Los Angeles Business Journal

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bank of the West has added two new executives to its mortgage banking division team. With more than 19 years of experience, Jim McCraw is a Southern California regional sales manager overseeing a team that specializes in working with individuals to purchase or refinance homes. Ted Johnson, the area sales manager for the Inland Valley area and Las Vegas, manages a team of mortgage bankers originating purchase and refinance loans for existing and new bank customers.

Julie A. Weitzell has joined advanced boutique visual effects company KILT STUDIOS as head of business development / television. She brings more than 20 years of entertainment post-production experience to her role at KILT. Julie’s career includes executive-level positions at The Post Group, Sunset Digital and, most recently, NBC Universal.


Kamus+Keller Interiors | Architecture, a leading Southern California commercial design firm, is proud to announce the promotions of Cheri Bancroft to Interior Design Director, and Cory Anttila to Architecture Director. With a combined 32 years in the industry, Cheri and Cory guide KKIA’s team in creating customized, innovative spaces for a wide range of clientele.

Brandon Rawlings has joined Business Finance Capital (BFC) as Senior Vice President, Business Development, for the firm’s Inland Empire office. In this role, Brandon will work with small and medium sized businesses in financing owner occupied real estate via the SBA loan program. Brandon brings over 17 years of commercial banking and real estate lending experience and a proven track record of driving sales and building strong client relationships.


Independent marketing communications firm R&R Partners has promoted John Wells to SVP, Group Managing Director. As the agency that created the ”What happens here, stays here” campaign for Las Vegas, R&R Partners has grown to nine offices. Beyond his Los Angeles base, John will expand his oversight to include Phoenix, Austin and R&R’s newest office in Mexico City, Mexico. The firm also maintains offices in Las Vegas, Denver, Reno, Salt Lake City and Washington DC. Specialties include travel, technology, sports and entertainment, real estate, and government affairs.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) welcomes Chris Rico as Director of Innovation. Chris will lead the continued development of LAEDC’s InnovateLA Program. Chris has extensive experience creating, producing and executing projects in Media, Politics, Philanthropy and Education. He is a graduate of Duke University. To be showcased in LA InnovationWeek, October 5-11, 2015, contact Chris at 213-236-4836 or chris.rico@laedc.org.


Harley Ellis Devereaux is pleased to announce that Mitchell E. Sawasy, AIA, FIIDA, has joined the firm as a Studio Leader on the Corporate Commercial team. Mitch co-founded Rothenberg Sawasy Architects in 1979 and was design partner of the 60-person firm for over 30 years. He has an extensive background with multifamily/mixed-use/interior design projects throughout Southern California, China and Brazil, and currently serves as President of the 350-person Pasadena Chapter of the AIA.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mitra Esfandiari, AIA, is an influencer for women in architecture, highly regarded in entertainment design. As managing principal of the Placemaking Studio, she has contributed greatly to P+R; fostering solid client and workplace relationships, while leading project teams on significant commercial and entertainment projects.
Michael Bohn, AIA, continues to coordinate design efforts – striving for innovative, context-driven, environmentally responsible projects. His focus on transit-oriented development, mixed-use urban infill, multi-family housing and urban design, Bohn continues to shape communities and make more inhabitable places


Peggy Delach and Christian Capper have joined the Los Angeles office of Shangri-La Construction. As a Director of Business Development, Peggy brings over 30 years of construction experience from Swinerton Builders and will enhance Shangri-La’s presence in diverse global accounts and special projects. Formerly with NOVO Construction and Turelk, Inc., Christian has over 20 years of tenant improvement project management experience. In the Senior Project Manager role, Christian’s expertise and client relationships will strengthen Shangri-La’s special projects division.

Charles Pankow Builders, Ltd. (Pankow) is pleased to announce the promotion of Dave Eichten as President and Chief Operating Officer. Dave is a 27-year veteran in the field of construction and will spearhead the executive leadership team at Pankow. Pankow is also pleased to announce the promotion of Jack Mollenkopf as Regional Vice President for its Southern California region. Jack is a 20-year veteran in the field of construction and an executive leader for Pankow well-known for his solutions-oriented ideas and cool-headed demeanor.


