Advisory Board Members


Mr. Kim D. Defenderfer, Senior Vice President – Regional Manager - California United Bank

Phone: (310) 807-8606


Mr. Defenderfer has over 25+ years of commercial banking experience.  

He is active in the community as a Board Member of Upward Bound House, a nonprofit located in Santa Monica providing transitional housing services for families with minor children. He is also currently the Chair of the Advisory Board for California State University Dominguez Hills College of Business and Public Policy.

He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and his MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.  

Kim is willing to speak to students on the following topics:

               - Career Development

               - Fundamentals of Business Finance

               - Commercial Lending – How Bank’s Underwrite Credit

               - The basics of sales

Mr. Armando J. Villavicencio Sr. , Chairman and CEO - Vilden Associates Inc. 


Ms. Sue Chen, Founder and CEO - NOVA


Mr. Phil D'Amato, CEO - AMP Restaurants


Mr. Phillip D’Amato is an entrepreneur and practicing Human Resources and Operations executive with over 40 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors in a wide range of industries including law enforcement, transportation, telecommunications, financial services, food services, retail, manufacturing and distribution.

Mr. D’Amato is currently CEO of A.M.P. Restaurant Management, Inc., and oversees the development and management of an expanding portfolio of franchise and non-franchise fast food restaurants. In his prior senior level corporate position as VP of HR and Chief Compliance Officer of a $300 M manufacturer/distributor, in addition to managing multiple administrative and support departments, Mr. D’Amato had operational responsibility for a full scope manufacturing facility in Shanghai and traveled extensively to China.

Driven by his passion and commitment to the academic community, Mr. D’Amato had the pleasure of being engaged as a Participating Adjunct Faculty Member at Woodbury University from 2005-2009 where he taught upper division undergraduate Human Resources Management courses. Additionally, he served as Woodbury’s contracted Director or International Program Development, principally responsible for establishing joint academic programs/workshops between Woodbury and various Chinese Universities.

In addition to his membership on the CSUDH CBAPP Advisory Board, Mr. D’Amato is the Chairman of the CSUDH Foundation Board.

Mr. D’Amato holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from DeAnza College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the City University of New York, Queens College, a Master of Business Administration in Finance from St. John’s University and an Adult Education Teaching Credential from UCLA.

Phil would welcome the opportunity to confer with students on the following topics:

                 - Career Development

                 - “Mechanics” of establishing and operating a small business

                 - Small business analysis/evaluation/valuation

                 - Corporate Human Resources, Operations and Compliance

Mr. Wade M. Downey, State & Local Tax - Downey, Smith & Fier


Mr. Wade Downey Headshot

Wade is a founding partner of Downey, Smith & Fier and has over 25 years of experience providing State & Local Tax consulting services. Wade graduated (Magna Cum Laude) from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. He went on to obtain his Certified Public Accountant license in California and earned a Master’s Degree in Taxation from the University of Southern California.

Wade’s work experience includes service as an Auditor with the California State Board of Equalization and as a Senior Tax Manager in Deloitte’s Los Angeles Multistate Tax Services Group.

Wade has been married for 24 years with two children, Jacob (19) who is attending San Diego State studying Computer Science and Cora (17) who is a senior at South High School in Torrance. His hobbies include fishing, wakeboarding and off-road motorcycle riding with family and friends.

Mr. Moises Figueroa, Regional General Manager - SA Recycling


Ms. Lisa M. Garrett, Director of Personnel - Los Angeles County


Lisa Garrett

On March 30, 2010, Lisa M. Garrett was appointed Director of Personnel after serving as Acting Director of DHR for almost one year.  Ms. Garrett has more than 25 years of public service and has worked in both the City and the County of Los Angeles.  She began her career in public service with the City of Los Angeles as a Council Aide for Councilman Gilbert Lindsey and later served as an Investigator in the City’s Housing Department.

