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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

These Businesspeople Take Charge With Passion, Skill

BEST BUSINESS LEADER – SMALL COMPANY Linda Harris President JorgensenHR JorgensenHR is the go-to place for human resources services in the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond. Founded in 1984, the company helps businesses with HR policies, procedures, affirmative action policies, employee handbooks, recruitment, and dealing with issues related to discrimination, to name a few services. It has 12 employees and clients throughout Southern California. Linda Harris, president of JorgensenHR, is the woman at the helm of the company. She joined JorgensenHR in 1998, and purchased the company in 2003. “As president, what motivates me is supporting organizations to improve their business environment and being able to affect positive change,” says Harris. “If you’re in HR, you have to have a passion for what you do.” Harris says managing 12 employees is easy because her crew is made up of true HR professionals who do not need to be micro-managed. Everybody thrives on collaboration, she said. “I have the best team in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Harris. JorgensenHR worked with the Girl Scouts Mt. Wilson Vista Council. The council outsourced its HR work to the company because it was too expensive to hire somebody in-house, says Sylvia Rosenberger, who was chief operating officer of the council. “They helped us have that level of professional expertise and support in HR,” says Rosenberger. “I think this really helped us step-up our HR practices and standards.” JorgensenHR also stayed on during a recent merger of separate Girl Scout councils into the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. The firm assisted with recruitment and placement issues. “They helped assure a smooth transition,” says Rosenberger, now vice president of business and administration for the organization. “Linda is the utmost professional.” Harris got her start in the business as a teller at Security Pacific Bank. She jumped on an opportunity to work as a receptionist in the bank’s HR department, and worked her way up from there. She went on to work in the HR department of Coast Federal Bank for 20 years, her last position being vice president of HR. She joined JorgensenHR in 1998 as vice president, and seized the opportunity to buy the business in 2003 after the founder, Karen Jorgensen, retired. “I did not grow up in the Santa Clarita Valley, but it was somewhere I wanted to live,” says Harris. “I fell into HR and never had dreams of entrepreneurship.” Eric Billingsley BEST BUSINESS LEADER – MEDIUM COMPANY Calvin Hedman CPA Hedman Partners Starting his career at national accounting firm Grant Thornton and staying to become a partner, CPA Calvin Hedman jettisoned his downtown digs in 1990, joining forces with another accountant to form a small firm of their own. The partner, however, decided to get out of the business, leaving Hedman at the helm. By 1994, Hedman Partners was formed. Today it’s a 30-CPA firm specializing in the practice areas of corporate accounting for closely held, medium-sized manufacturing, distribution and service-industry firms; real estate; and retirement planning. Asked what is different about running his own firm, Hedman was definite in his answer. “I get to make a whole lot more decision and control my own destiny,” he said. “Plus, I have the enjoyment of having a practice and also being able to hire some great people.” Having lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for 32 years, part of Hedman’s attraction to the idea of setting up shop in Valencia 15 years ago was the short commute doing so offered. “People say how did you know to move to this great community that was about to explode right before it did just that,” Hedman told the Business Journal. “I’d like to say it was a strategic decision. But, it was kind of dumb luck; my sister lived here and got tired of driving downtown.” Hedman said his firm is “100-percent people-driven,” and points to the community volunteerism his staff engages in as evidence of that spirit. “All of our employees are from Santa Clarita,” he said. “And so are a good number of our clients. We live and work in this community, and if you go person-by-person through our staff and partners, you will see a cross section of various organizations for which we all support either financially or with our time.” One team member, firm administrator, Jody Bear, gives her boss high praise for managing with a soft voice. “He is one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever known,” said Beard. “He never looks down on anyone he oozes an enjoyment of life, and I’ve never seen him angry, or raise his voice.” Hedman said he built the firm by focusing on a quintessentially Santa Clarita business demographic,one populated by people who could be characterized as independent and entrepreneurial. “We focus on middle-market businesses and business owners,typically $5 million to $100 million,” he said. “A lot of them are in real estate, distribution and manufacturing.” But, said Hedman, his accountancy goes beyond tax accounting and audits. “Most people do their accounting for tax planning, estate planning and financial planning, but that’s just a start,” Hedman said. “We take that and try to build on it with strategic planning, asking what he plans to do with the business when he retires or isn’t here anymore,sell it, give it to family members, give it to management?” At 52, with a wife and three kids, the youngest in sixth grade, Hedman expects to stay on for at least another 10 to 15 years. As far as his own strategic plan, he said he’s always looking at the options and evolving his vision. Thom Senzee BEST BUSINESS LEADER – LARGE COMPANY Barry Gump President and CEO Andy Gump Inc. The management style used by President and CEO Barry Gump at the portable sanitation and construction services business he’s led for some three decades can be credited to working alongside his late father whose name the company bears. Gump described his father as a people person and much of that rubbed off on him to develop a style of wanting to attract good people