JuraLaw Retains Joseph Scott for Strategic Growth. Law Bulletin Publishing Company announced that they have engaged Joseph Scott, a licensed California attorney, with over 20 years of experience in the legal vertical as a consultant and author of numerous articles and white papers on legal technologies and risk management. To learn more, visit http://www.gsspconsulting.com/.

Don Perata, former State Senate President Pro Tempore joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s government relations department in the Sacramento office as a policy director. He will help clients across all Brownstein’s California offices from Sacramento, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara navigate complicated state legislative issues..

Justin Glasser has joined the Financial Reporting practice within Cushman & Wakefield’s Valuation & Advisory group. In this new role, he’ll lead the practice in the West, primarily responsible for consulting with corporate clients, including public and private REITs, on valuation of tangible and intangible assets for financial reporting purposes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Los Angeles-based litigation law firm Bird Marella announces the addition of Timothy B. Yoo as Of Counsel. Mr. Yoo will focus his practice on business litigation and intellectual property disputes. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Senior Litigation Counsel for CJ E&M, Korea’s largest entertainment and media conglomerate..


Vincent Leoni, CPA is a partner with Miller Kaplan Arase LLP. He has over 27 years of experience performing entertainment consulting and royalty/contract compliance examinations on behalf of licensors, recording artists, music publishers, film studios and software developers. Vince also works with major trademark licensors in Asia and Europe. He has provided litigation support services and analyzed income streams in order to determine damages, revenues and royalties due to participants. He has also been called upon to serve as an expert witness.

Shuster Financial Group, LLC, a leading boutique Financial and Insurance Services firm, has named Nathan Gierke as Chief Administrative Officer. Nathan has held previous management positions within AXA Advisors, New England Financial and MetLife. Nathan passed the California State Bar exam in 2005 and holds his FINRA Series 6, 7, 66 and 24 registrations. Nathan graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and received his law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.


Wells Fargo Advisors announced the appointment of Joey M. Behrstock to Vice President- Investments. Behrstock will work out of the Beverly Hills office and provide advisory services, asset management, estate investment planning and other financial services. He can be reached at 310-288-5535 or via joey.behrstock@wellsfargoadvisors.com.

Roxana K. Chamouillé joins Freeman Freeman & Smiley, LLP. Ms. Chamouillé handles sophisticated commercial real estate transactions on behalf of local, regional and nationwide institutional lenders, with an emphasis on financing, acquisitions, dispositions, and leasing. Previously, Ms. Chamouillé was the Founder and President of RKC APC, a law firm specializing in real estate transactions and litigation.


The Richman Group of California has appointed veteran affordable housing developer Rick Westberg Executive VP to spearhead the company’s expansion of affordable/mixed-income housing in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
The Richman Group of California’s new Newport Beach office is located at 420 31st Street, Suite B-1. (949) 612-7293

Monday, April 6, 2015

Derek Barto, CPA has been promoted to Principal of RBZ’s highly respected Law Firm Services Group. Derek has spent most of his career working with law firms and their leaders helping them understand and solve the critical issues they face in their own firms and in the changing law firm environment.


Gursey | Schneider LLP, a Los Angeles full service accounting firm announces the addition of Jerome D. Vermeulen, CPA as a principal in Audit Practice. The firm maintains satellite offices in the South Bay and Orange County. Vermeulen‘s audit practice focuses on corporate entities in technology, manufacturing and distribution, media and entertainment, and on non-profit organizations.

The San Diego International Airport Terminal 2 Building and Airside Expansion Project, designed by HNTB Corporation, has been named as Best of the Best Projects winner for 2014 by Engineering News-Record, an industry-leading publication that reports on design and construction. The airport took top national honors in the Airport/Transit category.

“We are proud of our ongoing relationship with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and our project partners who worked diligently to bring this award-winning facility to travelers,” said Laddie Irion, HNTB senior vice president and national aviation market sector leader.

HNTB provided the initial planning, lead architectural and engineering services for the 460,000-square-foot expansion – branded as The Green Build – adding or renovating a total of 20 gates and designing the airport’s new retail and food atrium, among many other interior enhancements. The terminal was also awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the world’s first commercial airport terminal to earn the highest LEED certification available for sustainable construction.

