Come See & Touch the Future at PortTechEXPO

A solar concentrator dish that can burn through a one-inch thick solid steel block (at 2,650º F), create steam to run a turbine, or recycle wastewater for reuse; hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles; an electric semi truck; a remotely operated zero emission vehicle, on which can be mounted cameras and sensors for diverse purposes, such as railroad track safety or marine infrastructure inspections; a computer system that uses game theory to prevent security breaches… these and scores of other exciting clean energy, environmental, transportation and security technologies will be on display during the fourth annual PortTechEXPO. This year, for the first time, the public is invited for a free, action-packed afternoon seeing and touching these technologies of the future.

Produced by PortTechLA, the expo will take place on Wednesday, September 11, at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles (110 E. 22nd Street; 22nd Street at Harbor Blvd.).

PortTechLA is a local public/private nonprofit with a global reach. It is dedicated to creating sustainable technology companies for ports and beyond by bringing together entrepreneurs, corporate partners and investors to accelerate innovation, advance clean technologies and help create economic opportunities. PortTech promotes and helps to develop technologies that enable enterprises to meet their environmental, energy, security, transportation and logistics goals. Attracting and growing these technology companies creates new jobs, protects current jobs by ensuring that our port remains competitive, and reduces negative environmental impacts on local communities.

PortTechEXPO kicks off with a morning session featuring Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero, a panel discussion focused on Clean Energy, and a luncheon with Keynote Speaker, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Tickets and table sponsorships for the morning session and luncheon are still available at www.PortTechLA.org. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. exhibits open for the free public event: “CleanTech – Cool Tech.”

Much of the CleanTech – Cool Tech event is focused on education. The Port of Los Angeles TransPORTer, a mobile exhibit that features displays on the history, jobs, cargo, equipment, environmental programs and future of the port, will open for visitors. Southern California’s top research universities will be represented with displays and interactive exhibits on their latest research and development projects. And local high schools have been invited to bring displays on their STEM projects. Anyone considering a career in research, technology or the maritime industries, will surely find something of interest at the expo.

Clean Tech – Cool Tech will also feature a host of alternative fuel and electric vehicles for use on both land and water. If you are considering purchasing a hybrid or plug-in electric automobile, several vehicles will be available to look over, and experts certified to maintain them will be available to answer questions. Small, medium and full-size electric trucks will also be on display. And speaking of vehicles, unmanned, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are becoming more versatile for both land and sea applications, and both will be exhibited at the expo.

Electric lighting and ways of saving energy have been hot topics for years. We’ve progressed from incandescent, to fluorescent, to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights in an effort to reduce energy and cost. Come see a demonstration of the next generation in lighting: Light Emitting Plasma (LEP).

Councilman Joe Buscaino will be the featured speaker during the Clean Tech – Cool Tech event. In addition, representatives from AltaSea, the marine research center planned for City Dock #1, will share their vision and plans for the iconic, world-class facility. Food trucks and entertainment round out the event. So, step into the future on September 11 at the fourth annual PortTechEXPO. For further info, see www.PortTechLA.org.spt

Herb Zimmer owns PriorityOne Printing in downtown San Pedro and serves as Board Chairman of PortTechLA.

Seeing San Pedro’s Future Through Its Past

Celebrating a 125 years of San Pedro, for me, begins with thoughts of my grandfather, Domenico Costa, emigrating from Ischia, Italy, back in 1920, and my father Tony in 1956.

Both of them came to San Pedro at drastically different times but at the same age of 18. My grandfather arrived when San Pedro was in its Golden Age, the years following World War I where the port was growing dramatically and surpassed all other west coast ports in handling of tonnage in 1923. Like many emigrants from Europe, he became a fisherman at a time when the Los Angeles Harbor was becoming a leader in the industry.

My father came to the United States at a time when life in Italy was still recovering from the effects of World War II and at a time when our fishing and canneries were beginning to thrive. His fascination with radio growing up in Ischia led him to attend a technical trade school in downtown Los Angeles in the evenings where he would learn to repair radio and televisions and operate his local business, Tony’s TV, for 40 years.

Today, many of our local jobs are based around the import and export of cargo and raw material, as well as local companies and small businesses that support the industry. The local, regional and national impact of the goods movement industry is tremendous. For example, it is forecasted that for every single waterfront-related job 10 more are created in the region and over 40% of the nation’s cargo passes through our port. The methods in which cargo is transported today has also changed dramatically over the years. The crate-by-crate approach of the 1950s to the containerization and technology tracking cargo of today are indications of where this may evolve to within the next 10 years.

