Document 183185

MARCH 31, 2008
Asking the Right
How to Select the
Best Consultant
for Your Business
HE situation is a familiar one: As you
address adding new customer services in
order to remain competitive, you don’t feel
like you have either the expertise nor the manpower to implement them. Plus, some of these
services are already in place with your compeitors, so why reinvent the wheel?
As a result, you decide to find a consultant
who knows all the ins, outs and regulations
involved with implementing your new customer
services. Where do you start when looking for a
consultant? Here are a few thoughts on how to
find a consultant who’s the best fit.
Experience counts. First, research consultants
and check into their experience. Here are some of
the questions you’ll want answered:
• How long have they been in business?
• How long have they been offering the product
and/or service in which you are interested?
• How many customers have they worked with
to implement this product or service?
Check References
Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Reputable
consultants will be more than happy to give you
a list of other clients to call. Who better to ask
about how well the product was implemented
and if the consultant worked well with the customer than a past client? You would never hire
an employee without checking his or her references. A consultant should not be any different.
The Analysis Process
Another key to choosing the right consultant
is determining what type of analysis you’re looking for. Ask prospective consultants about the
process they use, how long it will take, how they
will work with your employees during the process
and what type of report or recommendations
you’ll receive at the conclusion of the assignment.
You want to be sure that, as a result of their work,
you’ll be able to make informed decisions on
what new services are best for your business.
For instance, if you are implementing a new software product, you may want a consultant who
has proven results.
Customer Benefits
It’s important to find a consultant who has customer benefits at the top of his/her priority list.
And the consultant will need to ensure your staff is
thoroughly trained to understand how the offerings will truly benefit your customers and how to
best present those benefits to your customers.
A “must have” in today’s financial market is a
consultant who is 100 percent compliant with all
federal and state regulations, and who is knowledgeable about recently suggested changes. You
do not want to hire a consultant whom you
assume is familiar with all the newest regulations, then later find out your business is not in
compliance. Find out up front or this mistake
can cost you considerable time and money.
Only you can make the final decision on
which consultant is the best fit. Remember that
the consultant is there to help you present your
customers with better benefits, products or services and, ultimately, to make you more profitable. Look for the qualities above and you will
be happy with the decision you have made.
Speaking of training, the importance of a good
training program can’t be over-emphasized. Most
management teams agree that training their staff
is one of the most important steps to a successful
program. They can see how the employees’
understanding improves the program’s success
and their bottom line, which in itself is a testament to the value of training.
To ensure success, you’ll also want to “train”
your customers. For your new benefits to take off
with a bang, you want to be sure there is an action
plan included with the implementation. Your customers need help understanding the program’s
benefits in order to use it most effectively.
Are you a high-energy person who likes to
make informed decisions, then move forward
quickly? Then be sure you find a consultant or
consulting team that fits your management style.
Face-to-face meetings with prospective consultants are imperative to ensure you’re engaging
someone who can work comfortably with you
and your staff, and that you all have the same
Ongoing Support
Be sure to ask prospective consultants about
their follow-up service once the initial work is
complete. You don’t want a consultant who will
come in and do the job, and then leave without
ever being heard from again. A good consultant
will perform quarterly follow-up reviews to help
ensure a program’s success.
Meeting Specific Requirements
Outline in advance any specific requirements
you would like a consultant to meet, and be sure
to take those requirements into consideration.
Professional Services Providers Listings Begin on Page 30
This special advertising supplement did not involve the reporting or editing staff of the Los Angeles Business Journal.
This special advertising supplement did not involve the reporting or editing staff of the Los Angeles Business Journal.
MARCH 31, 2008
Improving Your Business Relationships:
Build Your Career on the Relationships Right Next to You!
today’s workplace, most of us are
only going as far as our relationship
skills can take us. The talented superstar operating at the center of a
firestorm of dysfunctional relationships
who is tolerated by management
because of his otherwise superior “performance” is not yet extinct, but may
well be on its way to endangered status.
Improving your relationships at work
takes thought and effort, but may well
be simpler than you think.
I often encounter clients who are
struggling not because they lack vision
or technical know-how, but because too
many of their “business” relationships
aren’t working. They are plagued by
problems with ego, trust, understanding, patience, communication, and differing values & perspectives. Regardless
of the cause, poorly managed relationships affect all of our bottom line. Organizationally, they affect our ability to
work together, to innovate, to deliver
service, to learn, to improve effectiveness and stay ahead of the competition.
And individually, they affect our ability
to do our job and advance our career.
It is obviously difficult to focus on
improving relationships given so many
other critical priorities at work. Technology, customer trends, regulatory
requirements, and everything else is
changing so fast we can barely keep up.
Relationships require our explicit focus
precisely because they are so easy to
take for granted. We cannot ask a reguN
We do not typically hire
somebody because of
how effectively they
manage relationships.
We hire people because
they are great engineers
or programmers or
technical writers or
salespeople or planners
or thinkers or controllers
or analysts or whatever;
and then we hope that
they’ll be able to get
along with others.
latory requirement, an audit finding, or
our technology to be more patient, flexible, or forgiving. We can and do, however, impose such on our relationships.
The proof of our shortsightedness lies
in the number of work relationships that
are dysfunctional, and the fact that so
many professionals continue to be surprised by these issues. Keep in mind that
we are not taught in college and graduate
school about developing and effectively
managing relationships. And we do not
typically hire somebody because of how
effectively they manage relationships. We
hire people because they are great engi-
promise. There’s discomfort. There’s
learning. There are highs and lows.
