M C Townsend serves as President/CEO-Regional Black Chamber San Fernando Valley, which serves over 35 cities, and nearly 350 small, minority, and women owned business owners. She clearly understands the meaning of Small Business Ownership, entrepreneurship and economic rewards. She is profoundly educated as a financial professional ranging from a banking service Operations Officer all the way to a National Director of Sales and Mediation.
Ms. Townsend, being steadfast in her community service commitments, remains unwavering. She owned a successful certified MAI Appraisal firm in Beverly Hills in 1994 for many years, serving a large population of ownership values. She continued in the stock market industry, as a foreign currency analyst, is well-versed as a Realtor and Certified Financial Planner, and established ownership with three other prolific business persons in running one of the most successful mortgage firms.
Her footprints have been engrained in communities from California to Washington DC. She served as Vice President for two concurrent terms on the local school site councils, served on the Build Workforce Small Business Advisory Council, the Los Angeles United School District Small Business Council, served as committee member with the Los Angeles Task Force for Community Awareness, under the direction of (Ex-Chief of Police), Chief Bernard Parks, served in 2006 as one of Founding member/Director of the California Council of Chambers in Sacramento, appointed as Chair of Program for the Board of Library Commissioners (Woodland Hills Friends of Library Committee branch).
She was a founding member of BizFed and served as BizFed 2014 Chair-Elect, BizFed 2013 Advocacy Co-Vice Chair, BizFed 2012 Nominating Committee Vice Chair, and BizFed 2011 Secretary/Treasurer. Currently, she serves as Board Member on the United Chambers of Commerce San Fernando Valley, a member of VICA and VITA. (Valley International Trade Association). She is a Board Director for the Fernando Awards, served on Los Angeles Grand Jury Community Advocacy Committee, serves as Board Director on National African American Drug Policy Council/Wash DC. She was elected in 2011 as the President of the California State Black Chamber’s Council of Chambers, a large group of minority chambers serving the entire southern and northern California regions. In 2012, she was appointed to serve as a National Western Region “Spokeswoman” - jointly with Congresswoman Emeritus, Dr Diane Watson - on the Women for America Business Issues and voter registration as an LA County represenative under the appointed post of So Cal. Regional Coordinator, DJ Blaker, jointly under the directions of Lena Kennedy, Southern Ca. Director for “Women for Obama” Campaign.
In 2013, she was reappointed to complete an extended term of four years as President of the CBCC’s Council of Chambers, Nominated as 2013 Mentor of the Year, Washington, DC, and recognized as International Woman of the Year/Pilipino Chamber of Commerce. She was voted and profiled by Business Life Magazine as one of the Top 25 most influential Women Professionals for 2014, and was recently appointed to the CBCC’s Council of Chambers as 2015 Director-Elect of Advocacy for Legislative & Community Affairs.
Ms. Townsend is a widower, and has four adult children and one grandson. She loves the arts and great jazz music
David W. Fleming, an attorney with Latham & Watkins, was the instigator of the successful charter reform movement in the City of Los Angeles. In 1997, he and then LA Mayor Richard Riordan co-chaired a voters' initiative to reform LA City government, culminating in creation of an elected citizens' Charter Reform Commission that drafted a new charter adopted by voters in 1999.
He currently serves on the board of the Southern California Metropolitan Water District, covering all of Southern California, representing the City of Los Angeles. In 2003 he was appointed by President George W. Bush as a trustee of the James Madison Foundation, which bestows scholarships on high school teachers to promote teaching the founding of our nation. In 2005, he was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to represent the city of Los Angeles as a director of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (the “MTA”).
Fleming chaired the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce in 2007 and in 2008 and was the creator and founding chair of the Los Angeles County Business Federation. In 2009, he, along with former California Governor Pete Wilson, served as co-chairs of the Southern California Leadership Council. In 2005-07, he served as the Chairman of the California Regional Leadership Foundation, a statewide organization of civic entrepreneurs addressing regional problems. He is the current Chair of L.A. Project Grad, an intensive K-12 educational program helping minority public school students achieve excellence.
Fleming was Vice-Chairman of the California Transportation Commission (the “CTC”) on which he served from 1996 through 1999, and chaired the CTC’s Public Transit Committee, overseeing major public transit projects throughout California. He recently served as one of five commissioners of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. From 1993 to 2001 he served as President of the Los Angeles City Board of Fire Commissioners. He has served on the Los Angeles County Business Licensing Commission, the Los Angeles County Judicial Procedures Commission and the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission.
He is a past chairman and currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). He served as chair of Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) from 1988 through 1990. Since 1996 he has chaired the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. He is past Chairman of the Board of Valley Presbyterian Hospital, a 380-bed nonprofit, non-sectarian, community-owned heath center, a position he held for the past 21 years.
He serves on the national Board of Trustees of the Reason Foundation and is Vice-Chair of the Children’s Planning Council of Los Angeles County, an organization he was instrumental in creating and that coordinates over $5 billion in federal and state money annually to aid children and families in need throughout Los Angeles County. He is a member of the board of directors of the California Community Foundation, an 80-year-old philanthropic organization overseeing a fund of over $1 billion dedicated to charities. He is a board member of the Keston Institute at the University of Southern California.
In addition, Fleming is, or has been, a director of: The Los Angeles Police Foundation, the Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council Foundation, the Civic Alliance, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Foundation, the New Majority, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, The California Assembly Speaker’s Commission on State Government; The LA Mayor’s Economy & Jobs Committee and the Fernando Award Foundation. He is Vice-Chair of the $125 million campaign to build the new Performing Arts Center at CSUN. He serves on the board of the Advisors to the Dean of UCLA Law School.
A member of the California State Bar since 1959, he is of counsel to Latham & Watkins, the third-largest law firm in the U.S. and fifth largest in the world. He is a past recipient of the prestigious Fernando Award, bestowed annually on a San Fernando Valley resident in honor of a lifetime of volunteer service. In 2000, he was given the Nellie Reagan Award for volunteerism, named after the late President Reagan’s mother. Over the past 40 years, he has devoted over 70,000 hours of service to civic, community, charitable and government organizations. He has been honored by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the Jewish National Fund, the American Jewish Committee, the LA Family Housing Foundation, the Southern California Biotech Institute, the California Jaycees, the Los Angeles County League of Woman Voters, various bar associations, the United Chambers of Commerce, the Valley Interfaith Council and many other philanthropic and civic organizations. He is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from CSUN and Augustana College, his alma mater and was named alumni of the year by UCLA Law School.
Born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, he moved to the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles in 1956 and graduated from UCLA Law School in 1959. A member of the Southern California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, he and his wife, Jean, have two adult sons residing in Southern California. Over the years they have personally donated over $5 million to a wide array of charities including Valley Presbyterian Hospital, CSUN and UCLA Law School.
Gilbert F. Ivey is the Assistant General Manager/ Chief Administrative Officer of The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, having served as interim Chief Executive Officer during the agency’s five-month search for a permanent replacement in 2005. He is responsible for managing the administrative functions of the district, human resources, management of Metropolitan’s real property portfolio, information technology, an award-winning business outreach program and Metropolitan’s headquarters at Union Station.
Mr. Ivey joined Metropolitan more than 40 years ago as a summer trainee in the District's Engineering Division. He has held various positions in Finance, Right-of-Way and Land, Operations, Human Resources and Executive Offices. Additionally, he negotiated several major transactions such as the lease for the District's former headquarters at California Plaza for below-market rates, and favorable above-market sale transactions for the District's former Sunset Boulevard headquarters and its Bolsa Chica property. As part of managing Metropolitan’s 190,000 acres of property, he often works closely with Native American tribes. As interim CEO, he represented Metropolitan at the historic signing of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation program. He was also involved with the Quantification Settlement Agreement, one of the largest water transfers from agriculture to urban use. He was the project director in charge of development and construction of Metropolitan's headquarters at Union Station. At 535,000 square feet above ground and another 317,000 square feet below ground, he delivered this $135 million facility two months ahead of schedule and under budget. Since the official opening December 11, 1998, his team and the project have won several awards and accolades. The Building Operators and Managers Association recently recognized Metropolitan's headquarters building as an outstanding government building in Los Angeles.
