Men of Distinction 2024

1 emil

Emil Hartoonian
The Agency

A very well-known and recognized Calabasas resident that has been part of some of the most notable sales in the city, Emil is truly passionate about the lifestyle that Calabasas and the neighboring Hidden Hills community have to offer. He brings more than 17 years of real estate experience to his role as a managing partner and principal of The Agency’s Calabasas, Sherman Oaks, and Studio City offices.

Since opening the doors to the Calabasas office, Emil has helped further shape the identity of the Calabasas and Hidden Hills communities, which he feels are among the best in California to live, work, and raise a family in.

“Our goal in opening the Calabasas office was to expand on the city’s already established reputation and pioneer the lifestyle and sense of community that people are looking for but don’t know where to find,” says Emil. “We have created a true sense of community in Calabasas and Hidden Hills and embrace the diversity of the families and individuals who live here. We also continue to see the incomparable value these communities have to offer through their lifestyles and amenities.”

Emil provides his clients with an exceptional understanding of real estate transactions and a high level of personalized service that has placed him in the top 1percent of agents in Calabasas. Emil is consistently a Chairman’s Award winner at The Agency, which is a prestigious list of the top 5 percent of the company’s global producers. His wide range of clientele includes high-profile personalities, heads of industry, and business executives across the entertainment, medical, and hospitality fields.

Emil’s experience with such diverse profiles has inspired his ability to cater to every expectation and adapt his style to deliver a personalized experience to each individual client. Emil represents buyers and sellers across Los Angeles, including in Beverly Hills, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Studio City, Encino, Westlake Village, and beyond.

Emil has also created a unique culture at The Agency, where the team focuses on collaboration instead of competition between agents and brokers, which he believes is the basis of their great success and growth.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Emil is fluent in four languages. He lives in Calabasas with his wife, Ellie, and their three sons. 23975 Park Sorrento, #120, Calabasas 310.990.0063 DRE #01796925 IG: @emilhartoonian

2 hormazd

Hormazd Dalal

Hormazd Dalal’s narrative is a compelling blend of technological innovation and profound humanity. Born into an entrepreneurial family and educated in England, Hormazd’s journey unfolds as a rich tapestry of bold decisions and heartfelt commitments. His academic roots, a bachelor’s degree in business from the prestigious University of Southern California, laid the groundwork for a career distinguished by daring ventures and empathetic leadership.

At the age of 22, Hormazd’s entrepreneurial spirit soared when he obtained the exclusive rights to distribute FIAT cars in Pakistan. Despite facing stiff competition from Japanese automakers and limited support from FIAT, this venture marked a significant milestone in Hormazd’s illustrious career. Far from discouraging him, these challenges only fueled his determination to excel.

In 1999, Hormazd pioneered Castellan, driven by a mission to simplify the complex domain of information technology for businesses. Under his stewardship, Castellan became a forerunner in cybersecurity and cloud computing, enabling clients to leverage technology for business enhancement. The company’s triumph is anchored in profound technical knowledge and an unwavering pursuit of technological excellence. This expertise is not just lent to enhance IT departments but often becomes the IT backbone for many businesses, mirroring Hormazd’s dedication to partnership over mere provision. Today, Castellan stands as a testament to Hormazd’s conviction that technology should be a universally accessible and empowering tool for all businesses, irrespective of their size.

In his personal life, Hormazd’s commitment mirrors his professional dedication. A devoted family man, he resides in Los Angeles with his wife and three children, each pursuing their own unique passions. His eldest son is carving out a path in Jujitsu and aspiring to open a gym in the San Fernando Valley. His middle son, a decorated lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and his daughter, who is pursuing a career in psychology, further reflect the diverse interests nurtured in the Dalal household.

