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Aug. 31, 2009: San Diego Business Journal


Ken Kornberg is president of Kornberg Associates/Architects, which has offices in San Diego, San Francisco and Tokyo. Most of the architectural firm's projects are related to biomedical research, but it designs a wide variety of projects.

Recent projects include Pfizer's new research campus in La Jolla; a research facility for Ferring Pharmaceuticals in Sorrento Valley; a 2.5 million-square-foot graduate science and technology campus in Japan; and the new Malaysian Genome Institute in Kuala Lumpur. Other projects are the new building for Stanford Institute for Economic Policy and Research on the Stanford University campus and the San Jose BioCenter.


  •  Name: Ken Kornberg.
  •  Company: Kornberg Associates/Architects.
  •  Title: President.
  •  Education: Stanford University, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, 1973.
  •  Birthplace: United States.
  •  age: 59.
  •  Current residence: Portola Valley.
  •  Family: Wife of 30 years, Veronica; and children, Jessica, an attorney; Sophia, film editor; Zoe, student at UC Berkeley; two beagles, sea creatures.


Essential business philosophy: Be creative, look forward, make it fun.

Guiding principles: Listen, communicate, evolve.

Yardsticks of success: Ninety percent of clients are repeat.

Goals yet to be achieved: Design a marine biology research station.


Best business decision: Opening a Tokyo office.

Worst business decision: Becoming an architect.

Toughest business decision: Letting people go.

Biggest missed opportunity: Some projects we would have enjoyed.

Word that describes you: Active.


What you like best about your job: The many people I meet.

What you like least about your job: Discussing fees.

Most important lesson learned: Never give up.

Person most interested in meeting: Usain Bolt.

Three greatest passions: Seeing excellent design, eating, can't list the third one here.

First choice for a new career: Architecture.


Favorite quote: "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

Most influential book: "Harpo Speaks!," by Harpo Marx.

Favorite status symbol: The iPhone (wish I had one, but I'm PC).

Favorite restaurant: Flea St. Café in Menlo Park.

Favorite place for business meetings: My office conference room.

Favorite vacation spot: A coral reef.

Favorite way to spend time: Biking where I've never been before or scuba-diving where I've never been before.

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