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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Director of Local Offices of AeA Leaves Position

Director of Local Offices of AeA Leaves Position By SLAV KANDYBA Staff Reporter The local office of the American Electronics Association is in a state of “flux” after the sudden departure of its executive director. Gillian Henchi, director of membership development at the Los Angeles-Santa Barbara Council of the AeA in Woodland Hills, said Dave Wood was no longer with the organization in a phone call to the Business Journal on Feb. 18. Wood was unavailable for comment and members of AeA’s local executive committee refused to give details about his departure but apparently it has been a struggle to pull together the busy executives who make up the Council’s executive committee. “We barely had an executive committee for a while,” said Henchi, who was juggling tasks due to Wood’s departure. “We just need new leadership.” Executives on the committee and a senior representative with AeA pointed to changing trends in the high-tech industry when questioned about Wood. “We will be moving very quickly to find a new executive director,” said Mark Albertson, an AeA senior vice president for the western region. AeA is the nation’s largest high-tech trade group, with representation in 15 markets nationwide and offices in Belgium and China. It represents more than 3,000 companies with some 1.8 million employees. Tech companies of varying sizes, as well as venture capitalists and others make up the membership of the Los Angeles/Santa Barbara Council, which serves Southern California from Orange County to Ventura County and east to the California/Nevada border. Albertson declined to speak about Wood’s departure in detail, but did say that it was a “normal course” to see turnover in the organization. As far as Wood’s replacement, no candidates were known, but Albertson said the next director will likely be a new face. “I fully believe this will be an external hire, and don’t know if there will be internal candidates,” Albertson said. Several new members recently joined the executive committee, which now has nine members, including two new additions and four departures, excluding Wood. New to the committee are Bruce Brown, CEO of Thousand Oaks-based Strix Systems, and Alan Spatz, partner at Troy & Gould of Los Angeles. Stepping down in early February were E. Michael Thoben, CEO of Interlink Electronics, Ronald Hood, president of WEMS Electronics, Charles Girsky, executive vice president of Jaco Electronics and Andre de Fusco, CEO of Sabeus Photonics. Albertson, who heads up AeA’s West Coast headquarters office in Santa Clara, and will select a new executive director for the local council, said the high-tech industry in the Valley and the rest of Southern California has changed over the past several years. Software, semiconductor and wireless industries have come on strong, displacing defense industry contractors as central drivers in the Valley’s high-tech scene. Across the 16 other AeA markets nationally, more than 30 percent of membership is made up of software companies, a growing trend, Albertson said. Strix’s Brown declined to comment about Wood’s departure, but said the Valley-area tech industry’s “composition has changed a lot, as companies that I have been involved in have had very little defense industry connection.” Further, Brown said his invitation to join the Council, which came from Wood, was likely because he is involved with Wi-Fi, a cutting-edge technology that enables connecting computers and other communications devices without wires. Henchi said the office was in a state of “flux” with Wood’s departure. Other members of the local Council could either not be reached after several attempts to contact them by the Business Journal or declined to comment about the situation.

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