There’s growth, and the whole thing is
as difficult to predict as it is to control.
But that’s at home. In the workplace,
however, I believe we don’t care as
much about our relationships. The
unfortunate result is that we feel entitled to functional relationships at work
and we’re not nearly as inclined to
invest in creating them.
For those motivated to work on their
business relationships, which relationships should you start with? Trendy
answers include focusing on cus-
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management, intellectual property and gaming.
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Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
still isn’t
an option
neers or programmers or technical writers
or salespeople or planners or thinkers or
controllers or analysts or whatever; and
then we hope that they’ll be able to get
along with others.
We put tremendous effort into our
relationships outside of work, too often
with lackluster results. Should we expect
that relationships will function any better at work where we put forth less
effort and don’t for the most part
choose the people we’re with?
Ask anybody, and they will tell you
that a good relationship takes a lot of
work. There’s no quitting. There’s com-
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MARCH 31, 2008
The Health of Your Business
OU have heard it before…health
insurance rates are skyrocketing;
absenteeism and health issues are
impacting productivity; employees want
to work for a company that cares…about
social issues and about their well-being.
In short, the health care stance of your
company affects your bottom line. The
American Cancer Society, the nation’s
oldest, most recognized, health care
non-profit will partner with you to
address these challenges.
The American Cancer Society’s
Workplace Solutions help manage
health care costs, increase productivity,
and retain current employees by promoting positive change to three key
risk behaviors among your workforce.
Our comprehensive program of products and services address physical activity, nutrition and smoking cessation.
“The American Cancer Society provides
critical resources for a business to offer its
employees,” said Jennifer Sparks,VP, Client
tomers/clients, on networking skills, or
on managing up (i.e., relationships with
your bosses); all people on whom you
depend for your prosperity. Managing
relationships with each of these groups
is its own art form and can command a
great deal of your attention. But what
about the people who you work with
most closely? What about your peers
and direct reports...your colleagues.
These are the people with whom you
may not think, “what can she do for
me”? But I’d observe that these are the
people who will have the greatest
impact on your effectiveness today and
career advancement tomorrow.
Focusing on the relationships right in
front of you is particularly important for
leaders. Leaders often focus on strategy or
on key relationships with big customers
and the big boss. As a consequence, they
neglect their closest followers and mistakenly assume that professionalism and
obedience will keep those relationships
intact. If you look over your shoulder
and there is nobody following you,
you’re not a leader, regardless of what
your job title is. Whether you are an
entry level employee or chief executive,
you need to create and then invest in
relationships that are resilient.
How can this be done? If we want
resilient relationships in our professional
sphere then we need to care about them
as much and approach them in much
the same way as we would relationships
in our personal life. Here’s a short list of
actions you take to make a difference:
1. Start by changing your expectations.
Expect that business relationships will
be just as much work, and perhaps
more, than relationships at home.
Putting on a suit or dress and driving to
another location to spend the day earning money doesn’t change the nature of
human beings. People are people, no
matter where you are, and relationships
are relationships, and they require work.
2. Focus on the “big 4” in managing your Ego.
Don’t take yourself so seriously, open
yourself to feedback, allow that you may
be wrong from time to time, and share
credit. These are four huge acts of emotional intelligence, each guaranteed to
improve your relationships at work.
These acts will enhance your humility.
Planning at Basement, Inc. volunteer
chairperson of the Society’s Los Angeles
summer gala, California Spirit. “From
offering the Society’s exercise and nutrition
information to the latest materials on cancer prevention and support, a corporation
becomes a proactive partner in the health
and wellbeing of their employees.”
With tobacco use being the number
one source of preventable morbidity and
mortality in the country, employers are
taking advantage of the Society’s proprietary smoking cessation program, Quitline, which has provided service to over
250,000 callers with service available to
over 30 percent of the population of the
United States. Customer satisfaction rates
have remained over 90 percent since the
start of the program in 2000.
Active For Life is a 10-week program
designed to promote heath awareness
and physical fitness. With obesity costing US companies over $13 billion
annually in health care costs and lost
Humility is one of the most refreshing
and likeable qualities available. Being
likeable makes relationships work better.
It’s not that complicated.
3. Give more than you get. For an important relationship, it is far more likely
that you will regret having been too selfish than too generous. Experiment with
true generosity in the workplace for a
while and see what happens in your
relationships. Help somebody solve
their problem instead of focusing on
yours. Take a risk to provide moral support to a colleague instead of soliciting
support for yourself. Take a colleague
under your wing instead of only seeking
out those who can mentor you.
productivity, corporate clients such as
Karl Weiss at Eddie Bauer Inc. have
found the cost-free program to be “fun,
active, morale-boosting – and to top it
off, we’re all getting healthier!”
Becoming a collaborator with the
American Cancer Society, through
team-building, fundraising, workplace
giving and matching gifts can further
boost employee morale, while enhancing your company’s public image and
increasing your visibility. The Society’s
2008 Southern California Invitational
is just one unique example of how a
business can get involved. This corporate networking and fundraising tournament will be held at The Riviera
Country Club on June 16, 2008. Last
year, more than $385,000 was raised to
assist cancer patients and cancer related programs right here in the Los
Angeles area. “There is no better way to
entertain clients showcasing your company and demonstrating good corpo-
the workplace. Experiment with just
one of them for a few weeks and see
what happens. As a bonus, you will find
that any one of these magic bullets will
attract the others. What’s the payoff?
