Born in Southern California

I was born in Pomona and spent the first seven years of my life growing up on a street adjacent to the 10 Freeway in Ontario, where Mount Baldy could be viewed through a thick haze of smog. My mom is a native of California, while my dad grew up on a farm outside of Chicago. After leaving the Navy, he was employed by General Dynamics in Pomona as an electrical engineer. Money was always tight for us, so my mom got part-time work at Carl’s Jr to make ends meet.

The Move to Idaho

When I was eight, we moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to be near my grandparents. We continued to live on a strict budget and it was impressed upon me deeply, especially on the occasions when my dad bought powdered milk for my brother and I to drink and my mom sewed clothes for the family to wear. I am proud of the sacrifices my parents made and they inspire me to this day. I am grateful for learning to work hard from their example, and prioritizing giving back has become integral to my way of life.

In Idaho, I loved the open space and my connection with the outdoors influenced me later in life as a Boy Scout Leader. Being able to ride my bike down to the lake and fish, or wander the nearby forests, climbing trees and exploring caves, or just having easy access to beaches, parks and playing fields were opportunities I had in my youth that truly shaped my values today.


Soon after we moved, my parents had saved enough to buy a duplex in a new development on the edge of town. Right across the street was a 20-acre forest that was owned by the school district. Our new street was gravel, with no plans to have it paved in the future. With the accumulation of dust on our windowsills and the gravel doing damage to the paint on our family vehicles, my dad petitioned the neighbors and fought an unwilling school district to have the street paved, with each property owner paying for their share of the work. I truly feel that this success story planted the seed of activism in my being – anybody can be empowered to make a difference in their community.


In junior high, I excelled in academics and by the time I was in 9th grade I had made the basketball team and was elected student body vice-president. My efforts in leadership and sports continued through high school, where in my senior year I was elected student body president and was co-captain of both the varsity basketball and cross-country teams. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by my classmates.

Graduating near the top of my class, I was accepted to the University of Southern California, becoming the first person in my family to attend university and ultimately graduate with a degree in Business Communication & Management.


After graduating college, I looked inward and knew that I needed to pursue a career in something creative.

Tapping into my friendships within the entertainment industry, I found my passion and my career took off. I started as a “runner” for a boutique commercial editorial company. During the day, I would deliver film and tape all over Los Angeles and would stay late at night learning how to operate the software TV and film editors use. 24-hour workdays were not uncommon, and it was during this time I developed my work ethic.

In a couple of years, I was an assistant editor, then an editor, and I’ve never looked back. In my 25+ years in the industry, I’ve edited thousands of TV commercials, and a dozen or so feature films. In recent years I have directed and edited many videos for the Culver City Unified School District and the City of Culver City.


In 1996, I fell in love with my college friend, Beverly, who I’ve been blessed to have as my life partner.  We married in 1998 and purchased our home in Culver City in 2000. We then fell in love with Culver City because of its rich and diverse makeup and small-town feel, right in the middle of Los Angeles County. Our two children, Hayden and Brendan, were raised in Culver City, attended Culver City schools, and thrived in this amazing family-friendly community with all its incredibly diverse citizens.


As I naturally gravitated to serving and leadership, I have continually found opportunities to improve life in our town. One early success was regarding our local Veterans Park playground, where we took our kids as soon as they were able to walk. Very often we found mentally ill homeless people around the play equipment, which they often used as a bathroom. I wanted to find a way to have a clean and safe playground for the kids, but also help the homeless receive the support they needed. Several neighbors and I petitioned the city to act. Because of our efforts, we were asked to be members of the first Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness in Culver City.

Over the following months, we were educated on the issues facing the homeless community, and met with advocates of the homeless like St. Joseph’s Center and PATH (People Assisting the Homeless). We were able to compassionately incentivize those in need to remain in the care of the shelter management during the day, so that our children could safely enjoy their playground. This again taught me that everyone can benefit when a problem is approached by asking “How can everyone’s needs be best met?”.


During this time, I was asked to start a non-profit to advocate for all the parks in the city. I recruited a small group of Culver City parents to help establish Culver City Great Parks Association. We worked with the city to develop an awareness of all the parks and were the pass-through organization for grant funding to completely renovate Veterans Park Playground. The city initiated its master planning process for all the parks in Culver City, and I was an active representative throughout that process.


At one of the parks master planning meetings, I was introduced to the founder of a small local museum called “The Wende”. Justin Jampol told me of his desire to grow his collection and find a more accessible home than the warehouse space it resided in.  Because of my work with the Committee on Homelessness, I knew that the National Guard was not going to renew its lease with the city. We walked over to the armory, and I suggested he inquire with city hall to see what their plans were. After many years of community outreach and negotiations with the city, the Wende entered an agreement and built a community resource that continues to grow and serve as an invaluable partner for our schools, community non-profits, and other educational organizations.


