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and to all the recipients of The Signal’s Top 51

Our annual list of “51” has undergone some changes this year. Instead of honoring the “most influential” people in the Santa Clarita Valley we decided to identify and write about the people in our community from all levels of business, community groups and volunteer organizations who make a huge imprint on our area through their tireless dedication, hard work and often behind-the-scenes support for community causes and our economy. These are the people whose names may not be well known but they get the job done in our community and definitely make it a better place. This publication tells their stories. The individuals are grouped into certain community categories with five in each category. They are not ranked. The only ranking we have is our No. 1 Overall Leadership Award given to Ken Wiseman, a person who we feel exemplifies the embodiment of a true community advocate who helps our valley not only through his nonprofit volunteerism but through his business practices. Congratulations to all and thank you. See you at the “51” celebration on Thursday, October 27 at the Hyatt Valencia.

Jason Schaff



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Vice President and Editor

AMS Salutes the Santa Clarita Valley for being a Community of Collaboration

2016 The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Frank Oviedo Charles Heffernan Shirley Miller

NON-PROFITS Cheryl Jones Martin Rodriguez Amy Daniels Denise Tomey Redmond Tami Tetreault Edwards

TECHNOLOGY Bill Momary Scott Capistrano Anya Smilanick Jeffrey Kretz Jeremy Stepan

HEALTH CARE Dr. Stephen Nathanson Philip Solomon Dr. Roscoe Marter Terry Lynn Bucknall Dr. Rebecca Patterson-Judd

BUSINESS Sue Nevius Michael MacDonald Curtis Woods Steve Cassulo Jon Georgio

HOSPITALITY/ PHILANTHROPY Rob and Laina McFerren Eve Bushman Steve Youlious Juan Alonso Brian O’Connor


GOVERNMENT Vanessa Wilk Daryl Osby

Mike Lebecki Jeannie Carpenter OVERALL NO. 1 Ken Wiseman EMERGING LEADERS Taylor Kellstrom Andrew Taban William Sloan Don Kimball Jane E. Bettencourt-Soto VOLUNTEERISM UNSUNG HEROES Rhona Jukes Betty Peters Judy Penman

EDUCATION Vicki Engbrecht Eric Harnish Julie Visner Linda Storli-Koontz Megan Howell

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• 51 of 2016 • The Signal


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The Signal • 51 of 2016 •



Ken Wiseman

Ken Wiseman began his career with a teaching degree – and while he switched to business right after graduation and never worked in a classroom, he’s always kept in touch with those teaching roots, right on through his role today as CEO and managing partner of Santa Clarita’s AMS Fulfillment distribution center. While AMS has some 800,000 square feet of consumer-goods warehouses at the Valencia Commerce Center, it’s also a warehouse of goodwill and community service. Wiseman uses his business as a base to employ and mentor at-risk kids, the developmentally challenged, criminal offenders looking to get on the right track, the homeless, and victims of domestic violence. It’s all that reach-out that has earned Wiseman, 61, this year’s No. 1 spot on The Signal’s annual “51” list of community leaders. In the past, the “51” recognized Santa Clarita’s most influential people, but this year the criteria were changed to reflect contributions to the community through volunteerism, professional expertise, non-profit involvement and overall leadership. Five winners in each of 10 categories were announced on Sept. 10. Those honorees were not ranked. This nod to Wiseman puts the final digit on The Signal’s 2016 “51” list as the overall No. 1 honoree. All the winners will be honored at an event on Oct. 27 at The Hyatt in Valencia. Wiseman was chosen as the No. 1 honoree by a committee of top

6 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Signal Multimedia editing and management staff. “Ken Wiseman is an example of a person who is constantly working for the betterment of his community in all aspects of his life including his business,” said Signal Multimedia Vice President and Editor Jason Schaff. “I’m very humbled – when I look down the list, there are so many people who work so hard in this community,” said Wiseman, who chronicled his climb up Washington’s Mount Rainer, to raise money for cancer research, in The Signal on Sept. 4. Wiseman, a Connecticut native, said he learned from his father, a child psychologist, and his mother, a special-ed teacher, about the importance of lending a hand to those in need. Since 2008, his distribution business has given a start to dozens of people whose paths to employment were especially difficult. “We are in a unique position – the distribution industry relies a lot on entry-level positions, but we have a myriad of promotion possibilities,’’ said Wiseman. It began when Wiseman, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation, reached out to the Sheriff’s Department, which has a program to identify at-risk kids. The Sheriff’s program already was mentoring these kids – often the products of single-parent homes or drug situations -- and Wiseman pitched in, eventually connecting many of them to employment for the first time at AMS. “A lot of those kids have moved up in the company, gone to college,’’ he said. “We’ve gotten to watch a lot of those kids grow up.”

Since then, Wiseman’s reach-out efforts have grown, through various programs, to include developmentally challenged adults, criminal offenders, the homeless and victims of domestic violence – not just through jobs but also through education opportunities. “There’s a severe issue with recidivism – it’s a worsening issue in our community,’’ Wiseman said. “Many of these people truly want to get back on their feet, away from crime and drugs, but employers are often wary of hiring somebody with a record. When they come out, the only option for many of them is to return to what they’re doing.” Wiseman’s efforts give those ex-offenders another path – and a good measure of hope. His work has also included help with clothing, housing and education – prominently, by funding a computer lab and a classroom at the College of the Canyons that teaches “basic courses that help prepare people for entry-level jobs, to get to the next level.” It’s all boiled down, he said, in his company’s mission statement, which “recognizes growth and financial performance are not goals unto themselves, but merely outcomes achievable through uncompromising attention to our clients, our organization, our community and ourselves.” He hopes his “51” award can help spread the word on that altruistic philosophy. “My biggest thrill (in getting the award),” said Wiseman, is that this spotlight might spark “other companies to embrace their community.” “That would be even more gratifying,” he said. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Emerging Leaders Jane E. Bettencourt-Soto “Leadership is an action not a title,” said, Jane E. Bettencourt-Soto when she graduated from the SCV Leadership Academy in 2006. ‘Servant’s Heart” is what most SCV movers and shakers think about when they hear the name Jane BettencourtSoto. Lady Jane, as some call her, is a respected leader; Jane can pick up a phone and make that call on behalf of a number of nonprofit organizaJane Bettencourt-Soto tions in town that Jane Bettencourt-Soto Jane Bettencourt-Soto Cheryl Jones she believes in and Jane Bettencourt-Soto Cheryl Jones Jane Bettencourt-Soto Cheryl Jones supports, and is JaneMike Bettencourt-Soto Lebecki Cheryl Jones Mike Lebecki Cheryl Jones successful raising Mike Lebecki Cheryl Jones Rob Mike & Laina McFerren Lebecki Lebecki Rob Mike & Laina McFerren funds and in-kind Mike Lebecki Rob & Laina McFerren Judy Penman Rob & Laina McFerren contributions on an Judy Penman Rob & McFerren Penman Rob Judy & Laina Laina McFerren Vanessa Wilk on-going basis to Judy Penman Vanessa Wilk Judy Penman Vanessa Wilk Judy Penman better serve Santa Vanessa Wilk Vanessa Clarita residents. Vanessa Wilk Wilk As a retired nonprofit executive of

Congratulations Congratulations Congratulations Congratulations To Our Congratulations To Our Congratulations To Our To Our Top 51 Winners To Our Top 51 Winners To Our Top 51 Winners Top 51 Winners Top Top 51 51 Winners Winners Congratulations Congratulations To Our TopTo 51Our Winners Bettencourt-Soto TopJane51 Winners

the Betty Ferguson Foundation, and founding President of Circle of Hope Inc., she continues to lead and advise nonprofit organizations in Santa Clarita on a weekly basis. Whether she is co-chairing the SCV Nonprofit Leaders Network each month, or advising a grassroots organization, to serving on the Executive Committee of the Child and Family Center’s Foundation Board, Jane is someone you can count on in a leadership position to get the job done, or she will find someone to do it. Jane is a two-time nominee for SCV Woman of the Year; was honored twice at the Women in Service Celebration by The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley; and she seems to be everywhere. However, most do not know that she does all this while suffering from a debilitating chronic illness. Jane doesn’t talk about it much but, says, “My leadership roles get me out of bed each day.”

