The Dec. 31 print edition of the Pacific Coast Business Times marks our annual Year In Review, featuring the biggest and best stories we published in 2021. Here is a look through our archives at the past year, a year marked by big deals, economic recovery and public health victories, but also by recurring waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent worries about the future. (Most links are subscriber-only.)
The year started with perhaps its biggest deal of all: Thousand Oaks-based technology and defense conglomerate announced an acquisition of Flir Systems, which has one of its biggest business units in Goleta. The price wound up well over $8 billion.
The first few months of 2021 were the worst the tri-county region has endured of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, we talked to some of the region’s funeral home directors about what they’d seen and how it had affected them.
AeroVironment, the Simi Valley-based dronemaker, designed and built the first aircraft to fly on another planet. Its Ingenuity helicopter drone took its first flight on Mars on April 19, as part of NASA’s Perseverance rover mission.
Procore Technologies, a cloud software company in Carpinteria, had the region’s biggest IPO of 2020, raising around $635 million in its May 20 offering.
The past year was marked by major disruptions in labor markets, with wages climbing, workers resigning in growing numbers, and unemployment rates shrinking. In May, we took a closer look at these issues in the restaurant industry, one of the sectors hit hardest by shortages of workers.
San Luis Obispo County is shaping up as one of the capitals of the U.S. green power industry for the 21st century. In May, state and federal officials announced a plan to open up the Morro Bay waters for as much as 3 gigawatts of wind power.
Dr. Charity Dean, a former Santa Barbara County public health officer, was one of a handful of people in the United States who could see what was on the horizon in early 2020, when she was a public health official in Sacramento. In 2021, she returned to Santa Barbara and founded The Public Health Company, a new venture that we profiled in May.
The Tri-Counties has been an expensive place to live for decades but home prices really took off in 2020 and 2021, with year-to-year appreciation of more than 20% in many of the region’s cities.
QAD, the Santa Barbara-based cloud software company for the manufacturing industry, left the ranks of the region’s publicly traded companies in 2021 when it was taken private in a $2 billion buyout by Thoma Bravo.
In July, Limoneira and the county of Ventura teamed up on a plan to bring Santa Paula a new public hospital: Limoneira will sell 25 acres of former farmland to a company that will lease it to the county for a hospital.
Houweling’s Tomatoes, the region’s biggest indoor grower of tomatoes and cucumbers, sold its massive Camarillo property in 2021 for around $100 million to Glass House Group, which is converting the greenhouses to grow cannabis.
Housing is in short supply in much of the region, and in 2021 the city of Ventura started to seriously expand its housing stock — in September, the city had more than 2,200 units either in construction or approved to be built.
Union Bank’s purchase of U.S. Bank was a major shakeup in the national banking industry, with aftershocks felt in the Tri-Counties, where the post-merger Union Bank could become the region’s biggest banking company.
Olaplex, a hair care products company founded in Santa Barbara, went public in September and saw its shares shoot up 17% on its first day of trading.
Since 2018, the Business Times has periodically investigated the gender diversity of the boards of the publicly traded companies based in our region. In 2021, we found that 34% of the board seats were occupied by women, about double the percentage from three years earlier.
One of the tri-county stories to really gain traction in the national news in 2021 was UC Santa Barbara’s plan to build a giant, mostly windowless dorm designed by billionaire Charlie Munger.
Rick Caruso, the billionaire real estate developer, has never gotten the return he wanted out of The Lakes in Thousand Oaks, and in late 2021 he got permission from the City Council to build apartments on the property. The city also agreed to sell the property to Caruso, who had been leasing it since he built the shopping center in 2005.