San Pedro is in the middle of a new development era. A couple of years ago, there was no thought that we would have the USS Iowa as a floating museum on our waterfront or that we would see Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles established. Five years ago, no one predicted that Marymount College, now a four-year university under the new name Marymount California University, would have a San Pedro-based campus on 6th Street offering Bachelor and Masters Degrees. Finally, 10 years ago predicting that the Southern California Marine Institute would consider moving from Terminal Island to the San Pedro side of the channel was unheard of, but here we are in the middle of the Port of Los Angeles’ $500 million, 28-acre development effort of the AltaSea Marine Research Innovative Center, ironically situated just a stone’s throw away from where a vibrant fishing fleet once operated some 40 years ago.

All of the indicators point to San Pedro heading towards a technology-rich and higher-educated local workforce to support jobs and industries that are on our horizon. It’s this challenge of preparing the next generation’s workforce for these future jobs that we must collectively work together to achieve. As San Pedro transforms to a destination for high-tech jobs, we must continue to innovate and find ways in which to expose our youth to science, technology, engineering and math. Also, we must focus today’s work force to ensure that they are well prepared for the technology that will come to our port while we find ways to attract new jobs to our waterfront.

These new industries will need a safe environment to build upon, so we must address the crime that we read and hear about each day. It’s no secret that we are being pulled on by both ends of the spectrum as we battle for this transformation to take hold. We must be persistent because the future is upon us and we must secure it. While other cities are maintaining the towns of today, we must continue to build San Pedro as a technology hub for tomorrow while making it a global destination and crown jewel at the tip of Los Angeles. spt

Anthony Pirozzi can be contacted at apirozzi@yahoo.com.

San Pedro: Constantly Evolving, Yet Grounded in History

“Like the Pacific Ocean lapping at its shores, the community of San Pedro is ever-changing… the only constant is that its culture, economy and environment are, as always, tied to its port.” Those were the opening words of an article on San Pedro’s past and future that I wrote a few years back for a Chamber of Commerce publication. On the occasion of San Pedro’s 125th anniversary, it seems appropriate to revisit some of what I learned while researching that article.

Every community evolves based on changes in economic trends, demographics and technological developments. San Pedro is not unique in that respect. However, we are certainly unique in how those factors, in combination with our geographic location, have shaped the community that San Pedro is today and will become in the future.

Historically, our economy has evolved through multiple stages: ranching, trading in hides and lumber, military activities, fishing, canning, shipbuilding, and international trade. All have had their impact on the community, and each one, to a greater or lesser extent, has been dependent on the fact that we are located adjacent to one of the world’s great ports.

Each economic era brought new demographic elements to the community. Originally populated by Spanish and Mexican ranching families, the advent of military activities and large fishing and shipbuilding industries brought new immigrants from around the country and around the world. Today, San Pedro is truly an ethnic melting pot with many residents tracing their heritage to Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Slavic, Japanese, Norwegian Swedish and other immigrants. The blend of traditions, ideas and cultures that derives from that mix has given San Pedro a flavor all its own, and an energy and open-mindedness that’s seldom found in more homogenous communities.

Technological change has also had a major effect on San Pedro. Ships have gone from sail, to steam, to diesel power, and have grown from small schooners to megaships. That has enabled the pace of international trade and activity at our port to increase exponentially and, with the advent of containerization, automation has made it possible to handle enormous volumes of cargo. The downside has been that automation brought with it the negative effects of fewer local jobs and the added pollution produced by diesel-powered ships, trains, trucks and cargo handling equipment.

Looking to the future, San Pedro will continue to evolve economically, environmentally and socially. To become sustainable in all three areas will require the creation of a new, well-paid local job base and the elimination of the negative environmental effects produced by the large industrial port. Knowing that, port management and the community have come together on several sustainability initiatives primarily centered on diversification of port-related activity.

Current and future community development plans include a bridge-to-breakwater waterfront promenade and Red Car route, the USS Iowa, a new downtown harbor and plaza, a completely redeveloped Ports O’ Call Village, Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles and AltaSea (a world-class marine research institute). These waterfront venues are designed to create new jobs based on tourism, arts and culture, recreation, academics and marine research. PortTechLA, a public/private technology center and business incubator founded by the San Pedro business community in cooperation with the City and Port of Los Angeles, will develop and grow new technical, manufacturing and export jobs by attracting companies with technologies that help port tenants meet challenges with the environment, clean energy, logistics and homeland security.

