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Think Together Names Three New Executive General Managers to Lead Regional Afterschool Programs Serving 200,000 Students Statewide



New executive leadership appointed amid transformational growth in expanded learning and afterschool

Think Together, California’s leading nonprofit provider of school improvement, expanded learning and afterschool programs, today announced the appointment of three new executive general managers to its top leadership ranks: Adriana Garcia-Kingston, M. Ed.; Johanna Lizarraga; and Stacy Galdamez.

The announcement comes as Think Together prepares for a transformational moment in education. Bolstered by increases in state and federal funding, the expanded learning provider has hired 515 program staff to its team this fall and is projected to hire nearly 800 more program staffers this school year in support of the need for increased access to afterschool and early learning programs.

“As Think Together continues to experience tremendous growth in the expanded learning space, we needed the building blocks for success. That began with creating the role of executive general manager and promoting these accomplished professionals to these roles,” said Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth. “Each of them have an established track record of success fostering meaningful relationships with our district partners and are exceptionally well-suited to work within our communities to increase access to more students in need of afterschool learning programs.”

Executive General Manager Adriana Garcia-Kingston, M. Ed. will oversee Think Together’s Riverside, Orange County and Early Learning programs, which currently reach 9,228 students in 16 school districts and one charter management organization. Garcia-Kingston has been with the organization since 2006 and has more than 20 years of education experience, both as a classroom teacher and leader within Think Together.

Executive General Manager Johanna Lizarraga will head the organization’s operations in San Bernardino, Palm Springs and the Santa Fe Springs regions serving an estimated 12,254 students across 14 school districts. Lizarraga has worked with Think Together since 2008, effectively leading and implementing expanded learning programs across multiple school districts for the last 13 years of her career.

Executive General Manager Stacy Galdamez will lead the Southeast Los Angeles, LA Metro, San Gabriel Valley and Bay Area regions, serving up to 16,564 students across 11 school districts and 24 charter management organizations. Galdamez has been working in expanded learning programs for the past 16 years and effectively led both the San Gabriel Valley and Bay Area regions. Stacy joined Think Together in 2011 as a Site Coordinator for Santa Ana Unified in the OC Region.

Following the appointment of Adriana Garcia-Kingston, M. Ed., Johanna Lizarraga and Stacy Galdamez to the position of executive general managers, Think Together also promoted Harlyn Santos, Rhonda Scott, and Samira Mejia to serve as general manager of the organization’s Riverside, San Bernardino and San Gabriel Valley regions respectively.

“We stand at a time when we have the opportunity to truly change the way students access education in our state and these leaders are prepared to lead our regional teams through this transformation,” said Deputy Chief of Innovations and Partnerships Tommy Brewer II. “Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grants creates the ability to reach more of the 2 million students at risk of not reaching their academic potential and this investment allows our organization to step in and meet this moment.”

In March 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature funded $6.6 billion to help school districts recover from the pandemic’s impact. This included $2 billion for In-Person Instruction (IPI) Grants and $4.6 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grants to assist districts with the safe reopening of schools and student learning recovery programs aimed at mitigating learning loss.

Generally funded through After School Education and Safety (ASES) program and federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers, these programs initially faced budget cuts amid the pandemic. Organizations like Think Together rely on public grants as well as private philanthropy to bring high-quality education programs to K-8 students.

California has the largest system of publicly-backed expanded learning in the nation. Think Together, along with its affiliate, Orenda Education, operates early learning, afterschool and school improvement programs across 46 school districts and 24 charters throughout California serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Hawaii Chamber as Honorary Global Member



Empowering Future Generations: IERCC and Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Forge Partnership for Youth Development

In a landmark meeting that signifies the growing collaboration between regional chambers of commerce, the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) proudly welcomed the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii as an Honorary Global Member. This momentous occasion was marked by a ceremonial presentation led by Eddy Sumar, MBA, CCE, CICE, a distinguished member and Chair of the Education and Youth Skills Development Liaison at IERCC.

Eddy Sumar, renowned for his passionate advocacy for youth education and skill development, met with Sherry Menor-McNamara, CCE, President & CEO, and Tyler Hunt, Associate Vice President of Membership Services, of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. The meeting was not just a formal presentation but also an opportunity to share the innovative approaches IERCC is employing to champion youth development.

In a unique and inspiring gesture, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii representatives were introduced to IERCC’s youth initiatives through a trilogy of educational books authored by Eddy Sumar himself. These books – “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS,” “The Hidden Dreams,” and “The Cutting Edge” – are a testament to Sumar’s dedication to empowering the youth. Each book addresses critical areas of youth development:

  • “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS” provides wisdom to guide young lives.
  • “The Hidden Dreams” unlocks the potential of identifying and pursuing youthful aspirations.
  • “The Cutting Edge” offers vital insights into understanding credit and financial literacy.

Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, expressed his enthusiasm for this new partnership, stating, “This collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to foster the leaders of tomorrow. By combining our resources and expertise, we can more effectively prepare our youth for the dynamic world they will inherit. Our shared vision for youth development and education is the cornerstone of this partnership.”

