As national director of the newly formed corporate alliances division at investment banking firm Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, Peter Pekar Jr. is in charge of helping the little guys make friends.

"We're here to help small to mid-size companies form alliances with larger firms," said Pekar, who is based in Los Angeles. "Capital is important, but these companies need more."

Pekar who most recently spent eight years as a senior adviser at Booz Allen & Hamilton working with larger clients such as Mobil, Lucent and Microsoft will head the new division with Mark Margulis, a managing director.

Specifically, the division will help companies locate larger firms with which to form alliances, then nurture them through many aspects of the process, from raising capital to assisting with the documentation and closing. "We're trying to create a competitive environment so they (small-company clients) can see different forms and types of alliances," Pekar said.

Following the thunderous crash of the dot-com wave, the formation of a new alliances division seems timely. However, Pekar said that his practice would not be able to help the multitude of companies seeking a life preserver.

"We're not here to save anyone, this is not a lifeguard to companies that are failing," he said. "This is a linking (for clients) of two strong companies, regardless of size, leveraging the strengths of each that's what makes this work."

Pekar calls his division a first of its kind. "There has been a major investment by the firm in both time and money," he said of the new practice. "We're building alliance specialists in every office of Houlihan's operation, and we're probably going to do this overseas soon."

Advertising & P.R.

Gary Foster has been appointed director of market development at the Phelps Group, an integrated marketing communications firm in Santa Monica. He is responsible for researching and generating new business opportunities. Foster was formerly with Clegg Industries.

David Nobs has been promoted to general manager of the Los Angeles office of Weber Shandwick Worldwide. He will lead L.A. business strategy efforts as well as continue to oversee and manage key accounts and new business development, expand integrated marketing and communications resources and direct sports, entertainment and event marketing efforts. Most recently, Nobs served as executive vice president.

Sandy Warshaw has joined MJA Advertising West in Beverly Hills as director of business development. She has more than 11 years of media experience, which she will be putting to use as a part of MJA West's marketing team. Warshaw was most recently national sales manager at KKBT-FM in Los Angeles.

Architecture

Jim Cordova has been named associate at NTD Architects in Glendora. He currently manages a broad range of educational projects for clients such as the Beverly Hills Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District. Cordova has been with the firm since 1992, most recently serving as a studio director. Stuart Moe has also been named an associate at NTD. He is responsible for leading the firm's special projects team, which focuses on small and modular building projects for all of NTD's public education projects. Moe has been a project manager/studio director for the firm since 1994.

Brent Eckerman and Sergio Zeballos have both been promoted to associates at Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects in Los Angeles. Eckerman will be responsible for the integration of technology into the practice, including networking, software and hardware implementation, assessment of computer capabilities and staff training and development. Zeballos' responsibilities include overseeing the development of projects, as well as assisting in marketing and business development. Both were project managers prior to being promoted.

Banking & Finance

D'Ann Lungberg has been appointed to the position of vice president and cash management sales officer at Manufacturers Bank in Los Angeles. She will be primarily responsible for driving the bank's sales efforts and will assist in the development and implementation of cash management training programs for bank employees. Prior to joining Manufacturers, Lungberg served as vice president and customer service manager at City National Bank.

Distribution

Bob De Villez has been promoted to senior vice president of engineering and acquisitions at P & O; Cold Logistics, a refrigerated space operator in Dominguez Hills. He will be responsible for overseeing and advising engineering staff on technical items, handling due diligence on acquisitions, and supervising all details, including layouts and plants, relating to new building construction. At the same time, John Dittrick has been promoted to vice president of engineering, covering the Southern California, Nevada and Utah facilities. In addition, because of the travel requirements of De Villez and Dittrick, Bob Johnson has been promoted to divisional senior engineering manager and Dave Mosher has been promoted to divisional engineering manager. P & O; Cold Logistics also announced that Karl D. Narasky has been named distribution manager at the company's City of Industry facility.

