Pleasanton Weekly

Column - January 7, 2011

For good reading, try the 'Book of Lists'

by Jeb Bing


he 2011 Bay Area "Book of Lists" probably wasn't on anybody's Christmas list nor is it likely available at Towne Center Books or at a supermarket checkout stand. But it makes for interesting reading, especially if you want to know what's the tallest high-rise building in San Francisco (most would guess the Transamerica Pyramid, which is correct) or the largest travel agency in the Bay Area, which is Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Inc. in Alamo (which few would have guessed right). These tidbits of information and statistics are part of a 226-page, large-sized publication produced by the San Francisco Business Times. It's an annual directory that is updated by researchers through the year. Mary Huss, the Business Times' publisher, says it's "one of the largest, most data-rich and widely circulated business resources in the Bay Area," and there's no reason to doubt her claim. As she says, the book -— in an oversized magazine format -—"is packed with names, numbers and contact information on the top people and companies in the myriad of industries that make up our region's dynamic economy.

Huss points out that the Book of Lists contains the names of 2,235 executives whose key roles make them vital to their companies' success. Also in the Book are rankings of the 2,188 most successful and influential companies in the area. Credit for the detailed, exhaustive research goes to Business Times researchers Julia Dickinson and Lakshmi Santhosh who must have taken a well-deserved break from their telephones and computers when the publication was finished in time for its year-end 2010 distribution. It's not cheap at $70 a copy (free to regular Business Times subscribers, which I am), but well worth the price if you want to know who and what makes the Bay Area tick. Even the list of contents requires three pages, including one for real estate categories. These range from Family-Owned Business to Nobel Prize-winning alumni and current faculty at UC Berkeley. San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito was the highest paid athlete in the greater Bay Area last year at $18.5 million, with a seven-year contract totaling $126 million. That compares to the annual compensation last year of $84.5 million for our own Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, CEO David Reilly's $15.2 million at San Ramón's Chevron Corp. and CEO Steven Burd's $9.4 million at Safeway Corp. in Pleasanton. CEO Donald Knauss of Clorox, who's moving much of his workforce to Pleasanton this year, earned $7.5 million last year.

Pleasanton also makes the Book of Lists with Lee & Associates on Stoneridge Drive as the Bay Area's sixth largest commercial real estate brokerage, "trailed" by Sperry Van Ness of Danville in the No. 23 spot. We also score with several of the largest residential real estate firms: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in San Ramon as No. 1; Alain Pinel Realtors as No. 2; newly-merged Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie, No. 3; J. Rockliff realtors, No. 5; Re/Max Accord, No. 7, and Keller Williams, No. 14. The Dahlin Group on Owens Drive finished 21st among the largest architectural firms in the area, with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. on Chabot Drive named No. 2 among the largest biotech contractors in the Bay Area. Four of the largest residential builders in the area are Pleasanton firms: Pulte Homes, No. 2; KB Home Northern California, No. 3; Standard Pacific Homes, No. 8, and Signature Properties, No. 13. Pleasanton is even home to one of the largest environmental firms in the area, with Kleinfelder on Willow Road listed as No. 13 out of 25 firms named. Nonprofit ValleyCare Health Systems also made last year's list with its ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton designated as the 22nd busiest hospital in the Bay Area out of 25 in a list that included the much larger UCSF Medical Center and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek was the 10th busiest with nearby Kaiser Permanente Medical Center listed as 14th busiest.

As tough as the Callippe Preserve golf course is for most of us, and Castlewood is for its members, they didn't make the cut among the 25 toughest courses the Book of Lists researchers named. Ruby Hill finished first, the Course at Wente Vineyards came in second, Poppy Ridge was the 10th toughest, the Bridges in San Ramon the 15th and Blackhawk Country Club finished 25th. This year, we'll have to make sure Business Times Publisher Mary Huss and her researchers try Callippe again. We know it's the toughest.


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