In an era frequently overshadowed by technological progress, Hormazd stands out as a visionary leader with a heartfelt approach. His work at Castellan transcends mere technical prowess; it reflects his unwavering commitment to empowering businesses of every scale. Hormazd Dalal is truly a ‘Man of Distinction,’ revered not solely for his professional accomplishments but for his deep and lasting impact on the community. An invaluable asset not just to Calabasas and Southern California but to the global stage, he personifies the very essence of leadership, innovation, and sincere dedication. 23923 Ventura Blvd., Calabasas 818.789.0088

3 pedram

Pedram Bagheri, MD
Allure Medical Aesthetics

Pedram Bagheri, MD, completed his internal medicine residency training in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2007. Subsequently, he earned his board certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Since then, he moved back to California to be close to the most important people in his life, his family and friends. He has partnered with local hospitals, including West Hills Hospital, Adventist Health Simi Valley, and Los Robles Hospital. He heads a large private hospitalist group in the community and has cared for many critically ill patients in the Conejo Valley.

Aesthetic medicine has been a longtime passion of Dr. Bagheri and therefore has been his inspiration in opening up Allure Medical Aesthetics (AMA). AMA is a top-notch med spa located in the heart of Thousand Oaks.

Having trained with some of the top injectors in Southern California, Dr. Bagheri brings his expertise in many aesthetic procedures and treatments to AMA. Some of these include neuromodulators such as Botox, dermal injectable fillers, PDO thread lift procedures, and radio frequency (RF) devices for skin tightening (Morpheus 8). He also offers laser treatments; the Y LIFT, a non-surgical facelift; and the MAGNYM treatment, a penile enhancement procedure to improve sexual performance. Dr. Bagheri also offers Semaglutide, an FDA-approved weightloss injection that reduces hunger and increases satiety.

Dr. Bagheri prides himself in creat ing a subtle aesthetic improvement, naturally enhancing the appearance and accentuating each person’s signature look. An unmatched attention to detail and emphasis on patient communication are key factors that Dr. Bagheri attributes to his success and the success of his business thus far. He continues to seek out new training oppor tunities for himself and his staff to provide his patients with the most up-to-date technology and procedures. His mission at AMA is to provide a comfortable, friendly, and personalized experience without breaking the bank. To that end, the med spa offers competitive pricing for in-demand services, creating accessibility to expertise with a satisfaction guarantee.

Dr. Bagheri is the proud father of a toddler and expecting another child soon. When he is not helping patients look and feel their best, you will find the doctor working on his physical fitness. He enjoys playing tennis and basketball as well as snowboarding and skiing. 540 N. Moorpark Rd., #6, Thousand Oaks 805.870.5848 IG: @ama_medspa

4 jay mckeen

Jay McKeen
Cadillac of Calabasas

With over three decades in the automotive industry, Jay McKeen serves as the owner and president of the Jack Carter Automotive Group. The group encompasses seven automotive dealerships, four motorcycle and marine dealerships, and three bicycle shops, with the newest of the bunch being Cadillac of Calabasas. Employing nearly 500 team members, Jay envisions future growth in both Canada and the USA. Jay McKeen’s unyielding pursuit of innovation is what brought him to Calabasas. Observing significant shifts in technology and styling, he recognized the need for transformation in both employee management and client interactions. He has a phrase he came across years ago, “Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary by doing them with the right group of people,” emphasizing his guiding principle within the company.

Jay’s commitment to strategic employee hiring, development, and retention garnered him the 2017 national dealer’s association Laureate Award. He further stood out by clinching both the 2020 and 2022 General Motors President’s Club Innovation Award, for optimizing the consumer process and enhancing customer satisfaction. The dual emphasis on employees and clients significantly propelled the success of existing dealerships, catching the attention of Cadillac. Impressed with Jay’s vision, Cadillac extended an invitation to open a facility in Calabasas.

Opened at the start of 2023 for both service and sales, Cadillac of Calabasas has been undergoing continuous construction to meet the brand’s high standards. After months of renovation, the new showroom opened in mid-February, with the entire project concluding by spring of this year. Positioned to be one of Cadillac’s signature American locations, this facility seamlessly integrates with the Calabasas community.

“Cadillac embraces catchphrases,” says Jay. “Currently, it’s ‘Be Iconic,’ a modern counterpart to their historical ‘Standard of the World.’ Anticipate this building and its team embodying these ideals. Look for the official grand opening party in mid-June.”

At the core of Jay’s business philosophy is also a deep commitment to community involvement, forming a crucial third pillar. Known for philanthropy, Jay actively engages with various charity and community groups, with a primary focus on nurturing grassroots organizations within the communities where their businesses are located.

