Congratulations to our client, Mitchell D. Rosenberg, for being named to New York Life Chairman's Cabinet.


By the Ventura County Star

Thousand Oaks agent named to New York Life Chairman’s Cabinet

Mitchell D. Rosenberg, of Thousand Oaks, has been named a member of the 2017 Chairman’s Cabinet of New York Life Insurance Co.


Members of the elite Chairman’s Cabinet are the top 50 highest-producing agents among New York Life’s elite sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents, according to a news release from the company. Rosenberg has been a New York Life agent since 1986, and is associated with New York Life’s San Fernando Valley general office in Woodland Hills.

Rosenberg conducts business under MDR Insurance & Financial Services in Thousand Oaks, which is not owned or operated by New York Life Insurance Co. or its affiliates. He received his Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and Master of Science in Financial Services Degree designations from the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and his Certified Financial Planner designation from the College for Financial Planning in Denver. Rosenberg earned his Certified Public Accountant credentials working for Price Waterhouse & Company. 

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business.



Read "Marketing Tips for Attorneys" in Santa Barbara Lawyer by Jennifer Goddard Combs.

  November 2017 • Issue 542

  November 2017 • Issue 542

By The Santa Barbara Lawyer

Marketing Tips for Attorneys

Lawyers, like virtually all business professionals, must market their services to the public at large and to their peers. Keeping your name and work out there are vital to maintaining relevance and procuring new clients. Here are six things attorneys can do to promote themselves:

Jennifer Goddard Combs

Jennifer Goddard Combs

1. Write and issue press releases regularly. Press releases can announce awards you receive; new hires joining the firm; promotions; seminars at which you’re speaking or presenting; big court wins and interesting cases; and appointments of lawyers to boards or event chairs, to name just a few things. There’s always something to promote.

2. Speak publicly. Take the time to speak on interesting topics to service clubs such as Rotary and Kiwanis and on local news radio programs. Speaking engagement topics can cover any subject that is interesting or that the attorney is passionate about, such as a current event, a fascinating topic from history, or a personal hobby.

3. Attend your local county Bar Association and other industry-related events. Lawyers tend to refer cases to people they know and trust. Be seen and be social among your peers. If they don’t see you or hear from you, they won’t think of you when it comes time to referring business.

4. Establish yourself to the media as an expert on legal topics. This way, when a newsworthy U.S. Supreme Court ruling comes down and the local paper is seeking an “expert” attorney in the community for analysis, for instance, you are the go-to source. Do this by contacting news editors in advance and forming relationships with them. Similarly, opinion pieces can be written for the Los Angeles Daily Journal or other media; once published, they can be reprinted as a marketing tool and linked on your social media sites to further expand your reach.

5. Blog. Write a regular blog for your firm’s website that also can be used on social media. This helps keep your website fresh and interesting, and helps keep you relatable. And, if you don’t have a website, create one, and add a blog section as soon as possible. Then keep material on this link current. For blog material, look to your own expertise and to news and legal trade magazines for topics you can write about that are timely.

6. Create and send an email newsletter or quarterly e-blast. Keep your name and your firm’s news top of mind, with a regular digital newsletter. No need to reinvent the wheel for this; use material from your recent press releases and blog if still timely. If you’re keeping up on those, there should be plenty of content to repurpose into an email newsletter. Create a newsletter emailing list that may include current clients, past clients, peers, Bar Association leaders, local elected officials, city managers, local media and others in the legal community whom you wish to reach. And keep expanding the list over time.

Finally, if you’re stumped on how to do any of these things and lack media know-how, hire a local professional to help you. Save your expertise for the courtroom. Publicity is the gift that keeps on giving as long as you keep on sharing it!



We are proud to announce our client, Rinaldo S. Brutoco, has been awarded U.N. Peace Prize locally.

Published in Noozhawk. 

Published in Noozhawk. 

Rinaldo S. Brutoco Wins Local U.N. Peace Prize

The United Nations Association (UNA) of Santa Barbara & Tri Counties has awarded its inaugural 2017 Santa Barbara Peace Prize to environmental leader Rinaldo S. Brutoco, founding president of the World Business Academy.

Renaldo S. Brutoco

Renaldo S. Brutoco

Started in 1947, the United Nations Association of Santa Barbara & Tri Counties is the oldest chapter in the nation.

The UNA has engaged locally with important global topics, such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster, youth in peril, climate change, and educating the community about human trafficking and the plight of refugees internationally.

To celebrate its 70th year, the UNA decided to honor contributions made by local people working toward a more peaceful world.

UNA created the Santa Barbara Peace Prize for nominees who live locally and have achieved measurable progress in creating peace in the world, advancing the cause of human rights internationally, and/or advancing the progress of developing nations.

UNA of Santa Barbara will honor Brutoco, of Santa Barbara, with its first Santa Barbara Peace Prize on United Nations Day, Tuesday, Oct. 24, at a 5:30 p.m. dinner at Moby Dick Restaurant on Stearns Wharf. Tickets may be purchased at

“In this first year of the Santa Barbara UNA Peace Prize, the United Nations Association of Santa Barbara received excellent nominations that were very impressive in terms of the breadth and scale of accomplishments worldwide by people in our community," said Barbara Gaughen-Muller, president.

