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May 2019 Highlights
Table of Contents

Steve Steve Allen "Excellence in Education" Award recognized Valley Schools, Educators and Students at Board of Governors Meeting

San Fernando Valley schools, educators and students, who have recently received national awards were recognized during The Valley Economic Alliance's (TVEA) Board of Governors meeting on May 21st during a special annual education awards program at California State University Northridge College of Extended Learning.
The "Steve Allen Excellence in Education" award was named after Valley resident and legendary entertainer Steve Allen, and salutes nationally recognized achievements in the education field. The awards were presented by Bill Allen; Steve Allen's son, TVEA Executive Boardmember and President of Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. 
Recipients of the 2019 Steve Allen "Excellence in Education" Awards were:
Granada Hills Charter High School, United States Academic Decathlon winning team reclaimed the title for the 7th time by scoring a total of 53,108.5 points out of a possible 60,000. The Academic Decathlon is a 10 day event competition that revolved around a central topic in 7 subject areas which are science, literature, art, music, social science, economics and math. This year's topic was - "The 1960's: A Transformational Decade."
Granada Hills Charter High School, The Highlanders
National Merit Scholarship Valley winners

More than a dozen of this year's prestigious National Merit $2,500 scholarship winners were from San Fernando Valley schools - from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists.  The winners are deemed to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Honorees included students from Harvard Westlake School, Van Nuys High School, Oakwood School, Granada Hills Charter High School and the sole finalist from Calabasas High School. 

Student creators from Oakwood School produced the Academy Award winning documentary, "Period. End of Sentence." which focuses on the struggle of Indian women fighting the stigma surrounding menstruation and their efforts to develop awareness and education around the issue in a rural Indian town. "Period. End of Sentence." is currently being aired on Netflix. 
Oakwood School, Period. End of Sentence.
Linda Del Cueto, Champion of Education honoree with Bill Allen, LAEDC

"Champion of Education" Award went to  Linda Del Cueto, Local District Northeast Superintendent for Los Angeles Unified School District. Linda has devoted her career to meeting the needs of students, advocating for education and bringing people together in support of one common goal - care and commitment to student success. This award recognizes individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving education. 
Steven Baxter, Innovation in Education honoree.
CSUN SIMPACT Immersive Learning Program, Innovation in Education

The "Innovation in Education" Award  went to two recipients this year: an innovative leader and an innovative program. This year's recipients were California State University Northridge's SIMPACT Immersive Learning Program; a  mixed reality simulation system that provides a highly realistic virtual platform for practice in social work, counseling, teaching, conflict resolution, and many other interpersonal interactions.  Steven Baxter, theater teacher at Local District Northeast, Los Angeles Unified School District, who applies his passion, positive energy and creativity in connecting theater to real-world applications as well as teaching students through social and emotional learning. The award recognizes outstanding educational leaders for their innovative use of the arts in the classroom and community. 

Event sponsors were Cal State University Northridge and ProHealth Medical Group.

View more photos here.
Valley Gala of the Stars Gala Awards Ceremony
Friday, August 23, 2019
StudentsACD Find Career Options at Aviation Career Day

More than 1,200 students learned about aviation career opportunities at the 14th Annual "The Sky's the Limit: Aviation Career Day" event at Van Nuys Airport (VNY). Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, The Park VNY, Van Nuys Airport and The Valley Economic Alliance hosted over 40 exhibitors showcasing interactive and static aircraft displays, and students heard directly from industry experts about career opportunities. 

"As I always say, you can't be what you can't see. Aviation Career Day exposes our children to achievable high paying career paths. In a time when the aviation industry is experiencing a shortage of pilots, air traffic controllers, and other aviation fields, it is now more important than ever to introduce aviation to our students," said City of Los Angeles Councilwoman Nury Martinez. 
Aviation Career Day planning committee from left: Angela Amirkhanian with The Valley Economic Alliance, Kori Oyler, Sandra Peterson and Flora from Van Nuys Airport and Lauren Padick from Office of Councilmember Nury Martinez.

"Aviation Career Day allows us to share our passion for airports and open kids' eyes to the wide variety of careers available in our profession," said Flora Margheritis, Airport Manager, VNY. "Whether they're into art, science, math or writing, there is a career path for these students in the aviation industry, and we want them to know that we want them to be part of our team." 

