June 2015 Newsletter
To Many More Years...
a recap of The Valley Economic Alliance's
programs, events and accomplishments.

Lights, Camera, Action...

The 18th Annual Valley of the Stars Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony took place on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the CBS Studio Center. The evening was filled with Valley stars, awards, jazz, food and drinks.

Guests arrived on the red carpet for cocktail hour, surrounded by sets of boutiques, wine shops and grocery stores on New York Street. The awards ceremony took place at Sound Stage 11 where five outstanding nominees accepted the Star of the Valley Award. Kevin Dobson, Master of Ceremonies, kicked off the program and recognized The Valley Economic Alliance Chair, Martha Diaz Aszkenazy and President and CEO, Kenn Phillips. Awardees included Edward Asner in Arts and Entertainment; Comcast NBCUniversal in Business; California Lutheran University in Education, Rickey M. Gelb as Humanitarian and Rafer Johnson in Leadership.

The awards ceremony was followed by dinner under the stars and live music on My Three Sons Street. 

Platinum sponsors included Wells Fargo, and Comcast NBCUniversal. Gold sponsors included Bank of America, Chase, Walmart and Southland Regional Association of Realtors, Inc. Silver sponsors were Woodbury University, Providence Health and Services, California State University Northridge, City of Burbank and City of Glendale. Bronze sponsors were Gelb Group, Los Angeles Community College District, The Phillips Family, Sherman Oaks and Encino Hospitals, Union Bank, US Bank, Valley Economic Development Center, Van Nuys Airport and West Hills Hospital.

Photo 1-Gala honorees with their Star of the Valley award during awards ceremony.
Photo 2-Honoree Rickey M. Gelb with wife and family during cocktail hour.
Photo 3-During Gala dinner. Top row from left Kenn Phillips, wife Lynne and daughters Danielle and Amanda, Olivia Stanchina, Dr. Erika Endrijonas, President of Los Angeles Valley College and Ford Roosevelt, President & CEO of Project GRAD LA. Bottom row Edward Asner and son Matt Asner; and Marty and Maryann Martone.

View more photos here.
Seismic Safety and Retrofit Tax Incentives
Earthquake expert Dr. Lucile Jones presented vital information to brokers, architects, contractors, CPA's, attorneys and apartment complex owners at the Seismic Retrofit Safety Meeting on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Burbank Association of Realtors.
Dr. Jones discussed the City of Los Angeles Resilience by Design report that includes retrofitting unsafe buildings. The report looks at housing and commercial buildings, water supply and telecommunication needs after a major earthquake. Retrofits will be required within 5 years at "soft-first-story" buildings built prior to 1980, and retrofits would be required within 25 years at "non-ductile reinforced concrete" buildings built prior to 1980.  


Adrin Nazarian, Assemblymember of the 46th California Assembly District was also in attendance and discussed seismic retrofit tax incentives. This legislation would provide a five-year 30% state seismic tax credit to property owners for safety improvements to their vulnerable buildings. 

Moderated by Alex Tieu from Jaurigue Law Group, other speakers included Jess Talamantes, Vice Mayor of City of Burbank, Mareta Zuniga with Workforce Connections, Inc., and Matthew Epstein, Vice President of the American Institute of Architects.


Photo 1-Dr. Lucile Jones, Seismologist, U.S. Geological Survey 

Photo 2-Adrin Nazarian, Assemblymember, 46th CA Assembly District 


View more photos here.

Steve Allen Excellence in Education Awards 
Following The Valley Economic Alliance Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at Cal State University, Northridge (CSUN), Economic Alliance board member and Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) President, Bill Allen recognized and presented the Steve Allen Excellence in Education award to schools, educators and and students for their exemplary character, hard work, dedication and national achievements. This award serves as a lasting testimonial to Steve Allen, a man who valued learning and spent many years focused on speaking and writing about the importance of education.

Recipients included Millikan Middle School's science academy robotics team for their win at the Vex Robotics competition, Granada Hills Charter High School Academic Decathlon team, Agoura High School's Studio Jazz ensemble from Las Virgenes Unified School District for their victory at the National Swing Central Jazz festival and competition, and Los Angeles Valley College's speech and debate team for their multiple medals at the 2015 Phi Rho Pi speech and debate championship.

