Bay Area Council Blog: Membership Archive

Levi's_credit Chronicle

Member Spotlight: 49ers Home Field Shines in Championship

No Bay Area sports teams hoisted a trophy from the NCAA football title game on Monday, but the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium was in championship form. The weather was perfect, the stadium was full and the atmosphere was electric as near capacity crowd of almost 75,000 fans raised the roof as Clemson dominated Alabama for the national title. In a San Francisco Chronicle article, sportswriter Eric Branch observed that “the facility sparkled in the national spotlight.” 49ers President Al Guido told Branch: “My immediate reaction was the stadium deserved it. In the sense that it has gotten knocked over time. Whether that’s atmosphere, noise, turf — it was great to have all that kind of come together in the way that it did with our same 49ers people doing it.” Even the playing surface, which has experienced problems in the first two years, was in great shape. “I think the ceiling is really, really high on this stadium,” Guido said. “And I can’t wait to when we get to that point.” Hearty congratulations to 49ers CEO and Bay Area Council Executive Committee member Jed York, under whose leadership Levi’s Stadium was built.


Member Spotlight: Alston & Bird, Celebrating 10 Years in CA

2018 marks a year of celebration for Alston & Bird, a leading national law firm that provides a full range of services to domestic and international clients conducting business around the world. This year, the firm celebrated its 125th anniversary as well as its 10th anniversary in California. The firm’s Los Angeles and Silicon Valley offices opened in 2008 and just last year expanded into San Francisco with the addition of a team providing legal counsel in a number of industries, including financial services, insurance, banking, technology, health care, pharmaceuticals, food products, manufacturing, oil and gas, marketing, retail, securities, and telecommunications.

Alston & Bird has been ranked on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 19 consecutive years, an unprecedented accomplishment among law firms in the United States. The recognition speaks to the culture of the firm and the environment in which it practices law and provides service to clients. The firm has also been consistently recognized in the BTI Client Service A-Team Report. This recognition is reserved for the top-performing firms in the industry that provide superior client service.

Alston & Bird’s San Francisco team looks forward to continuing to build and enhance relationships with San Francisco’s business and civic communities and contribute to the city’s rich history as an unparalleled hub of innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship.

To learn more about Alston & Bird, please visit


Member Spotlight: SENER

Perspective matters. And though 10 years may not seem like a long time to some, to the engineering and technology group, SENER, it has been a dynamic beginning of its meaningful entry into the US market and an extensive period for growth and expansion. Since opening its California-based office in 2008, SENER continues to advance its global innovation and expertise in the US as a leader in revolutionizing infrastructure delivery in the US with projects in infrastructure and transport, renewables, power, oil and gas, marine, and aerospace.

Infrastructure and transport projects include the Gruen/Grimshaw Master Plan high-speed design for the Los Angeles Union Station, and a partnership with ACS to develop the first P3 transit project in Los Angeles—the re-opening of the landmark Angels Flight funicular railway in Los Angeles. For the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), SENER has overseen the preliminary
engineering of the rail segment between Palmdale and Burbank, a section that crosses the San Gabriel Mountains.

In aerospace, the Nevada-based Sierra Nevada Corporation chose the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism, a critical piece of aerospace technology that SENER developed with a European Space Agency consortium for use with the Dream Chaser spacecraft and its International Space Station docking system. Watch SENER CEO Mercedes Sierra talk about “The Way to See the Future.”  Look what can happen in just ten short years — congratulations to SENER on its great achievements!


SF State Announces Largest Gift in Its History

From one Bay Area Council member to another, San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong recently announced the largest gift in the school’s history from George and Judy Marcus. George Marcus, who serves on the Council’s Board of Directors, is co-founder and co-chairman of Marcus & Millichap, was a 1965 graduate of the university and is a former University of California regent, among his many other civic and professional affiliations. Judy graduated from SFSU in 1962. The $25 million gift from the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, will support student and faculty research across the college, as well as four endowed chairs and major programmatic enhancements in the department of Creative Writing and the school of Cinema. “We are extremely grateful for the Marcuses’ generosity and ongoing service and commitment to San Francisco State University,” said President Wong, who also serves on the Council’s Board of Directors. “Their steadfast support has had a profound impact on our students, faculty, staff and programs, and this history-making gift will carry that legacy far into the future.”


