As the new chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Allen Solomon plans to make life easier for teachers.

Solomon, who has been the associate vice chancellor for administration at UCLA since 1995, will be responsible for overseeing the district's business services, information technology, facilities, human resources and planning and assessment units when he begins his job April 23.

He said that one of the biggest challenges he sees is freeing educators from at least some of the red tape that keeps them from doing their jobs more efficiently.

"There is a lot of administrative overlay that has accumulated over the years that may impede (educators) from devoting their energies where it's critically needed," he said. "I've got some ideas to find out what their operations are and what kinds of things are causing those operations to be less effective and efficient."

Solomon said that, in order to prepare for his position, he plans to spend time finding out what problems have been the most frustrating to administrators and teachers.

"The biggest priority is to teach students, and to do that there is a whole set of sub-priorities," said Solomon. "But every administrative effort ultimately has to wind up being directed towards improving classroom instruction."

Solomon said that there will be a lot of differences between working for LAUSD and UCLA, but that he believes both institutions utilize the same type of management style.

"I see the basic structure of some centralization and some decentralization and the need to manage that," he said.

Conor Dougherty

Advertising & Public Relations

Mark Shoptaw has been named business development foreman at G & M; Plumbing, an ad agency and production company hybrid in El Segundo. In this position, Shoptaw will be involved in all aspects of G & M;'s daily operation, including pitching new business, account direction for Del Taco and THQ, and assisting in creative development and production. He joins the company from TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Architecture

Virginia Gendelman has become an associate principal at Stewart, Romberger & Associates, a Los Angeles-based architecture, interior design and planning firm. She manages a broad range of projects, including Ericsson Inc., Mentor Corp. and Agility Communications Inc. Gendelman has been with the firm since 1998.

Banking & Finance

Catherine Simms has joined U.S. Trust Company N.A. in Los Angeles as vice president and senior private banking officer. She will be responsible for managing private banking relationships and developing wealth management business throughout Los Angeles. Simms most recently spent four years with First Union Securities Inc. as vice president and relationship manager. Also joining the company is Steven Buster, as managing director and director of private banking. He will be responsible for managing the company's private banking operations throughout the West Coast. Prior to joining U.S. Trust, Buster was chief operating officer of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Takashi Usui and Cynthia Lee have both joined California Bank & Trust in Los Angeles. Usui is serving as vice president and branch manager of the Los Angeles main office. Usui most recently managed the Torrance office of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank of California. Lee is vice president and branch manager of the Monterey Park office. She was formerly associated with LippoBank as senior vice president and loan manager.

Engineering & Construction

Richard Engelbert has joined Matt Construction in Santa Fe Springs as senior project manager. In this position, Engelbert will work with construction projects throughout Southern California, including the Carrillo Hotel in Santa Barbara. He most recently served as a senior-level manager with general contractor Turner Construction, overseeing projects such as the Westin Mission Hills Conference Center, as well as projects at Universal Studios Hollywood and at First Interstate World Center in Los Angeles.

Jesse L. Yoder has been appointed senior vice president and manager of the Parsons infrastructure division at Parsons Corp. in Pasadena. In his new capacity, Yoder oversees all of Parsons' large water projects, such as reservoirs, wastewater treatment plants, plumbing plants, pipelines, dams and ports. Prior to his appointment, he served as the company's program manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority's Improvement Program.

Entertainment

Robert E. Martin has been appointed senior vice president of Movie Tunes, an in-theatre music programming company in Studio City. In his new role, Martin will focus his efforts on exhibitor relations and company operations. He was most recently president of National Cinema Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMC Theatres.

Ritamarie Peruggi has been promoted to executive vice president of production worldwide for the Jim Henson Co. Based in Hollywood, Peruggi oversees all aspects of the company's television and ancillary production activities, from pre-production through delivery. She is currently serving as executive in charge of production for the hit sci-fi series "Farscape."

Health Care

Theodore Krontiris, James Miser and Arthur Riggs have been named to key executive positions at City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute in Duarte. As executive vice president for medical and scientific affairs, Krontiris is responsible for oversight of medical and scientific program development, and the integration of basic and translational research between City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute. Miser, chief executive of City of Hope National Medical Center, oversees clinical research activities, patient care and medical center operations. Riggs, who is serving as City of Hope's Beckman Research Institute, will oversee biomedical research and research operations.

Law

Kim Boras has been named partner in the finance and real estate department at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles. Her practice is focused on acquisition and disposition of property, real property leases, real estate finance and managing real estate aspects of secured debt offerings. Joining her at the firm is Roxanne Christ, who has joined the Los Angeles office as a partner. Her practice is focused on technology and intellectual property transactions. Christ was most recently a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP.

New Media

Alex Costakis has joined Hollywood Stock Exchange as vice president, sales. He is responsible for the planning and execution of research sales, advertising sales and advertising sales-related promotions for each of the company's several lines of business. Most recently, Costakis was manager, custom research sales at BizRate.com.

Gretchen Humbert has joined Los Angeles-based Genex, an Internet development and consulting firm, as chief financial officer. She is responsible for the overall finances and operations and is also an executive team member integral to the legal operations, corporate strategy and overall vision of the firm. Humbert was most recently a client partner at Razorfish, Los Angeles.

Gary Marcotte has been appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer at B3 Corp., an e-business solutions provider in Burbank. He will be responsible for overseeing the company's financial and corporate infrastructure and will play a role in determining the company's strategic direction. Before joining B3 Corp., Marcotte was chief operating and financial officer at PETsMART.com Inc.

Real Estate

Cecilia Fong has joined PCS Development Inc. in Los Angeles, a comprehensive real estate company primarily focused on the acquisition, construction and management of multi-family, luxury residential properties. She will be responsible for centralizing PCS Development's internal accounting functions and implementing new operational accounting policies, procedures and controls. Prior to joining the company, Fong was the controller of Wilshire Management Corp., a real estate management company in Santa Monica.

John W. Hawkinson has been promoted in the finance department at the Carson Cos., a commercial/industrial real estate development and management firm in Rancho Dominguez. Hawkinson is now senior vice president and chief financial officer. He was most recently vice president/controller.

Mark Laderman has been promoted to director of acquisitions for Southern California at Thomas Properties Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment, development and asset management firm. He will be responsible for real estate acquisitions in Southern California with a focus on Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

Tourism

Denise Mongoven has been appointed director, regional sales at the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau. In this capacity, she will manage corporate and association sales activities in the Midwest territory, including the states of Illinois, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. Previously, she was Midwest regional sales manager for national accounts at Loews Hotels in Chicago.

Transportation

Joyce Sloss has been appointed chief of the small business and job opportunities division at Los Angeles World Airports. The division, which was established in 1999, provides small businesses, job seekers, youth and young adults with improved access to business and job opportunities with LAWA and other airport-related businesses and government agencies. Sloss most recently served as chief administrative analyst at the city of Los Angeles Office of Administrative and Research Services (OARS).

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