$1.50 VOL. 36 NO. 30
St. John Makeover
Has Global Look
JULY 29-AUGUST 4, 2013
APPAREL: New investor from China;
chair, chief executive bring Paris ties
The arrival of new top executives and a Chinese investor who has taken a
minority stake in St. John
Knits International Inc.
point to an ambition for international expansion at the
Irvine-based fashion house.
Word of the minority stake Beetz: spent 11 years
for Shanghai-based invest- at helm of Coty
ment firm Fosun International Ltd. preceded last
St. John Knits 88
Driving Expansion
page 10
PAAMCO staff at company’s
golf tournament: hedge fund
manager ranked among best
midsize employers
100 Pass ‘Best’ Test
Employees Give Record Number of
Local Companies Nods in 3 Categories
Al Punto’s “Clean Air”
page 75
Harrisburg, Pa.-based Best Companies
Group. The rankings hinge largely on emThe number of “best places to work” in ployees’ views; their responses carry a 75%
Orange County continues to grow.
weight for the overall scores.
This week’s Business JourSurveys of employees inSpecial
nal lists includes 100 compacluded queries covering 72
nies that earned the distinction, Best Places to Work areas across eight categories of
the highest number yet for the
page 25 workplace-related conditions,
annual compilation, which
such as relationships with sustarted in 2009 with 40 companies.
pervisors, corporate culture and communiThe listed companies scored highest cation, and pay and benefits.
among voluntary participants in proprietary
Employees were asked to indicate whether
research done for the Business Journal by
Best Places 51
Gallery of Fine Homes
PAGES A-12–A-23
Technology Solutions
PAGES B-61–B-74
Investment Properties
PAGES 76–77
Business Services................81–83
Executive Suites...............84–85
OC Law Guide ........................86
Versant Gives Mazzo
Room to Operate
HEALTHCARE: VC firm creates new
role for former Abbott Medical boss
Veteran medical device executive James Mazzo will
bring his “operational guy”
perspective to startup companies in Orange County and
beyond in his latest role.
Versant Ventures recently
appointed him as the first operating partner in the history
of the Menlo Park-based venMazzo 78
Mazzo: “intriguing”
opportunity for next
Marketing Departments Grow Up
OC Takes Up Trend Toward In-House Staffs,
Ad Shops as Supplements
keting teams while still engaging advertising agencies for strategic guidance and other specialized services.
Online Trading Academy in
A quick look at local job ads reIrvine had just a couple of employveals current patterns on in-house
ees in its marketing department
marketing: Ingram Micro Inc. in
when it hired Rhythm Interactive
Santa Ana and Yamaha Corporato work on its digital advertising
tion of America in Buena Park are
strategy in 2010.
looking for a marketing manager;
The school, which offers how-to
Irvine-based CoreLogic Inc. needs a
courses on trading for various mardirector of brand marketing; Oculus
kets, now has 17 staff members with Cooke: agencies
“undersell the
VR Inc., also in Irvine, wants to
day-to-day marketing tasks among magic”
bring on an art director to “lead the
their duties.
The arrangement reflects a trend across Or- creative direction and art development process
ange County and the nation: Businesses big for the Oculus brand, website, and product;”
and small are beefing up their in-house marMarketing 87
2071 San Joaquin Hills Road: 12,900-square-foot building one of two medical offices that go to Irvine Co.
Irvine Company in
Rare Property Swap
REAL ESTATE: 4-building trade
with Burnham in Newport Center
Four low-rise buildings in Newport Center—Orange County’s most exclusive and expensive office
market—have seen an ownership change without a
single dollar trading hands.
Newport Beach-based Irvine Company and
Newport Center 88
Best Places
JULY 29, 2013
佡 from page 1
they agreed with statements in those categories. Researchers calculated for each statement the proportions of those who “agree
somewhat” and “agree strongly” and figured
them into an overall percentage score.
“In order to be considered for the list, [an
applicant company] has to have an 80% overall score for the employee survey,” said
Susan Springer, director of workplace assessments at Best Companies Group. “And
we need to have at least a 40% response rate
from those employers that have 25 or more
employees. If you have less than that, we’re
looking for an 80% response rate. Those are
the basic criteria to be considered for the list.
Once we make that initial cut, we look at all
the employers in comparison to one another
and see who has the highest score.”
