Stories for December 2020

Thursday, December 31

Lobbyist and Consultant Steve Afriat Dies at 68

Afriat was known for his focus on West Hollywood, where much of his political and real estate consultancy was based.

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Tuesday, December 29

Fulgent Wins Extension of New York Covid Testing Contract

Fulgent Genetics Inc. has been awarded an extension of its contract for Covid-19 testing for New York City’s public schools.

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White House Appeals Order Blocking TikTok Restrictions

The Trump Administration appealed a federal judge's order which blocked restrictions on TikTok's U.S. operations.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Darcy Wilson-Jones

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Darcy Wilson-Jones is a certified public accountant with more than 24 years of experience working with privately held and private equity owned clients.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Benjamin White

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Ben White is a partner in BDO’s Core Tax Services practice.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Laura Whelan

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Laura Whelan joined Savills in 2007 and currently directs project and construction management for clients in industries from healthcare to technology, advertising, media and information.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Dr. Hal Weitzbuch

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Dr. Hal Weitzbuch is an award-winning, board certified dermatologist and member of the American Society for Mohs Surgery.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Andrew Walsh

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Andrew Walsh represents clients in complex civil business disputes, high-stakes environmental and entertainment litigation, and white collar criminal actions, in both state and federal court.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Emily Burkhardt Vicente

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In addition to defending Fortune 100 clients in complex labor and employment issues, Emily Burkhardt Vicente’s trajectory of success is marked by inspiring leadership and advancement of social justice.

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Thriving In Their 40's: James Verzino

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James Verzino is the managing director of Northwestern Mutual Los Angeles.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Ellisen Turner

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Ellisen Turner is an intellectual property partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jalal Taby

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Jalal Taby is a senior vice president with Comerica Bank based in Los Angeles with over 15 years of experience in the commercial banking industry.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Michelle Sullivan

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Michelle Sullivan attended San Diego State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with honors.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Alfred Smith

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Alfred Smith, chair of Nossaman’s Water Group, is a recognized expert in water and environmental law.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Greg Skalaski

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Before Greg Skalaski even moved to Los Angeles, he was already part of the city’s fabric, building some of the most iconic retail spaces including Louis Vuitton on Rodeo Drive.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Nicole Janigian Simonian

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Nicole Simonian is an outstanding leader in both the business sector and the legal profession.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jing Shen

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Jing Shen is a tax senior manager with CBIZ MHM, LLC. She has nearly 20 years of experience in public accounting and tax services.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Michael Sharon

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Michael Haim Sharon has been specializing in commercial investment sales and leasing of retail and office properties for over 10 years.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Sabrina Shadi

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Sabrina Shadi, a partner in BakerHostetler’s Los Angeles office, has a full-spectrum labor and employment practice.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Karl Seitz

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Karl Seitz is a tax manager with CBIZ & MHM, LLC. He gives back to his clients, colleagues, and community in a number of ways.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jennifer Richards

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Jennifer Richards leads Crowe’s effort in its Western region to serve higher education entities, private foundations, public agencies, and other charitable organizations.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Smitha Ravipudi

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For the last 20 years, Smitha Ravipudi has served (and continues to serve) in leadership roles at several prominent healthcare institutions in Los Angeles County.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Anu Rao

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Anu Rao serves as vice president and market lead for JLL’s Project and Development Services Los Angeles team.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Anant Patel

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Anant Patel, partner at Green Hasson Janks, is known for his leadership pushing forward the future of the accounting profession and the shift from compliance to advisory.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Elisa Paster

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Elisa Paster is a committed advocate to the development of housing in Los Angeles.

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Thriving In Their 40's: David Passman

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David Passman founded the Passman Group in 2012.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Matt Oster

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Matt Oster has been practicing employment law in Los Angeles since 1997.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Keith Orso

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A partner with Irell & Manella for more than a decade, Keith Orso balances his role in firm leadership with a thriving patent law practice in the firm’s litigation and intellectual property groups.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Michael Ormonde

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During Michael Ormonde’s, 22-year career with Wells Fargo, he has spent his career-serving customers in San Francisco, Greater Philadelphia, Delaware, and Washington D.C. regions.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Mauricio Olaiz

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Mauricio Olaiz has parlayed his experience in the financial industry to become Lee & Associates’ Pasadena office’s top producing associate in the last two years.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Shane Nix

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Shane Nix focuses on the business side of show business with a specialty in corporate and tax law.

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Thriving In Their 40's: David Nemecek

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David Nemecek is a corporate partner in Kirkland & Ellis’ Los Angeles office.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Satpal Nagpal

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Satpal Nagpal is a partner at Green Hasson Janks. His commitment and passion for education stems from the belief that good education can provide a platform for an individual to succeed — regardless of circumstances and background.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Candice Nakagawa

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Candice Nakagawa started her career at Union Bank in 2000 as a management trainee, then held the roles of priority banking officer & manager, as well as private banker.

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Monday, December 28

Colony Capital Sells More Legacy Holdings

Colony Capital Inc. has sold off or refinanced several of its legacy real estate assets, netting the firm a combined $181 million.

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2021 Book of Lists: Letter From the Publisher

Our theme for this year’s Book of Lists is “Shine a Light” — and that phrase has multiple meanings.