This is a very dynamic and exciting time for our community. However, as our economy grows, we add new community assets, and become more environmentally sustainable, one thing is sure to remain constant… that unique sense of community that has marked our entire history. People make a community. And there is no better community in which to live, work and play than San Pedro. spt

Herb Zimmer owns PriorityOne Printing in downtown.

Dillon Field: A Tribute Representative Of San Pedro

The sign-ups are over, the draft is done and the first practice is behind us. Baseball season is here. It is the time of the year when hundreds of kids prepare to play the national pastime. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, the game itself is a reminder of simpler times and brings back many childhood memories. My favorite team is the Los Angeles Dodgers and as a kid I would spend just about every night listening to Vin Scully on the radio or while watching the games on channel 11. My most vivid memories were agonizing over the Dodgers losing to the New York Yankees in the 1977 and ’78 World Series. My cousin was a Yankee fan and having to face him each day during the series in back-to-back seasons was tough. After all, bragging rights when you’re twelve was a big deal. It wasn’t until 1981 when the Dodgers would face the Yankees again and finally win the World Series in six games. It’s been a long stretch since 1988, since the last time the Dodgers won the World Series, but then again there is always this year.

This month brought back many childhood memories when I attended the dedication and tribute of Bobby Dillon. I had just finished our first practice with my Eastview Little League AAA Dodgers and headed over for the tribute with my 10-year-old son Luca proudly wearing his Dodger uniform. I had never met the Dillon family, but was aware that Dillon Field existed in San Pedro. About 100 family and friends attended the tribute, which took place at the corner of 22nd Street Park facing Miner Street, the site of the old field, which today is the parking lot of the old warehouses being used by Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles.

This beautiful Saturday afternoon was about the memory and tribute to the man that founded the Cabrillo Bay League. In 1962, Bobby passed away suddenly from a heart attack when he was 42. His son Bobby Jr. was 10. I couldn’t help but think about the similarities in age that Luca and I had with Bobby and Bobby Jr., which put the this special day into perspective.

As any great baseball day, the weather was perfect and the stories of hard fought games between the Sharks and the Squids, as well as coaches getting a bit animated after a tough game, were told leaving the crowd both laughing and in tears. Pete Moore, who is 93 years young and helped coach the Squids with Bobby, was present as well.

The most touching was hearing from Bobby Dillon Jr. and his sister Sylvia Valdez who gave a touching speech about her father and the way it use to be. One thing she said that hit home was that a play date back in the ’60s was kids going out to play all day with fellow neighborhood kids and how Sundays were meant for visiting family and friends. As the ceremony wound down I was able to meet and talk with Bobby Jr. He left an impression on me that I believe was a reflection of his father, kind and true. The port did a great thing honoring a guy whose goal was to teach kids how to field a ground ball, catch a fly ball, and get a hit all for the love of the game and his community.

Many realities of San Pedro were reflected in the hour tribute, which I have always known, but was solidified once again on this day. Our town is tied together by sports. We have always been a town of pride with a competitive edge. This is most prevalent when our local teams travel because San Pedro always has the most fans on its side of the field. Our sense of pride is unparalleled when it comes to local sports. The very nature of the word itself embodies all that we are: SP for San Pedro and PORTS, which is our community’s lifeblood. Put the two together and the word sports embodies the live, work and play hard attitude that is San Pedro. spt

Beauty Isn’t Only Skin Deep

Artist Meagan Segal photographed in her booth at Crafted. Inset: Segal’s “Pansy For Your Thoughts (2012) Photo by Joshua Stecker

Stepping into Meagan Segal’s booth at Crafted, you might feel drawn to the antique decor and its dark touches. Framed paintings and prints cover the black and white striped walls, and their subjects are printed on all kinds of items around the shop. It’s quaint and cozy feeling, with hints of darkness. In one corner, embroidered pillows rest against an old cushioned wooden bench. On closer inspection, their designs aren’t what they might first appear to be – framed within Victorian floral designs are a rib cage, a pelvis bone, a human heart.

“Those are actually intestines,” Segal says, pointing to what you might first assume to be a coil of flowers.

In other pieces, veins turn into flower stems. A jawbone and teeth disguise themselves in leafy frames. Behind Segal’s desk, a heart dripping with blood looks three-dimensional emerging against a pattern of simple hearts.

