Newsletter July 2022 Highlights

The mission of The Valley Economic Alliance is to engage and unite Valley stakeholders
to raise standards of living and economic vitality across the San Fernando Valley. We
promote business retention, business attraction, workforce development, and tourism
to create and retain jobs and a great quality of life in the 5-City San Fernando Valley
region, including Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, Los Angeles, and San Fernando.

In This Issue
  • Letters From The CEO & Chair
  • Breaking News
  • Alliance Leadership & Investor Spotlights
  • Economic Development & Small Business
  • Education & Workforce Development
  • Livable & Sustainable Communities
  • Announcements
  • Calendar of Events
Letters from the CEO & Chair
Last week, Valley skies were illuminated with celebratory fireworks and festive displays commemorating 246 years of the United States' independence. We are proud and grateful to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities of living in such a great nation.

I thought that this year’s July 4th Holiday felt a little strange. There just seemed to be such a pervasive societal anxiety about the economy, political differences, violence, and the seemingly never quite ending Covid pandemic. Our annual American celebration of independence ran smack dab into the urgent need for all of us to come together, support each other, and cooperate for the common good. 

Breaking News
Alliance Leadership & Investor Spotlights

Board of Directors Spotlights
The Alliance’s monthly Board Meeting convened on June 23 where Chair Fred Gaines thanked the Alliance for participating in the redistricting coalition. The current redistricting maps can be seen here: LA City Council Map, LA County Board of Supervisors Map, LAUSD Map. We were able to secure a government seat with over 70% Valley representation, which was increased by Valley participation in our advocacy campaigns and open calls for additional leadership presence throughout our region. The most important thing is that whoever represents the Valley works with us and pushes for Valley projects.
ABOVE: Alliance Board of Directors
The Board also nominated Jessica Cruz, Communications Manager, Southland Regional Association of Realtors. Nomination was adopted by consent.
ABOVE: New Board Member, Jessica Cruz

The Valley Economic Alliance would like to congratulate Jane Skeeter, a longstanding member of our board of directors, for being selected as one of the Fernando Award Foundation’s five finalists for their annual service award. She is in the running to receive the award exemplifying outstanding service in the San Fernando Valley.
Above: Jane Sketter, Founder & CEO of Ultraglas

As Founder and CEO of Ultraglas, Jane was nominated by the Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley and Woodbury University. Since 2007, Jane has been active with 15 organizations serving on the board of directors of business, health, youth and education related services. Jane has served on the Pierce College Architecture and Engineering Community Advisory Board, the LA Mayor’s Community Forestry Advisory Committee for LA Council District #3, the board of directors for the Valley Green Team, the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, the West Hills Hospital Board of Trustees, NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Los Angeles Chapter, Woodbury University’s School of Business Advisory Board and the Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley.
Representatives from The Alliance attended the 2022 Mega Mixer uniting Chambers in the Valley. Pictured (from left to right) are Erica Gass, VP Operations; John Parker, Vice Chair, TVEA Board of Directors; and Jacqui Matsumoto, Director of Investor Relations. 

On June 30, members of The Valley Economic Alliance volunteered for one of the largest, most reputable business networking events hosted in our region–the 2022 Mega Mixer hosted by the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley. Our team networked with hundreds of small business owners, corporate executives, and local dignitaries representing nearly 20 regional Chambers during the summer-themed affair, which was sponsored by SoCal Corporate Growth Partners and held at the Anheuser-Busch headquarters in Van Nuys. Historically, many of the initial introductions made and conversations had at this annual occasion have synergized some of the Valley’s most profitable business expansions and multi-city collaborations, so The Alliance is always proud to unite with the participating organizations in facilitating a common purpose. 
Congratulations to Mike’s Roofing & Building celebrating 50 years since opening their doors in 1972. Employees at Mike’s Roofing & Building have always been at the core of the company’s success. Their hard-working employees have delivered excellent service and also have worked to support the community with cleaning up a local park that was in jeopardy of closing down due to lack of municipal resources for clean-up service, donated their time to repair and to replace roofs on community centers such as the Mid-Valley YMCA and Tierra del Sol and a San Fernando Valley US Marine veteran through a partnership with the national veteran program Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. These community roofing projects saved thousands of dollars in operating expenses which enabled both communities. 

Investor Spotlights
Current Energy is a leading developer of profitable, sustainable energy systems. Specializing in every type of solar energy project, it offers the capabilities of a national company with the concierge-level service of a local firm. This approach empowers Current Energy to deliver complex, custom solar developments with exceptional responsiveness, skill and agility. With over 30 years of experience and 200 megawatts designed, Current Energy has delivered diverse solar developments to clients across a wide range of industries. These include aviation, commercial, multi-family, hospitality and transportation, among others. Its in-house team provides complete, turn-key services through every project phase, from concept and design to installation and maintenance. 