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2021 Book of Lists: Researcher's Letter

The Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual Book of Lists has arrived. This year’s edition contains 73 unique lists covering the region’s major industries and a diverse array of companies that enliven Los Angeles County’s expansive economy.

Book of Lists Profile: Shipping Companies CMA CGM, American President Lines Make Quite a Team

CMA CGM Group and American President Lines occupy adjacent spots on the Business Journal’s list of shipping companies that serve the San Pedro Bay port complex.

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Book of Lists Profile: SCS Engineers Pivots to the Environment

Even though the amount of waste deposited in landfills has declined in recent years, SCS Engineers’ business has grown.

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Book of Lists Profile: Cathay General Bancorp Puts Customers First During Pandemic

Although 2020 has not been an easy year for any business, it hasn’t stopped Chinatown-based Cathay General Bancorp from charging forward with new beginnings and long-term goals.

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Book of Lists Profile: Developer MJW Investments Leans Into Student Housing

Santa Monica-based MJW Investments is one of the most active multifamily developers in Los Angeles, with 4.5 million square feet of development in L.A. County since 2010.

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Book of Lists Profile: Fulgent Genetics Rises to the Covid Testing Challenge

Temple City-based Fulgent Genetics Inc. entered 2020 as a small, niche genetic testing company that was poised for significant growth.

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Book of Lists Profile: Greycroft Reaps Rewards of a Remote Culture

Greycroft has had a standout year amid some of the greatest economic turmoil in decades.

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Book of Lists Profile: Snap Hits New Heights

Snap Inc. has been on a roll in 2020, more than doubling its value since the start of the year.

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LA's Top Business Success Stories of the Year

The 2021 Book of Lists shines a light on how companies are persevering

It’s impossible to talk about 2020, or to look ahead at 2021, without referencing the turbulent times wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the social justice movement and an election that became all-consuming.

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Wednesday, December 23

Rokit Made Acquires Bike Sharing Platform Spinlister

Spinlister Inc., the Santa Monica developer of a bike sharing and store rental platform, has a new owner.

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The Regan Group Signs Industrial Lease in Torrance

The Regan Group has signed a lease for a 93,000-square-foot industrial building in Torrance.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Edward Moyzes

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Ed Moyzes was born in Kiev before the fall of the Soviet Union, eventually immigrating to Denver with his family when he was five.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Alissa Miller

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Alissa Miller is widely recognized as a leader in her field for handling some of the industry’s highest-visibility deals between independent movie production companies and financial institutions.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Nicole Mihalka

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Nicole Mihalka started her career in commercial real estate without any of the typical connections or pedigree that many other young brokers have when entering the business.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brian R. Michael

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Brian R. Michael, a former federal prosecutor and senior in-house counsel in Los Angeles, represents entities and individuals in high-stakes white-collar criminal cases.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Ilyn Mallari

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Ilyn Mallari joined The Accountancy in 2017 when Clement and Associates merged its practice with the firm.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Christopher Lovrien

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Chris Lovrien moved to Los Angeles in 2003, and was fortunate to bring his burgeoning legal practice with him.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Emily Loupee

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Emily Loupee is a Bay Area native and Cal graduate (Economics) who recognized that the Los Angeles region afforded greater diversity and opportunity to expand her expertise in the highly specialized field of Professional Liability.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jay-Jay Lord

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ay-Jay Lord is an entertainment attorney representing prominent record labels.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Aaron Lewis

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Aaron Lewis chose to join Covington’s Washington, DC office after law school in part because of the firm’s decades-long commitment to pro bono work and its tradition of encouraging government service.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Joseph Lee

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Joseph Lee grew up locally and spent most of his life in the Pasadena area, where he attended the University of Southern California and graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration: Real Estate Finance.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Susan Leader

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Akin Gump litigation partner Susan Leader boasts an impressive track record of securing favorable verdicts for her clients in highly publicized, bet-the-company cases.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brad Larsen

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Brad Larsen is responsible for the Greater Los Angeles market, one of the largest and highest performing markets nationally in the Bank of America Private Bank.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Holly Lake

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Holly Lake is one of the country’s preeminent employment lawyers, representing both private and public employers in all aspects of employment law and related litigation.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jason Krein

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Senior manager of tax services at RSM US LLP, Jason Krein has actively worked to increase diversity and inclusion at RSM by actively participating in the firm’s Cultural Diversity Program.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Ann Kono

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Ann Kono brings over 20 years of experience focused on operational scale and digital transformation for private and public companies.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jason Kim

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As businesses face increasing litigation and regulation in the privacy and cybersecurity space, Jason Kim is well placed to advise them.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Mehdi Khodadad

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Mehdi Khodadad has always been fascinated by the intersection of law and technology.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Danilo Kawasaki

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Danilo Kawasaki serves as Vice-President and COO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Nikki Katz

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Nikki Katz leads strategy and delivery of digital experiences for Bank of America’s Wealth Management clients.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Grace Kangdani

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Since the onset of social distancing, Grace Kangdani’s mantra has been “physically distanced, but socially engaged.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Sachin H. Jain

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Dr. Sachin Jain currently serves as president and CEO at SCAN Health Plan.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Kash Hussain

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Sometimes, what makes a great leader is less about what they do and much more about the way they do it.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Sonnet Hui

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Sonnet Hui has spent her life at the crossroads of ideas, cultures and global experience, a perspective she brings to her day-to-day work, facilitating discussions and navigating the complexity of high-stakes real estate development projects.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brad Herrema