“Even in a vibrant community like Calabasas, there is need and there are ways we can give back to the area in which we do business,” says Jay. “This is critically important to us, and we strive to make a meaningful impact where we can.” 24400 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas 818.953.0150

5 bernie

Bernie Villadiego, DDS
Aesthetic Smile Designs

Hailing from a family deeply rooted in healthcare, with a father as an abdominal thoracic surgeon and a mother as a pharmacist, Dr. Bernie Villadiego found his calling in the field of dentistry.

Graduating from Creighton University School of Dentistry in 1989, Dr. Villadiego further honed his skills by completing a general practice residency program at the prestigious Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center. In 1993, he established a private practice in Chatsworth with a special emphasis on esthetic, reconstructive, and TMJ dysfunction dentistry. He has since relocated his practice to Calabasas.

Dr. Villadiego is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a professional credential that is obtained by very few in the field of dentistry. Accredited members are recognized as being among the top cosmetic dentists in the world. And it is this accreditation that separates Dr. Villadiego from other cosmetic dentists.

As one of only 480 dental professionals in the world to have this prestigious designation, his devotion to the art and science of cosmetic dentistry means patients receive the best dental care. Dr. Villadiego’s practice is distinguished by his commitment to functional corrective dentistry. Central to his approach is the application of a unique restorative technique known as Biorejuvenation. This method combines natural-looking veneers and crowns with functional principles to provide patients with a stable, natural, and long-lasting smile. Dr. Villadiego believes that each patient should have a unique and customized smile which is in harmony with the entire masticatory system.

Delving into the realm of TMJ disorders, Dr. Villadiego recognizes the potential impacts on the body that extend beyond traditional dental concerns. While many dentists focus solely only on teeth and gums, he emphasizes the evaluation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and airways. His holistic approach considers factors related to TMJ dysfunctions, such as head and neck pain, ear problems, chewing and eating difficulties, speech impairments, postural problems, and sleep disorders, and the emotional and psychological impacts. Rather than using Botox injections to treat TMJ joint pains, he uses prolotherapy to reduce pain and improve joint stability and range of motion. Dr. Villadiego believes in treating the body holistically and naturally. 23622 Calabasas Rd., #119, Calabasas 818.341.1345

6 bruce fishman

Bruce Fishman, MD, MPH
Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles

Dr. Bruce Fishman has provided orthopedic care to the Los Angeles community for over 30 years. His practice includes interventional regenerative orthopedics. He treats knee, hip, shoulder, and spine pain utilizing biologics. Dr Fishman utilizes cutting-edge, non-surgical cellular therapy, including alpha-2 macroglobulin (A2M) stem cell and fibrinogen/prothrombin complex.

Dr. Fishman is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Orthopedics and American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is also a fellow of the International College of Surgeons and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons. He maintains an active practice in Encino. Dr. Fishman helps educate fellow physicians/surgeons and other healthcare providers on the newest technologies, techniques, and published medical data supporting successful use of biologics, including stem cells in the treatment of painful orthopedic conditions.

Dr. Fishman is one of only five doctors in California certified to perform the DISCSEEL procedure. This is a non-invasive surgical procedure for patients with chronic low back pain. Many patients and pro athletes from around the world have traveled to The Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles—also known as Dr. Stem Cell—to treat with Dr. Fishman for their long-standing spine and orthopedic joint symptoms, utilizing a number of minimally invasive procedures.

Being a black belt himself, Dr. Fishman’s competitive background in martial arts has offered great insight into treating athletes. Through his research and utilization of cutting-edge technology, patients have had outstanding success in their reduction of pain and their ability to heal.

Dr. Fishman is known for his expertise and his ability to focus on putting his patients’ needs and well-being at the forefront of his practice. He prioritizes open communication and knows that each patient is unique, striving to develop customized treatment plans tailored to the specific needs, conditions, and goals of the patient.

