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VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

Accounting Kristen N. Contreras, CPA, CISA, CITP, a manager at Good Swartz Brown & Berns, A Division of J.H. Cohn (GSBB/J.H. Cohn), has been appointed secretary of the Los Angeles chapter of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA) for the 2009-2010 year. In 2008-2009, Contreras served as a director of the chapter. In addition, she served as vice president of Chapter Administration for the Los Angeles chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. At GSBB/J.H. Cohn, she specializes in financial and IT audit, risk management, and internal controls. A resident of the San Fernando Valley, Kristen received a bachelor’s degree in accounting, summa cum laude, from California State University, Northridge. Biotech Amgen’s Board of Directors appointed Rebecca M. Henderson, Ph.D. to the company’s board. Dr. Henderson, 48, recently joined the faculty at the Harvard Business School, having been the Eastman Kodak LFM Professor of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School since 1999. She specializes in technology strategy and the broader strategic problems faced by firms in high technology industries. From 1995 to 1999, she was a tenured associate professor at the MIT Sloan School. She has been a director of IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. since 2003. Dr. Henderson’s appointment brings the number of Amgen Board members to 13. She will serve as a member of the Corporate Responsibility and Compliance and Governance and Nominating Committees of the board. Dr. Henderson has also been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research since 1995 and sits on the editorial boards of Management Science, Research Policy and Organization Science. Chambers The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce recently made three appointments to its Board of Directors including: Deane Leavenworth; Frank Stephan; and Alan Arkatov. Leavenworth is regional vice president of government affairs for Time Warner Cable’s West Region. He leads a team of government affairs professionals engaged in local, state and federal issues impacting the telecommunications industry. As senior managing director of The Clarett Group, Stephan oversees operations, development and construction of the company’s West Coast properties including Blvd6200, Hollywood’s largest mixed-use project anticipated to commence construction in 2010. An education and communications entrepreneur, Alan Arkatov is president of Changing.edu, an organization creating a new framework for educational content and delivery systems by combining the positive aspects of interactive games into PK-12 curriculum. He is a former president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller’s Southern California region and partner and chief strategy officer at The Rogers Group. Education Cal State Northridge biology professor Steven Oppenheimer will be recognized this fall by President Obama for his outstanding work as a mentor to young people. Oppenheimer will receive a “Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring” during a yet-to-be-scheduled ceremony at the White House. The award includes a $10,000 grant to further advance his mentoring efforts. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring is given to individuals or organizations in recognition of the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering, particularly those students in underrepresented communities. This year, a total of 22 people from institutions around the country are being recognized. The Los Angeles Valley College Foundation has installed its officers for the new fiscal year. The officers include: Jason Schaff, editor of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, president; Robert Oberstein, managing partner of Oberstein, Stock, & Friedenthal, vice president; Sharon Udkoff, certified public accountant, treasurer and Art Ginsburg, owner of Art’s Deli, secretary. Entertainment Jeff Gaspin has been named chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment. This move expands his role to include oversight of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. The company is consolidating all of its television entertainment assets, both broadcast and cable, English and Spanish, under one roof to better allow it to leverage content across all of those properties. Gaspin already has management responsibility for the company’s portfolio of entertainment cable networks, including USA, SciFi, Bravo, Oxygen, Universal HD, Sleuth, and Chiller, as well as its interests in the A & E; and History networks. He also oversees the company’s television distribution, including linear, digital and wireless, off-net syndication and first-run efforts, as well as the Telemundo broadcast network and its owned stations. Ben Silverman, who has been co-chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, announced he is returning to his entrepreneurial roots to form a new venture. He will remain in his current role for several weeks to assist in the launch of NBC’s fall schedule. Marc Graboff, who has also been co-chairman, will continue as Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, reporting to Gaspin. Financial United Wealth Management, a division of United Capital Financial Advisers, Inc., a national network of financial advisory firms, announced that Bruce J. Lacey, CIMA & #381;, has joined the firm as managing director. Lacey most recently served for 12 years as vice president investments with UBS Financial Services, Inc. His financial career began in 1975 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Towson University. He practiced as a CPA in Maryland from 1976 to 1979. For the next 17 years he served in various corporate financial roles as controller and chief financial officer, most notably with Aramark Corporation, where he served as CFO of two major subsidiaries between 1983 and 1995. Healthcare Providence Holy Cross Medical Center has created two new administrative posts. Derek Berz, assistant administrator at the Mission Hills hospital, has been promoted to chief operating officer. Currently