Leadership

BizFed is led by the most civically engaged leaders from the public, private, and educational sectors.

Here are our 2017 Board Officers:

 

Officers

fleming
Founding Chair

BizFed Founding Chair

David W. Fleming, a former 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.

Tracy Rafter
Founding CEO

 

Tracy Hernandez 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.

Today, BizFed, a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization, serves over 130 business organizations representing a diverse cross-section of well over 268,000 businesses across the county and works to advocate for positive public policy, legislation, and civic engagement across Los Angeles County’s diverse business community. Recently BizFed formed a foundation arm, BizFed Institute, and a political action committee, BizFed PAC, to extend research, education, and campaign work to complement BizFed’s core advocacy efforts.
Mrs. Hernandez also is the owner of the business advisory firm IMPOWER, Inc., which leads the strategy and execution of “communications transformations” for clients such as national trade associations, municipal agencies, and healthcare industries that seek cutting-edge media and public relations in which content is king. Services include powerful coalition and alliance building and critical convenings; relevant market, organization asset, and brand focus; comprehensive website development; and social media integration in which relevant timely content creation and delivery makes a difference.
Formerly, Mrs. Hernandez served as the first female publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News in the paper’s nearly 100-year history. As a 20-year veteran of the daily newspaper business, she has held chief executive positions in a variety of major markets across the country, including over a decade with the Journal Register Company (JRC) of Trenton, New Jersey, where she served as Publisher and CEO of four award-winning newspapers in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Ms. Rafter formerly owned and operated a group of newspapers and websites in Walla Walla, Washington.
During the past eight years in California, Mrs. Hernandez has given back to the Los Angeles community by contributing her time and talents to a broad range of local civic and charity organizations, hospitals, and businesses. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of LA’s Best after school program, the Valley Economic Alliance, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, and Project Grad.
In 2005, she was named Business Woman of The Year by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal “in recognition of her entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to excellence and leadership within the community.” In 2006, she was named the Woman of the Honor for Haven Hills, a battered women’s and children’s shelter.
A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Mrs. Hernandez began her media career while still in high school at the Times News. She is a graduate of the College of Southern Idaho. Mrs. Hernandez resides in Seal Beach, CA, with her husband Randal, stepson Garrett, and two young daughters, Hailey and Hannah.
gilbert
Recent Past Chair

Gilbert F. Ivey is the former 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.

Lewis2
Chair

Mike Lewis, President of Lewis Associates LLC, and Senior Vice President of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition and the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality

Mike Lewis is President of Lewis Associates LLC, a Southern California government relations consulting firm, and Senior Vice President of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition and the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality. In those capacities he has spearheaded the industry’s efforts statewide to achieve reasonable and affordable state and local regulations.

Previously Mike served on Supervisor Pete Schabarum’s staff from 1973-1989 as a deputy specializing in transportation, air pollution, planning and zoning, economic development and privatization of government services.  In July 1980, he was appointed Chief Deputy responsible for all policy and organizational matters.

He served as a member of the Southern California Rapid Transit District Board of Directors, completing an eight-and-one-half year term in February 1985; served as President of the Board of Directors in 1982 and 1983; and, authored a layman’s guide to improving public transportation called MOVING PEOPLE.  Mike served as a member of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission until March of 1991.

In 1983, he was selected by Urban Mass Transportation Administrator Art Teele as one of 20 individuals nationwide to receive UMTA’s outstanding Public Service Award.  Another UMTA Administrator, Ralph Stanley, named him to serve on the Advisory Board of Rice University’s Joint Center for Urban Mobility Research.

Mike Lewis spearheaded Supervisor Schabarum’s efforts to “privatize” nearly 1/3 of the bus service operated by RTD in the San Gabriel Valley and served on the Executive Board of the Foothill Transit Zone for five years.

Los Angeles Magazine named Mike one of the ten transportation “power players” in Los Angeles and the most knowledgeable person in Los Angeles on the subject of transportation finance.  Mike served on the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board until August 1978, and served as a member of the City of San Dimas Planning Commission.

He served as an Adjunct Professor teaching transportation policy and planning at California State University in Long Beach.

Mike is a past chairman of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce Civic and Government Affairs Committee and past president of the San Gabriel Valley Eagle Scout Association.  He is currently a Board Member of the Foothill AIDS Project serving the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire and served 8 years as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV Health Services.  He is past president of the Los Angeles County East Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

Mike is a resident of Hacienda Heights.

hilary.norton_0
Chair Elect

Hilary Norton, Executive Director, Fixing Angelenos Stuck In Traffic (FAST)

Hilary Norton’s career spans more than 22 years 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, bike-rental, carshare, shuttles, carpools and vanpools at 13 full-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 Measure R 2.0 Roundtable, Co-Chair of LABC’s Legislative Committee, Co-Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Chamber’s Transportation and Goods Movement Committee.  Ms. Norton is a member 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 Community Development 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.

Operations

Angulo
Secretary

Javier Angulo, Director of Community Affairs, Walmart

Javier Angulo joined Walmart in 2011 as Director of Community Affairs and is responsible for public affairs and government relations in Los Angeles County. He has over ten years of experience working in the non-profit and political sectors, with an emphasis on expanding opportunities for people in underserved communities.

Angulo began his career as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Fellow in Washington, D.C., where he served as a constituent liaison for the Senate Democratic Steering and Coordination Committee.  He returned to California to serve as Director of Development for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), where he managed the organization’s corporate giving and special events programs across the country. Following his time at MALDEF, Angulo joined the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), where he directed the organization’s national civic engagement and community participation program and was responsible for the day-to-day operations in the organization’s Los Angeles, New York and Houston program offices.

Most recently, Angulo served as a senior associate for Progressive Strategy Partners, a political and non-profit consulting firm. He was responsible for building support for local and statewide candidates and ballot initiatives, including Senator Barbara Boxer’s successful 2010 reelection campaign.

A lifelong Angelino born and raised in Whittier, CA, Angulo earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He has been recognized for his extraordinary public service, including for his leadership as an appointed City of Los Angeles commissioner and as an elected member of his local neighborhood council. He is continually involved with groups and organizations that seek to build a better and stronger Los Angeles community.

Wullschlegger
Operations/Treasurer

Mr. Wullschleger is responsible for Business Banking and Small Business Administration departments; oversees marketing and directs delivery of financial products and services to California businesses with annual sales of $1 million to $10 million.

He joined City National in 2008 as senior vice president and director of Business Banking and previously served as a senior vice president with First Bank overseeing corporate and small business banking.

