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Shaping San Diego

Local innovators push the boundaries and bring big ideas to execution.

San Diego is a premier catalyst for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism. Local innovators push the boundaries and bring big ideas to execution. Get an inside look at the individuals whose work is shaping San Diego, all of whom contribute to our thriving ecosystem.

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by E3 Photography / Eddie Garcia III

Shaping Home Services Industry

Mary Jean Anderson

Owner/President of Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air

For Mary Jean Anderson, the greatest joy of owning a successful business is the opportunity to give back.

Since 1978, Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air has served San Diego with plumbing repairs, drain clearing, new heating and air conditioning systems, and much more.

She says, “We invest heavily in our employees to be sure they are always at the top of their game with the information and tools they need to do the job right.”

Anderson’s Random Acts of Plumbing, Heating & Air program benefits people in need, and its Troops for Trades program provides training for returning military. Year after year, Anderson has also been recognized for her business leadership and community service by organizations including the BBB board of directors, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the San Diego Police Foundation, and many more.

1830 John Towers Avenue | 619-449-7646 |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by Becca Batista

Shaping Finance

Taylor R. Schulte, CFP®

Founder and Wealth Advisor of Define Financial

A recognized industry expert and award-winning entrepreneur, Taylor Schulte built his commission-free firm—and his reputation—using one guiding principle: total transparency. “Every fee you pay means less money in your pocket,” he says. “We want clients to understand exactly what they are paying and exactly what they are getting in return.”

Schulte worked with large brokerage firms for over half of his career. “I found them spending more time talking about how to make the firm more money than how to make clients more money,” he says. “I wanted to change that.”

In 2014, Schulte launched Define Financial, a place where busy professionals and retirees can receive objective financial advice. Using industry-leading technology and flexible fee models, he is challenging tradition and paving the way for the future of wealth management.

When Schulte isn’t perfecting financial plans, you can find him traveling with his wife, searching for the next best carne asada burrito, or trying to master Adam Scott’s golf swing.

750 B Street, Suite 1750 | 619-577-4002 | | [email protected]

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Eddie Garcia III E3 Photography

Shaping Tourism

San Diego Tourism Authority

Left to right: Brian Hilemon, Candice Eley, Joe Terzi, Kerri Kapich, Althea Salas

It’s no coincidence that publications like National Geographic Traveler and Worth magazine named San Diego a top travel destination for 2016. As the region’s official sales and marketing organization since 1954, the nonprofit San Diego Tourism Authority leads San Diego’s tourism efforts to make sure it receives its time in the spotlight. With more than 900 member businesses, the SDTA represents all facets of San Diego, from theme parks and attractions to craft breweries, museums, restaurants, and more.

“Tourism is San Diego’s second largest traded economy, so a thriving tourism industry is vital to the region,” says Kerri Kapich, chief operating officer for the SDTA. “More visitors mean more tax revenue for the city and county, which is crucial for funding neighborhood services.”

Kapich adds that strong neighborhood ties are an important part of the tourism industry as well. “From local workforce development to neighborhood place-making, our staff works hard to ensure that the tourism industry is an extension of San Diego’s vibrant local community.”

750 B Street, Suite 1500 | 619-232-3101 |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Eddie Garcia III E3 Photography

Shaping the Future of Museums

San Diego Museum Council

Theresa Kosen, SDMC Executive Director; Laurie Egan-Hedley, Secretary/Treasurer (Barona Cultural Center & Museum); Kerri Fox, Board President (The New Children’s Museum); Rebecca Handelsman, Vp (Sd Natural History Museum)

Any desirable destination in the world has at least one famous museum. In San Diego, we’re fortunate to have one of the country’s largest concentrations of museums per capita. No one is prouder of that than the San Diego Museum Council (SDMC), whose mission it is to increase awareness of its 42 member organizations and provide them with resources, professional development, and networking opportunities.

“For 40 years, we’ve supported arts and culture by making museums more accessible to residents and visitors,” says Kerri Fox, SDMC board president.

SDMC elevates museum attendance through two annual events: February’s Macy’s Museum Month, when member museums offer half-off admission, and Kids Free October, aimed at engaging the next generation of museum goers.

As Theresa Kosen, SDMC executive director, concludes: “Museums reflect the fabric of what’s important to a community through what we collect, keep, and share with later generations.”

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Lauren Radack

Shaping Faces

Sirius K. Yoo, M.D.

Owner of SKY Facial Plastic Surgery

Shaping Faces. Focusing only on the face and neck, the SKY team—led by facial plastic surgeon Dr. Sirius K. Yoo—combines conventional cosmetic surgery with laser treatments, chemical peels, Botox, fillers, and skin care for impressive results that look natural.

Double-board-certified in facial plastic surgery and head and neck surgery, Dr. Yoo is one of a select number of surgeons in the nation to complete a prestigious fellowship in facial plastic surgery at Stanford University. A testament to his patients’ delight, Dr. Yoo has received the coveted Best Cosmetic Surgeon award from Ranch & Coast Magazine for the past two years. “I am blown away by Dr. Yoo—he is the best,” reports a recent patient. “The work that was done looks incredibly natural and I am so grateful that I had Dr. Yoo do my surgery.”

Whether it’s to look as young as you feel or just to enhance your natural beauty, a customized treatment at SKY Facial Plastic Surgery can help shape self-image and boost confidence.

