Tag Archives: Burbank Chamber of COmmerce

Burbank Chamber of Commerce Presents Burbank Economic Summit

Over 250 people gathered on Thursday morning at the new Ikea in Burbank to hear about the digital and technological future in store for Burbank in the surrounding areas in the future.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce presented the summit that brought out many industry leaders from finance, health care, along with digital and streaming technologies in today’s entertainment landscape.

Tom Flavin, Burbank Chamber of Commerce CEO was the Master of Ceremonies for the day and presented a strong line-up.

First up was Ikea Store Manager Jeff O’Shaughnessy who hosted the breakfast and taunted his largest in the USA Ikea Store. He talked of some of the advancements in building the store in more of a green environmental footprint to the area.

Bank of America’s Barbara Bagley gave an economic forecast as to where they see the economy headed and where it has been. Talk about the latest tariffs and what it is doing the economy was prominent in her forecasting of both the present and the future. She remained optimistic.

A presentation followed about “How Southern California Could be the Next Great Tech Ecosystem & What You Can Do in Your Community to Make This a Reality” by Andy Wilson and Eric Eide of the Alliance for SoCal Innovation.

They forecast that the average person will touch technology 4,900 times per day and once about every 18 seconds. Things such as E-Sports, Smart Homes and increased mobility through electric vehicles, which he expects to double in the next three years, will soon be upon us.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Speakers wanted to point out that cybersecurity is one of the largest concerns facing everyone right now and will be a constant battle for years to come.

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy was next to speak and touted One-Burbank which offers Burbank businesses reliable fiber networking services which will allow Burbank businesses incredibly quick speeds to securely share data, video, and voice traffic at speeds of 20 MBPS to one GBPS without costly additional equipment.

Burbank’s Mayor also pointed out that thanks to the voter improved additional sales tax, that the City’s in a great position for years to come to improve infrastructure and fund pensions.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The last part of the summit included a panel discussion entitled, ” The Technology Future is Now in Burbank”. David Knight of the Chamber’s Board moderated the panel which included: Matthew Deuel from Walt Disney, Pam Allison of Warner Bros., Christine Rodriguez of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Evan Rogers of Petrol Advertising and Max Lopex of Apartment D.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Among the panel, the largest consensus was that expanding content, the use of virtual reality and the implementation of 5G technology is currently here now but only in its infancy. Social Media platforms and streaming content will become much more mainstream, whether it is in E-Sports of just recorded content.

Charles “Bud” Alleman, a Partner with KKAJ, LLP – Certified Public Accountants and Burbank Chamber Board Member, was very happy with the summit, “Tom Flavin has brought new life into the Chamber. The panel was excellent, with new advances coming, innovation will follow.”

Burbank City Councilmember Sharon Springer commented, “This was a great inaugural event, the panel was informative and very knowledgeable.

There was a lot to keep in mind moving forward”.

Burbank Chamber Honors Awardees At Annual Gala

Nimble cowboy boots line danced the evening away at the Burbank Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Saddle Up! Gala hosted by Calamigos Equestrian last Friday.  And all the whoopin’ and cheerin’ from business leaders and local dignitaries came from more than just the joy juice.  Burbank had galloped into 2018 on a high horsepower economy with no sunset in sight.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Burbank has the best job base of any community I’ve seen in the western U.S.,” said former Burbank Mayor and Burbank Chamber of Commerce  Executive Director Tom Flavin, who has worked extensively in the states of Colorado and Washington, as well as in California. “And the Chamber wants to do all it can to keep it that way,” he continued.  Good jobs drive a good local economy.”  In Burbank, well-paying jobs have spurred the median family income to reach $83,000, (close to twice the national average,) giving Main Street businesses a decided leg up on many greater LA locales.

A happy occasion indeed to honor Williams Chiropractic & Sports Medicine Center as Small Business of the Year; IKEA, Burbank as Community Partner of the Year; and three Volunteers of the Year, Gold Star Ambassadors Don Baldaseroni, Nancy Serpa and Jeanne Vlazny.

Dr. Michael Williams receives his Small Business of the Year award from Barry Burnett Past President. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Small Business of the Year honoree Dr. Michael Williams (Williams Chiropractic) moved his practice to Burbank in 1996 and immediately joined the Burbank CofC. Shortly afterward, in January 1997, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce asked Dr. Williams to take on a very demanding role: chairing its Business Connection Luncheon Committee, which oversees the Burbank CofC’s key networking activities. Burbank CofC Board member Barry Burnett pointed out that Dr. Williams continued to be the committee chair for the next 19 years, a decided mark of exceptional dedication and leadership.  In addition, Dr. Williams served two terms on the Burbank CofC Board of Directors.