He is also dedicated to the community and serves in leadership positions on numerous boards and commissions. Ivey was honored in 2009 as the Southern California Leadership Network’s Visionary for Public Sector Leader of the Year and received the Patriots Award from the Department of Defense. He currently serves on the city of La Verne’s Planning Commission, on the executive boards of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Central City Association, California State University Dominguez Hills Foundation Board, American Association of Blacks in Energy, the Infrastructure Academy, Think Together Board and Los Angeles County Fairplex Advisory Board.
Tracy Rafter was instrumental in BizFed’s organizational founding, early-warning, advocacy and outreach efforts, as well as boosted civic engagement among the elusive business-owner market segment. Since its launch in January 2008, BizFed has nearly doubled its number of members and is extremely proud of its dynamic Board of Directors comprised of 180 Los Angeles County market-leading executives.
As Chief Financial Officer for Cerrell Associates Inc. (CAI), Steve Bullock has been associated with the firm for more than 25 years. He rejoined CAI in 1987 after leaving the company to work in the cable television industry for six years.
Steve currently oversees the accounting, finance, legal, IT and government reporting activities of the company. He has worked on numerous projects within the company to build and refine its operations and systems for accounting and internal control. Steve's previous position at CAI was as an account executive. In that capacity, he was responsible for providing advocacy services on behalf of clients and working on various political and business related projects.
Previously, Steve served as business manager to a major Los Angeles area cable television systems owned by Century Southwest Cable Television Inc. He was responsible for the management and coordination of all business operations for the 75,000 subscriber system, rated as one of the 100 largest cable television systems in the United States at that time.
In addition, Steve held several positions with Group W Cable Inc., a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric. These positions included manager of rate and regulatory reporting, senior financial analyst, and assistant area manager for new markets development.
He also held the position of director of public affairs for Ecolo-Haul, Inc., at that time the largest independent provider of community-designated resource recovery (recycling) programs in the Los Angeles area. He was responsible for the creation and implementation of various publicity programs and events and targeting business development through news media exposure.
Steve is a resident of the city of Glendale and active in the civic affairs of that city, including service with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and the Glendale YMCA.
Mr. Kosmont is President and CEO of Kosmont Companies, which he founded in 1986. He is Managing Partner of Renaissance Community Fund, which invests and develops mixed use, residential and commercial projects throughout California. In 2009, Mr. Kosmont created the Kosmont Muni Horizons Funds, a proprietary source of private financing for public projects, P3 initiatives, infrastructure funding and economic development. Last year, Mr. Kosmont was co-Vice Chair of BizFed’s Advocacy Committee.
Mr. Kosmont's 36-year career encompasses negotiations, development, and management of real estate transactions exceeding $10 billion. He has an extensive track record as a public/private real estate consultant and developer, with expertise in creating and managing real estate transactions, structured financings using public and private sources of equity and debt entitlement approvals, negotiation, and project implementation.Kosmont served as Interim City Administrator for the City of Montebello, CA from May 2011 to March 2012 as part of a financial turnaround assignment awarded to Kosmont Companies. Mr. Kosmont has assisted hundreds of local government agencies in land development policy decisions ranging from large-scale economic development to site-specific real estate strategies and projects. He has guided over 1,000 private sector projects in obtaining public approvals, structuring deal terms, and securing public/private financing. From 1975 to 1986, Mr. Kosmont served in the roles of City Manager, Director of Community Development, and Redevelopment Director in the cities of Santa Monica, Seal Beach, Bell Gardens, and Burbank.
He served as President of the City Managers Association in Southeast Los Angeles County for two consecutive years. In 1995, Mr. Kosmont conceived of and created the Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey©, which is now recognized as the industry standard for comparing city taxes and economic incentives. The Survey covers 400 cities in all 50 states, and is published annually by California's Claremont-McKenna College. In 1996, Mr. Kosmont was named Service Professional of the Year in the Los Angeles Business Journal's "Who's Who of Commercial Real Estate." Mr. Kosmont has served as a State Commissioner on the California Economic Development Commission, and until December 2007, as a Los Angeles City Commissioner on the Industrial Development Authority. He is a registered Municipal Advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and a licensed real estate broker in California.
Fran Inman directs all government relations and community affairs activities for Majestic Realty Co., one of the nation's largest privately-held, family-owned real estate development companies. With a real estate portfolio totaling approximately 70 million square feet of commercial properties, Majestic Realty has offices in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Bethlehem, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas.
Inman is recognized as a leader in the push to improve the nation’s failing transportation infrastructure. With Majestic properties playing a critical role in the supply chain, Inman is an outspoken advocate for transportation infrastructure funding in Los Angeles and beyond. Widely recognized for her leadership and ability to develop solutions and build consensus, Inman possesses a unique portfolio of skills that combine a profound understanding of the balance required to build sustainable communities. Inman was recently appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Transportation Commission.
As immediate past chair of the board of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Inman has served on numerous statewide and regional goods movement committees and serves on the board of governors for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), the executive committee for the Central City Association (CCA), the executive committee for the California Business Properties Association (CBPA) and is the former chair of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership (SGVEP). She also is founding board member and executive committee member for FuturePorts.
Also recognized as a leader in the philanthropic community, Inman is the founding president of the Majestic Realty Foundation. Established in 2002, the Majestic Realty Foundation provides grants and other support to various charitable community partners that work the areas of youth, family, education, and health and violence prevention in the communities where Majestic Realty Co. does business.
Equally passionate about her role in the nonprofit sector, Inman focuses her leadership efforts to help expand capacity and build coalitions with the organizations that serve at-risk and under-served neighborhoods. Inman further demonstrates her commitment to active community engagement through her service as a board member for Three Square, the Center for Nonprofit Management. Additionally, she is the board chair for THINK Together, one of the nation’s largest non-profit after-school learning programs serving more than 70,000 at-risk and low-income students across Southern California.
As Manager of Public Affairs and Government Affairs for Tesoro Refining & Marketing, Brissa Sotelo-Vargas manages and coordinates the full range of communication and stakeholder management activities for the company’s Los Angeles Refinery.
She handles everything from government relations, community relations, media relations to crisis communications. A part of these duties involves remaining current on all salient industry-related issues occurring in the local area and on a global level.
She monitors and analyzes the business, political, and regulatory environment to assess current or potential issues that could affect the company’s reputation and license to operate. Sotelo-Vargas then develops strategies and implements tactics in response to these factors. She also manages the refinery’s social investment activities—empowering the community to work with private industry to achieve mutually beneficial results is not easy.
Brissa serves on several boards in the community, including Board Member of the San Pedro, Peninsula & Wilmington YMCA, Board Member of the Los Angeles Chamber Executive Board, BizFed Board, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation Board, the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Advisory Board and Institute graduate, and past fellow of the Southern California Leadership Network.
She holds two masters from the University of Southern California in Communication Management from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and another in Public Policy from the Sol Price School of Policy Planning and Development.
Ron Adams is president and CEO of the West LA Chamber of Commerce. He grew up in Altadena, and was educated in Altadena/Pasadena prior to attending University of California at Irvine. He returned to Altadena in 1990 and is a current member of the Altadena Council. Mr. Adams is an Independent Small Business Benefits Consultant (RLA Enterprises) licensed in Life, Health, Accident, and Disability Insurance with the California Department of Insurance, certified in Section 125, FSA, HSA. Ron is appointed with Aflac and a registered Agent, with Warner Pacific and the Covered California PPACA Insurance Exchange.
Mr. Adams has an extensive background and proven track record in executive level management in the financial and retail industries and is the currently serving his fifth term as President/CEO of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as the Vice President of the Westside Council of Chambers of Commerce. Ron enjoys and appreciates his community and is involved in several community/service organizations in Altadena, Pasadena, and Los Angeles.