16918 Dove Canyon Rd #208 | 858-381-4801 | [email protected] |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by Becca Batista

Shaping Luxury


Rebecca Knuth, Owner; Shannon Hellmers, Right-Hand Woman; Shante Schwarz, PR/Marketing Guru

The idea for the San Diego–based app Splurge was birthed two years ago in founder Rebecca Knuth’s kitchen. The innovative app connects local upscale shops and services with high-end consumers seeking everything from fine wine to unique luxury items. Enthusiastically received since its launch, Splurge’s reach now extends as far away as New York, Miami, and London.

“Splurge is a luxury lifestyle app that allows you to quickly and easily order more of what you love,” says Knuth. Each Splurge merchant is handpicked and vetted, and the app is rapidly shaping the way San Diegans are ordering, reordering, and gifting the products they love. When she’s not expanding her business, Knuth can be found volunteering at her son’s nursery school, sailing, and planning epic parties for family and friends. Her philosophy? “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.”

San Diego | 786-350-8267 |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by E3 Photography / Eddie Garcia III

Shaping Footwear


Of San Diego Stores

Forty years ago, SDSU student Robert Younger tried on his first pair of Birkenstock sandals. Sold on the iconic shoes, he opened the first San Diego–area Birkenstock store in 1976. Today, Robert and wife Melissa own five Birkenstock stores, featuring more than 30 diverse shoe brands. “Our passion is to seek out, introduce, and provide the San Diego market with new, functional, and exciting footwear,” Younger says. Always proponents of innovation, the Youngers are empowering the future owners, eldest son Kevin O’Neill and general manager Matt Palkovic, to discover new and original brands!

Encinitas | Old Town | Coronado | Lemon Grove | Palm Springs | | 619-337-9292

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by E3 Photography / Eddie Garcia III

Shaping Spanish Cuisine

César Restaurant & Bar

Richard and Terumi Mazzera of César Restaurant

Richard Mazzera and Terumi Shibata-Mazzera bring the taste of Spain to Rancho Santa Fe with a new outpost of César, their popular Bay Area bar and restaurant. These hospitality veterans have brought their enthusiasm and extraordinary culinary skills to San Diego.

Richard is the former general manager of Chez Panisse, and Terumi began her career in her native Japan, the epicenter of hospitality. Since relocating to the sunny community of Del Mar, they’ve enjoyed getting to know new friends while bringing their experience and multicultural passion for food and entertaining to Southern California.

16089 San Dieguito Road | 858-771-1313 |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by Becca Batista

Shaping Tech Education

Kevin Solorio

Campus Director of Dev Bootcamp San Diego

A self-taught software developer with eight years of experience, Kevin Solorio moved to San Diego to launch Dev Bootcamp’s fourth campus, utilizing his professional expertise to teach the next generation of coders the technical, cognitive, and interpersonal skills used in software development today.

Committed to the vitality of San Diego’s tech economy, Solorio runs the local campus based on the tenets of accessibility, community, and effectiveness. He works to diversify San Diego’s talent pipeline to include people from underrepresented communities in tech, including women, people of color, and veterans.

707 Broadway, Suite 800 | 877-431-9044 |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by E3 Photography / Eddie Garcia III

Shaping Health Care

Katherine Chapin

Managing Partner of Health Savings Associates Insurance Services Inc.

In today’s health insurance climate, tumultuous changes continue to be on the horizon. That’s where Katherine Chapin comes in. As Managing Partner of Health Savings Associates, Chapin helps San Diego businesses navigate through the complexities of health care reform in order to optimize employee benefit plans that fit their financial needs.

“I understand the importance San Diego businesses place on attracting and maintaining high-level talent, and affordability is an issue for almost any employer,” Chapin says. “I help companies to be competitive and to ensure success in one of the most important decisions they will make.”

687 S Coast Hwy 101, Suite 310 | 888-472-1090 |

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Douglas Gates

Shaping Homes

Marrokal Design & Remodeling

Gary Marrokal and Tom Capizzi

San Diego native Gary Marrokal created the company more than 35 years ago. His personal commitment to show respect to all those he has been fortunate enough to serve by listening and caring about what’s most important to them has been the single guiding principle that has resulted in so many successful remodeling relationships.

The power of two: Co-owner and friend Tom Capizzi joined Gary as a partner in 2015, bringing a wealth of experience from his own Massachusetts remodeling firm. Together, Tom and Gary promise to continue providing exceptional remodeling experiences.

9474 Kearny Villa Road #205 | 619-441-9300 | | LIC#1010116

Shaping San Diego

Shaping San Diego

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

Shaping Law

Erwin J. Shustak
Paul A. Reynolds

Shustak Reynolds & Partners, PC

Growing up, Erwin Shustak loved sticking up for the underdog. Those same instinctive advocacy skills have garnered him numerous awards and accolades in a legal career spanning over four decades. Paul Reynolds, widely recognized as a “lawyer’s lawyer,” has litigated in trial and appellate courts throughout California and the United States. Together with a team of top-notch attorneys, Shustak and Reynolds oversee a San Diego–based firm with a global reach; their clients include Fortune 500 companies, venture capital firms, investment partnerships, high-net-worth individuals, and investment advisors.

“We stand between people and their problems and get them the results they deserve,” Shustak says. With skill, experience, and tenacity, Shustak Reynolds and Partners is one of the few local firms capable of understanding and resolving the high stakes disputes that arise in the securities and financial worlds. “We’re honest, ethical, and strategically aggressive.”

401 West A Street, Suite 2250 | 800-496-5900 | 619-696-9500 |

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Shaping San Diego

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