Along with all of Dr. Fishman’s medical achievements, he also spends his time with his wife of 50 years, his two beautiful daughters, and his three grandchildren. In his free time, he continues to further his education and research in stem cell regenerative medicine. 16542 Ventura Blvd., #500, Encino 818.808.2828

7 mark naaman

Mark Naaman
Allegiance Gold

Mark Naaman, CEO of Allegiance Gold, is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in the financial services sector. His finance education at Cal State University was instrumental early on in that it led to prominent positions at Wells Fargo Financial, ACS-Walt Disney Co., Universal Music, and Jakks Pacific.

Driven by a passion for historical coins and with an expertise in taxes, Mr. Naaman embarked on a journey into the world of precious metals, co-founding Allegiance Gold. Headquartered in Calabasas, Allegiance Gold quickly established itself as a leading precious metals firm and has recently been recognized as #749 on Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S. and #46 in financial services.

With a clear mission to educate individuals about the importance of diversifying portfolios with physical assets like gold and silver, Allegiance Gold’s mission is to safeguard and enhance clients’ wealth and retirement.

Mr. Naaman’s unwavering belief in gold as a hedge during times of economic uncertainty drives the company’s commitment to empowering clients with the knowledge and educational tools needed to navigate the complexities of the financial landscape. Alongside his role at Allegiance Gold, Mr. Naaman—a successful tax strategist, seasoned Intuit ProAdvisor, and licensed tax professional—also serves as president of MBA Financial & Accounting Solutions, a leading accounting firm in the greater Los Angeles area.

Why gold and why now? While no investment comes risk-free, gold could generally be classified as one of the safer asset classes. Its price tends to remain steady. It has durability during inflationary economic periods. And the demand for it has been consistently strong. With physical gold, individuals do not have to worry about counterparty risk, eliminating the worry that the individual or company they’re transacting with might default on their obligations.

While a traditional diversification strategy may predominantly focus on paper assets and ETFs, this type of a strategy may lack the essence of “true diversification” as its basic premise is to mitigate losses by spreading an investor’s risk across multiple investments and asset classes. Unlike other assets that rely on external factors to build value, gold stands apart by requiring nothing external. Its intrinsic value emanates from within, making it a unique and independent asset in any portfolio. 27001 Agoura Rd., #200, Calabasas 844.790.9191

8 vahid

Vahid Naziri, Esquire
VN Law Group, PC

Vahid Naziri serves as a Personal Injury Attorney at V.N. Law Group, P.C., his own law firm, dedicated to representing Southern Californians in personal injury cases for over 23 years. In contrast to many firms that delegate such cases to paralegals or secretaries, Vahid takes a hands-on approach, personally managing each client’s case. He is committed to helping clients seek damages by holding accountable the negligent individuals or entities responsible. Vahid’s primary objective is to assure his clients of his unwavering commitment to fight for their interests, regardless of the challenges they may face.

Born in Shiraz, Iran, Vahid moved to Minnesota with his family at the age of two, spending most of his childhood there. In 1979, his family relocated to Northridge, California, where a life-altering incident occurred. At 18, Vahid survived a near-fatal random shooting while driving to a restaurant.

Following a slow and painful recovery, he recognized the second chance at life granted to him by fate. This pivotal moment inspired him to pursue a profession dedicated to helping others who had experienced personal injury, leading to his decision to become a lawyer specializing in this field, advocating for accident victims in California.

“Suffering a personal injury can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. Amidst the physical pain and emotional stress, it’s crucial for the injured party to take immediate action to protect their rights and well-being,” states Vahid. “I’m proud of my firm’s ability to provide our clients with the essential steps to take after a personal injury, empowering them with the knowledge needed to navigate a challenging situation effectively and get them the help they deserve.”

Vahid earned his B.S. from California State University, Northridge, and his J.D. from the University of LaVerne, College of Law. Beyond his legal expertise, he is also a licensed general contractor and real estate broker. In 1989, Vahid and his family moved to Calabasas, where he purchased his home at the age of 28 in Calabasas Park Estates. Presently, he resides there with his wife, Yesenia, and is the proud parent of two daughters, Hanna and Emma. Vahid, along with his parents and brother, is an active member of the Calabasas community, finding joy in various aspects of family life. Additionally, he is a member of the Calabasas Country Club, where he engages in fitness activities and enjoys connecting with fellow members. 21300 Victory Blvd., #635, Woodland Hills 1.888.9GotLaw 818.888.6675

9 mike bloom

Michael Bloom
The Agency

Known for his entrepreneurial spirit, strong work ethic, and genuine love for people, Michael Bloom is a “true local” luxury real estate agent with over 20 years of real estate experience.