Taylor Kellstrom

The word “entrepreneurial” doesn’t adequately describe Taylor Kellstrom, who has both a head for business and a heart for philanthropy in the Santa Clarita Valley. Kellstrom is a Realtor with Home Smart NCG and CEO of the off-campus college textbook store called the SCV Book Exchange, which offers text books to cash-strapped students at competitive prices.

Kellstrom has been nominated four times for Santa Clarita’s Man of the Year. At age 23 he was the youngest nominee for this prestigious award. Joining the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Santa Clarita in 2013, he won its 40 Under 40 award that year and also won the SCV Chamber of Commerce’s Young Business Person of the Year award in 2014. Now 26 years old, Kellstrom leads a number of charities and is the current vice president of Santa Clarita’s Circle of Hope, of which he will be president in 2017.

“Taylor’s drive and passion for philanthropy has proven so valuable to our organization, and we are so grateful for his compassion and leadership,” said Pam Ripling, president of Circle of Hope. Kellstrom also created his own yearly charity event called “Bowling for Kids,” with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. “Bowling for Hope” soon followed, benefitting Circle of Hope. He also chaired the Circle of Hope “Vine 2 Wine” fundraiser.

Donald Kimball Donald Kimball is the community president, Newhall Ranch, charged with overseeing development of Newhall Ranch for FivePoint Holdings LLC. FivePoint designs and develops mixed-use master-planned communities building homes, commercial, retail, educational and recreational elements of communities, as well as civic areas, parks and open spaces. Kimball has been part of the management team for Newhall Ranch and its first phase, Valencia, for more than 25 years. Prior to his current position, he was executive vice president for Newhall Land Development Inc.

He was also senior vice president and chief financial officer at Newhall Land. Kimball currently serves as chairman of the board of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. He also sits on the executive board of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. He served for many years on the board of directors for the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging in various executive officer positions and founded the Santa Clarita Valley Area Chapter of the American Diabetes Association in 1997 and was its first board president.

The SCV businessman has instrumental in helping the Diabetes Association chapter $300,000 annually for the against diabetes.

been local raise fight

Cheryl Jones

Jane Bettencourt-Soto Mike Lebecki of 2016 • The Signal 8 •Rob51Cheryl & LainaJones McFerren

The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


William Sloan William Sloan is an Executive Vice President and head of the Real Estate Group for California United Bank in Santa Clarita. A 33-year veteran of the banking industry in Southern California, he has been with California United Bank since its inception in 2005, and has enjoyed stints at US Bank and Santa Monica Bank. Sloan has a vast background in commercial real estate and bank acquisitions. Sloan obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis

Obispo. He also graduated from the Graduate School of Community Bank Management at the University of Texas. As an emerging leader in Santa Clarita, he actively supports the community of Santa Clarita, serving on the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the William S. Hart Union High School District, as well as serving on the board of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. He also served as a former board member of the SCV Boys and Girls Club,

a board member of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Foundation and is a former director and treasurer with L.A. Family Housing. William and his family are active in youth sports in the Santa Clarita Valley and he still finds time to play golf and softball.

Andrew Taban

Andrew Taban is a community activist and advocate for a number of educational causes and community services in the Santa Clarita Valley. An alumnus of the William S. Hart Union High School District, Taban

10 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

made a commitment to the community at a young age when budget cuts threatened Sierra Vista Junior High School’s commencement ceremony. Garnering the support of his peers and community, Taban formed volunteer groups to donate tables, chairs, food, beverages, and other items to ensure his eighth-grade graduating class would walk on stage during a ceremony to accept their diplomas. His campaign followed a decision by the district to cut an estimated $40,000 for its junior high graduation ceremonies. Taban’s strategy not only brought celebrity support but also started a

media frenzy with local and national publications. Since then, he has been actively involved in community groups like the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley of Santa Clarita and has organized educational workshops to raise awareness about student rights in public schools. Now a college student, Taban has held multiple leadership positions throughout his education dedicated to hearing the needs and concerns of students, as well as community members. He is considered a voice for students and their parents and aims to address today’s concerns to secure a better education for all students in our local schools. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Volunteerism Unsung Heroes

Rhona Jukes

Rhona Jukes is a mortgage specialist with 40 years of experience. She educates and guides her clients, meeting their financial needs. She is often recognized by her associates for her consummate professionalism and customer service skills. But she is also well known for her community involvement and commitment to service.

Jeannie Carpenter

Jeannie Carpenter is the founder of the Santa Clarita Valley Assistance League Annual Sunset in the Vineyard fundraiser. A wine-tasting and silent auction held at the picturesque Compa Vineyard homes of Jeannie,

12 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Chris and Tim Carpenter, the event originated in 2007. Jeannie and husband, Chris, have lived in the SCV for 38 years on an 86year old historic home site on Arcadia Street in Newhall. Chris became a home vintner after his first taste of wine, making the wine from a home wine-making kit in bought in 2005. By 2007 he had planted his vineyard, Compa, with about 250 plants on the slope of the Newhall property he co-owns with his brother, Tim. “As a member of the Assistance League we are tasked with raising

funds for our Santa Clarita philanthropic efforts,” said Jeannie Carpenter. “I was impressed with Chris and my bother-inlaw’s wine-making efforts and suggest we host a home wine-tasting, gourmet food event and silent auction.” Nine years later, thanks to Jeannie, Sunset in the Vineyard is a huge success, drawing experienced and novice wine connoisseurs alike. The thousands of dollars it raises annually serves those in need by providing clothing, education and emotional support to families, the elderly and the disabled.

Her associates will tell you she serves with a servant’s heart. No stranger to rolling up her sleeves and getting to work, she is vice president of the Soroptimist of Greater Santa Clarita Valley and an ambassador for the SCV Chamber of Commerce, receiving the Ambassador of the Year Award in 2004 as well as the Special Achievement Award in 2007. Jukes is a working affiliate member of SRAR Board of Realtors assisting with charitable events and the execution of its fundraising golf tournament.

She is the founding member of the Synergy Networking Group and also works with local nonprofits such as the Single Mothers Outreach, Special Olympics, the SCV Chapter of the American Diabetes Association and the SCV Senior Center. Jukes says she enjoys being a behind-the-scenes kind of gal. “My goal is to always give back to my community,” she said, “do it well, do it silently, but give back.”

Michael Lebecki Often recognized for his skill, knowledge, and expertise in the real estate industry, Michael Lebecki has adopted the motto “Full Steam Ahead.” His motto comes from his love of the sea and charting a steady course in whatever endeavors he tackles. Arriving in Santa Clarita in 1988, Michael is often found serving the community of Santa Clarita in a variety of ways. While he goes about volunteering and serving the community very quietly, he has charted a steady course for many as a member of the Advisory Board of Directors of the Santa Clarita

Family YMCA, as well as the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Advisory Board, the SCV Child and Family Center Foundation Board, and the College of the Canyons Foundation Board, along with the William S. Hart “WISH” Foundation Board. He has previously served as a member of College of the Canyons Bond Oversight Committees, the Board of Directors for the Santa Clarita Valley and Canyon Country Chambers of Commerce, and the Governing Board of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

Michael’s service to the Santa Valley is the epitome of Margaret Mead’s famous quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The Signal • 51 of 2016 •



Ken Wiseman Congratulations to

Judy Penman Judy Penman says she lives by Helen Keller’s saying: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” So when she moved to Santa Clarita in 1989, she contacted the city of Santa Clarita’s Volunteer Coordination Office and asked how she could help her new community. Penman is active in numerous SCV organizations – from A to Z (Assistance League to Zonta) and several others in between.

