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Next Level Business Growth & Capital Summit

June 16, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Take Your Business To The Next Level!

Join The Valley Economic Alliance and DCMA for a half-day conference designed to propel your business to the next level. Attend expert-led sessions across three Tracks: Federal Procurement & Contracting, Global Growth Strategies, and Capital Acquisition. Hear from Pentagon Officials and gain insights into the current challenges and opportunities across Southern California. Learn how to stay competitive and profitable when finding, pricing, bidding, acquiring, and managing regional, foreign, and defense contracts. Uncover best practices to evolve your manufacturing efficiency, cybersecurity, and DEI initiatives. Explore global expansion and exporting opportunities and unleash the power of working capital, tax credits, and foreign direct investments to grow your business.

Explore a full schedule of events and reserve your seat today. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, networking, exhibit floor entry, and access to all sessions. Come ready to network and make deals. Sponsorship of this Summit attracts a diverse set of suppliers to create, grow, and inform the supply chain.

Breakfast Keynote Address: Major General Alice W. Trevino

8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M.

Hear directly from Major General Alice W. Trevino, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Contracting, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

In addition to managing all aspects of contracting related to the acquisition of weapon systems, logistics, operational and enterprise efforts for the Air Force, Major General Trevino provides contingency contracting support to the geographic combatant commanders.

She leads a highly skilled staff of mission-focused business leaders and acquisition change agents to deliver $825 billion in Space, Air Superiority, Global Strike, Global Mobility and Information Dominance platforms. She also oversees the training, organizing and equipping of 8,000 contracting professionals, who execute programs worth over $65 billion annually.

Track 1:

Federal Procurement and Contracting Profit Strategies

This track is designed for government contractors and suppliers to learn how to acquire and manage profitable defense contracts. Sessions will feature a Q&A to discuss and explore your contract challenges.

Best Practices for Getting Defense Contracts

9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.

Explore bidding platforms like,, and Unison Marketplace, as well as specialized procurement portals, and bidding resources offered by the APEX. Learn how to acquire the best defense contracts for your business.

AJ Blewett
Engineering Supervisor,



Enrique Gonzalez
Program Manager, APEX Accelerator,
Department of Economic Opportunity,
LA County



Managing Profitable Defense Contracts

11:00 A.M. – Noon

Government contracting experts outline techniques to make the most out of your defense contracts and avoid financial pitfalls. Learn how to do business with Primes, discuss cybersecurity issues and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

AJ Blewett
Engineering Supervisor,




John Mia
Contracts Supervisor





Gina Gastelum
Small Business Liaison Officer
Aerojet Rocketdyne




Kathy McIntyre
Senior Client Advisor



Track 2: 

Strategies for Exponential Growth

Learn how to find, price, bid, and land high-dollar federal, private, and regional contracts. Sessions will provide effective strategies to exponentially grow your business through global market expansion and increased sales. 

Understanding Quality Management Systems

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.

Understand how your Quality Management System interacts with AS9100. A good QMS leads to repeatable outputs. Meet customer and regulatory requirements more easily, and evolve your manufacturing efficiency. Learn how to avoid making common mistakes.

AJ Blewett
Engineering Supervisor,




Ruben Fabunan
Quality Assurance Supervisor,




Matthew Hall
Quality Assurance Supervisor,



Expanding Your Contracting Opportunities, an Owner’s Panel

9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.

Growing businesses with strong fundamentals and advanced capabilities can expand their bidding opportunities with several exciting projects coming online in the San Fernando Valley. With the passing of the recent bond, LACCD has a $5 Billion bond for projects across 9 campuses including 3 located in the Valley. The Hollywood-Burbank Airport has awarded Holder-Pankow a $1 Billion+ terminal project, with small and veteran owned business goals are included as contractual line items. And with the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, LA28 will be sharing economic development, workforce development, and construction opportunities that Valley businesses can expect to bid on.

Vic Hill
Entrepreneur Ambassador
Bunker Labs



Nic Barrios
Community Economic Development Manager





Erikk Aldridge
VP Impact




Lanna Aguilera, C.P.
Procurement Mgr., Hollywood Burbank Airport






Olga Mireya López
Senior Representative of Strategic Business & Construction Careers, DEOD
LA Metro

Breaking the Code on Sub-Tier Contracting, a General Contractor’s Panel

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.

Considering the size and scope of procurement and contracting opportunities now and in the future, not all businesses will have the capacity to land a prime contract. But growing businesses with advanced capabilities have much to offer the eco-system as sub-contractors. This panel will dive into a real conversation about first-tier opportunities with General Contractors and other primes and how to access lower sub-tier opportunities. Come to this panel ready to learn the who, what, when, where, how, and why code of sub-tier contracting.