Previously, he was vice president and manager of Manufacturers Bank’s Business Banking Center, and also worked at Sanwa Bank California and Coast Bank, as well as an assistant vice president at Bank of America.

Mr. Wullschleger has a Bachelor’s in finance from California State University, Long Beach, and attended the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking School

yamanaka
Operations/Treasurer

Laura Yamanaka, President & Co-Founder, TeamCFO/NAWBO-LA

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.

Advisory Council

armenian
Co-Chair

Zanku Armenian is Director of Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.

Zanku manages external outreach working with 200 local and regional governments and communities in southern California. He also is a senior member on the company’s emergency preparedness and crisis response teams. 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. In Washington, he was 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 firms Burson-Marsteller and Brodeur Worldwide and has worked in the media and political fields in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, including the office of former Senator and later Vice President Joseph Biden. In addition to serving on the boards of various community-based organizations, Armenian currently serves on the Board of the USC Price School of Public Policy’s Local Leaders Program, the City of Glendale’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee, including as its past chairman, and previously also served as President of the City of Glendale’s Water and Power Commission. More recently, Mr. Armenian was part of a U.S. State Department delegation to the Republic of Armenia on renewable energy matters.

Duarte
Co-Chair

CEO, Regional San Gabriel Valley Chamber The Regional Chamber of Commerce

San Gabriel Valley named Anthony Duarte as its new CEO in September 2015. Prior to joining the Regional Chamber of Commerce – San Gabriel Valley he spent six years on the district staff of Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents the San Gabriel Valley area, handling education and small business issues.

Anthony is currently President of the Board of Education of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, the largest school district in the San Gabriel Valley. He is the immediate past President of the La Puente Valley ROP Board of Trustees and is the former Chair of the La Puente Planning Commission. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the East Valley Boys & Girls Club.

Reyna Del Haro, Director of Public Affairs for the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center and the Chamber’s Chair of the Board, says Anthony brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, along with dedication to the San Gabriel Valley, to the position. “The Chamber is excited to have someone with Anthony’s leadership experience to take on the position of CEO and help the Regional Chamber continue to advocate for businesses in the San Gabriel Valley. I know he will hit the ground running.” she said. “His strong ties to the San Gabriel Valley business community, along with his experience working alongside our local officials, gives us all a sense of excitement for the future of the Regional Chamber of Commerce – San Gabriel Valley.”

The Regional Chamber of Commerce -San Gabriel Valley serves the Southeast San Gabriel Valley and represents the communities of Diamond Bar, Walnut, La Puente, Rowland

samuelian
Co-Chair

Steve Samuelian, Owner, California Consulting, LLC

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.

Sotelo-Vargas
Co-Chair

Brissa Sotelo-Vargas, Manager Public and Government Affairs, Tesoro

As Manager of Public Affairs and Government Affairs for Tesoro, 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.

Ambassadors

bullock
Co-Chair

Steve Bullock, Chief Financial Officer, Cerrell Associates Inc.

As Chief Financial Officer for Cerrell Associates, Steve Bullock has been associated with the firm for more than 27 years. He rejoined Cerrell in 1987 after leaving the company to work in the cable television industry for six years.

Steve oversees the accounting, finance, legal, IT and government reporting activities of Cerrell and is a co-owner of the firm. He has worked on numerous projects within the company to build and refine its operations and systems for accounting and internal control.  Steve’s earlier involvement at Cerrell was as an account executive. In that capacity, he was responsible for providing advocacy services on behalf of clients and working on various political campaign and business related projects.

He also served as business manager to a major Los Angeles area cable television systems owned by Century Southwest Cable Television Inc.  Responsible for the management and coordination of all business operations for the 75,000 subscriber system, Steve helped operate one of the 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.

Townsend (2)
Co-Chair

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

Advocacy

Baglietto
Co-Chair

Lou Baglietto, Partner, Butterfield Communications/Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber

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.

Gale
Co-Chair

Charles Gale, South Bay Association of Chambers

Mr. Gale represents the Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and South Bay Association of Chambers and was most recently BizFed’s Operations Co-Vice Chair.

Since 2001, Charles has been a Principal Government and Regional Affairs Representative for the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California.

Charles provides Metropolitan with over 20 years of government affairs experience with working with elected officials and regulatory state and federal agencies through Southern California. In addition to assisting with the successful implementation of Metropolitan’s state and federal legislative advocacy outreach programs, Charles is responsible for outreach to the Southern California Home Builders on Metropolitan’s Residential Conservation programs.

Prior to Metropolitan Water District, Charles worked for the Building Industry Association of Southern California as the Director of Government Affairs and Political Action Committee for 8 years.

Charles holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Southern California with an emphasis in urban/regional governments.

little_0
Co-Chair

Paul Little, President & CEO, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce

Paul Little was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce in December, 2007.

Previously, he was a senior account executive with VMA Communications, Inc., a boutique public relations and communications firm and provided all manner of communication-related work for school districts, public agencies, colleges and universities and other clients.

Mr. Little has served as Director of Communications for Claremont School of Theology and Pacific Asia Museum, as well. He has also written articles for newspapers and magazines.

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 (BizFed) and is a member of that group’s 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.

OlhassoNEW
Co-Chair

Laura Olhasso, Government Affairs, Pasadena-Foothills/Glendale/Burbank Associations of Realtors

Laura Olhasso is a Government Affairs consultant currently representing the Glendale and Burbank Associations of REALTORS on the BizFed Board.

She is a former councilmember and mayor of the city of La Canada Flintridge.

She is a twelve year member of the La Canada Flintridge City Council and has served as the city’s mayor three times.

For several years, Laura Chaired 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.

Energy & Environment

chawkins
Co-Chair

Ken Chawkins, Ph.D. , Manager of Public Policy, Southern California Gas Company.

Responsible for shaping the public policy agenda for Southern California Gas Company at the Federal, State and Local governmental levels. Frame the public engagement strategy, working with various organizations and interests groups to build coalitions seeking the safe, clean and affordable use of natural gas as an energy source.
Prior to that, managed the contractual relationship between the Morongo Indian Tribe and Southern California Edison to ensure that multi-phase build of 48-mile Transmission Line (West of Devers/WOD) is completed on time and within budget.

He also managed complete training offerings for Operations Business Support, which includes Supply Chain Management, Corporate Security, Facilities, Real Properties, Corporate Environment/Health/Safety, and Transportation Services.

The group will provide overall training needs assessment services, training design/develop/deliver and evaluate services and overall performance review consultation for Edison clients.