More collegial relationships with peers,
less stress and more focus within your
organization, and a reputation that will
help advance your career.
Bob Greenfield is an expert in organiza-
rate citizenship than to participate in
the SCI, benefiting the American Cancer Society “says Daniel R. Levin, Banc
of America Investment Services, Inc.
and Co-chair of the Invitational.
For nearly a century, the American
Cancer Society has led the way in the battle against cancer. Through this long history, the Society has devoted more than
$3 billion to lifesaving cancer research
and has supported 42 Nobel laureates
early in their careers. The success of the
Society is the result of volunteerism and
donations from people nationwide that
believe in our mission and have helped to
build our trusted and recognized brand
name. Join us as we work to make the
future free from cancer within your business and within our community.
For more information, contact
Bette Bergsman, Director of Corporate
Relations for the American Cancer Society,
at 213.427.7387.
tion development and is owner and principal
consultant of Greenfield Management Strategies (GMS). Established in 1999, GMS works
in partnership with clients in the private, non
profit, and public sectors on a variety of
strategic, organizational, and people issues in
order to improve collective performance and
individual satisfaction. Bob can be contacted
directly at 818 506-7100 or via
[email protected] GMS’ website is
4. Empathize; put yourself in the other’s shoes.
In the midst of workplace conflicts we
invest very little time trying to understand the other, and most of our effort
trying to be understood. This is a place
where we can practice being more generous. What can you do if you’re not
naturally empathic? Ask questions and
try listening. You will be amazed at how
much more you can learn with your
ears than with your mouth.
5. Practice the arts of compromise and letting go. Letting go doesn’t mean lowering your standards. But at some point
we’d all be well-served asking ourselves
whether we’d rather be right or effective? Too often our principles make us
unduly stubborn and our unwillingness
to compromise or let go of an issue
damages a relationship without a commensurate benefit. Being right is
easy...just stick to your guns. Being
effective is much more complex and
often requires compromise. Without
considering the choice between righteousness and effectiveness, our default is
usually to be right. Every dysfunctional
or ‘stuck’ relationship requires movement of some kind. Are you going to
wait for the other guy to move first?
Many of us would seem to prefer this,
but would you really prefer to be a passive follower than a leader who acts?
At VACO, we’re not just growing fast,
we’re growing smart*. We continue to
provide exceptional accounting, finance
and technology solutions for your
contract and permanent hiring needs.
Simply put, we’ve recruited the brightest
and the best qualified talent and watch
with excitement as organizations utilize
these professionals to transform from
the inside out. They are skilled. They are
6701 Center Drive W.,
Suite 960
Los Angeles, CA 90045
PHONE 310.693.0490
capable. And they know how to keep you
one step ahead of the competition.
Realistic expectations, humility, generosity, empathy, and compromise: A
collection of magic bullets guaranteed
to improve your relationship skills in
Senior VACO Partners Frances Moreno, Devon Zopfi,
Anita Shelley and Stephanie Keairns head up the Los
Angeles VACO Resource, Technology and Financial
divisions. Give them a call today to gain the edge you
need to drive business performance.
* INC Magazine recently named
Vaco the 33rd fastest-growing
private company in America.
2815 Townsgate Road,
Suite 220
Westlake Village, CA
PHONE 805.371.6320
MARCH 31, 2008
First American Exchange Company, LLC
520 N. Central Avenue, 8th Floor
Glendale, CA 91203
(818)550-2596; Fax (818)545-9949
Practice Areas: 1031 Exchanges,
Qualified Intermediary
Primary Business Contact(s):
Laurie Cross, CES; [email protected]
Cynthia Pettyjohn, CES;
[email protected]
Cellular Accessories For Less
2110 Artesia Boulevard, #B707
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310)220-2250; Fax (310)220-2257
Practice Areas: Hands-Free Car Solutions;
Mobile Phone Accessories; Plantronics
Office Headsets
Primary Business Contact(s):
Mitch Langstein; [email protected]
CapNet Financial Services, Inc.
2600 West Olive Avenue, 7th Floor
Burbank, CA 91505
(818)933-2200; Fax (818)933-2210
Practice Areas: Commercial Financing Solutions
Primary Business Contact(s):
Brian Spratt; [email protected]
BDO Seidman, LLP
1900 Avenue of the Stars, 11th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310)557-0300; Fax (310)557-1777
Practice Areas: Assurance, Tax, BDO Consulting
Primary Business Contact(s):
Brad Schrupp; [email protected]
Philip Strauss; [email protected]
George Blanco; [email protected]
8530 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310)287-2180; Fax (310)287-2185
Practice Areas: Commercial Interior Design, Strategic Planning, Pre-Lease Assistance, Budget
Preparation, Programming, Space Planning,
Project Management, Sustainable Design,
LEED Consulting, Furniture Specification
Primary Business Contact(s):
Rodney Stone; [email protected]
Richard Lehman; [email protected]
Holthouse Carlin Van Trigt LLP
1601 Cloverfield Boulevard, Suite 300 South
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)566-1900; Fax (310)566-1901
Practice Areas: Tax, Audit, Business Management
Primary Business Contact(s):
Alison Adams
Jennifer Matsura
355 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213)972-4000; Fax (213)402-3429
Practice Areas: Audit, Tax, Advisory
Key Business Contact(s):
Mark Hutchins, Managing Partner;
[email protected]
Scott London, Audit; [email protected]
Craig Ellis, Tax; [email protected]
Moss Adams LLP
11766 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(310)477-0450; Fax (310)477-8424
Practice Areas: Certified Public Accountants
Primary Business Contacts:
Rob Greenspan;
[email protected]
NSBN LLP CPAs & Business Consultants
9454 Wilshire Boulevard, 4th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90212
Practice Areas: Tax, Audit, Real Estate, Escrow, Nonprofit, Entertainment, Employee Benefit Plans
Primary Business Contact(s):
Kenneth A. Miles; [email protected]
Tammy Mescobi; [email protected]
Corporate America Aviation Inc.
