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San Diego's Men of the Moment

Kalah Siegel | March 28, 2017 | Feature Features

Whether it's paving the way for a new generation of networking, rallying local sports fans or transforming wave riding into fine art, these five San Diego gents pause to reflect on a record year—in their own words.

Latest Defining Moment:
Taking on the role as senior vice president and general manager for FOX Sports West, San Diego and Prime Ticket.

“One of my brightest moments this past year was pulling off our contribution to the MLB All-Star game. We delivered almost 80 hours of live programming; hosted nearly 800 guests at four events; and leveraged the resources of FOX Sports, FOX 5 and FOX Sports Radio to deliver an outstanding television experience. More important to this success were the people behind the scenes—my staff. I couldn’t be more proud to have them. Being promoted to lead the FOX Sports regions in Southern California was a standout juncture as well. I’m pleased that my superiors at FOX thought so much of me, but honestly, it’s been a team effort. We also made some exciting talent announcements for this Padres season. We’re thrilled to add Bob Scanlan with his depth of baseball knowledge to the reporter position and incorporate rising talent Tony Gwynn Jr. to Padres coverage—we’ve already received enormous enthusiasm and support from the fans. I’m seeing a great deal of pride when it comes to our local teams as of late. With the recent departure of the Chargers, San Diegans are coming together to say, ‘We are still going to be proud and supportive of our teams that remain.’ When I think about the legacy I’d like to leave, it comes down to having a positive influence on the people whom I’ve had the opportunity to interact with over the years, and for that I’m very grateful.”

Latest Defining Moment:
Raising S.D.’s cool factor by launching Moniker General, the lifestyle and home goods sensation in Liberty Station.

“Moniker means ‘name,’ which is why we have a blank line on all of our logos—someone else can fill in what their vision, dream, purpose or skill set is. Moniker Group has been around for seven years, but this past year, we took a big step out into the public eye with Moniker General. Much of the reason our company exists is to create spaces to empower other people to realize their calling and pursue their dreams. Up next, we’re opening our first co-working space, called Moniker Commons, in Liberty Station about 100 yards away from Moniker General. We’re also excited to launch our furniture line, Moniker Made, as well as Moniker Event—a full-service venue management and event coordination and design company. As a third-generation San Diegan with deep roots in this city—one of my grandfathers attended San Diego High School and the other was a Navy boot camp instructor at Liberty Station—it’s interesting to learn about S.D. back when my relatives were young... it makes me excited to leave a legacy behind, myself. Moniker is not only a business but an expression of me as a person. We all need to get our story out there in a way that gives other people permission to stick around San Diego and start their own legacies.”

Latest Defining Moment:
Taking his booming architecture firm to new heights as the designer behind Carlsbad’s latest multiuse dining concept, Park 101.

“Park 101 has been an exciting project for us because it’s right at the epicenter of the Carlsbad beach community. The process has been long but rewarding, and we’ve been inspired by the city’s enthusiastic and progressive support. It’s a 3,500-square-foot deli-style restaurant that has a large, turf-covered outdoor community picnic area and an upstairs roof deck, both of which overlook the ocean. The space will be open all day, with a varying menu throughout: specialty coffee and freshly baked pastries in the morning; prepared sandwiches and food to-go for the lunchtime beach crowd; and great barbecue and craft beer in the evening. To keep up with Park 101 and a few other interesting projects in the works, our firm has doubled in size over this past year, [which has] allowed us to purchase a new office space in Solana Beach—a borderline-steampunk contractor’s shed (circa 1915) with corrugated metal siding. Since moving to Cedros last year, we’ve stepped into several adaptive reuse projects in the neighborhood that will be turning some old, [small] storage and warehouse buildings into boutiques, cafes and creative office space. Not surprisingly, it’s been great sharing the block with fellow creative companies striving to change the landscape of the neighborhood in their respective fields. Corrugated metal sheds aside, we’re certainly enjoying immersing ourselves in the Cedros Design District and look forward to growing along with it.”

Latest Defining Moment:
Garnering $2.5 million in investments for his innovative online networking platform, Industry.

“I’ve been lucky to have mentors who are passionate, and that’s what leads to opportunity. My personal mission is to make service professionals more successful in their careers. Raising $2.5 million in funding at only 27 years old is one of the proudest moments I’ve experienced. I never thought that this little idea to create a LinkedIn-esque online platform for restaurant, hotel and hospitality positions would turn into something this amazing. I’m also proud of the team we’ve recruited. Every member has contributed to our growth, revenue and the impact we’re making in the food service business. We landed MGM Resorts International as a client—one of the biggest hospitality companies on the planet—and the value it’s getting out of Industry over its previously existing tools and recruiting is by far the best it’s ever seen. When we target high-profile clients like MGM, Stone Brewing or Disney, we sell our passion. When you have conviction, confidence and proof that your product works, it’s very likely it will work for them too. The vision for 2017 is to take Industry from the West Coast to the rest of the country with a new round of capital or at least with the success that we’re having already. In October, we participated in a pitch competition where tycoon Mark Cuban was a judge. It took me back to when I met him as a 16-year-old at a Clippers vs. Mavericks game. I have a photo with him, [in which] I was about 2 feet shorter, 100 pounds lighter, and we both had matching bowl cuts. I might have to remind him of that initial meeting if I ever see him again, but in that moment, it felt like I had come full-circle—it validated that our hard work is paying off.”

Latest Defining Moment:
Acquiring the rights to Jackson Pollock’s and Kenny Scharf’s artwork to showcase on his coveted surfboards.

“I grew up in La Jolla, started surfing when I was about 9 years old and began making surfboards at 13. Today, my Artist Series surfboards, which feature licensed original images by famous artists on my most popular surfboard shapes, can be utilized for function or show. I conceptualized the series when I visited New York in 1984. My friend Carl Ekstrom had made Andy Warhol a couple of surfboards for San Diego Surf—his film set in La Jolla—and I actually saw Carl a couple weeks before I went to NYC, and he said, ‘Oh, if you see Andy tell him I say hi.’ Lo and behold, we went to the opening of the Playboy Club and there [was] Andy. So on a dare, I walked right up to him and said, ‘Hi, we have a mutual friend, Carl Ekstrom, and he wanted me to say hello to you.’ As soon as I said Carl’s name, the doors opened and I was invited to Warhol Studios and Interview magazine. It was great meeting him, and he has bestowed upon me the greatest opportunity as an artist and a surfboard manufacturer: To fuse my passions and create signature boards that showcase the works of legendary creatives. We recently signed an exciting deal with Jackson Pollock and Kenny Scharf to print their compositions on my surfboards too. That, in addition to our sold-out Warhol + Bessell show in the Hamptons, really makes for a landmark year.”


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