"23 years ago, Western Jet Aviation started with one employee, today we have 75, many of which have been hired right out of our local schools. We look to hire local workers for all areas of our business, and we're always seeking out new talent," said Jim Hansen, owner and founder, Western Jet Aviation. "Our hope is that someday soon, one or more of these students will come back and knock on our door, ready to join our team." 

One of the highlights of Aviation Career Day was the panel discussion, "How to Enter a Career in Aviation," which included industry professionals offering insider tips based on their own career experiences. Personnel from the Los Angeles Airport Police and Los Angeles Fire Department also were on hand to talk about their careers. In addition to the speakers, industry experts and informational booths, there were numerous aircrafts available with which students took photos and selfies. Aircrafts on display included a U.S. Navy F-18, a NASA Armstrong Research Center C-12, a drone display from Helinet Aviation, Los Angeles Fire Department air rescue helicopters, and two WWII-era Condor Squadron AT-6's, among others. Participants also were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the history and daily operations of VNY, one of the world's busiest general aviation airports, with an award-winning guided airport tour. 
To date close to 20,000 students have experienced Aviation Career Day since 2006. 

In the News Randy
Running a "City" Takes an Alliance

By Randy Witt, Chairman, The Valley Economic Alliance

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." So began the classic Charles Dickens' novel, "A Tale of Two Cities." In our story, we're talking about a city that's not really a city, the San Fernando Valley, a formidable economic region that is a city in every way except its governance. The Valley is doing great, and yet has major issues to tackle.

Some years ago, people in the Valley wanted to formally become an independent city. Many asked, why? The question then and now relates to vision, need, struggle, opportunities and accomplishments. The answer is simple. This region is equivalent to a major standalone city, and needs to have its own cohesive plan and governance rather than vying for scarce resources, support and representation.

In the absence of a local, elected government, civic organizations in the Valley have stepped up to fill the gaps. Many of these groups have existed a long time and have specific purposes. Over the years, they have had an extraordinary impact on the Valley, its economy and quality of life, affecting growth, transportation, education and more. However, for the most part they operate in the shadows, lacking recognition in the community they serve. This is a problem because if people don't know these organizations and what they can do, then people don't know where to turn for help. Businesses don't know about these resources, and so don't contribute to, or take advantage of, them. On top of that, organizations are only as strong as the individuals who put time, talent and treasure into making them work.

To be sustainable, these organizations need more people to become civically involved. The fresh faces of a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders are out there, and their participation is sorely needed. Together, we can guide the exceptional Valley organizations and resources available to create the greatest benefit for our community.

To function most effectively, these civic groups need to be connected and coordinated, tied into a collective vision. This is where The Valley Economic Alliance fits, as a true alliance, engaging and uniting leaders in this Valley for this Valley. The Alliance has its own role, facilitating economic development in the Valley, on a large and small scale, through a variety of means. To this end, the Alliance is in the final stages of completing its strategic planning process, with the next meeting to be held later this week, on May 17.

As an alliance, numerous Valley stakeholders have contributed during this planning process, including individuals, businesses and organizations, as well as civic and strategic partners like Valley Industry and Commerce Association, Valley Economic Development Center, the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, the Small Manufacturers Institute and the American Institute of Architects - San Fernando Valley Chapter, among others. Each organization has its own "lane." VICA, supported by its President Stuart Waldman, advocates for the Valley and its businesses with public officials at all levels of government. Directed by President Alex Guerrero, VEDC provides financing and workshops for small businesses. The UCC, managed by Executive Director Marian Jocz, is a coalition of chambers - a business networking organization for Valley chambers, businesses and government. The Valley Economic Alliance, operated by President Kenn Phillips, fosters economic development, is a champion at business assistance, and builds consensus solutions to public issues.

So far, The Valley Economic Alliance has held multiple strategic planning sessions, conducted research into our challenges and priorities, and completed a framework for a new strategic plan to guide our organization. During this planning process, the Valley and its needs have taken center stage.

Many people don't realize that the San Fernando Valley has a population of nearly two million people in a geographical region that encompasses the cities of Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, Hidden Hills, San Fernando and the northern portion of Los Angeles. As a separate city the Valley would be the fifth largest city in America by population - larger than Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Dallas.