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Brad Herrema, who leads Brownstein’s California Water Group, works with clients in California and the western United States to develop innovative strategies to secure and protect their water-related interests.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brian Hegarty

In a short three years since becoming the managing director of Marsh & McLennan’s Los Angeles office, Brian Hegarty has driven growth by 150%, increasing revenue eightfold.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brandy Han

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Brandy Han was recently promoted to head City National Bank’s newly created Capital Markets group.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Eric Gurna

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Growing up, Eric Gurna witnessed the impact of poverty on underserved communities. These experiences inspired him to dedicate his life to community service.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brian Gray

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Brian Gray joined Gursey Schneider LLP as a director in the tax and accounting department in 2012 and became a partner in January 2014.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Demetria Graves

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Demetria Graves attended Loyola Law School, and six months after passing the bar, opened her own family law practice in her hometown of Pasadena at the age of 25.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Stuart Graiwer

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A trusted advisor to private and institutional real estate investors, Stuart Graiwer has carved out a reputation as the leading lawyer for major studio deals.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Michael Good

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The phrase “doing well by doing good” is an appropriate one when it comes to Michael Good.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Magaly Gomez

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Magaly Gomez has placed hundreds of candidates into new positions, helping people find gainful employment and advance in their careers and helping businesses continue to thrive, especially important for people in today’s challenging economy

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Thriving In Their 40's: Julie Gerchik

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Julie R. F. Gerchik was born and raised here in Los Angeles, but is a dual citizen of both the United States and Great Britain.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Seth Gerber

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An accomplished trial lawyer and leader of Morgan Lewis’s Intellectual Property Trade Secrets Working Group

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Thriving In Their 40's: Ross Gerber

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Ross Gerber is the co-founder, president and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Michael Geibelson

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Michael Geibelson is a 15-year partner at the trial law firm Robins Kaplan LLP, three-year member of the firm’s executive board, and managing partner of its California offices.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Robert Garcia

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Throughout his career, Robert Garcia has applied his IT expertise towards enabling businesses to operate more effectively and efficiently.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jeanne Fugate

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Jeanne Fugate does not shy from the tough cases and achieves outstanding results on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, nimbly pivoting between the two diametrically opposed sides.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Tracey Freed

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Lawyer Tracey Freed is a leader in the digital media and tech space. She runs her own law firm and works on deals for start-ups to the biggest names in tech and digital media.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Brandon Ferrera

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Brandon J.E. Ferrera is an established middle market banker who joined Fifth Third Bank in early 2018.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Theane Evangelis

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Theane Evangelis has served as lead counsel in a wide range of groundbreaking constitutional, class action, and appellate litigation.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Christopher Edwards

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Chris Edwards, CEO and co-founder of the largest visualization studio in the world, The Third Floor, garnered such a pedigree.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Armand Dorian. MD, MMM, FACEP

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Armand H. Dorian, MD, FACEP, MMM joined the USC-VHH Executive team in July 2018 as the chief medical officer, business development.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Stelian Damu

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Stelian Damu has 15 years of experience in public accounting with over 13 years dedicated to providing assurance and consulting services to health care organizations and insurance plans.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Beth Collins

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Beth Collins is known as a problem solver who routinely tackles high-profile, high-controversy cases.

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Thriving In Their 40's: David Clausen

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David Clausen provides holistic financial guidance to his clients. A key component to his success stems from this “client-first” mentality.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Tanya Forsheit

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Tanya Forsheit is chair of the Privacy & Data Security Group at Frankfurt Kurnit, where she also serves as supervising partner of the firm’s Los Angeles Office.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Bonique Edwards

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After being laid off from two Internet companies during the dot-com boom, Bonique Edwards took matters into her own hands and started Kaleidoscope Consulting Group.

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Tuesday, December 22

OSI Systems Lands $13 Million Contract for Airport Screening Devices

OSI Systems’ Security division received a $13 million to provide screening products to two airports

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Canoo Makes Nasdaq Debut

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Electric vehicle maker Canoo Inc. made its debut as a publicly traded company Dec. 22, following completion of a reverse merger.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Claire Castles

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

In 2011, Claire Castles returned to Los Angeles – her birthplace – to be closer to her family and join Jones Day’s Los Angeles office.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Kyndra Casper

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Kyndra Casper’s practice emphasizes land use and environmental matters.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Christopher Casamassima

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Christopher Casamassima is an experienced trial lawyer who focuses on complex business disputes involving antitrust, breach of contract, fraud, trade secrets and other commercial issues.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Marshall Camp

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Marshall Camp is a founding partner of Hueston Hennigan LLP.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Trent Bryson

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Trent Bryson has proven to be one of the leading benefits brokers and consultants in the country.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Daniel Bir

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Daniel Bir joined Polsinelli’s national products liability and toxic and mass tort litigation teams as a principal in the Los Angeles office.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jessica Stebbins Bina

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Latham & Watkins partner Jessica Stebbins Bina stands out among Los Angeles’ top trial lawyers.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Ryan Barncastle

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Ryan Barncastle’s corporate and real estate practice is as diverse as Los Angeles, the city he calls home.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Jessica Babrick

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Jessica Babrick applies a broad background in litigation to resolve disputes involving trusts, estates, probate and conservatorships.