When our oldest child was close to starting kindergarten in CCUSD, we heard from our friends and neighbors that they had concerns about the quality of our school district. Some were talking about sending their children to charter or private schools after elementary school. This concerned Beverly and I, as we are passionate supporters of a quality public education for all kids. Inspired, I then created an extensive email network with many parents and neighbors laying out our concerns. The Superintendent, Dr. Myrna Coté and I formed a relationship which helped create connection and understanding. This same tact has allowed me to build trust with other city officials over the years, including council members and school board members.

As our children grew, Beverly and I continued our involvement with the schools, volunteering on the PTA at El Marino and as a room parent for Beverly, and me engaging on broader issues, like rallying support to keep the district from reducing the number of kindergarten classes offered in language immersion. Because of my activism, I was nominated to join the Culver City Education Foundation on the board of trustees. I immediately dove in, becoming the chairperson for the second annual Sip for Our Schools fundraising event while also leading the first-ever community wide sustained fundraising campaign, “All for One”. The following year on the board, I was elected vice president.

At the same time, I was nominated to become a member of the University of Southern California, Trojan Board of Directors. With around 25 members, the “TBOD” is the oldest football fundraising organization at USC, and primarily works in organizing its annual golf tournament. I was the elected president of the TBOD, when we raised almost $200,000 at our event.


Soon after finishing my commitments with CCEF and the TBOD, I learned that my son’s Boy Scout leader was going to step down from his position as scoutmaster. No other parent had stepped up to replace him, and an announcement was made that the troop would be shut down. My son loved scouting, and it would have been a huge loss to our family for it to go away. With little experience in camping and even less experience in scouting, I volunteered to take the reins. After quickly getting up to speed, I let my passion to lead take over. At that time, we had around 15 scouts in the troop with just a couple of assistant scoutmasters. Two years later, the troop grew to around 70 scouts, with five dedicated assistant scoutmasters. We became more visible in the community, volunteering at citywide events like the Car Show, Fiesta La Ballona, and the 4th of July Fireworks Show. To date, 18 scouts have earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout from the boys that I mentored. In 2019, I was awarded one of the BSA’s highest honors, the Silver Beaver Award.


Ever since we took our kids on walks in their double-wide stroller, we would stop in at Tanner’s on Lindblade and Sepulveda for coffee. I had always noticed the large blank wall across the street and how ugly it was. One day, I thought it was the perfect spot for a mural, and it quickly became my mission to make it happen.

I was connected with the owner of the building by former mayor, Jeff Cooper. The owner happened to be current councilmember, Albert Vera. He loved the idea and offered to pay for the cost. I then researched and sought out one of the most talented street artists in the world to use the wall as his canvas. An Australian, Fintan Magee, offered to do two murals if I could find a way to fly him to Culver City and cover his expenses.

With my past connection to our schools, I reached out to the principal of CCHS to see if he would be interested in having a mural painted on a wall on the high school campus. The answer was an enthusiastic “yes”. I was able to raise additional funds through the high school PTA, with the promise that Fintan would speak at the school’s AVPA fine arts class. Six years later these two murals remain, providing something beautiful to look at and inspiring young student artists. In fact, one of the students who participated in Fintan’s class painted his own mural on Ed Little’s Auto Service shop at Wagner & Sepulveda; proof that small actions today can cause ripples of positivity in the future.


The Covid-19 Pandemic: It affected everyone on some level, and for many it meant lost jobs, financial ruin, and hunger. I was asked by former mayor Göran Eriksson to join other community leaders in finding a way to help our community members and local restaurants survive this crisis. As a member of Grace Lutheran Church, I knew they regularly served the food insecure at their Monday night Grace Diner. I immediately reached out to the leader of the diner, Lisa Skelley, to see if we could expand the effort from one day a week to five days, with the financial support of our new organization, FeedCulver. After making my pitch to the committee that runs the diner, everyone agreed that it was a necessity.

FeedCulver then reached out to the restaurant community to offer assistance by purchasing pre-made hot meals for Grace Diner to serve. With the help of donations from our community and its business partners, FeedCulver has raised over $700,000 and served over 65,000 meals in two short years, while helping many of our local restaurants survive.


I believe that from the day my dad gathered signatures and fought to have our street paved in Coeur d’Alene, it showed me that anyone can make a difference if you take initiative. At every stage of my life, I have had a desire to fulfill that mission. I can’t help it. I value collaboration, showing everyone respect, and the importance of getting things done. My 21 years in Culver City is a period when my passion for the community has created tangible results over and over again, and I am committed to continuing that path as a Culver City Councilmember.