By SARA FISHER
Who are going to be the movers and shakers around town in 2019? It’s a tricky prediction, to put it mildly. Companies fold, merge and move. People change industries, burn out or retire young. It may be the main deal makers currently wowing Los Angeles, or it could be their children.
That said, the following are some of the Angelenos who have made their presence known and top the odds for who’s going to be shaping their industries 20 years from now.
? Jason Bentley, director of artists & repertoire at Maverick Records, DJ at KCRW-FM 89.9 and KROQ-FM 106.7. The 29-year-old Bentley has helped shape the local music scene for years, primarily though his eclectic radio shows, earning a reputation as a trendsetter. He’s a respected voice in the music industry, with the ability to make or break a band, and is seen as one of Maverick’s main assets.
? Keith Black, director of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s neurological institute, founder of biotech company Medlennium Technologies and chairman of the neurosurgery department at UC Irvine. Featured recently on the cover of Time magazine as a “hero of medicine,” the 41-year-old neurosurgeon is responsible for even further boosting Cedars’ reputation. Currently working on developing a vaccine to prevent the recurrence of brain tumors, Black is being viewed by many experts as likely to find a cure for brain cancer in his lifetime.
? Sky Dayton, chairman of EarthLink Network Inc. and partner at eCompanies. The 27-year-old lifelong computer junkie founded and guided one of the nation’s fastest-growing Internet access providers over the last half decade. Now Dayton is looking to share his insight and experience with others, and just recently co-founded the Santa Monica-based Internet incubator, eCompanies. Odds are that eCompanies eventually will become as integral to L.A.’s tech scene as Bill Gross’ Pasadena incubator, Idealab.
? Michael De Luca, production chief at New Line Cinema. The 33-year-old head of New Line, a studio owned by Time Warner Inc., has earned a reputation as Hollywood’s brilliant bad boy. Called hip, gutsy, wild and creative, Brooklyn-born De Luca has guided New Line to make both critically acclaimed films (“Boogie Nights,” “Wag the Dog”) and popular moneymakers (“Rush Hour,” “The Wedding Singer”). Having spent his entire professional career at New Line after joining as an 18-year-old intern, he may still rule the roost in 20 years.
? Jamie LeFrak, project manager at TrizecHahn Development Corp. The 25-year-old is managing the hotel component of TrizecHahn’s Hollywood & Highland project, one of the largest retail-entertainment developments under construction in Southern California. Born and raised in a prominent New York real estate family, LeFrak intends to become a developer in his own right and has said that his 20-year plan is to build a city of his own.
? Toby Lenk, president of eToys. The 36-year-old head of the online toy retailer is called a pillar in L.A.’s burgeoning tech industry. A Harvard MBA and former Walt Disney Co. executive, Lenk led eToys out of the Idealab gates at a dead run. The company grew rapidly, had a meteoric initial public stock offering and dominates its niche. Acquaintances say that Lenk is a true entrepreneurial spirit and is likely to eventually leave eToys to try his hand at building more Internet success stories.
? Laurie McCartney, president and chief executive of e-Style Inc. The 31-year-old heads a rapidly up-and-coming online retailer targeted at women. McCartney and her management team caught the eye of the downtown venture capital firm Zone Ventures, which believes that McCartney’s e-commerce company has an incredibly rosy future. McCartney is also a Walt Disney Co. alumna, where she worked in the strategic planning department.
? Margaret Midgett, partner and creative assistant at TBWA Chiat/Day. The 30-year-old is getting groomed at the side of Lee Clow, the advertising agency’s renowned creative chief. Midgett contributed to the agency’s multiple award-winning Apple Computer “Think Different” campaign when not even part of the creative team. Midgett worked her way up from joining TBWA Chiat/Day in 1993 as a switchboard operator after graduating from Cal State Long Beach.
? Rick Newman, principal and senior vice president at Lowe Enterprises. The 35-year-old heads up development projects throughout Los Angeles for Lowe. The privately held Lowe has $225 million worth of development in the pipeline throughout Southern California, and Newman is actively scouting for even more development and acquisition opportunities. Described as not yet having a big name outside of local real estate circles, it will only be a matter of time.
? Alex Padilla, Los Angeles City Council member, 7th District. At 26, the newcomer to the City Council is just starting what is being viewed as a long political career. When he runs into City Council term limits in 2009, he’ll be the most senior member eligible and expected to run for Los Angeles mayor. Before winning his election, Padilla was district director for state Assemblyman Tony Cardenas.
? Scott Sassa, president of NBC Entertainment. The 39-year-old television executive, who earlier this year was given the task of reviving the flagging network, likely won’t be at NBC in 20 years, but he’ll be at the top of the entertainment industry somewhere. (Barry Diller once said that firing Sassa was one of his worst mistakes.) A native Angeleno and USC dropout, Sassa’s resume includes abruptly terminated stints as president of Turner Entertainment and as head of the then start-up Fox Broadcasting.
? Casey Wasserman, chief operating officer of Wasserman Foundation and owner of L.A.’s arena football franchise, The Avengers. The 25-year-old grandson of Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman is working hard to live up to his family name. He’s responsible for investment and grant-making activities at his family trust, the Wasserman Foundation. And as the sole owner of the new football franchise, he’s overseeing every aspect of launching the business. Wasserman also was involved in getting the Grammys to move to L.A., and sits on a variety of boards around town, including the L.A. City Library Commission and the Geffen Playhouse.
? Jake Winebaum, co-founder of eCompanies. The 40-year-old former chairman of Disney’s Buena Vista Internet Group decided to strike out along with his snowboarding buddy Sky Dayton earlier this summer to create a new Internet incubator. An inveterate entrepreneur, Winebaum launched two magazines for Disney before becoming the driving force behind Disney’s Internet endeavors. Filled with ideas for new Internet companies, Winebaum is itching to bring his and others’ visions to fruition in the L.A. tech scene.