Digital Entertainment Beckons Consultant

Charles S. Swartz wants to help usher in entertainment's digital revolution.

The new executive director and chief executive of USC's Entertainment Technology Center, Swartz is responsible for developing and overseeing research projects in digital cinema and video-on-demand. He said he wants to create a place where the entertainment industry can address issues surrounding new technologies.

"We want to be a neutral setting where leaders of the entertainment industry can address pressing issues," said Swartz. "Especially where technology and business intersect."

As digital delivery offers new ways to reach viewers, the ETC is looking at the challenges that come along with it.

"Digital technology is a double edged sword," Swartz said. "It offers you the ability to make perfect copies. That's a good thing for distributors, but the bad guys can make illegal copies which are just as good."

While USC is researching ways to protect digital technology from being duplicated, Swartz said it is also looking at ways to curb piracy using the free marketplace as protection. "There is a business solution (to piracy)," he said. "Which is to come up with business models that will encourage people to pay for the use of digital content."

Swartz is returning to the university setting after a brief stint in the private sector. He was most recently director of integrated strategy for the entertainment industry with Sapient, an e-business consulting firm. He had been director of business development for entertainment at Andersen Consulting. Before joining Andersen in 1998, Swartz spent 12 years as program manager for UCLA Extension's department of entertainment studies and performing arts, where he created the course curricula in digital media and the business of entertainment.

Prior to joining UCLA, Swartz wrote and produced independent films and served in an executive capacity at both Warner Bros. Television and New World Pictures.

He lives in Sherman Oaks with his wife.

Conor Dougherty

Accounting & Consulting

Joanna Bolsky, Ronald D. Chandler and Michael G. Kaplan have been promoted to partners at Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. LLP, a certified public accounting firm in Los Angeles. Samantha J. Deeder has joined the firm as marketing director.

Gerald G. Gubatan has been appointed senior project manager with Morey/Seymour and Associates, a Los Angeles-based governmental relations and land use consulting firm. Gubatan was most recently a legislative assistant in Sacramento.

Advertising & P.R.

Elaine Cantwell has been named head of Spark, a creative branding and design group in Hollywood. Cantwell previously served as creative director at 3 Ring Circus.

Cydcor, a Westlake Village-based direct mail and telemarketing firm, has appointed Gary Polson chief executive. Polson, a former practicing attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, was a staff accountant for Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).


Dallas-based Humphreys & Partners Architects announced that Jorge Sciupac would head the firm's new regional office in Santa Monica. He has recently been in private practice and was previously a principal with MCG Architecture of Beverly Hills and Widom Wein Cohen of Santa Monica.

Banking & Finance

Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, an international investment bank headquartered in Los Angeles, announced that Scott Kolbrenner has been promoted to vice president. He will be responsible for a broad range of investment banking services, including mergers and acquisitions, private placements, corporate valuations and other financial advisory services. Kolbrenner previously served as an associate, a position he held since 1998.

Dimensional Fund Advisors in Los Angeles has named Sonya Park a regional director of client services. Park most recently was associate director of corporate finance for Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., evaluating corporate transactions. Prior to that she was an equity research analyst at Lehman Brothers where she focused on the specialty pharmaceutical industry.

Engineering & Construction

Syska Hennessy Group, a consulting, engineering, technology and construction firm in Los Angeles, has named Daniel McNary a senior vice president. He leads the design/build and general contracting arm of the firm's OnlinEnvironments Group.


Alex Kopacz has been named vice president of Midwestern sales and marketing at CF Entertainment, a producer/distributor of syndicated programming in Beverly Hills. Kopacz previously served as a sales manager at Litton Syndication.

Paul Volkman has been named chief information officer at Vivendi Universal Games in Los Angeles, the games division of Vivendi Universal Publishing. He is responsible for developing information strategies on behalf of VU Games and its North American-based studios Blizzard Entertainment, Sierra Entertainment, Universal Interactive and the Partner Publishing Group. Volkman most recently served as director of information technology for Vivendi.

Stevan J. Bernard has been appointed vice president of corporate security and safety at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Culver City. He is responsible for coordinating and supervising studio security and employee safety initiatives, risk analysis, travel security, investigations and litigation support as well as environmental, health and medical services for SPE's facilities worldwide. Before joining SPE, Bernard had been director of worldwide corporate security and safety for 3Com Corp., a position he held since 1995.


Phil Reed has been appointed director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Street Lighting. He is responsible for formulation and execution of the budget, staff selection, long-range financing and planning, customer service, training and community outreach. Reed has been interim director since August 2001.


Margot E. Hoeck has joined the Wilshire Grand Hotel as international sales manager. She joined the hotel from the Holiday Inn in Hollywood, where she served as sales manager.

Cristina Romero-Peri has been named director of sales and marketing for Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. Based in Los Angeles, she has assumed overall responsibility for sales and marketing programs designed to maintain the resort's occupancy levels. Romero-Peri has been with the resort since 1998, most recently serving as assistant director of sales and marketing.


Former State Sen. Charles Calderon, Bradly S. Torgan and Andrew J. Yamamoto have been named equity partners at Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott in Los Angeles. All three are members of the firm's litigation department.

Todd A. Cavanaugh has been promoted to partner at Yukevich & Sonnett in Los Angeles. The firm specializes in complex litigation and product liability defense, alternative dispute resolution, crisis management and jury verdict research. Cavanaugh was most recently an associate at Perkins Coie in Seattle.

McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen LLP has upped two attorneys in its Los Angeles bankruptcy and insolvency practice. Matthew Lesnick has moved from of counsel to partner and Monica Y. Kim was named counsel from senior associate.

James Slominski has joined the patent litigation group at the Hecker Law Group, a Los Angeles-based intellectual property firm. He was formerly a senior associate at civil litigation firm Hornberger & Brewer.

Thomas Wingard has been added as a partner at Weston, Benshoof, Rochefort, Rubalcava & MacCuish LLP in Los Angeles. He represents companies in the software, broadcasting and media, manufacturing and wireless communications industries. Wingard was previously a partner at Zevnik Horton LLP.

The Los Angeles office of Kaye Scholer LLP announced that Pamela J. Yates has joined the national trial team in the firm's product liability group. Yates was previously senior counsel for Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP.


The Los Angeles Times has appointed Miriam Pawel assistant managing editor for state and local news. She will manage the Times' combined California section, San Fernando Valley, Ventura and state staffs, in addition to coordinating region-wide beat reporting on Southern California trends and issues. Pawel had served as California editor of the Times since 2000.

Michael Petruncola has been named West Coast manager of sales and marketing for Traditional Home magazine. He previously was Los Angeles advertising director for Rolling Stone magazine.


James Hankla was recently elected as the new chair of the Aquarium of the Pacific's board. Hankla is chief executive of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. Jennifer Hagle, a partner at the Los Angeles office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, has been elected secretary of the Aquarium's board.

Mark A. Thoreson has been appointed vice president of advancement and internal affairs at CalArts in Valencia. He will plan and direct all of CalArts' fundraising efforts, including enlarging the institute's endowment pool, engaging the support of alumni and developing ties with patrons of the arts. Thoreson joined CalArts from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where he was acting director of development and led the Smithsonian's most recent capital campaign.

Professional Services

DHR International, a retained executive search firm in Los Angeles, announced that Bob Marchant has joined the firm as executive vice president. He previously served as a principal at Korn/Ferry International.

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