Prior to that, he Lead staff in development and deployment of all external support programs for ERP including: Super User Program, Manager Engagement Project, Business Readiness Strategy. He also lead  staff in development and application of Training Environment, including:  Preparation of Training

 

 

Hower
Co-Chair

Joe Hower, Principal, Ramboll Environ Corp.

Joseph Hower 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 Ramboll 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.

Trini_Jimenez_461_547
Co-Chair

Trini Jimenez, Director Government Affairs, BNSF Railway Co.

Mr. Jimenez is an accomplished Government/Community/Public Affairs Executive with a proven track record of government and community relations projects in both the private and public sector.  Jimenez has served as Director of Government Affairs for the BNSF Railway Company in California since 2006.  He works with elected officials and government agencies at all levels (federal, state, and local) in implementing government and community relations programs consistent with company goals and enhancing corporate citizen position.  Previous to joining BNSF, Jimenez was Director of Government Affairs for Rio Hondo College and also served as Executive Director of the Rio Hondo College Foundation.

Prior to working in the field of Government Affairs, Jimenez practiced law as an attorney with the firm of Burke, Williams and Sorensen in downtown Los Angeles.  He practiced within the fields of Municipal and Education Law, representing various municipalities, school districts, and other local government entities assisting them with labor and employment issues.

From 1999 – 2007, Mr. Jimenez served as a local elected official on the Board of Trustees of the Lennox School District.  Jimenez has served on the Board of various prestigious organizations.  In 2014, he was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as a Commissioner on the L.A. County Workforce Investment Board (WIB).  Jimenez also serves on the Los Angeles Advisory Council for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Corporate Advisory Council of the CA Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the L.A. County Business Federation (BizFed), and the Board of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  He also served one term as Board President of the UCLA Latino Alumni Association.

In 2009, Jimenez was recognized by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) with a Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever Award.  He is also a 2013 BNSF Railway Employee of the Year.  Jimenez received his B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach and his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.  Trini and his wife Maria are proud parents of two beautiful daughters..

 

 

Keeler (2)
Co-Chair

Frances Keeler, FuturePorts

As senior counsel at Clyde & Co., Frances represents clients before various regulatory entities including local and regional air pollution contral agencies, the California Air Resource Board and U.S Environmental Protection Agency on rule development, compliance issues, and state and federal Clean Air Acts. She has substantial experience with respect to Title V compliance and equipment permitting, and closely follows and advises on emerging issues relating to credit trading and global climate change.

Frances also advises on development projects regarding permitting and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and defends legal challenges to the environmental analyses. Frances conducts facility environmental compliance audits in support of corporate safety and governance programs, due diligence and court imposed compliance programs. She has over 30 years of experience in the field of air quality management having worked previously as a field inspector, staff specialist and eventually as Senior Counsel to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Frances sits on the board of numerous organizations, including those of the California Maritime Academy Foundation, FuturePorts, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association USA, and the Harbor Association of Industry & Commerce. She is a member of the California State Bar Environmental Law Section, WSPA Associates and the American Association of Blacks in Energy. Frances frequently presents at national and international seminars and client trade associations on various environmental topics.

Frances received a BA in Chemistry from California State College, San Bernardino and a JD from the Western State University, College of Law.

Healthcare

keating
Co-Chair

Jeff Keating, Executive Director, Public Affairs and Marketing, Western University of Health Sciences

Jeff Keating has been Executive Director of Public Affairs and Marketing for Western University of Health Sciences since May 2008, joining WesternU after serving as managing editor of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin newspaper. His 20year newspaper journalism career also included stints as a reporter, business editor, city editor, senior editor for the community news division of the Los Angeles Times, and editor and general manager of the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper in southern Oregon.

As Executive Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, Jeff develops and implements the overall communications strategy for WesternU, including media outreach, electronic and print communications, and social media. He also supervises University Advancement employees in branding, publications and marketing, and oversees the main pages of the University’s website. Jeff also serves on WesternU’s Strategic Planning Oversight Committee and its Implementation Steering Committee, is a member of its Campus Master Planning committee, and is the chief spokesman for the university.

He is a past two-term president of the Pomona Chamber of Commerce (2011-13), and currently is treasurer and Legislative Affairs chairman for that organization. He is a member of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s Healthcare Sector Council and the Mt. San Antonio College Community Facility Advisory Committee. He also served for six years (2010-16) on the San Bernardino County Regional Parks Advisory Board, and is a former board member (2013-16) of Pomona Rotary, for which he is the 2018-19 president-elect.

Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of La Verne, and a master’s degree in history from Arizona State University. He and his wife Jessica, editor of the Redlands Daily Facts newspaper, are parents to daughter Halley, 11, and son Matthew, 9. The Keatings live in Redlands.

Sullivan
Co-Chair

Michael Sullivan, Vice President/Chief Philanthropy Officer, Orthopaedic Institute for Children.

Mr. Sullivan is Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer at Orthopaedic Institute for Children. He has an impressive record of fundraising for healthcare institutions in academic environments.

Previously, as Chief Development Officer, he raised nearly $100 million at two specialty institutes affiliated with Harvard Medical School: Joslin Diabetes Center and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

He also developed innovative brand-building campaigns for these institutes and is experienced in all aspects of fundraising including major naming donations, capital campaigns, corporate and celebrity sponsorship and targeted campaigns for faculty recruitment and research.

He is experienced working with hospital boards and support groups and stewarding high profile donors with a variety of events and programs including a donor concierge service.

tou
co-Chair

Michael Tou, Director Government Relations, Providence Health & Services SoCal

Michael Tou is Director of Government Relations for Providence Health & Services, Southern California – the second largest healthcare provider in Los Angeles County and one of the largest private employers in the region. Mr. Tou directs legislative and regulatory advocacy for Providence across the state. He works with regional leaders and experts in analyzing the impact of policy proposals, leading related advocacy, and furthering strategic partnerships.

Providence Southern California operates five award-winning acute-care medical centers in the Los Angeles area, providing a full continuum of healthcare services: Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro. The region also has numerous ancillary facilities including Hospice care, long-term care, Providence Medical Institute (primary and specialty care clinics), Providence High School and an affiliation with Facey Medical Group.

Before joining Providence, Mr. Tou served for nearly twelve years as the chief policy advisor to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, specializing in environmental, healthcare and transportation policy issues. Mr. Tou also served as an aide to a former speaker of the California State Assembly and in the White House under the Clinton administration. A native of Los Angeles, he earned his Master in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Northridge.