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii expressed its enthusiasm for the collaboration, recognizing the value of the resources provided by IERCC. This partnership is a significant step towards a shared goal of fostering a brighter future for youth through education, skill development, and empowerment.

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce is enthusiastically developing plans to launch a summer internship program exclusively for students from the Inland Empire, offering them the opportunity to travel to Hawaii for this enriching experience. This initiative, which stems from the IERCC’s recent collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, is focused on providing Inland Empire students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse business and cultural environment of Hawaii. The program aims to equip these students with invaluable hands-on experience in various industries, enhancing their skills and broadening their perspectives. This visionary approach underscores the IERCC’s dedication to fostering the professional and personal growth of its youth, preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly interconnected world.

The IERCC is committed to continuing these collaborative efforts and looks forward to a fruitful and impactful partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, collectively striving to nurture the leaders of tomorrow.

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Corona Factory Files Landmark Trade Secret Lawsuit in New Hampshire Federal Court



Leading Private Label Company Alleges Massive Data Breach by SGS North America, Inc., Threatening Millions in Investment and Profits

Amid a surge of corporate theft nationwide, U.S. Continental Marketing, Inc. has initiated trade secret litigation against SGS North America, Inc. alleging misappropriation of proprietary and confidential chemical formulations that may cost U.S. Continental millions of dollars.

The largest private label leather and fabric care company in the world, U.S. Continental operates out of a 100,000 square foot factory in Corona, California, and partners with popular footwear, fashion, and furniture brands such as Birkenstock, Timberland, and Michael Kors to develop a range of products. The company provides commercial packaging solutions as well.

In its complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, U.S. Continental alleges that earlier this year, it spent millions to develop five unique and secret chemical formulations for an unnamed customer for use on branded textiles. Those formulas were sent to SGS North America for independent testing.  David Williams, U.S. Continental’s President, explains, “Leading up to its testing, we made very clear to SGS that the confidentiality of any and all information about our formulations was critical. Third parties, and even our customers, could not be privy to our proprietary data and SGS knew that.”

Williams added, “To put a finer point on the sensitivity of the formulations in question, we negotiated an ironclad NDA with SGS, which it signed, promising not to disclose confidential information related to our formulations to anyone without written approval.”

U.S. Continental’s complaint alleges that despite its assurances, SGS twice sent detailed, unredacted testing reports directly to the customer in August, revealing specifics about the chemical formulations SGS promised to keep under wraps.

According to Williams, “By virtue of SGS’s indiscretion, which one of its Vice Presidents cavalierly claimed was a ‘mistake,’ our customer was sent all the information it needed to manufacture essential chemical formulations on its own. That puts at risk the $2 million we invested in R&D, along with another $20 million or so in profits from our manufacturing agreement with the customer. It only gets worse from there if SGS discloses our proprietary information—which it refuses to return—to any others.”

Jeffrey Farrow, a partner at Michelman & Robinson, LLP, which represents U.S. Continental along with local counsel in New Hampshire, says, “It’s beyond crucial that trade secrets, like my client’s chemical formulations, be carefully safeguarded. By failing to do so, SGS breached its NDA—a breach that continues given that the data at issue has yet to be returned despite multiple requests from U.S. Continental. This is simply unacceptable and through this lawsuit, we want SGS to know that its unlawful disclosure of trade secrets, and unlawful retention of them, won’t go unchecked.”

The lawsuit is currently pending and U.S. Continental is awaiting a response from SGS.

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Business Partners with Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to Launch California Pavilion



In a landmark initiative,, a global leader in e-commerce, has announced a strategic partnership with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) to bolster business opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in California. This historic collaboration is set to unveil the California Pavilion on, a pioneering platform promoting the “Made in California” brand to a global audience.

Join us for a special event where Mattia Miglio, Director of North America Business Development at, will introduce the California Pavilion alongside representatives from the IERCC. This digital hub is the first of its kind, designed to connect California’s SMEs with international buyers, importers, and distributors, marking a significant milestone in global business expansion.

This initiative sees the convergence of several key trade associations including the California Trade Alliance, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Valley Industry & Commerce Association, all coming together to transform the SME landscape in California.

As part of the California Pavilion, members will receive an exclusive membership package offering numerous benefits designed to elevate businesses to new heights. This initiative not only supports business growth but also aligns with Alibaba’s vision of empowering SMEs in the global market.

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce stands as a pivotal partner in this venture. Known for its innovative approaches and customized support for businesses, the IERCC plays a crucial role in guiding enterprises in the Inland Empire, from startups to established companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with in this groundbreaking initiative. The California Pavilion is more than just a digital platform; it’s a beacon of opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises across California. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to empowering local businesses, giving them the tools and exposure they need to thrive in the global marketplace. We believe that through this partnership, we can elevate the ‘Made in California’ brand to new heights and open doors for unprecedented growth and success for our members”, stated Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the IE Chamber.

We invite businesses to explore the advantages of joining the California Pavilion. Learn how this platform can revolutionize your business prospects and connect you with the global market.

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