Diversity is the San Fernando Valley's hallmark, in demographics and economy. The people of the Valley come from all over the world. The Valley economy is currently strong, and diverse in terms of industries, including health care, entertainment, finance, information/technology, manufacturing, construction, retail, trade, professional/business services, education, and leisure/hospitality. However, like other major metropolitan cities, tremendous wealth, gut-wrenching poverty, and every financial condition in between exists here. One of the most troubling economic issues in the Valley today is a shrinking middle class, despite our otherwise healthy economy, as noted in the recent and comprehensive Valley Economic Forecast by California Lutheran University's Center for Economic Research and Forecasting. This, along with a lack of affordable housing, is a major threat to, and constraint on, economic growth and opportunity in the Valley.

As The Valley Economic Alliance engages and unites Valley stakeholders to create a plan and raise standards of living and economic vitality in our region, we need the vision and commitment of new leaders willing to join us and invest in giving back to the community.

L.A. ExEdCharter School Board Service Information Session

ExED, Charter Board Partners (CBP) and The Valley Economic Alliance have partnered to identify local community and business leaders with a passion for improving public education to serve on the boards of public charter schools across Los Angeles. 

We are seeking diverse, civic-minded and dedicated leaders from a wide range of backgrounds including financial, legal and business experience to govern  effectively, provide oversight of financial and operational health of the school, and hold schools accountable for student success.

Participants will serve on charter school boards in Watts, Lynwood, South Gate, mid-city, San Fernando Valley, Glassel Park, and Pico Union. 

Learn more and meet others interested in this opportunity on June 12th. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
The Valley Economic Alliance
5121 Van Nuys Blvd. #200
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Time 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Light dinner will be served.  RSVP.
In the News
Community of Business, San Fernando Valley Business Journal healthx
Photo 4 caption: The Valley Economic Alliance held its HealthX event on April 26. From left; Daryn Harpaz, Chief Executive of ZenythGroup; Dr. Inderpal Randhawa of MemorialCare Miller Children's and Women's Hospital; Dr. Dennis Holmes of Adventist Health Glendale; and Dr. Yulian Khagi of Cedars-Sinai Valley Oncology Medical Center.
In the News
Health Expo expo and Career Fair

By Amy Stulick, Staff Reporter, San Fernando Valley Business Journal

The Valley Economic Alliance paired with the Los Angeles Valley College to bring a health expo and career fair to the community.

The 2019 Health Expo and Career Fair, held at the college's Student Union Plaza on April 23, promoted good nutrition and healthy eating while offering free onsite health screenings for blood pressure, weight and HIV.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, American Red Cross, City of Hope, Tarzana Treatment Center, Hello Fresh, DaVita and Arbonne were among exhibitors that offered resources, services, product samples and giveaways to attendees.

"We really enjoyed being at the event and were able to screen 54 participants," said Kelly Santen, senior manager of business transformation at DaVita. 

"These types of events provide the community valuable health education and awareness including important nutrition information, healthy eating habits, living an active lifestyle and free health screenings," added Alicia Patterson, communications manager for DaVita.

Representatives from DaVita screened participants for potential kidney disease risk, as well as blood pressure, height, weight and waist measurement, and Body Mass Index testing.

Businesses and organizations such as H&M, the Los Angeles Police Department, LA Fire Department, Sears Operation Center and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts participated in the career fair portion of the event, meeting with Valley College students to explore career paths and a variety of industries. Maximus and Los Angeles Daily News sponsored the event.

Internship Presentation of Learning at High Tech L.A.interns
The Valley Economic Alliance's Winter-Spring interns Austin Richardson and Tobias Panec from  High Tech Los Angeles completed a four month internship.

They presented their internship experience, duties and what they learned at "Internship Presentation of Learning" for teachers, parents and mentors on May 22nd along with Fall-Winter interns Lauren Harris and Hunter Ragle.

"We got an inside look into what it takes to start a business and how The Valley Economic Alliance helps create connections with people. The amount of community outreach this organization does is so inspiring and we will never forget our time there," said Lauren and Hunter. 