Labor & Employment

roozbeh
Co-Chair

Roozbeh Farahanipour, President, West Los Angeles Chamber

Mr. Roozbeh Farahanipour was elected President of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in 2015. Farahanipour is a local businessperson and very active community leader. The West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce continues to be the hub for businesses within the region. By creating opportunities for growth and commerce, the Chamber makes every effort to revitalize and provide support to the region.
Farahanipour is the owner and operator of Delphi Greek Restaurant in Westwood Blvd, California. His restaurant now celebrates its 30th Anniversary with great excitement and community involvement in 2015. Farahanipour also serves on the Westwood Neighborhood Council, the Friends of Westwood Library, a member of the Westwood Community Council and is an active Rotarian and supporter of the local Homeowners Associations. He is most well known for his work on international sanctions against countries who aide and abed terrorism and for wanting the spread of democracy throughout the world.

green
Co-Chair

Ted Green, Owner, Green Public Affairs & Campaigns/West Hollywood Chamber.

After graduating from USC, where he was tellingly named Outstanding Freshman Debater, Ted immersed himself in politics. By the time he joined Woodward & McDowell in 1990, he’d already interned at the White House, managed a City Council race, and helped elect a governor in California.

In addition to managing campaigns and community organizing efforts, Ted is especially adept at building diverse coalitions.  Famous for his persistence and meticulous attention to detail, he has established working relationships in every county in California and has built broad-based, bi-partisan coalitions on just about every issue one can imagine.

He’s also still a first rate debater, and continues to be the go-to guy for tough community forums and news media debates.  Ted served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Junior Statesmen Foundation, an organization he first joined as a high school student.

Untitled-1
Co-Chair

Mark Wilbur, CEO, Employers Group

Mark Wilbur is a founding member of BizFed.  He has served as President &  CEO of Employers Group since 2007 as the youngest CEO in its118 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.  In 2010 Mark served as the  Vice Chair of BizFed’s Operations Committee, in 2011 Chair of the Los Angeles Business Federation (BizFed), then in 2012 Chair of the BizFed Institute, in 2013 Co-Chair of BizFed’s Healthcare Committee.  He is a a member of the Board of Trustees for the world renowned Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles.

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.  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 the University of Southern California and continues to support his alma mater through coaching the USC Ice Hockey team.

Land Use, Housing, Development & Real Estate

aghassi
Co-Chair

Christine Aghassi is a Senior Vice President with Dolphin Group Public Affairs in Los Angeles.

Christine Aghassi is a Senior Vice President with Dolphin Group Public Affairs in Los Angeles.  With nearly two decades of experience in public affairs and campaign management, she is a seasoned strategist who tackles complex public policy issues for the firm’s diverse clients – from Fortune 50 corporations to local community groups.  She has overseen strategic communications programs in a variety of policy areas including business regulation, health care, entitlements, land use, gaming, and small business advocacy.
In addition to her role with BizFed, she is also a board member of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA).  Christine keeps active in her local community as a board member of the Clover Avenue Elementary School Booster Club and she previously served on the board of the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC).  A longtime cupcake connoisseur, she is quick with recommendations for local selections. Christine is a native of the Boston area and continues to be a dedicated Sox and Patriots fan.  She now lives in West Los Angeles with her husband Jeff and daughter Finley.

ahlswede
Co-Chair

Chip Ahlswede, CEO, Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors

Chip joined the Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors in late 2015 where he resides as its CEO.

Mr. Ahlswede was formerly the 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.

Freshman 2
Co-Chair

Sam Freshman, Chairman & President, Standard Management

Samuel Freshman was admitted to the California State Bar in 1957 and became General Counsel of Jacob Sterns & Sons, a real estate investment company. In 1959, he founded Freshman, Marantz, Orlanski, Cooper, and Klein Law Corporation of Beverly Hills, specializing in all areas of real estate. The firm now is the Century City office of K&L Gates.

In 1961, he founded real estate investment and management firm Standard Management Company. As chairman, Sam oversees investment strategy and business development. Standard acquires, develops, and manages hundreds of millions of dollars worth of income property.

During its history, Standard has managed property in 15 states and 25 cities, including 6,000 apartment units; a mobile home park; 2,500,000 sq. ft. gross rentable commercial space in 16 shopping centers; 4 office buildings; and 1,200,000 sq. ft. of industrial properties, totaling more than $700 million dollars of market value.

Sam is an expert in real estate syndication and has been a general partner in over 100 real estate syndications. He has secured, negotiated, and documented more than $500 million dollars of real estate loans as a lender, borrower, attorney, banker, and property manager. His investors have included life insurance companies, pension funds, and high-net individuals and families.

In addition, Sam is chairman of Water Techniques, a California water treatment company. He was also president of Standard Theaters; managing member of Available Money, an ATM network; director-secretary of Banner Gelatin Products Corporation, a pharmaceutical company; chairman of Trans State Title Company; and secretary and board member of Marina Mercy Hospital, a 200-bed hospital in Marina del Rey, California. In the banking arena, Sam was chairman of Bank of Los Angeles and advisory director of Imperial Bank of Los Angeles, American City Bank, and Banco Ponce, formerly Banco Popular.

 

sanchez
Co-Chair

Sandy Sanchez, Community Development Director, FivePoint.

Ms. Sanchez is the Community Development Director for Newhall Land. In this position, she works to advance the development of the master-planned community of Newhall Ranch.

Prior to joining FivePoint Sandy worked was the Director of Government Affairs where she 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 millions of dollars in construction related fees and eliminated policies that would dramatically imped development. Sandy is a seasoned real estate development professional. 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.

Sandy served as a co-Chair of BizFed’s Land Use Committee this year. In her spare time Sandy is active in the community as 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 and volunteer with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Nominating

Pilar Hoyos Headshot
Chair

V.P.  Public Affairs, Watson Land Company

Pilar M. Hoyos, V.P. Public Affairs, Watson Land Company, serves the Company and its customers as an advocate and liaison to government and the communities in which the Company has its real estate holdings.

A 30-year public affairs veteran, Hoyos is actively engaged on key issues which affect the area’s competitiveness for business retention and attraction. She serves on a number of boards, including the California Taxpayers Association; CalChamber Advocacy Council; LAEDC Land Use Committee; the LA Chamber Land Use, Housing and Transportation Committee; CarsonDominguez Employers Alliance; and for a number of years served as Chair of the Workforce Investment Network, an organization charged with regional job training and placement programs.

Hoyos is a graduate of USC and a resident of the City of Los Angeles.

 

Polling & Research

harris
Co-Chair

Jeremy Harris, Senior Vice President, Long Beach Chamber

Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (LBACC) Senior Vice President Jeremy Harris was appointed president of the Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (SCACCE) in 2016.

SCACCE seeks to advance Southern California chamber management professionals and is managed by the statewide California Chamber of Commerce, according to the announcement.