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Thriving In Their 40's: James (“Jimmy”) Azadian

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Jimmy Azadian leads Dykema’s West Coast appellate practice.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Michelle A. Avan

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Michelle A. Avan is a trailblazer and one of the most highly respected business women across multiple local and national groups serving the larger community.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Neeraj Arora

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As much of the world, and especially California, moves forward with ambitious goals to boost renewable energy production.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Andrew Apfelberg

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Andrew Apfelberg, a partner at Greenberg Glusker LLP, is a corporate and finance attorney for middle-market companies throughout the United States.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Amy Alderfer

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Amy Alderfer maintains a broad litigation practice, advising individuals and corporations, both large and small, on all aspects of litigation, from pretrial matters through trial and appeal.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Sam Aina

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Sam Aina leads Crowe’s Consulting practice for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications nationally.

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Monday, December 21

NantKwest, ImmunityBio Plan to Merge

Culver City-based NantKwest Inc. and El Segundo-based ImmunityBio have announced plans to combine in a reverse merger.

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SpaceX Launches Final Mission of 2020

SpaceX closed out a record-breaking year of launches with the completion of its 26th mission for 2020.

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Bergman Tapped to Lead Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Co. veteran Alan Bergman will become chairman of Walt Disney Studios and Alan Horn will stay on as chief creative officer.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Sells to Lockheed Martin for $4.4 Billion

El Segundo-based Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. is set to be acquired by Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. in a deal worth $4.4 billion.

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Thriving In Their 40's: Wade Ackerman

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Wade Ackerman is a leading FDA regulatory and health policy lawyer working at the cutting-edge of life sciences and technology on the West Coast

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Thriving In Their 40's: Publisher's Letter

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Traditionally, we’ve published a “40 in their 40s” section each year where we take a moment to spotlight some of the leading business professionals in the region that are in that particular age demographic.

Cityview Secures $125 Million in Funding for Project Near USC

Century City-based multifamily developer Cityview has secured $125 million in funding for an opportunity zone project near USC.

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Young Entrepreneur Anthony Zhang Won’t Be Slowed

Anthony Zhang is the epitome of a dogged entrepreneur.

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Rexford Industrial Riding High After More Than $1.1 Billion in Deals During 2020

While many companies have struggled in the face of strong economic headwinds during 2020, Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. has enjoyed a banner year.

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Rexford Adds Properties in Vernon, Santa Fe Springs

Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. added to its already sizeable list of acquisitions with a pair of year-end pickups last week.

Virtual Visits Surge for LA’s Teledentistry Companies

A pandemic-induced turn away from in-person dentist visits has given a lift to L.A.’s fledgling teledentistry industry.

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This Season, Office Holiday Parties Are Remote Affairs

Instead of suits and dresses, an ugly Christmas sweater paired with Zoom-friendly sweatpants appears to be the outfit du jour for this year’s corporate holiday parties.

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LABJ Insider: A Fitting Way to Wrap Things Up

The four stories that appear on the cover of the Business Journal this week — our final regular issue of 2020 — seem like a fitting way to wrap things up for this challenging year.

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Ports See ‘Unprecedented Amount of Cargo Volume’

While local freeways remain relatively open thanks to the Regional Stay at Home Order, traffic congestion at the San Pedro Bay complex shows no signs of letting up.

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Cottonwood Launches $200 Million Investment Platform for Real Estate Projects

Downtown-based Cottonwood Management and BCEG International Investment-US have teamed up to create a $200 million investment platform for real estate opportunities in the United States.

Downtown Tower Sells for $196 Million to German Investment Company

A 22-story office building in downtown has sold for $196 million.

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Relativity Nabs 2 New Launch Contracts

Relativity Space Inc. hasn’t yet launched a rocket out of Earth’s atmosphere, but the innovative aerospace company has a growing list of customers purchasing payload space for future launches.

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Koreatown Shopping Center Sells for $57.5 Million

California Marketplace, a Koreatown shopping center with more than two dozen tenants, has sold for $57.5 million.

Canoo Debuts Electric Vehicle With Plenty of Cargo Space

Gearing up for an initial public offering expected to occur before the end of the year, electric vehicle-maker Canoo Inc. debuted a new delivery vehicle Dec. 17 that the company aims to bring to market in 2022.

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AECOM Wins $41 Million Wastewater Contract

Century City-based infrastructure consulting giant AECOM announced Dec. 16 that it has been awarded a $41 million contract to upgrade a wastewater treatment plant in Carson that serves 5 million L.A. County residents and tens of thousands of businesses.

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Business Rockstars Acquired by Invincible Entertainment for $20M

Burbank-based audio and video producer Business Rockstars will be acquired for $20 million by film and television distributor Invincible Entertainment Partners, the two companies announced Dec. 15.

FDIC Report Points to Ongoing Unbanked Problem for LA

The rate of bank account ownership remains low in Los Angeles relative to the rest of the country, according to the most recent report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on unbanked Americans.

New President Raffetto Leads Middle-Market Push at City National

Richard Raffetto has spent just over 100 days as president of downtown-based City National Bank.

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Swell, Ares Plan $450 Million in Financing for Solar Energy

Swell Energy Inc. has partnered with Century City-based asset manager Ares Management Corp. and sustainability-focused asset manager Aligned Climate Capital to create a $450 million financing vehicle.