"Google Rinaldo S. Brutoco, and you’ll be stunned by what he’s accomplished,” she said.

Brutoco is the founding president of the World Business Academy, a Santa Barbara-based think tank, now in its 30th year.

World Business Academy addresses climate change and advocates for sustainable energy use and other timely environmental issues by working to elevate the consciousness of people in the business community and urge them to use their power and influence to take responsibility for the environment.

Jerry Brown, director of the academy’s Beyond Nuclear Energy Initiative, nominated Brutoco, calling him a visionary leader who inspires cooperation for the common good.

Among his accomplishments, Brutoco has served on the board of directors of nonprofits including: the Gorbachev Foundation, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, State of the World Forum, Omega Point Institute and National Peace Academy.

Brutoco is also co-author of Profiles in Power: The Anti-Nuclear Movement and the Dawn of the Solar Age (1997) and Freedom from Mid-East Oil (2007).

Brutoco played a key role in helping establish and grow the National Peace Academy, which is an affiliate of the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Brutoco also serves on the Permanent Drafting Committee for the Geneva-based group that is developing A Global Bill of Rights (, appointed in 2017. He was the founding chairman of Unstoppable, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that has built schools and provided clean drinking water for some 10,000 African children and their parents.

Brutoco’s other accomplishments, awards and honors:

Recipient, Congressional Commendation, 2010, for humanitarian service and outstanding contribution to the culture of peace.

Recipient, Ellis Island Medal, 2017, for lifetime achievements as an immigrant himself to the U.S.

Recipient, Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, Earth Charter Award, 2008, for his “commitment to ecological integrity.”

Co-founder, JUST Capital. JUST Capital annually surveys the American people to find out what they value most when it comes to corporate behavior and then ranks the 1,000 largest publicly-traded corporations based on the priorities Americans share.

President and/or board member, Chopra Foundation, 2013-present.



We are happy to announce that our client, Textured Coatings of America, Inc., is published again in another national magazine!

coatings world logo.jpg

Published by Coatings World

Florida Drawbridge Built with TEX•COTE Products Withstands Hurricane Irma’s Wrath


The 17th Street Causeway Bridge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – coated with products developed by in-state-based TEX•COTE – withstood the intense winds and rain brought on by Hurricane Irma despite the damage the massive hurricane caused to scores of other structures statewide.
Hurricane wind speeds reached 85 mph and sustained for 8-10 hours in Fort Lauderdale where the 17th Street Causeway Bridge is located, but the hurricane did not damage the TEX•COTE coatings on the bridge, said Jay A. Haines, president and CEO of Textured Coatings of America, Inc.
TEX•COTE is a manufacturer of highway and bridge coatings and offers a complete line of decorative and protective high-build architectural coatings for commercial, industrial, transportation and residential uses. 
The drawbridge was built in March of 2001 using TEX•COTE XL-70 W BRIDGE COTE and opened in 2002. The bridge was recoated in 2014 using TEX•COTE 300 BRIDGE COTE. 
The bridge stands 65 feet above the Intracoastal Waterway and has a protected walkway.




Congratulations to our client, Textured Coatings of America, Inc., for being published in another national magazine!


Published by Paint & Coatings Industry.

TEX•COTE Products Help Protect Popular Drawbridge from Hurricane Irma

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - The 17th Street Causeway Bridge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, coated with products developed by Florida-based TEX•COTE®, withstood the intense winds and rain brought on by Hurricane Irma, despite the damage the massive hurricane caused to scores of other structures statewide.

Hurricane wind speeds reached 85 mph and sustained for 8-10 hours in Fort Lauderdale where the 17th Street Causeway Bridge is located, but the hurricane did not damage the TEX•COTE coatings on the bridge, said Jay A. Haines, President and CEO of Textured Coatings of America Inc., a 56-year-old company also called TEX•COTE.


TEX•COTE is a leading manufacturer of highway and bridge coatings and offers a complete line of decorative and protective high-build architectural coatings for commercial, industrial, transportation and residential uses. TEX•COTE products have been used on many buildings, landmarks, control towers, bridges and homes worldwide. Among them is the scenic 17thStreet Causeway Bridge. The drawbridge was originally built in March of 2001 using TEX•COTE XL-70 W BRIDGE COTE®, and it opened in 2002. The bridge was recoated in 2014 using TEX•COTE 300 BRIDGE COTE.

This bridge is significant because Fort Lauderdale is often called the “Venice of America” due to its many canals, some of which converge to the 17th Street Bridge. The bridge stands 65 feet above the Intracoastal Waterway and has a protected walkway, offering walkers amazing views of the water, city and yachts.



Congrats to our client, Laurie Leighty at American Riveria Bank, for winning the Innovative Banker Award.


Published by Noozhawk.

American Riviera Bank’s Laurie Leighty Wins Innovative Banker Award

American Riviera Bank's executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Laurie Leighty, is the recipient of the 2017 Nation Meyer Innovative Banker Award, the bank has announced.

Laurie Leighty

Laurie Leighty

The award is given by DCI, the developer of the iCore360® core banking software and related technologies for community banks nationwide.

DCI is privately owned by a group of bank clients and established the annual award in 2014 to honor its founder, Nation Meyer, and his legacy of innovation and vision in banking.

