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TV'S ALLEN TO LEAD LAEDC.

Byline: Gregory J. Wilcox and Evan Pondel Staff Writers

Veteran television executive William C. ``Bill'' Allen, who helped organize the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley in the 1990s, will take over leadership of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. in January.

The nonprofit group's board of directors on Wednesday elected Allen to replace Lee Harrington, who will step down in June. Harrington led the LAEDC for 10 years.

Allen starts as president and chief executive officer of the LAEDC on Jan. 16, when Harrington will become the group's vice chairman.

``I truly believe that the vibrant, diverse, and entrepreneurial L.A. business community has no greater friend or champion than the LAEDC,'' Allen said in a statement.

LAEDC chairman and Bank of America Market president Rod Banks credited Harrington's leadership with helping to strengthen the regional economics. In his 10 years, the organization's Business Assistance Program is credited with retaining or creating more than 100,000 jobs in Los Angeles County, with an economic value of more than $3.5 billion annually and generating more than $200 million annually in tax revenues for state and local government and schools.

``(Allen is) the perfect replacement to take the group to the next level,'' Banks said.

Bruce Ackerman, who succeeded Allen as president and chief executive officer of the Valley Economic Alliance, said Allen knows the economic development business inside and out, and will bring a collaborative approach to his new job.

``What a coup. I love it,'' Ackerman said. ``It's fabulous. It's going to be absolutely incredible. The Valley boys are really making an impact downtown.''

In addition to his entertainment industry background, Allen has been involved in regional economic development issues for the past decade.

He was the first chief executive officer of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, leading this group from 1997 though 2000. That year, he was also named California's Civic Entrepreneur of the Year by the California Center for Regional Leadership.

While head of the Alliance, Allen helped raise more than $5 million and assembled a public-private partnership involving all the leading cities, colleges and business organizations in the Valley, including the Daily News.

During this time, the Alliance also initiated programs to expand international trade, improve local education and enhance work force development programs.

One of the biggest challenges for the region and Valley is finding solutions to public transportation issues. Allen helped organize regional transit planning summits in 1997 and 1998, which led to creation of the recently opened Orange Line busway in the Valley.

Allen also came up with the region's ``Valley of the Stars'' marketing campaign that included television commercials, showpiece publications, Web sites and high-profile media events like the nationally televised Ladies Professional Golf Association Valley of the Stars Championship and the annual Star of the Valley Awards, which have been hosted by the Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Allen is currently president of Meadowlane Enterprises Inc., vice chairman of the Alliance, and a member of the boards of directors of Health Dynamics Inc., the Rossier School of Education at University of Southern California and Valley Presbyterian Hospital, for whom he also co-chairs the Shaping Tomorrow capital campaign.

Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743

greg.wilcox(at)dailynews.com
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:545
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