Prior to entering the public relations arena, Mr. Little worked in the entertainment industry where he was a production assistant, assistant to the producer, associate producer, assistant film editor, line producer, script doctor, development and production executive.
Mr. Little served on the Pasadena City Council from 1995 to 2007. He chaired the city’s Finance Committee and served on the Municipal Services Committee and the Economic Development and Technology Committee. He served on the Board of the Los Angeles to Pasadena Metro Construction Authority from its inception in 1998 through completion of the initial, $700 million construction phase of the Gold Line light rail project in 2006. He served as chair of that board three times.
Paul Little currently serves as Vice President of the Rose Bowl Operating Company that oversees the stadium for the City of Pasadena. He is also on the Board of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (Biz Fed) and is a member of that groups Operations Committee.
Mr. Little is married to Laurie Bollman-Little, a high school English teacher in Los Angeles. They have two children, Cameron (26) a graduate of New York University who lives in Brooklyn and Courtney
(22) a recent graduate of Clark University who is working for a Broadway theatrical production company in New York. The Little family also includes two dogs and a chinchilla.
Mr. Wilbur is a founding member of BizFed and has been CEO of Employers Group since 2007, when he joined the company as the youngest CEO in its 112-year history. With BizFed, Mark and his team were instrumental in developing and delivering a vital member survey that took the pulse of LA County business owners and helped to frame BizFed's action plan and top priorities in 2008. He was most recently Vice Chair of BizFed’s Operations Committee, and BizFed's 2011 Chair.
Before joining Employers Group, Mark was the Associate Dean of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC) for three years, leading many efforts from external affairs, development and executive education, which included customized solutions for companies to help meet the critical needs of their employees and executives. While at USC, he accepted the post of Associate Dean of the Office of Corporate Programs. Prior to USC, Mark was a Partner in Business Consulting at Arthur Andersen, developing solutions for clients across the U.S., Asia and Europe.
Mark’s professional experience and expertise are in strategic planning, business process design, customer relationship management, organizational change, customer service design and enhancement, as well as global operations and service integration. Mark served as an instructor for the Arthur Anderson Center of Professional Education, and was honored with the “Andersen Excellence in Education” for his exceptional teaching skills four times. Mark earned his BA and MBA from USC.
David Grannis is “strategist in chief” at Point C, L.L.C., a Pasadena, California consulting firm dedicated to improving people’s lives by developing and implementing land use and transportation strategies designed for the benefit of people and the planet. Mr. Grannis last year co-Chaired BizFed's Transportation/Trade Committee, and was Chair of BizFed’s Ad Hoc Transportation Committee in 2011. A self-described “generalist,” David holistically evaluates problems and develops the strategies, the partners, and the gameplan needed to effect change. He also oversees the funding and implementation of those strategies to ensure economic and ecological benefit. His work includes:
Serves as a strategic consultant to Los Angeles Metro, Gruen Associates and Grimshaw Architects for the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan; Serves as a strategic advisor/consultant to a number of private sector companies working to address the interrelationship between land use planning/development and transportation access sustainably. Among these clients are: DMB Associates, Inc., JMB Real Estate, NBC Universal, Rancho Mission Viejo, The Ratkovich Company, and Tejon Ranch Company; Served as the developer, lead consultant and author/raconteur for Vision Los Angeles, a 25-year transportation/land-use and air quality plan designed to help Los Angeles County become the most accessible region in the Country; Served as a strategic advisor/consultant to The Hearst Corporation in its successful conservation agreement to protect the 80,000-acre Heart Ranch in perpetuity; Served as lead consultant to the City of Pasadena in the development and enactment of legislation to create the Pasadena Blue Line Construction Authority, which resulted in the design-build completion of the project on time and under budget.
Mr. Grannis also is Founder and President, Planning Company Associates, Inc. and co-Founder, Trimtab Foundation. He is a Board member of AIA-LA, served on Los Angeles Children’s Council Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors (1999-2009), and on Ronald McDonald House, Los Angeles, Board of Trustees (1990-1992; 1996 -2000). He has a Master’s Degree from University of Southern California.
Laura Olhasso is the Association Executive and Government Affairs Director for the Pasadena-Foothills Association of REALTORS. She consults with the Glendale and Burbank Associations of REALTORS as their Government Affairs Director as well.
She is a twelve year member of the La Canada Flintridge City Council and has served as the city’s mayor three times. For the past two years, Laura has been Chairman of the BizFed PAC and is excited about the results of the PAC’s efforts to date and the bright future it has for helping to elect business-minded candidates to local office in Los Angeles County.
Zanku Armenian is Director of Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. He manages external outreach and public engagement efforts on major policy issues, working with local and regional governments and community stakeholders throughout SCE’s service territory that includes 200 local cities and counties covering 50,000-square-miles within Central, Coastal and Southern California. He also is a senior member of the company’s emergency preparedness and crisis response teams. He previously served in SCE's Corporate Communications department.
Mr. Armenian has three decades of experience leading public affairs campaigns and communications strategies for major corporations and high-profile issues working out of Washington, DC, Silicon Valley and southern California. Prior to SCE, he worked at the Motion Picture Association of America driving communications programs. Before that, he was Senior Vice President and Western Region General Manager with Brodeur Worldwide, a global technology public relations firm, having established Brodeur’s Washington, D.C. office earlier.
In Washington, he has worked with many different industry sectors as a founding member of public affairs firm Powell Tate, established by President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary Jody Powell and First Lady Nancy Reagan’s press secretary Sheila Tate. He also has held positions with global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, ABC News, in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, including the office of former Senator and now Vice President Joseph Biden. Armenian also has been very active in national, state, local and presidential political campaigns.
Active with many community-based organizations, Armenian has served as President of the City of Glendale’s Water and Power Commission and currently serves as Chairman of Glendale’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee, which is responsible for allocating HUD funds to local non-profits supporting low income, senior and youth programs. He also serves on multiple boards including the board of the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy Local Leaders Program and is Co-Vice Chair of the Advisory Council for BizFed (Los Angeles County Business Federation).
Mr. Armenian is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia with a B.A. in mass communication and a secondary concentration in government and politics. He also has advanced certifications in the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the crisis management system sponsored and organized by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Randal Hernandez serves as Managing Director, Government Relations for Union Bank where he is responsible for building relationships with civic and business leaders, community-based advocacy organizations, government officials and multi-cultural leaders. Hernandez leads the bank’s legislative efforts and overall governmental outreach. Hernandez, based in Long Beach, is part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas team.
Prior to joining Union Bank, Hernandez was Senior Vice President and Senior Public Policy Executive, California, for Bank of America. In that role, he was responsible for developing partnerships with California state and local government officials and business leaders to help drive the bank’s strategic public policy initiatives focused on community economic development and civic engagement. Previously, Hernandez served as a member of the senior staff to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Appointments Secretary responsible for recommending appointments to administration positions and state commissions.
Hernandez was previously with Bank of America beginning in 1999, first as Vice President for Government Relations and then assumed a broader role with the bank as Senior Market Development Manager, where he directed the bank’s statewide community development investments and civic engagement efforts in California. Hernandez served as Chief-of-Staff to former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill in her first term in office (1994-1999). On behalf of the mayor, Hernandez focused on economic development, international trade, city budget and intergovernmental relations activities.
Hernandez was the Regional Affairs Manager for Southern California Edison (SCE) where he was also a part-time loaned executive to the Long Beach Economic Partnership. The Partnership was a public-private non-profit focused on job creation, retention and attraction. Immediately prior to the SCE position, Randal was president and CEO of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Hernandez was a Schwarzenegger appointee to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and served on the California Green Jobs Council. In 2005, Randal co-chaired a State Housing Task Force appointed by the Secretary of the State Business, Transportation & Housing Agency. In 1993 he was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to the Military Base Reuse Task Force. He also served as lead staff to the Economic Incentives Task Force of Governor Pete Wilson's Council on California Competitiveness. He is a former member of the Long Beach Planning Commission.