the assistant administrator, Berz will oversee numerous departments including Facilities and Support Services, which holds a key role as construction continues on the medical center’s new 136-bed patient care wing. Chet Taylor is now chief financial officer for Providence Holy Cross. Previously the position was handled at the regional level. Berz is credited with leading the trauma team in gaining American College of Surgeons verification status for the hospital’s trauma center, a distinction in the field. And before joining Providence, he oversaw continuum of care and quality resource management for inpatient services at Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center. Taylor joined the Catholic nonprofit Providence Health & Services in 2004 and most recently was director of Finance and Decision Support for the Northwest Washington Service Area based in Everett, Wash. He has more than 20 years of experience in health care, including work for adult and children’s hospitals, hospice and home health. Prior to joining Providence, Taylor worked at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Mark Goldberg has been appointed to the board of Valley Community Clinic, a private medical clinic in North Hollywood that provides free and low-cost health services to low-income people. Goldberg is senior vice president of USI Insurance Services, a Woodland Hills insurance services firm. Glenn Irani M.D., chief medical officer of Providence Tarzana Medical Center, has been named a member of the Health Management Academy’s GE Fellows Program. The fellowship program, established three years ago, recognizes and develops physician executives as leaders with the goal of improving the quality of healthcare. It is under the auspices of the Health Management Academy that was founded in 1998 to provide an open environment for senior executives of the nation’s largest health systems to exchange best practices focussed on increasing the quality and efficiency of care. Irani is trained as a pediatrician and was honored earlier this year by the Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of the nation’s top pediatricians. As a GE fellow, he will participate in activities with the organization including fellowship networking programs, survey research and action projects. Law Barry Kurtz of the Law Offices of Barry Kurtz, A Professional Corporation, was recently named a Certified Specialist, Franchise & Distribution Law by The State Bar of California Board of Specialization. The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization awards this certification to attorneys whose knowledge and experience in Franchise & Distribution Law is of the highest level. Additionally, applicants must meet criteria such as testing, on-going education, and favorable evaluations by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work. To date, fewer than 25 attorneys have been honored with the designation including David Gurnick and Tal Grinblat of Lewitt Hackman in Encino. The Southern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) has given Peter M. Walzer of Woodland Hills the Family Law Person of the Year Award. He is the founding partner of the law firm Walzer & Melcher LLP. He is past president of the Southern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is a former chair of the executive committee of the State Bar Family Law Section. A certified family law specialist for over 20 years, Walzer is a former president of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists and a member of the Elkins Family Law Task Force. Politics Afriat Consulting Group, Inc. in Burbank hired Aaron Green as director of political and community relations. He is one of the firm’s primary conduits to the City and County of Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, providing outreach and access to elected officials, their staff and senior-level public agency staff. Prior to joining Afriat, Green served as legislative affairs manager for the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), a business and political advocacy organization in Southern California. In this post he was the group’s key policy analyst and lobbyist, responsible for political advocacy. Prior to VICA, Green worked as an accounts and branch manager for a healthcare staffing firm based in Los Angeles. He also has experience in the legal field and political arena in several additional capacities. Green was the national street team tours coordinator for Rock the Vote, and interned in the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Vice President (then Senator) Joseph Biden. Public Service Glendale City Council Member Ara Najarian is now Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors. Najarian, who was elected to the MTA in 2006, will take over the duties from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. He was elected to the Glendale City Council in 2005, served as Mayor from 2007 2008, is currently chair of the Glendale Housing Authority, and previously served as chair of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency. Najarian also served on the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees from 2003-2005 and was chair of the Glendale Transportation and Parking Commission. He also serves as a director of Metrolink. Greg Herrmann is now Interim Community Development Director for the City of Burbank. He fills an opening created by the retirement of Sue Georgino. Herrmann has worked for the City of Burbank for 20 years in various positions within the Community Development Department, including: assistant planner; associate planner; principal planner for Advance Planning and Transportation; and assistant community development director for Transportation. Most recently, as chief assistant community development director/city planner, his duties have included overseeing the Planning and Transportation Division. Herrmann is a graduate of California State University, Chico, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also has a master’s degree in geography from California State University, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California.

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