LASA Learns Business

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October 17th

For our exploration of business in Los Angeles, LASA was very fortunate to be joined by two speakers, Rick Wartzman and Ivar Chan.  The former business editor of the Los Angeles Times and the head of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate School, Rick guided LASA students through a big-picture overview of the extensive Los Angeles economy.  With an emphasis on the sectors of the economy that employ the most number of people, Rick gave the students an invaluable window into the strengths and weaknesses of the regional economy.  Along the way, we learned about the challenges of making ends meet in greater L.A. and were introduced to a small group of people – the six richest people in Los Angeles – who don’t face the same sorts of struggles as nearly everyone else.

Ivar Chan, an entrepreneur who founded and sold his own company with the support of Idealab, a Pasadena-based incubator and accelerator, discussed the start-up environment in Los Angeles.  Often referred to as Silicon Beach in deference to our northern California friends, Los Angeles is home to a thriving and growing start-up scene.   Focusing specifically on his own experience, Ivar explained the different stages in the start-up process, from the germination of the idea through the different stages of financing to the eventual sale, something that only one in two hundred start-ups actually achieve.

As has been our practice on “L.A. Business Day,” we ventured next door to Glendale and the spaces of the Glenair company.  Our guide again was the Chief Technologist of Glenair (and LASA dad), Dr. Ron Logan.  Ron took us to his R and D lab, talked to us about the fascinating work that Glenair does in making components for space and aerospace applications, and showed us shopfloor activity with robotic assistance.  It was wonderful, as ever, and we offer collective thanks in a big way to Ron.