The award recognizes a banker each year for contributions to improving his/her bank, community, the DCI family of banks, and the banking industry.

Leighty’s banking career spans 37 years, during which time she has established a record of helping banks succeed.

She was a member of the original team that opened American Riviera Bank in 2006, when the bank’s commitment to technology and providing service from experienced, knowledgeable bankers was established.

Leighty has helped the bank grow in the years since to nearly a half-billion-dollar bank with multiple branches.
DCI said Leighty has helped DCI improve iCore360® solutions over the years as an active user group leader and pilot test bank leader. She has been a valuable contributor to DCI’s banking HR exchange group and has been an advocate of DCI, helping DCI reach prospective new clients.

Leighty, a UCSB graduate who lives in Santa Barbara, also helps a number of nonprofits in Santa Barbara.

DCI called Leighty a “tireless influence in community agencies, schools and nonprofits, including the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable, Franklin Elementary School, The Center for Successful Aging and Women’s Executive Network.”

“Laurie truly exemplifies the spirit of this award to recognize those who notably improve the world around them in their work as a banker, as a DCI client, and as a citizen," DCI said.

"And this is even further exemplified by the nominations submitted by seven of her coworkers, which is the most nominations anyone has received for this award yet,” DCI said in announcing the award.

American Riviera Bank employee Nancy Estby, one of the seven who nominated Leighty, wrote in her nomination:

“Laurie is a great mind, an innovator and she makes our bank better. She serves our community and serves on many boards and foundations. She shows kindness in her daily life, in and away from work.”

For more about the bank, visit



Proud to announce that our client, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, is celebrating 15 years!


Published by Santa Barbara Family & Life Magazine.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Celebrates 15 Years


For the Chapman family of Ojai, 2002 was a year of trials.

The youngest of the family’s three children, Colby, then 9 years old, was battling leukemia. His mom, Tracy, had quit her job in the health care industry to live with him at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as he endured treatments for nearly half the year.

At 9 years old, Colby Chapman battled leukemia with the support of his family and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. Photo contributed

At 9 years old, Colby Chapman battled leukemia with the support of his family and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.
Photo contributed

Money was extremely tight. As the year wore on, Tracy, a single mom, worried not just about her young son’s health, but also about meeting her family’s basic needs.

For Nikki Katz, 2002 was also a watershed year. Her dear friend’s godson had been diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

“It was devastating, and I felt helpless,” Katz said in a recent interview, “and I wanted to help.”

With that simple motivation, Katz founded Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering families that have a child, up to 21 years old, with cancer by providing them financial, emotional and educational support programs.

Katz was in the process of getting the foundation’s 501(c)3 nonprofit designation when, at a coffee shop one day in Ojai, she saw a cash jar at the counter seeking help for young Colby and his family, who were well loved in their tight-knit community.

That timely encounter led to Colby’s family becoming the very first recipient of help from the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, which has gone on to help hundreds of children with cancer and their families in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The thousands of dollars the foundation provided to Colby and his family in 2002 allowed them to pay numerous bills and have a Christmas celebration.

Today, Colby Chapman is a strapping 24-year-old working as a warehouse administrator in Carpinteria and living in Ojai with his fiancée, Katie, and their baby girl, Veda.

His memories of the long months spent lying in a hospital bed, battling a disease he wasn’t old enough to fully comprehend, have now faded. What Colby most remembers from back then is the love of Katz and everyone at Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and their genuine desire to help him and his family.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Founder Nikki Katz with Colby Chapman and his fiancé Katie and their baby girl Veda. Photo contributed

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Founder Nikki Katz with Colby Chapman and his fiancé Katie and their baby girl Veda.
Photo contributed

“It’s definitely shaped who I am today,” Colby said.

“Not only did I feel better about getting better and not weird about having a disease, but it made me feel like I was part of a community. Even still, I still feel like a part of the community … I’ve never lost that, and I’ll be grateful forever,” he said.

His mom Tracy can also look back now on that trying time with a sense of gratitude.

“Even after he was no longer sick, Nikki always kept Colby involved in the foundation’s events. It made it like a game for him,” Tracy said. “July marks the anniversary of his diagnosis, so that’s always a sentimental month for us, but honestly, we also remember the laughter and the fun of that time.”

In the 15 years since Nikki Katz founded Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, it has provided more than $1.7 million in financial assistance. Over the years, thousands of community members have come together to help through the organization. This year, the foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a Gold Ribbon Luncheon in October.

“The foundation is way bigger than I ever thought it would be. I never thought in my wildest dreams it would get this big. I’m very proud of what it’s become in its first 15 years,” Katz said.

For more information about the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, including ways to get involved, contact Executive Director Lindsey Leonard at or 805-563-4740.



Proud to announce that our clients, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and American Riviera Bank, are working together to support TCBF's Annual Gold Ribbon Campaign.

Published by Noozhawk.

Published by Noozhawk.

Buying Teddy Bear at Bank Puts Deposit in Fund for Kids

The soft teddy bears that are greeting customers this month at American Riviera Bank are on display and for sale through September in honor of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s (TCBF) 15-year anniversary.

The plush toys are available at teller stations in the bank’s Santa Barbara branches for a suggested donation of $15 each. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit TCBF, which helps families with children battling cancer. Over the years, TBCF has donated $1.85 million to families in need.

