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NEWSMAKERS – Rand’s New Counter-Terrorism Fellow Takes Center Stage


Rand’s New Counter-Terrorism Fellow Takes Center Stage

In a sense, Leonard Bernstein pushed David Aaron into the foreign service.

Theater was the first love of the recently appointed senior fellow at Rand Corp. As a student at Occidental College, “I was asked to try out for a role in ‘West Side Story’. I told myself that if I didn’t get the part I would go into the foreign service. I didn’t get the part.”

The choice to pursue a career at the State Department initially had little to do with diplomacy and more with his love of travel. But as the postings came, so too did a love of the work.

He entered the foreign service in 1962 and worked with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in nuclear arms reductions talks. Later he served on the staff of then-Sen. Walter Mondale, D-Minn.; as deputy national security advisor to former President Jimmy Carter; and as permanent representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in the Clinton administration.

He left government for a position at financial services firm Oppenheimer & Co., and most recently worked as a senior advisor to law firm Dorsey & Whitney.

The move to Rand is a homecoming for the Los Angeles-bred diplomat. “My son lives here, and he was putting the heat on me to spend more time with him,” Aaron said. When James Thomson, Rand’s president and chief executive and an old friend, learned of this, he offered Aaron a position.

Aaron will oversee Rand’s counter-terrorism and homeland security projects and continue working on his own projects that largely focus on international trade.

Despite losing that acting role 40 years ago, the arts continue to be a part of Aaron’s life. His wife is a television producer, his son is a musician, and Aaron himself has authored three novels and dabbles in watercolor painting.

Daniela Drake


Colby & Partners has hired Niraj Zaveri as art director and Jesse Bacon as account supervisor. Previously, Zaveri worked at Spike DDB in New York. Bacon worked for SAESHE Advertising in Los Angeles.

New York online advertising firm Unicast has named Chad Beasley director of West Coast sales at its newly opened office in Los Angeles. Prior to joining Unicast, Beasley was media supervisor at Digitas in Boston.

Media Revolution has hired Bob Kasunic as director of online marketing and campaign strategy. Most recently, Kasunic served as vice president and director of interactive services at brand marketing agency Upshot.


Motorcar Parts & Accessories Inc. has appointed Bill Laughlin as vice president of sales, traditional aftermarket, and John Foster vice president of marketing.


Nara Bank has promoted Min J. Kim to chief operating officer, Bonnie Lee to chief credit officer and Mike Park to senior credit administrator. Kim was chief credit officer and Lee was credit administrator.


Parsons has appointed Kenneth J. Deagon vice president of its infrastructure and technology group. Deagon has been with Parsons for 22 years and is project manager of the Captured Enemy Ammunition Program in Iraq.

Darin Johnson, a vice president at RBF Consulting, has been appointed office manager in its Camarillo branch.


NBC entertainment publicity has promoted Deborah Thomas to vice president of media relations and Jamie French to senior press manager, and hired Grace L. Niu as senior press manager. Thomas has worked at NBC since 1999, most recently as director of NBC media relations. French joined NBC as a page in guest relations in 1997 and Niu had been senior manager of publicity and promotions at Fine Line Features.


Jill Hotvet was hired as director of client relations at First Wilshire, a money management firm in Pasadena.

Parke Guptill & Co. LLP has elected T. Michael Phillipson managing partner. He has been with the firm since 1977 and has been a partner since 1988.

Libra Securities, a middle-market investment bank, has hired Shariar A. Attaie as an associate in the Los Angeles office. Attaie most recently worked for Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin’s financial restructuring group.


City Controller Laura Chick has named Miriam Jaffe to the newly created position of director of government and community affairs. Previously, Jaffe was chief of staff to City Councilman Jack Weiss.

Mayor James Hahn has appointed Mercedes Marquez general manager of the Housing Department, effective Jan. 5, 2004. Marquez is a vice president at McCormack Baron Salazar Inc., which specializes in the development, consultation and management of urban communities.

Health Care

GeneFluidics Inc. has elected Dr. Edward McCabe to the company’s board of advisors. McCabe is the executive chair of the department of pediatrics at UCLA Medical School.

Health Sciences Group Inc., a provider of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical products, has hired John Park as president and chief executive of its XCEL Healthcare and BioSelect Innovations divisions. Park had been director of operations for BioMed Corp.

HemaCare Corp. has named Dr. Steven Gerber to its board. Gerber, a cardiologist, was most recently head of health care research at CIBC World Markets. The company also appointed Robert Chilton as chief financial officer. Chilton had been executive vice president and chief financial officer of Preferred Health Management Inc.

Blue Cross of California has promoted Michael C. Higgins to senior vice president of the large group division. Higgins has worked at Blue Cross since 1983, most recently as general manager, Blue Cross special and national accounts.

Vitas Innovative Hospice Care of Coastal Cities has promoted Wesley Rogers to director of admissions. Rogers most recently served as physician and hospital representative and as long term care representative.

LivHOME Inc. has appointed Martin Ramseck senior vice president of sales and marketing. Ramseck most recently served as area vice president of sales at Sunrise Assisted Living.

Jack D. Williams has been elected chief executive of ppoNext, a provider of health network services. Previously, Williams served as chief operating officer of NovaCare, a provider of contract rehabilitation services.


Sara Priola has joined Ungerlaw.com/ eMinutes as an associate specializing in business organizations. Previously, Priola worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.


Pat Mathiesen has been named chief financial officer of Cardinal Industrial Finishes. Mathiesen had been a partner at Corbin & Co., an audit and tax preparation firm.


Carina Chocano has been hired by the Los Angeles Times as television critic. Chocano was most recently a critic and staff writer at Entertainment Weekly.

Recording Academy has hired Evan Greene as vice president, marketing and strategic alliances. Previously, Greene was executive director, marketing and promotions at Columbia Pictures.

Francesca Cohn has been named director of strategic development for Ascent Media Creative Services Group. Cohn was formerly vice president, interactive/direct /broadcast at Team One Advertising in Torrance.

WorldLink, a media sales firm, has promoted David Schuchman to sales manager. He had been an account executive with the company for three years.


The Urban Education Partnership has named Reginald K. Ingram Jr. vice president and chief development officer. Prior to joining the Urban Education Partnership, Ingram was president and chief executive of Ingram & Associates.

Real Estate

The Los Angeles Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management has named Sallie Shima Chen president. Chen is a principal at C & N; Business Consultants.

CB Richard Ellis has named Mark Hong first vice president of retail services and director of the Korean services group at CBRE’s downtown Los Angeles office. Hong was principal and founder of Excel Commercial Real Estate.


Korn/Ferry International announced that Gary D. Burnison had been named chief operating officer. Burnison, who already served as chief financial officer, will retain the title. He joined Korn/Ferry as CFO in March 2002 and is a member of the Global Operating Committee.


Digital Evolutions, a Web management services and security provider has hired Paul Gigg as president and chief executive. Gigg was most recently a vice president with IBM.

Document Systems Inc., a developer of software systems for compliant loan documents, has hired Lissa Marie Cinat as assistant general counsel. Prior to joining DSI, Cinat was a member of a public interest law firm in Detroit.

Integrated Decision Systems, a provider of portfolio management systems, has appointed Donald H. Totter chief executive. Totter was chief sales officer for the company’s brokerage division.


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