mentor or a source of inspiration for other professional women. The nominees are: Susan DeGrassi, Director of Cause, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing Dr. Gwen Finestone, MFT and President of California Southern University Anne Grey, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association Kate Klimow, Chief Administrative Officer and Director of External Relations, UCI Applied Innovation Christine Lambino-Cunliffe, Partner, Bobo Strategy, Inc Sharon Frisbie Macdonald, Owner/Operator, McDonalds/Frisbie Management Inc. Susan Parks, CEO, Orange County United...
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Irvine Councilmember Anthony Kuo to Address Government Affairs Committee

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Newly-elected Irvine City Councilmember Anthony Kuo will address business and community leaders during the Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs committee meeting on Thursday, March 7, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Kuo was elected to the Irvine City Council in 2018, bringing nearly eight years of experience as a planning commissioner for the city, including four consecutive terms as chairman. During that time, he also served on the city’s Task Force on Housing Needs for the Developmentally Disabled and the Ad Hoc Committee on Veterans Affordable Housing. He is a graduate of the Irvine Community Police Academy. In addition to representing the City of Irvine on...
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Irvine Valley College Welcomes World-Renowned "The Courage to Remember" Holocaust Exhibit

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A world-renowned educational Holocaust exhibit, “The Courage to Remember”, will be on display at Irvine Valley College’s Performing Arts Center from March 12-14. Produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, and presented by the Foundation for California, the exhibit is free of charge and open to the public. Patrons can tour the exhibit from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. during the three-day period. A reception and ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on March 11, beginning at 6 p.m., to commemorate the opening.  In the past 20 years, “The Courage to Remember” exhibit has displayed in over 16 countries...
Canada-California Trade

Friday, February 22, 2019

Consul generals for Canada and Mexico are joining California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg for a panel on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The new trade arrangement came from a year of negotiations after Trump disregarded the former North American Free Trade Agreement as the “worst deal ever made.” Amid the settling in to a new agreement, Canada wants to send a clear message: We love you California. As San Francisco’s Consul General of Canada Rana Sarkar told The Sacramento Bee, “Canadians often fly under the radar, but we are significant partners with the state of California.” According to Global Affairs Canada, California...
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China to Propose $30 Billion More U.S. Agriculture Purchases

Friday, February 22, 2019

China is proposing that it could buy an additional $30 billion a year of U.S. agricultural products including soybeans, corn and wheat as part of a possible trade deal being negotiated by the two countries, according to people with knowledge of the plan. The offer to buy the extra farm produce would be part of the memoranda of understanding under discussion by U.S. and Chinese negotiators in Washington, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential. The purchases would be on top of pre-trade war levels and continue for the period covered by the memoranda, they said. U.S. Agriculture...
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NAFTA 2.0 Creates Freer, Fairer Economic Growth

Friday, February 22, 2019

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) underscores a renewed understating among the USMCA parties on the importance of our mutual trading relationships, everyone agreed yesterday at an international luncheon at the California Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Canada Day in Sacramento. With the support of the Consulates General of Canada of San Francisco and Los Angeles and the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, experts convened at the CalChamber for a thorough update and discussion on the agreement with more than 100 attendees. The Honorable Zaib Shaikh, the new Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles set the tone for the discussion saying...
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Applied Innovation Doubling Cove Footprint at UCI Park

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Cove, the University of California-Irvine’s tech facility and office space that is home to the school’s Applied Innovation business and entrepreneur incubator program, is gearing up to expand its presence in Orange County’s startup scene. UCI Applied Innovation this month told the Business Journal that it had put the finishing touches on a new lease that will nearly double the Cove’s square footage at UCI Research Park, a 36-building business park next to the university that’s run by Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. Applied Innovation currently occupies about 46,000 square feet of space at UCI Research Park; its new home will run...
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Assembly Committee Holds Hearing on Privacy Act

Thursday, February 21, 2019

California Chamber of Commerce Policy Advocate Sarah Boot addressed the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee at an informational hearing to discuss the rights, protections and obligations established by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). California Consumer Privacy Act The CCPA is a sweeping privacy law that applies to businesses of all sizes across almost every industry. It was rushed through the legislative process in the summer of 2018 without the benefit of input from numerous crucial stakeholders. As a result, the law is deeply flawed. Many of the CCPA’s provisions are simply unworkable in practice or will result in numerous unintended consequences....
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Federal Tax Changes Could Be Why California’s Budget Is More Than $2 Billion Below Projections

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hopes for a record-setting tax revenue windfall this year could depend on whether California’s wealthiest residents are simply waiting until the last moment to pay up — a reaction to the 2017 federal tax changes championed by President Trump. State financial experts reported fiscal year-to-date revenues are more than $2.3 billion below the expectations set by Newsom’s first spending plan. But they believe the money is simply delayed, not missing.  “We don’t think it reflects any underlying weakness in the economy,” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance. Instead, what state economists are now projecting is...
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Global Green to Expand Biogas Generation & Food Recovery Initiative for a Second Year - Seeking Two New Southern California Partner Cities

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Non-profit Global Green announced it will select two Southern California cities as new partners in the second year of its Expanding Biogas Generation & Food Recovery Initiative, which increases access to and the effectiveness of food waste recycling programs and demonstrates food-waste-to-biogas scenarios for participating cities. The initiative uses an Eco-Ambassador resident outreach model, which recruits motivated apartment dwellers to take ownership over their building’s waste diversion and serve as a community resource in order to expand participating cities’ food waste recycling programs. Global Green will also select two additional cities to model food-waste-to-biogas scenarios. Cities will be chosen based on...
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Destination Irvine’s Leading Role in Hotel Partners’ Success