His current board memberships include: Los Angeles County Business Federation; Central City Association, Los Angeles; Center for the Study of Los Angeles at LMU, among others. Hernandez formerly served on the Long Beach City College Board of Governors, co-chaired the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp’s (LAEDC) Workforce Development Committee and served as a member of the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Economy & Jobs Committee. He has served as a member of the Corporate Advisory Boards for the US Conference of Mayors, League of California Cities (corporate representative to the Housing and Community Development Committee) and California Latino Caucus Public Policy Institute.
Hernandez is a graduate of Leadership Long Beach and Leadership Southern California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Masters degree in Public Administration from California State University Long Beach. Hernandez has resided in Long Beach for over twenty years.
California Consulting, LLC owner Steve Samuelian has held various leadership posts during a career spanning over 25 years. He began as a volunteer for a political campaign and founded a political foundation where he served as president in high school and college. Steve graduated from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona with a degree in Political Science. In January 1995, he was appointed as Field Director for Congressional District 19. He was later promoted to District Director overseeing the 19th Congressional District Office staff and District operations for the Congressman, where he served in this capacity for 8 years.
A tireless worker for Armenian-American issues nationwide, Steve has traveled twice to Armenia. He traveled as an international election observer as part of the Office Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) delegation to observe the adoption of Armenia’s first Constitution. His election observation report was later filed in the US Congress Congressional Record. Later, Steve traveled to Armenia as part of a U.S. Congressional Delegation.
Steve has served on the Board of Directors of a County United Way and served on the Board of Directors of a Chamber Commerce. Additionally, he served as Chairman of a successful United Way county fundraising campaign. Steve has served as Board Member for a crime-stoppers organization. Steve was the recipient of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) Western U.S. Award for Outstanding Leadership.
In 2002, Steve was elected to the California State Assembly representing the 29th Assembly District. He was appointed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee by the Speaker and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.
Steve Samuelian founded California Consulting, LLC in 2004. California Consulting quickly established a reputation for hard work and a commitment to success for its clients. Through that special hard work ethic, California Consulting, LLC is the largest grant writing company in California. With over 90 clients statewide California Consulting, LLC has secured over $138,000,000 for its clients through Federal, State and foundation grant funds.
Steve is happily married with two children and resides in Southern California.
Ms Sifuentes-Trigueros serves as Regional Public Affairs Manager, Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy Utility, responsible for strategic direction in the Greater LA area. She brings to her position nearly two decades’ experience in corporate governmental, community and media relations, specific expertise in ethnic and utility public relations.
Susan has been an active member of BizFed since the organization’s incorporation. Susan joined Southern California Gas Company in 1982, where she has held several positions in the company’s accounting and HR departments, in addition to public affairs. She is active in community organizations including League of California Cities, USC Latino Alumni Association, HOPE, and SCLN.
In 2002, she was honored by Women’s eNews as one of “21 leaders of the 21st century” for her work in civic participation and in 2007, she received a corporate award for Girls Today Women Tomorrow mentoring program. Susan earned a bachelor’s in business administration from University of Southern California.
Hilary Norton’s career spans more than 21years in the fields of public policy, community development, land use, and transportation planning. In 2008, Ms. Norton was appointed Executive Director of FAST by founder Jim Thomas, Chairman and President of Thomas Properties Group (TPG). A community initiative fund of the non-profit California Community Foundation(CCF), FAST was created to advocate for and implement near-term solutions to address LosAngeles’ regional traffic crisis, based on the findings of the RAND Corporation report “Moving Los Angeles: Short Term Policy Options for Improving Transportation,” which was co-sponsored by Jim Thomas, Metro and the Music Center. Since 2008, Ms. Norton has mobilized a diverse coalition of business, labor, civic groups, educational institutions and transit organizations to support FAST’s recommended improvements to regional mobility, livability and economic prosperity.
FAST is a partner with the innovative LosAngeles/LongBeach Mobility Hub Program funded by the federal JARC (Jobs Access Reverse Commute) grant awarded in 2010, a member of Metro’s “First Mile/Last Mile” Taskforce, and a member of the City of Los Angeles’ Mobility Element Task Force. Mobility Hubs will provide “firstmile/last mile” transportation accessibility including bikeshare, bikerental, carshare, shuttles, carpools and vanpools at 13full-service Hubs and19 bike-only Hubs. FAST is part of the outreach and Community Advisory Group teams for Metro’s ExpressLanes (high-occupancy toll lanes) program for the I-110 and I-10 Freeways, and co-created the innovative Metro ExpressLanes Business Roundtable. Ms. Norton leads the FAST-initiated Comprehensive Corridor Improvement and Reinvestment Plan for Los Angeles County (CCIRPLAC), to improve multi-modal travel options and connectivity to transit and freeways for some of LA County’s most traveled thoroughfares.
Ms. Norton is Co-Chair of the BizFed / Metro Transportation Roundtable, Co-Chair of Central City Association (CCA)’s Transportation Committee, Co-Chair of LABC’s Legislative Committee, Co-Vice Chair of the LosAngeles Chamber’s Transportation and Goods Movement Committee. Ms. Norton i samember of the City of Los Angeles’ Mobility Element Task Force, VisionLA’s Advisory Committee, Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) Livable Communities Advisory Committee, the Metro ExpressLanes Corridor Advisory Committee, SCAG/Metro’s First-Mile Last-Mile Working Group, and SCAG’s Express Travel Choices Steering Committee. Ms. Norton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from Wellesley College, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, Housing and CommunityDevelopment Concentration, from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Norton is Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC). Ms. Norton has two children, Xavier and Eva Orozco.
Joe Ahn serves as regional manager of government and public affairs for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector, which has operations in California, Florida, New York and other states that employ more than 20,000 people. His responsibilities include advising the organization on state and local public policy issues related to business development, management operations and public affairs. He has more than two decades of professional experience developing public policy in the areas of environmental management, land use, taxes, labor and regulatory compliance. Last year, Mr. Ahn was co-Vice Chair of BizFed’s Polling & Research Committee; Mr. Ahn also was co-Vice Chair of BizFed's Advocacy Committee in 2012.
Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Mr. Ahn served in positions of increasing responsibility in California state and local government. He was appointed by then Governor Gray Davis as deputy director, then acting director, of the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency. Prior to the gubernatorial appointment, he served as deputy chief of staff to Vice Chair John Chiang on the California Board of Equalization. Joe began his public service career in the California Legislature as a legislative aide to the Vice Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. He has also worked as a senior advisor to Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and chief deputy to Los Angeles Board of Education Member George Kiriyama.
Mr. Ahn received his master’s degree in business administration at Claremont Graduate University’s Peter F. Drucker School of Management. Previously, he completed the Mediation Program at Pepperdine University Law School, and received undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Ethnic Studies at California State University Fullerton. He also serves as a Leadership Fellow with the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work.
Joseph Hower is a principal in ENVIRON International and has over 30 years of experience in air quality management, including greenhouse gas (GHG) management, regulatory compliance, permitting, litigation support, expert witness work, risk management and pollution control engineering.
Specific projects have ranged from Title V permit evaluations to managing the installation and startup of multi-million dollar air pollution control systems. Joe also leads ENVIRON's work in the area of emissions trading.
His service on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Advisory Council for nearly five years has provided him with an excellent understanding of regulatory processes. He uses this expertise to negotiate complex technical agreements and permits with agencies, assist facilities with compliance programs and provide technical expertise to litigation teams.
Joe teaches air quality permitting courses at the University of California, Los Angeles, and serves on the American Association of Port Authorities Environment Committee, and is a current Board Member and a past chair of the West Coast Section of the Air & Waste Management Association and a member of the FuturePorts Board of Directors. He is a former member of the CleanTech Orange County Board of Directors.
Chris Shimoda is the Director of Policy for the California Trucking Association and is responsible for overseeing the CTA’s public policy development and implementation.
He has been with CTA since 2007 and has previously managed both the Association’s Safety, and Environmental Policy.
