Business Spotlight

Check out local alumni businesses in San Diego

Local Businesses

View our current list of businesses around the San Diego County area owned by Penn State Alumni below. Have a local business of your own? Let us know and we’d be happy to add you to the list.

Knotty Barrel

Kenneth and Stephanie Lovi

If you’ve ever set foot in Knotty Barrel Gastropub, located in the East Village, you know it feels like home away from home. With their steadfast support of Penn State over the past decade, bar owners Kenny and Stephanie Lovi have done much to cultivate a welcoming environment for Penn Staters to enjoy the games. So much so that, in addition to hosting Penn State watch parties every Saturday during football season, the Lovis also make significant contributions to our scholarship fund, furthering the work that we do to make a Penn State degree a reality for local San Diegans.

You may be surprised to learn, then, that Kenny and Stephanie never attended Penn State! Kenny grew up in New York, and Stephanie hails from Spokane, WA. They had no ties to the Penn State community until they opened Knotty Barrel in 2011. That’s when they became good friends with Bill and Shelly Addy, some of their earliest regular customers. Shelly was serving on the board of SDPSU at the time. Recognizing the need for a Penn State bar in downtown San Diego, Shelly and Vicki Geehan approached Kenny and Stephanie about hosting football TV tailgates. The Lovis said yes, and now a decade later, they are still cheering on the Nittany Lions with us!

We can’t express enough gratitude for the support extended to us over the years by Kenny and Stephanie. They are a very big reason for why our scholarship raffles are so successful. Kenny and Stephanie go to great lengths to support our fundraising efforts. We want to support their business in return. We encourage all of our readers to go patronize Knotty Barrel, sample some of their fine craft beer, and meet the Lovis in person. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know a little more about Kenny in this Q&A.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I’ve always been in the bar business. My wife and I recognized that there wasn’t a place for an easygoing casual neighborhood bar in our part of town, so we started Knotty Barrel Gastropub in East Village.

What are you known for at Knotty Barrel?

We were one of the first craft beer bars to open in downtown San Diego. Now we offer close to 100 different draft and bottled beers. We also own a small microbrewery.

How long have you been hosting Penn State watch parties?

Almost ten years! Joe Paterno was still coaching when we began hosting Penn Staters. Despite the scandal that broke out not long after that, we decided to continue hosting the watch parties. We are here to support Penn State University and the alumni.

Click the button below to find out what to expect when you visit Knotty Barrel! 

Marcy Yurick

WE ARE … so excited to share our May Business Spotlight featuring SDPSU’s own President, Marcy Yurick! 🦁🐾💙🤍

Are you looking for a more personalized approach to working out? Well, look no further than beautiful Oceanside, home of Planted Earth Fitness, co-owned by Penn State alumna and San Diego Alumni Association Chapter Vice-President, Marcy Yurick!
Marcy has always had a passion for living a healthy, active lifestyle. Her boyfriend, Patrick Coglianese, a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, shares in that passion and together, they founded Planted Earth Fitness in November 2019. Their private gym offers programs specifically and thoughtfully designed for each client and focuses on achieving maximum results for all fitness levels and ages. They even include custom meal planning to help make healthy living that much easier (and their website and social pages offer up some great recipe ideas as well!). While Patrick trains a variety of competitive and recreational athletes, he specializes in functional fitness and weight loss. Since there are no membership fees, private, group and virtual training sessions can be tailored to fit busy schedules and any budget. A complimentary 30-minute consultation is also offered!
When Marcy isn’t busy overseeing the daily operations and marketing for Planted Earth Fitness, or being an amazing mom to her three boys, she also runs Wear it WELL with Marcy. Offering comfortable and fashionable Zyia active wear clothing, fitness and health tips, and inspirational messages through her Facebook and Instagram pages, are just more ways she demonstrates her commitment to helping others look and feel their best!
Finally, WE ARE also proud to announce Marcy recently became a Certified Real Estate Agent for the State of California! She is so excited to begin this next chapter of her career. We believe the sky is the limit for this Lady Lion!
So, when you are ready to finally start living a healthier, more productive lifestyle, AND look better while doing it, you now have a Penn State connection to accomplish both goals! Thank you, Marcy!
@plant_ed_earth @wear_it_well_with_marcy @sdpsu #pennstate #sandiegopennstaters #businessspotlight @pennstatealums #weare


Joe Calini
WE ARE …. excited to share our April Business Spotlight!! It’s tax time and luckily, we have a local Penn Stater who knows a thing or two about tax services!
Joe Calini is the founder of J.A. Calini, CPA & Associates located in Scripps Ranch. Joe attended San Diego State University, graduating in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and then officially joined our Penn State alumni family when earned his MBA in Finance in 1985. After he established a successful tax practice on the east coast, Joe returned to America’s Finest City in 1997 and opened his business here.
He specializes in a wide range of accounting and auditing services for both individual and small businesses, and strives to cultivate long-term relationships established on trust and integrity. He and his staff are committed to minimizing the tax impact and have the knowledge to take advantage of various tax opportunities. During the COVID pandemic, Joe was proud to assist several businesses maneuver their way through various assistance options such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
When he is not busy crunching numbers, Joe enjoys spending time with his black lab, Rocky Rambo Balboa! Rocky shares our love for Penn State football and has been properly trained to growl if he sees anyone wearing Ohio State attire. Joe is also proud of his son who is a junior at the University of California San Diego majoring in Computer Science.
If you have questions about your taxes and are looking for answers, you now have a fellow Penn Stater and San Diegan Nittany Lion who can help!
WE ARE grateful for your expertise, Joe! You can learn more at

Heidi Hanna

WE ARE so excited to share our San Diego Business Spotlight for the month of March, Heidi Hanna! 

Heidi graduated in 1996 with a BA in Communications and is currently teaching at the Harvard Extension School. She is a respected author, speaker, researcher, and instructor who focuses on improving mental and brain health. She provides techniques for managing something many of us have become way too familiar with this past year … stress! 

The Founder and Chief Energy Officer of Synergy Brain Fitness, she is also known as “The Stress Detective”. Her academy, webinars, training sessions, and tools help busy professionals, parents, and students to improve their relationship with stress. She also teaches us how to use the energy of stress to fuel positive change and often leans into the idea of “laughter is the best medicine”’ 

WE ARE so grateful for your insight and inspiration, Dr. Heidi! Be sure to check out her website and social media pages for more information on how you can become less stressed …. about stress! 

Pretzels & Pints  is located in the Arts District of North Park and is formerly known as the California Tap Room. This friendly neighborhood bar is owned by Penn State Alumna Lauren Reppa Iacoangelo (‘04 Marketing) and husband, John Paul, aka “Boomer”, who despite being a Pitt alum, is actually a really nice guy!

Lauren and Boomer bring one of our favorite East Coast traditions of hand-rolled soft pretzels to America’s Finest City and pair them with their signature beer cheese, a variety of mustards, and of course, some delicious local craft beers. They also offer a variety of pretzel sandwiches and pretzel pizzas! With both indoor and outdoor seating and TVs available, Pretzels & Pints makes any day game day featuring all the professional sports packages, as well as the Big 10, and provides a safe environment for cheering on your favorite team!

Lauren and Boomer have done a great job of bringing that Philly and East Coast vibe here to San Diego and promise to make you feel right at home! For more information, and to learn about their menu, happy hour, and daily specials, visit and follow them on social media!

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