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Wendy Haase, senior director of Destination Irvine, and colleagues AnaLaura Beccera, director of corporate sales, and Dave Lucey, director of sports sales, recently presented details to Irvine hotel directors and sales managers on Destination Irvine’s central role in promoting the city as a preferred overnight destination in Southern California for meeting groups, sports organizations, and business and leisure travelers. The presentation provided insight on how the hoteliers can leverage their partnership with the organization’s sales team and utilize Destination Irvine resources when booking business at their properties, including meeting planner incentives and marketing materials like the annual Irvine Visitors Guide. “This was...
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IPSF Awards Over $200,000 in Innovative Grants to Irvine Teachers

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Each year, Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) offers teachers and staff in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) the opportunity to apply for funds through the Innovative Grants Program to implement new and creative approaches to teaching and counseling. The purpose of this grant program is to support innovation in schools by awarding funds to launch new curriculum and improve the educational experiences of students. The program in total will award 25 projects and over $200,000 in grant monies this year to support innovative teaching methods in schools. IPSF, a Greater Irvine Chamber education partner, this year awarded eight mega grants, up to...
Irvine is an Active Person's Dream, Says Seattle Refined

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Irvine’s preserved natural lands, miles of hiking and biking trails, and its world-class sports complex at the Orange County Great Park make the city an ideal destination for an active traveler, according to Seattle Refined. The online news publication highlighted popular outdoor activities within the city including the top-rated Quail Hill trail, and Bommer Canyon trail. While laying on a beach all day is definitely relaxing, perhaps you're the type of vacationer who likes to break a sweat during their PTO. Active vacations are becoming more and more popular, and if you're looking to shake up your routine in 2019, a...
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iShuttle Gets Commuters the ‘Last Mile’ to Work

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A cooperative agreement between the City of Irvine and Orange County Transportation Authority has resulted in an expansion of the weekday commuter iShuttle routes from two convenient train stations. “My commitment to reducing traffic is helped each workday with the longtime success of the iShuttle from our two stations,” said Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner. “Hundreds of Irvine workers arrive daily from other cities and hop aboard for the ‘last mile’ ride to their destination. Some Irvine residents, of course, also are taking the iShuttle to the stations, to work elsewhere. These two new routes will make the daily trips to...
Irvine: The City of Health

Monday, February 18, 2019

By Bryan Starr, President and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce As published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Orange County Business Journal. Irvine is an impressive community in many ways as the result of the visionary Irvine Master Plan established more than a half-century ago. A major factor in the city’s exceptional quality of life today is convenient access to some of the finest healthcare institutions in the world. Patients accessing healthcare in Irvine, from routine maintenance to advanced disease treatment, receive top care delivered by some of the world’s most expert practitioners using the latest science and technology. Greater Irvine...
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UC Irvine Most Popular UC Campus Among California High School Students Applying to College

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle member University California, Irvine  has become the top choice in the UC system for California high school students. The university announced recently that the 70,540 soon-to-be graduates who applied to the campus for the upcoming fall semester were the most among the nine campuses in the University of California system. “We have very robust outreach efforts,” campus spokesman Tom Vasich said. That includes helping high school students realize they have the potential to attend college and helping them navigate the application process. The university has partnerships with high schools and community colleges in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Compton, and...
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Irvine Unified Students to Present Ethics Forum Projects to Greater Irvine Chamber Committee

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Eight teams from a total of 28 students from Irvine High School will present their final Ethics Forum projects to business and community leaders during the Greater Irvine Chamber Business and Workforce Development Committee meeting, on Tuesday, March 19, 4 - 6 p.m. Chamber members and guests are invited to attend the meeting, which will be held at the Chamber, located at 36 Executive Park, Suite 100. The presentations serve as the final piece of the semester-long Ethics Forum program, created for students by the Business and Workforce Development Committee in partnership with Irvine Unified School District and Webster University, Irvine...
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Meet the Speakers at the Women of Influence Champagne Reception

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

This year’s Women of Influence event, on Friday, March 8, will feature a champagne reception from 2:15 to 3 p.m., immediately following the program, providing the opportunity for professional women to connect and meet keynote speaker Gina Osborn, president of G-Girl Productions and former FBI Special Agent; and opening speaker Marisa Wayne, owner of GritCycle and founding member of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. Attendees will also have a chance to win a luxury giveaway basket valued at more than $300 during the reception. New this year, the program will include the presentation of the 2019 Greater Irvine Chamber Woman of...
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Electronic Filing Doesn’t Relieve Employers of Hard Copy Requirements

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The recent requirement to submit Form 300A data electronically doesn’t relieve employers of the responsibility to post the hard copy Form 300A each year. Each establishment (place of business) must post the Form 300A from February 1 to April 30 in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees normally are posted. This requirement, in addition to all others listed in Section 14300.32 of the California Code of Regulations, remains in effect. Unfortunately, this fact was not included as a note in the electronic filing regulation to ensure that the electronic filing requirement was not perceived to be the new norm, bypassing the requirement for the hard copy. Providing Form 300A Copy Employees...
2019 John Colvin Memorial Scholarship Application Period Open

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, in coordination with the Colvin family, established the John Colvin Memorial Scholarship in honor of John Greg Colvin. Colvin was a long time-resident of Orange County, active Chamber member and chair of the Business Attraction & Retention Committee. He died in 2014 while training for an Ironman Triathlon. This year, the Chamber will award two scholarships of $2,500 each to two students who have been accepted to or are currently enrolled in a four-year degree program at a university or college with a campus in Irvine. This scholarship does not go directly to the school,...
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City of Irvine, Business Community Band Together for Educational Excellence

Monday, February 11, 2019

Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) has released its 2019 list of Top 100 Companies Supporting Education Excellence. Heading the list is the City of Irvine. Also included is the Greater Irvine Chamber and several of its Leaders Circle sponsors, Allergan; Cox Automotive; Cox Communications; FivePoint; Google; Google Fiber; Hoag Hospital; Hoag Orthopedic Institute; Kaiser Permanente; Kia Motors America; University of California, Irvine; UPS, Waste Management; and Wells Fargo. All 100 supporting organizations were formally recognized during a VIP reception at the Resort at Pelican Hill in February. Greater Irvine Chamber Vice President of Operations, Jessica Welch, and Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner. Steve Churm, , FivePoint,...
Greater Irvine Chamber Receives Industry's Top Honors