Segal seamlessly blends the dainty and the bloody, the pretty and the creepy, exploring inner beauty quite literally.

“I say that my work balances the fine line between the grotesque and the beautiful because I think dark things can still be really beautiful and intriguing,” she says. “Insides don’t have to be disgusting and repulsive.”

Named after the creatures from Lewis Caroll’s poem “Jabberwocky,” Mome Rath Garden was one of the first booths to open at Crafted last June. Segal, who turns 27 this month, had moved back home to San Pedro after finishing art school in Brooklyn and showing in galleries throughout Los Angeles.

“I kind of had a hard time with the job market, but I had a really great reception at gallery shows,” she says.

But for all the positive feedback, she still had a hard time with sales. Art, after all, is a luxury, and not something people keep in their budgets during a tough economy. “After that and having several jobs I wasn’t really happy with, I thought, ok maybe it’s time to branch out with my work and find other outlets and ways that I can make money,” Segal says.

She decided to venture into the crafting world and it just so happened that the developer of Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station was opening a massive year-round craft marketplace in her hometown.

“I think a lot of people still have this notion that crafts are your grandmother’s knitting. That they’re for older people or cutesy and not really fine art,” Segal says. “But I think over the last eight years or so, with the start of Etsy, Unique LA and Renegade Craft Fair, it’s really been elevated to much more of an art.”

She opened a shop on Etsy.com, was accepted as a vendor at Crafted and started doing craft shows. It was a different scene from the serious art world she had spent much of her life studying.

“From when I was very little, I remember telling my mom that I was going to learn to speak French and go to art school in Paris, because to me, that was what artists did,” Segal says. “I really never wanted to do anything else. I started taking art classes and studying very seriously when I was eight or nine years old.”

She went on to take the most art classes of any student at Chadwick School in Rancho Palos Verdes, where she substitute teaches today. By the time Segal graduated from high school, she had a strong grasp on techniques of drawing, sculpture, and her personal favorite, painting.

It was at the Pratt Institute where she found her subject matter and thematic direction: anatomy and physiology.

“As I got older, being so far for home, I started to have anxiety for the first time and a lot of that stemmed from physical feelings. I’m also a bit of a hypochondriac,” she says. “So when it came to my work, that was what was on my mind all the time. I stated focusing on pictures of the stomach and it kind of went from there.”

Segal once studied a pig’s stomach she bought from a butcher in Chinatown. The experience grossed her out, but she got the up-close (and smelly) study she was looking for. Most of the time, she turned to textbook photos and illustrations to master realistic depictions of skeletons and internal organs. Having a doctor father also granted her access to good anatomical illustrations.

Branching out into the craft world has broadened the nature of her work. “It’s sort of allowed me to think in a more open way with my work in the versatility of my designs. I started about two years ago making work that was a little bit more palatable in terms of being a little less visceral and gory.”

At Crafted, she gets a variety of reactions from shoppers and passersby. “For the most part, the reception here has been great. I know my work isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, so I actually was surprised by how well I was received by a lot of people and how many people were into my work,” she says. “I have people that step in and they’re like, ‘At first, you don’t realize it’s body parts and skulls.’”

In addition to original paintings, Mome Rath Garden offers framed prints of different sizes, plush pins, t-shirts, pillows, notecards, iPhone cases – you name it. Some of her prints are made on handmade paper by fellow Crafted vendor Jonathan Ventura, of the print shop Anon-Y-Mouse.

If someone is looking for a particular theme or body part not in her shop, Segal will come up with a design. She’s currently working on requests for kidney and brain pieces. She’s even designed tattoos.

Sometimes people are drawn to particular pieces. Recently, one shopper felt a connection with “Pansy for Your Thoughts,” a drawing of a skull in profile wearing a crown of flowers. The woman’s mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and, like the fallen flower pedals, was slowing losing memories. She ended up buying several copies for her siblings.

“I thought that was really sweet, I love hearing people’s personal connections, even if their interpretation is different than mine, it doesn’t matter,” Segal says.

She’s getting ready for Valentine’s Day by embroidering human hearts onto vintage handkerchiefs; another material fusion of her inspirations. “When people stop and take time to ask me about my work and comment on it, it’s very touching,” Segal says. “As an artist, other than just my love of making things and sharing them with people, one of my goals is getting people to hear my point of view and think in a way that they hadn’t thought before.” spt