Helping to kick off off the teddy bear program are: Michelle Martinich, left, Rich Schuette, Robert Mislang, and seated, Sheela Hunt, left, Dave Edelman, Adriana Mezic. (American Riviera Bank)

Helping to kick off off the teddy bear program are: Michelle Martinich, left, Rich Schuette, Robert Mislang, and seated, Sheela Hunt, left, Dave Edelman, Adriana Mezic. (American Riviera Bank)

The teddy bear sale supports TBCF’s Annual Gold Ribbon Campaign fundraising effort, which takes place every September, in conjunction with National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Executives of the bank and TBCF got together recently to kick off the joint effort.

“As a Santa Barbara-based community bank, American Riviera Bank is proud to support the mission of TBCF to empower families living in our area that have a child with cancer,” said Robert Mislang, bank vice president/regional manager.

“TBCF does this through their programs that touch on financial, emotional and educational support. Thank you TBCF for your work,” he said.

The teddy bear sale continues through Sept. 29 during regular banking hours at American Riviera Bank’s three Santa Barbara offices: 1033 Anacapa St. downtown, 525 San Ysidro Road in Montecito, and 5880 Calle Real in Goleta.

TBCF is dedicated to empowering families in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties that have a child (up to age 21) with cancer, by providing them with help in multiple areas, including emotional, educational and financial.

For more information on Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, including volunteering, making a donation, or attending the Gold Ribbon Luncheon on Oct. 5 at Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore Santa Barbara, call 563-4740 or email



Excited to announce Dr. Deepak Chopra will be speaking on September 17th in Santa Barbara, sponsored by our client, World Business Academy!


Published by Santa Barbara News-Press.

Mind Your Health: Dr. Deepak Chopra to speak in Santa Barbara about his positive approach to medicine

As chaos surrounds you, stay calm.

Your health depends on it.

That's the word from Dr. Deepak Chopra, a New York Times best-selling author who contends negative attitudes weaken the partnership between the mind and body.

"When you experience stress, your body's inflamed. Your immune system is compromised. Stress is the No. 1 epidemic of our civilization," the 69-year-old La Jolla endocrinologist and internist told the News-Press by phone from a hotel in New York City, where he was visiting.

"You have to learn to quiet your mind through practices like meditation, self-reflection, mindfulness, being comfortable with your body and knowing what's happening in your mental space and web of relationships," the New Delhi native said. He practices integrative medicine, which combines lifestyle changes with conventional treatments.

Dr. Chopra will share his expertise Sept. 17 during World Business Academy programming in Santa Barbara.

He will be interviewed on stage in the morning at the New Vic and will receive the World Business Academy Award during its evening gala at the Belmond El Encanto.

"I feel honored," said Dr. Chopra, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad and the Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit promoting health and world peace. He's also a professor of medicine at the University of San Diego.

"I've been familiar with the World Business Academy for almost 25 years as a fellow and supporter," Dr. Chopra said.

Dr. Chopra praised the Santa Barbara-based academy for its work on behalf of renewable energy and efforts supporting the 2024 and 2025 closures of California's last two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon facility in Avila Beach.

Dr. Chopra said his work for the World Business Academy includes writing essays about the nature of consciousness. There's a global angle.

"How do you know there is a planet? Because you experience it," Dr. Chopra said. "You, as a biological organism, cannot be separated from the planet."

"My main goal in life is to give people a deeper understanding of consciousness and how human constructs create everything we call reality," he said.

"Stress is the No. 1 epidemic of our civilization," says Dr. Deepak Chopra, a New York Times best-selling author who combines traditional medicine with meditation and other lifestyle changes.

"Stress is the No. 1 epidemic of our civilization," says Dr. Deepak Chopra, a New York Times best-selling author who combines traditional medicine with meditation and other lifestyle changes.

That goal led to his prolific writing career, which started in 1989 with "Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine" (Bantam Books).

It was the first of his 86 books.

"I'm neurotic, I guess. I'm compulsive about writing," said Dr. Chopra, who updated "Quantum Healing" in 2015.

Dr. Chopra said his latest book is always his favorite. For now, that's "You Are the Universe" (Harmony, $26), which he co-wrote with Menas C. Kafatos. After its release in February, the book immediately became a New York Times best seller.

"The book is challenging everything that scientists are telling us today," Dr. Chopra said. "Science is based on observing reality independently and says reality is independent of consciousness. But what we call reality is an exercise in consciousness.

"If there were no sentient beings, there were be no reality," he said. "The book is an extension of everything I've been writing for 30 years."

Before he became an author, Dr. Chopra focused on a conventional medical career. He earned his medical degree at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi in 1969.

He treated rural villagers in India before he and his new wife, Rita, moved to the U.S. in 1970. He worked at Plainfield, N.J., and Boston hospitals before becoming chief of staff in the 1980s at New England Memorial Hospital (now Boston Regional Medical Center) in Stoneham, Mass.

He turned to transcendental meditation to help him quit drinking and smoking and unwind in healthier ways.

In 1985, he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM (transcendental meditation) movement and spiritual adviser to The Beatles, and left traditional medicine to become Maharishi's corporate officer. At the same time, he operated a clinic emphasizing Ayurvedic (holistic) medicine in Lancaster, Mass.