Current Energy partners are proven experts in renewable energy systems, business and finance, commercial real estate development, construction and project management, and engineering and design. Their deep knowledge of products, permitting processes and system design bring added-value to every project. They are committed to advancing each client’s financial, sustainability and social performance goals.

Stephen Heiney oversees Current Energy’s strategic vision, funding sources and sales process. With over 20 years of experience delivering successful solar developments in Southern California, he brings a strong reputation for consistency, excellence and integrity to every project.

Previously, Stephen worked in commercial real estate and developed projects ranging from a resort in Mexico, where he and his family resided for five years, to shopping centers, industrial buildings and apartments. His experience in the commercial real estate development space provides unique insights to property owners on how to incorporate solar and other energy solutions. Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from California State University, Fullerton. In his spare time, he and his wife enjoy attending their children’s sporting events.
“We can do everything the larger companies do, but in a more responsive, nimble and local way. That’s our niche and what separates us from the competition. We specialize in every aspect of solar energy, and are known for our exceptional service, expertise, flexibility and creative design.”
Since 2014, Express Employment staffing agency has put thousands of people to work across the region. Express Employment Professionals Glendale, connects businesses with workers in light industrial, admin, and professional sectors. Whether you're looking for new hires or you're trying to get hired, their employment experts streamline the staffing process for everyone, customizing workforce solutions that are always customized to the business and its needs.
Kulchin Ross Insurance Services, LLC is one of the largest privately held insurance brokerages headquartered in Sunny Southern California that is affiliated with many of the highest rated and most successful local and national carriers in the market. When it comes to business insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits and risk management services, Kulchin Ross Insurance has the skills and resources to provide strategically planned insurance solutions for all industries.
As the City of Los Angeles’ official tourism marketing organization, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board markets and promotes Los Angeles as the premier destination for leisure travel, meetings and conventions. L.A. Tourism is a private, non-profit 501(c)(6) business association. The mission of L.A. Tourism is to advance the prosperity of L.A.'s tourism economy and the livelihoods that depend on it. L.A. Tourism works proudly on behalf of more than 1,100 Member businesses from the area’s hospitality community and is responsible for sales and marketing efforts focused on the meetings & convention industry, domestic and international leisure travelers, travel trade and media worldwide.
Investor Programs
Invest in The Alliance

We’re in the midst of National Homeownership Month, which presents an opportune time to reinvest in our neighborhoods and regenerate optimal livability factors in our five partner cities. Our entire team at The Alliance remains steadfast in raising the funds necessary in advancing our educational community programming schedule through our corporate giving programs. If you or your company are interested in donating to our annual roster of workshops, webinars, and events, please contact Jacqui Matsumoto, Director of Investor Relations, at or (818) 379-7000.
Give Where You Live

Make sure your charitable giving stays local and benefits Valley residents and neighborhoods. We encourage you to make a tax-deductible contribution to our economic development programs. The Give Where You Live campaign enables you to collaborate with our team to bring pivotal San Fernando Valley issues and concerns to the forefront - affordable workforce housing, competitive jobs, and workforce training. Your donation earns you the designation as a “Valley Influencer,” or key decision maker on the frontlines of the policies and mandates shaping our neighborhoods each day. Join us!
Economic Development & Small Business
Economic Development Committee Recap

Kindon Meik,
Calabasas City Manager
Michael Klein,
Calabasas Community Development Director 

On Thursday, July 7, The Alliance's virtual Economic Development Committee Meeting spotlighted the City of Calabasas featuring remarks from Calabasas City Manager Kindon Meik, along with Michael Klein, Community Development Director. During the virtual event, the leaders discussed the City’s obtainable real estate landscape and emerging job opportunities in technology. Michael Klein, shared that some of the nation’s top business entities– such as Pepperdine University, HRL Laboratories, and Labcorp– are establishing headquarters on main thoroughfares such as Las Virgenes Road, Lost Hills Technology Corridor and U.S. Route 101. As one of 13 SCAG cities with an adopted and certified housing element available to family-oriented residents, Calabasas created several mixed-use districts near shopping centers in 2008 to promote the creation of housing developments for a more walkable community. 