Her many hours of service has translated into raising thousands of dollars for community organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley annual auction and Festival of the Trees, the SCV Committee on Aging’s Celebrity Waiter Dinner, Zonta’s Celebrity Tribute, the WiSH Foundation and more. “She started volunteering and has never stopped,” said Adele Macpherson, Zonta member. “She loves to give back and chooses volunteer projects which touch her heart. She is a skilled leader.”

Mike Lebecki

on the Top 51 most influential people in the Santa Clarita Valley. We thank you for your commitment. In leadership roles, Judy has served as president of the SCV Zonta Club, served on the board of directors of the Domestic Violence Center for 15 years, has co-chaired the Senior Wine Auction, and served as vice president of the Circle of Hope and as a vice president for the Assistance League of Santa Clarita, to name a few.

Betty Peters

Betty Peters, a retiree of Borax, is well recognized for her work with a number of Santa Clarita organizations such as the SCV Chamber of Commerce, the Santa

14 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Clarita Valley School and the Business Alliance School to Career Program, to name a few. But most people don’t know Betty is an unsung hero in Castaic where she lives. She is of service to a silent population of women who are forced to walk a mile or more to the Peter Pitchess Detention Center to visit their incarcerated husbands or family members. “They walk from a bus stop in Castaic,” Peters said. “The buses that bring them from Los Angeles aren’t allowed to pull into the detention center, thus leaving them to walk a mile or more on the streets and a portion of the freeway on and off ramps, frequently carrying

babies or pushing baby strollers, putting them in harm’s way.” Peters started her mobile ministry driving the women to the detention center after seeing a woman make the trek in 100-degree weather with a baby in her arms. Peters has been making the trip for the last five years, eight times a day both on Saturdays and Sundays. Affectionately known as “Mama Betty,” she does what she can to let her riders know someone cares about them and their jailed loved ones. She offers all of her guests the “Daily Bread,” a devotional book and encourages them to help their loved ones find peace and accountability in their lives.


Thank you to our sponsors! A-1 Party

“We need more people like Ken. He is so dedicated to making a positive difference for his community, and we’re all richer for it.” – John Shaffery, managing partner

No. 1 on The Signal’s list of Community Leaders! From supporting our business community, to your role with the SCV Sheriff ’s Foundation and Sheriff ’s Search & Rescue Team, you are a true community asset.

Sincerely, The Poole & Shaffery team

Congratulations also go to all those on this year’s 51 list. Thank you for how you continue to tirelessly serve our community and make it an even better place to live and work.


The Law Firm for Your Business® | 661.290.2991 The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Cheryl Jones

Non Profits Amy Daniels commitment to public education and

the philanthropy and disbursing funds

community partnerships. “Amy hardly ever takes no for an an-

“If Amy calls me for any kind of help or

swer; she’s an avid hiker so I think there

involvement, I do my best to see what I

is something about being an avid hiker

Amy Daniels is described by her peers

can do to participate with her,” said Sue

that makes Amy able to get around ob-

as a giver and a doer, a source of positive

Reynolds, career development coordi-

stacles,” Reynolds said.

energy and enthusiasm, which serves

nator at the William S. Hart Union High

In addition to her work with the WiSH

her well in her role as executive director

School District. “I consider her and the

Foundation, Daniels served as president

of the Board of Directors for the William

WiSH Foundation to be instrumental to

of the Hart Parent Organization for sev-

S. Hart WiSH Education Foundation.

the success of the Hart District.”

en years.

During her five years as executive

She is credited with creating one of the

“Amy is clever and proactive and al-

director, Daniels has been a parent

most successful fundraisers in the Santa

ways thinking of ways to benefit kids and

and education advocate by establish-

Clarita Valley—Cocktails on the Roof—

benefit teachers and benefit programs,”

ing the foundation’s presence in the

and is celebrated for her dedication and

Reynolds said.

16 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

One of the main money sources, she said, is the Center’s annual May “Taste of the Town” fundraiser – voted best charity fundraiser several times by Signal readers, she said. Jones also organizes the Center’s annual “Kid Expo,” an information fair for parents and children to learn about all manner of kid-oriented businesses, activities and services in the Santa Clarita area. The businesses that participate in the Expo pay a fee. A native of Saskatchewan, Canada, Jones moved to the San Fernando Valley at a young age. She’s been a Sand Canyon resident since 1986, and has a son who just graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in communications.

Martin Rodriguez

community, maintaining the focus of to schools and projects.

“Not a lot of jobs give you the opportunity to really help others,” Cheryl Jones said. But Jones has such a job -- and she loves it. Jones is vice president of marketing and community outreach for the non-profit Child and Family Center, located in Saugus. The 40-year-old community organization provides mental-health services to some 650 people a month – mainly teens. But, Jones said, the people her

group helps can range anywhere “from birth to 25.” Many of those, she added, are homeless or on the edge of homelessness or come from broken or troubled family situations. “We’re making a difference, we’re helping change the trajectory of where a child may be headed,’’ Jones said. The Center employs 130 people, including a large staff of therapists from “all the different disciplines for treating kids with mental-health issues,” Jones said. Her job is to raise money for all that good work, and to spread the word around Santa Clarita that all those services are available.

Ask Martin Rodriguez what he does for a living and he’ll tell you he’s a senior loan officer for Wintrust Mortgage, working out of Keller Williams VIP Properties in Valencia. But just as quickly, he’ll tell you about two other endeavors dear to his heart -- his roles as Board Chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project, and Board President for Single Mothers Outreach, both in Santa Clarita. The Youth Project, which operates on all the high school and middle school campuses of the Hart School District, “helps teens to navigate the challenges of being a teen – everything from bullying to suicide intervention to drug and alcohol treatment and teen pregnancies … those are all the things that we deal with,’’ Rodriguez said.

The Youth Project utilizes counselors who are first- and second-year Masters of Social Work students, mostly from Cal State Northridge. Single Mothers Outreach, Rodriguez said, “Is designed to help single parents be empowered to deal with the challenges of being single mothers.’’ It helps everyone from young teen moms to recent widows. “My grandmother had been a single parent,’’ Rodriguez said. “And a mortgage officer, I was coming across single parent issues’’ from single moms trying to gets loans … and facing difficulties. Rodriguez, an organizational systems management major at Cal State Northridge, grew up in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Santa Clarita in 1992.

He also graduated from the Annenberg Foundation’s Alchemy Plus program – a certificate program that teaches issues pertaining to non-profits. He has a 19-year-old daughter who attends Cornell University. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Tami Tetreault Edwards The hard-working mother of four

She was recognized for her amaz-

who was named earlier this year

ing work as a leader in the Santa

as Woman of the Year for the 38th

Clarita Valley.

