Junior Achievement honors ‘Sixty for Success’
60th anniversary event on June 8 pays tribute to high achievers
On June 8, Junior Achievement of San Diego and Imperial Counties will honor 60 individuals who have made an impact in the region through business, community and philanthropic efforts. Those selected best illustrate the organization’s values of entrepreneurship, financial responsibility, leadership and community involvement and have experienced Junior Achievement programs at some point in their K-12 education.
The awards are being presented to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the organization.
The “Sixty for Success” Awards VIP reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the University Club in Downtown San Diego.
“Since 1950, our organization has taught more than 500,000 local students how to work hard, manage their money and become better community citizens,” said Joanne Pastula, president and CEO of Junior Achievement. “We’ve heard so many local success stories, it’s time to honor those who have gone through JA programs — here or around the world — who have made such a positive impact on our community.”
Below are profiles of 10 of the “Sixty for Success” honorees.
Jackie Bradford went through the JA Company program at Simsbury High School in Simsbury, Conn. She still remembers her team making flashlights and being able to turn a profit.
“The most important thing I learned through Junior Achievement was teamwork, but it also helped me learn how to have a profit mindset,” Bradford said. “It inspired me to be a business major in college, and I have absolutely applied that to my career.”
Since earning her bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Virginia, Bradford held a number of prominent financial positions, including being the finance director for NBC Universal’s owned-and-operated television station in Washington, D.C. She is currently the general manager for NBC 7/39 in San Diego, overseeing day-to-day operations, including its digital platforms.
Bradford has been nominated to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, and appointed to numerous other boards, including the United Way of San Diego County and the YMCA of San Diego County. She is also a member of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
Lisa Richards went through the JA Company program during high school in the Phoenix area, and went on to establish the corporate picnic catering industry in San Diego County. As founder and owner of Hospitality Inc., Richards expanded the corporate picnics company into a regional special events business serving the social, military, institutional and corporate markets.
The company is now the largest special event and off-premise catering operation in San Diego and one of the five largest corporate picnic companies in the United States.
“The JA Company program was my first experience of working in a group where collaboration was valued,” Richards said. “Working with a profit and loss statement made numbers real by applying them to our business, and those skills benefit me daily.”
Richards now owns and operates TK&A Custom Catering, the Village Grill at Balboa Park and Simcha San Diego Kosher Catering. Frequently honored for her community involvement, she is an active participant in San Diego business and community organizations. Richards has been named the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by Venture Magazine and the Arthur Young & Co., Small Business Person of the Year by the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce and has been inducted into the American Institute of Entrepreneurs as a lifetime member.
Since purchasing the local Manpower Inc. franchise with Phil Blair in 1977, Mel Katz has been recognized as one of San Diego’s most respected business leaders. Manpower, a world leader in the employment service industry, provides companies with workforce solutions that help them increase productivity, improve efficiency and boost their bottom line. Katz has helped build Manpower of San Diego into the largest Manpower franchise in the U.S., and credits many of the skills he learned to his early years in Junior Achievement.
“Junior Achievement taught me how to look someone in the eye, give a firm handshake and deliver a 30-second elevator speech,” Katz said. “The JA Company program was a great experience seeing what a business is all about, working as a team, making a product, and then selling that product.”
Now, Katz is also devoted to continuing San Diego’s economic and civic development. An outspoken advocate of child literacy, and K-12 and higher education, he has spearheaded social initiatives for both issues.
Katz currently serves as the vice chair of the San Diego Library Foundation and on the advisory board for the San Diego Organizing Project. He has previously served as chairman for the San Diego Library Commission, San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Convention Center.
Robin Stark founded DonorPerfect Software, a fundraising software company for nonprofit agencies, and was CEO for 15 years. After selling the company in 2002, she became involved with a variety of wine-oriented ventures, including Starkland Cellar Services, which provides cellar management services for wine collectors.
“I definitely used a lot of what I learned through Junior Achievement in running my companies,” Stark said. “The Junior Achievement curriculum teaches kids business better than any other curriculum out there, hands down.”
Stark has written more than 10 published books, has extensive public speaking experience and continues to do significant work with San Diego’s disadvantaged youth. She currently sits on the boards of directors for Pro Kids Golf and Learning Center and Voices for Children. Stark has previously served on the boards of the Cardiff Education Foundation and San Diego Social Venture Partners, among others.
