After spending his career working for large corporations, Joseph J. Daniele has jumped into the start-up pool.

As the newly appointed chief operating officer of Acorn Technologies Inc., an intellectual property development company in Los Angeles, Daniele will be in charge of running virtually all of the company's operations, from acquiring technologies to R & D;, development and licensing.

Acorn's business model is to acquire and license new ideas and technologies from universities, individuals and more recently, Fortune 500 companies. Its staff develops the technologies until they are commercially viable, and then licenses them.

Daniele said the company typically splits 50 percent of the licensing revenues with the inventors they work with. However, they don't make any money unless value is added to the idea.

Daniele has spent a good portion of his career commercializing technology, most recently at SAIC, a San Diego based consulting firm with more than 41,000 employees worldwide, where he served as senior vice president of intellectual property and technology commercialization.

"Acorn actually came to me as a customer and I could see that they were filling a gap that needed to be filled," said Daniele.

Acorn was founded in 1997 as a three-person operation. It has since grown to 15 employees and recently acquired a Palo Alto consulting firm. Daniele said the company has raised $10 million in investment capital, all from undisclosed high net worth individuals. He also said that the company is in the process of raising another round of funding that will be used to hire new employees and grow the business.

Daniele said he was impressed by the technical know-how of the Acorn staff. "We're R & D; oriented, we work closely with the inventors and we understand what they're doing," he said.

Daniele said it's been a nice marriage thus far.

"I like the freedom and the pace," he said.

Conor Dougherty

Accounting & Consulting

Jeffrey Messner and George Peacock have been appointed to new positions at Mullin Consulting Inc., a consulting firm in Los Angeles that specializes in designing and administering executive benefits. Messner has been named senior vice president and will be charged with building new strategic marketing alliances and developing new joint venture relationships. Prior to joining Mulling, Messner was executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Security Life of Denver. Peacock has been appointed senior vice president and will head the company's health and welfare benefits practice. He was previously a principal and director of marketing for a regional registered investment advisor.

Advertising & P.R.

Ian Baer has joined Deutsch L.A., a marketing and communications firm in Los Angeles, as executive vice president. In his new position, he will direct the company's directDeutsch L.A. division, working on all of its accounts including DirecTV, Mitsubishi and Sun America. Baer was most recently president of Rapp Collins Worldwide, a position he held since 1999.

Banking & Finance

Gilbert Dalmau has been named regional president for Southern California at First Bank and Trust in Encino. He will be responsible for managing commercial banking activities throughout Southern California, including all commercial lending groups, the small business lending group, real estate industries group and cash management group.

Robert W. Kelly has been hired by Mellon Financial Corp. in Los Angeles as senior vice president and managing director in the Mellon Private Asset Management Group. He will be responsible for sales and marketing as well as directing new business and expanding the company's staff of investment and wealth management experts. Kelly joined Mellon from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc.

Amit R. Patel has been appointed a vice president in the Los Angeles office of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, an international investment bank. He will be responsible for managing engagements for the firm's financial restructuring group. Prior to joining Houlihan Lokey, Patel was a vice president at PRAM Filtration Corp., a buyout group specializing in acquiring and integrating underperforming middle-market manufacturing companies.


Eleo Hensleigh and Paul Robinson have been named to new positions at the ABC Cable Networks group in Burbank. Hensleigh has been named executive vice president, worldwide brand strategy. She will be responsible for developing the brand vision for each of ABC Cable Networks Group's domestic and international channels, including wholly-owned and developing networks as well as Disney's One Saturday Morning programming block on ABC. Hensleigh was previously executive vice president of marketing. Robinson will serve as senior vice president, worldwide programming strategy for the division. He previously served as senior vice president and managing director of Walt Disney Branded Television UK and Ireland.

Priscilla Pesci has been appointed senior vice president, marketing at MGM Woldwide television group in Santa Monica. She will be responsible for all domestic and international television marketing, including the conception and execution of all trade and consumer advertising, promotion, publicity, station relations, Web sites and sales support materials for the company's television programming as well as made-for-television movies. Pesci previously served as senior vice president, worldwide marketing, strategic planning and special projects at Impact Media.

Eliot Sekuler has been appointed senior vice president, marketing for Universal Studios Hollywood. He will be responsible for developing public relations strategies as well as managing efforts to expand on the use of Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk as locations for all forms of filmed and videotaped production. Sekuler previously served as director, head of publicity and public relations at the company. Coinciding with the department reorganization, Audrey Eig has been promoted to director, domestic publicity at Universal Studios. She will be responsible for managing all domestic print and electronic media for Universal Studios Hollywood. Most recently, Eig served as publicity manager.

Bruce Tuchman has been hired as executive vice president of MGM Networks Inc. in Santa Monica. He will be responsible for establishing cable, satellite and other channels to distribute MGM's film library and manage the company's existing channel interests worldwide. Tuchman previously served as senior vice president, new media ventures at Viacom's Nickelodeon unit.


Ame Goldman has been named national sales manager for the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites in Los Angeles. She is responsible for developing association business in East Coast markets. Goldman previously served as director of group sales for the Huntington Hilton in Melville, N.Y.


John Hokkanen has been appointed knowledge manager in the international technology department of Latham & Watkins. He will be responsible for focusing on how the firm captures and reuses intellectual capital as well as the methods and systems with which client services are delivered. Before joining Latham & Watkins, Hokkanen was chief knowledge counsel at Alston & Bird.


Bernard Liller has been promoted to senior vice president of marketing at STS Foreign Language Services, a translation company in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for promoting translation services to California exporters, law firms as well as the advertising and entertainment industries. Liller previously served as a sales manager at the company.

Real Estate

Joy Chen has joined Kosmont Partners, a real estate and economics advisory firm in Los Angeles, as a partner. She will be responsible for assisting clients with project planning, entitlements and community and government relations. Chen formerly led strategic planning as a vice president of Tower Communications, a technology company serving governmental housing agencies.

Giovanna Purvis has been appointed vice president and district manager for northern Los Angeles at LRA Property Management. She will be responsible for overseeing LRA staff managing 65 apartment buildings, retail offices and office buildings from Hollywood to the northern San Fernando Valley. Purvis has been with LRA since 1997 and was promoted from senior property manager.

Robert W. Scott has joined CommonWealth Partners, a real estate investment, development and management company in Los Angeles as executive vice president. He will be responsible for overseeing the firm's asset management, property management and leasing activities as well as supervising the firm's operations. Prior to joining the company, Scott served as senior vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle.


Lara Jackle has been hired as vice president of marketing at Cold Fusion Foods, a manufacturer of frozen protein juice bars in Culver City. She will be responsible for the company's national marketing strategy as well as building the Cold Fusion brand name. Previously, Jackle was vice president of marketing at Balance Bar Co.


Stefan J. Dietrich has been promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau. He will be responsible for overseeing accounting, contracts, finance, human resources and information technology for the LACVB. Dietrich joined the bureau in 1997 and was most recently vice president finance & administration. The bureau has also appointed Jeffrey Rago as director, client services. He will serve as the liaison between meeting professionals and the local visitor industry. Previously, Rago was a freelance travel director responsible for the facilitation of all aspects of incentive and business meetings.


Fausto D. Capobianco has been appointed director of communications at the Port of Long Beach. He will be responsible for supervising the port's public relations and graphic design staff in addition to overseeing production of port publications, advertising and the port's media relations and community outreach efforts. Capobianco previously held a similar position in the Compton Unified School District.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.