Mayor expands business team

Bud Ovrom moves over to the newly created post of Deputy Mayor for Commercial and Residential Development and Helmi Hisserich, the top CRA official in Hollywood and former Riordan adviser, comes in as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Policy. Release after the jump.


Bud Ovrom becomes Deputy Mayor for Commercial and Residential Development; Helmi Hisserich to serve as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Policy

LOS ANGELES -- Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa today announced a significant expansion of his housing and economic development team, naming Bud Ovrom to a newly-created post as Deputy Mayor for Commercial and Residential Development and appointing Helmi Hisserich as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Policy.

“Los Angeles in the world’s most dynamic, entrepreneurial city, ideally situated at the hub of the Pacific Rim. I am delighted to appoint two talented leaders with the world class experience to match the task,” the mayor said. “Bud Ovrom and Helmi Hisserich bring five decades of business and professional experience building housing and creating jobs. This team will broaden and deepen our ability to meet the rising challenges and opportunities of an increasingly global economy.”

The mayor said the expansion of his office’s housing and economic development teams is essential to seize the opportunities created by unprecedented growth in the city’s economy. In 2006, the City of Los Angeles had a record-breaking year, with 17,000 housing starts and visits from 25.2 million tourists. The Port of Los Angeles experienced the highest cargo volume in its history. Overall, the city posted over $5 billion of cumulative construction valuation and was home to more than 1,650,000 jobs, the highest number in more than a decade. Just over 5% of the city’s population was reported to be unemployed.

“Our challenge is clear. In order to remain competitive, we need to cultivate and nurture new and growing businesses and create a strong workforce pipeline for the jobs of the coming decades,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “We need to step up our economic development strategies, targeting key industry sectors such as entertainment, international trade and logistics, health, tourism, manufacturing, green technology and bio-medical.”

In his new post, Ovrom, who currently is Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, will continue to oversee implementation of signature development projects, both residential and commercial; to coordinate the city’s overall efforts to create certainty and transparency in the land use and development processes; and to streamline the city’s regulatory review of proposed developments.

“We are drawing on Bud Ovrom’s know-how and creativity to partner effectively with commercial and residential developers to build an array businesses and affordable, supportive and workforce housing here,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Los Angeles is already the beneficiary of Bud’s commitment to public service, coupled with expertise and enthusiasm for smart growth from his years of service in my administration and as Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and City Manager for the cities of Burbank, Monrovia and Downey.”

Hisserich will be responsible for developing comprehensive economic development plans and strategies to support and grow affordable housing businesses and quality jobs in promising sectors and in regions of the city where economic growth and opportunity have lagged. She will also oversee the mayor’s efforts to address poverty in Los Angeles.

Among Hisserich’s responsibilities will be to create a focused small business outreach program; to anchor the city’s international trade and goods movement strategy; and to serve as the mayor’s liaison for development and operations at the Port of Los Angeles, the city’s key economic engine. She will oversee the city’s federally-funded programs in the areas of workforce development and training and neighborhood revitalization, and myriad social service programs, including those addressing homelessness and domestic violence and after-school options.

“Helmi Hisserich’s creative entrepreneurship has literally changed the face and future of Hollywood. Her wide-ranging expertise and facility as a strategic planner and doer will add tremendous value and reach to our city’s economic development strategies and service,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

In assuming her new post, Hisserich leaves her current post as Regional Administrator of the CRA’s Hollywood and Central regions. She previously served as a manager of economic development for Keyser Marston Associates, was a Senior Business Development representative in Hollywood for LA’s Business Team in the office of Mayor Richard Riordan, and directed the Economic Development Center of CHARO, an East Los Angeles nonprofit organization. Over the years, Hisserich has played a pivotal role in the redevelopment and rebirth of Hollywood, championing more than a dozen major projects there, including the Hollywood & Vine developments that broke ground just last week.

Ovrom and Hisserich will assume their new roles on April 2.

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