Monday, February 11, 2019

Greater Irvine Chamber President and CEO Bryan Starr has been named the 2019 Executive of the Year by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.). Starr was selected from CEOs throughout the Western United States and was formally recognized during the 2019 W.A.C.E. Conference in Anaheim in front of more than 500 attendees. Starr was honored for leading the Greater Irvine Chamber to achievements in membership attainment goals, economic development, staff empowerment, thought leadership, and positioning the organization as a leader in advancing economic vitality in greater Irvine. Greater Irvine Chamber Vice President of Operations Jessica Welch, IOM, received the 2019...
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SB 1300 Expands FEHA Litigation

Monday, February 11, 2019

Last fall, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1300 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), a comprehensive bill that makes several changes in the law for litigating sexual harassment claims. SB 1300 prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign a release of claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in exchange for a raise or as a condition of employment. The bill also amends FEHA to specify that an employer may be responsible for the acts of nonemployees for all forms of harassment, rather than the responsibility being limited to sexual harassment, as it was before SB 1300 took effect. Further, the bill prohibits...
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Workers Waiting ‘On Call’ Must Be Paid, Court Rules

Monday, February 11, 2019

Employees who are required to stay “on call” before the start of a possible work shift — phoning their employer two hours before the shift to learn whether they’re needed — are entitled to be paid for that two-hour period regardless of whether they’re called in to work, a state appeals court ruled. In a 2-1 decision with potentially broad impact, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said on-call employees are protected by a 1943 California Industrial Welfare Commission wage order, still in effect, that entitles employees to “reporting time pay” as soon as they are required to report...
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Community Partnerships Strengthen Future OC Workforce

Friday, February 08, 2019

Nearly 300 students from Orange County high schools and community colleges visited Irvine-based technology and life science companies for the second annual Irvine Career Discovery Day on Feb. 5, hosted by the Greater Irvine Chamber along with nonprofit partners Irvine Public Schools Foundation, Orange County United Way, and Vital Link. “Irvine Career Discovery Day is part of the Chamber’s workforce development initiative. The event provides an opportunity for students to see first-hand the exciting 21st-century career paths available to them here in Irvine,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “Preparing our future workforce is key to fulfilling the Chamber’s mission to advance the economic vitality of greater Irvine.” The career exploration...
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A Robust Job Gain in January Shows US Economy’s Durability

Monday, February 04, 2019

U.S. employers shrugged off last month’s partial shutdown of the government and engaged in a burst of hiring in January, adding 304,000 jobs, the most in nearly a year. The healthy gain the government reported illustrated the job market’s resilience nearly a decade into the economic expansion. The U.S. has now added jobs for 100 straight months, the longest such period on record. The unemployment rate did rise in January to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, the Labor Department said, but mostly for a technical reason: The number of people counted as temporarily unemployed jumped 175,000, with most of that increase consisting...
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California to Thrash Out Gig Worker Status in Upcoming Bills

Monday, February 04, 2019

Gig worker or employee? California will wrestle with that question this year with efforts under way in Sacramento to either codify or limit a groundbreaking state Supreme Court decision issued in April. The ruling, in a suit brought by delivery drivers at Dynamex, made it harder for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. It implemented a formula, called the ABC test, that says workers are employees if companies control what they do, if their tasks are central to a company’s core business, and if they don’t run independent businesses doing that work. The ruling could upend scores of industries that rely on...
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City of Hope Brings its World-Class Cancer Care Network to Orange County

Monday, February 04, 2019

In one of the most ambitious initiatives in its 106-year history, City of Hope is expanding its world-class cancer care network to Orange County, beginning with the purchase of a 12,500-square-foot facility in Newport Beach. The new 1601 Avocado Ave. facility is the official start to City of Hope extending its personalized, compassionate, and technologically-advanced care to the county. The Newport Beach site is projected to open in late 2019 and will house lifesaving medical services, such as breast and other medical oncology, and convenient access to subspecialists. This expansion will be the first spoke of the main health campus planned to...
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Class Action Settlement Doesn’t Prevent 2nd Lawsuit

Monday, February 04, 2019

An employee who was a member of a wage-and-hour class action settlement with her employer, is able to pursue a subsequent lawsuit against her employer for a claim that was not alleged in the first case, said the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a recent opinion. The employer settled in federal court a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit that claimed the employer failed to pay wages and overtime, provide meal and rest breaks, provide accurate wage statements and reimburse business expenses. Second Lawsuit After the first case was settled, one of the class members filed a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) case in...
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CPA Pushes for Trade-Competitive Tax Policies

Monday, February 04, 2019

The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) is asking Congress to improve the federal tax system to promote U.S. trade competitiveness. In a letter to both the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees, CPA pressed for consideration of both a destination-based Sales Factor Apportionment tax system (SFA) and a Strategic Goods and Services Tax (GST). “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represented an important step forward and is supported by many of our members,” said Brian O’Shaughnessy, CPA’s Vice Chairman. “However, Congress now has the opportunity to dramatically improve the international trade competitiveness of U.S.-based companies and workers. Our...
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Destination Irvine Promotes City During International Media Marketplace

Monday, February 04, 2019

Wendy Haase, director of tourism marketing, Destination Irvine, shared Irvine story ideas with travel journalists and influencers during the 3rd Annual TravMedia International Media Marketplace (IMM) in New York City on Jan. 24. IMM is the travel and tourism industry’s leading event for the media to meet travel and tourism brands. Destination Irvine had 24 pre-scheduled appointments with top travel journalists, editors and influencers to discuss the destinations’ latest news, events and developments. For more information about Irvine as a destination, visit DestinationIrvine.com.
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Destination Irvine Promotes City’s Sports Assets at America’s Most Unique Sports Trade Show

