Los Angeles Business Journal

Monday, February 1, 2016

Experienced employment attorney Linda M. Toutant has joined the downtown Los Angeles office of Klinedinst PC. Ms. Toutant has over twenty years of business litigation experience, and assists clients in all matters of employment law. On a related note, Klinedinst counsel Kimberly A. Westmoreland is hosting a 2016 employment law seminar for businesses on February 11, 2016 at the San Fernando Valley Bar Association. Topics will include CA minimum wage increase, LA’s minimum wage hike, expanded protections for employees, Fair Pay Act, and more. Details and information online at californiaseminar.com.


Citizens Business Bank is proud to welcome Gary Braunstein as Senior Vice President, Head of Citizens Home Lending.
Mr. Braunstein brings over 25 years of experience in the Mortgage Banking and Home Lending industry. Prior to joining Citizens Business Bank, he served as Head of Mortgage Banking with Pacific Mercantile Bank, Home Lending with Morgan Stanley Credit Corporation (Western States Region), California Housing Finance Agency, and Real Estate Manager for Bank of America. He brings a proven track record in strategic planning, operations, compliance and risk management, and product development in residential lending.
Gary received his Bachelor of Science Degree from The State University of New York and his Master of Business Administration Degree from National University.

Johnny H. Minassian, CPA, MBA, has joined the Partnership of NSBN LLP, CPAs & ADVISORS. Johnny has over 20 years providing audit and accounting services to closely-held, entrepreneurial, and middle market companies. Formerly Johnny was a Partner at both a national and a Big Four accounting firm. His prior experience was serving clients in the financial services industry, working with investment advisors and broker-dealers. Johnny serves on the Board of Directors of the Valley Women’s Center and the Audit Committee of the Los Angeles Mission.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Saatchi & Saatchi’s fully integrated premium, luxury and aspirational brand agency Team One appointed former Razorfish digital leader W. Joe DeMiero as management director. DeMiero brings more than 15 years of digital expertise to Team One’s integrated agency teams, and will focus on innovative digital integrations.

Skanska, one of the world’s leading construction and development firms, announced Jason Groshart has been promoted to vice president of business development for its building construction unit.
With more than 20 years of experience, Groshart has spent the last 10 years with Skanska, most recently as an account manager. A California native with an extensive network and knowledge of the Los Angeles and Southern California markets, Groshart has a diverse portfolio of project experience in the healthcare, education, aviation and commercial sectors.


Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is pleased to announce its newest policy director, Katherine Brandenburg, who joins its Sacramento office. A veteran lobbyist and trusted public policy advisor, Brandenburg has more than 30 years of experience in the political arena, including 20 years as an advocate in the California State Capitol.

Olga Zarney, CPA, MST, is now a Senior Tax Manager at NSBN LLP, CPAs & ADVISORS. Olga provides tax compliance and planning for individuals, real estate professionals, partnerships, closely-held businesses, corporations and nonprofit organizations. She also advises on trust, estate, and gift tax returns. NSBN will be moving soon from Beverly Hills to Century City.


Hub International, a leading global insurance broker, announced the promotion of Sara Owens to Senior Vice President, Engagement, of its Los Angeles operations. HUB Los Angeles is a $50 Million operation with 250 employees, and provides personal, business and health insurance and risk services. Owens will be responsible for engaging key constituents including but not limited to: community leaders, business owners, professional associations, strategic partners, clients and employees. In addition, she will aid in identifying and nurturing insurance brokerage acquisition opportunities. HUB International congratulates Sara Owens on her outstanding accomplishments and contributions. www.hubinternational.com.

CH2M recently promoted Gerard Orozco to Key Account Manager of the Los Angeles office. Mr. Orozco is one of only seven executives handpicked to lead the firm’s most important Los Angeles region accounts. Mr. Orozco will focus on cross business opportunities in areas such as water, transportation, energy, technology and manufacturing.