PO Box 1978
Burbank, CA 91507
(800)521-8585; Fax (818)563-2368
Practice Areas: Executive & Private Aircraft
Charter Services
Primary Business Contact(s):
Daniel Darwish; [email protected]
2500 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)449-5600; Fax (310)449-5850
Practice Areas: Architecture, Interior Design,
Planning, Strategic Consulting
Primary Business Contact(s):
Andy Cohen; [email protected]
Robert Jernigan; [email protected]
KV & Company, Inc.
635 S. Olive Street, Suite A
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213)316-0150; Fax (866)768-2045
Practice Areas: Architecture/Design
Primary Business Contact(s):
John Kanounji; [email protected]
Osep Melkonian; [email protected]
MCG Architecture
1055 E. Colorado Boulevard, Suite 400
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626)793-9119; Fax (626)796-9295
Practice Areas: Retail, Mixed-Use, Hospitality,
Office, Restaurants
Primary Business Contact(s):
Philip Fraser-Andrews
[email protected]
Brian Tiedge; [email protected]
Diane Carpenter;
[email protected]
Meyer Architects
2300 Westwood Boulevard, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Practice Areas: Residential/Commercial Office
Renovation, New Construction, Interiors
Primary Business Contact(s):
Pamela H. Meyer, ASID; [email protected]
Walter B. Meyer, AIA; [email protected]
Perkowitz + Ruth Architects
111 W. Ocean Blvd. 21st Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562)628-8000; Fax (562)628-8005
Practice Areas: Architecture and Design
Primary Business Contact(s):
Vicky Hammond;
[email protected]
Bindu Gore; [email protected]
Brookfield Properties
601 South Figueroa Street, Suite 2650
Los Angeles, CA., 90017, United States
(213)624-9100; Fax: (213)612-4383
Practice Areas: Owners and Managers of Major
Office Buildings
Primary Business Contact(s):
John R. Barganski;
[email protected]
Robert P. Cushman;
[email protected]
Patrice R. Hopper;
[email protected]
CB Richard Ellis
355 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 2700
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213)613-3333; Fax (213)613-3005
Practice Areas: Property Sales & Leasing; Corporate Services; Property, Facilities & Project
Management; Mortgage Banking; Appraisal &
Valuation; Development Services; Investment
Management; Research & Consulting
Primary Business Contact(s):
Lew Horne, Executive Managing Director;
[email protected]
Jim Kruse, Senior Managing Director;
[email protected]
Jim Brown, Senior Managing Director;
[email protected]
Stan Yoshihara, Managing Director,
Asset Svcs; [email protected]
Business Team LA
2293 W. 190th Street
Torrance, CA 90504
(310)539-8300; Fax (310)856-0240
Practice Areas: Business Brokerage
Primary Business Contact(s):
Brian Gunshor, CBB;
[email protected]
Colliers International
865 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 3500
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213)627-1214; Fax (213)327-3200
Practice Areas: Office, Industrial, Landlord/Tenant Representation, Hospitality, Retail,
Investment, Land, Multi-Modal, Multi-Family
Primary Business Contact(s):
Carla Gazzolo; [email protected]
CCS Presentation Systems, Inc.
5055 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 305
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Practice Areas: Audio-Visual Sales, Integration,
Installation, and Service
Primary Business Contact(s):
David Riberi; [email protected]
Brian Reilly; [email protected]
MARCH 31, 2008
The Heger Company
5657 E. Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90040
(323)727-1144; Fax (323)727-9198
Practice Areas: Full service brokerage firm offering
solutions in Sales, Acquisition, Leasing, Management, Development, Consulting & Appraisal
Primary Business Contact(s):
Robert G. Thornburgh; [email protected]
Thomas A. Holland; [email protected]
Grubb & Ellis
445 S. Figurora St., Suite 3300
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Telephone (213)596.2222 * Fax
Practice Areas: Property Sales & Leasing;
Investment Advisory; Corporate Services;
Property, Facilities & Project Management;
Research & Consulting; Sponsor of real
estate investment programs including taxdeferred 1031 tenant-in-common (TIC)
exchanges, public non-traded real estate
investment trusts (REITs) & real estate
investment funds; Wealth Management.
Primary Business Contact(s):
William Boyd, Jr., EVP & Regional Managing
Director; [email protected]
David Burback, EVP & Managing Director;
[email protected]
Don Hudson, EVP & Managing Director;
[email protected]
Medical Asset Management
2790 Skypark Drive, #207
Torrance, CA 90505
(310)530-6060; Fax (310)530-6187
Practice Areas: Purchase, Sale, Development,
Lease & Management of Medical Buildings
Primary Business Contact(s):
Jeff Cunningham; [email protected]
Steve Miller; [email protected]
Aaron Phillips; [email protected]
Eco Built Construction, Inc.