Monday, February 04, 2019

Dave Lucey, director of sports sales for Destination Irvine, in January met with more than 20 organizations, including USA Volleyball, USA Rugby, and International Slow-pitch Softball, during one-on-one appointments and networking opportunities at the third annual Sports Express trade show held in Honolulu, Hawaii. Unlike other sports industry conferences, the week-long Sports Express trade show is centered on maximizing attendees’ interactions with the industry’s most active sports planners. Lucey works to promote Irvine’s sports facilities, including those at the Orange County Great Park, to attract major sports tournaments and events worldwide. During the first six months of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, he...
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EEO-1 Filing Delayed and Extended

Monday, February 04, 2019

The EEO-1 submission deadline has been extended to May 31, 2019. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has delayed the “opening day” of the 2018 EEO-1 Survey to early March 2019 and moved the due date to May 31, 2019. The recent government shutdown caused this postponement. The EEO-1 is an annual survey that requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract, subcontract or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report. Details and instructions for the 2018 EEO-1 filers, including the exact date...
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Form 300A: Don’t Forget to Post Through April

Monday, February 04, 2019

Businesses need remember to post the Form 300A summary of job-related injuries and illnesses from 2018 at their place of business from February 1 through April 30. Employers are required to post only the summary (Form 300A) — not the log (Form 300). The summary must list the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in the previous year and were logged on the Form 300. Companies with no recordable injuries or illnesses in the previous year still must post the summary with zeros on the “total” line. A company executive must certify all establishment summaries. The summary must be displayed in a common area...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle Members Recognized in Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity

Monday, February 04, 2019

Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle members Kaiser Permanente, Google, and University of California, Irvine, have been recognized as some of America’s Best Employers for Diversity in 2019 by Forbes. Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to create its second annual ranking of America’s best employers for diversity. The list was compiled by surveying 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. All the surveys were anonymous, allowing participants to openly share their opinions. Respondents were first asked to rate their organizations on criteria such as age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation equality, as well as that of general diversity. These responses were...
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Irvine Valley College Hosts 32nd Annual Astounding Inventions Competition

Monday, February 04, 2019

More than 2,000 students participated in the Irvine Valley College 32nd Annual Astounding Inventions student competition presented by Cox Communications and sponsored by Knobbe Martens. Students from both the Irvine and Tustin Unified School Districts competed for prizes in this elaborate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competition that fosters student entrepreneurship and creative thinking. Students had the option of submitting a traditional poster or creating a video to describe their project. In addition to the invention competition, Edwards Lifesciences hosted the Innovation Village Center with hands-on STEAM activities that were free and open to all. During fall 2018, nearly 4,000 students...
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Irvine Wins 2018 California Park & Recreation Society’s Award of Excellence in Marketing

Monday, February 04, 2019

The City of Irvine was selected as the 2018 California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) Marketing and Communications Award of Excellence recipient for the “Your Irvine” marketing campaign. The city competed for the award against government agencies serving populations of 250,000 or more. “This award is due to the hard work of a lot of good people in the city dedicated to making life easier and better for our citizens and for everyone who uses our world-class parks,” said Mayor Donald P. Wagner. The CPRS award reflects Irvine’s commitment to strategically and efficiently implement a new online registration and reservations software system...
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Irvine’s Quail Hill Rated No. 1 Hiking Trail in Orange County

Monday, February 04, 2019

With 12,000 acres of preserved natural habitats and wildlands, there are abundant open-space recreation options in Irvine. As a testament, the city has earned a top spot in VacationIdea Magazine’s list of the “25 Best Hiking Trails in Orange County.” The online travel magazine recently rated Irvine’s Quail Hill Loop Trail the number one hiking trail in the entire county. The Quail Hill Loop Trail trailhead is located at one end of Sand Canyon Road. The moderately difficult 9-mile dirt trail goes up Quail Hill through a scenic wilderness area and quickly gains 1,702 feet in elevation. The view from the...
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OC World Trade Week 2019 Presents Export Experts in the Program’s Panel Discussion

Monday, February 04, 2019

Leading Orange County exporters Billy Grenham of Taco Bell, Harvinder Mudahar of Technologent, and Michael Delaney of Worldwide Environmental Products, Inc., will share their experiences in international trade during the Export Success Panel at the Greater Irvine Chamber’s fifth annual Orange County World Trade Week (OCWTW) Breakfast and Forum on Thursday, May 16, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Irvine Marriott, 18000 Von Karman Ave. The Export Success Panel is a perennial favorite, offering attendees insights into the challenges and opportunities for business expansion through exporting. Billy Grenham leads international marketing for Taco Bell out of the Global Headquarters in Irvine. He is...
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Career Edge Workshop Helps College Students Hone Employer Sought Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Two dozen students from Orange County colleges and universities attended the Greater Irvine Chamber’s Feb. 2 Career Edge workshop, Practical Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, instructed by Dr. Brian Dozer, director of Webster University, Irvine Metro Campus. Dr. Dozer, who serves as co-chair of the Greater Irvine Chamber’s Business and Workforce Development Committee, introduced the group to ethics, ethical issues, and how personal ethical considerations can change the way one makes important decisions.  “Critical thinking and problem solving are essential skills in the 21st century. Dr. Brian Dozer is just the right person to coach attendees in these vital areas of expertise,”...
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City of Hope Joins Greater Irvine Chamber as Platinum-Level Leaders Circle Sponsor

Friday, February 01, 2019

City of Hope has joined the Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle as a Platinum Sponsor. “City of Hope Orange County is proud to join the Greater Irvine Chamber. We look forward to a collaborative year ahead,” said Annette Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County. “Our organizations are committed to passionately advocating for the interests of the Orange County community. The Chamber is focused on improving the community’s economic health, and City of Hope Orange County strives to improve cancer health—it’s a partnership that goes hand in hand.” City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and...
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Taco Bell HQ Renews Lease In Irvine, Staying True to SoCal Roots