In light of the diverse housing options that are under construction in the City, Calabasas leaders recently announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for qualified developers seeking to create affordable living facilities, with the program designating nearly $4.5 million to a selected construction firm. The funding was made possible through the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and its Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for disaster-stricken areas throughout the State. Calabasas was selected as a subrecipient of the funds to revitalize the municipality due to the extensive damage it sustained from the deadly Woolsey Fire in 2018.
Pathway to Profit Series
ABOVE (pictured left to right): Armida Colmenares-Stafford, Larry Talley, Emily Washcovic
The Alliance hosted a discussion surrounding automating business sales through technology and leveraging networking platforms to enhance customer engagement during the informative July installment of the Pathway to Profit Series webinar. Promoting the theme “Sales Strategies for Growth,” The Alliance was joined by three of the region’s premier authorities on driving sales for effective entrepreneurial success and fiscal development. Presentations scheduled for the Series– which was co-sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal– included the following: 

“United Chambers of Commerce Spotlight” 
Armida Colmenares-Stafford 
Board of Directors Chair, United Chambers of Commerce- San Fernando Valley Region

“Accelerate Sales and Receivables”
Larry Talley
Founder & CEO, Everyware Inc.

“Earning Great Reviews” 
Emily Washcovick
Senior Field Marketing Manager & Small Business Expert, Yelp

“The Valley is advancing the world’s preeminent tech innovations, so incorporating such features into modern business plans should become second-nature with the advice communicated from our group of experts this month,” said Sonya Kay Blake, president and CEO of The Alliance.” Speakers will teach how to leverage networking opportunities with your local chamber of commerce, provide payments and engagement through text messaging, and solidify positive brand recognition through positive Yelp reviews.

San Fernando Valley Residents seeking information on the next Pathway to Profit webinar or Business Assistance Program should check the official events calendar listed here
Visit SFV
Nothing beats a hot summer night more than a warm day of free or affordable. Summer gives individuals more time to devote to one of our residents’ favorite pastimes– shopping! Known for its Mediterranean architecture and bucolic landscapes, the City of Calabasas also offers a range of plazas and outlets designed to accommodate mid-range and extensive budgetary needs. Fashionistas and families are encouraged to visit one of the many shopping centers located in one of San Fernando Valley’s most exclusively picturesque neighborhoods.
Business Assistance Program
We’re calling on local business mentors to lead our budding entrepreneurs toward a pathway to profit! The Valley is saturated with professional talent in competitive career fields such as technology, banking, and marketing, but we are seeking commitments from our region’s leaders to join The Alliance’s Business Assistance Program, where we will ask you to volunteer your time to advise upcoming business owners on managing and elevating daily operations. 

In need of a business mentor? Entrepreneurs are also invited to register for mentorship to organize personal and professional business goals for the remainder of the year. Learn more at and enroll in our Business Assistance Program here.
See how The Alliance can help your business grow. Learn more at: and enroll in our Business Assistance Program here.
Tech Valley
Women in Tech
At the young age of 24, Armine Galstyan, Managing Director of the Glendale-based tech accelerator Hero House, is making her mark in two traditionally male dominated fields; deep tech and venture capital. Her impact in these fields is being noticed. This past May, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal bestowed her with the ‘NextGen Women of the Year’ award during their Women’s Leadership Roundtable. The award recognizes talented women who are breaking ground and making a difference in their communities. Read more about Armine HERE! 

Diverse Business Affinity Groups
Building bridges– along with fostering collaborative multicultural conversations– are two of the primary objectives of The Alliance’s Diverse Business Affinity Groups. This past June, The Alliance partnered with the San Fernando Valley Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Festival, Zawadi Cultural Collective’s Juneteenth Community Celebration, and Su Socio de Negocios’ Breakfast Series in their endeavors to forge bonds with neighboring communities to build economic fortitude. We hope to continue our efforts of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of our programming, and throughout the San Fernando Valley in general, by valuing a multitude of perspectives. 
The Valley Economic Alliance in partnership with El Clasificado and The San Fernando Valley Sun hosted small business owners on June 21st for the Su Socio de Negocios breakfast series featuring presentations on digital marketing, social media networks, educational tools and programs for business owners.
Invest in our region’s diversity. We invite you to join one or more of our affinity groups below:
Are you seeking access to capital or procurement assistance? Are you in need of exporting information or seeking guidance with financial projections for your business? Please enroll in our FREE Business Assistance Program at the link here.

Education & Workforce Development
“Workforce for the Future” Industry Leadership Directory Registration Form

The Alliance is requesting expertise from thought leaders in the industry who are willing to partner with local colleges and universities to communicate which skills, specialities, and services you would like for future graduates to possess in our San Fernando Valley workforce. Find out how you can play a role in shaping the minds of our young people– our designated leaders-in-training– at the link here.

Livable and Sustainable Communities
Livable & Sustainable Communities Committee
ABOVE: Jenna Hornstock, Deputy Director for Planning and Land Use of the Southern California Association of Governments
Jenna Hornstock, deputy director for planning and land use of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) headlined the virtual meeting on June 16 with updates on the Housing Element and Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which quantifies much-needed housing units in the region. While explaining the Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) Grant 2021, she also introduced the SCAG Housing Policy Leadership Academy (HPLA), a 10-session online training for emerging and established community leaders to further understand how to advance housing policy solutions. During her presentation, Hornstock proposed an exploration process where utilities can support housing production, which included an announcement of the upcoming Industry Forum taking place in 2022. Local business owners are urged to attend the upcoming Forum, apply for a Request for Information (RFI) supporting crowd source projects, and collaborate with partners who share like-minded ideas. 