Ms. Garrett was hired into the County in 1994 as a Deputy District Attorney in the District Attorney's Bureau of Family Support Operations.  Seven years later, she moved to the Child Support Services Department (CSSD) upon its creation in 2001, where she served as Assistant Division Chief in two large divisions, the Executive Assistant to the Director, and as the Chief Deputy Director and Chief Attorney before being appointed as Acting Director of Personnel.  During her tenure in the Department of Human Resources (DHR), Ms. Garrett has directed DHR staff through several significant projects such as the development and implementation of a certified training course for Exam Analysts; the establishment of the PeopleStats metrics program to collect data to track and improve DHR performance, accountability and service delivery; and the development of a departmental strategic plan, which emphasizes customer service, HR transformation, succession planning and improved recruitment and selection practices to bring the best and the brightest talent into Los Angeles County.  Ms. Garrett has set a strategic direction within the County of Los Angeles to “automate all things HR.”  Through her vision the County has realized significant change with the implementation of enterprise HR solutions, setting the foundation for data-based decisions through HR analytics.  

Ms. Garrett is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles with a major in Psychology, and also holds a Juris Doctorate from the Southwestern University School of Law and an MBA from Pepperdine University.  She is an active member of the State Bar of California, the Los Angeles Bar Association Labor Employment Law Section, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA).  Ms. Garrett is designated as an IMPA-HR Certified Professional and holds a certificate in Advanced HR Management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Program.

Mr. Steven D. Johnson, Principal Director - The Aerospace Corporation


Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the Principal Director of Finance and Accounting at the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA.  He has been with Aerospace since 2004 and prior to joining Aerospace,  Steve was a Principal with a mid-sized accounting firm in Los Angeles;  having begun his accounting career with Arthur Andersen & Co.

Steve is a two-time graduate of CSUDH with a BS Degree in Business Administration/Accounting and an MBA. Steve lives with his wife, Sandra, in Redondo Beach where they enjoy spending time with both of their families.  They enjoy traveling, in particular love to visit Hawaii and spend time in the mountains, enjoying the outdoors.

Steve also serves as a Commissioner for the City of Redondo Beach Budget and Finance Commission.

Mr. Mike Grimshaw, Co-Founder - The South Bay Entrepreneurial Center


Mike Grimshaw

Instructor- Management/Entrepreneurship

Executive Director - The Ei Entrepreneurial Institute@CSUDH

Executive in Residence – CSUDH Community

Primary Investigator – CA Energy Commission Grant

CBAPP Advisory Board: College of Business Administration and Public Policy

Areas of Expertise

Start-up founding & mentoring, Financial strategies for small business, Branding, PR, Marketing & Sales, Engaged Learning techniques, Technology Implementation and creative classroom tools. Angel Investor

Professional Background

Mike Grimshaw has over 35+ years’ Founder, Principal, senior level sales, management and start-up experience in the highly competitive technology industry with industry leaders IBM, Cisco, Andrew, Nortel and Unisys. He has successfully launched/sold new strategic products and won numerous awards for his contributions.

Mike as an entrepreneur founded 15+ companies and was the founder and President of Pace Data and President of Israeli based RAD Network Devices. Mike has proven success in the challenge of bringing innovative start-up companies - Equinox Networks, Cascade, Shasta Networks and Ellacoya to funding, acquisition or IPO.

Mr. Leo Chu


Leo Chu

Mr. Stephen C. Liu, President & Licensed Customs Broker - Pacific Century Customs Service, Inc.

Phone: (310) 755-7618


Stephen Liu Headshot

Mr. Stephen C. Liu has:

                 - 30 years of Customhouse Brokerage experience

                 - 25 years of Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering Experience

He has Customs Broker License since 1987 and has professional mechanical engineer license in the State of California. He is active member of Los Angeles Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Association. He is founder/owner of Pacific Century Customs Service, Inc. in Torrance.

He obtained his undergraduate degree as B.S. from National Taiwan Oceanic University and M. S. of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering from University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. He is currently board director of the Advisory Board for CSUDH College of Business and Public Policy.

Stephen is willing to speak to students on the following topics:

    - Customer Broker role in imports

    - Customs Entry Overview

    - Career Development

Ms. Janet McCarthy, President & CEO - Goodwill


Ms. Bree Nguyen, Entrepreneur


Phone: 310-980-7479

Mr. Joe Herrera, Vice President - AEG


Mr. Shan Sundar, Founder & CEO - Edgesoft, Inc. 


Shan Sundar headshot

As Founder and CEO of Edgesoft, Sundar is responsible for the overall operations of the company as well as establishing strategic partnerships and overseeing business development. His energy, vision and integrity make Edgesoft a world-class company.

Prior to making his vision a reality in founding Edgesoft, Sundar served as Chief Information Officer for Audio-Digest Foundation, a medical publication company and the largest medical education provider in the world. He has more than 17 years of experience in various industries including healthcare, manufacturing, publications, telecommunications and government, and has trained IT staff at several Fortune 1000 companies.