Harris has served the LBACC since 2013 as its senior vice president, taking charge of its public policy program and political action committee (PAC), as well as communications. He is also the staff liasion for the Long Beach Young Professionals and the Government Affairs Council.

He also has his own firm, Harris Consulting, which he started in 2011. Previous experience includes President/CEO of Garden Grove Chamber and Vice President Chamber Advocacy.

Dan Hoffman
Co-Chair

Dan Hoffman, Executive Director, Wilmington Chamber
Mr. Hoffman has served as ED since April 2004, and has resided in Wilmington for more than thirty years.
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce has served businesses and the community since 1904. Many of the streets in Wilmington are named in honor of early Chamber Directors. Most recently, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce partnered with the San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Los Angeles, in an effort to establish the world’s resource for green technologies in the Los Angeles Harbor Area.
Dan has been a supporter of BizFed nearly since its founding and active in all areas including Advocacy and Polling.

Responsible Governance

Guerrero
Co-Chair

Kristine Guerrero, Legislative Director, LA County Division, League of California Cities

As Legislative Director for the Los Angeles County Division 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.

Vieyra
Co-Chair

Mitchell Vieyra, Government Affairs Director, BOMA Greater LA.

Mitchell Vieyra is the Government Affairs Manager for BOMA Greater Los Angeles, representing the commercial real estate industry in LA County. Mitchell oversees the association’s six Regional Councils, Political Action Committee and Homeless and Community Awareness Committee. He is responsible for all legislative and municipal relationships and serves on a number of advisory groups including the Long Beach Area Chamber Government Affairs Committee and the Downtown Los Angeles Transportation Management Organization (TMO) Advisory Council.

Mitchell is a member of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) PAC Board and the BOMA California Board of Directors. He received his Masters of Public Administration and Bachelors of Science in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California.

Outside of work, he is actively engaged in his community, promoting civic involvement and fostering the arts in local youth. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Playascape, a nonprofit organization bringing interactive art to Los Angeles.

Small Business Diversity

RossanaDAntonio
Co-Chair

Rossana G. D’Antonio, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Rossana D’Antonio serves as Deputy Director over the Business Outreach/Support Branch which consists of Contracts, Construction, Design, Geotechnical and Materials Engineering, and Operational Services Divisions.  She provides executive leadership in all matters relating to contracting, business outreach, and engineering support.  Rossana created the Department’s Innovation Lab with a broad based mission to develop and implement innovative and sustainable ideas that foster progressive changes in design projects, methodologies, and processes.

A 26-year Department veteran, Rossana has extensive background in many disciplines of engineering, management, operations and business processes.  She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Fresno State and an MBA with emphasis in leadership and organizational development from Pepperdine University. Rossana holds dual registrations in the State of California in Civil and Geotechnical Engineering.  She is also credentialed as an Envision Sustainability Professional with the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, a nationally recognized organization for civil infrastructure.

Rossana believes strongly in giving back to the profession. She has achieved Fellow status with American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), has served on the Board of Directors for ASCE, and is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Public Works Association. Rossana has also served on several committees for the California State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. She is a passionate advocate for equal opportunity in the workplace through recruitment, mentoring, outreach and diverse advancement. Rossana is co-founder of the Department’s Women’s Leadership Council where she continues to work on implementing Department initiatives that empower women. As an advocate of increasing representation in the STEM fields, she also makes presentations to high school and college students.

Duperron
Co-Chair

Donna Duperron, President & CEO, Torrance Area Chamber

A dedicated and respected community leader, Donna Duperron consistently develops and advances personal and business relationships benefitting social, educational, civic and community realms.

Her expertise in relationship based management and strategic team building experience has allowed for collaboration with notable community and business leaders in creating esteemed events and achieving mutually beneficial goals.

Donna has been recipient for “South Bay Woman of the Year” named for her service, dedication, and commitment to the South Bay.   Understandably so, she is an admirable person of impeccable character.  On her desk are the words “Be the change you want to see in the world” by Ghandi.   Her leadership in the community creates an indelible ripple effect for positive change.  What she is most noted for is her sincerity and gratitude.  As a visionary, she takes great pride in her works and outwardly shares appreciation for the contributions of others.  She has been at the helm chairing professional and charitable events for organizations such as Pediatric Therapy Network, American Honda Motor Company, City of Torrance, and Torrance Unified School District.

As President / CEO for Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce, Donna vigorously contributes efforts towards advancing Board directives.   She has much success in revitalizing programs and securing financial vitality for non profit organizations for over 18 years.  Her key achievements include the establishments of many partnerships such as TACC Foundation – Adopt a School program, Business for a Day, Mentor Program, State of Education, as well as developing task forces to better serve the civic and business community.

In addition to her chamber responsibilities, Donna remains an active committee executive for the Western Association of Chamber Executives, in which she has been recognized as the Hathaway “Staff Person of the Year”.   She served on the executive committee for the City of Torrance Centennial.   She holds board membership with South Bay Association of Chamber of Commerce and is immediate past Chairman of the Board. She, has served as President for the Torrance Kiwanis Club two times and is a member of Del Amo Rotary Club.    She currently serves on the board for the Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce executives.

Her keen ability to develop successful long term relationships is evidenced by her 38 year marriage to Gary.  They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

gomez
Co-Chair

Virginia Gomez, President, Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council.

Virginia Gomez is president of Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council (SCMSDC), the largest nonprofit minority business advocacy organization in the region. She was appointed to this position in February 2012.
As president, Gomez is responsible for leading council activities to strengthen its position as the the premiere organization strengthening economic ties between large, public-, private- and foreign-owned corporations and minority men- and women-owned business enterprises. This includes directing such activities as nationally recognized certification to minority-owned businesses, strategic networking between corporate members and certified firms, and education, information, and skills development to help minority businesses enhance their capacity.
She previously served as SCMSDC vice president, where she assisted the council president in the organization’s day-to-day operations, including information technology, certification, and annual major events functions and supported council board committees. Prior to joining the council in 2001, she held several management positions at the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), the nation’s largest municipally owned utility.
Her experience at the utility included directing and overseeing contracting policies, budgetary, human resources, systems development/automation, and other administrative functions. As DWP contract compliance officer, she successfully led the development and implementation of the first supply chain management e-procurement system implemented among Los Angeles’ municipal agencies.

Technology and Innovation

Rajan
Co-Chair

Kish Rajan, Chief Evangelist, CALinnovates

Kish Rajan has a 20-year track record of success in government and the private sector.

After graduating from UC Berkeley, he began his public sector career on Capitol Hill as an aide to Senator Barbara Boxer and then later to Phil Angelides who went on to become California State Treasurer.