635 S. Olive Street, Suite A
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213)316-0150; Fax (866)768-2045
Practice Areas: Construction
Primary Business Contact(s):
John Kanounji; [email protected]
Osep Melkonian; [email protected]
LA Data Security
15624 Roxford Street
Sylmar, CA 91342
(818)367-1771; Fax (818)833-8336
Practice Areas: Offsite Data Storage & Online
Primary Business Contact(s):
Matt Glazer; [email protected]
George Estrella; [email protected]
Gary Estrella; [email protected]
LA Records Management
15624 Roxford Street
Sylmar, CA 91342
(818)435-3090; Fax (818)833-8336
Practice Areas: Records Management & Storage
Primary Business Contact(s):
Ever Valencia; [email protected]
continued on following page
The Costa Rica Crew, from left: Partners Frances Moreno, Stephanie Keairns, Anita Shelley, Lorraine Sanchez, Stephen Smith,
Devon Zopfi and Founding Partner Jay Holloman.
VACO LA Teamwork Spurs Growth
the busy season for Vaco LA.
Frances Moreno, anchor partner
Vaco LA, takes a breath and
answers a call from a consultant. It’s
9:55 a.m. and while the atmosphere in
the bullpen is electric, Moreno’s voice
is calm and reassuring on the phone.
“I’m finding jobs for ten people today,”
Moreno says, after she hangs up. “We’ve
had something like 5,000 percent growth
but we aren’t resting on our laurels.”
When the office opened two years
ago, Vaco Los Angeles had three
employees. Now they have 17 people
with two offices and are one of the
fastest growing start ups in the country;
recruiting senior consultants for direct
hire and contract placements for
accounting, tax, audit, finance and
A Latin translation of Vaco is: “Free
yourself from a master.” Vaco searches
for and cultivates those people who
thrive on the pervasive entrepreneurial spirit; are willing to inspire and
help others; and yet, be their own
A Blend of Entrepreneurship
and Selflessness.
Vaco LA is an entrepreneurial
throwback. The ‘all for one’ attitude of
the partners and employees focuses on
teamwork and subverts the ego.
“Every day all of the divisions work
tirelessly to help the other in either
filling positions or finding new customers to partner with,” Devon Zopfi,
partner Vaco Technology, said.
“It’s rare that a sales organization is
willing to perform selfless acts like
this. There is no ego and everyone is
here to grow something special and
Stephen Smith, partner Vaco
Resources, believes it’s selflessness that
brings consultants onboard.
“We are less concerned about who
gets credit as long as the right person is
placed with the right client,” Smith said.
Consultants Like the Attitude.
“I sought Vaco out because of the
attitudes of the partners and account
managers,” James Suttles, CPA, consultant, said. “My experience with Vaco is
that I am treated like a business partner.”
‘At Vaco I’m working
with great people who
care about making the
right connections and
fits for its consultants
and clients. Vaco
achieves the objectives
of its consultants and
clients without compromising whenever possible on meeting the
goals of all concerned.’
Demetria Gardner, CPA and reporting specialist, said, “At Vaco I’m working with great people who care about
making the right connections and fits
for its consultants and clients. Vaco
achieves the objectives of its consultants and clients without compromising whenever possible on meeting the
goals of all concerned.”
LaJuana Mitchell Smith, a senior project consultant, adds, “Vaco aims for the
right fit, matching the needs of its clients
with the talents of its consultants.”
Quality senior-level consultants
bring value to the table. One consultant identified a $114,000 error in a
client’s previous year’s tax return and
corrected the error, directly affecting
the company’s bottom line.
Anita Shelley, partner Vaco
Resources, says the company is successful because employees have the
freedom to run the business as professionals and use that freedom to
help consultants, clients and each
other to succeed.
“We help each other with strategy
talks and give advice,” Shelley said.
“Teamwork takes extra effort, but everyone knows that’s how we will succeed.”
Vaco also takes time out to give back
to the community. Vaco is aligned
with and actively supports organizations such as: Autism Speaks, YMCA of
Southern California and the NBC/Universal charity “Discover a Star.”
Work Hard. Play Hard.
Celebrate Successes.
“We sincerely enjoy each other’s
company and work very hard together
so everyone can be successful,” Moreno
said. “We play hard when we can.”
Vaco ‘growth strategy meetings’
may be a celebration lunch, a day trip
for the internal team or scheduled
social events to celebrate big wins,
including trips to Las Vegas, Costa
Rica and to Cabo San Lucas.
“At the end of the day, it comes
down to helping companies find good
people and helping solid people find
jobs,” Moreno said. “Every time we
find a position for someone, we get a
sense of celebration. We’ve grown
from a handful of consultants to well
over one hundred. That’s a lot of celebration.”
MARCH 31, 2008
Going Green Yields Big Tax Breaks
has been both a contributor to global warming as
well as a trend-setter in developing environmentally friendly solutions
to the world’s pollution and energy
With its huge, car-driving population; large number of diesel-spewing,
transportation vehicles; dependence on
port operations for imported goods and
raw materials; and reliance on technology, California represents a perfect
Petri dish for generating the best and
worst forms of pollution as well as creating potential solutions.
While routinely overlooked by many
taxpayers, existing federal and state tax
law provides an impressive variety of
incentive tax credits focused on
researching and developing alternative
energy and other technologies, as well
as for implementing pollution control
and energy reduction measures.