Michael has been a Hidden Hills resident since 1977. He attended Calabasas High School, where “tennis became his racket,” playing competitive tennis all through high school and winning the CIF championship. While his father was in the Air Force, Michael lived on Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu for three years, where he became intrigued by the Japanese culture.

After graduating UOP, he attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies, learned to speak Japanese, and studied abroad in Japan at Kwansei Gakuin University outside of Osaka. He is also fluent in Spanish.

Michael began his real estate career as an intern at Grubb and Ellis in 1993. He obtained his real estate license in 1994 while working at Prudential California Realty in Woodland Hills and was promptly named “Rookie of the Year” for his quick success, including a transaction where he represented a Japanese buyer that purchased a Hollywood Hills estate formerly owned by Mary Astor and Charlie Chaplin.

Michael’s greatest inspiration is to help families find their forever homes and sanctuaries, where his clients can fulfill their dreams. He is proud to be with The Agency, a global boutique real estate brokerage representing a portfolio of luxury real estate, homes, and properties for sale across the world.

“Real estate requires creativity, salesmanship, follow-up, patience, and perseverance as well as a ‘never give up’ attitude,” Michael says. “I love being a part of a major decision in people’s lives—it’s an honor to provide guidance, and I do whatever it takes to help my clients achieve their goals.”

Michael is deeply involved with his local community. He serves on the board of directors for the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce, where he was awarded the 2024 Chairman’s Award for his exceptional dedication and service to the community, including his work as the chairman for the Chamber’s Educational Committee.

Michael is also a board member for the Foundation for the Las Virgenes Schools and served as a commissioner of public safety in Hidden Hills for five years. He has also served as Los Angeles County Commissioner of Public Social Services for more than a decade. 818.207.2088 DRE #01188440

10 marty levy

Marty Levy, CLU/RHU

Marty Levy is an extremely successful insurance advisor, yet he’d rarely tell you so. He established Corporate Strategies, Inc. (CorpStrat), a premier insurance and employee benefits agency in Southern California. With over three decades of dedicated service, CorpStrat is a leading force in offering insurance strategies that empower professionals and employers to attract, reward, and retain top talent through cutting-edge insurance and HR technology.

At the heart of Marty’s philosophy is a deep-seated commitment to building long-lasting relationships built on trust. “Our success is a testament to helping clients achieve security and prosperity,” he says, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding clients’ assets and supporting them in realizing their ambitions, principles that have guided CorpStrat to its esteemed position in the industry.

Marty’s expertise extends beyond traditional insurance advising; he delves into the core concerns that plague individuals during sleepless nights, addressing the daunting “what-ifs” of life. His approach prioritizes the protection of clients against unforeseen circumstances—or life events; strategic planning; and insurance solutions. Marty passionately advocates for comprehensive planning, including long-term care insurance, highlighting a common oversight among professionals and business owners in securing their future healthcare needs. “It’s alarming how many people neglect to protect their hard-earned assets, despite the high likelihood of requiring healthcare services later in life.”

A skilled policy analyst, Marty created “The Life Insurance Audit,” a process embraced by actuaries, estate planners, and accountants to benchmark the current and future performance of policies. This enables individuals to thoroughly assess and optimize their life insurance policies, addressing the widespread confusion and challenges associated with life insurance. Marty believes that informed guidance is essential, likening a policy without it to piloting an aircraft solo.