Kenneth T. Lombard, formerly vice chairman, partner and head of investments for Capri Capital Partners, LLC, has joined MacFarlane Partners as president. At MacFarlane Partners, Lombard will lead the company’s real estate investment management business, serve on its investment and senior management committees, and assist with its expanding real estate development business.

1st Century Bank is happy to welcome Sadegh Farhadi to their Business Development Team at the Bank’s headquarters located in Century City. Sadegh joins the bank as a Relationship Manager in the Business Banking Center. Sadegh has been a member of Barclay’s Wealth and UBS Wealth Management, where he successfully marketed and managed a portfolio of high net worth clients. For more information, visit www.1cbank.com.


The Jeffrey Foundation Hires Chief Operating Officer

Alyce Morris Winston, CEO and Founder of The Jeffrey Foundation announced today that Marvin Espinoza will be Chief Operating Officer (COO) as of January 15, 2016. Mr. Espinoza joins The Jeffrey Foundation with over 20 years of working with children, youth, families and communities. More recently, he worked as Senior Program Officer at First 5 LA—a leading early childhood advocate working collaboratively across L.A. County.

The Jeffrey Foundation has been in the community for 44 years providing services to children with special needs and families and the wealth of experience, leadership, and vision Marvin brings will ensure we continue with this legacy, said CEO and Founder Alyce Morris Winston. Mr. Espinoza holds a master’s degree in education and undergraduate degrees in child development.
The Jeffrey Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for special needs and at-risk children through community-based educational, therapeutic, recreational, and counseling programs. To learn more about The Jeffrey Foundation, visit www.thejeffreyfoundation.com

Monday, January 25, 2016

Construction industry veteran Jeff M. Bernards has joined Sharpe Interior Systems, an established drywall contractor, as Executive Vice President where he will contribute executive leadership and continuity to Sharpe’s reputation for delivering high quality service. Current projects include Kaiser Woodland Hills, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, 1200 Figueroa, WeWorks, and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.


Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) appoints Sean Bani as Principal, Electrical Engineering Leader, and Douglas Keys, AIA, as Principal, Project Management. Bani will oversee and manage the technical discipline in the Los Angeles office. Keys will lead the overall project management activities for the Los Angeles office.

Matt Cochran, CPA, was named an audit manager of Lucas Horsfall, according to Mike Amerio, managing partner. Cochran holds a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in accounting, finance and marketing from Marquette University. Lucas Horsfall is one of the largest accounting and business consulting firms in Southern California.


JOHNSON FAIN recognizes the following individuals for their leadership, accomplishments and commitment to the progressive values of the firm. Steve H. Chung, RA, LEED AP has been appointed to Associate Principal and the following individuals have been promoted to Associate: Hyeyoon Chung, RA, LEED AP; Edwin Fang, LEED AP; John Jackson, Jeffrey Levy, LEED AP and Alex Pijuan. JOHNSON FAIN, an architecture, urban design + planning and interior design firm, is well-known for the design of a wide range of projects both locally and abroad.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Harley Ellis Devereaux appoints Martha Ball as Principal, Studio Leader. Ball will continue to lead the Higher Education Studio in Los Angeles with Brent Miller. Ball has managed a variety of large-scale projects at leading universities, including the University of Southern California, University of California, Riverside, and University of Washington.


Stacey Wong has been named Vice President Sales, Servicon Systems, following record growth and expansion in 2015 announced CEO, Laurie Sewell. Servicon, a leading custodial service and solution provider for complex and high-end environments, currently represents 100+ million SF of space in commercial, aerospace, high-tech and healthcare facilities in the Western US.

Scott Lyle, former Arden Realty/GE Capital executive, has joined Palisades Capital Realty Advisors as Principal and Chief Operating Officer announced Joaquin de Monet, Founder/Managing Principal. The former top two executives at Arden reunite at Palisades Capital, a real estate investment manager that offers customized solutions to US and foreign investors.


Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP, a leading Los Angeles law firm, has named three attorneys to the position of partner, announced founding partners Keith Elkins and Scott Kalt. Michael Schmitt, Matthew Mahan and Shai Halbe have become partners and will continue to work in the firm’s expanding real estate practice. Elkins Kalt specializes in real estate, land use, finance, corporate, securities, tax, estate planning, environmental, litigation, hospitality, tax credit affordable housing, and Investment Advisor/Broker-Dealer.

Carl R. Terzian, chairman of Carl Terzian Associates, will be inducted into Theta Chi Fraternity’s Hall of Honor on April 2, 2016 at the fraternity’s international headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Recognized as the dean of public relations consultants in California, Mr. Terzian will also receive the fraternity’s coveted Distinguished Achievement Award for his “extraordinary accomplishments in business, the community and philanthropy.”
“This award from the Theta Chi Fraternity that includes being inducted in its Hall of Honor is truly exalting,” said Mr. Terzian. “As an alumnus of one of the oldest men’s college fraternities in North America, I’m deeply moved by this recognition.”


Sutton, Pakfar & Courtney LLP has elevated Kelsey Thayer to be a partner in its real estate department. Ms. Thayer represents financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds, and private equity investors in the purchase, sale, development, finance, joint venture, workout, and restructuring of all types of real property. Ms. Thayer began her career as an associate in the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Guy Mehula joined Vanir Construction Management, Inc. as President in May 2015 and is based in the Sacramento Corporate Headquarters. Mehula brings more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry, leading highly experienced teams of construction and project managers. Previously, while at Parsons, Mehula headed up the global buildings division and was later named President of its Middle East division. Under his tenure, Parsons Middle East achieved record sales growth and doubled in size to over 5,000 construction professionals. Before that, he was Chief Facilities Executive at Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), where he led the second largest school construction program in the country. Under his leadership, he oversaw upgrades on 77 million square feet of buildings and the construction of more than 100 new schools in 8 years, totaling $20 billion in school construction. Prior to LAUSD, Guy achieved the rank of Captain during his 29-year career in the United States Navy, managing a number of large-scale global assignments. He served as commander of the 30th Naval Construction Unit, a 9,000-person enterprise with 27 subsidiaries.


Team One, Saatchi & Saatchi’s fully integrated premium, luxury and aspirational brand agency, appointed Jennifer Bolt as Executive Director, Idea Communication, responsible for paid, earned, owned and shared media. Bolt previously held positions at Omnicom agencies TracyLocke and Integer, at Horizon Media, and at rVue.

Vanir Construction Management, Inc. has named Dennis Martinez as the Los Angeles Area Manager. Martinez will lead all aspects of operations and be in charge of the day to day execution of contracts, as well as client relations and new business development.
Martinez brings a wealth of knowledge that encompasses all facets of design and construction, with an emphasis in civil engineering and infrastructure. From a $2.4 billion bond program for Los Angeles Unified School District to a $719 million Metro Green Line project for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, he has devoted a 36-year career to numerous high-profile programs in the education, justice facilities, transportation, wastewater, commercial, and residential markets.
Martinez holds a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from San Francisco State University. Vanir is currently executing national contracts with Microsoft, Dignity and Providence Health systems, and has been providing project and construction management services to Los Angeles World Airports for the last 10+ years.


Gursey | Schneider LLP announces the promotions of Kristin L. Webster, CPA and Kristina M. Fujisaki, CPA/CFF to partner. Ms. Webster specializes in the area of forensic accounting in high net worth complex family law matters and has managed several long cause, high profile cases. Ms. Fujisaki specializes in forensic accounting in family law matters and performs a wide range of services including business appraisals, analyses of gross cash flow available for support, analyses of marital standard of living and reimbursement claims. Gursey | Schneider LLP is an accounting firm providing more than 37 years of experience in every area of accounting, litigation support, business management and business valuation. G|S has offices in Century City, Irvine, Torrance, San Francisco and one opening in the San Fernando Valley, early 2016.