Perch Raises Seed Round for Credit Building Platform

Downtown-based fintech Perch Credit Inc. has raised $2.5 million in seed funding.

Dimer Unveils UV Device to Disinfect Schools

As the first round of vaccinations against the novel coronavirus gets underway, businesses and schools nationwide are making plans to safely reopen.

GumGum Sports Analyzes Returns on Branded Campaigns

Brands pay big dollars to put their logos on the jerseys of star athletes or on a prominently placed sign within a stadium.

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Super League Studio Allows Remote Production

Video production is limping along in Los Angeles as pandemic-related safety protocols have made traditional shoots challenging.

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Architecture Firm Jerde Has Designs on Continued Growth

While the global pandemic is battering many companies, downtown-based architecture firm Jerde Partnership is seeing an increase in activity.

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Optimus Sets $20 Million Refinancing for Multifamily Portfolio

Century-City based Optimus Properties has refinanced a multifamily portfolio of six buildings for $20.4 million.

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Office Conversion Complete at Former Sears Store

The conversion of a former Sears building into creative offices in downtown Santa Monica is now complete after a two-year, $50 million remodel.

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Special Report: 2020 Year In Review

In a year that many would like to forget, there was plenty to remember. Take a look at the top stories that shaped the Community of Business this year.

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Sunday, December 20

L.A. County Unemployment Rate Falls to 11% in November

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 11% in November from a revised 12% in October amid seasonal hiring gains in retail and logistics.

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Friday, December 18

Covid Test Maker Innova Acquires Pomona Lab

Pasadena-based Innova Medical Group Inc., which makes rapid antigen test kits, has acquired Pomona-based Biological Laboratory Inc.

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Live Nation Looks to Raise Another $500 Million

Beverly Hills-based Live Nation plans to sell $500 million worth of secured senior notes in a private offering.

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CIM Sells 153-Unit Building in West LA

Mid-Wilshire-based CIM Group has sold a 153-unit apartment building in West L.A.

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Bambee Raises $15 Million for HR Platform

Santa Monica-based Bambee Inc. has raised $15 million in Series B funding for its human resources platform for small businesses.

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Academy Museum Opening Is Postponed Again

The debut of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has been pushed back to next fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Thursday, December 17

Westside Redevelopment Scores $22 Million in Financing

Embarcadero Capital Partners has secured $22.4 million in financing for its redevelopment of Campus 56.

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Oaktree Makes $100 Million Natural Gas Investment

Downtown-based Oaktree Capital Management has invested $100 million in oil and gas investment company BKV Corp.

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Radiology Partners Completes $885 Million Acquisition

El Segundo-based Radiology Partners Inc. completed its acquisition of Mednax Radiology Solutions for about $885 million.

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CAA, Writers Guild End 20-Month Impasse

Creative Artists Agency and the Writers Guild of America have come to an agreement that ends their 20-month standoff.

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Wednesday, December 16

UCLA to Launch Online Master’s Program in Health Care Administration

UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health will launch an online master’s program in health care administration next fall.

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Dash Systems Raises $8 Million for Airdrop Technology

Hawthorne-based DASH Systems Inc. will use the funding to expand aerial shipping to remote and rural areas.

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Local Schools Receive Gifts from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Whittier College and Mount Saint Mary’s University have received multimillion donations from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

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Community Champions: The Center by Lendistry

Custom Content by JPMorgan Chase

The Los Angeles-based non-profit The Center by Lendistry might have the answer

Tuesday, December 15

Rocket Lab Launches Sixth Successful Mission This Year

Rocket Lab USA Inc. completed another mission Dec. 15, sending a satellite into space aboard one of the company’s Electron launch vehicles.

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Beauty Awards Finalists: Clean Beauty Award

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Dew Mighty was launched one month into the global COVID-19 pandemic and the company immediately focused on reshaping the traditions of delivering effective skin care while striving for zero waste.

Beauty Awards Finalists: Service Provider of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

A full service Amazon growth agency, beBOLD Digital focuses only on the Professional and Luxury Beauty category on Amazon.

Beauty Awards Finalists: Social Responsibility Award

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Since the day PÄPR started as a company, its founders pledged that they will never indulge in any sort of activity which has the potential to harm the environment.

Beauty Awards Finalists: Product of the Year

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Alleyoop’s infamous Multi-Tasker makeup brush flipped the beauty industry on its head with its innovative design.

Beauty Awards Finalists: Supplier of the Year

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The genesis of Beauty Collection was its founder Shawn Tavakoli’s dream, combined with an unwavering commitment to building a business he could stand behind.

Beauty Awards Finalists: Rising Brand of the Year

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Female-founded clean beauty brand Furtuna Skin operates under the philosophy that what you put on is just as important as what you put in your body.

Monday, December 14

Spotlight on Education: Experts Anticipate a New Era in Business Education

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Last year, AACSB International (AACSB), the world’s largest global business education network, launched a new face for the future of business education through the rollout of a new brand identity.

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Spotlight on Education: How Executive Education Benefits the Bottom Line for Employers

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Measuring the return on investment for big-ticket purchases has been and always will be important to efficient organizations, but in the wake of the recession, hunkered-down companies have become that much more insistent that dollars be wisely spent.

