LASA Learns Business

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On October 18th, we met at the usual time at The Huntington, and then divided our morning into three sections.  First up was Rick Wartzman, the Executive Director of the Drucker Institute.  Rick, the former head of the Business section of the Los Angeles Times and now Executive Director of the Drucker Institute, took us through the ins and outs of the regional economy.  How diversified is greater Los Angeles in its economy?  (A lot!).  What are the job sectors?  What are the income distributions and disparities?  And who are the region’s super wealthy, and where did their fortunes come from?  This is always a fascinating discussion with Rick, as it is a topic full of complexity and surprises, and LASA students always ask interesting and intelligent questions of our guest.

After Rick’s visit, we heard from Laura Apisakkul, one of the senior Admissions Officers at USC.  Laura, a seasoned pro, has seen it all, and she brought her experience and her wisdom right to the LASA students.  How should you approach applying to college?  What are admissions offices looking for?  How do you think about your classes in high school as pathways to college?  How do you capture yourself and your dreams in a college essay?  It was a great introduction to a process of huge importance, and we were so grateful to Laura for her time and her counsel.

Next, Alex Maleki of Idealab came before us to talk about start ups, about entrepreneurial initiative, and about the ins and outs of starting a company and — if you’re lucky and on to something– getting Idealab interested in it.  It was a learned, smart, funny talk — Alex has been around the entrepreneurial block, he’s seen a lot, and he knows how start ups founder or flourish.  He inspired us all by his enthusiasm for getting out there and thinking about how problems can be solved by innovative ideas, and the students responded with real fascination in regards to the twisting and turning roads of start ups in LA.

Next: a classic.  Our annual trip to Glenair, an aerospace and aviation manufacturing operation in Glendale.  A favorite visit, a fascinating visit.  Guided again by our friend Ron Logan, Glenair’s chief technologist.  We learn so much on this visit: what a shopfloor in the 21st century high tech world looks like, how it works, what goes into it.  How a shopfloor supervisor (we ran into one, Rod, and he gave us much of his time taking us around: thank you!) gets his job done, what he has to think about and plan for.  We saw machines and computers and workers, and we saw how Glenair works to put them all together in a show of impressive manufacturing expertise.  This is a great visit for us — thank you, Ron — and LASA students leave tired and inspired and grateful to have seen a world that they would not ordinarily have the chance to see.

Next: law enforcment, the LAPD, and the Los Angeles Police Commission.