A Conversation With:
Chronicle Business Group
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How long have you been volunteering in the community?
I have been volunteering in the community for 50 years.
How long have you been volunteering for The Valley Economic Alliance?
I have been volunteering for The Valley Economic Alliance for 20 years.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a native Valleyite, (born in Burbank, California), my family at the time lived in a World War II veterans housing project known as Basilone Home. For a short time we moved to, what was than called “The City” with my grandparents near Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field, while the construction of our home in Pacoima was being completed. I was educated in the Los Angeles Unified School District and graduated from John Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley. Both my parents were very involved as community activist, from holding office in the Pacoima Parent Teacher Association (PTA), organized the first “Negro History” program in the Valley and were charter members of what was then the “Pacoima Branch” of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I feel being raise by a family of social conscientious individuals helped to shape me to be concerned with social issues that effect individuals and the wider community. During the summer of 1969, I became involved in the issue of student enrollment and discrimination at California State University, Northridge. I have and continue to be concerned with issues which affect those who feel they have not voice or options toward upward mobility.
As for my interest in business, even as a youngster I shine shoes in my father’s barber shop (I wasn’t very good), so I began washing cars and cutting grass in the neighborhood. It was at Maclay Junior High School in the graphic arts class, I became interested in photography and printing. I opened my first printing and graphics business in 1974. It was then that I discovered the perils many minority business owners are faced with. It was a family friend, Ella Lane of the P.R. Firm, Ella Lane & Associates, who started me on my journey toward addressing and assisting minority business owners. After retiring from the U.S. Navy and returning to the San Fernando Valley, I once again went into printing and graphics business.
What is one of your Passion Projects that you are working on?
I think my passion today as the business environment continues to change, is creating a network of small businesses that work together to provide each other leads and services.
Why do you continue to be a member of The Valley Economic Alliance?
After the 1994 Northridge Earthquake several business leaders in the Valley came together to assist Valley businesses in their recovery efforts. Out of these gatherings The Valley Economic Alliance was born. Over the years the Alliance has and continues to be a champion for the small business community in the San Fernando Valley. I have continued my involvement because the Alliance and our partners continue to seek ways to address the need of the valley business community, in its effort to increase business opportunity, access and growth here in the Valley.