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Beauty Awards Honoree: Rising Brand of the Year

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In 2017, self-funded and family-owned D2C business L’ange entered the already saturated beauty industry intent on disrupting it

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Spotlight on Education: Master of Studies in Law Brings Legal Expertise to Business Practice

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Across the field of higher education, interdisciplinary is a buzzword heard often.

Beauty Awards Honoree: Supplier of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

For over 30 years, Garcoa Laboratories has been providing exceptional personal care products, that reflect the company’s continued commitment to quality, value and service.

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Beauty Awards Honoree: Clean Beauty Award

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Since Beautycounter’s first product launch in 2013, the company has been creating the gold standard for safety in the personal care industry.

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Beauty Awards Honoree: Service Provider of the Year

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As COVID-19 crippled the US economy this year, Beauty Barrage was faced with the biggest challenge to its business model to date.

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Beauty Awards Honoree: Social Responsibility Award

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KEVIN.MURPHY has been on the forefront of sustainability since its inception back in 2004.

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Beauty Awards Honoree: Product of the Year

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More than just an award-winning brand, Lashify is synonymous with disruption and innovation – holding 70 patents and 50 trademarks world-wide, including its patented Underlash technology.

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Spotlight on Education: Alumni Satisfaction Survey Reflects University of La Verne as a Worthwhile Investment

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

The University of La Verne is among the best universities in the country for alumni satisfaction, according to a new research study.

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Spot on Education: Making a Difference Amid a Pandemic

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Iran in February, Javad Fadardi was there.

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Beauty Awards Honoree: Brand of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Customers of eSalon enjoy a truly custom, salon-grade home hair color concept.

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2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Intellectual Property Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Peter Anderson is without question one of the standout music copyright attorneys currently practicing and his work this past year has been particularly impactful.

SpaceX Launches 25th Mission of 2020

SpaceX launched its 25th successful mission for this year on Dec. 13, deploying an audio satellite for Sirius XM Holdings Inc.

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AECOM Wins Projects in Texas, Colorado

Infrastructure consulting giant AECOM recently snagged contracts to provide environmental and engineering services for a light rail extension project in Texas and the renovation of an Air Force Academy hall in Colorado.

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New LAX Chief Erbacci Navigates Challenges From Covid, Construction

The LABJ Interview

When Justin Erbacci was named interim chief executive of Los Angeles World Airports almost exactly a year ago, he expected his toughest challenge would be to deliver the $14 billion modernization of LAX.

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Kilroy Shows Off New Netflix Campus in Hollywood

Kilroy Realty Corp. recently completed construction at On Vine, a Hollywood office complex leased to Netflix Inc., and showed off the property in a virtual event.

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DNA Motor Signs Lease in City of Industry

DNA Motor Inc. has signed a nearly 139,000-square-foot lease for an industrial property in the City of Industry.

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Multifamily Properties Sell for $26 Million

Two multifamily properties have sold for a combined $25.7 million, according to Coldwell Banker Commercial. The sales were announced on Dec. 3.

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Metro Completes $55 Million in Bus Improvements at Union Station

With all the focus on rail construction in recent years, it’s easy to forget that ridership for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority primarily comes from buses.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to Get Massive Makeover

It has been one of the more overlooked major infrastructure projects in Los Angeles, but last month a $1.64 billion makeover of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center took a major step forward.

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Rehrig Pacific Sells Product Line to Arkansas Container Company

Rehrig Pacific Co. said it will sell a line of products, including plastic pails, to Polyethylene Containers Inc. in Arkansas.

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Mattel to Create Toys Based on ‘Gus’ Animated Series

Mattel Inc. is adding to its roster of preschool brands, signing a multiyear global licensing agreement to create a full line of Fisher-Price toys based on “Gus — The Itsy Bitsy Knight.”

Beautycounter Blends Store, Livestream Studio at New Location

Santa Monica skin care and cosmetics company Counter Brands — doing business as Beautycounter — has a new hybrid store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

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LA Tech Companies Give Mindfulness Apps the Stress Test

As L.A.'s tech sector grows, a cluster of companies is taking meditation and mindfulness into a virtual space.

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Headspace, Netflix Partner for Mindfulness Series

Santa Monica-based Headspace Inc. is taking its relaxation and meditation content to the small screen through a new partnership with Netflix Inc.

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Rexford Buys Industrial Portfolio for $130 Million

Brentwood-based Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. has acquired a four-building industrial portfolio in the Inland Empire for $129.4 million.

Orca Secures $55 Million Series B

Orca Security Ltd., a cybersecurity company focused on cloud computing systems, has raised $55 million in a Series B funding round.

Activision Tops $3 Billion in Sales

Blockbuster video game franchises “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” continue to deliver big returns for Santa Monica-based publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.

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Hotel Near LAX Sells for $92 Million

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has sold the 502-room Renaissance Los Angeles Airport hotel to an unnamed buyer for $91.5 million.

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AECOM Completes Board Restructuring

Century City-based infrastructure consulting giant AECOM last week announced the completion of a restructuring of its board of directors.

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Musk Upbeat Despite Fiery Finish to Starship Test Flight

An early test flight of a massive Space Exploration Technologies Corp. spacecraft ended in a fiery inferno on Dec. 9.

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LABJ Insider: Musk on the Move

So, Elon Musk is taking his rockets and moving to Texas.

