Some 300 members of the Los Angeles business community gathered last Wednesday in a converted bank vault in the basement of 650 S. Spring St. No one left with any gold bullion, to my knowledge, but there was plenty of hardware handed out over the course of the Business Journal’s annual Fastest Growing Private Companies event, held at The Reserve in downtown. Halo Top Creamery walked away a winner for the second year in a row, as the Los Feliz-based low-calorie ice cream-maker somehow managed to surpass the growth rate that propelled it to a win in 2017. Halo Top Chief Executive Justin Woolverton was a no-show, but that didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the attendees in the room, who included Trevor Saliba, the chairman of No. 2 ranked NMS Capital; No. 3-ranked SnackNation co-founders Sean Kelly and Andy Mackensen; and what seemed like the entire L.A. office of No. 4-ranked Fox Dealer Inc., including Chief Executive GianCarlo Asong. Other notables in the room – or at least folks who took the time to talk with yours truly – included MVE Architects father and son team of Carl and Matthew McLarand, Greif & Co.’s Lloyd Greif and RSM’s Joe Mazza … The Fastest Growing Private Companies event wasn’t the only evening soiree in the city last week. Union Bank’s Adam Feit threw a well-attended evening mixer for the L.A. deal community on the rooftop of E.P. & L.P. in West Hollywood. Top local Union Bank brass Bita Ardalan and Scott Connella were seen hobnobbing with Intrepid Investment Bankers’ Chairman Jim Freedman – word has it the three go back two decades (grade school buddies, no doubt), which puts into perspective Union’s acquisition of Intrepid last month … The evening festivities were put in perspective Thursday morning with the news of another mass shooting on the Los Angeles community of business’s doorstep. Thirteen individuals were shot dead, and 18 more injured at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, a scene filled with late-night revelry, likely not all that different from the one at The Reserve or E.P & L.P. The shooting reminded me of former Business Journal Editor Jonathan Diamond’s sober and pragmatic proposal that appeared in these pages two years ago for firearm regulation in the form of gun-owner insurance. We’re running that commentary again this week on page 52. Take a look, it’s worth another read … Election Day last week drew plenty of interest from the business world in Los Angeles. Proposition 10, which would have given local governments more leeway to implement rent-control measures by repealing a state law restricting such ordinances, had both local foes and advocates. It went down handily, pleasing the likes of local apartment developer Geoffrey Palmer and delivering a blow to AIDS Healthcare Foundation chief Michael Weinstein. A Los Angeles City ballot measure proposing a city-run bank also failed to garner a simple majority, a defeat for City Council President Herb Wesson who championed the cause.
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