Marty resides in Calabasas with his wife, Kellee, and their two children, Jill and Mitchell. He is a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table, representing the elite top 1 percent of advisors in the United States, and an avid Lakers fan and world adventure traveler. Despite his numerous accolades, Marty maintains that his only measure of success is rooted in a simple, yet profound, objective: helping professionals achieve their goals. This ethos, coupled with his innovative strategies and clientcentric approach, cements Marty Levy’s legacy as a visionary leader in the insurance industry. 21021 Ventura Blvd., #200, Woodland Hills 818.377.7260, ext. 112 818.468.0862

11 zoumalan

Christopher Zoumalan, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgery

Dr. Christopher Zoumalan, a native of Calabasas, is a distinguished figure in the field of oculoplastic surgery, making his mark in the heart of Beverly Hills. Born and raised in Calabasas, Dr. Zoumalan cherishes the community where he spent his formative years and graduated from Calabasas High School.

As a board-certified oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Zoumalan has dedicated his career to the specialized field of cosmetic and reconstructive eyelid surgery. His extensive training includes an ophthalmology residency at Stanford University, and subspecialty training in oculoplastic surgery at NYU and Columbia University.

Dr. Zoumalan’s expertise encompasses a range of specialties, including blepharoplasty surgery, ptosis surgery, double eyelid surgery, brow lifts, and peri-orbital injections. He has developed the Natural Looking Blepharoplasty(TM) procedure, which provides a natural-looking rejuvenation to eyelids using advanced and minimally invasive surgery. His national exposure from The Doctors TV show featuring his specialized work has generated patients from all over the country. He also works alongside his brother, Dr. Richard Zoumalan, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Zoumalan’s commitment to advancing the field is evident through his prolific research, with over 75 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters to his name. As an adjunct clinical professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Dr. Zoumalan continues to impart his knowledge to the next generation of medical professionals.

Beyond the confines of his practice, Dr. Zoumalan is an esteemed speaker at both national and international conferences, sharing his expertise in oculoplastic surgery. His involvement as a researcher in FDA clinical trials and as the founder/inventor of the Skinuva product line (medical-grade pre- and post-recovery products available at reflects a commitment to advancing the field of medicine and providing patients with cutting-edge solutions.

While Dr. Zoumalan’s professional endeavors take him to Beverly Hills, his ties to Calabasas remain strong, with parents and numerous family members still calling the city home. Adding to the family’s footprint in Calabasas, Dr. Zoumalan’s wife, Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, a dedicated dentist, recently opened her dental practice in the heart of the city. Together, they contribute to the vibrant and thriving community of Calabasas. Dr. Zoumalan sees patients at his practice in Beverly Hills. 433 N. Camden Dr., #1090, Beverly Hills 310.278.4000 IG: @drchristopherzoumalan

12 michael castanga

Michael Castanga
MannKind Corporation

Dr. Michael Castagna became CEO of MannKind and joined its board of directors in 2017, bringing over 25 years of experience in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology to the company’s product and medical device development strategy. Under his guidance, MannKind is successfully establishing solid partnerships and growing its pipeline, capitalizing on Michael’s extensive knowledge of the commercial pharmaceutical industry. His deep understanding of the biopharmaceutical industry and dedication to helping people live their lives without limits is grounded by his extensive pharmacy background.

Previously, Michael served as a vice president at Amgen, guiding both the Lifecycle Management and Global Commercial Biosimilar business areas of the company.

Before Amgen, he spent a combined ten years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, focusing on medical, marketing, and sales from 1997 to 2005, returning to the company in 2010 to direct the immunoscience division from 2010 to 2012. Other industry experience includes serving as a vice president at Sandoz, as well as a director at both Merck, Serono, and Pharmasset.

Michael received his Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, his Doctor of Pharmacy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawing on the legacy of innovator and humanitarian Alfred E. Mann, Michael’s mission at MannKind is to develop therapeutic products and devices that can help people manage serious medical conditions so that they can experience the absolute best that life has to offer.

“With our ultra rapid-acting inhaled insulin, Afrezza®, we are changing the way diabetes is treated, and with our innovative Technosphere® technology, we are developing new ways for people with diabetes, pulmonary hypertension, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis to truly thrive,” states Michael. “We are driven to find new ways to change lives for the better and to keep working toward a world without limits for all.”