"The volume of work and thought that goes into some of the events for the betterment of people coincides with the morals and management we learned at TVEA," said Austin and Tobias. 
Out and Aboutout

David and Jean Fleming were honored for "Excellence in Community Service" at Valley Presbyterian Hospital Foundation's 6th Annual Celebration of Excellence on May 9th at the Skirball Cultural Center. 

David Fleming was one of the Founders of The Valley Economic Alliance and longtime executive boardmember. 

Kenn Phillips with Frank Miller, Executive Director of Hollywood Burbank Airport and TVEA Boardmember. 
United Chambers of Commerce, TVEA Strategic Partner, hosted the 5th Annual Inspirational Women's Luncheon on May 8th at Hilton Woodland Hills. Honorees were Arlene Alpert from Child Development Institute, Dr. Yvonne Chan from Vaugn Next Century Learning Center, Natalie Hill of HoldYou Foundation, Jean Sinatra and Brenda Young from John R. Wooden High School.

Amongst the nominees were The Valley Economic Alliance's Angela Amirkhanian, Senior Economic and Workforce Development Coordinator. 
Cal State Northridge's Government and Community Relations Department and the League of Women Voters hosted a Los Angeles City Council District 12 candidates forum on May 16th. 

The forum offered an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the candidates and their legislative priorities. 
Angela Amirkhanian from TVEA conducting mock job interviews with students in the Center for Advanced Transition Skills program at L.A. Mission College on May 31st. 

This program serves students with moderate-severe disabilities and provides them with a comprehensive transition program to help them develop skills in the areas of work, employment and independent learning. 
The Burbank Chamber of Commerce and Better Burbank Corporation hosted the 2019 Economic Development Summit on May 30th at Ikea in Burbank.

Pictured are panelists on "The Technology Future is Now in Burbank" discussion. Panelists included representatives from Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Petrol Advertising and Apartment D. 
The 2nd Annual Mayor's Small Business Summit on April 29th on Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. The event featured workshops, exhibitors, and hands-on contracting and certification assistance including Access to Capital, Capacity Building Workshops, Government Contracting and Certification Assistance. 

Pacoima Beautiful hosted a Los Angeles Regional Census 2020 meeting on May 29th. 

Each region hosted a roundtable to discuss upcoming funding opportunities for community-based organizations to conduct census education and outreach, communications campaigns, citizenship outreach strategies. 
Glendale Community College's Culinary Arts, Nutrition and Hospitality Program Education and Career Pathways Conference and Expo on May 10th  with information about education and career pathways in the fields. 

Pictured is Cindy Zemko, Director of Education at the Association of Nutrition and Food service Professionals in St. Charles, Illinois. 
San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission hosted a Partner's luncheon on May 29th and recognized some of their most valuable partnerships including Operation Hope. 

Douglas Emmett along with the West Valley-Warner Center Chamber of Commerce and the local business community, presented the  13th Annual Grateful Hearts on May 10th  - a fundraiser for our local first responders. Funds generated from this networking event helped provide essential items for firefighters and officers which are not covered by City budgets.
L.A. Mission College President Monte Perez hosted a baseball-inspired reception, followed by a theatrical performance by Mission College students of "Chavez Ravine" on May 10th;
documentary-style screwball comedy that portrays the true story of the tight-knit community that was dislocated, and the area that later became Dodger Stadium.
Jessica Joy Reveles is an L.A. Entrepreneur jessica 

Jessica Joy Reveles , TVEA Business Accelerator Program alumni and Founder of J Squared Communications was featured on the City of Los Angeles' "I am an Entrepreneur" series and described her journey through seemingly insurmountable obstacles to become an L.A. Entrepreneur. 
The City of L.A. offers nine BusinessSource Centers throughout the City who help all Angelenos, including people experiencing homelessness, to start and build thriving businesses. 

Get help at the L.A. Business Portal at  or
In the News
Pink Slips for Anthem IT Workers anthem

By Amy Stulick, Staff Reporter, San Fernando Valley Business Journal 

Anthem Inc. has laid off information technology professionals nationally with at least some of the affected employees in the Valley area, according to Kenn Phillips, the Chief Executive of The Valley Economic Alliance.

Phillips said he was told more than 160 were let go nationwide with an unknown number of them locally. Michael Bowman, spokesman for Anthem in California, did not deny that layoffs had occurred but would not clarify the number.