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Restaurants Say New Restrictions Create ‘Dire’ Situation

Local restaurant owners are struggling to say open and questioned the county’s recent decision to ban outdoor dining; that ban has since been put on hold by the courts.

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At LA’s Nail Salons, Latest Lockdown Cuts to the Quick

L.A. County has the largest percentage of nail salon workers and businesses in the United States, and they've been hit particularly hard by the Covid-related lockdowns.

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Platinum to Acquire Ingram Micro in $7.2 Billion Deal

Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity has announced plans to acquire Irvine-based Ingram Micro Inc. in a deal valued at $7.2 billion.

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Friday, December 11

Disney Tops 137 Million Streaming Subscribers

Walt Disney Co.'s video-on-demand platforms have quickly garnered an impressive number of viewers.

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Thursday, December 10

Southwest to Add Flights at Long Beach Airport

Southwest Airlines will start five new flights at Long Beach Airport in March, the carrier's biggest move since it won new slots at the airport.

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Wednesday, December 9

HomeLister Raises $4.5 Million for Commission-Free Real Estate Platform

Santa Monica real estate software developer HomeLister Inc. has raised $4.5 million in seed funding.

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Southern California Edison Signs More Energy Storage Contracts

Southern California Edison has signed long-term contracts for four projects totaling 590 megawatts of battery energy storage.

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Hawaiian Airlines Adds Flights at Long Beach, Ontario

Hawaiian Airlines is adding flights at Long Beach and Ontario International airports starting in March.

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Community Champions: The Debbie Allen Dance Academy

Custom Content by JPMorgan Chase

Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon are one of Los Angeles’ true power couples. Allen has made her mark in Hollywood as a celebrated dancer, producer, actress, choreographer and director earning three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and multiple Tony nominations.

Tuesday, December 8

Xencor Inks Licensing Agreement with Janssen Biotech

Monrovia-based pharma company Xencor signed a research collaboration and licensing agreement with Janssen Biotech to develop drugs to treat prostate cancer.

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Monday, December 7

Oblong Closes $5 Million Private Placement

Oblong Inc., a downtown-based remote meeting equipment business, has raised $5 million in PIPE investment.

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The Skills Raises $5 Million for Online Sports Courses

Manhattan Beach startup Skills Annex Inc. has raised $5 million in seed funding for a newly launched online sports education platform.

SpaceX Delivers New Airlock to International Space Station

SpaceX returned to the International Space Station, carrying a new airlock and thousands of pounds of other equipment.

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Local Debt Funds Are Picking Their Spots and Awaiting Post-Covid Opportunities

Like the financial crisis a decade ago, the Covid-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves through the lending markets.

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Clothing Wholesaler Maran Inks Lease in Santa Fe Springs

Wholesale women and children’s clothing company Maran Inc. has signed a 99-month lease in Santa Fe Springs valued at $15 million.

Koreatown-Adjacent Apartments Secure Construction Loan

A multifamily project underway near Koreatown has received a $16.6 million construction loan.

CapRock Partners Buys Industrial Property in Pomona

CapRock Partners has acquired a 230,000-square-foot industrial property in Pomona that it eventually plans to raze to make way for a larger industrial building with offices fit for distributors.

EZ Texting Secures $13 Million in Growth Financing

Santa Monica-based Callfire Inc., doing business as EZ Texting, has received $13 million in growth capital financing from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s CIBC Innovation Banking arm.

Clearlake Capital Makes Five Acquisitions

Santa Monica-based private equity group Clearlake Capital Partners has unveiled a series of five acquisitions in recent weeks.

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Investment Manager Whittier Trust Adapts to Covid Demands

As the oldest multifamily office on the West Coast, Whittier Trust Co. has seen its share of economic turbulence.

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Esports Organizer PlayVS Adds $10.5 Million in Funding

Sawtelle-based esports organizer Play Versus Inc. has taken in $10.5 million in new funding from undisclosed investors, a November Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows.

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StoryFile Offers a Visit With a Virtual Santa

With pandemic-related restrictions in full effect, it’s going to be a tough year for kids hoping for a visit to Santa’s workshop.

Standup Comedy App Laugh Lounge Keeps the Jokes Coming

It’s been a tough year for Los Angeles comedians, along with the many would-be comedy fans who've had to postpone evenings at live venues shuttered during the pandemic.

Covid Drives Demand for Cold Storage Facilities

Covid-19 is changing the way many people shop for food, and it’s thawing the frost that had settled over cold storage warehouses.

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Tetra Tech, AECOM Included in $185 Million Army Contract

Century City-based AECOM and Pasadena-based Tetra Tech Inc. have each won a place among a pool of eight contractors eligible for portions of a five-year $185 million contract from the Kansas district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for on-call environmental services.

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Fight Over TikTok Sale Continues

A protracted showdown between President Donald Trump and TikTok parent company ByteDance Ltd. could ramp back up later this month.

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Triller May Be Preparing for IPO

It has been a busy year for Century City-based social media company Triller Inc., and multiple reports suggest that the months ahead could include plans for an initial public offering.

Podcast Producer Wondery in Talks With Amazon

Amazon.com Inc. is reportedly pursuing an acquisition of West Hollywood-based podcast production company Wondery Inc.

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Guess Bests Revenue Projections, Shares Spike 10%

Shares of Guess Inc. rose about 10% to a market value of $1.19 billion last week after the downtown-based retailer beat Wall Street expectations on revenue and earnings for the third quarter of its 2021 fiscal year.

