Biz Buzz: A.G. business forum to spotlight innovative ideas

A Stanford sociologist, three Central Coast business owners, and a Los Angeles investment banker are headlining a business symposium at the Clark Center on Thursday.

The forum, sponsored by local business law firm Andre, Morris and Buttery, will highlight innovative ideas, said Kathryn Eppright, the law firm’s managing principal as well as its chairman of the employment law practice group.

Walter “Woody” Powell, a Stanford sociologist who studies business clusters in cities, will be the keynote speaker. He focuses on how corporate and scientific talent can spur economic development when drawn to a community by an “anchor” — like MIT and Harvard spurred the biotech industry’s development in Boston.

The symposium will also feature three local business leaders, who will share how they leveraged resources and their location on the Central Coast, Eppright said. They are: Randy Flamm of Paso Robles’ IQMS, a software development company; Cal Poly engineering alumnus Ty Safreno of San Luis Obispo’s Trust Automation, which designs and makes motion control devices for the aerospace and health care industry; and Steven Newell of Windset Farms, a Canadian farming company with greenhouses located in Santa Maria.

The panel discussion will be moderated by associate professor Jonathan York of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business.

Lloyd Greif, a private investment banker specializing in mergers, acquisitions and financing of midsized companies, will discuss venture capital, public offerings and strategic mergers and acquisitions.

The symposium will run from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande. Tickets are $50 and are available at the Clark Center box office.

— Melanie Cleveland

The Morro Bay Acupuncture Center recently moved its offices from 665C Main St. to a larger space at 275 Marina St. in Morro Bay. The center is owned and operated by licensed acupuncturist Jessica Kahel and offers acupuncture therapy, herbal medicine and therapeutic bodywork to treat stress and pain.

— Julia Hickey

Robert Hall Winery of Paso Robles received several honors in January at the San Francisco Chronicle annual wine competition — which evaluated nearly 5,000 American wines. It received Best of Class and Judge’s Choice for the 2009 orange muscat. Gold-medal honors were awarded for its 2008 sauvignon blanc, 2008 viognier, 2007 syrah and 2006 Meritage. Robert Hall wines are made by winemaker Don Brady.

— Julia Hickey