Health Care

Born and raised in the Santa Clarita

serves as an Executive Board Member,

Valley, she now raises her own family

the Hart District Advisory Committee,

Tami Tetreault Edwards was hon-

here and - somehow - manages to de-

the Castaic Little League Board of

ored in March by Assemblyman Scott

vote much of her time and energy to

Directors, and SCVTV, a local nonprofit

Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, at a ceremony

our larger SCV family community.

community television station through

Assembly District is also one of The Signal’s 51.

hosted by the Legislative Women’s

Her time is shared among many lo-

which she has created and produced

Caucus to celebrate and highlight

cal organizations such as the Circle for

a local talk show to promote all Santa

California’s extraordinary women.

Hope, through which she currently

Clarita non-profits.

Denise Tomey Redmond

There’s a lot of love that passes through the gates at Carousel Ranch and all that love is branded by the woman who oversees its operation,

18 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

its volunteers and its service to the community. Denise Tomey-Redmond is the ranch’s executive director and one of its founders. She runs it, promotes and sustains it, all with an army of volunteers who follow her example helping others. Carousel Ranch, according to its mission statement posted online, is dedicated to providing equestrian therapy for disabled children, creating a unique and individualized program to meet each child’s specific needs and goals.

Tomey-Redmond has a degree in journalism. But, when she picked up an assignment to do a story on a therapeutic riding program that served to help disabled kids she gave her career a quick edit and set to work helping others. She saw the growing need for additional riding programs to alleviate the long waiting lists at other places and to offer a slightly different methodology. Tomey-Redmond has two beautiful young teen daughters that have practically grown up with Carousel Ranch.

Terry Lynn Bucknall When Terry Lynn Bucknall began her radiologic technology career at St. Joseph Medical Center in 1974, little did she know she would become the Director of Women’s Imaging Services for the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. Her career at the hospital has spanned 29 years. Her talents were first discovered by the Director of the Women’s Unit, who was responsible for finding a manager for the new center. The center opened its doors in 2002 and in 2003 Bucknall was promoted to director. Since the center’s opening in 2002, nearly 475 cancers have been diagnosed, and over 1,200 patients have received services at no charge from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure grant, a grant that Bucknall has administered.

Terry served on the Board of Directors for the Betty Ferguson Foundation, and is an advisor for the Circle of Hope, Inc. Additionally, she serves a number of service organizations in the SCV. “Terry Bucknall exemplifies the excellence we are known for at our Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center,” said Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital CEO Roger Seaver. “She is passionate about service and compassionate towards our patients. During Terry’s distinguished tenure running the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center, we have consistently received prestigious recognitions, implemented state of the art technology and maintained a warm and friendly environment,” Seaver said. “Terry credits her outstanding staff and hospital family and I agree; although we

all know it’s also a testament to her solid work ethic, dedication to her profession, strong leadership skills and commitment to our community which keeps the Shelia R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center a Center of Excellence.” The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Dr. Rebecca Patterson-Judd

Dr. Roscoe Marter The days of medical house calls and

with Facey Medical Group in 1999.

feeling like one’s doctor is part of the

With an active medical practice, Dr.

family are long gone.

Marter likes interfacing with clients

Marter said in an interview. “I like be-

well beyond his medical office.

ing a hometown doctor. The close-

But in the Santa Clarita Valley, some

ness gives me a vested interest in the

doctors still maintain a hometown

“I am honored to live and work in

family feel that’s often missed in the

Santa Clarita,” said Dr. Marter. “Most

shuffle of big medicine and medical

doctors don’t like living in the same

“We either rise or fall together as a

office skyscrapers far from home.

community as patients. I run into pa-

community. When you learn to treat

tients pretty much everywhere I go.

your patients as your neighbors, it

Dr. Roscoe Marter has been a resident of the SCV for 17 years, starting

“Patients often approach me with

his obstetrician-gynecology practice

grown children I have delivered,” Dr.

health of the community.

humanizes medicine like nothing else can.”

A lifelong resident of Santa Clarita, Dr. Rebecca Patterson-Judd, was inspired by her high school teacher Ms. Hillberg, to become a medical doctor. Dr. Patterson-Judd has worked for the Facey Medical Group since 2008 as a family medicine practitioner, and in 2011 she was invited to become a director on Facey’s Governing Board. She continues to serve as the youngest and only female member of that board. Her offices are located

Dr. Stephen Nathanson

The epitome of a hometown doctor, Dr. Stephen Nathanson is a pediatrician working for Facey Medical Care. His practice opened in 1997. Beyond his practice responsibilities, Dr. Nathanson has spent years serving

20 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

local SCV sports teams as a coach and referee. Additionally, he served as a board member for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and is currently a board member of the nonprofit Action Family Foundation in Santa Clarita, which serves at-risk teens in the community. As an Action board member, Dr. Nathanson’s role is to help create a program that travels to different high schools and community events, providing education about what drugs can do to a teen’s body and to family dynamics. According to Dr. Nathanson, family dynamics begin to change as a child

approaches adolescence. As a pediatrician, he knows an adolescent’s negative choices can make the difference between normal adolescent growth and a disrupted teenage life. “Being a teenager today is a lot different than when we were kids,” said Cary Quashen, founder of the Action Family Foundation. “The social and academic pressures are different. Drugs, alcohol, sex and gangs are just some of the pressures teen face today,” Quashen said. “We are grateful for Dr. Nathanson’s service and vast knowledge of child development and wellness.”

in Valencia where she serves 3,800 patients. Dr. Patterson-Judd obtained her B.S. in zoology and human biology from Brigham Young University, her medical degree from the University of Utah, and completed her family medical residency program at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine/Northridge Hospital. In addition to her medical practice, Dr. Patterson-Judd finds time for community service and is an advocate for eradicating human trafficking of children. She was the 2015 SCV Chairman of the Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) Rescue Run providing over $30,000 in funding

which helps liberate children enslaved in the sex trade industry. In less than a year, O.U.R. has liberated over 250 children and arrested numerous traffickers. In 2008, Dr. Patterson-Judd secured a $100,000 UniHealth Foundation grant, providing medical services to the underserved communities of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. “Dr. Patterson-Judd has been our treating physician since she joined the Facey Medical group. She has had a profound impact on our health, as well as our lives,” said Scott Muir who nominated Dr. Patterson-Judd as one of the Signal’s top health care leaders.

Philip Solomon Philip Solomon is a nonprofit professional who has worked with the underserved and disadvantaged, in the most vulnerable communities in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties since 1993. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Education and an MPA in Nonprofit Management. In 2012, Philip joined the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers and became their chief executive officer in 2014. The health centers enhance wellness by providing quality outpatient health care services and programs, health education, community resources and referrals in five different SCV locations. The centers empower patients to manage their health and health care, following a self-management patient

care model in which patients take a central role in managing their own health. Last year over 11,000 patients were served, with financial charges based on the individual’s ability to pay. Many times this care prevented illness and injuries from getting worse; eliminated the need for unnecessary trips to the emergency room and enabled family members to gain employment, or go back to work quickly. “Philip is a true leader in the community health services world. He provides excellent leadership as the CEO of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers,” said Gloria Mercado-Fortine, chairman of the board. “Because of Philip’s dedication and compassion to the SCV, he has increased services, for underserved

and underinsured patients, and brought much needed services to our school population and has expanded services for senior citizens who may not have any other health care options.”

The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Economic Development

Adam Gilbert site for location shooting, behind only Griffith Park.