Friday, February 01, 2019

Taco Bell, America’s #1 Mexican restaurant, will remain headquartered in Southern California until 2030. The global brand has agreed to an 11-year lease extension for its Restaurant Support Center at the 1 Glen Bell Way location in Irvine. Taco Bell has spent all of its nearly 57 years of business in Southern California and moved into its current building in 2010. The lease agreement with property owners LBA Realty was facilitated by Cushman & Wakefield’s Irvine office.   “As a brand with Southern California in our DNA, we’re excited to remain in Irvine and continue to grow where we have deep roots,”...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Executive Leadership Present State of the Chamber to Irvine City Council

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Greater Irvine Chamber executive team made a presentation on the State of the Chamber to the Irvine City Council and members of the public during the Jan. 22 Irvine City Council meeting. The presentation provided insight into recent accomplishments and current initiatives as they relate to the Chamber’s mission to advance the economic vitality of greater Irvine. “[Chamber executives] are here to talk about the [Greater Irvine] Chamber and Irvine’s economic vitality,” Irvine Mayor Don Wagner said. “And, there is no better partner than the Chamber of Commerce.” Bryan Starr, president and CEO of the Chamber, and Linda DiMario, executive vice...
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Irvine Tops List in Financial Health

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Irvine is the financially healthiest big city in America, according to a new study by a nonprofit dedicated to financial transparency in the public sector. “Irvine is a community that was master-planned for success from its inception more than 50 years ago. Its founders planned the city to ensure sustainable fiscal strength long into the future,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO,Greater Irvine Chamber. “It comes as no surprise that Irvine has been recognized for its financial health.”  California’s other big cities fall firmly in the middle, with Southern California burgs healthier than many of their Northern California counterparts, says Chicago-based watchdog group Truth in Accounting. The...
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Thought Leaders Deliver Insights at Strategic Partnering and Sustained Growth/Innovation Forum

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Thought leaders from the Greater Irvine Chamber and UCI Applied Innovation as well as others from healthcare and technology sectors in Orange County discussed strategic partnerships to an audience of business and community leaders during the 2019 Strategic Partnering and Sustained Growth/Innovation forum hosted by Executive Next Practices Institute on Jan. 24, at UCI Applied Innovation. “The Greater Irvine Chamber is engaged in supporting the innovation ecosystem in impactful ways – research, activities, programs, and most importantly, collaboration with partners to advance our rate of innovation. We are proud to contribute to an ecosystem that fuels amazing levels of life science...
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With Nearly Half a Million Dollars in Closed Business, Kim Am Earns Rainmaker Award for Final Quarter in 2018

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

With $408,385 in closed business, Kim Am has earned the Greater Irvine Chamber’s title of Rainmaker for the last quarter in 2018. Her performance in the Thursday Morning Leads Group contributed to the group’s total of $446,536, putting it in the top spot among all the Leads Groups for total closed sales during the period. Am, vice president and director of sales-payments for Commercial Bank of California, has participated in the Thursday Morning Leads Group since joining the Chamber in November 2018. “Whether it’s showing up to network, continuing to serve others, or continuing to seek opportunities to learn and grow as a person, putting...
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Global Managing Director of Experian Decision Analytics, Steve Wagner, to Deliver OC World Trade Week Keynote Address

Monday, January 28, 2019

Steve Wagner, global managing director of Experian Decision Analytics, will deliver the keynote address at the Greater Irvine Chamber’s fifth annual Orange County World Trade Week (OCWTW) Breakfast and Forum on Thursday, May 16, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Irvine Marriott, 18000 Von Karman Ave. Wagner was appointed global managing director of Experian Decision Analytics in 2018 and serves as the global business leader for Experian’s analytics, fraud, identity, and decision software businesses. He also serves on the Global Operating Committee of Experian, PLC and as chairman of the Experian social innovation fund, focused on improving the lives of...
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NLRB Empowers Companies to Treat More Workers as Independent Contractors

Monday, January 28, 2019

The National Labor Relations Board made it easier for companies to treat their workers as independent contractors excluded from federal labor protections, overturning an Obama-era precedent. By a 3-1 party-line vote, Republican board members sided against shuttle van drivers for SuperShuttle, who were seeking to unionize at Dallas-Fort Worth airport. The NLRB ruled that they were independent contractors, not employees, and therefore weren’t protected by a New Deal-era law enshrining workers’ right to organize. The board overruled a 2014 case, FedEx Home Delivery, in which a Democratic majority on the NLRB had established a standard making it easier for workers to be...
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US Treasury Set to Borrow $1 Trillion for a Second Year to Finance the Deficit

Monday, January 28, 2019

The U.S. Treasury Department is set to maintain elevated sales of long-term debt to finance the government’s widening budget deficit, with new issuance projected to top $1 trillion for a second-straight year. Many strategists at primary-dealer firms predict that the Jan. 30 quarterly refunding announcement will see the Treasury maintain note and bond sales at the record high levels they have boosted them to in recent months. The total amount of 3-, 10- and 30-year securities to be offered at next week’s refunding auctions is seen by most at $84 billion. While that’s $1 billion more than the total for these maturities three months...
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Breaking Down the H-1B Visa Process

Friday, January 25, 2019

H-1B visa season officially opens on April 1, 2019, but employers seeking these high-demand visas have much work to do to be prepared when the day comes — because believe it or not, they’re typically claimed within a week.  The H-1B program allows companies in the U.S. to temporarily hire foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge — workers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in their specific specialty, or its equivalent, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Stated simply, the H-1B visa — commonly known as a U.S. work visa — allows American employers to...
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Updated Human Trafficking Notices Released