Diana Sanchez, Public and Community Relations Director of Van Nuys Airport presented the Innovation in Education award to Chad Bloom, music teacher and performing arts department chair of Agoura High School, sponsored by Keyboard Concepts. The Business/Education Partnership award was given to Republic Services and Robert Frost Middle School. The Champion of Education honor, presented by CSUN President Dianne Harrison went to Dr. Harry Hellenbrand, Provost, CSUN.

Photo 1-Los Angeles Valley College's Speech & Debate team.
Photo 2-Milikan Middle School's Science Academy Robotics Team, Carlos Lauchu, Science Chair and Director of Science Academy and Bill Allen, President, LAEDC.

View more photos here.
Joint Partner
Kenn Phillips brings an approach forged in the aerospace industry to his new role as chief of The Valley Economic Alliance.
By Mark Madler, Staff Report, San Fernando Valley Business Journal  
Monday, May 4, 2015 

Kenn Phillips has been with the Valley Economic Alliance for 16 years working primarily behind the scenes for the Sherman Oaks organization. In October, the 56-year old Thousand Oaks resident was named chief executive, giving him a higher profile at the non-profit that seeks to attract and retain businesses in its five member cities - Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando and Calabasas. A native of Kansas, Phillips had a nomadic childhood with a father who traveled the country for work in the computer industry. He settled in Southern California by his high school years and later attended UCLA. He went to work for aerospace giant Boeing Co. in the San Fernando Valley and his work there in community relations caught the attention of the Alliance's then chief, Bill Allen, who brought Phillips on board in 1999. Phillips took time to talk with the Business Journal about his career, his business philosophy, the Alliance's role in the Valley business community and the lasting influence of a high school soccer coach.

Photo by David Sprague   

Question: What motivates you?

Answer: Helping the community; providing value for the community. It always has.

Why is that?

It's great to see when you bring leaders together with a common interest in getting things solved right now.

Can you give an example of that?

We spent three months going out and visiting with many of the leaders in the Valley. There were about 100. What I want to know is what their passion is. If they were king for a day, if they could do anything, what would that one thing be? We learned a lot of things. Most of it was education related. We heard transportation types of issues. What we found was many times they want to go ahead and be part of that even if it's short term.

What would you address if king for a day?

My number one passion is environmental education. More specifically, if I could I would change the way education is delivered. In elementary school we love school. Somehow we start liking it less and less. It's lecture time, you sit down, shut up and have a test on Friday. We have to change that model. We've got to change it to what you are doing in the community is everything you embrace in the classroom.

How has your career in aerospace informed what you do now?

What it taught me was that I could translate. Many times you ask an engineer for the time and they will tell you how a watch works. I could take many different areas of operations and engineering and put presentations together. I could have a better understanding of the probability of getting work done and a better understanding of what new work would cost and how much work that would take. I was naturally good at that.

How did you get into aerospace?

I was working at UCLA when a friend of mine suggested I could go to work in fast food or in aerospace. Aerospace paid better. I started at (military electronics manufacturer) Bunko Ramo Corp. (in Westlake Village). They were involved in aerospace contracts. They brought me in for a temp job. I was doing inventory control for the tooling department. I reorganized their entire tooling system.

How did you come to work at Boeing?

I already had four years working in aerospace and they were ramping up for the Space Shuttle. That's how they hired me. If you had a degree, they wanted to hire you. It was helpful that I had the mathematics and aerospace background.

What else did you do at Boeing?

Later I was doing a lot of community service. The communications department asked me to come, so I was their communications manager for a few years before I came here.

How did you come to the Alliance?

The Alliance was doing an education summit. This was 16 years ago. They were looking at what private industry was doing in education. Boeing was recognized for a program to create a diverse workforce. I created the program; I was the idea guy, the coordinator guy. That brought me to (then Alliance Chief Executive) Bill Allen's attention. Bill made me an offer and we came up with terms. I came to the Alliance at the end of October (1999).


Read More. 

Reducing Costs and Saving Jobs
The Valley Economic Alliance has partnered with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to help businesses reduce water and energy expenses. For the past 3 years, the Alliance has provided technical assistance and helped more than 1,500 businesses reduce costs and save jobs.