Adam Gilbert is the Walt Disney Co.’s director of corporate real estate, tending to the multi-billion-dollar corporation’s land assets all over the world. In Santa Clarita, that means overseeing the Golden Oak Ranch, where numerous movies, TV and commercials shoot location scenes -- making the Ranch the L.A. area’s second-most-used

Gilbert also sits on the board of Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development

“It’s a busy and vital resource for the

Corporation, whose mission, he said,

TV, film and production community,”

is, “How do we support the local busi-

said Gilbert, an L.A. native who has

nesses, how do we drive growth” as

worked for Disney for 19 years.

well as “long-term thinking – pushing

Since Walt Disney himself first bought property in Santa Clarita and opened the Ranch, it has grown to 890 acres.

to attract big companies to the area.’’ A graduate of Claremont McKenna College with a degree in history,

“We have strategically acquired

Gilbert lives in Hollywood with his

properties to get the ranch to its cur-

wife. They are the parents of two boys

rent state,’’ said Gilbert.

and a girl.

Sue Arellano Development Corporation, focusing on

whatever we can do to help business-

business attraction and business assis-

es, utilizing our own network and very

tance. She joined the EDC in January after working for 20 years at Santa Clarita’s Centric marketing agency – of which Sue Arellano majored in public health and minored in microbiology at UCLA. Now she applies the scientific method to helping Santa Clarita businesses thrive. Arellano is business assistance manager for the Santa Clarita Valley Economic

22 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

EDC was a client. “We’re really a one-stop, first-pointof-contact resource to support and enhance the success of businesses,” Arellano said of her role at EDC. “We help with everything from taxes to permits to information resources and

large board to help however we can, using our contacts at the city and state, or wherever.” Arellano grew up in the San Fernando Valley and lived in Valencia for 13 years before moving to Saugus 18 years ago.

Phil Hart Phil Hart is executive vice president

future. The company is also planning to

and chief operating officer of the Logix

move its corporate headquarters from

Federal Credit union, which boasts of

Burbank to Santa Clarita.

being named “one of the best places to

He graduated from San Francisco

work in Los Angeles by several publica-

State with a degree in accounting, then

tions,’’ as well as never having had an

got an MBA in finance from Golden

unprofitable year in its 77-year history.

Gate University and an executive MBA

Hart has worked 27 years for Logix,

from Stanford.

She has three sons, ages 32, 28 and 26,

which has four branches in the Santa

He and his wife Katie live in Sand

who still live in Santa Clarita.

Clarita Valley – with plans for more in the

Canyon and have three grown children

who all live in Santa Clarita Valley after attending Valencia High School.

The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Mitzi Like Mitzi Like is the CEO of LBW Insurance and Financial Services, an independent insurance agency in Valencia. During her 34 years as CEO, Like has helped craft individual and financial strategies to match the needs of each company she serves. She also runs the agency’s daily operations and helps grow the firm’s largest book of business. Her priority is the needs of the businesses she serves, by insuring that her clients protect their bottom line and

their future through unique business strategies. “Mitzi has a great vision and we’re all proud to get in line and go after it,” said April Price, LBW Insurance and Financial Services manager of sales and marketing. “This is a family-owned company and you definitely feel this working here.” Like also contributes to the economic development of the city as a threeyear board member on the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development

Corporation. She encourages her staff and company to get involved in the community and contribute to the growth of the city. “Not only does LBW support non-profit and community efforts financially through donations and sponsorships, but they are also supportive of us, the staff, going out and getting involved in the community,” Price said.


Nancy Starczyk

Being among SCV’s top movers and shakers is a familiar role for Realtor Nancy Starczyk. Over the last quarter century, Starczyk’s boundless energy, passion

24 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

and volunteer drive have elicited overwhelming endorsement from the community she serves. The real estate salesperson extraordinaire has served as President of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors, SCV Division, four times - in 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2014. She has served on the SCV Board for more than 22 years and as Chair of its Government Affairs Committee, eight times. Since 1990, Starczyk has been working on a volunteer basis with the Association of Realtors in Local

Scott Capistrano Government Budget


Affairs, Finance,

Education, Nominating,

Marketing, Multiple Listing Service, Special Events and Bylaws Committee. She has participated in the merger of the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys into the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Scott Capistrano is the president of

clients manage strategic projects and

Status Not Quo, Inc., a creative ser-

exceed their own expectations. His

vices and software development firm,

goal with Status Not Quo, Inc. is to

where he is responsible for day-to-day

bridge the gap between business ob-

operations and management.

jectives and the technology required

His company helps develop digital

to achieve those objectives.

marketing strategies, brand alignment

Before joining Status Not Quo, Inc.,

and creative designs for its clientele.

Capistrano was president of Oddle

Starczyk is a director, and mem-

Capistrano is passionate about “rais-

Even Studios that later merged with

ber/liaison of the Santa Clarita Valley

ing the bar” in his industry and insti-

Status Not Quo, president of P3, CEO

for the Valley Industry Association for

Chamber of Commerce Government

tuting results-oriented management.

of TechIKnowledge Systems, LLC and

three years and as a board member

Affairs and Transportation Committee.

Utilizing his background in op-

CFO/Treasurer for STC Netcom, Inc.

for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber

She currently sits on the Executive

erations, finance and technology,

He has served on the board of direc-


Capistrano tirelessly works to help his

tors as vice chair of strategic planning

of Commerce for one year in 2011.

The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Jeremy Stepan

Jeffrey Kretz Jeffrey Kretz is the Chief Technology

including Microsoft .NET, C#, XML,

“I look at the Santa Clarita Valley as a

Officer and Senior Systems Architect at

SQL Server, JavaScript and HTML. Kretz

perfect mixture of family, business, and

internet marketing company Scorpion

works to stay at the forefront of tech-

pleasure,” he said.


nology to develop the best systems and

use to solve problems with the systems

product for Scorpion customers.

he builds.”

Kretz holds an invaluable position with Scorpion as his fingerprint and vision is on each and every application the company designs. In his role, Kretz oversees the development, design and data-structure of all custom and packaged software.

“Jeffrey has years of experience managing and developing some of the most complicated systems and truly has the experience to tackle any technical project,” said Scorpion CEO Rustin Kretz on

Jeremy Stepan is all about running a

the business IT support company,

with the Storm Track Club, responsible

Before joining Scorpion in 2005, Kretz

business, coaching soccer and direct-

Resurgence IT, he said: “The support

for the club’s distance program, both

worked for 20 years as the director of

ing runners with Santa Clarita’s Storm

of the community and my clients has

track and cross-country.

information technology at a multi-million

Track Club.

been instrumental in the growth of my

Stepan promotes leadership accord-

dollar telecommunications company. At

If it’s tough keeping up with him - on

Scorpion, he has worked as a senior level

the field or in the board room - Stepan

“I’ve watched the open fields turn

website.“Through words of encour-

into new housing and businesses.

agement and killer workouts his goal is

Growing in a way that maintains the

to make you a runner for life.”

He is passionate about his work

the company’s website. “He is a prob-

consultant, a senior developer and tech-

lem solver by nature, so he puts that to

nology executive.

than the Santa Clarita Valley.

business and me personally.

ing to his profile posted on the club’s

Anya Smilanick

Bill Momary

26 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

When he’s not coaching young soccer players, he’s coaching runners

and an expert in several technologies

Bill Momary has worked for major media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and Scripps, selling advertising and building websites. But his lasting legacy might well be “Ebyline” -- the business he started

years ago.”

As the owner and president of

said there’s no better place to compete

out of his Saugus garage that now trades on the NASDAQ and employs 150 people nationwide, managing a freelance journalism network that connects 15,000 professional journalists with some 1,000 publishers seeking content. The online service creates a “virtual newsroom,” where news organizations - struggling to operate with increasingly smaller staffs - can gather original content. “It was literally in my garage, trying to help revive a tech scene, or create a tech scene, actually,” Momary said of his brainchild.

same feel that drew my family here 15

Momary started Ebyline in 2009 with former L.A. Times colleague co-creator Allen Narcisse. Within a few short years, they attracted $6.5 million in funding from media company The E.W. Scripps Company. Within six years of launching, the SCV startup firm was sold to Floridabased IZEA for $8.9 million. Momary is now the senior VP for content for IZEA. He grew up in Canyon Country and Saugus, attending Our Lady of Perpetual Hope School in Newhall and eventually Cal State Northridge. Residing in Saugus, Momary lives in Santa Clarita with his wife and three children, ages 6, 9 and 12.