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently released updated human trafficking notices for employers. California law requires some businesses to post a human trafficking notice near the public entrance or another conspicuous location where the public and employees may view the notice. The notice provides hotline and text numbers for the public and victims of human trafficking to seek help or report unlawful activity. The notice must be at least 8.5 x 11 inches in size, written in a 16-point font and must be in English, Spanish and one other language that is the most widely spoken language in the county where the business...
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HR Boot Camp Seminars for 2019 Start Next Month

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Are there any exceptions to California’s meal and rest break rules? How does the New Parent Leave Act interact with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act/California Family Rights Act? These are just a few of the daunting questions you likely face if you’re new to handling human resources in California. When managing the complexities of your compliance with California employment laws, you’re certainly not alone. Join your peers at one of CalChamber’s upcoming HR Boot Camp seminars throughout Northern and Southern California. From hiring through termination, our compliance experts explain core fundamentals of the employment life cycle, in addition to discussing employer requirements, policies...
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Irvine City Management Addresses Packed House at January Economic Vitality Council Meeting

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Irvine’s city management team provided an update on its plans for the upcoming year to a packed house during the Greater Irvine Chamber’s January Economic Vitality Council (EVC) meeting. “Irvine is a city of tremendous ambition. It was born of ambition. Irvine has a great past and an even greater future ahead of it,” Irvine City Manager John Russo said to more than 60 business and community leaders that attended the meeting. Among other topics, Russo discussed plans and progress at the Orange County Great Park. Maryanna Marisheva, assistant city manager, provided details of Irvine’s newly approved two-year budget. Pete Carmichael, director of...
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Chamber Life Science and Technology Delegation Returning to UK

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Greater Irvine Chamber is leading a delegation of City of Irvine officials, business leaders, and life science and technology experts returning to the U.K. The delegates are set to meet with more life science and technology companies that may be exploring expansion into the U.S. and Irvine/Orange County in Southern California specifically. The goal of the mission is to build awareness for Irvine/Orange County and its life science/technology industry strength and identify, connect with, and encourage U.K.-based life science companies to look at Irvine/Orange County when considering expansion into the U.S. This Foreign Direct Investment mission, planned for Feb. 11-15,...
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Destination Irvine Showcases the City at Taste of OC Media Event

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Wendy Haase, senior director, Destination Irvine, promoted the destination to more than 20 Seattle-based travel writers, bloggers, and influencers during the Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) “Taste of OC” Event. The event featured a four-course meal along with a signature cocktail and dessert that represented restaurants from six of the seven Orange County destinations attending. The OCVA represents Orange County as one of the world’s premier travel destinations by providing brand marketing stewardship and information dissemination, collective industry advocacy, and educational opportunities. Destination Irvine participates in several of the OCVA’s initiatives including past media events in Houston and Dallas, Chinese tour operator...
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Irvine Unified Has Added More Than 1,100 Teachers in Eight Years

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Greater Irvine Chamber education partner Irvine Unified School District has hired 1,156 teachers since 2011. That amounts to an astonishing 67 percent of IUSD’s teaching staff. While many Orange County districts are seeing a decline in enrollment, Irvine has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, driven by new residential development in the city. But newer educators continue to share and promote IUSD’s core values, Superintendent Terry Walker said during Irvine’s State of the District presentation on Jan. 18.  “They are passionate, compassionate, flexible and adaptable, student-centered, reflective, collaborative, relationship-centered and courageous,” Walker said. IUSD’s second annual State of the District was held in the performing...
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Forbes Magazine Ranks UCI Seventh Among the Most Diverse Workplaces in the Country

Friday, January 18, 2019

Forbes has named UCI one of the best employers for diversity in the nation. The magazine rated the campus No. 7 overall – the second-highest ranking for both a California employer and an educational institute. UCI is Orange County’s second-largest employer, with 16,400 faculty and staff working on campus and at the UCI Medical Center and affiliate clinics. Its diversity model infuses richness and nurtures strength in the workplace, focusing on respect for all human differences, including age, culture, ethnicity, race, country of origin, linguistics, gender, socioeconomic status, education, religion, sexual orientation and ability/disability. From active diversity talent acquisition outreach to employee development emphasizing...
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2019 Will ‘Be a Good Year,’ Economist Says

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

“It’s going to be a good year. Things are wonderful. You’re going to have a great 2019,” said expert economist and Greater Irvine Chamber Business Outlook keynote Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics. In his economic forecast presented to more than 600 business and community leaders, Thornberg, who predicted the housing market crash in 2007, expressed overall optimism regarding economic growth in the year ahead. He attributed his positive outlook to rising wages, low unemployment, and increased consumer spending. Also confident moving into the new year was opening speaker Chris Schwarz of the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, who broke down recent...
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City’s Budget Presentation Wins National Award

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The City of Irvine has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award represents the highest form of recognition in government budgeting for a municipal entity. “The City of Irvine being recognized with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, is a testament of the deliberate strategy set forth by the Irvine Master Plan more than half a century ago and the diligence of the Irvine city management team,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “The Chamber’s Board of Directors and professional staff congratulates the Irvine...
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Meet the Individuals Leading the Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors For Four Decades

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Over the past four decades, the Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors has been chaired by 38 of Orange County’s most accomplished business leaders. They have held fiduciary responsibilities for the Chamber and have been committed to supporting the Chamber’s mission of advancing the economic vitality of greater Irvine. As the Chamber celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2019, the Board is now led by Kate Klimow, chief administrative officer and director of External Relations at UCI Applied Innovation. “The diverse group of business leaders that have served over the past 40 years and continue to serve today on the Greater Irvine...
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Newsom Elevates Labor Commissioner Su to Head State Agency; Picks Business Founder/Forward Thinker as Chief Economic Adviser