Monday, March 30, 2015

David Burrus has joined Turner Construction as Aviation Project Executive for the Southwest Business Unit. In this leadership role, his work will primarily focus on the LAX Midfield Satellite Concourse project. David has dedicated his career to building some of the most notable projects in transportation infrastructure including the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal project and the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). He was recently named one of ENR’s annual Top 25 Newsmakers.

Congratulations to Michael R. Lawson who has been elected to New York Life’s Agents Advisory Council (AAC), a prominent group of 24 New York Life agents elected by its 12,000 peers to work with senior management to develop and implement ideas that will benefit families and businesses in their local communities.


Deborah Varon has joined international architecture and engineering firm LEO A DALY as Director of Business Development for the firm’s Los Angeles office. In this role, she will work with practice leaders to pursue new strategic opportunities in the education, aviation, healthcare, civic, hospitality, and science & technology markets.
Deborah brings over 15 years of experience in the A/E industry, and a proven record of driving growth, cultivating strategic alliances, and building successful client relationships.

Peyman Salehi has joined City National Bank as senior vice president and manager of the Beverly Hills private client services team. Salehi leads a team of more than two dozen professionals and is looking to expand his team. Salehi and his team provide customized credit, investment management, wealth planning and trust services to high-net-worth families, select nonprofits and professional services firms.


Paul Craig, chief administrative officer for USC Health and interim chief executive officer of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, has accepted to chair the American Heart Association’s Los Angeles Heart Walk in 2016. The annual 5K walk engages the community in raising awareness and funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s leading killers. For information, visit www.heartwalkla.org.

Robert D. Counter, AIA, has joined international architecture and engineering firm LEO A DALY as Director of Healthcare for the firm’s Los Angeles office. He will serve as chief strategist and decision-maker for the firm’s growing healthcare-design practice, which was recently ranked 6th by Modern Healthcare. Robert brings over 30 years of experience as a healthcare-practice and team leader, with recent projects completed for Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, VA and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.


Miller Kaplan Arase LLP, one of the top 100 accounting firms in the US, proudly announced the promotions of 3 new partners:
Alexandra (Alex) Chernyak, CPA focuses primarily on employee benefit plans and labor organizations. She works on many of the firm’s more complex 401(k) plans and larger labor unions, as well as financial and regulatory needs of our clients.
Justine Grant Ruffalo, CPA serves businesses, estates, trusts and high net worth individuals in the entertainment industry, including the areas of music, film, television and licensing. She also has extensive experience in royalty and contract compliance, film and television tax credits, probate court and tour accounting.
Stephen M. Ozen, CPA specializes in the food and beverage, and manufacturing industries. His experience includes audit, tax and strategic planning. Stephen also deals with matters relating to setting up businesses in the United States and implementing internal control systems. MillerKaplan.com

Monday, March 23, 2015

Peverley Hukill, Ph.D., business consultant, has been named chairwoman of the Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) Board of Trustees. OIC is a world leader in pediatric orthopaedic care, research and education, with locations in downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Westwood.


Teresa R. Tracy has joined Freeman Freeman & Smiley, LLP’s Los Angeles office as partner in its Labor and Employment practice. She assists employers to comply with federal and state employment laws, and represents them in wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, and class action cases, and union issues.

Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC, a leading investment advisory firm for high net worth individuals, families, trusts and foundations, announced today the addition of Andrew Dunbar as its General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. Andrew will provide legal advisory and compliance expertise for the firm.

Monday, March 16, 2015


John Baackes joins L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, as chief executive officer on March 23. Baackes, with over 30 years of health care experience, was previously president of Philadelphia-based AmeriHealth Caritas VIP Plans where he oversaw the Medicare Advantage business unit.

Congratulations to Nick Mosaquites as a newly appointed senior vice president at City National Bank. Nick serves as a senior private client advisor with City National Bank’s Private Client Services team. Based in the Beverly Hills office, he serves as a trusted advisor to high-net-worth individuals, providing financial planning and investment strategies to preserve, manage and transfer wealth.


Regent Properties proudly announces the appointment of Frank E Igo as Vice President of Land Development. In joining Regent, Frank bring more than 35 years of residential, commercial, hospitality and land development experience to the position. Frank has an extensive background working with many of the nation’s largest homebuilders and developers. Frank is a graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts and the GM Training Program of the Hyatt Corporation.