Kish then built a 14 year career in the private sector as a business development executive in mobile technology managing vital business partnerships that created hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of shareholder value.

During this time, Kish earned a J.D., started a family, and served a term on the Walnut Creek City Council, becoming a Bay Area regional leader in economic development, transportation planning and advancing technology in government.

In 2012, Kish was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to lead the newly formed Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO Biz).  His directive from Governor Brown was to enhance California’s job creation effort by promoting statewide economic development, improving the business climate, and fostering greater international trade.   During Kish’s tenure at GO Biz, California grew substantially, once again becoming the world’s 7th largest economy.

In 2015, Kish returned to the private sector to lead advocacy efforts to modernize and grow California’s economy through his role at CALinnovates as its Chief Evangelist.

Wright
CoChair

Will Wright, Director, Government and Public Affairs, AIA-LA

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.

Trade

Ahn
Co-Vice Chair

Joe Ahn, Manager, Regional Government and Public Affairs, Northrop Grumman

Joe Ahn serves as division 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.

 

 

Jonathan Beutler
Co-Chair

Jonathan M. Beutler, Director of Public Affairs, Sunrider International

Sunrider is a Los Angeles-based multinational health & wellness corporation. Jonathan is also the current president of the Harbor City Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce, an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party, and a National Security Fellow at the DCbased Truman National Security Project.

Prior to his work at Sunrider International, Jonathan served in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. As a diplomat, Jonathan served in Washington DC and at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo Japan. In Washington, he served in the Executive Secretariat’s Operations Center on special task forces to monitor crises in the Middle East and also to assist American citizens affected by the 2011 triple disaster in Japan’s Tohoku region. At Embassy Tokyo, Jonathan served partly in the Consular Section, leading that office’s Congressional correspondence and public communication efforts (both routine and crisis), and overseeing the reporting (to Washington).

Earlier, Jonathan enjoyed stints with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Hong Kong, the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, and as a service volunteer in São Paulo, Brazil. Jonathan has also worked as an intern in the offices of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Jonathan is a member of the Board of Governors of the Japan America Society of Southern California, the Board of Directors of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, as well as a member of the Community Advisory Boards for both the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation and Pediatric Therapy Network, and sat previously on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

Jonathan is a sustaining member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, as well as an International Circle member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and a Patron of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles. He has also been involved with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Global Initiatives Committee.

Jonathan is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Public Affairs and speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, as well as some Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and German. Having lived in Asia, Europe, South America, and throughout the U.S., Jonathan now resides in the global crossroads that is Los Angeles.

cheung
Co-Chair

Stephen Cheung, President, World Trade Center Los Angeles

Stephen Cheung was appointed president of World Trade Center Los Angeles in 2015. Previously, Cheung was the Secretary General of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and was responsible for managing policies and programs related to Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, International Affairs and Global Trade.

Concurrently, Cheung was the Director of International Trade for the Port of Los Angeles.

Prior to that, Cheung served as Managing Director of International Trade and Clean Technology for City of Los Angeles and served as the City’s lead organizer for the historic visit to Los Angeles by Chinese President, Xi Jinping in 2012.

Cheung holds a Bachelor’s in Psychobiology and Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA. Cheung is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.

Suto
Co-Chair

Jun Suto, Japanese Business Association

Jun is a producer, entrepreneur, and seasoned executive with significant global experiences. His work spans from corporate restructuring to social innovation, working alongside with the industry’s top players and thought leaders. He has rich experiences in global, multi-cultural projects/program executions in various countries (with significant experiences in the US and Japan), providing over two decades of professional services to global corporations and collaborating with leading social entrepreneurs.

Jun is a Japan executive producer @ Learn Do Share (open-source collaborative social innovation platform), founder/managing director @ SCUBED LLC (consultancy specialized in global strategy and program/project executions), a friend (Japanese market development adviser/partner) of XPRIZE Foundation (world renowned innovation accelerator/philanthropist).

Jun’s experiences include social innovation, open-source collaboration, partnership/alliance development, business strategy/planning, business transformation/integration, turnaround advisory, technology implementation, business process improvement/outsourcing, risk management, M&A, due diligence, and compliance & audit, across a wide spectrum of industries and companies including Global Fortune 25 companies.

Jun facilitates innovation workshops over variety of social issues and grand challenges, speaks at MBA programs at both U.S. and Japanese universities on project management, risk management, and other topical subjects, and contributes articles in trade/professional magazines. In addition, he mentors various intra-/entre-preneurs throughout the worlds and global program/project professionals from leading global companies on ongoing basis.

Transportation

samara
Co-Chair

Samara Ashley, Director of Government Relations, Port of Long Beach

Samara Ashley is the Director of Government Relations for the Port of Long Beach, California. Appointed to the post in 2007, she is responsible for advising Port executives and the Harbor Commission on Port-related legislative issues and assists in the formulation of the Port’s legislative agenda.
Ms. Ashley is also the Port’s representative to federal, state and local governments. In this capacity, she oversees the activities of the Port’s legislative advocates in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Before joining the Port, she served as account executive with Los Angelesbased government and public relations firm Cerrell Associates Inc. Her clients included the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Southern California Association of Governments. Earlier in her career she worked on port and transportation issues as a district field representative in Long Beach for then-State Senator Betty Karnette.
Ms. Ashley is a member of a several industry associations, including the Women’s Transportation Seminar and the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce. She also serves with numerous nonprofit organizations.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in public policy, international relations and American politics from Pepperdine University.

inman
CoChair

Fran Inman, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Majestic Realty Co.

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. Last year, Inman was co-Vice Chair of BizFed’s Goods Movement Committee.

Ms. 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. 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.

jmeaney
Co-Chair

Jessica Meaney, Executive Director, Investing in Place

Jessica Meaney is the Executive Director of the non-profit Investing in Place. She is a committed transportation advocate who has been living intentionally car free in Los Angeles for close to 17 years.
Academically trained as a sociologist, Jessica’s approach to transportation policy began with looking at the key roles public transit, walking and bicycling play in social cohesion and community health.  Over the years her interest has grown into addressing the user experience and advocating for safe, walkable, bikeable and transit rich neighborhoods that provide dignity for the user.
Jessica’s policy approach has focused on using transportation finance research and advocacy efforts to achieve those outcomes.
Most recently, Jessica worked at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership on State and Regional Transportation policy, and before that as a transportation planner at the Southern California Association of Governments.  In 2013, Jessica was awarded Advocate of the Year by Streetsblog Los Angeles. And she is proud to serve on the Board of California Walks.
In her free time Jessica loves people watching in public spaces, racki

Water

Lewis2
Chair

Mike Lewis, President of Lewis Associates LLC, and Senior Vice President of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition and the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality

Mike Lewis is President of Lewis Associates LLC, a Southern California government relations consulting firm, and Senior Vice President of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition and the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality. In those capacities he has spearheaded the industry’s efforts statewide to achieve reasonable and affordable state and local regulations.