Throughout his career, Chris has worked with California agencies including the California Air Resources Board and California Highway Patrol on the development and implementation of major programs and regulations impacting the trucking industry. He is a graduate of UC Davis.
Jaime Garcia is the Regional Vice President for the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), a regional trade organization for hospitals and health systems. As Regional Vice President, Jaime provides leadership in health care policy and advocacy on behalf of member hospitals with a goal to improve their operating environment, as well as the health status of the communities that hospitals serve in Los Angeles County. This includes coordinating government relations activity, and working with community and business organizations on developing local partnerships.
Before joining HASC, Jaime worked for Kaiser Permanente where he served as the Director of Public Affairs. He was instrumental in developing and maintaining external relationships with businesses and community based organizations, as well as coordinated internal communications to over 3,500 physicians and hospital employees. Further, he was responsible for coordinating government relations’ activity with local, state and federal representatives in Southeast Los Angeles County.
And, prior to working with Kaiser Permanente, Jaime worked for two members of the California State Assembly who specialized in public safety and health care policy respectively. A native of Southern California, Jaime earned his Masters in Public Administration from California State University at Long Beach and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.
Jennifer Kurrie is the Manager of Local Government Affairs for Walgreen, Co. Based in San Francisco, she is responsible for all government relations, public affairs and community affairs issues at the local and county level for the western half of the United States and brings more than a 15 years of public relations, issues management and communications expertise to the position.
Prior to joining Walgreens, Jennifer as a vice president at GolinHarris, an international communications firm focused on the consumer and technology sectors. She worked with a broad range of clients including McDonald’s Greater San Francisco Co-op, Kaiser Permanente, Cloverleaf Solar and Habitat for Humanity on strategic development, public and media relations and stakeholder engagement.
Prior to joining GolinHarris, Jennifer was a vice president with San Francisco firms HPA Strategies and BergDavis Public Affairs, where she worked with such companies such as United Healthcare, Walmart and Home Depot to advance key priorities through strategic communications, community relations, event planning and project management. Jennifer worked for Gap Inc., one of the largest specialty retailers in the United States from 2003 to 2006 as Senior Manager for Government Affairs & Public Policy. She worked with top executives and the communications team to proactively position corporate initiatives and key issues externally through strategic planning and execution.
Jennifer worked in Washington, DC in several public and government affairs management positions, developing extensive relationships and an expertise in public relations, coalition building and issues management. This included working for National Retail Federation the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance, The Center for A Sustainable Economy and Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak. Jennifer has lived in San Francisco for the past 10 years where she has been involved in community activities and cultivated media and political relationships in the Bay Area and around the country. She is a member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Junior League of San Francisco. A Michigan native, Jennifer earned her B.S. in public policy and public management from Indiana University.
Michael C. Camuñez is President and CEO of ManattJones Global Strategies, which provides strategic advice and advocacy to help clients identify new opportunities and resolve problems in the international marketplace, with a particular emphasis on Mexico and Latin America. ManattJones is the international consulting subsidiary of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, where Mr. Camuñez is also a partner in the firm's Government & Regulatory division in both the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., offices.
Prior to joining Manatt, Mr. Camuñez served from 2010 to 2013 as one of the nation's leading commercial diplomats as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, where he managed a global portfolio to help lead the U.S. government's efforts to open new markets for U.S. goods and services, identify and eliminate significant market access challenges and nontariff barriers, and monitor and enforce U.S. trade agreements and commitments.
As Assistant Secretary, Mr. Camuñez visited more than 30 countries to advance U.S. trade and economic policy and held key leadership positions in a wide range of bilateral trade dialogues with developed and emerging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Eurasia, Asia and Latin America. Mr. Camuñez is widely recognized for playing a critical role in rebalancing U.S. economic policy toward Mexico, leading numerous trade and policy missions to Mexico and helping to lead efforts to update and modernize a range of initiatives to enhance cross-border trade and investment. He was the chief architect of the recently established U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue, which he proposed, coordinated and later helped launch during President Obama's visit to Mexico in May 2013.
Concurrent with his service as Assistant Secretary, Mr. Camuñez was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, to lead the Economic Dimension of the Commission's work through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. Prior to assuming his role at the Department of Commerce, Mr. Camuñez served in the Obama White House as Special Counsel to the President in the Office of the White House Counsel as well as Special Assistant to the President.
Before joining the White House staff, Mr. Camuñez was a partner at O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, where he counseled and represented companies and financial institutions in foreign international litigation and international corporate compliance, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Money Laundering counseling. Previously he served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the first term of the Clinton Administration, where he was part of the original team that created and launched the AmeriCorps program in 1993.
Cynthia Ruiz serves as deputy executive director of external relations for the Port of Los Angeles. In this role, she is responsible for providing strategic external relations leadership and support to Port senior management and the Harbor Commission regarding legislative policy, communications, and regional economic opportunities that require Port and City of Los Angeles collaboration.
In 2012, Ruiz was appointed by President Obama’s Administration to the U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness and she chairs the Subcommittee on Freight Policy and Movement.
Prior to joining the Port, Ruiz was President of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works, where she worked to ensure that the Public Works Department delivered projects on time and on budget. The five-member board is the City’s only full-time policymaking board, which is tasked with overseeing the activities of the City’s third- largest municipal agency with more than 5,000 employees.
Ruiz also served on the City’s Emergency Operations Board and was the lead commissioner for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation. Ruiz is widely recognized for her community service and passion for improving the lives of Angelenos.
Her involvement in City initiatives has ranged from chairing the City of Los Angeles Environmental Youth Conference from 2007-2009, to working as City Hall’s ambassador for promoting the L.A. fashion industry. She served on LA-32 Neighborhood Council for three years. Ruiz is also credited with founding Keep Los Angeles Beautiful (KLAB), a local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.
She currently chairs KLAB and was the recipient of the Keep America Beautiful 2007 “Recognition Award” and the 2008 “President’s Circle Award.”
Prior to working for the City of Los Angeles, Ruiz worked as a rehabilitation counselor, and also as a mediator for the State of California Rehabilitation Bureau. She has extensive business experience running her own business as well as overseeing the nearly billion-dollar budget at the Board of Public Works.
Mr. Ahlswede is currently government affairs director of the Arcadia Association of Realtors and helped co-found Government Affairs Strategies, LLC in 2010 – a full-service public affairs firm dedicated to assisting businesses, organizations, and individuals in their political efforts.
Drawing on an extensive background working on all levels of government and with associations across the country, he has helped to create and implement innovative strategies to accomplish legislative, elective, and PAC related goals for organizations on all levels.
Mr. Ahlswede provides national presentations on Government Relations to organizations on Government Relations such as The American Society of Association Executives, Public Affairs Council, National Association of REALTORS(R), National Apartment Association, and others.
He has worked with local, state and national organizations and individuals to help advance policies, raise funds, and identify opportunities for organizational development. He also served as Chair of the Government Affairs Directors for the National Association of REALTORS in 2007
Chip lives in Orange, CA with his wife Jenn and three boys Cooper, Donovan and Nixon.
Lou Baglietto is a longtime Board member of the Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber, a founding member of BizFed. He also is senior vice president and partner at Butterfield Communications
Mr. Baglietto’s specialties include strategy, research and public policy formulation. A former political consultant/strategist, he has extensive experience in the development and implementation of communication strategies. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.
In the past, he has participated in the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation by attending the seminar “Dealing with an Angry Public” and was a member of the Community Lobbying Team for the Boeing Corporation’s National Missile Defense Program and the Harbor Association of Industry & Commerce, Washington D.C. Lobbying Team on behalf the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In 2005 he participated in the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic outreach program: “La Nueva Generacion de Lideres.” In 1998, He served as Headquarters Manager for the U.S. Senate campaign of California State Treasurer Matt Fong. Previously, he served in various capacities for dozens of state and local political contests.
