Disco Ice Day Comes to the Island

Alameda’s Little Ice Rink will welcome Olympic ice skater Brian Boitano to a retro-themed event this Friday, Jan. 20.

Boitano, who won a gold medal in men’s figure skating in the 1988 Olympics and is a Bay Area native, will judge a disco dance and costume contest starting at 8 p.m. The contests are part of Little Ice Rink’s Disco Ice Day celebration.

“Ice rink attendance has been fantastic,” said Carrie Ewing, vice president of operations for Perforce, a global software company founded 15 years ago in Alameda. “I’d say we’ve had roughly 6,000 visitors, and people are loving the chance to skate outdoors.”

The ice rink, which is open through Jan. 29 on Park Street, offers “happy hour” prices on tickets from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Saturdays and Sundays, local ice skaters perform at 1:45 and 3:45 p.m.

The 3,000-square-foot outdoor rink is located at the corner of Park and Tilden Way. In addition to renting skates, the rink also offers novice skaters the use of handy plastic “seals” that they can lean on as they move around the rink.


Alamedans, Let’s Say ‘Thanks’ to Perforce

Just days after writing that UTStarcom’s move from Alameda to China probably won’t be copied by other successful firms like Perforce Software,   there’s news that Perforce has made a huge contribution to the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda and an important donation to the Alameda Junior Golf Club.

Perforce President and Chief Technology Officer Christopher Seiwald recently gave a check for $250,000 to Bill Dal Porto for the Boys & Girls Club’s new technology center.

And the software maker’s foundation is also offering $20,000 in the form of a matching or challenge grant to the Alameda Junior Golf Club as part of its move to get more involved in the Mif Albright nine-hole golf course.

The company says it began a tithing program in May 1999. From that time through early 2005, it gave $215,000 to Alameda non-profits, $175,000 to other Bay Area agencies and $17,250 to  California charities.

Perforce is based on Blanding Avenue. Its makes tools for software developers to use when creating and maintaining computer programs. For instance, Web, software, hardware and game developers use the Perforce Software Configuration Management System to track the changes they make to their projects.


Alameda’s Perforce Software: Successful Enough to Stay Put?

With UTStarcom’s news and likely move to China over the next few weeks, it’s worth asking: what companies can be expected to stay around the Island for a while?

Perforce Software — with its bright yellow and purple buildings on Blanding (off Park) — could be one such company.

The company does not have publicly traded stock, so its plans and financial condition are not public news, which makes it hard to follow. And it could be bought up by another larger firm, especially if its current success continues.

However, it doesn’t do most of its business in Asia, as UTStarcom does, though its international operations include Europe, Japan and Australia.

In 2009, it was ranked as the tenth best place to work by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times — for companies with 50-100 employees. (Half of its executives are women.)

Its software is used by game developers and software developers in industries like electonics and pharmaceuticals. It has 320,000 users at 5,000 client organizations.

Perhaps best of all, it set up and supports Little House Cafe, right next to the company’s headquarters. The cafe is a nice place for software types and residents alike to enjoy a break and appreciate Alameda.

Let’s hope this restaurant and the operations that brought it to life hang around.