This week’s entries are separated by company size. The lists includes 32 small businesses, defined as those with between 15 and
49 U.S. employees; 34 midsize companies
with 50 to 249 employees; and 34 large companies with 250 or more employees. (The
Special Report, which includes lists, stories
and graphics, starts on page 25.)
Positive Feedback
Workers at small companies generally responded more positively than those at larger
ones, with 93% positive feedback overall,
compared with 91% and 90% for mediumsized and large companies, respectively.
The work environment category received
the highest percentage of positive responses.
About 96% of all employees at listed companies agreed with statements such as, “There
is adequate noise control to allow me to focus
on my work,” and “I feel physically safe in
my work environment.”
About 95% of employees at small businesses said they felt positively about their relationships with supervisors. Researchers
asked them if they “trust what my supervisor
tells me” and if the supervisor engages in clear
communication “when I do my work well”
and “when my work needs improvement.”
The figures were 94% for medium-sized
companies and 92% for large companies.
Employees at medium-sized businesses appeared the most satisfied with their pay and
benefits, with 86% agreeing to statements
such as, “My pay is fair for the work I perform,” and, “I’m satisfied with this organization’s benefits package,” including
sick-leave policy and tuition-reimbursement
About 83% of employees at small companies and 84% at large companies responded
positively in the pay-and-benefits category.
Taking Care
Irvine-based hedge fund manager Pacific
Alternative Asset Management Co. is big
on “taking care of our people,” especially
when it comes to providing health insurance
and health-related perks, said Chief Executive Jane Buchan.
“One of the things we try very hard to do
is to provide very nice health insurance,”
Buchan said. “It’s a PPO, and we pay the entire premium for you and your dependent.
There is no copay.”
That makes PAAMCO—which ranked No.
15 on the Medium Companies list—one of
the 26 firms that picks up 100% of the tab for
their employees’ medical coverage. It’s also
one of two that pay for all of dependents’ coverage.
PAAMCO manages about $9 billion in assets globally and has offices in London and
Singapore. Its Irvine headquarters houses
about 110 employees, and another 30 or so
workers work overseas, flying into OC once
a year for several days of firmwide meetings
Local breaking news: www.ocbj.com
and training that end with a party.
Buchan founded PAAMCO in 2000 with
Judith Posnikoff, who serves as a managing
director. They are regularly featured in the annual 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds reports published by the Hedge Fund Journal
and Ernst & Young LLP.
Other Benefits
PAAMCO’s other benefits include free
Equinox gym memberships and twice-weekly
catered lunches, but “it’s not just the perks …
it’s also the fact that we’re an employeeowned company,” said Mayer Cherem, a
managing director and chair of the firm’s
Strategy Allocation committee.
“People have the potential to become partners, and that attracts top-notch people who
could go to a private equity company or an
investment bank,” Cherem said. “They come
here. They understand they can be part of the
firm. There are people from everywhere and
with different backgrounds.”
Cherem is from Venezuela and joined
PAAMCO nine years ago after earning his
MBA degree from Columbia University.
TCA Architects Inc. in Irvine, ranked No.
6 on the Medium Companies list, provides
extensive educational programs for its employees. The firm, which focuses on designing multifamily, high-density properties, has
86 employees, including those in its Los Angeles and Oakland offices.
“There are a couple of things we do [for]
employee growth, and TCA University is the
most important one,” President Aram
Chahbazian said. “We do … meetings
where we basically dissect our own work.
We put all our work on the wall and invite
teammates and other teams to critique the
work. It’s to offer up ideas. It’s very much
like an academic environment. Those things
really work together to create a collegial
work environment.”
TCA is one of the top architecture firms in
Orange County, landing on the Business
Journal’s Architecture Firms list last fall as
the 10th-largest here, with annual billings of
more than $12 million.
“One of the things that’s a great benefit for
everybody is that we have flexible work
hours,” Chahbazian said. “We have a fourand-a-half-day work week. Obviously, if we
have deadlines, we’ll work, but generally
that’s the baseline.”
A few TCA employees on the administrative side utilize the flexible work hours by
working from home on Friday mornings.
“They have a considerable travel distance,
and [rather than] coming in for four hours, it
makes it more efficient to telecommute,”
Chahbazian said. “That’s not widespread in
the office, but it’s part of the flexible work
week. That’s centered around our core belief
to balance work and life. We don’t encourage
overtime. We don’t need to be laboring all
night on a weekly basis. Believe it or not,
that’s engraved in our industry. Architects are
famous for it, actually.” ■