With increased focus on reducing all
forms of pollution as well as our
reliance on petroleum-based energy,
much discussion has centered on the
ways to most cost-effectively implement these pollution and energy control measures.
The Long Beach and Los Angeles
Ports are leading the charge in adopting
“green” action plans with their “Clean
Truck” program, which will replace
over 5,000 diesel-powered tractors with
ones burning cleaner fuels. Moreover,
port operators are increasingly focused
on ways to further clean up the air and
water in the local region.
A number of Los Angeles and
Orange County based businesses are
actively developing cutting edge pollution control and alternative fuel technologies (e.g. fuel cells, bio diesel, cogeneration plants, filtering options for
ship and train smokestacks, low-sulfur
bunker fuel for ships, etc.).
For example, Seal Beach based Clean
Energy (a Boone Pickens company)
opened the first LNG filling station in
Carson in late 2007. This will likely be
repeated throughout the region and
state as the transportation industry
adopts these cleaner-burning trucks.
Certain components of both filling stations and alternative-fuel trucks are eligible for tax credits of up to 30% of the
cost. These federal tax credits can yield
cost reductions of up to $32,000 for
each alternative fuel truck and up to
$30,000 for each Alternative Fuel Refueling Station. Since these new technologies are costly for “first adopters,”
these tax breaks are critical in encouraging taxpayers that take the lead in
adopting clean technologies.
Fortunately, numerous other tax
breaks are already built into the state
and federal tax statutes, including
research and development credits and
specific equipment credits, which can
dramatically reduce the after-tax cost of
reducing your business or residential
carbon footprint.
The most significant state and federal benefits currently available to California taxpayers are listed below.
California Tax Breaks
• Enterprise Zone Sales/Use Tax Credits
– Any business operating in one of Cal-
ifornia’s 42 Enterprise Zones (EZ) is eligible to claim an income/franchise tax
credit equal to the sales or use tax paid
on purchased or certain leased assets
used in manufacturing, processing,
research & development (R&D), pollution control, or energy conservation.
Additionally, most technology equipment such as computers, scanners,
scanners, copiers, etc. are eligible for
this credit.
This EZ sales/use tax credit reduces the
cost of qualifying assets by 7% to 9% (at
the state level), and these asset purchases
may also generate federal tax benefits.
To qualify for the state tax credit,
The Long Beach and
Los Angeles Ports are
leading the charge in
adopting “green” action
plans with their “Clean
Truck” program, which will
replace over 5,000 dieselpowered tractors with
ones burning cleaner fuels.
the assets must a) be used exclusively
in the Enterprise Zone, b) generally be
purchased from a California vendor,
unless such property is not readily
available from a local vendor, and c)
have included sales/use tax in the purchase or lease price. Many businesses in
the manufacturing and logistics sector
may not be aware that certain newly
purchased vehicles, equipment, or
technology can qualify for this valuable credit.
Unfortunately, the EZ credit does
not currently apply to equipment used
both inside and outside of a zone such
as container tractors that pick up cargo
in the ports and deliver it to areas outside the EZ. Proposals to allow new or
retro-fitted clean-burning vehicles to
qualify for this California credit have
been advanced in Sacramento, but the
current budget crisis will likely not see
this change adopted in the near future.
• EZ Hiring Credits – Businesses operating in any one of the 24 Southern California EZs (or 42 zones state wide) are
also entitled to an extremely valuable
employer hiring credit, which can generate annual tax benefits of up to
$12,500 per year for each “qualified
employee.” Generally 20% or more of
the employees working for an EZ located business will qualify the employer
for the EZ hiring credit.
• Research & Development Credits –
Taxpayers developing new or improving existing technologies, including
energy and pollution control may qualify for an R&D tax credit. These credits
are modeled after the federal R&D credit but only apply to qualified research
activity performed in California. Credits
are also available for payments made to
universities and other non-profit scien-
tific research organizations for basic
research. State credits can exceed 6
cents for every qualifying dollar of
expense and may be carried forward
indefinitely. With a high concentration
of aerospace, automotive, and techrelated companies in California, the
R&D credit is the most utilized incentive credit in the state. However, a large
number of taxpayers remain unaware
of this significant benefit.
Micro Shred, Inc.
15624 Roxford Street
Sylmar, CA 91342
(818)341-1333; Fax (818)428-3279
Practice Areas: Document Shredding, Product
Primary Business Contact(s):
Robert Rosenthal; [email protected]
Federal Tax Breaks
• Research & Development Credits – In
addition to R&D tax credits for developing new or improving existing technologies, or for basic research payments, a
federal credit is available for payments
made to qualifying energy research consortia. Federal R&D credits can reach 6.5
cents for every qualifying dollar of
expense and may be carried back one
year and forward twenty years. Combined federal and California R&D credits
can exceed 13% of qualifying expenses.
• Energy Efficient Commercial Building
Credits – Any business owning or leasing a commercial building that is 50%
or more energy efficient than a standard building can take a credit of up to
$1.80 per square foot. Partial credits are
also allowed to the extent the building
meets energy efficiency standards (25%
to 50% greater) with respect to lighting, HVAC or window/doors, etc.
• Hybrid Vehicles & Light Trucks/Fuel
Cell Credits – These credits range from
$250 to $4,000 for qualifying hybrid
passenger vehicles and $1,000 to
$4,000 for fuel cell motor vehicles.