Previously Mike served on Supervisor Pete Schabarum’s staff from 1973-1989 as a deputy specializing in transportation, air pollution, planning and zoning, economic development and privatization of government services.  In July 1980, he was appointed Chief Deputy responsible for all policy and organizational matters.

He served as a member of the Southern California Rapid Transit District Board of Directors, completing an eight-and-one-half year term in February 1985; served as President of the Board of Directors in 1982 and 1983; and, authored a layman’s guide to improving public transportation called MOVING PEOPLE.  Mike served as a member of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission until March of 1991.

In 1983, he was selected by Urban Mass Transportation Administrator Art Teele as one of 20 individuals nationwide to receive UMTA’s outstanding Public Service Award.  Another UMTA Administrator, Ralph Stanley, named him to serve on the Advisory Board of Rice University’s Joint Center for Urban Mobility Research.

Mike Lewis spearheaded Supervisor Schabarum’s efforts to “privatize” nearly 1/3 of the bus service operated by RTD in the San Gabriel Valley and served on the Executive Board of the Foothill Transit Zone for five years.

Los Angeles Magazine named Mike one of the ten transportation “power players” in Los Angeles and the most knowledgeable person in Los Angeles on the subject of transportation finance.  Mike served on the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board until August 1978, and served as a member of the City of San Dimas Planning Commission.

He served as an Adjunct Professor teaching transportation policy and planning at California State University in Long Beach.

Mike is a past chairman of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce Civic and Government Affairs Committee and past president of the San Gabriel Valley Eagle Scout Association.  He is currently a Board Member of the Foothill AIDS Project serving the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire and served 8 years as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV Health Services.  He is past president of the Los Angeles County East Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

Mike is a resident of Hacienda Heights.

musella3
Co-Chair

John Musella, The Musella Group/Chiquita Canyon President of the Musella Group.

Mr. Musella has been on the cutting edge of public relations for nearly 15 years and is widely recognized as a trusted communications executive and media liaison. Working for high-profile organizations and Fortune 500 companies, Musella has a proven track record of resolving complex business issues and effectively positioning companies and executives.

Prior to forming his own company, Musella cut his teeth in the PR agency world as Vice President of the Los Angeles office of one of the nation’s topranked PR firms. While there, he was instrumental in working with Shell Hydrogen in launching renewable energy fueling stations to the LA marketplace and with a major pet food manufacturer in successfully developing and implementing crisis communications strategies during a major national pet food recall.

Musella’s corporate communications experience includes serving as Director of Public Relations for KB Home, a Fortune 500 Company. His public affairs background includes positions with two of California’s most high-profile real estate developments: Director of Communications/Government & Environmental Affairs for Newhall Land’s Valencia and Newhall Ranch developments, and Corporate Affairs Manager for Playa Vista, one of the most significant urban infill developments in the nation.

Previously, Musella served as Press Deputy for LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, where he was the chief spokesperson to the media and primary speech writer. During his time in the Supervisor’s office, Musella was instrumental in helping create LA County’s first Civic Arts Policy and in developing the County’s Safe Surrender Baby Program.

A leader in his profession, Musella serves on the Board of Directors of the Building Industry Association LA/Ventura Chapter, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, and the Santa Clarita Valley International School. He has also served as Vice President of the Public Relations Society of America LA Chapter and on the Board of Directors for PVJOBS, a Los Angeles non-profit which places at-risk individuals in construction related employment opportunities.

A graduate of Washington State University, Musella attended the nationally-ranked Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, where he received a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

deandre
Co-Chair

De’Andre Valencia, Director of Government Affairs, BIA-LA/VC

De’Andre Valencia joined BIA-LAV in 2016 as a Director of Government Affairs and manages legislative and policy issues, as well as working with BIASC Political Action Committee.

Prior to joining BIA-LAV, De’Andre was the Government Affairs and Campaign Director for Valencia & Associates. Through his tenure with Valencia & Associates, De’Andre developed relationships with key local elected officials and legislators and their staffs throughout the San Gabriel Valley to effectively channel the goals of his clients, and was successful in winning 20 out of the 26 local political campaigns he ran.

Previously, De’Andre worked as Campaign manager for Lewis & Associates.

De’Andre earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of La Verne, and has sat on various commissions for the City of Pomona; which include the Planning Commission, Vehicle Parking District Commission, and the Charter Review Commission.

Wilson
Co-Vice Chair

Charley Wilson, Board Chair, Southern California Water Committee

Charles Wilson has been a leading public affairs professional in Southern California for more than 30 years. Wilson has spent the past 25 years in the electric utility industry with SCE, where he coordinates the development and implementation of strategic planning and communication efforts to align company interests with local, state and federal government officials and agencies.

Wilson began his carrier with SCE in 1990 as a local region manager in Orange County. He became a member of the original Government Education Resource Team when it was formed in 1996 in preparation for the deregulation of the electric utility industry.

Recognized as an organizational leader, Wilson is a proven consensus builder and strategic communications specialist who can develop high performance teams, which produce results. An excellent communicator who possesses strong written and public speaking skills with the ability to convincingly present view points before public audiences and the news media.

Wilson most recently was elected as Chairman of the Southern California Water Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership between cities, counties, business, industry, agriculture and water agencies dedicated to securing reliable, affordable, quality water for Southern California.

Wilson also serves as an elected board member of the Santa Margarita Water District where he currently serves as an active and dynamic force in providing leadership to the second largest and fastest growing retail water agency in Orange County.

Staff

Chris Earle
Business Manager
Kevin Harbour
Director of Business Development
Tracy Rafter
Founding CEO

Tracy Hernandez 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.