Engineering

David R. Ashcraft has joined Gannett Fleming, an international consulting, engineering and construction management firm in Los Angeles, as a senior manager for transportation and maintenance facilities. He is responsible for the management and coordination of all corporate work in the western region for transit and fleet maintenance facilities, including alternate fuel capabilities. Prior to joining the firm, Ashcraft served as director of transportation for the Culver City Bus System.

Entertainment

Mara Brown has been named director of advertising at Oasis TV, a Beverly Hills-based distributor of mind/body/spirit programming. She will be promoting a unified advertising sales campaign for Oasis TV's programming across cable television, radio and Internet content delivery platforms. Brown was most recently advertising director at L.A. Weekly magazine.

Michael Peikoff has been named senior vice president of marketing and client relations for Sony Pictures Consumer Products in Culver City. In his newly created position, Peikoff will oversee marketing, publicity and promotional initiatives for the division of SPE that supervises worldwide film and television licensing and merchandising. He previously worked for Warner Bros., most recently serving as vice president, licensee business development.

Jill Swan has been named senior director of sales, associated labels, at Universal Music and Video Distribution in Universal City. She will work closely with all of UMVD's associated labels to maximize visibility at retail accounts, attain sales objectives and increase revenue. Prior to her appointment, Swan served as branch manager of the western region for Caroline Distribution.

Health Care

Cynthia Ann Telles has joined the board of directors of the California Endowment, the state's largest health foundation. She will be working with the rest of the board to increase the number of diverse and culturally competent health and medical professionals in California. Telles is the director of the UCLA Spanish-speaking psychosocial clinic of the Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Insurance

Elizabeth Walsh and Joseph Plascentia have both been appointed vice presidents of sales at InsureHiTech, an insurance firm for New Economy companies in Los Angeles. Both will be co-directing all marketing and customer relations activities from the firm's newly established Los Angeles office. Walsh worked as an account executive at Willis Insurance Services prior to joining the firm. Plascentia was most recently a vice president with Stewart Smith, the wholesale intermediary of Wills Insurance Services.

Law

John A. Henning and Bill Berner have both been named partners at the Los Angeles law firm of Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcava & MacCuish LLP. Henning practices in the firm's land development department, representing clients in all aspects of land-use law, including land-use litigation, permitting and counseling involving the California Environmental Quality Act and related statutes. Berner is a member of the firm's new ventures and intellectual property practice group. He serves technology-driven clients in all manners of intellectual property transactions, such as acquisition, licensing and sponsored research agreements.

Nonprofits

Eric Remelmeyer has been appointed chief financial officer at Five Acres, a therapeutic treatment center for abused and at-risk children in Altadena. He will be responsible for all accounting and financial administration. Prior to joining Five Acres, Remelmeyer worked as a consultant to financially troubled businesses and nonprofit agencies.

Real Estate

Mary Ryan McCarthy has been named principal of strategic partners at CB Richard Ellis Investors LLC, a real estate investment management firm in Los Angeles. She will be responsible for investor relations and capital raising. McCarthy has been an executive managing director with the firm since 1999.

Lori Wolf and Eric Hasserjian have been promoted to first vice presidents at Arden Realty Inc. in Los Angeles. Wolf is responsible for the Los Angeles region and will oversee all facets of the company's regional portfolio performance in operations and leasing. She was most recently a regional manager. Hasserjian has similar responsibilities in the firm's North Los Angeles region. He was most recently a regional leasing manager in Arden's West Los Angeles and South Bay regions.

Software

David J. White has been appointed to the position of senior vice president, business and corporate development, at TechEmpower, a full-service technology company that designs and builds software, database, Web and training applications. He is based in El Segundo and is responsible for creating and implementing marketing and sales strategies, building new client and partner relationships, expanding corporate development and directing TechEmpower's sales team. Previously, White served as director of European marketing for Treasury Service Corp.

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