Monday, January 14, 2019

The team Governor Gavin Newsom has selected to lead key efforts in his administration includes individuals with many years of experience in both governing and advising policymakers. Two appointments of particular interest to employers are: • Julie Su, state Labor Commissioner in the Brown administration, as secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA); and • Lenny Mendonca, longtime advocate for rethinking government operations as co-chairman of the nonprofit organization California Forward, as chief economic and business adviser and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). As labor commissioner and chief of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement...
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Free 2018 Tax-Preparation Services Available in Irvine

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The City of Irvine, in partnership with Orange County United Way, is offering free tax preparation services to taxpayers who earned less than $60,000 in 2018. Qualifying taxpayers who live, work, or attend school in Irvine can receive help filing their taxes from IRS-trained and certified volunteers, who will also assist eligible taxpayers in applying for tax credits, including the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC). Free tax-preparation services are available at Cypress Community Park, 255 Visions in Irvine, from February 5 to April 11. An appointment is required; no walk-ins will be accepted. Call Orange County United Way...
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Brandman University Joins Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle as a Gold-Level Sponsor

Monday, January 07, 2019

Brandman University, a member of the Greater Irvine Chamber since 1998, has joined the Chamber’s Leaders Circle as a gold-level sponsor. “Brandman University couldn’t be more aligned with the mission of the Greater Irvine Chamber. We both help companies recruit and retain highly skilled employees. The Chamber’s recent five-star rating, and our honors for innovation and leadership highlight our organizations’ commitment to excellence. And we both strive to be of service to grow and improve our thriving community. We are thrilled to partner with the Chamber and fellow members,” said Shelly Neal, vice chancellor of Strategic Initiatives, Brandman University. Brandman University is...
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Irvine Ranked Among Top Ten Safest Cities Worldwide

Monday, January 07, 2019

“Irvine has held the status of the Safest City of its size in America by the FBI for 13 consecutive years. It is no surprise to learn that our city is now ranked among the top ten safest cities in the world,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “This accomplishment is in large part the result of a visionary Irvine Master Plan set forth more than a half a century ago, excellent city management, a world-class police department, and engaged residents and business leaders that take pride in their community.” According to a recent statistical analysis by CEOWORLD...
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280,000-Square-Foot Ice Skating Facility Opens at OC Great Park

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Whether you’re practicing triple salchows or tying your laces for the first time, the new Great Park Ice facility is open for public skating sessions as of Wednesday, Jan. 2. The long anticipated 280,000-square-foot rink – part of the Anaheim Ducks RINKS network – has been under construction since February 2017. Though two of the four ice sheets, a restaurant and Ducks team store aren’t quite finished, the public is invited to check out the facility and take a whirl on the two completed ice sheets, said Art Trottier, vice president of the Anaheim Ducks RINKS, which runs ice facilities in Anaheim and four...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Marks its 40th Year Supporting the Visionary Irvine Master Plan

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A Message from Greater Irvine Chamber President and CEO Bryan Starr Originally published in the Jan. 3, 2019 issue of the Orange County Register|Irvine World News. As the Greater Irvine Chamber celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year, the organization’s professional staff and Board of Directors continues its work to support the Irvine Master Plan and to advance the economic vitality of greater Irvine. Through its numerous programs and events, the Greater Irvine Chamber convenes thousands of business leaders every year to build long-lasting professional relationships. The Greater Irvine Chamber has partnered with Irvine’s highly-ranked schools and 15 colleges and universities on programs that help ensure a...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Primary Research Reveals Business Needs

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Conducting primary research on behalf of the Greater Irvine Chamber, 35 Chamber member volunteers visited more than 210 Irvine businesses during the October Business Outreach Rally. The volunteers conducted a survey to identify challenges that Irvine businesses face, and provided copies of the Business Outreach Resource Guide, which features information about support resources offered through the Chamber and its partner organizations. Out of the businesses surveyed, a majority felt that they either well exceeded or met their business performance goals. More than half of the businesses surveyed export and/or import products or services. The top two challenges that the surveyed businesses...
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City of Irvine Has Released Interactive Web-based Development Map

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The City of Irvine has released a new electronic, interactive, web-based map to track development proposals in an effort to enhance transparency and aid citizens in understanding projects that may affect the community. The map features an overview of major developments approved in the last five years, including those under construction and recently completed. The map will be regularly updated as new proposals are submitted for review and as major projects start construction. City of Irvine staff has placed this valuable information on the City’s website. For more information, call 949-724-6450, or visit cityofirvine.org/transparency.
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Important California Labor Law Changes for 2019

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With the new year around the corner, now is the time to prepare for new labor laws that will impact California businesses in 2019. Among those includes a new law, signed in 2016, which raises the minimum wage incrementally, boosting it on Jan. 1 to $11 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees, and $12 per hour for businesses staffing more than 26 employees. “I think a lot of companies are already paying more than minimum wage,” said Karen Alary, managing partner of The Personnel Perspective, an HR consulting firm in Santa Rosa. “Because our unemployment rate is so low and qualified workers...
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Save-The-Date: Orange County World Trade Week 2019 Slated for May 16

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber will host the fifth annual Orange County World Trade Week (OCWTW) Breakfast and Forum on Thursday, May 16, 2019, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Irvine Marriott, 18000 Von Karman Ave. The OCWTW 2019 program will feature a keynote address by a representative from Experian Decision Analytics, an Export Success Panel discussion, and an International Resource EXPO. Returning are Founding and Presenting Sponsor UPS, and Champion Sponsor HSBC. OCWTW brings together Orange County’s International-American chambers and business associations, public sector and private trade organizations, and members of business community to grow awareness of the impact of international trade and export...
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Renae Brown Named September 2018 Member of the Month

Friday, November 16, 2018

For her high-level of engagement, Renae Brown, project manager for 2010 Office Furniture, has been named the Greater Irvine Chamber September 2018 Member of the Month. Shortly after joining the Chamber upon the recommendation of Sophia Rose, a Chamber member and former business development manager for 2010 Office Furniture, Brown volunteered for the April 2018 Business Outreach Rally, conducting research on behalf of the Chamber and providing area businesses with copies of the Chamber’s Business Outreach Resource Guide, which features information about support resources offered through the Chamber and its partner organizations. At the first opportunity, she also became a part the...
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US Chamber Awards Greater Irvine Chamber the Nation's Highest Accreditation