Today, BizFed, a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization, serves over 130 business organizations representing a diverse cross-section of well over 268,000 businesses across the county and works to advocate for positive public policy, legislation, and civic engagement across Los Angeles County’s diverse business community. Recently BizFed formed a foundation arm, BizFed Institute, and a political action committee, BizFed PAC, to extend research, education, and campaign work to complement BizFed’s core advocacy efforts.
Mrs. Hernandez also is the owner of the business advisory firm IMPOWER, Inc., which leads the strategy and execution of “communications transformations” for clients such as national trade associations, municipal agencies, and healthcare industries that seek cutting-edge media and public relations in which content is king. Services include powerful coalition and alliance building and critical convenings; relevant market, organization asset, and brand focus; comprehensive website development; and social media integration in which relevant timely content creation and delivery makes a difference.
Formerly, Mrs. Hernandez served as the first female publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News in the paper’s nearly 100-year history. As a 20-year veteran of the daily newspaper business, she has held chief executive positions in a variety of major markets across the country, including over a decade with the Journal Register Company (JRC) of Trenton, New Jersey, where she served as Publisher and CEO of four award-winning newspapers in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Ms. Rafter formerly owned and operated a group of newspapers and websites in Walla Walla, Washington.
During the past eight years in California, Mrs. Hernandez has given back to the Los Angeles community by contributing her time and talents to a broad range of local civic and charity organizations, hospitals, and businesses. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of LA’s Best after school program, the Valley Economic Alliance, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, and Project Grad.
In 2005, she was named Business Woman of The Year by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal “in recognition of her entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to excellence and leadership within the community.” In 2006, she was named the Woman of the Honor for Haven Hills, a battered women’s and children’s shelter.
A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Mrs. Hernandez began her media career while still in high school at the Times News. She is a graduate of the College of Southern Idaho. Mrs. Hernandez resides in Seal Beach, CA, with her husband Randal, stepson Garrett, and two young daughters, Hailey and Hannah.

 

Noly Lallana
Accountant
lara-larramendi
Advocacy Director

Lara L. Larramendi has been a public official in California for over 2 decades.  She served as a Member of the Monrovia City Council for 15 years, including two years as the directly elected Mayor (the second woman in the City’s 120 + year history).  In addition, Larramendi has served as an appointee of the Governor and the Legislature to various State governing boards and was appointed as Executive Officer of the California School Finance Authority by the State Treasurer from 2002-2003.  From 2004-2007 she served as Special Assistant to the California Attorney General, from 8/2007-1/2010 as Deputy Chief of Staff & Special Assistant to two members of the California State Senate (Sen. Romero and Sen. Padilla), from 2011-2013 as public affairs representative to Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and from 2014-2016 as District Director for Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA 44).  Lara was a gubernatorial appointee to the Gold Line Construction Authority from 2003-2014.

As a council member, Lara was active in the League of California Cities (LCC), San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) and National League of Cities (NLC), serving as chair to several policy, legislative committees and task forces, and serving as President of the SGVCOG and as a Member of the Board of Directors of LCC and NLC.

During her tenure as President of Women In Municipal Government (WIMG), an NLC affiliate comprised of local elected officials, Larramendi successfully implemented a series of workshops at the United Nations’ Beijing + 5 Follow up Conference on women in New York (6/2000).

With an M.S.W. degree in community organization and administration from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California State University Los Angeles and her background as an elected and appointed public official, Larramendi has conducted training workshops in her native language of Spanish for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the United States Department of State.

In addition to her employment with California elected officials, Larramendi has held positions in Los Angeles County as an eligibility worker, a welfare fraud investigator and children’s emergency response social worker; program director for a Pasadena non-profit family service agency; municipal program manager with the City of Pasadena; adjunct field faculty and part-time faculty at the UCLA School of Social Welfare (now UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs) teaching legislative advocacy, USC School of Social Work and California State University Los Angeles, School of Social Work; and as a public affairs region manager (San Gabriel Valley) for Southern California Edison.

As an independent public affairs consultant, Larramendi works as a photographer and on many candidate and issue campaigns.  She is also sought as a public speaker (bilingual, English/Spanish) on many topics including family issues, non-profit board development, local governance, land use, strategic planning, environmental issues, community economic development, community organizing, candidate training and issues campaigns in the United States and internationally, concentrating in Latin America.

Brandon Matson
Advocacy & Policy Manager
Joseph Nelsonb
Office/Membership Mgr.
Dan Schnur
SoCal 2017 Task Force Chair

Dan Schnur is the BizFed SoCal 2017 Task Force Chair and Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, where he works to motivate students to become involved in politics, government, and public service and teaches popular classes in politics, communications, and leadership. He also is the Founder and Director of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll series.

Dan has worked for years as a political reformer and has held several leadership positions in this field. In 2010, Dan was appointed Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). During his tenure, he implemented groundbreaking campaign finance disclosure requirements for independent committees, appointed a bipartisan task force to update California’s 1978 Political Reform Act, and worked to assure the disclosure of campaign finance and spending practices, fair elections, and government transparency. Dan also was a founder and co-chairman of the Voices of Reform project, the bi-partisan statewide effort whose work laid the foundation for California’s landmark redistricting reform.

After completing his FPPC term, Dan registered as a no-party preference voter and launched Fixing California, an organization dedicated to campaign finance and political reform. In 2014, Dan ran for statewide office as a non-partisan candidate for California Secretary of State. Dan’s campaign focused on rebuilding the political center, the need for campaign fundraising reform, and increasing civics education in California schools. Dan plans on continuing the discussion on how to fix a current broken system of politics in California to address the challenges facing the state.

Throughout his teaching career, Dan has helped hundreds of students identify internship and professional opportunities in politics, government, issue advocacy and other forms of public service. As Director of the Unruh Institute, he has created and sponsored dozens of programs. In 2011, Dan was awarded the Steven B. Sample Teaching and Mentoring Award for his work with USC students. In addition to his work at the Unruh Institute and the classes he teaches, Dan serves as the Faculty Advisor for the SC Students for Israel organization.

In addition to his position at USC, Dan is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Dan also has held the post of Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University and taught an advanced course in political campaign communications at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

For years, Dan was one of California’s leading political and media strategists, whose record includes work on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns. He served as the national Director of Communications for the 2000 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John McCain and spent five years as chief media spokesman for California Governor Pete Wilson.

Dan is a Trustee for Junior State of America, which works to prepare high school students for lifelong civic involvement and leadership. He also works regularly with organizations such as the Coro Public Affairs program, Hispañas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Young Leaders program, the Leadership California Institute, the Teach for America Alumni Support Network and Leadership for Educational Equity.

Dan has been an advisor to the William & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Broad Education Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the James Irvine Foundation, the Public Policy Institute of California and the Stuart Foundation on a variety of K-12 education and college and workforce preparedness efforts.

Dan’s commentaries are featured in local, state, and national media including the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. In addition, he has been an analyst and political commentator for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Dan is a graduate of the American University in Washington, D.C. He is married to Cecile Ablack, a communications and public affairs consultant, who is a former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, an Associate Dean at Yale University, and Director of International Communications and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce. They have two children, Rob and Tessa.

If you wish to contact Dan, please email dan.schnur@bizfed.org.

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