Mayor Richard Riordan has named Alfonso Salazar director of the L.A. Business Team, founded in 1995 to attract, retain and aid the expansion of companies in Los Angeles.
Salazar has been with the mayor's office since 1995 and with the Business Team for the last year, working to draw business to East Los Angeles, downtown and the Pico-Union district. He replaces Lesa Slaughter, who was recently named Riordan's chief of staff.
Business Team representatives help select sites, speed up permitting and coordinate financing and job training for Los Angeles businesses. Salazar said the team will focus on bringing more companies in multimedia, manufacturing, biomedicine and the fashion industry to Los Angeles.
Riordan's team has been lauded by friends and foes alike for helping to save businesses ranging from tortilla factories to clothing manufacturers and high-tech plastics companies. It has intervened to break bureaucratic stalemates that have long frustrated local entrepreneurs.
However, some, including Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, have criticized the team as unfocused.
Since its founding under the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, the team has worked with more than 3,000 companies, representing 300,000 jobs and $20 billion in private capital investment, said Riordan spokeswoman Noelia Rodriguez.
Salazar joined the mayor's office as marketing director for the Minority Business Opportunity Committee, also run by the economic development office. Later, as acting director of the Infrastructure Grant Program, he oversaw grants to businesses recovering from the Northridge earthquake. He joined the business team last July, representing Councilman Mike Hernandez's district.
Salazar's successes include securing expansion of FDX Corp. and Nelson Nameplate to Taylor Yards in northeast L.A.