Ortho Mattress CEO discusses bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. from China

Ortho Mattress Inc. CEO Ken Karmin discusses his business philosophy and successes in this week’s Los Angeles Business Journal. He talks about the long process it took to turn around Ortho after acquiring it in 1999, including a major advertising push. It meant distinguishing the company against competitors like Sit ‘n Sleep by focusing on their own brand beds, as opposed to selling third-party mattresses.

Karmin decided to bring manufacturing back to the United States from China and take it in-house a few years ago.

“We discovered it was hard to break into the manufacturing business here,” he says in the article. “It’s an oligopoly. There were very few domestic suppliers and they were tied up with other manufacturers, so we had to go overseas for mattress springs and other parts. It wasn’t until 2007, when the housing slowdown started to affect us, that we purchased our own equipment that allowed us to make all the component parts in-house.”

Veggie Grill raises $11 million for expansion after partnering with Brentwood Associates

Santa Monica-based Veggie Grill announced that it successfully completed a third round of equity funding, raising $11 million to support the company’s ongoing expansion. Veggie Grill recently partnered with private equity firm Brentwood Associates to raise funds from new and current shareholders, as well as to supply additional funds within 18 months on pre-negotiated terms, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.

Veggie Grill CEO Greg Dollarhyde confirmed the company is on track to double within the next 15 months. The company currently operates seven locations in Southern California.

OWC named to LABJ’s annual top women-owned businesses list

Olmstead Williams Communications has been named to the Los Angeles Business Journal‘s list of the 100 largest women-owned businesses in LA.

“Public relations is even more important to businesses during economic turmoil,” Tracy Williams, president and CEO of OWC, says in the announcement. “The advent of social media has helped agencies like ours thrive. There are so many more communications levers to pull that opportunities and challenges are growing, making our role critical.”

OWC is a business-to-business public relations and social media firm that focuses on technology and professional services. The company was founded in August 2008, making it the youngest business on the list. OWC generated $1.4 million in revenue in 2010, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.

‘Biz Seen’ in LA features Ernst & Young, Broads Circle

Entrepreneur of the Year award winners in Los Angeles -- Front row, left to right: Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck, Riot Games; and Ajay Handa, Columbus Technologies & Services, Inc. Back row: Lyndon Faulkner, Pelican Products, Inc.; Neal Schore, Triton Media Group; Steve Rechnitz, Twin Med LLC; Frank Addante, the Rubicon Project, Inc.; and Perry Wallach accepting for Adam Miller, Cornerstone OnDemand.

For business professionals in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Business Journal‘s weekly “Biz Seen” section is where you want to be. This week’s issue featured a photo of the winners of Ernst & Young’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards program and a photo from Broads Circle’s Marketing Me panel luncheon.

The EOY gala for the greater Los Angeles region took place on June 21 at the Beverly Hills Hilton. All regional honorees are invited to the Entrepreneur of The Year National Awards gala, hosted by Jay Leno, on November 12, 2011, in Palm Springs, Calif. The gala is the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Broads Circle's Marketing Me panel luncheon -- From left, Ali Brown, founder and CEO, Ali International LLC; Joy Chudacoff, founder of Smart Women Smart Solutions; Merri Jill Finstrom, CCO, HUTdogs; Tracy Williams, president and CEO, Olmstead Williams Communications; and Darya Allen-Attar, financial advisor, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and founder of Broads Circle.

The Broads Circle panel luncheon was held at the UCLA Faculty Center on July 13, the panel addressed the most effective methods of promoting professional services and related businesses. Broads Circle is a prestigious networking organization dedicated to building a network of elite professionals and focused on taking women to the next and highest level in business.




Ernst & Young business development leader rescues pooch off freeway

The Los Angeles Business Journal‘s Charles Crumpley writes about Ernst & Young’s LeRoy Hughes saving a stray dog off the San Bernardino (10) Freeway not far from Baldwin Park in his “Page 3″ column for the May 16-22 issue of the paper.

Hughes, a business development leader at E&Y’s downtown LA office, tells Crumpley how the 11-pound miniature pinscher had no collar or ID chip. Hughes, his wife Michelle, and sons Caiden and Kylan were in the market to adopt, but they followed the proper procedures first and took her to an animal shelter. Then, they waited five impatient days before taking their new pet — Freeway, of course — home for good.

