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7 women-led and owned businesses in North County

In recognition of Women’s History Month, we are continuing our month-long blog series by highlighting some of the women-led and owned businesses that call North County home. Learn more about these inspiring founders and their businesses below, and check out our other features on the women behind Innovate78 and resources for female entrepreneurs.

1. Orianna Bretschger- Aquacycl, Escondido

As a life-long west coaster, Dr. Orianna Bretschger grew up noticing water issues in her hometown. She went on to receive her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, where she studied how microbes produce electricity and remove pollutants from water at the same time. In 2016 she founded Escondido-based Aquacycl, which provides cost-effective wastewater management technologies for industrial, agricultural, military or commercial wastewater. Aquacycl’s bioelectrochemical treatment technology uses natural and locally-sourced bacteria to convert waste into direct electricity. Its products are modular and can be integrated with existing collection or treatment systems to function successfully. Learn more about Orianna’s products and how they work on Aquacycl’s website.

2. Gia Senigaglia- GDS Industries, Vista

Gia Senigaglia founded GDS Industries in 2008 and quickly led the company to become a national provider of electrical and telecommunications products and services serving a diverse range of clients across the country. GDS is certified by the National Women’s Business Enterprise, and offers a wide range of electrical products, customized product and job kitting, custom cable cuts on all of its wire and cable, as well as integrated supply solutions. Contact Gia to arrange a product demonstration or training session for your field personnel on product GDS application and installation. 

3. Cheryl Kilmer- TERI Campus of Life, Oceanside

Since she was a teenager, Cheryl has committed herself to making a positive difference in the lives of those affected by developmental disabilities. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, Cheryl founded TERI with the goal of establishing a center full of resources and programs designed to help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, as well as eliminate the stigma behind them. Some of the services and programs that TERI offers include applied research, residential programs, behavior support services, enrichment programs and adult learning. TERI is currently expanding to San Marcos and will celebrate the grand opening of its Tom and Mary Tomlinson Vocational Center this August.

4. Jen Dehmoubed- Lotus Trolley Bag, Carlsbad

Did you know that the average American family uses over 1,500 plastic bags per year? 

Jen and her husband Farzan went to work to create a solution to this problem. In 2017, they launched Lotus trolley bags to eliminate single-use bags in favor of a more sustainable product. Jen’s bags have prevented more than 400 million plastic bags from entering the environment. Besides being environmentally conscious, Lotus bags are stylish and help you stay organized. Shop their products online or pick up one of their bags at your local grocery store. 

5. Rachel Arbuckle- 2000 Paces, San Marcos

In 2014, a series of devastating fires rampaged through San Diego County, destroying homes and burning acres of land. One of these fires started just behind Rachel’s home, forcing her and her family to evacuate with no time to gather their precious photos and memorabilia. Her experience inspired her to create 2000 Paces Photo Organizing and provide photo organizing, restoration and digitization services. Her team tackles even the largest of projects, and leaves clients with organized, accessible and beautiful photo albums that can be enjoyed for generations. Explore 2000 Pace’s projects and services, or read their client testimonials on their website.

6. Jennifer Tabanico- Action Research, Oceanside

Equipped with an M.A. in Experimental Psychology from nearby CSU San Marcos, Jennifer established Action Research in 2001 to provide research and behavior change solutions for the public good. The organization offers community-based social marketing, strategic guidance and consulting services for agencies conducting marketing and outreach campaigns. Today, Action Research serves private, state and federal organizations worldwide to promote positive behavior change. If you are interested in Action Research’s services, attending a workshop or training, or scheduling a speaker, call (760)722-4000 or email info@action3630.com.

7.  Kristin Elliot- PME, Vista

Founded by Kristin’s father in 1982, Precision Measurement Engineering (PME) began to create innovative and uniquely designed freshwater and oceanographic measurement devices that provide highly accurate data for research. After working in PME as an assembler, marketer, accountant and sales person, Kristin had gathered the skills she needed to become CEO. Today, PME’s products can be found in bodies of water across the globe helping researchers gather high-quality data to solve some of the world’s most complex water measurement challenges. Learn more about PME products on the website or sign up for PME’s newsletter to stay informed on its global projects, case studies and more.

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