IKEA is presented Community Partner of the Year. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

In honoring IKEA, Burbank, as Community Partner of the Year, Flavin recalled how IKEA’s original Burbank opening (in 1990, when Barcelona and Budapest also welcomed IKEA’s) had brought the Golden State Freeway “to a standstill. It was the first IKEA west of the Mississippi.”   In the years since IKEA has not only “helped to make Burbank a shopping destination” but has also been a great supporter of the community.  Among other activities, IKEA has established wellness centers for Burroughs and the Family Service Center.  Last but not least, they made a major donation of furniture to the Chamber’s office building.

Gold Star Ambassadors. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Burbank Chamber of Commerce Chair Gema Sanchez introduced the three Volunteers of the Year.  Volunteer of the Year Don Baldaseroni became a Chamber Ambassador in 1987 and served on the Board of Directors for five years.  His past community service extended to several other arenas: he had served as President of the Burbank Road Kings and Burbank Historical Society, had served as Chairperson of the Burbank Heritage Commission and had served as a committee member of Burbank on Parade. Don has been a member of the Burbank Elks Lodge for 42 years.

When Volunteer of the Year Jeanne Vlazny joined the Chamber in 1985, it didn’t take her long to make her mark. She and her company, Graphics Two, was key to reworking the Chamber logo at the time. She became a Chamber Ambassador in 1996 and sat on the Board of Directors from 2003 to 2008. Jeanne has been previously honored as Chamber Member of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year Nancy Serpa has been active with the Chamber for the past 14 years and has served as a Chamber Ambassador for the past 12 years, being a regular at countless ribbon-cutting ceremonies.  Sanchez particularly appreciates her  “instrumental role in the planning of our gala. Her tireless commitment to securing auction items makes our Silent Auction a success every year.”

Earlier in the evening,  IKEA, Burbank manager Jeff O’Shaughnessy was pointing out that the Burbank store was “the largest IKEA in North America” with many more parking spaces (1700) and better freeway ramp positioning than at its original location.  When asked how smoothly the move went, O’Shaughnessy replied, “We’ve had a great relationship with the City of Burbank. They’ve been great business partners.”

That and a vibrant Burbank Chamber of Commerce are among the reasons the Burbank economy has been sitting tall in the saddle.

To purchase pictures from this event follow this link: https://rossbensonphotography.photoreflect.com/store/thumbpage.aspx?e=10219214&au=11855001FC446BC761213E726E785B8B77AA5230DE2F9693EB95BB426578EBF8F5E8416C7F89CADA

Burbank Chamber of Commerce Launches Search for New Executive Director

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce has launched a search for an executive director to succeed Gary Olson, who retired at the end of 2015.

A special committee of the Board of Directors has convened to ensure a seamless transition and selection process for the new executive director. Board Chair Nancy Guillen oversees the seven-member committee, which has engaged the consulting firm McIntyre-St. Clair LLC to provide leadership transition services, conduct the executive search, and develop a strategic plan.

The Burbank Chamber will continue normal operations during the search and transition period.

Under Olson’s leadership, the Burbank Chamber developed strong civic and community ties that resulted in financial stability during a severe economic downturn. The Burbank Chamber is the largest chamber in the San Fernando Valley, representing approximately 1,000 member businesses with an estimated 33,000 employees.

The Chamber advocates for members on a broad range of economic issues by maintaining a close and productive relationship with the City of Burbank. The Chamber also acts as a political advocate for member businesses at the regional, state, and federal levels. Additional member benefits include strategic partnership initiatives, access to extensive networking opportunities, small-business programs and referral services, and money-saving purchasing programs.

At the 2016 Annual Chamber Gala this coming April, Olson will be honored for his 11 years of leadership as the Executive Director of the Chamber.

Olson’s past honors include the San Fernando Valley Business Journal Not-for-Profit Leadership Award and Woodbury University’s Movers & Shapers Award. Prior to assuming his executive position with the Chamber, Olson was a Vice President of the Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries. During that time, Olson was elected three times to serve as Chair of the Chamber Board.

He previously owned The Sales Factory Inc., with offices in Seattle, Oakland, and Glendale representing consumer product lines to major grocery, drug, and mass merchandiser chains. Olson also served as vice president of his family’s toiletries manufacturing company, which his father owned and operated in Glendale for 55 years.

In retirement, Olson and his wife Sharon will live in Indio.

Fritz Coleman Brings Laughter and Sunshine to Chamber Gala

“NBC wants to do a reality show based on Colleen and me,” deadpanned Fritz Coleman. “But they want to up the tension and make me a ‘weatherman in transition.’ I said yes, but only if I can pick out my new clothes.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Fritz was the guest of honor last Friday evening at the Burbank Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala, held at the Marriott Burbank Hotel Convention Center. The witty weathercaster took the occasion to banter with longtime friends, reminding several hundred Burbank notables that he’s also a veteran stand up comedian.

