Rick Kornfeld has earned distinction in the wireless industry for his many innovations in the field of wireless voice and data communications. Currently, he is president and CEO of Grid2Home: Smart Energy Solutions. Kornfeld has worked for some of San Diego’s most notable tech companies, including Linkabit, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Prior to joining Grid2Home, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, NextWave Wireless and NextWave Broadband.
An avid cyclist and active in San Diego’s Jewish community, Kornfeld recently spearheaded a local Bike for Israel event to raise funds to support a school in San Diego Jewish Federation’s partner region in Sha'ar HaNegev. In addition, he is vice chair for the San Diego AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) council and on the national AIPAC council. He was previously on the board of the San Diego Jewish Academy. He lives in La Jolla with his wife, Carol, and their three children.
What brought you to La Jolla?
I grew up in San Diego. I went to Crawford High School and UCSD. I spent time in La Jolla as a kid, and went to the beach in La Jolla often. I’ve lived all over the county from the College area to Encinitas to PB to Penasquitos to Poway to Banker’s Hill. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to live in La Jolla, but we were fortunate to be able to move to La Jolla in 2001.
What makes this area special to you?
I love San Diego, and to me, La Jolla is the pinnacle of all the communities in San Diego. There is everything we could ever want in La Jolla from great restaurants, beautiful areas to walk, the beach, etc. And, it’s central to everything in San Diego.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
As a regular cyclist, I would love to see the potholes fixed. It always seems strange that in one of the nicest areas of the country, the roads are so bad.
Who or what inspires you?
I have been involved in some great technology-driven organizations, from Linkabit to Qualcomm to Dot Wireless, UCSD Engineering School, the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, and more. All of these are led (at the executive level, the board level, and the rank and file level) by tremendous people. I love being around individuals as smart and creative as this, even though at times I hardly deserve to be in the same room with them.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
We have a family picture of my father’s mother’s family in Europe in the early part of the 20
century. It’s a picture showing my grandmother as a young woman and many other members of my family who I never met and who, unfortunately, were murdered in the Holocaust. I find myself looking at this photo often, and looking at the faces of my family, I can see that we’re related. I would love to sit down and meet them and understand the world they came from, and tell them about our world today.
Tell us about what you are currently reading.
I’m reading “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis. It’s a narrative about the recent sub-prime mortgage crisis with enough information to teach a bit of what happened and why.
What is your most-prized possession?
When we had the firestorm here in San Diego a few years back, I thought about what I would want to save from the house. My thoughts weren’t any different than just about anyone else on this subject. Save the personal items like pictures, family artifacts, etc.
What do you do for fun?
I am a very avid cyclist. It’s great to be able to blend my cycling with my philanthropic interests such as my involvement with Jewish Federation’s Bike for Israel to raise money for a school in Israel’s Sha'ar HaNegev region. I also like to cook, although I would like to be better at it.
Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
I’ll have to let you know when I accomplish it.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Always remain relevant, active and curious.