Bios for our nominees – 13 Director positions available with a July 1 start date
- April 30, 2016
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Below are the nominees for the Class of 2019. Voting will be electronic this year. Members in good standing will be receiving a ballot from Survey Monkey in your inbox. If you have difficulty with the ballot, please call us and we can provide a hard copy of a ballot for you. Please note – only 13 will be selected based on your votes. The tally will be counted and announced at our April 26th luncheon. Please familiarize yourself with the nominees below (*denotes incumbents):
MICHAEL J. BELZIL – Lockheed Martin Aeronautics*
Mike Belzil is the Site Director of Security and Emergency Services at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company’s legacy Skunk Works, Plant 10 in Palmdale. Responsible for synchronization of security at Plant 10 and off-site locations, he directs a workforce of about 170. Mike retired from the Air Force in the rank of colonel in May 2004. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he served as Chief of Staff at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. On behalf of AVBOT, Mike serves on the board of directors and is past president of the LA County Air Show. He also serves on the AVBOT AERCOMM Committee and is on the board of directors of the Edwards AFB Civilian-Military Support Group.
Gustavo ‘Gus’ Camacho – Camacho Auto Sales*
Gus Camacho, president of Camacho Auto Sales, is a director and longtime member and supporter of the Board of Trade. He served on the boards of several organizations including: the Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce; Antelope Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Lancaster West Rotary; Antelope Valley College Foundation, and the American Heart Association. He currently serves on the board of the AV Sheriff Boosters, the National Advisory Board for Mitsubishi Dealers and is president of the Independent Automobile Dealers Association of California. Gus was born and raised in the Antelope Valley and resides in Lancaster with his wife Rhonda and their four children.
Ann Carlson – Citizens Business Bank
Ann Carlson has been in banking for over 34 years in Lancaster, and currently holds a Vice President and Relationship Manager position at Citizens Business Bank. Ann enjoys being active in the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, currently serving as secretary for the chamber’s Ambassador Corp. A supporter of the Antelope Valley Fair, Ann has participated and volunteered for many years. Ann enjoys participating in local events. Born and raised in the Antelope Valley, Ann graduated from Antelope Valley High School and attended Antelope Valley College. Ann and her husband have raised three children in the Antelope Valley and now have seven grandkids.
Len Engel – AV Transportation Agency
Len Engel, Chief Executive of the Antelope Valley Transportation Agency (AVTA) joined the organization in 2012 as director of operations and maintenance, and became chief executive in February 2015. A public transportation professional with over 40 years of experience, Len has been involved in business development for international transportation corporations, radio and television broadcasting, and Internet application development. He is a member of the California Transit Association Executive Committee, Chairman of its Small Operations Committee and a member of the American Public Transit Association. Engel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Cal State University Stanislaus.
John Fergione – Retired Naval Aviator & Test Pilot*
A Past President of The Antelope Valley Board of Trade and current member of the Board of Directors, John Fergione is retired from both the Lockheed Martin Corporation and the U.S. Naval Reserve, with the rank of Captain. He lives in Antelope Acres with his wife, Kathy. A past president and Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and a 2009 inductee to the California Aerospace Walk of Honor, John remains active in several regional organizations. He is President of the Edwards AFB Civilian-Military Support Group, chairman of the SETP Scholarship Foundation and multi-year Board of Trade Blue Ribbon Committee chairman for the Business Outlook Conference.
Soraya Hejazi – Vision Engineering
Soraya Hejazi, Director of Operations for Vision Engineering in Palmdale, implements a values- driven company culture of Passion, Heart, and Drive (PHD) focused on serving and improving the lives of employees, customers, company, and community. She led Vision Engineering to earn a Safety in Excellence award from Farmers Insurance in recognition of commitment to workers. Soraya graduated with honors and a Bachelor’s of Science from Bowling Green State University and worked for several architectural firms. She is a seeker of truth who believes in doing no harm, and regularly volunteers for and supports animal welfare organizations. Soraya leads with these words: Let’s do better so we can give back more.
Norm Hickling – L.A. County Dept. of Health Services*
Norm and his spouse, Karen, have been married for almost 37 years, and live in Lancaster. They have and adult son and daughter and are blessed with six grandchildren. Norm is a graduate of Chapman University with a Master Degree in Human Resource Management and Development, a Bachelor Degree from University of La Verne in Business Administration, and an Associate of Science Degree from Antelope Valley College. He is Operations Director for the Housing for Health Division of Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Previously he served as Senior Field Deputy for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, as Assistant Administrator at High Desert Medical Group, and from 1983-2000 as a part of the Northrop Grumman Advanced Systems Division team.
Board of Trade Director Chuck Hoey brings 33 years of experience in Commercial and Industrial real estate. Among the most active brokers in the Antelope Valley, he works closely with owners, developers, investors, cities, and economic development organizations. In 1983 Chuck started his real estate career with Merrill Lynch in Encino. He later worked for Costco Wholesale, joining their acquisitions group to create 18 Costco projects throughout Southern California. In 1996 he joined Century 21 Yarrow to head up the Commercial/Industrial division. He worked on relocation of several businesses in Lancaster to provide for Metrolink. In 2001 he joined CB Richard Ellis for 11 years, working with Industrial clients. In May 2009 he opened Charles Hoey Commercial Industrial Real Estate.
