Close-Up: Mark Canavarro of Cubicles Office

SAN DIEGO — Calling cubicles a danger zone may sound extreme, but Mark Canavarro knows a dirty secret: Many of these workspaces contain pollutants that are harmful to the environment and people’s health. As president of Vista-based Cubicles Office Environment, a.k.a Cubicles — a cubicles supplier that also provides custom office solutions and systems furniture — Canavarro first heard about the perils of toxic furnishings last year while collaborating on a sustainable-design project with EDAW Inc.
Read: Cubicles Civision Connects Suppliers with Firms Seeking Eco-Friendly Office Gear

Close-Up: Harris Koenig of Alvarado Hospital

SAN DIEGO — Although the road to recovery takes time, CEO Harris Koenig believes every day Alvarado Hospital makes progress. Since January 2007, Koenig, current owners Pejman and Pedram Salimpour, and their management team have tried to distance the 311-bed medical center in East County from the costly aftermath of a scandal that erupted in 2005 under Tenet HealthSystem, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. Federal prosecutors claimed that over the course of a decade, physicians received more than $10 million in illegal kickbacks disguised as “relocation payments” from Tenet, Alvarado and its former CEO Barry Weinbaum for referring patients to the hospital.
Read: Gradual Improvements Keep Alvarado CEO Focused on Future, Not Past

Close-Up: Tania and Jeff Kacha of Hob Nob Hill

SAN DIEGO — The first time Tania and Jeff Kacha sat down for breakfast at Hob Nob Hill, they knew what they wanted before they even opened their menus. “We thought, ‘Someday we would like to own this place,'” Tania said. The aspiring restaurateurs faced one obstacle, however: After 49 years of running the famed eatery on Banker’s Hill, founder Harold Hoersch planned to sell it to someone else. Until, that is, he met the Kachas, who were working at a tiny coffee shop in east San Diego.
Read: Hob Nob Hill Still Charms Locals with Cozy Atmosphere, Traditional American Cuisine

Close-Up: Beth Fischer of Pardee Homes

SAN DIEGO — Dismal reports may plague the residential real-estate sector these days, but Beth Fischer prefers to keep a positive perspective. As president of the San Diego division of Pardee Homes, Fischer oversees all operations concerning current and future projects. The 48-year-old leader has come a long way since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Xavier University, slowly scaling the corporate ladder in a male-dominated industry to become a top executive for one of San Diego’s largest homebuilders. Pardee, a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Weyerhaeuser Co., develops and builds new homes, apartments, master-planned communities and business parks in California and southern Nevada.
Read: Pardee Weathering Storm that Continues to Batter Residential Real-Estate Market

Close-Up: David Grundies of Naval Information Systems Center

SAN DIEGO — David Grundies’ thoughts on information-technology solutions and government contracting multiply quickly when he talks. In his mind, many people fail to realize that both reap results for the Navy-centered and tourist-friendly San Diego. Since 2007, the 57-year-old retired captain — who spent 26 years in the Navy — has acted as director of strategic plans for the Naval Information Systems Center (NISC). NISC is a division of Computer Science Corp., an IT solution-oriented powerhouse created in 1959 that supplies services such as outsourcing, systems integration and consulting, and generated more than $16.1 billion in revenues in fiscal 2007.
Read: Computer Science Corp. Division Explores New Ways to Work with Government, Small Business

Close-Up: Tim and Marc Penick of TB Penick & Sons Inc.

SAN DIEGO — More than a century ago, Thomas Beverly Penick cemented his place in San Diego history by using horses to haul sand and gravel to construction sites. Although the landscape has undergone massive makeovers since the Kentucky-born entrepreneur hopped off a train in 1905 with his family in tow to test his skills in the West, Penick’s vision to provide quality services as a concrete contractor lingers with every successor.
Read: Concrete Business Plan Keeps TB Penick on Track for Steady Growth

Close-Up: Wayne Pinnell of Haskell & White LLP

SAN DIEGO — Year-round tax deadlines, complicated audits and the threat of a recession do not faze Wayne Pinnell. For nearly 13 years, the 44-year-old managing partner of Irvine-based Haskell & White LLP has thrived in an environment devoted to accounting and consulting, and helped build the firm’s audit practice by extending services to the manufacturing, distribution and technology sectors.
Read: OC Accounting, Consulting Firm Adds San Diego Office

In the Spotlight: Photos Reveal Real Story of Now-Famous Kazakhstan

SAN DIEGO — Thanks to “Borat,” the glorious nation of Kazakhstan emerged from a bundle of obscure central Asian countries to a popular one that many moviegoers could pronounce, maybe even identify on a map. Too bad the Foreign Ministry threatened to sue star Sacha Baron Cohen for his “derogatory” depiction of the state after his social experiment hit theaters.
Read: ‘Soul of Kazakhstan’