It was last century when a South Coast mother of three graced the cover of an international magazine, but this time Kathy Ireland won’t be on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

The former supermodel turned entrepreneur is on the February 17 edition of Forbes.

Ireland also is set to be honored at next month’s fifth annual 2012 International Women’s Festivals at Santa Barbara City College with the “Gutsy Gals Inspire Me” award. She will speak at a March 9 VIP reception where “Live, Love, Learn” is the theme of the event.

“Last year alone, she moved an astounding $2 billion worth of licensed products at retail, making her a bigger licensor than the formidable Martha Stewart,” the Forbes article said. “Ireland’s empire spans home furnishing solutions from leather furniture to cabinet tops and ceiling fans, all the way to signature Kathy Ireland socks and wigs.”

It also was announced this week that on March 10, the second day of the festivals, singer Lois Mahalia will headline entertainment lineup.

Others scheduled for the festivals include: karate expert Jo Williams; Frisbee expert Jo Berkus; and instructor Andreya Von Waldenfels Marks will be leading yoga on the grass. Williams will lead “Wake Up! In the Morning.”

The festivals are held in March to coincide with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, which is March 8. The event seeks to address key issues facing women today in an interactive, multicultural, and entertaining format, while providing ground for networking, referrals, and resource sharing.

Business Threats

“Regulatory nightmares” are the biggest threats facing U.S. businesses today, a national human resources expert told a group of professionals at La Cumbre Plaza on February 10.

“New federal regulations hit the books on average every two hours,” said Jack Smalley, with the national office of Express Employment Professionals in Oklahoma. The company has offices in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Ventura County.

Smalley contended that the national 8.5 percent unemployment rate would plummet if federal and state governments would loosen the hold placed on them by regulations.

Despite that assessment, Smalley said many workers would be leaving their jobs this year after holding on to what they had during the recession. “Worker satisfaction is at its lowest level since 1987 when the Conference Board began keeping track of it,” he said.

Poor leadership and bad communication are also causing about 45 percent of the nation’s workers to seek greener pastures. “People don’t quit companies,” Smalley said. “They quit bosses.”

Unlike several years ago, more workers are quitting their jobs than are being laid off, said Smalley, a 38-year veteran of human resources mostly in the oil industry.

Smalley said another threat to businesses these days is what he called “the inability to innovate” to keep up with the speed needed to bring products and services to market.

Network Hardware

Officials at Goleta-based Network Hardware Resale, which buys and sells used and new computer equipment, said February 14 the company had the most successful year since it started in 1986.

It has grown from a $20 million company in 2000 to more than $225 million.

With offices in Dallas, New York City, Amsterdam, London, and Singapore, it has more than 300 employees globally and 175 in Goleta. It hires many area college students.

The company shipped more than 500,000 items in 2011.

“As IT (information technology) buyers continue the push to minimize their expenditures for existing IT platforms, the acceptability and sales of used IT equipment will remain robust,” said Joseph Pucciarelli, program director of technology financial and executive strategies. “Used IT equipment is a logical way to add network capacity while saving on costs.”

The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of business news in the Santa Barbara area and is written by Ray Estrada,, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at and


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