In 1993, he left Maharishi and became executive director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind Body Medicine in San Diego County.

Three years later, he departed the institute and opened the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in 1996.

Dr. Chopra said well-being boils down to one thing: self-awareness.

"If you nonjudgmentally observe yourself and your reaction to the world, you'll change your behavior. You don't have to think positive thoughts. Just be a witness of your own mind and body," he said. "The more self-aware you are, the less reactive you'll be."

Self-awareness includes gratitude. Dr. Chopra said a Columbia University journal published his center's study, which found people's blood pressure fell when they reflected on what made them thankful.

In fact, gratitude decreases inflammatory markers, said Dr. Chopra, who advises people to be thankful, even if it's simply for being alive. He said you don't need a more specific reason to be happy.

"Happiness for a reason is a problem because reasons come and go."



Dr. Deepak Chopra, integrative medicine expert and author, will appear during several World Business Academy presentations Sept. 17 in Santa Barbara.

Dr. Chopra will be at a meet-and-greet during a continental breakfast at 10 a.m. at the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St.

He will be interviewed at 11 a.m. on the New Vic stage by Rinaldo Brutoco, the academy's founding president. Dr. Chopra will answer the audience's questions afterward.

The academy will honor him at its Awards Gala and Dinner, which begins with a cocktail party at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 at Belmond El Encanto, 800 Alvarado Place.

Tickets cost $50 for Dr. Chopra's 11 a.m. talk, $100 for the breakfast and talk, and $300 for the evening gala. VIP seats at the gala cost $1,000.

To purchase, go to For more information, contact the academy at 892-4600.



Congratulations to our client, Sasha Ablitt, for being chosen for "Woman-Owned Business" by the Spirit of Small Business Awards!


Published by Spirit of Small Business awards in Pacific Coast Business Times.

Entrepreneur wouldn't leave the family business hanging

By Chris Officer

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from UCLA, earning her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, and then traveling the world as an international businesswoman, the last thing Sasha Ablitt expected was to go back to work for her family business.

But on the other hand, who could blame her, considering dry cleaning is in her family's DNA. Ablitt comes from a family that has more than 100 years in the laundry service. Her grandfather and grandmother, Neil and Alberta Ablitt, met each other while working at a laundromat owned by Alberta's father. 

The two married and eventually moved to Santa Barbara to open their own dry cleaning service in 1949. Torn on whether to purchase St. Paul Dry Cleaners or Enterprise Laundry Co., Neil opted for the dry cleaners, since the in-home washer and dryer industry was starting to become prominent during that time.

The Ablitts eventually sold the business in the late 60s, before Sash'as father purchased the dry cleaners back in 1984 and reimagined it as Ablitt's Fine Cleaners & Launderers. 

Sasha Ablitt, owner of Ablitt's Fine Cleaners & Launderers, took over the family dry cleaning business in 2003 after her father was planning on retiring from the industry.

Sasha Ablitt, owner of Ablitt's Fine Cleaners & Launderers, took over the family dry cleaning business in 2003 after her father was planning on retiring from the industry.

Sasha said she was busy traveling the world before eventually coming back home to the family business in 2003. At the time, she was expecting a baby and wanted to be grounded and close to family. She caught wind about her father retiring from the business and wanted to take over the reins. Although Sasha admits she was stepping into uncharted territory.

"I never had to be anybody's boss," she said. "I came here and had to be everything."

Now 14 years later, Sasha Ablitt is owner and operator of hat she claims is the largest dry cleaning service in Santa Barbara County.

Ablitt's operates out of its original 14,000-square-foot building that was built in 1934 specifically as a dry cleaner. It has about 12,000 customers in its database and took in about $3 million in revenue in 2016.

Ablitt's hangs its hat on its pickup and delivery dry cleaning service. At no extra cost, one of Ablitt's concierges will pick up and drop off your dry cleaning. Sasha says her vans have about 80 delivery stops a day, and it makes up around 60 to 70 percent of her business. She also adds that Ablitt's delivery-based service is not only beneficial for customer's convenience, it does its small part saving on gas emissions.

"It's best for our customers, and best for the environment, too," Sasha said.

Ablitt's alsois extremely green-friendly with its dry cleaning methods. As perchloroethylene, or perc, an environmentally harmful solvent being phased out, Sasha said she uses a green earth, plant-based solvent at her business.

 Ablitt has also stepped up her business technology-wise, implementing several 21st-century tricks to improve customer service. She started an automated email system that electronically checks bills and balances and sends out alerts when customer's clothes are ready. Ablitt even heat-seals a small, barely noticeable barcode on garments to keep track of items and the history of its cleaning service. "We don't lose anything," Sasha said. 

With 40 employees, Sasha says the business' success lies within its staff, five of which have been with the company for more than 20 years. Their loyalty is a testament to Sasha's commitment to her employees. 

She said employees are the heart of her small business, and regularly rewards them with employee luncheons the last Thursday of each month. She even hires an outsourced massage therapist every week to give employees massages at work. 

