Dr. Mark E. Henderson is President of a community-based organization aptly named “The Brothers,” which reaches out to young African-American and Latino males on the topics of academic achievement, visioning, mentoring, and life mapping. (www.brothersinc.org)
As the Manager of College Information Systems at Pierce College, Henderson is the strategic lead regarding academic technology on campus. The Associate Vice Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District recently appointed him Chair of the District’s community outreach initiative to promote higher education among African-Americans.
Additionally, Henderson was appointed to the City of Gardena Planning Commission in 2010 and proactively collaborates with community members, the city council and city staff to understand the needs of community residents and businesses. He is also active in promoting Veteran’s issues.
After service in the U.S. Navy, Henderson earned an undergraduate degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Redlands and a doctorate degree from University of La Verne in Organizational Leadership. He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Kim Kovacs is the Executive Director of Federal Relations at UCLA. In this capacity, she oversees the university's interactions in Washington, D.C. with Congress, executive branch agencies, the White House, and higher education associations. Kovacs has worked in Government Relations at UCLA for nearly eight years.
Prior to returning to work at her alma mater, Kovacs worked in Washington, D.C. for the private publishing company, the Bureau of National Affairs. She also served as the Assistant Budget Director of the White House Conference on Small Business.
Kovacs holds a B.A. in History from UCLA. She is a graduate of the Southern California Leadership Network's professional development program - Leadership Southern California. She also serves on the Board of Managers of the North Valley Family and the board of directors for the World Alliance for Israel Political Action Committee.
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David Roberts is a Los Angeles native and has been actively engaged in revitalizing large portions of South Los Angles since the 1992 Civil Unrest. He most recently served as the Associate Director for Local Government Relations at the University of Southern California’s Government Relations Division.
At USC, Roberts represented the university with City and County government, monitoring and analyzing policy proposals and projects, and carried out strategies that effectively represented the university’ interests and concerns. Roberts also helped to advance university priorities by establishing and maintaining effective relationships with business, non-profit and local community based organizations.
Prior to joining USC, Roberts served on the staff of former City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas as well as current City Councilmember Bernard C. Parks. As Deputy for Economic Development, he focused on policy, land use, finance and development and helped to oversee and entitle more than $2 billion worth of development highlighted by the Expo Line Light Rail Project, commercial office buildings, restaurants, parks, retail and housing projects.
Roberts currently works as a consultant providing Government and Strategic Relations services for his clients. He also serves on the Figueroa Corridor Partnership Business Improvement District, Friends of EXPO Center, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Recycled Water Advisory Group and the Los Angeles Trade Tech Citizen’s Advisory committee.
LeVerne Rogers brings nearly 30 years of Human Resource management experience to the PVJOBS Board.
As the Human Resource Advisor at the FedEx Express Corporation, Rogers acted as liaison between FedEx Express and governmental agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. She also monitored employee relations, conducting investigations and made recommendations for corrective action when necessary.
During her stay at FedEx, Rogers reduced the number of employee grievances and successfully increased employee retention at the company. Additionally, she facilitated managerial/employee training; and ensured management complied with state and local labor laws, specifically as it relates to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended in 1964.
Rogers currently volunteers with the faith-based United Job Creation Coalition, a PVJOBS collaborator that works with at-risk youth and adults.
Jim Bickhart is a public policy consultant. He served as Associate Director - Transportation in the office of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa working on airport, animal and zoo issues. He also is the former policy director for the Transportation and Land Use Collaborative of Southern California.
A 45-year Venice resident who relocated to Playa del Rey in 2014, Bickhart previously served as district director for former State Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and planning and legislative deputy for Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter. During Playa Vista's Phase 1 approval process, Bickhart collaborated with the Los Angeles Department Of Transportation staff to establish the local hiring requirement that led to the creation of PVJOBS.
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Gary L. Cook is the Business Manager and Financial Secretary-Treasurer for Plumbers Local 78 in Los Angeles and has worked in the union since 2000.
Local 78 is the oldest continuously operating trade union in California. The union most recently supported both the LA City Council vote giving final approval to the University of Southern California’s USC Village Project; and the Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee’s approval of NBCUniversal’s Evolution Plan.
Prior to his union work, Cook spent nine years in various capacities at University Marelech Mechanical/ Marelich Mechanical., Inc. and supervised projects at Eisenhower Medical Center; the Department of Water and Power; Martin Luther King/Charles Drew Hospital; the Metro Rail Green Line; and others.