Mr. Baglietto’s political career started in 1984, when he was hired as a Legislative Aide to Assemblyman Wayne Grisham of Norwalk. From 1986 to 1989, he served as an Army Officer with the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas and served as a platoon leader, company executive officer and war plans officer in a mechanized infantry battalion.
A native of Long Beach, California, Mr. Baglietto attended California public schools throughout his education and received his baccalaureate in Political Science from the California State University, Fullerton. After his return from military service he undertook advanced course work in Economics. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Los Angeles Harbor College Foundation and as a Director of the South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce. He is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors for both the Boys and Girls Clubs of the South Bay and of the Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce.
He resides in the Belmont Heights neighborhood of Long Beach. He is the proud father of an adult daughter, Kayla, who is the 3rd generation of their family to serve in the United States Army.
Holly Schroeder is President and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. Schroeder oversees all operations of the SCVEDC, which provides an integrated approach to attracting, retaining and expanding a diversity of business and industry in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Schroeder has experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors. Prior to joining the SCVEDC in September 2013, she served for 8 years as Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Ventura Chapter of the Building Industry Association (BIA/LAV). Before that, she worked for nearly a decade at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Prior to working at DEQ, Schroeder worked in the private sector for Waste Management Inc.
Schroeder is founding member of BizFed and a former BizFed Chair (2009).
Born and raised in Ohio, Schroeder has a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Oregon.
As Legislative Director for the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, Ms. Guerrero is experienced in communicating political, legislative, and social issues to decision makers, media, and the public. She has a strong background in coalition building, advocacy, and grassroots organizing related to issue campaigns and policy education.
In her role, Ms. Guerrero develops and maintains close communication and working relationships with city officials throughout the 88 cities in Los Angeles County to aggressively advocate key League priorities and positions with legislators, local media, and other key stakeholders. Previously, she was Press deputy, California State Senator Gloria Romero, 2002-2005; Account Executive, Millennium Services Inc., 2000-2002; Special Projects Coordinator, Los Angeles County Community Development Commission.
Ms. Guerrero earned a Masters of Public Administration, USC; and Bachelors, Political Science, UCLA. She is a Board member, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development Alumni Association and a Public Affairs Council, National Grassroots Council Delegate.
As director of public policy, Mr. Jensen oversees political advocacy for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, a business-oriented non-profit organization covering eastern Los Angeles County. He joined the Partnership earlier this year and serves as the Partnership liaison with local elected officials in the Assembly, State Senate, United States Congress, and the LA County Board of Supervisors. He also represents the Partnership with regional business organizations and political coalitions and conducts the Partnership’s Regulation Roundtable series with local businesses in the region.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Mr. Jensen was Research Associate at Rose Institute of State and Local Government, Claremont McKenna College, where he managed a team of student researchers conducting the Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey, an annual survey of municipal business taxes and fees in 400 cities nation-wide. Students contacted city governments and gathered sales, property, utility, business and other tax rates and fees. The data was used to make individual city profiles and assign a general rank of business-friendliness.
Mr. Jensen also has served as administrative analyst for the City of Norco, and Assistant to the Majority Staff, Arizona House of Representatives. He was a Ronald Reagan Research Fellow at the Goldwater Institute and holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Brigham Young University, and a Master’s in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University.
Ms. Sanchez recently joined Newhall Land after representing the Building Industry Association of Southern California - Los Angeles/Ventura Counties Chapter, an affiliate of the California Building Industry Association and the National Association of Home Builders, for nearly four years. The trade association represents approximately 1,000 companies involved in every aspect of building homes and creating communities for the growing and diverse population of southern California.
In that position, Sandy worked to advocate for pro-development policies throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Her duties included monitoring and advocating on the governmental issues affecting the building industry, overseeing the Government Affairs Committee and chapter Political Action Committee. Her efforts have resulted in saving builders thousands of dollars per unit in construction related fees and eliminated policies that would dramatically imped development. Sandy has over 15 years of extensive experience in real estate development. She has directly managed land-use planning, entitlements, and served as project manager for over 1,000 residential units in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties; as well acting as construction manager for various commercial buildings. Sandy also has additional expertise in residential lending and strategic positioning with stakeholder groups and public officials. Her specialties include forward planning of single family sub-divisions, and multi-family (podiums) development, as well as tilt-up buildings; community infrastructure financing and installation, and construction management of big-box retail projects.
Prior to joining the BIA, Ms. Sanchez was the Director of Pre-Development at O&S Holdings and also served as Project Manager for D.R. Horton for six years. She began her career at Bank of America where she served as a lending officer and managed a substantial portfolio of high net-worth clients. Shortly after, she joined Watson Land Company where she began her real estate development career. Ms. Sanchez is very active in her community and has been a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles since 2001, a Volunteer in Policing with the Redondo Beach Police Department, Member of the College of Canyons Construction Advisory Board, and graduate of the LA Junior Chamber of Commerce Riordan Leadership Institute-Volunteer Leadership Development Program.
Frank Garcia is Senior Vice President/Regional Manager for Greater Los Angeles Retail Banking, Western Market, Comerica Bank. In his role, he manages a total of 31 banking centers located throughout Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. He is responsible for directing all retail activities, including leading and assisting a team of district managers and banking center managers to acquire, retain, and expand new business relationships for the bank.
A 22-year veteran of financial services, Garcia joined Comerica September 2012 and was promoted to his current position in February 2013. Previously, he was a consumer market manager (CMM)/senior vice president for the Los Angeles Metro Market at Bank of America, where he led market initiatives and managed key corporate programs. Prior responsibilities include serving as a CMM/vice president for the South Bay, LA Metro, and Global Markets in the Greater Los Angeles area. While at Bank of America, he won numerous Platinum Rankings for the National Award of Excellence.
Garcia earned a bachelor’s of arts in Construction Management with a minor in Real Estate Finance from California State University, Fresno. He speaks Spanish fluently and is active in the Comerica Hispanic Initiative and co-chairs the bank’s LGBT Initiative.
The youngest of six children, Garcia spends his off time hiking, swimming, mountain biking, traveling camping, trying new restaurants and shopping. He also enjoys cars, design, and the beach. Garcia and his five-pound Yorkshire Terrier, Jimmy, reside in Los Angeles, Calif.
Virginia Gomez was appointed in February 2012 as President and CEO of Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council (SCMSDC), a minority advocacy, corporate membership organization focused on strengthening economic ties between large corporations and minority men- and women-owned business enterprises.
Representing the interests of more than 600,000 minority businesses in its 13-county service area, SCMSDC is among the largest of 24 regional councils in the National Minority Supplier Development Council network, which is supported by nearly 2,000 Fortune 500 corporate members and serves more than 13,000 certified Minority Businesses.
Prior to joining SCMSDC, Gomez served in management positions in several major departments of City of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the nation’s largest municipally-owned utility. As Contract Compliance Officer, she oversaw and developed the goals and deliverables of the DWP’s Supplier Diversity program, was instrumental in the development and implementation of an e-procurement system that enabled online bidding, leveled the playing field for MBEs, and shaved DWP’s contract processing time.
Gomez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, earned 21st Century Leadership and Management certificates from USC and UCLA; led and facilitated Total Quality Management and Process Reengineering teams; is a member of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), the Institute of Supply Management, the Los Angeles MBDA Strategic Partnership Planning Committee and the USC Bridges2Business Success Strategic Committee.
Theresa Martinez has served as CEO of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce since November of 2013. She oversees fundraising, procurement, policy initiatives, advocacy work, corporate sponsor relationships, program infrastructure, managing staff, following the vision of the Board of Directors, as well as implementing final board decisions.
Prior to the chamber position she worked as an independent government/public/community relations and energy consultant to various clients. From 2012 to 2013 she served as an Energy Consultant to Ameresco, Inc. an Energy Services Company (ESCo) overseeing energy efficiency projects for all of California. From 2008 to 2009 she served as the Business Development Manager of the West Coast for Utilities Dynamics, Inc., one of the USA’s leading lighting management and energy solutions companies. Theresa’s previous clients as a consultant include: Chevron Energy Solutions, E.P. Development, Vista Inc., Refugio Para Ninos, Parking Company of America, McCormick Construction Company, Chase Partners and Delaware North Companies.