Breana Weaver
Assistant Manager of Diversity & Inclusion
PCL Construction



Teresa Maxwell
Compliance Manager



Chamberlain Duru
California Diverse Business Manager
Burns & McDonnell





Michelle Quirante
Community Affairs Manager
Clark Construction





Felicia Bell
Diversity & Inclusion Manager




Exponential Growth Through Global Sales

11:00 A.M. – Noon

The Harvard Growth Lab projects China, Vietnam, Uganda, Indonesia, and India to be among the fastest-growing economies to 2030, using breaking data from 2020 trade data and considering the impact of significant market disruptions triggered by the pandemic. This panel of presentations will explore topics related to expansion of exports, contracts with foreign governments, development banks, multilateral organizations, and more topics to scale and finance your global sales.

Christine Peterson
Director of International Trade & Investment,
Office of L.A. Mayor Karen Bass



Julie Anne Hennessey
U.S. Commercial Service LA (West)




Pellson Lau
Export Finance Manager




Track 3:

Growth Capital Acquisition

Gain access to the key insights and financial resources you need to grow and accelerate your business. Learn about tax credits, grants, loans and programs to raise capital.

Unleashing the Power of Tax Credits & Foreign Direct Investment

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

The US government sets aside over $100B a year to spur economic development at the local, state, and federal level to incentivize job growth, community investment, and business growth. However, most of this money either goes unclaimed or to large corporations with tax attorneys and government relations teams. Learn how Subcity is democratizing access to capital for small businesses by leveraging a database of 400+ California incentives to pair manufacturing entrepreneurs with billions of dollars in incentives and tax credits. In addition, Los Angeles County is a mega-region with many opportunities for international companies to set up in one of the largest U.S. marketplaces and where 40 percent of all goods enter the United States. Learn how The World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) is attracting foreign direct investment and facilitating business opportunities between Valley businesses and international companies.

Julie Clowes
District Director, U.S. SBA




Larry Holt
VP, Economic & Workforce Development,
Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation




Kevin Zolriasatain
Practice Leader of Research and Development Tax Credit Services



Where the Money Is: Current Trends in Financing Growth, Part I

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.

Capital is the lifeblood of growing companies. Whereas working capital is essential for paying bills and staying current with cyclical expenses, growth capital can promote long-term business health by facilitating a major expansion or remodel, equipment acquisition, merger, acquisition, or other strategic changes. Get ahead of the curve by learning current trends in banking and finance, while establishing key relationships with banking partners in The Alliance’s leadership network.

Miri Rossitto
Founder & CEO,
Cowe Communications




Edward Azari
VP Global Consumer Banking Group
Citi Global Banking Group





Lucy Babiryan 
VP Small Business Relationship Manager



Armida Colmenares-Stafford
1st VP/ Senior Relationship Manager
Pacific Premier Bank






Where the Money Is: Current Trends in Financing Growth, Part II

11:00 AM – Noon

Gain a better understand of working capital and growth financing, including asset-based lending, which can your growing business to leverage assets such as inventory, accounts receivable, equipment, and other assets to unleash liquidity. With so many changes in the banking industry, this session will spotlight current trends in banking and finance and offer opportunities to build key relationships with banking partners in The Alliance’s leadership network.

Brett Dickstein
Business Advisor
The Valley Economic Alliance





Francis Astilla
SBA & Business Banking Group Sales Manager
Cathay Bank





Evelyn Zartner
CRA Community Development





Paul Sitker
SBA & Business Banking Center Manager
Manufacturers Bank




Doing Business in SoCal Today: Challenges & Opportunities

12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.

Tracy Hernandez, Founding CEO of BizFed, moderates a candid conversation with Col. David Sutter, USAF, Commander, DCMA Southern California, Bill Foster, Director of Contracts, DCMA Southern California, and Rashmi Menon, VP & General Manager of Burns & McDonnell California Offices, on challenges and opportunities facing businesses in the San Fernando Valley. These distinguished executive panelists will share their vision for the region, how they are governing through today’s economic landscape, the trends they are watching to remain competitive, and their advice for growing businesses to capture opportunities in the marketplace and weather dangerous pitfalls. Alliance Board Chair Fred Gaines and Assemblymember Luz Rivas will also offer remarks.

Fred Gaines
Board Chair
The Valley Economic Alliance
(Welcome Remarks)



Assemblymember Luz Rivas
State of California
(Special Remarks)



Tracy Hernandez
Founding CEO



Col. David Sutter, USAF
DCMA Southern California




Rashmi Menon
VP & General Manage
Burns & McDonnell California Offices



Bill Foster
Director of Contracts
DCMA Southern California




Marty Adams
General Manager & Chief Engineer






Marisela Carabello DiRuggiero
Director of Trade Development
Port of L.A.


June 16, 2023
8:00 am - 2:00 pm


Los Angeles Mission College
13356 Eldridge Ave
Sylmar, CA 91342
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