Vanir Construction Management Inc. welcomes Dianne Lee as Director of Business Development to lead all Southern California pursuits across 7 markets. Vanir has been providing quality construction management services to clients across the United States and internationally. From concept to completion, Vanir serves clients in K-12 Education, Higher Education, Healthcare, Justice Facilities, Water/Waste Water, Public Buildings, and Transportation.
Lee will lead strategic marketing and client development efforts, manage key stakeholder relations, and enhance Vanir’s presence and visibility within the region.
She comes to Vanir from Austin Commercial, California and Parsons International, where she served as business development manager in the Middle East Region. Lee received a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast News with a minor in Journalism from Indiana State University and has spent the last 10 years of her career dedicated to the A/E/C industry.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Sean Spear Joins Hughes Marino’s West Los Angeles Team

Sean Spear has joined the West Los Angeles office of Hughes Marino, an industry-leading California tenant representation firm. Spear was formerly director of Southern California for Bisnow, a national online commercial real estate publication, where he led business development throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. “Sean’s extensive knowledge of Southern California corporate real estate and creative, tech-centric thinking make him a great match with Hughes Marino,” says the firm’s CEO, Jason Hughes.

Green Hasson Janks expanded its Nonprofit Tax Practice. Lauren Haverlock, CPA, MST, joined the Firm as a principal and will be leading its nonprofit tax team. Lauren has over ten years of experience in public accounting and has specialized in the exempt organization area for large organizations with over $100 million in assets to smaller startup entities for the last eight years of her career. “We are extremely pleased to have Lauren join our team,” said Donella Wilson, partner leading the Green Hasson Janks Nonprofit Practice. “Hiring Lauren is a reflection of our commitment to and investment in growing the nonprofit practice as part of our strategic vision.”

Monday, December 14, 2015


Managing Director Bita Ardalan has been promoted to Head of Union Bank’s Commercial Banking Group, which includes all Business Banking and Middle Market Commercial Lending. Prior to this, Ms. Ardalan served as the Head of Middle Market Banking. Previously, she served as the founding Head of the bank’s National Specialized Lending Group. Ms. Ardalan started her banking career at Union Bank in 1986.

Kibel Green appointed Paul Jan Zdunek Senior Consultant. Zdunek brings 15 years as a Chief Restructuring Officer for companies experiencing transformation, distress or crisis. His customized revisualization of future business models has increased the value of over 10 companies where he served in C-Level leadership roles throughout the United States.


NSBN LLP Announces Kenneth A. Miles, CPA, Elected to Deputy Worldwide Chairman of Alliott Group
Kenneth A. Miles, CPA, Managing Partner of NSBN, was elected by Alliott Group to serve as Deputy Worldwide Chairman, in addition to Chairman of the North America Region. Alliott Group, an international association of law, accounting and consulting firms, extends NSBN’s ability to serve clients across borders and provides access to resources typically available to only the largest accounting firms.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dennis Henderson joined HNTB Corporation as senior project director of transit planning for the West Division, based in Southern California. He brings over 35 years of industry experience including management of light rail transit projects across the country. He is responsible for supporting the company’s growth around the transit planning practice by creating transportation options to the region’s multimodal network as highway congestion continues to increase. Previously he served as project manager for SANDAG’s Mid-Coast Transit Corridor and is familiar with local transportation agencies, the Federal Transit Administration project development process, and the National Environmental Policy Act.


George Blanco and Michael Ozawa are pleased to announce the formation of Enterprise Management Advisors, LLC (EMA Group), a boutique firm focused on turnarounds and restructurings. Both managing principals have decades of experience in operational turnarounds, financial restructurings, enterprise performance improvements, Chapter 11 proceedings, interim management, and wind-downs and will work in partnership with investment bankers, private equity, attorneys, accounting firms and other service providers to solve transitional business issues. EMA Group takes a holistic approach in advising clients on operational and financial advisory strategies.