Nov. 06--For the second consecutive year, Universal Services of America in Santa Ana was named the nation's best job creator by Inc. magazine in its second Hire Power awards, a list of the 100 private U.S. businesses that are creating the greatest number of jobs.
Universal Services provides janitorial and security services for companies, including the Register. The company added 14,240 jobs between January 2012 and June of this year. It employs 35,000 people, and has been on an acquisition binge, buying up about one security company every other month for the past year.
The only other local company to place high in this year's Hire Power list was Pacific Dental Services of Irvine, which ranked No. 17 last year. With 856 new jobs, the company took the No. 10 spot.
Fourteen California companies made it onto Inc.'s list, more than any other state. Four of them are based in Orange County. The other two are New American Funding, a mortgage lender in Tustin, and 29 Prime, an online marketing firm based in Irvine.
Inc. published separate lists that include smaller companies that have grown significantly since 2009. Seabirds, an Irvine-based vegan food truck business that now has a restaurant in Costa Mesa, ranked No. 10 in the list of companies that had one to 10 employees four years ago. Seabirds grew from five to 40 workers since then.
The 100 companies that made Inc.'s list will be honored at an awards ceremony in San Francisco on Tuesday.
On the move
Pediatrician Gunjeet Kala Ahluwalia has joined North Orange County Pediatrics, a medical practice in Placentia. She was previously division chief for pediatric nephrology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she served as an assistant professor of pediatrics.
Chris Williams is now producing sales manager for the retail consumer-lending team at Union Bank N.A., a commercial bank headquartered in San Francisco. Williams manages mortgage consultants in the Orange County area, working out of the bank's Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley branches. He was previously senior mortgage loan officer with Bank of America.
Jeff Littlefield, co-founder of Tomgirl Baking Co., a Huntington Beach bakery that specializes in desserts and cakes, is stepping out of his role as silent partner to become the company's chef. Littlefield was previously executive chef at the Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton hotel in Huntington Beach. Littlefield has already added a seasonal cafe menu for breakfast and lunch offerings.
Billabong International Ltd., an Australian surfwear retailer with American headquarters in Irvine, agreed to sell West 49, its Canadian retail chain with 92 stores, to YM Inc. for $8.6 million to $10.5 million. The deal includes a $32.6 million nonexclusive agreement for Billabong to supply YM for the next two years. The purchase leaves Billabong's Canadian presence with six namesake locations and two Element storefronts. YM is a fashion retailer based in Canada, with store brands that include Stitches, Urban Planet and Sirens.
Confie Seguros, an insurance broker based in Huntington Beach that primarily serves Hispanic consumers, acquired DeFranco Insurance Agency Inc. of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Insurance Group of American Inc., out of Palm Springs, Fla. Confie has bought 23 brokerages in the last year. Terms of the recent deals were not disclosed.
Nihon Kohden America Inc., the Irvine-based U.S. subsidiary of Japanese medical electronic equipment maker Nihon Kohden, received a contract modification worth up to $27.6 million from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Philadelphia. The agency, which provides support for all U.S. military branches, exercised a one-year option for Nihon to provide patient monitoring equipment, parts and training for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies.
Two O.C. executives were chosen by more than 150 judges as finalists in the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Maureen Khamsi, vice president at Strategic Medical, a Newport Beach-based operator of diagnostic imaging centers, is a finalist for the female executive of the year distinction for consumer services with up to 2,500 employees. Khamsi also appears in the final list for woman of the year in a category labeled "industry." Amy Cosper, editor in chief at Irvine-based Entrepreneur Magazine, is a finalist for one of four categories of female executive of the year for business services with 11 to 2,500 employees. Winners will be announced Friday in New York.
Author Timothy Spangler, right, will speak about, answer questions related to, and sign copies of his book "One Step Ahead: Private Equity and Hedge Funds After the Global Financial Crisis" during a free event at Laguna Beach Books on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. Spangler pens the Forbes.com "Law of the Market" blog and writes an Opinion column for the Register. The bookstore is at 1200 S. Coast Highway, No. 105.
"When looking longer term, we continue to maintain a cautious but positive outlook. The fundamentals for housing still look good." -- Scott Stowell, CEO at Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp., talking to Bloomberg about the housing market
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Original headline: O.C. firm is 'best job creator'
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