Interested in attending the next meeting? Register here for upcoming events and join the dialogue.
Housing Development
National Homeownership Month is intended to underscore the benefits of committing to one of the most significant financial obligations in an individual’s life. Though becoming a homebuyer is still touted as a fiscally responsible, yet ambitious decision in our recovering economy, housing emergencies still pose challenging setbacks in the lives of countless San Fernando Valley residents. Within the City of Los Angeles, all protections against eviction procedures for lack of rent payments related to COVID-19 circumstances have been extended to June 24, 2023. Individuals requiring access to the City’s Affordable and Accessible Housing Registry are encouraged to obtain details from the following link here.

Join forces with us by endorsing our Housing Creates Communities campaign here. By submitting your name to our cause, we collectively elevate our voices during the fight for your rights as citizens deserving of a safe, financially manageable home in your region of first choice.

Environmental Sustainability in the Valley
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), along with LA City Council President Nury Martinez, celebrated the conclusion of the project to expand the Tujunga Spreading Grounds Stormwater Capture this past month. To promote sustainability, the group also held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new accompanying recreational space, which will be open to the public. The 150-acre project was able to reach fruition due to a partnership with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, which has increased the groundwater recharge capabilities of the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. Based on this capacity, approximately 64,000 San Fernando Valley households will receive water under this $16.5 million arrangement.    

The Organics Recycling Program in Burbank went into effect on July 1, which requires all businesses and residences to dispose of leftover food, soiled paper, and yard debris in the green recycling bins issued to each address. The Burbank Recycling Center offers additional details on the waste collection process at the following link, and is now distributing collection pails for residents’ food scraps.

With anticipation brewing for the 2028 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles will be challenged with orchestrating its most ambitious transportation projects yet under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “28 by ‘28” plan, which allocates over $1 billion for accessible transit infrastructure. To satisfy intentions of activating non-automotive methods of commuting, such as the North San Fernando Valley’s free e-bike lending program and upgrades to the light rail system, solutions are being explored to alleviate traffic congestion characteristic of our region. Weigh in on your opinions of our latest transportation updates by emailing


CalCompetes Fiscal 2022-23 Notice Announcement

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) and California Competes Grant Program (CCGP) application periods, amounts available, and committee meeting dates for fiscal year 2022-2023 have been posted here. The first application period will start on July 25, 2022, with $85 million in tax credits and $120 million in grants available. Starting July 25, the online application can be accessed at
MidFirst Home Loan Grant Program

A $15,000 grant available exclusively for MidFirst Dream Home Loan borrowers, this grant can be applied to the down payment and/or closing costs of a home purchase. No payback of this grant required, and it can be layered with other down payment assistance programs. The property must be owner-occupied as a primary residence.

Visit MidFirst Bank for info!

Calendar of Events
PCV's Business Advising Entrepreneur Workshops

Tuesday, July 19, 2022
10:00 AM - Business Fundamentals - The Early Stages of Business Planning 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022
1:00 PM - Good Jobs - Open Book Management

All are welcome to attend!
Livable & Sustainable Communities Committee – Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Wealth Equity Conference

Thursday, July 21, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

The Valley Economic Alliance is dedicated to equitable and sustainable development of our region.

Learn tools and strategies to improve your health and finances such as getting a higher paying job, managing credit, buying a first home, starting a business, and more.
Sustainability and Innovation: Startups Tackling Global Issues

Wednesday, July 27, 2022
3:00 PM

A virtual Tech on Tap event on July 27, 2022 at 3:00pm PST as we explore opportunities in tech for advancing a sustainable world. Learn about the growing need for innovators and startups to tackle global sustainability issues and the local resources available to founders in this field.
LA Optimized: Accelerator Academy

August 2, 2022
12:00 PM

The L.A. Optimized Accelerator Academy provides businesses e-commerce growth and marketing support through its educational programming with the collaboration of corporate donors, non-profit partners, and subject-matter experts. The Accelerator Academy is made possible in partnership with the University of Southern California (USC) Sol Price School of Public Policy Center for Economic Development. ALL businesses are welcome to join for this monthly free webinar series.
ONYX African American Business Hub: Black Business Month

August Sessions:
August 2, 2022
August 9, 2022
August 23, 2022

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Valley Economic Alliance is committed to closing the information gap, capital gap, and network gap experienced by many African American businesses.

Join us for our Onyx African American Business Hub for our Black Business Month Series and get help starting or growing your business in the San Fernando Valley. All are welcomed.