Member Spotlight: CSAA Insurance Group

CSAA Insurance Group, an AAA insurer, joins a small group of private financiers to invest in a new Forest Resilience Bond that funds the upfront costs of forest restoration, while earning investors returns from the multiple agencies that benefit from the mitigation work. Investments in such projects are critical in addressing the growing risks of wildfires associated with climate change and its impacts forests. CSAA joined The Rockefeller Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Calvert Impact Capital in providing a combined $4 million in private capital to fund a pilot project aimed at improving forest management in 15,000 acres of the North Yuba River area of Tahoe National Forest.

The National Forest Foundation will lead the forest management work on the ground: managing invasive plants, cutting down small trees, clearing out shrubs, and burning off ground cover that can fuel wildland fires, for example. Healthier, thinner forests reduce the risk of severe fires, improve watershed health, and protect water resources. “Investing in healthy forests is good for the state, good for AAA members, and good for us as an insurer with thousands of customers living in areas at risk of wildfires and other disasters,” said Linc Walworth, vice president of investments at CSAA Insurance Group. “We earn a good return while helping the environment and our customers. What a great combination in a single investment.”


Hall of Fame Honors Business, Civic & Philanthropic Leadership

A star-studded audience of more than 700 celebrated business, civic and philanthropic leadership on Thursday at the Bay Area Council’s 73rd Annual Dinner and Business Hall of Fame event presented by Kaiser Permanente and Alaska Airlines. Council Chair and Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson and Council CEO Jim Wunderman opened the evening with remarks reflecting on the tragedy of devastating fires sweeping across the state and highlighting the incredible response from many companies working to contribute money and resources to aid those affected. The gathering included CEOs and executives from many of the region’s leading companies, along with top elected leaders including state Controller Betty Yee, state Treasurer-elect Fiona Ma, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Assemblymember Rob Bonta and mayors from a number of cities, among many others.

The night was highlighted by the induction of the 2018 class of the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame, including Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, former Safeway CEO and San Francisco Giants President and General Manager Peter Magowan and the Magnin Family represented by Ellen Magnin Newman. Lacob and Guber transformed the Warriors in a short time from a perennial loser to a world champion while dramatically elevating the team’s community and philanthropic work. Magowan led Safeway through a turbulent time in the grocery industry before joining the Giants and building the team into what would become a world champion that also led in the areas of raising awareness about breast cancer, AIDs and community violence. The Magnin family was a women’s luxury clothing, retail pioneer behind the brands of I. Magnin and Joseph Magnin. The entire Magnin family, including notably Cyril Magnin and children Ellen, Donald and Jerry, also made immeasurable civic and philanthropic contributions over many decades that continue to benefit San Francisco and the region even today.

We’ll share videos and photos of the event in the coming days.


Members Making News: Sutter Health, Heller Manus

Sutter Health’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center recently announced the launch of a new groundbreaking approach to avoid delays in treating strokes, which are the fifth leading cause of death and the top contributor to long-term disability in the U.S. In a public private partnership, Sutter Health will pilot a new specially-equipped and -staffed ambulance, called a mobile stroke unit (MSU). The goal is to test whether bringing stroke diagnosis and treatment to patients—rather than waiting for them to arrive at the emergency department—improves outcomes. From the outside the MSU resembles a standard ambulance, but inside it equipped with a CT scanner and other technology critical for diagnosing stroke. Initially, a stroke neurologist will ride in the Mobile Stroke Unit. Data gathered through the Mills-Peninsula pilot will contribute to national efforts aimed at demonstrating the mobile stroke unit’s ability.


