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Monday, Sep 25, 2023

The Briefing

Since its founding in 1978, Chatsworth-based AVG, Inc. has grown to become a world leader in the design and manufacturing of animatronic and automated figures for amusement parks and automated shows. With revenue jumping from $2.74 million in 1998 to $6.53 million in 1999, the company is taking on more clients from the film and television industry as well as theme parks. Alvaro Villa, company founder and president, has led the company since its inception. The former head of electronic animation research and development at the Walt Disney Co., Villa has come a long way from his childhood in an impoverished town in Colombia. Staff reporter Carlos Martinez spoke with Villa about the lessons he learned in establishing his own company and in maintaining his entrepreneurial spirit. “I’ve always felt that you should let your employees feel that they’re an important part of the company. You have to give your employees a chance to give their input, especially on important issues that affect their work. “When you have an important project, for instance, you have to get everyone involved and discuss the different aspects so that everyone knows what to do. You have to show that you trust the people around you and that you’re willing to listen to what they have to say. It’s motivating to feel that you’re a part of something important. “I was born in a town in Colombia where our family didn’t have very much. I loved to get into how machines worked and things like that and my mother was very good about it. She encouraged me. She let me pursue these things without discouraging me and that helped me in my studies and later in this business. She always felt that I should learn things on my own and I always appreciated that. “I love to encourage my employees in this field where they can be creative and can help solve problems. It’s difficult to find good people and we’re always looking, but I know that the people here enjoy their work and have fun.”

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