She also worked for two years as the Health Care Director for the Orange County Rescue Mission and oversaw a mobile health clinic that served the homeless in Orange County living in motels and on the streets. Furthermore, she served as Executive Assistant for the Orange County Board of Supervisors serving under the Honorable Cynthia P. Coad from January 1999 - September 2002 and the Honorable William G. Steiner from January 1997 - December 1998. She was responsible for handling all issues of the Health Care, Probation Department and the Social Services Agency in the unincorporated areas of the district. She also handled all issues relating to the City of La Habra and the redevelopment of the unincorporated areas of that city.
Theresa is the founder of the National Latina Business Women Association and Past President of the National Board of Directors where she held that position for four years. She was solely responsible for starting seven chapters, six chapters in California; Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Inland Empire, Central California and a chapter in Atlanta, Georgia and for developing the "Emerging Latina’s Program,” a one of a kind business boot camp program as well as the “Latina Financial Program,” which are active programs to this day. Additionally, Theresa served for nine years on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Prior to her position as CEO of the LALCC she served on the board for three years as well as Co-Chairing the “Green Committee.” She served on the Board of Directors of "Our Small World" (a foster family agency in Orange County) for nine years and as the Chair of the Latino Advisory Commission for Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen. Moreover, she has also served in the capacity as Advisory Board Member for the Small Business Development Center in Santa Ana, the Hispanic Advisory Board for the O.C. District Attorney's Office and for seven years as the President of the Hispanic Arts Council of Bower's Museum.
Theresa graduated from Chapman University in Orange, California with a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science/Emphasis in Law, in May 1997. She lives in downtown Los Angeles with her husband Reuben Martinez, a Project Manager/Engineer for The Boeing Company and with her 10 year old son Diego Ynzunza who attends Mayfield Junior School in Pasadena, California.
Laura Yamanaka is President and co-founder of teamCFO Inc., a financial and accounting firm offering onsite CFO/Controller services to businesses and nonprofits. teamCFO was founded to improve performance and support the growth of the private business community.
Today, teamCFO has a dynamic group of professionals focusing on both growth issues and turnaround operations for its clients and offers a wide variety of operational accounting services to their clients including remote office support as well as onsite services.
Since its inception in 2000, Laura and teamCFO have received several regional and national awards including the Asian Business Leadership Award by Wells Fargo/US Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the Women in Business and Accountant Advocate Award by the SBA.
Laura’s career began with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young where she managed a diverse portfolio of clients and provided services including audit, mergers & acquisitions, litigation support, IPO and SEC projects and filings. Her extensive private industry experience includes tenures with GE Capital, Zenith Insurance, Quaker State Corporation and the Heritage Insurance Group where she served in various financial and operational capacities including Vice President-Controller, Vice President-Finance, Vice President-Operations and Manager of Quality Processes. Laura's participation with numerous acquisitions in various roles including responsibilities for the financial assessment and integration to company-wide integration of all operations has given her the opportunity to drive strategic planning, assess business risks, integrate and streamline systems and processes.
A passion for education, helping others and serving the community locally as well as nationally has also lead to various volunteer efforts. Most recently, Laura was appointed to serve as a Council Member of the National Women's Business Council, a non-partisan advisory council to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Laura has also significant service with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) serving as Chair of the National Association of Women Business Owners – National Board as well as Chair of the Los Angeles chapter for NAWBO.
As a long-time champion of financial literacy for women business owners, Laura has lectured on the subject to diverse audiences, including young girls who are aspiring business women. Laura has also developed school-based programs to teach teamwork and facilitation skills to students – bringing effective business skills to the classroom. Laura has been featured various national publications and locally in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles Times and is an expert for the Los Angeles Times Small Business makeover series.
Christina Davis is the president and CEO of the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce serving the areas of Westchester, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista (the emerging new Technology Hub of Los Angeles).
She serves on the board of directors for the Westchester YMCA, the Playa Venice Rotary Foundation, EmpowerTech, LMU Family of Schools Advisory and the South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce. She is also a two-term past president (2011-2012) of the Westside Council of Chambers.
For the past 10 years, her work with the Chamber has led to growth in budget size and countless new programs including: Leadership Academy, LAX Coworking and the Connect to Tech LA initiative. She was 2003 Employee Excellence Award - YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.
In 2007, she received the Chairman's Award from the LAX Coastal Area Chamber and in 2008 received its Helmsman Leadership Award. In 2009 she received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Rotary Club of Westchester.
She resides in Redondo Beach with her fiancé Cory and her daughter Makayla.
Francesca Vega began her current appointment as Director of Government and Community Relations at California State University, Northridge in December, 2012.
As a member of the CSUN President's extended cabinet, Francesca is a vital member of the CSUN leadership team. Working as part of the University Advancement team, Francesca facilitates the university’s interactions with local, state and federal governments, as well as its relationship with the business community, neighboring communities and various other stakeholder entities.
Francesca serves on a number of boards including Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, HOPE - PAC, North Valley Chamber of Commerce, and will be the incoming chair for the education committee of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. In addition, Francesca serves on the 33rd Congressional District Leadership Committee.
Prior to working at Cal State Northridge, Francesca served as an Assistant Director of State Government Relations at UCLA. She began her professional career in the California State Assembly in 2001 and relocated to Los Angeles from Sacramento in 2005 to work with the late Assemblymember Marco Firebaugh and later for Senator Martha Escutia (ret.)
Francesca graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in government and a minor in sociology from California State University, Sacramento. She is a member of various civic and political organizations. Born and raised in Yuba City, California, Francesca now considers the Los Angeles her home.
Mr. Gubler has been president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for nearly two decades and was co-Chair of BizFed’s Advocacy Committee in 2012. Leron has more than 30 years’ experience in Chamber management including with the Santa Monica and San Pedro Peninsula chambers. He is widely credited with revitalizing the Hollywood Chamber, which now has a budget of $1.8-million, making it the second largest chamber of commerce in Los Angeles. The Chamber has played an active role in the revitalization of Hollywood, lobbying on behalf of major developments and organizing community support. In addition, the Chamber led the organizing effort to form Hollywood’s first business improvement district, which has resulted in a major clean-up of Hollywood’s central core.
In 1997, Leron was presented with the Third Century Award by the Hollywood Coordinating Council for leadership in the community. In 1998, he was awarded the Hollywood Spirit Award by the Hollywood Arts Council. In 2008, he was honored by Hollywood Community Housing Corp. for his work in the community. In 2009, he was presented with the Russell E. Pettit Award for “excellence in leadership” by the Western Association of Chamber Executives. In 1998, he served as president of the Westside Council of Chambers of Commerce, a regional association of 16 local chambers. He is also a past officer of SCACCE, the Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
Leron served as Chair of the Western Association of Chamber Executives, the largest regional chamber association in the United States with more than 600 members in 14 Western states from 2004 to 2005 and is also past chair of their foundation. He is currently the chair of Chamber Academy, a continuing education for chamber of commerce executives in the Western U.S. He also serves the board of Film L.A and is on the advisory board of Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital.
Ms. Yuceler is the General Manager, Western USA, for Turkish Airlines and has been working with Turkish Airlines for over twenty years and started in different positions related to marketing in Istanbul and New York. Ms. Yuceler was assigned to establish and direct sales, marketing and airport operations for the Turkish Airlines brand in the region after she was appointed General Manager Western USA. Her duties include brand recognition by strategic marketing programs to increase the number of passengers and market share for the entire USA Western Region.
Before relocating to Los Angeles to serve as General Manager, Western USA, Ms. Yuceler was the General Manager for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
She also served as Chairman of the Country Steering Council (CSC) in the Czech Republic for The Star Alliance, where she was in charge of coordinating the efforts of the 16 airline members of the Alliance in the Czech market for promotion of services and advantages offered to passengers traveling within the network.