Popular news anchor Colleen Williams has been Fritz’s NBC4 partner for the past 23 years. “It’s been the longest successful relationship I’ve ever had,” said Fritz. “And the least costly.” And as Colleen rushed out of the banquet room to cover some item of late breaking news Fritz quipped, “There’s a chalk body outline somewhere.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Colleen Williams with KNBC News Videographer Scott Meadows.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Our gala’s a fun event,” said Chamber Executive Director Gary Olson. “The silent auction items are priced for friendly competition and the entertainment’s upbeat.” (As Barry Lamster Entertainment and The Showcase Singers amply demonstrated.) But this year, the Chamber wanted to do something extra special. So when Fritz indicated that he was receptive to being on the honoree hot seat, “the Board was thrilled.”

Fritz did have some trepidation, though. “I’m shocked even to be here after NBC deserted Burbank. I feel like Edward Snowden,” he confessed to the guffawing crowd.

But the audience of Burbank movers and shakers knew well that Fritz’s association with Burbank goes all the way back to 1982, shortly after he escaped from Buffalo– a place that makes more weather than it can consume locally. He joined NBC4 as the weekend weather soothsayer in 1982 then moved into weekdays in 1984.

Fritz, who had been working as a well-received stand up comedian before joining NBC4, found his new gig to be very congenial. Where else in the country but LA would there be a “storm watch” because the land might be inundated with a whole inch of rain? (Ah, the good old days.) His TV audience found Fritz to be very congenial in turn, making him a Southern California broadcasting icon. Practically every major newspaper in the region has hailed him as “Best Weather caster.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

While in Burbank, Fritz made quite a few friends. He knew Bud Ovrom when he was Burbank’s City Manager, long before Bud was to serve under future LA Mayor Antonio Villagarosa and “arrange for the Mayor’s tanning salon appointments.”

He knew close friend Jack O’Neill for many of his “75 years with NBC,” before he left to dress like the Godfather and work with the Hope family. He remembered when former Mayor Bill Wiggins “was the model for the Big Boy set.” And he even remembered Burbank Mayor David Gordon’s “brilliant campaign speech” when he promised to “give Burbank what it needs—a colonoscopy.”

All kidding aside, Fritz has been a great fan of Burbank. Fritz raised two sons and a daughter in Burbank while involving himself in many charitable activities. He’s entertained or emceed at countless local service and civic organizations within Burbank and throughout Southern California.

He’s been a long time supporter of the Salvation Army, has helped run academic decathlons, has supported adult literacy programs and has championed arts education. (And Wiki notes that Fritz received the 2004 EMA Community Service Award for his involvement with NBC’s 4 Our Planet, a children’s program.)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

So it was more than fitting that Gary Olson declared Fritz to now be a lifetime member of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Gordon “was very pleased” to present Fritz with the keys of the city, representing “the first opportunity he had to honor someone in this fashion.”

For his part, Fritz thanked NBC for the Burbank memories: trading jokes on The Tonight Show, appearing in many series and specials for NBC4, clowning with Bob Hope, presiding over the aforementioned “storm watches” and pretending that LA actually has four seasons. Concludes Fritz, “All of the great memories of my career took place in Burbank at 3000 Alameda Avenue.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

When engaging in raillery with Board Chairman Eric Foster, Emcee and Chamber Board member Sunder Ramani presented Fritz with several proclamations from elected officials. The one from Congressman Adam Schiff, which will be read into the Congressional Record, perhaps says it all: “It’s a great honor to call Fritz a friend.”

To see Fritz in weathercasting action, watch NBC4 News at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. To learn more about Fritz, please visit http://www.nbclosangeles.com/on-air/about-us/Fritz_Coleman_.html

Mayor Gives Optimistic Outlook During State of the City Address

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy presented her State of the City address to a packed house at the Airport Marriott Wednesday in the annual event sponsored by Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce.

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Since 2008, other Mayors have had to go in front of the local business community and try and sound positive about the downturn of 2008, although the theme was usually about some budget cuts that would have to be made to balance the budget.

Finally in 2013, Gabel-Luddy was able to not only the business leaders that things were looking better, but that the City of Burbank now has a projected balanced budget through 2018.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Her presentation was split into three sections and moved quickly while giving out the necessary information.  The first part was in the form of a speech where the Mayor talked about the previous year and some of the turmoil that was beginning top end.  The hiring or a permanent Police and Fire Chief, as well as Community Development Department Head.

“Burbank’s financial status is strong, with Standards & Poor’s giving the City a AAA Rating”, said the Mayor, “and that is something that is earned and not just given”.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City revenue’s are also on the rebound with home prices in Burbank helping.  The average home price in Burbank is close to $530,000 compared the average in Los Angeles County which is $377,000 and unemployment in Burbank is currently at 8.4%.

