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Helping an aerospace company’s entrepreneurial vision take flight.

Regents Bank and San Diego Composites, Inc.

San Diego Composites, Inc. (SDC) is a company that, with 40 employees, developed its capabilities to compete with some of the largest aerospace companies in the country. SDC is currently at work on a contract to build components for a spacecraft bound for Mars, with test flight footage featured in the film, The Martian.

Formed in 2002, SDC is an aerospace company that provides in-house design and manufacturing for missile systems, propulsion systems, aircraft and spacecraft components. In the years since its inception, this small business has established a reputation for quality and performance, enabling SDC to compete with much larger competitors to secure contracts for landmark projects.

Today, SDC is working in partnership with Lockheed Martin to create components for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which is scheduled to fly to the moon before making a mission to Mars in the next 10 to 12 years. As part of the project, SDC acquired an autoclave — or pressure chamber used for fabrication — which is the largest in Southern California. SDC won the contract on the basis of their capabilities and their ability to purchase an autoclave large enough to complete the work. With this investment, SDC was able to establish a new market position and outpace many competitors.

SDC has been a Regents Bank client for 10 years. President Steve Sefton and Executive Vice President Stephen Friedman have worked with SDC President Robert Kolozs, Vice President Christine Benzie, Chief Technology Officer Ken Mercer and Chief Financial Officer William Eriksen, serving as trusted advisors with banking insights to help SDC increase their capabilities and grow their company. Since much of SDC’s business is highly classified, the trust aspect of the relationship is especially significant. Regents has provided SDC with financing for working capital needs, including equipment loans that enabled them to grow. Regents provided the support to win the Lockheed Martin contract by working with SDC through the bidding, winning, and performing phases of the process. This transaction is a typical example of the types of benefits that Regents is able to bring to its clients by listening closely to client goals, and using our banking expertise to craft a customized solution that meets the client’s needs and timeframe.

Regents Bank also provided SDC with financial advice and professional referrals to assist them with achieving business goals, including referring SDC to “best in class” valuation specialists to help them optimize their employee stock programs. Today, SDC operates from their 70,000 square foot production headquarters in San Diego, Calif.

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steven sefton

Steven D. Sefton

President, Regents Bank, a division of Grandpoint Bank

Steve Sefton is a 32-year veteran of the Southern California banking industry and the President of Regents Bank, a division of Grandpoint Bank. Regents operates four offices in San Diego County and one in Vancouver, Wash. Steve joined Regents Bank in May 2012 and works at the bank headquarters in La Jolla. Previously, he was Senior Vice President and manager of Citizen’s Business Bank’s Inland Empire Commercial Banking Group, which he established and where he worked for four years.

From 1995 to 2008, Steve worked for Mellon 1st Business Bank. In 2002, he was appointed Regional Vice President, managing a de novo commercial office he opened. From 1991 to 1995, he worked at Sanwa Bank as Vice President and team leader. Steve began his banking career at City National Bank, working at the Beverly Hills headquarters in 1984.

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Left to right (foreground): Robert Kolozs and Christine Benzie, San Diego Composites; and Steve Sefton, Regents Bank; (background) Stephen Friedman, Regents Bank; Ken Mercer and William Eriksen, San Diego Composites


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About: San Diego, CA and Vancouver, WA: Regents Bank

At Regents Bank, we pride ourselves on providing clients with a truly consultative approach. Led by President Steve Sefton, we specialize in working with owner-managed businesses like SDC that are experts in their particular niches. Our clients choose to work with us because we provide them with greater value than they would typically expect from a banking relationship. We collaborate with business owners, helping them gain a strategic banking perspective on ways to achieve their goals. We are true advisory consultants who make it our business to treat our clients as partners, while developing an understanding of their priorities and marketplace.

We are excited to partner with clients like SDC, in order to expand our profile of owner-managed companies in our operating regions of San Diego County and Vancouver, Wash. These regions continue to exhibit strong growth, with substantial economic opportunities for businesses in our markets, and we anticipate increasing growth potential for the future.