LADWP opportunities include the Small Business Direct Install program, available to qualifying businesses whose average monthly electrical demand is 30kW or less. Energy and water saving measures include low-flow toilets, faucet aerators, pre rinse spray valves, LED exit signs and so on.

The Commercial Lighting Incentive Program (CLIP) is for lighting projects that show a minimum of ten percent from existing baseline conditions to qualify for CLIP incentives payments. Incentives are calculated per kW of annualized, first year energy savings.

Visit www.ladwp.com/sbdi  for more information or call 877-714-1254.
California Competes Tax Credits
The Valley Economic Alliance has offered it's support to a Burbank-based entertainment company, toward their application for the California Competes Tax Credits to assist in expanding operations in the region.

The company is one of the few remaining viable visual effects companies in the entire Los Angeles region and has been a bright spot and refuge for high-end visual effect artists in Los Angeles that have been displaced by tax credits in other countries and states. California's resistance to countering tax credits by other regions has decimated this industry in the state, and forced many companies out of business and skilled employees to leave the area. Therefore, the Burbank company is a key factor in continuing to anchor visual effects work in California and will continue hiring and training hundreds of high paid employees over the next five years. The current fiscal year is already on track to double the gross revenues from 2014. The only current restraint to double again in 2016 is physical space, and owners are currently researching to purchase a 25,000 square foot building to house more than double the current number of employees.

This company is a local success story with a powerful long-term vision that will continue to create jobs in California and promote the overall growth of Los Angeles' economy.

Affordable Care Act Update
Learn what Employers Need to do Now
Bolton & Company's Chief Compliance Officer John Garner, and Vice President Paul Palkovic will be presenting "Affordable Care Act Update: What Employers Need To Do Now", a complimentary event on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at New Horizons in North Hills. Join The Valley Economic Alliance, The San Fernando Valley Employer Advisory Council and Bolton & Company for a detailed look at Affordable Care Act reporting and compliance.

Registration is from 8:00am-8:30am. Program begins at 9:00am. Continental breakfast will be provided.

Please RSVP by emailing aamirkhanian@economicalliance.org
Free Maximum Achievement Workshop

Register for this free workshop at www.eventbrite.com/maximumachievement    


Other Free Workshops

June 17 - Home Based Business Builders Monthly Meeting
Time: 5:30pm
Location: West Valley-Warner Center Chamber 


July 17 - Communication Breakthrough 

Learn how to breakthrough your communication barriers and reclaim 75%  of your missed opportunities.  Receive valuable communication insights from your personal DiSC Report, group debrief, complete your action plan, a follow-up one-to-one session and much more.  Achieve maximum success!

Time: 9:00am-1:00pm

Location: The Valley Economic Alliance-BFG Boardroom  


August 7 & 8 - Perform at Your Best (2-Day)

Learn practical and relevant strategies that you can apply immediately to take your performance to the next level.  You will develop your personal success plan with this interactive blended learning program.  Transform your business and personal life!

Time: TBD

Location: TBD 

NEW Westfield Topanga Community Center
Funded by The Valley Economic Alliance investor Westfield, The Westfield Topanga Community Center is now open & available for meetings and events.
2015 Calendar

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Affordable Care Act Update: What Employers Need to do Now
@ New Horizons

Friday, June 19, 2015
Maximum Achievement Workshop
@ TVEA-EA Conference Room

Thurs., July 30, 2015
Board of Directors Meeting
@ TVEA-BFG Boardroom

Thurs., August 27, 2015
Board of Governors Annual Meeting
@ Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc.

Weds., Sept. 20, 2015
VITA Global Networking Breakfast
Exporting in the Connected World
w/ Mark Matsumoto & Miguel Olivares
@ TVEA-BFG Boardroom

Weds., October 7, 2015
State of the Professional Organizations
@ TVEA 2nd Floor & Patio

Thurs., October 22, 2015
Board of Governors Meeting
Honor a Hero-Hire a Vet Job & Resource Fair
@ Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills


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The mission of The Valley Economic Alliance is to elevate the economic vitality of our five-city region by assisting San Fernando Valley in business, education, and government.