NAI Capital has officially named Mr. Timothy P. Foutz as Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Foutz was an Executive Vice President with NAI Capital specializing in industrial and commercial marketing. As CEO, Mr. Foutz will oversee NAI Capital’s 14 SoCal offices with a workforce of over 300 in the greater L.A. basin and will be based in the San Fer-nando Valley headquarters.


Sutton, Pakfar & Courtney LLP welcomes new partner Andrew Shiner to its real estate department. Mr. Shiner was formerly a partner in the DLA Piper and Seyfarth Shaw law firms. He represents financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds and private equity investors, in the purchase, sale, development, finance, joint venture, workout and restructuring of all types of real property.

Kevin Garrett joins CBIZ as business unit president of CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc., for Southern California. Garrett has more than 25 years of experience in the employee benefits consulting and brokerage field. At CBIZ, Garrett will be responsible for driving revenue growth through his own benefits-consulting production and by leading benefits consultants and client services team members in the Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego offices of CBIZ’s Employee Benefits practice.

Maria A. Thieman, CFP®, CTFA has joined First Republic Trust Company as a Vice President and Senior Trust Officer located in our Century City office. Ms. Thieman comes to us with over 25 years of wealth management and trust experience, most recently as Manager of the Los Angeles Trust Department with Bank of the West’s Wealth Management Group. She can be contacted at mthieman@firstrepublic.com or (310) 407-1317.

Monday, March 9, 2015

CO Architects, a leading national architecture firm specializing in healthcare, education, and research facility design, strengthens its team by naming three new principals and one associate principal. Keeping with CO Architects’ successful business practice, all are promotions from within the firm. Fabian Kremkus, AIA, LEED GA, has been promoted to Design Principal and Jonathan Kanda, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, has been elevated to Principal. Jill Capanna, Assoc. AIA, Marketing Director, has been named the first non-architect Principal at CO Architects and Kevin McCausland, Assoc. AIA, has been promoted to Associate Principal.

Northern Trust is pleased to announce the addition of Kyle Neal as a Vice President, Senior Personal Trust Relationship Manager to our Wealth Advisory Services team in the Century City office. With 20 years of experience as an estate planner, Kyle will collaborate with clients, their advisors and wealth planning partners on estate planning, wealth transfer techniques and the administration of private and testamentary trusts.


Laura Jean Bracken has been promoted to the new position of President, COO at Palisades MediaGroup, an independent, full-service ad agency with offices in Santa Monica and San Francisco. “Over the past five years, Laura has played a central role in expanding our client roster from 80% film studios to a 50/50 split between entertainment and other industries,” said Roger Schaffner, CEO. “We look forward to the next phase of growth.”

Michael R. Morris is the new Managing Principal of Valensi Rose, PLC. Michael is a tax and entertainment attorney with more than 25 years at the firm. He previously spent five years as Managing Principal and the firm is looking forward to once again operating under his leadership and vision. Valensi Rose serves clients in a variety of practice areas including tax planning ; trust and estate planning; civil litigation; family law; debtor-creditor rights; corporate law ; and entertainment law.


Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck expanded its Litigation Department with the addition of transnational and entertainment litigator Lee Crawford Boyd as a shareholder in its Los Angeles office. Boyd’s experience in intellectual property, employment and entertainment litigation strengthens the firm’s existing practices while broadening the services it offers to its clients.

Los Angeles-based litigation law firm Bird Marella is proud to announce the elevation of Ariel A. Neuman to Principal. A former Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Neuman joined the firm in 2014 and served as Of Counsel. He focuses on white collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation.


Los Angeles-based litigation law firm Bird Marella proudly welcomes Hernán D. Vera, who recently joined as Principal. Mr. Vera is the former President and CEO of Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. He will focus his practice on complex civil litigation and class action defense.

Kaveh Amirdelfan, AIA, LEED-AP BD+C, has joined HGA Architects and Engineers as Associate Vice President and Principal in the firm’s Los Angeles office. With more than 20 years of industry expertise, Amirdelfan will collaborate on client relations and new business development for the firm’s arts, community and higher education practice groups.