But more importantly, Sasha said, is that she's constantly challenging her employees on top of new and evolving things with training. The over-the-counter customer service employees learn some of the same tricks the back-of-the-house employees learn and vice-versa. And Sasha says keeping her employees engaged is what separates Ablitt's Fine Cleaners & Launderers from its competition.

"Dry cleaning is all the same in the eyes of the customers. What sets us apart is our employees," Sasha said. "I think that's why my employees love it here so much. They are always learning."

Call Ablitt's Fine Cleaners and Launderers at (805) 963-6677, email at, or visit their website:


Proud to announce that our client, John Ambrecht, will be delivering an educational talk at STEP World Wide in Los Angeles!


Proud to announce that our client, John Ambrecht, will be delivering an educational talk at STEP World Wide in Los Angeles!

Noozhawk Logo.gif

Published by Noozhawk.

Local Attorney to Discuss Business Estate Planning

John W. Ambrecht, a Santa Barbara attorney specializing in estate planning and estate tax law, will discuss Understanding the Impact of Family Dynamics on Business Succession: How Do You Start and Where Do You Go? at an upcoming educational talk in Los Angeles.


Those interested in hearing Ambrecht’s presentation can attend the luncheon or listen via dial-in audio. The luncheon will be 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at 1840 Century Park East, Ste. 1900. Register online at

The talk will focus on the fact that only 35 percent of family businesses successfully pass from the first to the second generation, and, of those, only 15 percent transition to the third generation. Challenges in business succession among families will be addressed.

Also speaking at the event will be Randy Jaffe, a consultant with the Owner Managed Business Institute. Jaffe is a guest faculty member at Harvard Business School who has worked in the family business succession field for 34 years.
Hosting the event is the Los Angeles branch of STEP World Wide, a London-based international organization of lawyers and advisors helping families plan their assets across generations.

Ambrecht joined STEP World Wide to share his knowledge with others, including clients. Ambrecht also established the first U.S. Business Families Special Interest Group.
To learn more, call Ambrecht, 965-1329 or visit



We nominated our client, Lawyer Terri Hilliard, and she was chosen as Attorney of the Year/Trail Blazer Award!

Published by San Fernando Valley Business Journal. 

Attorney Terri Hilliard Receives Attorney of the Year/Trail Blazer Award

Terri Hilliard has been honored as a recipient of the special “Trail Blazer Award” from the San Fernando Valley Business Journal in the Journal’s annual 2017 Trusted Advisors program.

Each year, the Woodland Hills-based publication selects an award winner from among hundreds of nominees in four categories: Trail Blazer, Innovation Leadership, Client Services and Community Service. The Trail Blazer Award goes to a nominee who started a new enterprise and/or has moved their industry or profession forward. Award recipients were honored at a dinner held Aug. 9 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City that was attended by hundreds of professionals. The annual event recognizes the positive impacts of attorneys, accountants, bankers, wealth managers and insurance professionals in the San Fernando, Conejo, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

Hilliard is the principal of Terri Hilliard, P.C., with offices in Westlake Village and Santa Barbara. Her practice centers on advanced estate and business succession planning, asset protection, special needs trusts, and family protection planning for seniors. Hilliard is also a court-approved mediator who helps families, seniors, individuals and businesses resolve disputes.

Hilliard earned her law degree from Loyola Law School in 1989, following a successful career as an investment advisor. She is a member of all California State and Federal Courts, the California State Bar, Southern California Mediation Association, Eldercare Mediators, and the Ventura County Bar Association, Estates section and Wealth Counsel. Hilliard is accredited with the Veterans Administration and skilled in Medi-Cal Planning.

Hilliard’s Trusted Advisor nomination noted that senior citizens and people with special needs are among the community’s most vulnerable people. Hilliard is dedicated to giving the special help and assistance they need to prevent abuse and fraud. She also has donated her time for many years to the senior and special needs communities. Hilliard develops creative solutions to help seniors and their families find programs and resources so elders can stay in their homes longer and avoid nursing homes or care homes. She helps with veterans benefits or Medi-Cal benefits and financial assistance, and helps families avoid court intervention.  

Hilliard is a skilled public speaker and has served as a panel moderator on a wide variety of subjects, including caring for seniors; Medi-Cal, long-term care, deed transfers upon death, divorce and estate planning; elder abuse and scams; purposeful estate planning; transition planning and conservatorships for special needs young adults; estate and financial planning; aging; strategies for health and wealth; planned giving; business succession planning; and politics and the special needs community.

Hilliard is actively involved in the community and gives her time to several organizations. She is a member of, and serves as Foundation Chair, of the Moorpark Morning Rotary (she also is a Paul Harris community service award recipient). She is a member of the Conejo Valley Estate Planning Counsel; a member of Provisors and on the Executive Board for its Attorney Affinity Group, Westlake Village; a member of the Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel; and she serves as vice president, board member and a member of the Scholarship Committee for Pause4Kids, which supports special needs individuals, elders and their caregivers in her community. Hilliard is a longtime board member of Senior Concerns of the Conejo. She created and founded the Pro Bono Panel of Attorneys program called “Legal Concerns” at Senior Concerns, where Hilliard lends her expertise in eldercare, estate planning, mediation, and planned giving. She also serves as the co-chair of the Planned Giving Committee for Senior Concerns. In addition, Hilliard is a founding committee member of the Alzheimer’s Women’s Initiative (AWI), Ventura County chapter, and she has been a member of the Senior Estate Planning Institute since 2012.