• Alternative Fuel Credits – These credits range from $2,500 to $4,000 for
vehicles weighing less than 8,500
pounds, and from $20,000 to $32,000
for vehicles with a gross weight of
more than 26,000 pounds. Efforts are
underway to allow similar state credits.
• Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Credits
– Credits are available of up to $1.50 per
gallon of biodiesel which is used or sold
by the taxpayer in its trade or business.
Other Federal Environmental Tax
• Geothermal or Solar Energy Property
Credit ranging from 10% and 30%,
• Advanced “Lean Burn Technology”
Vehicle credits ranging from $400 to
$2,400 credits per vehicle;
• Certain shortened tax depreciable
lives on pollution control equipment
and current year “expensing” options
for certain soil remediation costs.
Loyola Marymount University MBA Program
1 LMU Drive, MS 8387
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310)338-2848; Fax (310)338-2899
Primary Business Contact(s):
Ann Marie Nuno; [email protected]
The aforementioned tax benefits
should be fully evaluated by all taxpayers in order to implement the most
environmentally friendly solutions in
the most economically viable manner.
Those businesses that are leaning
towards “doing the right thing” but have
economic concerns, will find these tax
breaks to be very attractive and will often
swing the pendulum in their favor for
implementing the best long-term solution.
Blake Christian, CPA is a Tax Partner and
Shawn Marchant, JD, LLM, is a Senior Tax
Manager in the Long Beach office of Holthouse, Carlin & Van Trigt LLP, CPAs. You
can reach them at (562) 590-9535 or
[email protected] and
[email protected]
National University
5245 Pacific Concourse Drive, Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Primary Business Contact(s):
Maggie Yadegar ; [email protected]
National University
14724 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 801
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Primary Business Contact(s):
Maggie Yadegar; [email protected]
Pepperdine University Graziadio
School of Business and Management
6100 Center Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310)568-5550; Fax (310)568-2398
Practice Areas: Fully Accredited MBA and Bachelor’s Completion Business Programs
Primary Business Contact(s):
Darrell Eriksen, Admissions;
[email protected]
Linda A. Livingstone, PhD, Dean;
[email protected]
Douglass Gore III, PR;
[email protected]
UCLA Anderson School of Management
110 Westwood Plaza
Mullin Management Commons, Suite F404
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Primary Business Contact(s):
Richard Rodner, Associate Dean for Marketing & Communications
UCLA Anderson Forecast
110 Westwood Plaza
Gold Hall, Suite B302
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Primary Business Contact(s):
Sherif Hanna, Managing Director;
[email protected]
UCLA Anderson Office of
Executive Education Programs
110 Westwood Plaza
Collins Center for Executive Education, Suite A101
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Primary Business Contact(s):
Kelly Bean, Assistant Dean, Executive Education Programs; [email protected]
UCLA Executive Master of Public Health
Program in Healthcare Management & Policy
10960 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310)267-5600; Fax (310)312-1711
Practice Areas: Healthcare Management & Policy
Primary Business Contact(s):
Nanette Ramzan; [email protected]
MARCH 31, 2008
11901 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste. 211
Los Angeles, CA. 90025
(310)444-3790; Fax (310)479-5568
Practice Areas: Recruitment Services, Direct
Hire, Temp-to-Hire, and Temporary Placement
Primary Business Contact(s):
Minyon Bowie;
[email protected]
Clare Davey; [email protected]
Mara Klug; [email protected]
South Bay HR
Post Office Box 1687
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310)921-3805; Fax (310)370-7979
Practice Areas: Human Resources Consulting, Outsourced On-Site Human Resources Support
Primary Business Contact(s):
Lori Burzminski; [email protected]
Executives Unlimited, Inc.
5000 E. Spring Street, Suite 395
Long Beach, CA 90815
(562)627-3800; Fax (562)627-1092
Practice Areas: Retained Executive Search
Firm, Interim Executive Search
Primary Business Contact(s):
Tomilee Gill, President;
[email protected]
Allison Quinlan, Managing;
[email protected]
Brad Pollak, Managing;
[email protected]
Roys & Associates
1603 Aviation Boulevard, Suite D
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Practice Areas: Retained Executive Recruiting
Primary Business Contact(s):
Deam Roys; [email protected]
Bovis Lend Lease
800 W. 6th Street, 16th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213)430-4660; Fax (213) 430-4699
Practice Areas: General Contracting, Program Mgmt,
Construction Mgmt, Preconstruction Services
Primary Business Contact(s):
Todd C. Pennington;
[email protected]
Paul Giovannetti;
[email protected]
Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co.