A graduate of Purdue University, Cook is a second generation plumber who also enjoys hunting, camping and computers.
Dennis Gonzalez is currently Field Logistics Manager at Brookfield Residential/Playa Capital LLC. Since 2011, he has composed logistic and site handbook procedures regarding Phase II of the Playa Vista project. When complete, this 1087-acre mixed use development will include over 13,000 residential units and more than five million square feet of commercial space, along with 340 acres of restored wetlands and uplands habitat.
While assisting in overall construction field activities, Gonzales organizes and maintains construction staging facilities for the project’s residential contractors. A graduate of Westwood College with a Degree in Construction Management, Gonzalez was raised and still lives in South Los Angeles, just a few miles from the PVJOBS offices and relates to this service area and the PVJOBS mission.
In 2006, Gloria D. Gray was the first African-American woman elected to the West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) Board of Directors. She represents the Division II cities of Inglewood, South Ladera Heights, Lennox and the areas of Athens, Howard and Ross-Sexton.
Prior to her service in the water community, Gray dedicated a 36-year career to the Los Angeles County Departments of Health and Human Services, the Inglewood Unified School District Personnel Commission and the Inglewood Unified School District Board of Education.
Gray is a proud to be a 30-year member of SEIU 721 and has served more than 20 years with AFSCME labor organizations. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in the Business Administration Program at the University of Redlands and her Masters in Governance Certificate from the California School Boards Association.
Alfonso Morales is currently a Curriculum and Instruction Leader at the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SoCal ROC), where he is responsible for sector planning, program implementation, communicating with sector instructors and coordinating with instructors and administrators in budget planning tied to program objectives.
SoCal ROC is a leader in providing current and relevant Career Technical Education programs that are meeting today’s job demands and careers of the future. Part of the California public school system, programs are offered to high school students as well as adults in the South Bay and surrounding Los Angeles communities.
Morales has career experience in electronic design engineering with responsibilities in manufacturing, program-project management and software development. He has held engineering positions with The Boeing Company, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Sierra Pacific Engineering and Xerox Corporation. He recently completed his MBA through the University of Phoenix.
Over the past decade, Dr. Relf has gained diverse urban planning and public affairs experience around consulting, community development, and census planning.
Currently, Relf is working closely with the City of Compton to create programs that enhance public health and promote economic development. He has managed several large-scale public and private projects that have improved conditions for various communities through advocacy and management.
Relf served a seven-year term as Commissioner for Parks and Recreation in the City of Compton. As a resident and native of Compton, he is dedicated to the vision of empowering at-risk populations to obtain their full potential and enhancing quality of life for residents in every community. In an effort to pursue this vision, he recently earned a Doctorate in Policy, Planning, and Development from USC.
Cynthia Ruiz served on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works for eight years, where she oversaw a series of projects developed by the city’s Public Works Department. She previously served as a commissioner of the city’s Emergency Operation Board and the Bureau of Sanitation.
In 2011 she was named deputy executive director of external relations for the Port of Los Angeles. Today, she is the president of Cynthia M. Ruiz & Associates, providing marketing consulting services.
Ruiz is an inspirational speaker, acclaimed leader and author as well as an environmentalist and community activist. Her passion for Latina empowerment has motivated her as founder of the Wise Latina Network and as a partner in 3 Wise Latinas.
Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed Valier Lynne Shaw to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. This board selects a chancellor, sets policy and provides guidance for the 113 colleges which constitute the state’s community college system.
She was a commissioner at the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works for nearly 17 years, acting as president from 2001 to 2005.
Shaw served as an adjunct professor at the USC Department of Political Science from 2004 to 2011 and prior to that, she was district director for Los Angeles City Councilmember Ruth Galanter. She also served as public information officer for the Century Freeway Project from 1981 to 1985.
Shaw is a member of the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Political Institute. She earned a Master of Public Administration from USC.
Ernest Roberts has more than 23 years experience in the technical and construction fields. Personal experiences led him to dedicate his life to uplifting the at-risk. He was the owner and operator of The House Doctor, a construction and home improvement service business, for six years, where he hired the at-risk exclusively.
Roberts received his bachelor's degree in psychology from USC. Ernest is also President of the West Los Angeles College PACE Alumni Association. Ernest resides with his wife, Juliette, in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. He is the proud parent of five children and grandparent to three others. Deeply empathetic and detail oriented, he runs the day-to-day operations of PVJOBS.