Mr. Sundar has been a  noted speaker for conferences for Apple Computer, Verizon Wireless, as well as Fire Chief conferences in the USA.

He holds a Master of Science Degree from Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Madras University.

Mr. Sundar is a member of the Millennium Momentum Foundation and a former recipient of the Champion of Diversity Award.

Shan is willing to speak to students on the following topics:

                  - Career Development

                  - Municipal maturity model thru technology

                  - Life balance and meditation

                  - Selling to the Government

Dr. Reza Karkia, Board Chair Commissioner - State of California


Reza Karkia

Mr. Erwin D. Walker, Senior Territory Manager - IRS- Large Business & International Division - Communications, Technology and Media


Erwin Walker

Erwin Walker currently serves as Senior Territory Manager for the IRS' Large Business and International Division's (LB&I's) Western Compliance Practice Area. As Senior Program Manager, Erwin is responsible for overseeing tax compliance operations of large and mid-size business entities headquartered and operating in the Los Angeles and San Diego Metropolitan areas. Erwin previously served as Territory Manager for LB&I's Communications, Technology and Media Industry Group overseeing tax compliance of large business taxpayers within this industry group headquartered and operating in the LA Metropolitan area. Erwin also served as IRS Territory Manager for LB&I's Natural Resources and Construction Industry Group, and the Heavy Manufacturing and Transportation Industry Group wherein he was responsible for overseeing tax compliance operations impacting large and mid-size businesses along the United States' West Coast and in the State of Nevada. Erwin has served as Territory Manager since the inception of the IRS' Large and Mid Size Division in May 2000. Prior to serving as Territory Manager, Erwin was the Examination Branch Chief for the San Bernardino, Palm Springs and El Centro, CA offices in the IRS' former Southern California District.

Erwin also currently serves as the LB&l's National Program Champion for the Aspiring Team Managers' Program wherein he oversees the long-term leadership development of potential LB&I Frontline Managers. He recently served as President of the IRS' California CPA Certification Program where he oversaw the development and certification of IRS agents aspiring to become California licensed CPAs.

Erwin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration from Cal State Dominguez Hills, and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California. Erwin serves as an Advisory Board Member of Cal State Dominguez Hills' College of Business Administration and Public Policy, and as an Adjunct Faculty Lecturer of Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Auditing.

Mr. Sanjeev Weerasuriya, President and Chief Executive Officer – Systems Technology, Inc.


Sanjeev is the President/CEO of Systems Technology, Inc. (STI), having formally served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President for over a decade.  STI is a solutions-oriented engineering and simulation (Aerospace & Defense) company with over 60 years of expertise in dynamic systems theory and modeling, complex machines in motion and the human operators that control them.

Sanjeev is also a board director of the Systems Technology, Inc., and has served as a Trustee for the Employee Stock Ownership Trust. Under Sanjeev’s direction, business revenue, income per share and retained earnings have more than doubled. He helped restructure the Simulation Products profit center that currently generates 60% of revenues. Sanjeev guided the company to become a 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), resulting in increased employee retention and a more focused workforce. He has focused STI on building commercially viable and profitable solutions that benefit their customers and shareholders. 

Sanjeev has over 20 years of C-level multinational experience in the manufacturing and the service sectors. In his early career, Sanjeev served as General Manager at Aitken Spence Garments Ltd. and Manager of Special Projects at Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd. Sanjeev is a member of the National Center for Employee Ownership, and The ESOP Association. Often called upon to speak at National Conferences, he is an advocate for the benefits of employee ownership.

Sanjeev obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) at California State University, Dominguez Hills. While reading for his degrees he was an active participant of student government and was elected Vice President of the student body.

Sanjeev is an avid bicyclist, hiker and traveler-with passion for the U.S. National Parks.

Sanjeev is willing to speak to students on the following topics:

                  - Strategic Planning

                  - Business Finance

                  - Leadership & Management

                  - Marketing & Sales

                  - Corporate Governance

                  - Career Development

Mr. Wayne Lee, President - National Ventures, Inc


              Wayne Lee

Mr. John Tonsick, CPA, CFE, Director, Forensic Auditing - Broadcom


Mr. Kevin Kylis, Board of Directors President - Coachella Valley Boxing Club & Fitness Center