If you’re looking for chihuahuas,

Why Santa Clarita?

wiener dogs or miniature poodles,

“I had never heard of anyone in

then Small Dog Creative may not be

L.A. say they love where they live,”

the company to go to.

she said, noting she heard that very

But, if you’re looking for a creative website design complete with integrated marketing, then the company launched by Anya Smilanick on Avenue Stanford is definitely for you. The married mother of one moved her web design company - and family - from Culver City to the Santa Clarita Valley six years ago when her daughter was born.

statement from a man who worked for her husband, “Our name comes from working with small dogs as opposed to big dogs,” she added. Now, 70 percent of “small dog” clients are in the Santa Clarita Valley. Small Dog’s mission statement is: “To grow your business by producing




that tell your brand story.” Mounting success shows a company with a bite that’s bigger than its bark. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •



Steve Cassulo

Steve Cassulo is the district manager for Waste Connections, Inc. at the

manager at Republic Services Inc. and

friendly and family-oriented—eight years

the director of operations at Waste

ago from Kona, Hawaii. He is the proud

Management. Altogether, Cassulo has

father of two daughters and grandfa-

26 years of experience working in the

ther of one grandchild.

landfill business. He also served in the United States

joys traveling, camping, working out,

to ensure that the 639-acre landfill in

Airforce in the late-1980s and ear-

hiking and pairing “good wine with a

Castaic remains an environmentally-safe

ly-1990s where he was stationed at

great meal.”

and efficient waste disposal center.

Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Before joining Waste Connections, Inc.,





28 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Cassulo and his family moved to the Santa Clarita Valley—which he calls fun,

Thank you for your tireless dedication to serving our community and making the SCV an even better, safer place to live, work and play.

When he is not working, Cassulo en-

He works

Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

Congratulations, Ken Wiseman and Shirley Miller!

“We have two dogs and a cat, and we


love to travel and discover new things all over California,” he said. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Sue Nevius

Jon Georgio Jon Georgio is president and CEO of Gothic Landscape where he actively works to fulfill the company’s mission of developing “long-term relationships through team members committed to a culture of extraordinary service.” “The most rewarding part of my job is working with my team. We have an amazing team of 13,000 people,” Georgio said. Georgio leads the family-owned and operated company toward its strategic goals in landscape and maintenance operations and landscape construction for major master planned communities

throughout California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. “What’s great about a family business is that we think in decades and generations and not quarters to quarters,” Georgio said. “So you get to have a long-term vision and not a short-term vision.” Georgio holds degrees in English and finance from California State University, Northridge and completed the Management Development Program for Entrepreneurs at University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to his business ventures, Gerogio is actively involved in the Santa

Clarita community. He is an adult leader for Boy Scout Troop 499 and a youth football coach for the Santa Clarita Warriors. He is actively involved with community and non-profit work at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, the Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society and the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. He is a lifelong member of the Santa Clarita community with his wife, Mardi, and three sons.

Sue Nevius was there when the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Stevenson Ranch opened 10 years ago, and she’s still there today, serving as general manager of the 112-room hotel that welcomes business travelers connected to the area’s many corporations, as well as fun-seekers in town for Six Flags. Nevius is also the immediate past chair of the Santa Clarita Valley

Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the Board of the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, serving as Vice Chair, Business/Corporate Gifts. Born and raised in Kansas, Nevius has worked for La Quinta since 1990, starting out in San Antonio, Texas, and traveling for the corporation for her first few years, opening 36 La Quinta locations. During one of those trips, she met the general manager of the Fremont, Calif., La Quinta – fell in love and

eventually married him. Today, she and Scott Nevius live in Santa Clarita, where they raised her three step-daughters. They also have nine grandchildren. Scott now teaches hotel and restaurant courses in the Hart School District. Sue Nevius said being selected as one of The Signal’s 2016 “51” was a surprise and an honor. “There’s a lot of qualified people here,’’ she said. “We have a very strong community, a lot of people who do a lot for the community.”

Curtis Woods Michael MacDonald of the recent political conventions, you

several Fortune 1,000 corporations,

have seen Michael MacDonald’s work.

then returned to Audiotek five years ago.

Actually, you have heard his work.

The company employs 95 workers.

MacDonald is president of Valencia’s

“Having a business in Santa Clarita, it’s

ATK Audiotek, which builds and rents

just a great area, it’s easy to hire people

large sound systems for events like

and encourage people to move here

those, as well as for big corporate cus-

because of the great environment the

tomers such as Apple.

founding fathers of Newhall created,”

The San Diego native and engineer-

said MacDonald.

ing graduate of San Diego State worked

MacDonald has a son who lives in

If you’ve watched a Super Bowl, the

at Audiotek at its inception 32 years ago,

New York and works in public relations

Academy Awards, the Grammys or one

left to work in marketing and sales for

and advertising.

30 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

The man who brought Eternal Valley Memorial Park Mortuary into the mainstream of Santa Clarita Valley’s life through elaborate celebrations such as Memorial Day and Mother’s Day is among The Signal’s 51. Curtis Woods was named general manager in January 2013 of a facility firmly established as a cornerstone of Santa Clarita Valley life. He came to the SCV from Bakersfield where he served as the general manager of Hillcrest Memorial Park there. Before that, he was general manager at Joshua Memorial Park in Lancaster, where he increased the location’s satisfaction rating by 17 percent.

Since his arrival, he has raised the profile of Eternal Valley Memorial Park Mortuary making it SCV’s central venue on Memorial Day. Under his direction, events such as Mother’s Day enabled people to not only remember their mothers but to take part in a special celebration honoring mothers through displays and raffles. Woods earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at California State University, Northridge, and has been active in civic and professional organizations. “We are delighted to have Curtis back in the greater Los Angeles area,” said James Biby, market director of Dignity, which runs Eternal Valley. “His leadership, experience and genuine care will ensure

that Eternal Valley continues to provide the best care possible for the families we serve, and that our memorial park will continue as a gathering place for community events and life celebrations.” The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Shirley Miller

Government Charles Heffernan

Charles Heffernan, Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Clarita, joined the Planning Commission in 2012 and was recently reappointed in 2016. A resident of the SCV since 1986, Heffernan first became active in the Santa Clarita community while lobbying for the Wiley Canyon Road Bridge,

32 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

which now provides a secondary access to the Circle J Ranch Community. He is the vice president of engineering for Psomas, in its Santa Clarita office, which is one of the top-ranked engineering firms in the nation, providing surveying, engineering, construction management and environmental services to the nation. Prior to joining Psomas, Heffernan managed the design and construction of commercial, residential, and large-scale public works projects. Previously, he was with KB Home as vice president — land entitlement. Before that, Heffernan was with Newhall Land as vice president — operations and land development during the construction of its Westridge, Bridgeport, Creekside, West Creek, and

Valencia Commerce Center projects; and the reconstruction of the Valencia Boulevard/I-5 interchange. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and is a licensed engineer and general engineering contractor in the state of California. “His vast engineering and construction background, in the management and design of commercial, residential, and large-scale public works projects, benefits the City of Santa Clarita immensely,” said City Councilman Bob Kellar. “He’s a leader in the land development industry, with strong relationships in both the public and private sector,” said Matt Clark, Psomas’ corporate director of engineering.