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Colony Capital Sells $400 Million Industrial Portfolio

Downtown-based real estate investment firm Colony Capital Inc. has closed the sale of its 51% ownership stake in a $400 million industrial bulk distribution portfolio.

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LABJ Insider: Small Businesses Get a Digital Delivery

The small business community got a well-timed and much-needed boost recently when the city of Los Angeles rolled out LA Optimized.

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LA Malls Brace for the Grinch

Some 30,000 children stopped by Santa’s house last year at the Americana at Brand in Glendale. This year is dramatically different for L.A. County malls and their Santas.

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Pandemic Brings Speed Bumps to LA’s Food Truck Scene

With the latest safer-at-home orders, food truck owners and workers could be in for an even tougher ride in coming weeks.

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Virus Surge Crunches Airports’ Thanksgiving Numbers

The region’s airports were expecting a major boost from Thanksgiving weekend travel, with bookings at their highest level since the pandemic began and airlines planning significant increases in flights.

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Extended Stay Properties Are Filling Up in LA

One type of hospitality property is faring better than others: extended stay hotels and residences.

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Former Media Exec Harry Sloan Now Stars in the Hottest Sector in Finance

Harry Sloan has had an impressive, if eclectic, career.

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Friday, December 4

Claremont Graduate University Receives $14 Million Gift

Claremont Graduate University has received a $14 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to create a health study center.

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Esports One Secures $4 Million for Fantasy Esports League

Santa Monica-based startup Esports One Inc. has raised $4 million in early stage funding to support a fantasy sports platform for competitive video gaming.

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Call of Duty Nets $3 Billion for Activision Blizzard

Blockbuster video game franchise “Call of Duty” continues to deliver big returns for Santa Monica publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.

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Downtown, Beverly Hills Sites Secure More Than $300 Million in Loans

The THEA at Metropolis and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills have received more than $300 million in first mortgage loans.

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Thursday, December 3

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Bankruptcy Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Tania Moyron is a partner in Dentons’ Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy group.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

With over 25 years of experience representing clients in a range of industries, across all areas of employment law, partner Kate Gold is a versatile litigator with experience in all types of employment-related suits facing California and national employers.

Wednesday, December 2

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Real Estate Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Diane De Felice combines her industry-leading land use and environmental law proficiency with proven litigation skills in large development and infrastructure projects.

Community Champions: New Economics for Women (NEW)

Custom Content by JPMorgan Chase

LA-based organization lays financial groundwork for women to thrive during pandemic

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Corporate Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Susan Grueneberg is a partner at the 750-attorney, Am Law 100 law firm of Cozen O’Connor and a dean of the national franchise law bar.

Tuesday, December 1

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Litigation Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

With a litigation career spanning four decades, Brad Brian advises clients on their most important cases.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Growing Private Company of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Ken Choi is general counsel of Oceanwide Plaza LLC, where he oversees the company’s risk management operations by leading corporate strategic and tactical legal initiatives for Oceanwide Holdings’ U.S. real estate flagship, an over $1 billion-dollar project with nearly 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use development across from the Staples Center.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Rising Star of the Year

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After graduating from UCLA Law, Patrick Kirby joined a private practice with Lynberg & Watkins as an associate attorney.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Nonprofit of the Year

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Yemi Adegbonmire is a highly successful intellectual property and entertainment attorney.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Public Company of the Year

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Arjun Kampani has led Aerojet Rocketdyne through the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Sacramento to El Segundo.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Mid-Sized Private Company of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Rachel Croessmann began her career in law as a practicing attorney in Miami-Dade County.

2020 Leaders in Law Finalists: Large Private Company of the Year

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Alan Dettelbach serves as chief legal officer and general counsel of Wedgewood, LLC, one of the nation’s leading acquirers of distressed residential real estate, and CIVIC Financial Services, LLC – a wholly owned subsidiary and institutionalized private money lender.

Leaders in Law 2020: Redefining Legal Education

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

The USC Gould School of Law – the first law school in Southern California and one of the top-ranked nationwide – celebrates its 120th anniversary in 2020. Since its establishment, innovation has been an integral part of the USC Gould School’s DNA.

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Leaders in Law 2020: The Way Forward - Digital Marketing for Attorneys in 2021

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

In an ever-shifting digital marketing landscape, law firms looking to generate growth, new clients, and increased revenue must assiduously keep pace with the latest trends, technology, and insights that shape their industry.

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Headspace Announces Partnership With Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud Network

The Santa Monica-based mobile app developer is bringing some humor to its meditation app.

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2020 Leaders in Law Honoree: Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Tchienyonnoh Katuri Kaye of Tucker Huss (an ERISA and employee benefits firm) focuses her practice primarily on qualified retirement plans, including defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and plans of tax exempt entities and public schools and universities, including 403(b) and 457 plans.

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2020 Leaders in Law Honoree: Intellectual Property Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

David Gindler is a partner in Milbank’s Los Angeles office with over 35 years of expertise

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2020 Leaders in Law Honoree: Bankruptcy Attorney of the Year

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Jennifer Hagle is on the Executive Committee of one of the country’s most distinguished global law firms, Sidley Austin, and is recognized as one of the top transactional bankruptcy lawyers in the country.

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