“I learned more about business from Junior Achievement than I did from four years of majoring in economics at one of California’s top universities,” Stark said. “You can’t learn business any better way.”
Brian Cahill was a sophomore at Pennfield High School, near Battle Creek, Mich., when a business volunteer came to his class to teach about entrepreneurship and business. His experience with the JA Company program got him excited about business.
“We created a Saturday morning radio show, which was broadcast on the local radio station, and sold advertisements to local businesses,” Cahill said. “To this day, I still practice the fundamental business tenets that were shared with us through that curriculum.”
Cahill is now the director of operations at Barnhart Balfour Beatty, one of the largest full-service general contractors in San Diego and one of the largest builders of schools in the country. With more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry, he has overseen several large building programs and is responsible for operational oversight of all company projects throughout California. Cahill has had a key role in implementing the company’s “Zero Harm” safety initiative, its 2020 plan for sustainability and the company’s professional growth opportunities, which encourage employees to participate in continuous education and certification programs. “I’m living proof that all it takes is one person to plant a seed to alter the course of a child’s life,” Cahill said.
Cahill is actively involved in industry-related organizations, including the Associated General Contractors, the Construction Management Association of America and the Coalition for Adequate School Housing. He regularly participates in programs that aid disadvantaged youth, and coordinates work-study and internship programs for students interested in the construction industry.
Fred Glick kicked off his foodservice career as a bus boy right out of high school in Lebanon, Pa. He participated in the JA Company program at the local Alcoa Aluminum plant there, and his team produced and manufactured premium aluminum coat hangers, sold them for $1 each, made a profit and redeemed the stock at a 20 percent return after expenses.
“I loved learning about the different aspects of the business world from designing and manufacturing a product, to sales, marketing, managing processes and selling shares of stock,” Glick said.
Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lehigh University, Glick became a stockbroker. Six months later, after hating his “real job,” he went back into the food service industry as a bartender and soon became an assistant manager for Bennigan’s. During the next 14 years, Glick managed a Hooters Restaurant franchise and grew it from one location in Omaha, Neb., to 24 locations in five states. Recently, he discovered a unique opportunity to combine his talents and experience with local restaurant legend, Phil Pace, at Phil’s BBQ in San Diego.
“The basic business principles of writing and working a good business plan, giving back to the local community you serve, and balancing the needs of the customers, employees and stockholders have always stuck,” Glick said.
Glick is currently the president of the California Restaurant Association’s San Diego chapter, and currently resides in Oceanside with his wife of 20 years, Ruth, and two boys, Tyler (16), and Aaron (13).
Alex Falcon is currently a business finance major at California State University San Marcos. Previously, he attended Clairemont High School where he went through the JA Company program. Through the program, his team sold T-shirts and apparel to other students and was honored for being the most profitable and the most charitable company.
“Junior Achievement, hands down, has been the most positive impact in my life,” Falcon said. “I got this sudden feeling of hope that I was actually going to be able to do something with my life.”
Falcon now owns Cali Underground Clothing Co., the company he started with his classmates. His goal is to have the company help pay his way through college. Currently, the company is selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, headphones, and more online and in local shops.
“I’ve learned practical business experience that is applicable in today’s economy,” Falcon said. “That has shaped me as a student, as a professional and as a gentleman.”
Annjennette McFarlin is the president of the Black Storytellers of San Diego, a group devoted to keeping African and African-American cultures and traditions alive through the telling and teaching of stories. In high school, she went through the JA Company program and her team made and sold napkin holders for a profit. During that time, McFarlin became the first black president of the Achievers Association, a group that encourages more community groups to get involved with Junior Achievement.
“Junior Achievement is essential for today’s kids,” McFarlin said. “It makes you more socially active and teaches you very important skills.”
Throughout her long and successful career, McFarlin has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State and Grossmont Community College. She has received numerous awards for her community service and academic achievement.
“It’s important for people who have gone through Junior Achievement to reconnect and help develop our future generations,” McFarlin said. “These kids need us to share our knowledge and expertise and show them how to succeed.”
A native Californian, Ruben Barrales earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside. In 1992, he became the first Latino to be elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and he was the Republican nominee for State Controller in 1998. Later, Barrales became president and CEO of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a group of high-tech CEOs, academic leaders and elected officials who support innovation, technology, friendly public policy and education reform. In 2007, after serving as deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House, he joined the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he currently serves as president and CEO.