Keep it in the Family? — Los Angeles Business Journal Releases annual Wealthiest Angelenos special report

The Los Angeles Business Journal today released its annual Wealthiest Angelenos special report. This year, reporter Richard Clough decided to speak with LA’s most affluent residents about the complications in raising children when there are billions of dollars at stake. In his article “Keep it in the Family?”, Clough determines that family ties can blind business owners to their children’s shortcomings, which can hurt a company.

According to Grace Russak, senior vice president of Whittier Trust Co., a wealth management firm in South Pasadena that handles intergenerational wealth transfers for billionaires and other affluent individuals, “It’s a huge concern. Who is going to take over the company and how is that going to ensure that the company is properly positioned and managed and how will that affect family dynamics?”

Olmstead Williams Communications Ranks #16 in Top Public Relations Firms List

It’s brag week at Olmstead Williams Communications (OWC) thanks to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual Top Public Relations Companies in Los Angeles list. This year, our firm ranked 16th on the list, which ranked agencies by their 2010 county fee income, and is also the youngest agency to make this year’s ranking.

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, OWC generated $1.4 million in fee income in 2010. The publication also ranked OWC ninth on its “Big Earners” list, with an average of $200,000 in fee income per account executive.

Since December, the firm has secured three new clients as it continues to grow. OWC also expanded its professional team by hiring managing associate Kaitlen Murphy in January 2011 to help oversee the new accounts. Murphy has more than 10 years experience in public relations, marketing and event planning at agencies in Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

500+ Ernst & Young Professionals Took a Day Off to Volunteer Throughout LA

On December 3, 2010, 500 Ernst & Young professionals – representing more than half of the firm’s Los Angeles office – fanned out across the county to volunteer at 18 different local organizations. Ranging from working with the animals at the Los Angeles Zoo to teaching kids at the California Science Center, EY employees donated their time and helped make a difference as part of EY Connect Day. 

“Our people share a sense of purpose that starts with the work we do for our clients and extends into the communities in which we live. We’re proud that we are giving more than 2600 hours to great causes in Los Angeles,” said Amanda Massucci, partner in EY’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services practice.

The photo above was included in this week’s Los Angeles Business Journal L.A. Biz Seen section.

Broads Circle Event “When Your Looks Make You a Million” featured in LABJ Biz Seen


Tracy Williams (far right), president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications, stands with Darya Allen-Attar, founder of Broads Circle, and Dana Hollinger, principal of The Hollinger Group, at Broads Circle's "Looks Can Make You a Million" summer soiree.

Broads Circle, dedicated to building a network of elite professionals, is focused on taking women to the next and highest level in business. The circle brings together women in a variety of industries who share the same career and personal drivers to generate revenue and assume leadership positions.

On July 22, over 100 professionals attended Broads Circle’s “When Your Looks Make You a Million” event. To examine the elements of a successful “look” in the business environment, the organization convened experts in dermatology, hair, makeup and fashion at the UCLA Faculty Center.

Click here to read Tracy Olmstead Williams’ thoughts on the event.

Ahmed Enany: Booster Shot

By Deborah Crowe
The Los Angeles Business Journal
Click here to read the full interview

Entrepreneurs such as Al Mann and Patrick Soon-Shiong may be the public face of the biotech industry in Los Angeles, but industry insiders know another man as the region’s Mr. Biotech: Ahmed Enany, chief executive of the Southern California Biomedical Council. The organization holds networking events, investor conferences and promotes the industry. His early life had no hint of his eventual position. Enany came to the United States in 1978 on a fellowship with the intent to earn graduate degrees in political science at UCLA and return to his native Egypt to teach. Deciding that an academic career would bore him, Enany switched to urban planning and eventually became caught up with economic development initiatives created after the 1992 L.A. riots. Enany, who as a child considered becoming a surgeon before losing part of his hand in an accidental explosion, was particularly drawn to the area’s small growing biotech industry. Four years ago, he survived a rare form of cancer, which has made him only more determined to make the council a success. We caught up with the 54-year-old biotech industry executive at his downtown L.A. office, where he still runs a mostly one-man show backed by a part-time staff, and a bunch of volunteers and board members, including Mann. We discussed his life, career and how he developed a love for a city that he once disliked intensely.