Honoring Local Business Leaders and Scholars at VICA’s 71st Annual Meeting
Van Nuys, Calif. – This year, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) celebrates 71 years of service to the San Fernando Valley. VICA culminates every successful year with a celebratory program for its members. Ultimately, the day is reserved for some of the Valley’s finest volunteers, business leaders, scholars and public officials. VICA has announced the 2020 honorees and scholarship recipients that will be receiving awards at this year’s 71st Annual Meeting. VICA honors these outstanding individuals with the following six awards:
28th Harmon Ballin Community Service Award: Darnell Tyler (Comcast NBCUniversal)
VICA’s Harmon Ballin Community Service Award honors an active VICA member who has made an outstanding contribution to our community through their long-term community service activities.
Darnell Tyler is the Director of Real Estate Planning & Community Relations for NBCUniversal’s Global Real Estate department. Darnell’s responsibilities include managing and overseeing internal and external communications for the Universal City Evolution Plan, a comprehensive 25-year blueprint for future development of the 391-acre Universal City Property which is home to Universal Studios – the world’s largest working studio – as well as CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park, Los Angeles’ leading tourism destination.
15th President’s Award: Victor Berrellez (US Bank)
The President’s Award is given to the VICA volunteer who goes above and beyond in service to VICA throughout the year or years.
Victor Berrellez works for US Bank as a Vice President and Relationship Manager in Encino and helps clients with financial solutions that help them improve profitability and cash flow. A lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley, Berrellez began his career as a sales representative for Xerox Corporation in Warner Center, schlepping copiers through the east Valley. Surrendering to the entrepreneurial spirit, he and his brother started a wholesale electronic distribution business. He figured out how to run a small business, learning about sales, inventory, payroll, and taxes. He will forever respect small business owners, who are the first ones in and the last ones to get paid. After a decade of entrepreneurship, he turned to California State University, Northridge to earn his MBA and sought his fortune in the world of commercial banking. His biggest joy is helping people solve problems. He also enjoys volunteering, helping those who make the Valley a better place to live.
42nd Robert E. Gibson Corporate Award for Excellence: PricewaterhouseCoopers
The Robert E. Gibson Corporate Award for Excellence recognizes leaders of industry that have made the San Fernando Valley the most progressive and forward-thinking business community in Southern California.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational professional services network of firms, operating as partnerships under the PwC brand. PwC ranks as the second-largest professional services network in the world and is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms, along with Deloitte, EY, and KPMG.
5th Annual Rickey M. Gelb Scholarship: Erica Hightower (Los Angeles Valley College)
Hightower is a Los Angeles Native, a Sherman Oaks resident, and a student Los Angeles Valley College. Since becoming a student at Valley in 2018, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and has consistently remained on both the Dean’s list and President’s Honor List. This June, she will earn an Associate degree in English and plans to transfer to UCLA the following fall, where she will pursue a B.A. in American Literature and Culture, and eventually a law degree. Hightower believes in the value of an education, the importance of creating your own opportunities, and the fiscal freedom entrepreneurship provides. She looks forward to completing her education and becoming an asset to her community and business world.
5th Annual Melvyn A. Kohn Memorial Scholarship: Skye (Granada Hills Charter High School)
is a senior at Granada Hills Charter High School in the AP Capstone program. She is one of the co-founders of the Covid Project and co-president of her school’s Girl Up chapter. She also participates in her school’s Academic Mentor Program as a math tutor for underclassmen. is passionate about advocacy and equality, which she emphasizes through the Covid Project and Girl Up. She plans to major in marketing.
6th Annual Martin R. Selter Memorial Scholarship: Samantha Schwartz (UCLA)
Schwartz is a junior at UCLA majoring in Public Affairs and minoring in Labor and Workplace Studies. This fall, she interned with the State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and founded the first mentorship program for the Public Affairs Major. Shwartz serves in several leadership positions in UCLA student government and Academic Senate and works as a writing tutor at the Undergraduate Writing Center. She aspires to a career in labor law and public policy.
About VICA: VICA is widely considered one of the most influential business advocacy organizations in Southern California. With its knowledge of the legislative process and economic issues, VICA’s access to public officials ensures that the San Fernando Valley’s business perspective will be heard in the interest of improving our business climate and quality of life. With input and guidance from its members, VICA maintains a regular presence at all levels of government to effectively represent Valley Businesses.
The mission of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) is to enhance the economic vitality of the greater San Fernando Valley region by advocating for a better business climate and quality of life. Visit www.vica.com for more information.