Earlier this year, Hilliard donated her time and legal skills to help the creators of a new non-profit called Conejo Valley Village, a virtual village for seniors and others to barter and receive volunteer help in the Conejo Valley.

Call Terri Hilliard at (805) 201-2552 or email Visit



Our client, Channel Islands Aviation, was on the front page of Business Briefs in the Ventura County Star!

Published by Ventura County Star on July 30, 2017.

Channel Islands Aviation Announces Memorial Scholarship

Winner for 2017

 (CAMARILLO, Calif.) – Twelve-year-old Robert Logan of Ventura has been selected as this year’s winner of the Khrystyna Gavryushenko Memorial Scholarship offered by Channel Islands Aviation. The scholarship benefits a local child or teen interested in a career in aviation.

Logan attends the Ventura Charter School of Global Education. He will attend Channel Islands Aviation’s Youth Aviation Academy, said Sarah Oberman Bartush, manager of the aviation school and chief marketing officer for Channel Islands Aviation.

“I love aviation because I can be what I want to be with no boundaries!” Robert said.

His mother, Amy Maguire, said, “When Robert talks about flying, he lights up and is driven to succeed. It has changed his life!”

The Youth Aviation Academy is open to kids between the ages of 12 through 16 and is held at Channel Islands Aviation, located at the Camarillo Airport. The program includes ground instruction, a pilot logbook, a t-shirt, flight simulator lesson, and lunch on the last day of the program. There is an optional $99 flight lesson.

This is the second consecutive year that Channel Islands Aviation is offering the memorial scholarship that honors Khrystyna Gavryushenko, an alumna of the Channel Islands Aviation’s Youth Aviation Academy and Flight School.

Channel Islands Aviation provides private and professional flight training, aircraft sales and rentals, charter flights, FBO services and more. For more information about the Khrystyna Gavryushenko Memorial Scholarship and Channel Islands Aviation’s Youth Aviation Academy, call (805) 987-1301 or visit




Congratulations to our client, American Riviera Bank, for welcoming a new board member!

Published by Noozhawk on July 22, 2017.

Charles Slosser Joins American Riviera Bank Board

American Riviera Bank has announced that Charles Slosser, a Santa Barbara resident with a successful background in philanthropy, has been elected to serve on the bank’s Board of Directors.

Slosser is a consultant to various philanthropic organizations.

He serves on the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Investment Committee, Visiting Nurse and Hospice investment committee, Brander Family Foundation, PlanitNow, Foundation Roundtable, and the philanthropy committee for Reiter Affiliated Companies.

He formerly was a board member of the Hutton-Parker Foundation.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chuck to our board. He has helped many local organizations and will be a tremendous asset to American Riviera Bank,” said Lawrence Koppelman, American Riviera Bank Board chairman.

After earning a Ph.D. in history from UCLA, Slosser worked as a teacher then served as assistant vice president for university relations at Pepperdine University.

He and his wife moved to Santa Barbara in 1981 and Slosser became director of corporate and foundation relations at UCSB.

In 1985, Slosser was appointed director of development for the Museum of Natural History, where he helped to organize and implement a $7 million capital campaign.

In 1991, he became president/CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, a position he held for 18 years before he retired to consult. During his tenure, the Santa Barbara Foundation’s assets rose from $30 million to $300 million.



Proud to announce that our client, American Riviera Bank, plans to open a new loan production office in Paso Robles!

Published by Pacific Coast Business Times on July 14, 2017

American Riviera Bank Sets Sights on Paso Robles

American Riviera Bank is making a jump into the San Luis Obispo County market, opening a loan production office in Paso Robles with additional branches planned to fill in the territory north of its Santa Barbara base.

The Paso Robles office will open next month, and it will be located at 205 Oak Hill Road in The Highlands Shopping Center. It will offer a suite of real estate, agriculture, residential mortgage, construction and SBA-guaranteed loans.

American Riviera, one of four remaining independent community banks based in the Tri-Counties, said the office will be replaced by a full-service branch by early 2018 and that it “expects to open more branches between Santa Barbara and Paso Robles in the future.”

This is the second time in less than a year that an area bank targeted SLO County for expansion, after the region’s largest bank, Heritage Oaks, was acquired by Orange County-based Pacific Premier. Earlier, Community West Bank, based in Goleta, opened a branch in San Luis Obispo near the fast-growing regional airport.

To staff its Paso Robles office, American Riviera has hired a team of former Heritage Oaks employees with Neil Amarante to serve as senior vice president and regional credit manager. Ann Cochrane will be vice president for commercial and ag banking and Paul Tognazzini will serve as community relationship officer.

“In the last five years, San Luis Obispo County lost all of its community banks to mergers,” said Jeff DeVine, American Riviera’s president and CEO. In the region, the four remaining independent banks include Montecito Bank & Trust, the largest, followed by Community West, based in Goleta, American Riviera and Community Bank of Santa Maria.

In a phone interview, Cochrane said the bank expected lending to be a mix of commercial and ag loans plus some owner-occupied residential financings.