Top brass at the local sheriff’s station went looking for a face and a voice that would accurately reflect their commitment to the community and they found Shirley Miller. Miller is the Public Information Officer for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. The brass love her, she loves them and the public is taking a shine to the new face of policing in the SCV.

“Working as the Public Information Officer and overseeing the social media platforms for SCV Sheriff’s has been my favorite assignment,” she said. “It allows me to combine my two interests- communications and law enforcement. I love working with the Santa Clarita community. “Santa Clarita is a wonderful place to live and work. The community is very supportive of our local Sheriff’s Station and it is an honor to serve them.”





Southwestern College with a degree in Communications. She had been pursuing a broadcast journalism career interning at a news station and freelance writing for newspapers. She worked as a radio announcer for an FM station and hosted a talk show on AM. But then, she moved to the Los Angeles area, where she developed interest in criminal justice.

Chief Daryl L. Osby Daryl L. Osby was sworn in by the Los

He is affiliated with many fire service

Angeles County Board of Supervisors as

organizations, previously served on the

the ninth fire chief of the Los Angeles

California State Board of Fire Services,

County Fire Department in 2011. He has

and is a former member and chairman

served as a member of the Los Angeles

of the Los Angeles County Emergency

County Fire Department for 31 years.

Preparedness Commission.

He heads one of the largest emergen-

Additionally, he is affiliated with sever-

cy services agencies in the world, provid-

al community organizations and has re-

ing traditional fire and life safety services

ceived numerous awards for his service.

to more than 4.1 million residents and

Osby is an advocate for continuing

commercial business customers in 58

education and currently holds a bache-

cities served by the department, and all

lor of Science Degree in organizational

the unincorporated areas of the county

leadership from Azusa Pacific University.

within its 2,300-square-mile service deliv-

He is also a graduate of Harvard

ery area.

University’s Senior Executives in State

and Local Government and National Preparedness Leadership Programs, completed Clark Atlanta University’s Executive Development Program and the Martin Gang Institute for Intergroup Relations at Loyola Marymount University. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Frank Oviedo Frank Oviedo began his new job as Santa Clarita’s assistant city manager in 2013. He brings to Santa Clarita 15 years of experience in city government with a number of successes. During his career he has worked in every city department in three cities with a steady progression of management responsibilities. At Santa Clarita, Oviedo has worked as a management analyst for the parks and recreation department, as well as serving as interim parks superintendent and as a management analyst in the city’s finance department.

“Frank Oviedo loves public service and is dedicated to Santa Clarita. He brings a high level of enthusiasm and professionalism to work every day,” said Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin. As deputy city manager and assistant to the city manager in the city of Elk Grove, Oviedo worked on the city’s budget, as well as with human resources and the police department. He has both administrative and development services oversight experience, developing the city of Wildomar’s first comprehensive economic development work plan and creating policies

encouraging economic growth through phased commercial projects. Oviedo earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University Fresno and a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University. He is a member of the International City/County Manager Association, the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers and the Government Finance Officers Association.

Hospitality Philanthropy

Vanessa Wilk

Vanessa Wilk, Santa Clarita Valley field representative for the 21st state Senate District, has not only a political career of her own but also partners with Assemblyman and husband Scott Wilk in careers and in life.

34 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Long involved in community service, Vanessa Wilk participated in school site councils, PTAs and other youngster-oriented organizations as son Scott and daughter Alison Grace were growing up. She joined the Greater Santa Clarita Valley chapter of Soroptimist International, a worldwide service organization focused on educating, empowering and assisting girls and women. She was president of the organization in 2013. She also sits on the advisory board of several Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organizations.

Juan Alonso

Before being named to Senator Sharon Runner’s staff, Wilk was club director for Belcaro Valencia, a senior community in Santa Clarita. Wilk is an outspoken advocate for GOP causes and met her husband during a training session for campaign workers. She is “chief wrangler” for The Signal’s “Right Here, Right Now” Republican column series, recruiting writers and enforcing deadlines. The Wilks have been married more than 30 years, and Scott Wilk is seeking the 21st Senate seat on Nov. 8 following Runner’s death.

SCV restaurateur Juan Alonso of Le Chene opened his restaurant in 1980. He has captivated the taste buds of Santa Claritians for 36 years. In the early days he worked as chef in a French restaurant in the San

Fernando Valley. While taking a leisurely drive through the Santa Clarita Valley one day, he found a rock building up Sierra Highway that’s now the home of Le Chene. It wasn’t long before Alonso began growing grapes and making wine. While sharing a bottle of wine one day with friends, a Santa Clarita city founder, Jo Anne Darcy, approached Alonso and shared her desires to start a fundraiser for the SCV Senior Center. “I offered to create a wine auction for the Senior Center,” Alonso said.

“Seventeen years later, because of the generosity of SCV residents, the Le Chene wine auction has raised a gross of $1.7 million for the Senior Center.” “Juan has always been a very generous person,” said Peggy Rasmussen, president of the SCV Committee on Aging. “His hospitality is top-notch and demonstrated daily at his restaurant with great food and customer service. Philanthropy is genuinely given with his whole heart and thoughtful care.” The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Eve Bushman Eve Bushman has been a business consultant for well over two decades, providing both wine and non-wine-related businesses with outof-the-box business marketing ideas and business growth opportunities. Her expertise in the wine industry has earned her a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and she authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone.” She also has been the

subject of a 60-minute wine immersion video. She has assisted non-profits including her latest endeavor where she partnered to help the William S. Hart Union High School District WiSH Education Foundation by chairing the recent – and highly successful – Cocktails on the Roof fundraiser. Her fundraising efforts reach well beyond the Santa Clarita Valley, touching the lives of disaster victims around the world.

Brian O’Connor Besides the local Vine 2 Wine Classic 2011, SCV Wine Fest 2011 and 2012, and Circle of Hope’s Vine 2 Wine Classic 2013, Bushman was instrumental in launching Pour Into Haiti 2010, supporting the Three Angels Children’s Relief Fund; Relief for Japan 2011, benefiting tsunami relief; and Pour Into Sandy 2012, to name a few.

Brian O’Connor is a strategic marketing and communications veteran bringing more than 24 years of experience to his role as vice president, public relations for Princess Cruises, the third largest cruise line sailing 1.7 million guests annually on cruises to destinations around the globe. He oversees a team accountable for media relations, publicity, social media

Rob and Laina McFerren spent years in the restaurant industry before they opened their own place in Valencia; they threw their entire life savings into

36 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Connecting to Success program and have partnered with many local nonprofits over the years. They recently launched the Community Pints program, which focuses on a different local nonprofit each month and raises money and awareness for that charity at both the restaurant and brewery. It averages about $1,000 per month for each charity. The McFerrens have supported the SCV Food Pantry, the Senior Center, the Child and Family Center, the WiSH Foundation, the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund and Make the World a Better Place.

Relations Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter, and currently serves on the Past President’s Council for the chapter. He also serves on the alumni board of directors for the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences. O’Connor has been instrumental in developing community partnerships and supporting local community charities and their fundraising efforts on behalf of Princess Cruises.