Fatma Yuceler arrived in Los Angeles May 2010 to establish the entire sales and airport operations for the Turkish Airlines Los Angeles office an airport operations. On March 3, 2011, Turkish Airlines began service 4 times a week with non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Istanbul. Just one year later, Turkish Airlines expanded to daily service under Ms. Yuceler’s guidance.
Ms. Yuceler graduated from Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey. She furthered her studies through continued professional development and education in the fields of marketing, corporate agreements/negotiations and public relations.
James A. Thomas is the founder of FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic) and also recently merged Thomas Properties Group with Florida-based Parkways Properties after serving as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Thomas has served on the Board of Directors since the Company was organized in March 2004. Mr. Thomas founded TPG, a predecessor company and served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of TPG from 1996 to the closing of our initial public offering in October 2004. Thomas Properties Group, Inc. is publicly traded on the NASDAQ.
Prior to founding TPG, Mr. Thomas served as a co-managing partner of Maguire Thomas Partners, a national full service real estate operating company from 1983 to 1996. In 1996, Maguire Thomas Partners was divided into two companies with Mr. Thomas forming TPG with other key members of the former executive management at Maguire Thomas Partners. Mr. Thomas also served as Chief Executive Officer and principal owner of the Sacramento Kings NBA Basketball team and the ARCO Arena from 1992 to 1999. Prior to that, he was a partner in two prominent Los Angeles law firms and served in the Regional Counsel’s Office of the Internal Revenue Service.
Born in Pembroke, North Carolina, Mr. Thomas attended High School in Cleveland, Ohio and received his B.A. degree in economics with honors from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1959. He graduated magna cum laude from Cleveland State Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1963 and was editor in-chief of the Cleveland Marshall Law Review in 1962-1963. Mr. Thomas has received honorary doctorate degrees from Baldwin-Wallace College and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Mr. Thomas’ commitment to the community can be seen in his devotion to the arts and his efforts to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Los Angeles. Mr. Thomas is Chairman of the Board at Town Hall Los Angeles. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the SOS Coral Trees, Center Theatre Group and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, California; and the National Advisory Council of the Cleveland Marshall School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio.
In addition, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and I Have a Dream Foundation in Los Angeles, Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and St. John’s Health Center Foundation in Santa Monica, California. Mr. Thomas also serves on the Board of Governors of the Music Center of Los Angeles County and is a member of the Rand Advisory Board. He served as Chairman of the Los Angeles 2000 Partnership, a diverse committee devoted to addressing regional urban issues in Southern California and is a member of the Chairman Council of the Weingart Center Association, and the Colonial Williamsburg National Council.
Will Wright currently serves as the Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|LA). As Los Angeles' chief advocate for better architecture and urban design, Wright helps bring together design thinkers and civic leaders to solve problems and set priorities.
With more than a dozen years of experience lobbying for a healthier, more beautiful and better functioning city, Wright is responsible for a variety of roles including connecting architects and designers with civic leaders to help shape public policy and provide critical input on project delivery methods, procurement best-practices, infrastructure investments and environmental performance.
Primarily, he serves the design profession and the community-at-large as a synthesizer and generalist that excels in knowing how to bring exactly the right people together in an effort to solve complex challenges that require highly nuanced and innovative solutions.
By weighing environmental performance, cultural equity, social impact and economic sustainability in equal measures, Wright helps to deliver a stronger return on investment by highlighting a set of performance-based metrics for design excellence, livability and delight.
In 2013, Mr. Wright became a founding Board Member of the non-profit From Lot To Spot, which helps underserved communities transform vacant lots into parks and open space. Wright also presently serves as a public board member of the BOMA-LA Political Action Committee and previously served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) as a Vice Chair of the Land Use & Development Committee. Past leadership also includes serving as a member of the statewide ClimatePlan Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
Wright was honored as an AIA|LA Presidential Honoree in 2011, joining such distinguished honorees as Michael Woo, Merry Norris, Frances Anderton, Dan Rosenfeld, Julius Shulman, Dorothy Chandler, Tom Bradley and Ray and Charles Eames. In 2005, he won the prestigious AIGA 365 award as the Editor of the literary arts publication, FishWrap,Volume V.
Prior to working for the AIA|LA, Wright was a script doctor for an independent film production company in Venice, CA. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas and moved to Los Angeles, California in 1995. Wright has a BFA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and a Master in Fine Arts from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Dr. Chito Cajayon is the Vice Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District's (LACCD) Economic & Workforce Development Department. He brings close to 20 years of workforce and economic development experience to the district's nine community colleges, which he applies on a daily basis to develop local, regional, and statewide initiatives. His department works closely with all district colleges and provides support in procuring local, state and federal grants.
In the last 4 years, Dr. Cajayon's assistance has exceeded $19 million dollars in workforce development-related grants and contracts. He is responsible for forming multiple industry-driven intermediaries and developing innovative contract education strategies that deploy technology-based solutions.
He represents the district in local, state, and federal-level advocacy efforts. He has been instrumental in establishing national and international educational partnerships and is recognized as being a partnership developer for multiple regions across the state.
Dr. Cajayon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Cal State University-Long Beach, a Certification in website development, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Cal State University-Dominguez Hills, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California.
Considered one of the preeminent transportation planning experts in the nation, Hasan Ikhrata is the Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the largest metropolitan planning organization in the United States.
Appointed in January 2008, Mr. Ikhrata has over 25 years of public and private sector experience in Transportation Planning in Southern California. At SCAG Mr. Ikhrata implements the policies of an 83-member Regional Council and directs day-to-day operations of the agency. He is credited with being a transformational and unifying leader who has enhanced SCAG’s value to member agencies and fostered unprecedented levels of public input and participation in the development of regional transportation plans.
Prior to joining SCAG in 1994, Mr. Ikhrata worked for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD); and Mr. Ikhrata also worked abroad for the USSR government, Moscow Metro Corporation.
Mr. Ikhrata has received several awards and honors from various organizations and agencies including MOVE LA, for Outstanding Leadership as Executive Director of SCAG in preparation of the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. He has also been recognized by the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA), Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC), Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG), Orange County Business Council, Orange County Division, League of California Cities, California Legislature 49th District Assembly Resolution by Hon. Mike Eng, City of Los Angeles, State of California Certificate of Recognition, Association of the San Bernardino County Special Districts, Four Corners Transportation Summit, City of Big Bear Lake and numerous others.
Mr. Ikhrata holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Civil and Industrial Engineering from Zaporozhye University in the former Soviet Union; a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA and a PhD Candidacy in Urban Planning and Transportation from USC.
Mr. Tornedon is Director of Business, Management and Legal Programs for UCLA Extension, overseeing 300+ courses per quarter and approximately 500 instructors serving 25,000+ enrollments (12,000+ individual students) per year.
He is a Certified Financial Planner® with more than 10 years adjunct teaching experience at the Ph.D./MBA and national certification levels, and also was lead speaker for Chapman University Law School’s 2009 Economic Symposium in remembrance of the 80th anniversary of the Crash of 1929 (including a 2010 published article in the NeXus Law Review).
Mr. Tornedon has extensive experience in designing, writing, and teaching on-ground and on-line courses as Adjunct Full Professor with Webster University and Adjunct Assistant Professor with Baruch College in New York City (1980). Lead speaker at Chapman Law Review “Dodd-Frank Act Symposium” (Jan. 2011). Presenter at U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce 14th Annual Economic Symposium (Dec. 2011). Designer of 6 new certificates (35+ new courses).
He is a former international executive with CEO and CFO experience in new business development, strategic and operations planning, worldwide marketing, mergers/acquisitions, contract negotiations, policy development, and general management of complex businesses across multiple industries in the US, Europe and Asia; U.S. citizen with 8 years executive residency in Brussels, Osaka, and Sydney with French and Japanese abilities.
Mr. Tornedon holds a bachelor’s of science in industrial management and accounting from the University of Kansas, a master’s in operations research from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in international business from New York University.