Heller Manus Founder and President and Bay Area Council board member Jeffrey Heller recently was awarded one of the top honors in architecture, the MIT Architecture Alumni Lifetime Achievement award. Heller joined I.M Pei in receiving the illustrious honor. In making the award, MIT said: Since its beginning in 1984, Heller Manus has established a reputation for influencing architecture and urban design in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally. Heller is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Heller is a major supporter of MIT’s Department of Architecture, where his Jeffrey D. Heller Fund provides graduate student financial support and is helping MIT move the needle on its goal of making the School of Architecture and Planning tuition free for all graduate students. Congratulations, Jeff!


Member Spotlight: Claremont Club & Spa

The historic Claremont Club & Spa perched in the verdant Berkeley hills was the setting for a recent offsite retreat by the Bay Area Council’s Executive Committee as they discussed the organization’s strategic direction and policy agenda. Claremont General Manager Charles Head, who recently joined the Council’s Board of Directors, welcomed committee members and described the incredible $80 million renovation of the hotel, including updating all the guest rooms, lobby and dining spaces. The service, food and other amenities were incredible and the expansive views of the bay jaw-dropping.

Behind the scenes, the Claremont recently launched a comprehensive food waste prevention program in partnership with Alameda County’s StopWaste agency and technology provider LeanPath. Claremont Club & Spa has been a staple within the Bay Area community for over 100 years and prides itself on continuing to be a forward-thinking resort. LeanPath food waste technology will be installed in the main kitchen to track and analyze the progress over time.

By participating in this initiative, Claremont will be able to understand what food is being wasted, why and how to prevent it. The insights shared provide foodservice staff and other team members with very important information, enabling them to make changes that prevent and reduce waste by a goal of 30 percent throughout the year. Claremont will continue to work with Alameda County and the StopWaste agency on this initiative and is proud to do their part in preventing food from being wasted.

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Bay Area – Germany Dialogue on Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0

From November 7 – 9, the Bay Area hosts a German delegation of Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0 leaders, including the recipient of the Frost & Sullivan Manufacturing Leader of the Year 2017 Award. The program is organized by EIT Digital and the German American Business Association in California as part of the “Year of German-American Friendship” and includes events on November 7 and 8 that are open for BAC members as well as visits to Bay Area manufacturing sites.  Learn more and register here>>

November 8 at 4 pm, Industrie 4.0 Conference at SAP Palo Alto: REGISTER


Member Spotlight: United Airlines Flexes Economic Muscle at SFO

United Airlines recently held its SFO Family Day to show off its United San Francisco maintenance facility that includes 15 buildings on 144 acres, where 2,144 United employees work. In the last two years, United added about 300 employees at the SFO maintenance base. United President Scott Kirby and United California Regional President Janet Lamkin, who serves on the Bay Area Council Executive Committee, headlined the event, which was attended by thousands of employees and their families.

“We have such an incredible future here ahead of us. This is going to be the No. 1 airline in the world,” Kirby said. “We’re making incredible progress on being a team that works together and fulfills the potential and opportunity that we all know that United Airlines has. Here in San Francisco, this is a crown jewel for United Airlines. It’s important not only to United Airlines. It’s important to the economy here in San Francisco. As strong and robust as this (Bay Area) economy is, being able to give people connections to 100 destinations around the world— over 30 international destinations — and having 14,000 people employed here in the local community, is critical to the underpinning and support for all the things happening in Silicon Valley and across the bay in San Francisco.”

“In serving the Bay Area’s largest companies, if we didn’t have the scale and abilities that we have to go to the places we go to, that would impact their ability to grow,” Lamkin said. She also highlighted United’s service initiatives in smaller California cities to provide greater air connections from Fresno, Santa Rosa and similar markets to United’s hub cities. The airline recently said it will begin flying from Santa Rosa to its hub in Denver, starting on March 8.