A big rig on the highway with a freight shipment. Image by Jeff Chabot from Pixabay

By Tom York

Professional services giant Ernst & Young has selected Oren Zaslansky, CEO of Solana Beach-based Flock Freight, as its Entrepreneur of The Year 2020 for the San Diego and the Pacific Southwest areas.

Trucking industry veteran Zaslansky launched Flock Freight in 2015 after he saw inefficiencies within the industry. He pulled together a team of engineers and mathematicians to create an algorithm that allows for multiple less-than-truckload shipments into a shared shipment. According to a news release, Flock Freight has handled more than 12,000 shipments—a 296% increase in 2019 over 2018.

EY’s annual awards program is one of the most competitive for entrepreneurs in high-growth industries. EY said an independent panel of judges determined the winners based on various factors, including financial performance, impact on society, innovation and talent management.

Earlier this year, Zaslansky said Flock Freight was the first freight startup to earn B Corporation certification because of its socially conscious approach to doing business. The certification is awarded by the nonprofit B Labs.

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San Diego law firm Procopio has launched an Insurance Recovery Practice Group that will help resolve disputes without litigation. The firm says in a prepared statement that it “has the expertise, grit and experience to litigate through trial and appeal when needed.” The new group will be led by Cecilia O’Connell Miller. Procopio said it has already resolved numerous contentious claims—many deemed unresolvable—through mediation and arbitration. Procopio says its legal team has recovered more than $100 million, including defense fees, settlement monies and bad faith damages. Procopio is short for the more formal name of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.

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Long Beach architectural design firm RDC opens a second office in downtown San Diego and names Sean Slater as principal-in-charge. The firm said it originally came to San Diego because of the wealth of business that was available. According to a news release, CEO Brad Williams said local design projects include the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, the redevelopment of Horton Plaza, renovations at Fashion Valley Mall, a mixed-use at Costa Verde Center and several new high-rise multifamily efforts in the early planning phases. “A diverse client base has drawn us to San Diego, and we have had numerous staff regularly making the trip from Long Beach,” Williams said. “Sean loved the idea of making a life in San Diego, so this has been a natural evolution for our firm.” Slater said the lists of projects would make the design firm the second largest in San Diego.

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The National Association of Corporate Directors honors Sempra Energy’s board of directors with its NXT Award for making “transformative efforts in the areas of diversity and inclusion.” Sempra said in a press release that it was recognized because of its many diversity and inclusion programs spread across its family of companies. Among the steps taken was the launching of Community Conversations, a series of employee dialogs held in the wake of injustice issues raised this summer. The energy giant said in a prepared statement that internal discussions with employees, as well as guidance from Sempra’s board, accelerated efforts for enduring change to ensure every employee is valued, respected and able to reach full potential. The National Association of Corporate Directors said it is the recognized authority on “leading boardroom practices.”

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North County hits a homer! Carlsbad’s Park Hyatt Aviara Resort opened big (as they say in Hollywood) on Oct. 1 after a months-long shutdown due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Just a few days later the hilltop luxury hotel was playing host to the players and families of Major League Baseball team players competing for the right to take the American League Division banner into the World Series. As many as eight shiny orange buses were parked in and around the sprawling facility on the first night of the playoffs Oct. 5. But information about the guests was kept on the QT as much as possible for security reasons. Petco Park was one of two neutral venues for playoffs just concluded. There were no fans in the stands for the series due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. For the record, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros on Oct. 17 to wrap up this season’s unusual American League championship series. The Fall Classic World Series starts Oct. 20 between the Rays and National League Series champ The Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Finally, a just-released report from the San Diego Military Advisory Council notes that 25% of the county’s economic activity comes from the military based here. The armed services, accounted for $33.6 billion disbursed in the county during the fiscal year, an increase of 5.7% compared to the year before. Student and faculty at UC San Diego Rady School of Management wrote the report for the council. The authors noted that the all-important government spending comes at a critical time as the county as well as the rest of the state and country struggle with economic dislocations and disruptions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.

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