The Valley Economic Alliance Newsletter June 2015 Highlights

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.

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.

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.

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.

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  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

Free Maximum Achievement Workshop

Register for this free workshop at

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.

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