When he is not focusing on company strategy and operations or how to make innovative new treatments available to people living with diabetes and orphan lung diseases, Michael spends time traveling with his family, scuba diving, and visiting car events. 30930 Russell Ranch Rd., #300, Westlake Village 818.661.5000

13 cason gilmer

Cason Gilmer
Las Virgenes Municipal Water District

Cason Gilmer, customer service program supervisor at Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, is responsible for the district’s Advanced Meter Reading/Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMR/AMI), which includes over 22,000 meters, their power sources, all repairs to the network, ensuring transmitting data properly to our WaterSmart technology, performing backflow inspections, cross connections, and repairs to the meter reading system.

At an early age, Cason was interested in how things are put together and working with his hands. As a mason by trade, Cason’s father would often take him to construction sites watching and learning how to work with stone, blocks, and cement. Years later, he followed in his dad’s footsteps and became a full-time mason as well. He always felt a sense of accomplishment from putting in a day’s work and looking at that accomplishment before calling it a day. But it wasn’t simply a job, it was also a form of art. Building a custom stone wall or border is more than putting rocks together, it requires vision and an understanding about what looks appealing. He has since taken to other forms of his artistic voice, including chainsaw carving, creating parade floats, woodworking, and metal working—for both functionality and creative expression. While Cason loved working outside, a heavy rainy season and a lull in construction work pushed him to look at other fulfilling employment options on his professional journey. He spent nearly 14 years working at a machine shop making custom Harley Davidson motorcycle parts before turning his sights to the water industry.

Before his current role at the district, Cason worked in field customer service, ensuring that water properly flows to homes and throughout the distribution system. As his work responsibility increased, Cason became instrumental in the district’s response to the last drought. Finding difficulty with some customers not conserving water, Cason, along with input from other LVMWD employees, fabricated a flow restrictor that governed the amount of water entering the home. The program’s success pushed Cason to be featured on the front page of the LA Times and resulted in a significant reduction of water usage throughout the LVMWD service area.

When not working, Cason spends time surfing, plays his guitar and banjo, coaches baseball, and spends time with his wife, Sarah; sons, Brixton, Knox, and Stone; and his daughter, Emmie. If Cason has one message to share, it’s to find purpose in everything you do, live for the art and self-expression that comes with creativity, and give of yourself to make others better around you. 4232 Las Virgenes Rd., #1994, Calabasas 818.251.2100

14 kunke

Fred and Jonathan Kunke
The Sleep Shoppe

In the heart of Ventura County, Fred Kunke and his son Jonathan, owners of The Sleep Shoppe, share more than just a resemblance and familial bond. Both men have an undeniable love for their business, a passion for the mattress industry, and a profound commitment to customer care.

Sitting in their store, their conversations cover a range of topics that they have in common, yet upon a customer’s arrival, their attention shifts entirely to helping that person find the perfect sleep solution. Fred and Jonathan bring their warmth and knowledge into the experience, treating customers like family.

Fred’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited in his youth at his parents’ bar, The Oasis. The valuable lessons he learned there shaped his life and led to his future success. In 1987, with a dream and a pickup truck, Fred proudly opened The Sleep Shoppe, a cornerstone of the Conejo Valley community for over 37 years. Fred passed his positivity on to his children, instilling in them the belief that happiness is a personal responsibility and that they had the power to pursue it. They all carried his lessons forward on their own paths in life. Jonathan, Fred’s middle son, took a path that led him to walk side by side with his father. Together, they continued to grow their thriving business while forging an inspiring partnership marked by mutual trust and utmost respect for each other.

Today, The Sleep Shoppe stores are more than mattress showrooms—they’re innovation hubs. Fred and Jonathan personalize the shopping experience utilizing scientific advancements while making their customers feel heard and taken care of. This commitment to innovation and exceptional service has garnered numerous community accolades over the years and earned them a loyal customer base. Generations of families have trusted The Sleep Shoppe with their sleep. For Fred and Jonathan, these aren’t merely transactions but cherished milestones.

The Sleep Shoppe’s story, fueled by love, innovation, and unwavering customer devotion, exemplifies how dreams can become sweet realities. Fred and Jonathan have made it their mission to ensure that in Ventura County and beyond, sweet dreams are a way of life. 1316 Newbury Rd., Newbury Park 805.498.2233 1969 Erringer Rd., Simi Valley 805.583.8778