*NEWSMAKERS Accounting

Jefferson Wells has promoted Barbara Steelman to director of finance operations for its Los Angeles practice. Steelman was previously an engagement manager at the firm.

Brandlin & Associates, a Los Angeles based financial and strategic consulting firm, has hired Jim Davidson as chief operating officer. He was previously president of Avant Diversified Holdings.

Advertising & Public Relations
Hill & Knowlton Inc., a communications firm, hired Doug Schneider as the West Coast head of its sports marketing practice. Schneider was previously the marketing practice head at Ruder Finn's Los Angeles office.

Team One, an international brand consultant agency in El Segundo, has hired Eve Asbury for the new position of director of creative services and print and digital services. Asbury was formerly executive vice president/director of print and digital production in the New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi.

Thomas P. Cox Architects, a planning and urban design firm with offices in Los Angeles and Irvine, has promoted Gordon Bartram to senior associate. Bartram was formerly a licensed architect at RTKL Associates Inc.

Rothenberg Sawasy Architects Inc., a Los Angeles-based architectural and interior design firm, appointed Max Williams and Nick Ybarra as group directors of the firm's architecture and interior design divisions, respectively. Williams previously worked in a broad range of architectural services and also is an instructor of architecture at Los Angeles Pierce College. Ybarra has served as project manager on a variety of interior design projects in the corporate and government sector.

The J. Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles has appointed Thomas Rhoads as associate director for administration. Rhoads was previously the museum's acting associate director for administration.

Banking & Finance
First Financial Credit Union in West Covina has appointed Carlton Musmann as president and chief executive. Musmann was previously executive vice president and chief operating officer in the company.

George P. Johnson Co., a Torrance-based event marketing company, has hired Andy Bass as head creative director, Darin Greenblatt as senior creative director and John Trinanes as creative director. Bass was previously a film director, Greenblatt was previously a creative director and writer at Campos Creative, and Trinanes was formerly creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

The Gizzard Agency, a fundraising division of Grizzard Communications Group Inc., has promoted Tonie Howard to account director for its Humane Society team. Howard was previously senior account supervisor for the company for the company's Red Cross clients throughout the South and Northeast regions of the U.S.

Inside Out Community Arts Inc., a Los Angeles based community arts outreach program, has elected Drew Krepelka as treasurer and Stephanie Deakins as secretary. Krepelka is the chairman of Capital Group's Non-Profit Leadership Committee and Deakins is a marketing associate at Voce Wireless.

Real Estate
The Southland Regional Association of Realtors has appointed Steve White as president. White is owner and operating principal of Keller Williams Realty Santa Clarita Market Center.

Studley, a Los Angeles based commercial real estate services firm, has promoted Paul Stockwell to senior managing director and Will Adams to corporate managing director. Stockwell and Adams are partners of the firm.

Evergreen Realty Group LLC of Pasadena has hired Angela Ahlholm Strauss as chief operation officer. Strauss was previously vice president at Bridger Commercial Funding.

Natrol Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of nutritional products, has hired Craig Cameron as chief operating officer. Cameron previously served as head of strategy and marketing for Telstra Corp. in Australia.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has promoted Robert Grote as regional vice president in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and Antelope Valley regions. Grote was previously vice president and general manager at the company's offices in Stuttgart, Germany.

Kastle Systems, an office security systems firm, has appointed Alison R. Jones as business development manager for Kastle's Western region. Jones was formerly a contract marketing representative with Communication Electronic Systems of Las Vegas.

WebMessenger, a Los Angeles-based provider of mobile instant-messaging products, announced the appointment of Joe Naylor as chief marketing officer and vice president of product development. Naylor was previously vice president at J2 Global Communications.

Viaspace Inc., a Pasadena-based technology company, has hired Gary Miller as vice president of business development Japan for its subsidiary, Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corp., based in Altadena. Miller was previously vice president, supplier and technology Management at Aurora Labs.

Real D, a Los Angeles based 3-D technology company, has appointed Matthew Cowan as chief scientific officer. Cowan has worked with the company for nearly two years and had a key role in the design of the company's 3-D presentation of Disney's "Chicken Little."

Break.com, a digital entertainment network, has hired Nick Wilson as vice president of engineering and technology. Wilson was previously senior vice president/chief technology officer at DMX Music.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has hired Roger K. Patterson as assistant general manager of water planning and resources. Patterson previously served as a consultant to the MWD on Colorado River issues.

Three Los Angeles attorneys of Armenian descent are the recipients of the Clay Awards' Litigator of the Year. Mark Geragos of Geragos & Geragos, Brian Kabatek of Kabateck Brown Kellner and Vartkes Yeghiayan of Yeghiayan & Associates were honored for their work in reaching two settlements of $20 million and $17 million with insurance companies on behalf of descendants of Armenian genocide victims. The three attorneys are descendants of genocide victims and survivors. The Clay Awards are presented each year by California Lawyer magazine.

Rod S. Berman of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP was recognized as a leader in Intellectual Property law by the editorial board of Aspatore Books. Berman's article appears in Aspatore's "Inside the Minds," series as "IP Litigation Best Practices."

Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin was ranked by Thomson Financial's league tables as the No. 1 M & A; advisor for U.S. transactions valued up to $750 million.

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