San Fernando Valley accountant Mel Kohn has been elected chairman of the board of directors of FilmLA, the first non-entertainment industry professional to hold that post. As the chairman, Kohn can reach out to the city leaders and the community at large to reflect what FilmLA is doing. “I bring that to that table because I have done it,” said Kohn, managing partner of Kirsch, Kohn & Bridge in Encino. FilmLA is the not-for-profit agency contracted to coordinate on-location filming in the city, Los Angeles Unified School District, Burbank Unified School District, Angeles National Forest and a number of smaller municipalities. Kohn was elected chair by members of the 25-person board. He will serve for one year and replaces Bryan Unger, the representative of the Directors Guild of America. Kohn joined the FilmLA board in 2005 and served for one year on the financial audit sub-committee. While not in the entertainment industry himself, Kohn said that was not daunted about leading the board and being its liaison with FilmLA President Steve MacDonald. He has served as chairman of the Valley Economic Development Center and president of the City of Los Angeles Business Tax Advisory Committee and still has many contacts at City Hall and among city leaders, Kohn said. As other states and some foreign countries offer financial incentives to lure away production companies, the Los Angeles area has seen a decrease in permitted shooting days, especially in feature films. The one consistent bright spot has been in filming for reality television shows. FilmLA needs to ease the permitting process so that productions are willing to stay, while at the same time protecting the neighborhoods where on-location filming takes place, Kohn said. “Just as with the tax advisory committee, the important thing is economic prosperity for the city and we have to do that by facilitating filming for the studios,” Kohn added. Kohn performed exceptionally well on the audit committee and deserves the chairman post, said Lisa Rawlins, senior vice president of studio and production affairs for Warner Bros. Entertainment. The perspective he brings to the board is one that sometimes those in the industry do not consider, Rawlins said. “He is going to create a great deal of balanced and thoughtful decision making,” Rawlins said. Mark R. Madler AUTOMOTIVE Transonic Combustion Inc. has made additions to its development team. Mike Frick is a former chief engineer at Delphi and had been strategic planner and chief engineer at Siemens. Dan Flowers comes to the company from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Feng Bin is a lubrication and seals expert from Ford Motor Co. and Visteon, a Ford spin-off. ENTERTAINMENT The Visual Effects Society announced its 2008 Board of Directors. Jeff Barnes was elected as the new chairman of the Encino-based VES. Barnes is co-founder and CEO of the ComputerCafe Group. Carl Rosendahl, a private consultant and faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, was elected as first vice chair; Richard Winn Taylor, of Electronic Arts, was elected second vice chair; Ray Scalice, a founding member of the society and vice president and general manager at Pixel Magic Ray, was re-elected treasurer; and Pam Hogarth, director of industry relations at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, was re-elected as treasurer. GOVERNMENT David Brown received a 2008 National Planning Award for his work on the City of Calabasas General Plan Advisory Committee and as a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Brown teaches history at Los Angeles Valley College. Richard Hamilton, CEO of Ceres Inc., has been appointed to the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee for a three-year term. The committee assists the U.S. Energy and Agriculture departments in meeting goals for a healthier rural economy and improved national energy security. INSURANCE Venbrook Insurance Services in Woodland Hills has made additions to its executive ranks. Mark Ruggles has been named as president. In that position he is responsible for all sales and operations of the company’s brokerage unit. Prior to joining Venbrook, Ruggles served as executive vice president at CalSurance. Greg Hill has been named as chief financial officer of Venbrook Group. He previously served as senior vice president and western region controller of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. PUBLISHING MJ McMahon has been promoted to publisher of AVN Online. He previously served as co-publisher, associate publisher and associate editor. Sherri L. Shaulis has been named as editor of AVN Online. Shalis was previously editor in chief at Gold Country Media and a reporter for The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio. REAL ESTATE Pam Weston has been named as general manager of the Houston office of Younan Properties, a Woodland Hills-based real estate investment group. Prior to joining Younan, Weston was regional manager for a portfolio of major retail centers for Henry S. Miller Multi Management. SALES Peter Godinez has been appointed as director of technology sales and solutions at Imaging Technologies Direct. In this position, Godinez is responsible for leading and managing the outside sales for the company’s products. Prior to joining ITD, Godinez worked for Xerox Corp., Richoh Business Systems, Sharp and Hewlett Packard. John Florian has been named as sales manager for Third World Media and Combat Zone, two adult entertainment firms based in Chatsworth. Florian has worked in sales since 1993 at Sin City Films, Homegrown Video, and Private. TECHNOLOGY Raymond de Graaf has been appointed as vice president of operations at Ixia, a manufacturer of performance test systems based in Calabasas. In that position, de Graaf oversees growing, managing and integrating global operations. Prior to joining Ixia, de Graaf served as vice president and general manager of Precision Communications. Jeff Tumbleson has been appointed to the board of directors of Aspyra Inc., a Calabasas-based provider of services to the health care industry. Tumbleson is vice president of Outpatient Imaging Affiliates. He replaces Steven M. Besbeck, who resigned from the Aspyra board at the end of 2007.