What is clear is that Anthem is downsizing locally and building up in Atlanta. The Indianapolis-based parent of Blue Cross/Blue Shield is moving from a 434,000-square-foot building at 21555 Oxnard St. in Woodland Hills to a nearby space almost 60 percent smaller at 21215 Burbank Ave., also in Woodland Hills. Meanwhile, it plans to move up to 3,000 information technology and software development workers next year into an office tower that's now under construction in Atlanta. Earlier this month, construction of a neighboring 20-story tower was announced in Atlanta, and Anthem reportedly will anchor that building as well.

Phillips said he was first told about staff cuts early this month from a laid-off worker. He said he was told between 162 and 166 IT workers were let go, some with 10-plus years with the company, but that apparently was a nationwide figure. He said it was unclear how many local people may have lost their jobs, and he could not get clarity from Anthem.

Any company that intends to lay off 50 or more employees in a 30-day period in California must file a notice with the state, according to the Employment Development Department, and that has not happened.

Bowman did not provide any number of layoffs, although he did say the company needs to make adjustments from time to time.

"Health care is continuously changing and evolving. At Anthem, our business strategy - together with our organizational structure and culture - is the foundation for our continued success," the company said in a statement.

"As a result, Anthem must evolve to reflect the changing needs of our consumers, our markets and our industry. These adjustments are part of the normal course of business as health care, and Anthem, adapts and changes. Less than 1 percent of our associates in California were impacted."

chamberUnited Chambers of Commerce Updates:

Small Business Breakfast
Friday, June 7, 2019
Registration - 7:00 am
Program - 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Airtel Plaza Hotel located at 7277 Valjean Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406
$35 per person

Recipients are Lovi's Deli, Pyramid Pipe & Supply, Edward Jones, Premium Sign Solutions, Music Arts Events, Inc., Paul's TV, Sylvan Learning, Mobile Rainbows, Inc., Martinez Income Tax & Accounting, Forgotten Treasurez, Keller Williams Realty, Pergolina, Liberty Tax Service, School of Rock Woodland Hills and Bertolino Industries. Event Master of Ceremonies is Richard Katz, TVEA Executive Board Member. 

To RSVP: (818) 981-4491, [email protected] or

9th Annual Valley Mega Mixer
NewGen newgen Global Leaders Updates

NewGen Global Leaders  hosted two powerful mastermind groups in May 2019.
"There was so much great energy in the room for everyone and the power of transformation as everyone stretched and grew together was undeniable." said Lillit Cholakian, NewGen Global Leaders Coach. 
Today Matters Mastermind Group took participants through daily dozen decisions that we need to make early and manage daily to get us to the success level we desire. We tend to over-exaggerate yesterday, over-estimate tomorrow, and Under-Estimate Today. That is why it is important to make daily decisions that are in alignment with our goals and purpose and manage them daily. Every small step we take today, matters tomorrow! The graduates pictured above from left are: Sean Sullivan, Linda Hall, Patricia Gainer, Gail Lara, Erika Zecca, Aime Ibarra and Luigi Arriola. Not pictured is Theresa Ofstad.  As John C. Maxwell says, "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." Every single participant chose to invest in themselves, grow, and ultimately help everyone around them grow.  

Becoming a Person of Influence  Mastermind Group took participants through understanding that influence is leadership and how we can elevate our positive influence by understanding and applying 10 principles of an influencer. The graduates pictured above from left are: Charles Spier, Shayna Kasbee, Patty Ellsworth, Mary Gossett, Lieneyda Abinante, Irv Federman and Linda Hall. Not pictured are Carmen Torres, Lisa Alden and Tenika Brown.

Upcoming Leadership Development Opportunities:
Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn - 8 Week Mastermind Group
Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2019
11:00am - 12:30pm
Becoming a Person of Influence - 8 Week Mastermind Group
How To Positively Impact The Lives of Others
July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2019
9:00am - 10:30am

Register by e-mailing [email protected]
Save the Dates calendar 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
TVEA, BFG Boardroom
*meeting closed to board members

Friday, August 23, 2019
Alex Theater

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Discovery Cube

Friday, September 27, 2019
Skirball Cultural Center
The Valley Economic Alliance | 818-379-7000 | [email protected] |
Your Success Is Our Business! TM

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.