“In this economy, people are losing jobs and starting their own companies,” Barrales said. “Junior Achievement gives training to young people and teaches them how to build a business and make it successful.”
Barrales went through Junior Achievement in his high school years in Redwood City. Through the program, he learned about running a business, the basics of business economics and teamwork. Barrales attributes some of his success in business to the experiential program.
“I found Junior Achievement to be very useful, and think it should be something every kid knows about as a resource,” Barrales said.
As a senior at Bloomfield High School, N.J., Wendy Gillespie served as the chief financial officer of her profitable JA Company, which assembled and sold car visor kits. She went on to graduate from Montclair State University with degrees in Spanish, education and business administration. Today, as president and CEO of Frontier Trading Inc., her international export company has marketed and distributed consumer grocery products within Mexico and Latin America for more than 20 years.
“The JA Company program was my first exposure to accounting and managing to the bottom line, and definitely influenced my taking a business minor on top of my Spanish education degree,” Gillespie said. “The program really gave me an appreciation for my parents’ hard work, and definitely planted the entrepreneurial seed.”
Gillespie is very involved in San Diego’s international business community, serving as the immediate past president of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the District Export Council. She has been honored with a JA Worldwide Gold Leadership Award and continues to “pay it forward” through her work with the San Diego Women’s Foundation, San Diego High School’s school of business and continued involvement with Junior Achievement.
“The impact and power of this experiential program still amazes me because, to this day, I still remember the details of this program I experienced so many years ago,” said Gillespie.
Sixty for Success Award Winners List
Ruben Barrales – San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
Jackie Bradford – NBC 7/39
Brian Cahill – Barnhart Balfour Beatty
Alex Falcon – Cali Underground
Wendy Gillespie – Frontier Trading, Inc.
Fred Glick – Phil’s BBQ
Mel Katz – Manpower Temporary Services of San Diego
Annjennette McFarlin – Black Storytellers of San Diego, Inc.
Lisa Richards – Hospitality, Inc.
Robin Stark – Starkland Cellar Services
Ahmed Abbas – Sempra Energy
Scott Alevy – Trilogy PR Group
Marjorie Antoine – Arroyo Vista Charter School
Mimi Baca – PRX Communications Strategists
Cora Bagley – Poway Unified School District Foundation
Julie Barbara – Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary
Jim Berg – Advanced Test Equipment Corp.
Darcy Bingham – UC San Diego Foundation
Maria Browne – SeaWorld San Diego
Stephen Browning – American Cancer Society
John Campbell – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Doug Clark – Alaska Airlines
Lillian Collins – Founder, Navy Spouses Sand Dollar Boutique
Martin Collins – Retired, United States
Tres Conrique – Rancho Santa Fe Technology
Russ Cornelius – Brand Savants, Inc.
Taylor Crabtree – TayBear
Kristi Cummings – HelmsBriscoe
Sherie Darden – Trandes Corporation
Richard DuBois – Emerson Electric
Dolores Duron – Kimbrough Elementary School
Lara Finley – Cyberlink Technologies
Gisella Gigglberger – Dana Middle School
Kellen Gill – Sempra Energy
Michael Giorgione – United States Navy
Barry Graceman – Retired Entrepreneur
William Greenwald – Financial Services
Stan Hartman – Driver Alliant Insurance Services
Lenore Hawkins – Creekside Partners
Maria Herman – Makua, Friends of Voices for Children
Guy Iannuzzi – Mentus
Dave Jacks – Retired, City of San Diego
Devry Jacks – Retired
Judy King – G.S. Levine Insurance
Richard Kiy – International Community Foundation
Michael Macie – Cushman & Wakefield San Diego
Wade McKnight – J.H. Cohn
Enola Mena – Altman Plants
Marvin Mittleman – Pro Specialties Group, Inc.
Roy Oftedal – Balboa Vacations
Ileana Ovalle – Cox Communications PSC, L.P.
Ryan Ponsford – Crosswind Strategies
Frank Robinson – Union Bank
John Rosicky – Retired
Thomas Schmedake – AP Labs, Inc.
Kelley Simon – Deloitte & Touche, LLP
Alan Spector – Retired Physician
Suzanne Tsang – Union Bank
Ronald Webb – Law Offices of Ronald R. Webb
Jennifer White – CBS Radio