“Homes on a few acres don’t fit into a box for single family home financings” from larger institutions, she said. She also said she expects some interest in SBA-guaranteed loans, where 20-year fixed rate financing is an attractive option.

American Riviera had assets of $467 million as of March 31 and currently operates branches in Montecito, Santa Barbara and Goleta.

Net income jumped to $956,000 or 22 cents per share in the first quarter from $142,000 or four cents a year earlier. Its shares, traded on the OTC market, closed unchanged on July 11 at $16.95.



Congratulations to our client, Kelly Marsh, for being named Vice President of California for Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc.!

Published by Noozhawk on July 1, 2017.

Kelly Marsh and Team Now at Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc.

Kelly Marsh, a top-ranking loan officer, has been named vice president at California for Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc. Marsh’s entire 13-member team is moving with her to Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc., which has an office in Santa Barbara.

Marsh previously served as branch manager of Broadview Mortgage in Santa Barbara, where she was a loan originator. A Santa Barbara native, Marsh headed the local branch of Broadview Mortgage since 2008.

Established in 1988 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cornerstone Home Lending is a national company with 29 years of industry experience and offers numerous loan products nationwide, as well as in-house processing, underwriting and funding.

Cornerstone is licensed to lend in 40 states and has some 100 branch offices throughout the U.S. Its Santa Barbara branch is at 1828 State St.

“This move offers a great opportunity for me, my team and all our clients. We look forward to providing exemplary service with Cornerstone Home Lending,” Marsh said.

Earlier this year, Marsh received certificates of recognition from the offices of State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and the city of Santa Barbara in honor of her 20-year anniversary as a licensed loan originator and for helping thousands of families buy homes.

Mortgage Executive Magazineranked Marsh last year in the top 1 percent of all loan officers nationwide. Marsh was ranked as the No. 1 top loan originator in Santa Barbara County for 2015,.

She is listed in Mortgage Professional America Magazine 2016 as one of the 100 Most Inspiring Women in the Mortgage Industry.

For more, visit, or contact Marsh at 563-1100 or email



Congratulations to our client, Arlington Financial, on becoming a fiduciary and Registered Investment Advisor!

Published by Noozhawk on June 29, 2017. 

Arlington Financial Advisors Now a Fiduciary

Arlington Financial Advisors in Santa Barbara has announced the company has become a fiduciary and Registered Investment Advisor. Arlington Financial Advisors has partnered with Charles Schwab to custodian their clients’ assets.

Arlington Financial Advisors, is a family guide and mentor for professionals and business owners, monitoring and managing risk so its clients can focus on work and family. As educators, the advisors work to help clients make informed, confident decisions.
Arlington Financial Advisors is an independent firm offering strategic financial planning, estate and tax planning, private money management and insurance consulting. Its services include:
• Personalized advice across the spectrum of financial matters, from retirement planning to intergenerational issues to business asset-purchase decisions.

• Net worth-based financial planning that encompasses a client’s complete financial picture, including major life transitions, concentrated real estate exposure, or other complex challenges.

• A disciplined service model featuring thorough preparations for every meeting and a structured program addressing four key topics throughout the year: net-worth planning, estate planning, investments and taxes.

• Quarterly personal finance education sessions for the newly widowed, newly divorced, retired, business owners, multi-generational families, college students and other professionals.


Arlington Financial Advisors is at 100 E. De La Guerra St. For information, call 699-7300, email or visit



Congratulations to our client, Textured Coatings of America, Inc., for being featured in another national magazine!

Published by Coatings World on June 21, 2017.

New Dresbach Bridge in Minnesota Features Textured Coating by TEX∙COTE

A new bridge crossing the Mississippi River between Wisconsin and Minnesota features a special textured coating product by Florida-based TEX∙COTE, the manufacturer of specialty textured coatings for building applications.

One of the most technologically advanced coatings manufacturers in the world, Textured Coatings of America, Inc., a 56-year-old company also called TEX∙COTE, is a leading manufacturer of highway and bridge coatings and offers a complete line of decorative and protective high-build architectural coatings for commercial, industrial, transportation and residential uses.

TEX∙COTE products have been used on many prestigious buildings, landmarks, control towers, bridges and homes worldwide.

TEX∙COTE products were used for the new I-90 Mississippi River Bridge, which consists of a pair of bridges over the Mississippi River that connect the area of La Crosse, Wisconsin to Winona County, Minnesota. The new bridges opened to traffic in October 2016, replacing a previous plate girder bridge built in 1967 that was deemed not as safe for traffic, with more narrow shoulders that lead to lane closures when disabled cars needed to get over to the side or during routine maintenance.

The cost for the new set of bridges was $185.5 million. They were designed to last 100 years, improve safety for drivers, and improve traffic flow. The new bridges were ordered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The TEX∙COTE product used for the Dresbach Bridge Project was XL 70 Bridge Cote with Silane. In all, thousands of gallons were sold to the painting contractor, Rainbow Inc., and Courtland, LLC., a TEX∙COTE distributor, for this specific project. The general contractor was Ames Construction, Inc.

Since TEX∙COTE founding in 1961, the company’s ongoing research and development efforts have led to many industry advancements and the development of "green" products with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). TEX∙COTE’s patented Coolwall IR System has been proven to reduce energy usage and its manufacturing process incorporates post-consumer recycled content.