811 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213)236-0500; Fax (213)236-0501
Practice Areas: General Contractor
Primary Business Contact(s):
Richard Baptie; [email protected]
Steve Smith; [email protected]
Scott McClure; [email protected]
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP
11911 San Vicente Boulevard, Suite 350
Los Angeles, CA 90049-6650
(310)500-4600; Fax (310)500-4602
Practice Areas: Water Law; Government Relations; Real Estate; Land Use; Environmental;
Corporate & Business Taxation; Litigation;
Wealth Management; Intellectual Property &
Primary Business Contact(s):
Scott Slater; [email protected]
Steven Hoch; [email protected]
Bryan Cave LLP
120 Broadway, Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310)576-2100; Fax (310)576-2200
Practice Areas: Litigation, International Trade,
Franchise & Distribution, M&A, Corporate
Finance & Securities, Labor & Employment,
Private Client Services, Real Estate, Intellectual Property & Entertainment
Primary Business Contact(s):
Jeff Modisett; [email protected]
Louise Caplan; [email protected]
TENTEN Wilshire, LLC
1010 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(877)338-1010; Fax (213)482-4722
Primary Business Contact(s):
Lucy Mardonovich; [email protected]
The Corporate Gift Service
108 E. Graham Place
Burbank, CA 91502
(818)845-9500; Fax (800)306-3337
Practice Areas: B2B Gifting Service, Holidays & Events,
Imprinted Items, Clothing, Baskets & More
Primary Business Contact(s):
Saretta Savage; [email protected]
The California Company
Telephone 1-877-530-CORP (2677)
Practice Areas: LLC & Corporation Formation
Services in the State of California
Primary Business Contact(s):
Customer Service;
[email protected]
Cinema & Sound
18653 Ventura Boulevard, #303
Tarzana, CA 91356
Practice Areas: Home Theatre; In-Home Technology
Primary Business Contact(s):
Mark Schiffman; [email protected]
Giveaways & Apparel, Fulfillment
Primary Business Contact(s):
Saretta Savage;
[email protected]
Trilogy Capital Corp
30 Corporate Park, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92606
(949)271-7001; Fax (888)271-7039
Practice Areas: Private Equity Group, Investment Banking, Advisory Services
Primary Business Contact(s):
Barbara D’ Amato;
[email protected]
Moe Ghazi; [email protected]
Rick Lange; [email protected]
Oaktree Learning Systems, Inc.
1313 Foothill Boulevard, Suite 8
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818)952-1620; Fax (818)952-2659
Practice Areas: Executive Mgmt Coaching,
Team Building, Mgmt Training, Organizational Development Consulting, Organizational
Conflict Resolution.
Primary Business Contact(s):
Dr. Al Restivo;
[email protected]
Dr. Lee Stoltzfus; [email protected]
9565 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310)247-9771; Fax (310)247-8180
Practice Areas: Mens Clothing, Custom Clothing, Shoes, Alterations, Golf Attire
Primary Business Contact(s):
Anna Natalucci; [email protected]
Sean Meshoin; [email protected]
UMS Banking
750 Fairmont Avenue, Suite 201
Glendale, CA 91203
(800)324-8323 x165; Fax (818)246-0902
Practice Areas: Payment Processing Services
Primary Business Contact(s):
Bruce Ferguson; [email protected]
Sharrel Paul; [email protected]
On-Site LaserMedic Corporation
21540 Prairie Street, Unit D
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818)772-6911; Fax (818)349-8111
Practice Areas: Managed Print Solutions, OnSite Laser Printer Repair & Maintenance,
Consumable Supplies
Primary Business Contact(s):
Frank Quintana (Chatsworth);
[email protected]
Orlando Vaca (All);
[email protected]
April Wright (Orange County);
[email protected]
On-Site LaserMedic Corporation
1571 Parkway Loop, Unit A
Tustin, CA 92780
(714)972-9111; Fax (714)971-0318
Practice Areas: Managed Print Solutions, OnSite Laser Printer Repair & Maintenance,
Consumable Supplies
Primary Business Contact(s):
Frank Quintana (Chatworth);
[email protected]
Orlando Vaca (All);
[email protected]
April Wright (Orange County);
[email protected]
The Corporate Gift Service
108 E. Graham Place
Burbank, CA 91502
(818)845-9500; Fax (800)306-3337
Practice Areas: Custom Imprinted Promotional
Cerrell Associates Inc.
320 North Larchmont Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323)466-3445; Fax (323)466-8653
Practice Areas: Local Government; Campaigns &
Issues Management; Land Use & Planning;
Environment & Energy; Public Relations
Primary Business Contact(s):
Joe Cerrell, Chairman; [email protected]
Hal Dash, President; [email protected]
Lisa Gritzner, Principal/EVP, Local Government; [email protected]
Matt Klink, Principal/EVP, Campaigns &
Issue Mgmt, PR; [email protected]
Kristen Montet Lonner, Principal/EVP, Land
Use & Planning; [email protected]
Mark Wittenberg, Principal/EVP, Environment & Energy; [email protected]
Mozaic Media + Communications
(310)600-5223; Fax (213)559-9200
Practice Areas: Public Relations
Primary Business Contact(s):
Inquiries; [email protected]
AVP Advisors
10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1950
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310)689-7700; Fax (310)689-7707
Practice Areas: Real Estate Investing
Primary Business Contact(s):
Richard S. Ziman; [email protected]
Amy H. Ko; [email protected]
VACO Los Angeles
6701 Center Drive West, Suite 960
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310)693-0490; Fax (310)693-0481
Practice Areas: Finance, Accounting and Technology Placement Services
Primary Business Contact(s):
Frances Moreno; [email protected]
Stephen Smith; [email protected]
Devon Zopfi; [email protected]
VACO Los Angeles
2815 Townsgate Road, Suite 220
Westlake Village, CA 91361
(805)371-6320; Fax (805)371-6338
Practice Areas: Finance, Accounting and Technology Placement Services
Primary Business Contact(s):
Anita Shelley; [email protected]
Stephanie Keairns; [email protected]
Space Potential
453 S. Spring Street, #1005
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213)627-7771 Fax (213)627-7774
Practice Areas: Trade Show and Exhibit Specialists
Primary Business Contact(s):
Ross Weitzberg; [email protected]