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The United States Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Greater Irvine Chamber with 5-Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community. “Receiving the highest honor in the chamber industry is a testament to our tremendous Board of Directors, dedicated volunteers, and exceptional professional staff,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber. “I’m extremely proud of our collective accomplishment as we continue our efforts to advance the economic vitality of greater Irvine.” The Greater Irvine Chamber is one of seven chambers in California to hold this distinction, and one of 120 in the nation....
OC Business Journal Directory of Influence Features Greater Irvine Chamber Member Executives

Thursday, November 08, 2018

More than 50 executives from Greater Irvine Chamber member companies have been featured in Orange County Business Journal’s third annual OC 500 Directory of Influence. The directory features an impressive list of influential business and community leaders from a variety of Orange County companies, ranging from nonprofits to large corporations. Congratulations to the following professionals for this prestigious accomplishment: Barry S. Arbuckle, President, Chief Executive, MemorialCare Health System Paul Bay, President, Americas, Ingram Micro Steve Bilt, Chief Executive, Smile Brands Gary Brahm, Chancellor, Chief Executive, Brandman University Donald Bren, Chairman, Irvine Co. Richard Cabrera, Executive Vice President, Umpqua Bank Bill Carpou, President, Chief Executive, OCTANe Steve Case, EVP, Office Properties,...
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Jessica Welch, IOM Appointed to Western Association of Chamber Executives Board of Directors

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Jessica Welch, IOM, vice president of operations, Greater Irvine Chamber, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.), the premier organization for education and professional development for chamber executives and staff. “It’s an honor to be selected for the W.A.C.E. Board of Directors,” Welch said. “This appointment will provide me with opportunities to share at a higher level what we are accomplishing at the Greater Irvine Chamber to advance economic vitality in our region, providing direction for other chambers as they strive to succeed in the communities they serve.” Welch has been...
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Destination Irvine Recognizes Hotel Employee as Part of the New Spirit of Irvine Hospitality Award Program

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sobha Mendis, guest services representative for the Irvine Marriott, is the first recipient of Destination Irvine’s hospitality employee recognition program. Mendis was nominated by Kandee Anderson, general manager, Irvine Marriott, because she received the JW Marriott Award of Excellence in 2017 and she is consistently recognized by guests for her outstanding service and personalized connections. The Spirit of Hospitality Award recognizes back-of-house and front-of-house hospitality professionals who deliver exceptional experiences daily. Winners in this category are those who exhibit exemplary behavior in workplace knowledge, customer service, problem-solving, relationship building, and creating a warm welcome for visitors. The award recognizes individuals who...
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Award-Winning Career Edge Program Offers College Students Insights for Early Business Success

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber, in collaboration with Google, Irvine Valley College, Webster University, Irvine, and the business community, will host students from Orange County colleges and universities for its fourth series of Career Edge workshops. Students that participate in Career Edge will have an advantage during their job search and will bring distinctive and marketable soft skills to the jobs they land, greatly increasing their success rate and on-the-job performance. Qualified business professionals are needed to volunteer as mentors to help guide students through the award-winning Career Edge program as they learn business writing, presentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. For more...
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Greater Irvine Chamber’s Jessica Welch Promoted to Vice President of Operations

Monday, September 17, 2018

Jessica Welch, IOM, has been promoted to Vice President of Operations at the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce. The promotion follows more than a decade of service at the Greater Irvine Chamber, most recently as Senior Director of Operations and previously as Director of Programs and Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. “Jessica has dedicated 11 years of her career in service to this organization. In that time, she has risen through the ranks achieving a key spot on the Chamber’s executive management team. She continues to demonstrate exceptional leadership and professionalism earning her the respect of her colleagues, the...
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Irvine’s Tech Strength Attracts Bay Area Companies

Friday, September 14, 2018

As envisioned by the Irvine Master Plan, the city was built around a major university – what is now the University of California, Irvine (UCI) – to ensure area employers would always have a readily available workforce skilled in the latest technology. Irvine-based companies recognize this as a distinctive asset. And, executives at Bay Area tech firms are noticing. One such firm diving into Irvine’s high-tech talent pool is Vincit, a digital design and app development agency. Vincit California has successfully expanded from Finland to Irvine’s Spectrum Business Center – by way of Silicon Valley. After starting its U.S. venture in the...
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Brian Andersen Named 2018 Greater Irvine Chamber Member of the Year

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Brian Andersen, founder and CEO of Telecomprehensive Solutions, a telecommunications and technology consulting company, has been named the 2018 Greater Irvine Chamber Member of the Year. Since joining the Chamber in 2013, Andersen has been actively involved in the Chamber, joining a number of committees, and attending various events. He currently serves as co-chair of the Chamber’s Business and Workforce Development Committee, working to educate, inform, retain, grow, and expand existing businesses in Irvine. He is also involved in the Chamber’s Economic Vitality Council where he collaborates with other members, finding ways to energize the start-up eco-system, improve business retention, and cultivate a collaborative...
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Greater Irvine Chamber Receives the Nation's Highest Honor in Exporting & International Trade

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on May 21, presented Greater Irvine Chamber with the President’s “E” Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. “The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with the Chamber’s creation of an International Development Committee. The Chamber’s development of a series of trade opportunities between companies and organizations in Orange County, California and potential buyers and officials...
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Studio+ Hires Jose Valentin as Senior Project Manager

Friday, April 06, 2018

Jose Valentin has joined integrated services design firm Studio+ as a Senior Project Manager in their Irvine, CA office. As a Senior Project Manager, Valentin will oversee many aspects of the design and construction process including site preparation, plans, construction contracts for general contractors, and direction of building completion.
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