Kelly Kennerknecht – Kaiser Permanente*
Kelly Kennerknecht currently serves as the Vice President of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade. Kelly has been a board member of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade since 2009. She was Chairwoman for the 2016 Business Outlook Conference and Health Care Committee, as well as, Secretary for both the Executive and Joint Legislative Committees. As the Senior Public Affairs Representative for one of the nation’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans, Kaiser Permanente, Kelly manages area-specific internal communication, patient communication, media relations, as well as, community and government relations. Kelly serves on the boards of the Antelope Valley Family YMCA and Palmdale Chamber of Commerce.
Lisa Moulton – Office of Congressman Knight*
Lisa Moulton serves as the district director for Congressman Steve Knight. Previously she has worked in the California State Senate and Assembly. She currently serves as the secretary for the Los Angeles County Air Show (and is a founding member of the organizational team of the inaugural event in 2014). Lisa is a member of the board of directors for the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, where she served as secretary. Lisa serves on the board of directors for the EAFB Civ-Mil, Support Group and Care Net Women’s Resource Center of North County. She also serves on the executive board of The Marian Bergeson Excellence in Public Services. Lisa has been a resident of the Antelope Valley for 45 years.
Terry Norris – Precision Labs*
Terry Norris, president and co-founder of Precision Labs in Palmdale, with 20-plus years of running a high technology firm servicing over 500 companies, has developed a unique view on what the Antelope Valley needs for its businesses and residents. His service started in the military followed by BSA Woodbadge and then larger community volunteering as President of the AV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Terry now serves as treasurer for the Lancaster Museum Public Arts Foundation in addition to Secretary for AVBOT. His company was winner of California Air Resource Board’s Cool California Small Business of the Year. He has traveled internationally to meet with foreign leaders as well.
Carrie Rawlings – Mojave Air & Space Port
Carrie Rawlings, Director of Administration for Mojave Air & Space Port, is responsible for finance and administration aspects of the organization including financial audits, accounts payable and receivable, human resources, benefits and office management. She started with the organization as human resources manager in 2010 and then served as Business Manager in 2013 before moving in to her current role. Prior to Mojave Air & Space Port, Carrie worked as a Client Services Manager for SAGE Staffing where she was responsible for human resources, payroll and client relations. She started her career at San Pedro Hospital as a Human Resources Representative. Carrie has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from University of Phoenix and is pursuing her master’s degree in accounting.
Carmen J Roberts – Mission Bank
A banking professional with over 30 years of experience, Carmen J. Roberts is Senior Vice President and Business Banking Center Manager for Mission Bank in Lancaster. Prior to joining Mission Bank in 2012, Carmen was a Vice President with American Security Bank and a Vice President and branch manager for Union Bank, where she received the President’s Award for Branch of The Year out of 332 branches in the Western region in 2008. Carmen is a past board member and current honorary board member of the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley, and a past director of the Boys and Girls Club, Assistance League of the Antelope Valley and Lancaster Education Foundation. She currently serves on the Mental Health America Advisory Board.
Olin Rogers – LegalShield
Since 2005 Olin Rogers has been an independent associate with LegalShield, a provider of legal service products. He has been a member of AVBOT since 2007 and is now serving on the membership committee and on the Business Outlook Conference Committee since 2015. He believes that actions speak louder than words. His community actions in the A.V. include member and vice president in Toastmasters, member and vice president in Optimists International, a director in Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, and member in Lancaster and Mojave Chambers of Commerce.
Joshua Stern – Merrill Lynch
Joshua Stern is a native to the Antelope Valley. His passion is to serve the community and help others. He is a member of Lancaster West Rotary, High Desert Toastmasters, and also volunteers at his church. He currently serves on the 2016 Business Outlook Conference Committee, the PR & Marketing Committee and Membership Committee, as well as the AVBOT Board.. Joshua holds a bachelor’s of science degree in finance from California State University, Northridge. He has been in the financial services industry since 2011, and joined Merrill Lynch in 2014.
Diane L. Walker – AV Union High School District
After 15 years as a litigator with Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger in Glendale, where she was the first female partner in the firm’s history, Diane began her career in education with the Antelope Valley Union High School District as a teacher at, and later Co-Coordinator of, the Law & Government Academy at Highland High School. Diane is the College and Career Readiness Coordinator, Perkins grant coordinator, and articulation officer for the district, working closely with STEM and other career-technical education pathways, as well as community representatives on the AV Career Prep Council, Antelope Valley East Kern STEM Network and AVC STEM Grant planning committee.
Johnny Zamrzla, President of Western Pacific Roofing Corp., has been actively involved in the roofing industry since 1957. He is extremely active in the Antelope Valley, including being the President of The Showdown Rodeo, California Circuit Finals Rodeo, and Chairman of the Antelope Valley Fair Joint Powers Authority. He serves on numerous Boards, including the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, Antelope Valley Sheriff’s Boosters and the Antelope Valley Hospital Foundation, to name a few. He and his wife Pam, reside on their working ranch in Lancaster.