She also went on to talk about the improvements in Burbank’s infrastructure including the money earmarked for repaving streets, Johnny Carson Park, Northwest Library, and Verdugo Park’s Pool as well as the Reservoir #1 which is just about complete.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy with City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Gabel-Luddy with City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After a short video, she then asked a few questions to attendees including a not so surprised City manager.

Newly hired City Manager Mark Scott showed that he already fees at ease in his new position and his experience shows. Not only did he seem comfortable talking to the movers and shakers that make up the Burbank business community, he was able to inject a little humor when it came to his surprise at being picked from the crowded room.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy interviews President of The Downtown Business District Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Gabel-Luddy interviews President of The Downtown Business District Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Scott commented about the small city feel of Burbank and commented that his has realized that everyone in Burbank went to one of the schools here and that people have a deep concern for the  City.  He also stressed that he looked to help businesses maintain their employment levels and stressed how he wanted to work with the many small businesses in Burbank.

Developer Michael Cusumano also spoke on the Downtown Businesses and their recent successful events as well as the future.  The members Downtown Burbank Partnership have been working tirelessly to attract business to the downtown area for years.

Gabel-Luddy showed that in her term as Mayor, it is all about the flow of information that can make a successful State of the City address, not the length that some would lose interest in.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy gets a high-5 from Planning Board Member Kimberley Jo a former City Council Candidate herself. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy gets a high-5 from Planning Board Member Kimberley Jo a former City Council Candidate herself. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

State of the City-8

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Community Chevrolet Celebrates Grand Re-opening

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Community Chevrolet of Burbank celebrated the Grand re-opening of their state-of-the-art dealership by hosting the Burbank Chamber of Commerce mixer on April 25th.

The event was hosted by Fred Bell , President of Community Chevrolet and his wife Janet.

The $2.7 million project was a great addition to revitalizing Burbank and to it’s future business.

Chamber CEO Gary Olson,  Mary Hamzoian Economic Development Director, Joy Forbes Community Development Director and Former Mayor Michael Hastings. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Chamber CEO Gary Olson, Mary Hamzoian Economic Development Director, Joy Forbes Community Development Director and Former Mayor Michael Hastings. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In attendance were Chamber members, several City of Burbank officials, representatives of Chevrolet, customers and the staff of the dealership. Community has been in Burbank since 1959 and for over 54 years and is family owned and operated.

Music was provided by the Burbank High School student Jazz Band and a fun time was had by all.

Community Chevrolet Owner Fred Bell along with Sunder Ramani local business owner. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Community Chevrolet Owner Fred Bell along with Sunder Ramani local business owner. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“This is a rebirth of a new generation and future at the dealership honoring previous values and traditions” states Bell. “We are proud of Burbank, supporting our Community and establishing long term relationships with our customers” .

 

Burbank Chamber of Commerce Throws a ‘Party Gras’

Mike Thomas Chamber Treasure, and his wife Jamie Keyser of The Walt Disney Company.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce held it’s yearly Gala event this past weekend at The Sheraton Universal’s Grand Ballroom, and the theme was Party Gras.  There were masks, beads and plenty of color.

The evening started off with a silent auction with tickets to ball games, trips to anywhere in the United States and hundreds of other items, plus a cheese spread.   Guests were able to have their portrait pictures taken before they entered.

Once the doors to the main ballroom opened, there were several Vegas style gambling tables set up for the evening’s fun and entertainment. Dinner tables of 10 were paid for by major Sponsors such as The French Quarter, which was hosted by the Walt

The most 'Crazy' mask of the evening worn by Max Andrews as it's admired by Karen Volpe. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Disney Company, Bourbon Street table hosted by NBC

Bob Hope Airport Commissioners Don Brown & Sue Georgino and her husband Vic Georgino. (Photo by Ross Benson)

Universal, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.and Woodbury University, Basin Street hosted by Bob Hope Airport, Burbank Water and Power, Community Bank, Crown Realty & Development Inc., Patterson Graphics Corp., Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Walmart, and Canal Street hosted by Peterson Bradford Burkwitz LLP.

 

Showing who has more 'Bling' L/R Charles Rosen Chamber Chairman, Mayor Jess Talamantes, and Gary Olson Executive Director Burbank Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Bob Hope Airport's Executive Director Dan Feger and his wife Sherrie and Airport P.R. Director Victor Gill. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

Porto’s To Donate Portion Of Sales Next Week To Red Cross

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce reports that in light of the recent Earthquake and Tsunami/Nuclear Crisis in Japan, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe is once again gearing up to help those affected by these tragic events. April 11 to 14, Porto’s will donate 20% of all sales of regular size cheese roles directly to the Red Cross for Japan relief.