and helping them out. “We have a lot of people who have been with us for many years and I think that points to the record we have of being successful,” Barry Gump said. Gump has been the recipient of the Business Journal’s Family Business Leader Award and was chairman of the advisory board of the Family Business Center at California State University, Northridge until the center went on hiatus for budget reasons in early 2008. As the second generation to guide the company, Gump has gone in directions that his father never envisioned. Building on the core business of portable sanitation and septic pumping Andy Gump Inc. expanded into temporary power and fencing at construction sites, as well as portable storage. Competition was one of the drivers of expansion, with contractors looking for other temporary site services. It was easier for clients to get all the services from one company rather than dealing with multiple ones. Going into temporary power allowed Gump to be more creative. During times of heavy building, the revenues from the power business allowed the company to provide fancier restroom trailers and more working capital than what the sanitation business alone brought in. Gump has designed equipment and worked with city officials and event organizers and planned and executed sanitation operations for the 1984 and 2002 Olympic Games. Just as Gump succeeded his father in operating the business, daughter Nancy is now being groomed to eventually take the reins. Growth areas identified by Gump are in hand sanitizer stations used at large public events such as college graduations, and in temporary pedestrian barricades. Until home building resumes, the company will be dependent on special events, commercial buildings and remodeling to bring in business. “It seems there are always opportunities out there if you are looking for them to take advantage of,” Gump said. Mark R. Madler BUSINESS RISING STAR Chris Angelo Vice President Stay Green Inc. Chris Angelo may be only 35-years-old, but he’s no greenhorn when it comes to business. He’s vice president of Santa Clarita-based Stay Green, Inc, a commercial landscape service provider that has clients in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The business was founded in 1970 by Chris’ father, Richard Angelo and employs 200 people. The younger Angelo, who’s been in management since 1999, grew up in the company and says he’s committed to the employees, community and environment. “To be as good as we can be and better than we have been,” is a quote Angelo says he holds true to his heart. The key to managing employees is hiring the best and being willing to let somebody go if they’re not working out, says Angelo. For key players in the company, it’s important to “fill their motivational bucket” by offering them opportunities to advance professionally. Being environmentally responsible is another core value of the company. Stay Green recycles as much material as possible back into the landscapes it services; promotes water conservation; and uses organic fertilizers and pest control techniques. “One of our core focuses is to protect natural resources,” says Angelo. The company is also in the process of installing a paperless operating and accounting system. Workers in the field will be able to track their time and materials on a computer device installed on company trucks. Stay Green services many of the City of Santa Clarita’s landscape maintenance districts. Santa Clarita’s assistant city manager, Ken Striplin, says Angelo and the company give more to the community than just healthy landscapes. “He’s a well-rounded leader and Stay Green is active in the community as a whole,” said Striplin. Looking forward, Angelo says he wants to continue developing and “being the cheerleader” for Stay Green’s company culture. And he wants to focus on what has grown the company to this point. “Honesty, integrity, good moral character and business ethic,” he says, “and delivering service that’s unparalleled.” Eric Billingsley BEST BUSINESS LEADERSHIP TEAM John Shaffery and David Poole Partners Poole & Shaffery LLC The law firm of Poole & Shaffery LLP has offices in Valencia, downtown Los Angeles, Orange County and Fresno, and a total of 18 lawyers. Some of the firm’s areas of practice include: business transactions, litigation, appellate law, employment law, environmental law, family law for business owners, real estate, and non-profit and tax exempt organizations. But what does it mean to principals, John Shaffery and David Poole, to be business leaders? “To me, being a leader boils down to a couple of things,” said John Shaffery, managing partner of the firm. “First, you have to serve clients whose best interests may be driven by a variety of factors. Secondly, you have to provide a challenging environment for your employees.” Shaffery says the firm trains employees and lawyers from the ground-up. And everybody has a stake in the company, literally. Poole & Shaffery has a profit sharing program for employees. Operating in the Santa Clarita Valley requires giving back to the community, he says. The firm does quite a bit of pro-bono work, such as being legal counsel for the Valley Industrial Association for the past five years. Shaffery is a board member of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and has worked in Washington D.C. and Sacramento to get funding for College of the Canyons, California Institute of the Arts and the clean-up of a contaminated site in the area, among other local causes and organizations. “Poole and Shaffery are always there when we need them,” says Larry Mankin, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Whether it’s a sponsorship, speaking engagement or legal information, they’ve done all of those for us,” he says. “They’re a credible legal group and we’re lucky to have them in Santa Clarita Valley.” The firm encourages all of its attorneys to serve on local boards of directors. The company is a sponsor of the small business development center and pitches in time and money to other local events and fundraisers. “Community leadership is not only about donating time, but it’s about donating money too,” said Shaffery. Eric Billingsley

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