Steve Youlios

Rob and Laina McFerren creating the first brew pub in the Santa Clarita Valley. Over time, the reputation of the restaurant and the brewery grew. But that’s just the beginning of the McFerren story, because the Wolf Creek Brewing Company has become synonymous with charitable giving in the Santa Clarita Valley. Laina currently serves on the executive foundation board of the Child and Family Center and on the College of the Canyons Foundation Board. As Valley Industry Association members, the McFerrens support the William S. Hart Union High School District

and special events, as well as issues of management, crisis response and community relations. His team drives messaging for new ship introductions, product and program launches. Locally, he serves on the executive committee of the board of directors for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce. O’Connor is a past president, vice president and five-term member of the board of directors for the Public

One would be hard pressed to find a school administrator or teacher anywhere in Santa Clarita who doesn’t know Steve Youlios. As owner of five Jersey Mike’s Sub shops in Santa Clarita, Youlios makes sure he gives back to the community by giving to schools, churches, charities, and anyone who may be down on their luck. ‘‘One of our students was tragically killed. Our campus was devastated. Counselors, teachers, and administrators met with groups of students and individuals who were going through various stages of grief. Youlios provided platters of sandwiches for students and teachers because he knew there would be no time for lunch. The next couple of weeks, Steve personally

visited the home of this student, offering anything he could to support the family and friends who were mourning the loss,” said Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde. Recently, he worked with the William S. Hart Union High School District WiSH Foundation to provide a mechanism to donate $10,000 for the sole purpose of purchasing microscopes and flex cams for the science departments. He is constantly of service to all five local school districts. He routinely provides box lunches for school fundraisers, hosts buffets for Teacher Appreciation Days and more. One may question how much he charges for his meals. The answer is nothing.

“The relationship fostered between Steve Youlios and all our school districts in Santa Clarita is in no way looked upon as a marketing venture for Jersey Mike’s but rather an opportunity to sincerely and genuinely serve and benefit kids,” said Bolde. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •



s n o i t a l u t a r g E

n a m h s ve Bu

Congratulations Vanessa Wilk

for being recognized for the work she does for non-profits in our community. Truly a “force of nature”, Eve brings her marketing talents to non-profits and for-profits alike.





and all of the “

” winners

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

College of the Canyons

Vicki Engbrecht


Eric Harnish & Julie Visner Signal Multimedia SCV 51 Winners In Education Your belief in our students, the community and the impact of education is evident in your tireless efforts to make a difference and your ability to inspire those that work with you.

38 • 51 of 2016 • The Signal

Vicki Engbrecht is the superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, where she has served the district in various roles completing her 39th year of service. An impressive educator and administrator, Engbrecht has served the district as an English teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of curriculum, and deputy superintendent. Engbrecht’sprofessionalreputationprecedes her; she is known for understanding the education needs of students and listening to parents. The William S. Hart Union High School District oversees more

than 22,000 public junior and senior high school students in the Santa Clarita Valley. She has received several awards from the Association of California School Administrators for schoolwide effectiveness and outstanding co-administration. As a teacher, she was named Teacher of the Year by the Hart district and Los Angeles County and was a finalist in the state competition. She received College of the Canyons’ Friend and Alumni of the Year Award in 2007. Engbrecht is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree in English and a standard life

teaching credential. She earned her master’s of education degree, administrative services credential and professional administrative credential from the University of La Verne. The Signal • 51 of 2016 •


Eric Harnish Eric Harnish is the vice president of public information, advocacy and external relations at College of the Canyons. His leadership reach includes the public information office, the reprographic and graphic design departments. Harnish is instrumental in furthering the college’s many goals and objectives through the use of strategic communications, community and media relations, legislative advocacy, public relations and marketing activities.

“His ability to represent the college at the local, state, and national levels, while serving as a liaison between the college and our many academic, business and community partners, continues to have a positive impact at the college,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “Eric has cultivated close ties with elected officials who represent College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Community College District. Because of his efforts, we have made our voice heard in Sacramento and influenced

Linda Storli-Koontz the outcomes of policy and budget decisions that directly affect our students.” Harnish was originally hired at College of the Canyons as the special assistant to the chancellor, responsible for leading all operational and administrative aspects of the Chancellor’s Office and communicating the chancellor’s vision to the campus and the community.

Linda Storli-Koontz began her teaching career in Tananger, Norway, and says she found her calling. She returned to the United States and earned a California teaching credential from California State University Northridge and has a master’s degree in education. Storli-Koontz was elected to the William S. Hart Union High School District school board as an area trustee in 2015 after

Megan Howell

Megan Howell is an innovative educator and the school principal of the Imago Dei School and director of supplemental services for Trinity Classical Academy in Valencia.

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Inspired by her son Beau, who is autistic, she partnered with Trinity to create a school that offered special education services at a private institution. The program blends classical and Christian education especially designed for a private school setting. Additionally, Howell raised the initial funding to establish the Imago Dei School. Howell is an educational therapist and specializes in special education cognitive development disabilities and autism disorders. She has specialized training in applied behavioral analysis. Howell employs cutting-edge programs, intense individualized therapy and mediated learning strategies from the National Institute for Learning

teaching at Canyon High School for 30 years. “I left a job that I loved every single day so I could serve on the school board,” she said. As a member of the educational community, Storli-Koontz was instrumental in bringing the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley to the Sierra Vista Junior High School campus in Canyon Country. As president of Hart district’s District Advisory Committee, she brought a dedicated sheriff’s deputy to each high school

campus so a student’s first encounter with the law would be in a friendly atmosphere and keep schools safe. But schools aren’t all Storli-Koontz is about. “I have been involved in politics all my life,” she said. Storli was among many who worked to form the city of Santa Clarita and, after running for but failing to snag a seat on the first City Council, she became a Parks and Recreation commissioner in 1988.

Julie Visner Development to train Trinity’s supplemental services faculty in educational therapies and techniques that have been extremely successful helping students with learning difficulties achieve, and in many cases well surpass, grade level proficiency. “We are grateful for Megan Howell’s abilities and creating the Imago Dei School,” said Liz Caddow, founder and head master of the Trinity Classical Academy. “The Imago Dei School is committed to providing a supportive environment in which students with learning and developmental disabilities can develop intellectual, academic, spiritual, social, emotional and vocational skills.”

Celebrating 35 years of service at College of the Canyons, Julie Visner was one of the original counseling office program advisers hired; then became a counseling faculty member in October 1985. She has enjoyed working at both the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses. Along with the thousands of COC students she has proudly helped achieve their goals, Visner has also counseled many staff members and colleagues during her years of service, teaching self-awareness and college success classes.

She has also facilitated several campus support groups. “We don’t think she realizes what an influence she has been on student lives,” said COC board President Bruce Fortine. “As one student shared, Julie is one of the most amazing people in the world. She has definitely made a difference in my life and I know she has done the same for thousands of other students, co-workers and friends.” Visner originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but redirected her goals after becoming a peer adviser at Los Angeles Pierce College during her second semester.

Her motto, according to friends, has always been “Saving the world, one student at a time.” And that, they say, a testament to her dedication to COC students.

The Signal • 51 of 2016 •






Fred Arnold and the American Family Funding Team



Congratulations Rhona on your success, business, and hard work. Thank you for all your community service over the past 30 years. We are so proud to have you on our team.

2016 2016

Thank You

Betty Peters

For all you do for the community You have been blessed to be a blessing And serve with a servant’s heart.

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The Signal • 51 of 2016 •



HomeSmart of Santa Clarita and Mike Bjorkman are proud to recognize Tami Edwards as one of The Signal’s Top 51. Tami is the manager and lead agent for Team Bjorkman. Consistently selling over 100 homes a year, she has proven to be Santa Clarita’s premier real estate agent. Tami was chosen Woman of the Year for the 38th District by Assemblyman Scott Wilk. Her dedication to this community can be seen through her work on SCV Today, SCV Rotary, and the many other organizations she chairs and volunteers for. 661-295-1000 28361 Constellation Road Valencia, CA 91355


Top 51 2016  
Top 51 2016