As part of our ongoing series, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) introduces you to Board Member Sean Rawson and Committee Member Aimee Mandala, two local residents who bring strong skill sets and a love of their hometown to the mix.
Rawson is Co-Founder of the Newport Beach-based Waterford Property Company, a diversified real estate firm which manages $1.3 billion in assets. Waterford Properties was part of group that recently purchased City Place, a 14-acre, mixed-use center in the heart of Downtown Long Beach. He is an active developer and investor in Long Beach. “I have a deep affection for the city, and I want to be a participant in its future,” he said.
A Huntington Beach native, Rawson earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Claremont McKenna College as a Government/History/Economics major, and received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.
The COVID-19 crisis reached into every corner of Downtown business, and Waterford was not immune. Rawson explained: “This past year, we have all had a major disruption into our personal lives as well as our professional lives. Although the disruption has been significant and life-altering at Waterford, we have tried to focus on some of the positives. The COVID-19 crisis has led us to look at our company and develop ways to become more efficient and intentional in the way that we do things.”
As Rawson continues to assist in the redevelopment and investment in Downtown Long Beach, he encourages other Downtown stakeholders to get involved with DLBA, advising them to “reach out to the team at the DLBA and constantly remain engaged, staying abreast of all the initiatives DLBA is pursuing.”
When he’s not working, Rawson enjoys staying in shape with his favorite hobby: running. Most of his down time is spent with his family. “With a six, four, and two-year-old, my wife and I don’t have a ton of free time,” he said.
Aimee Mandala, born and raised in Long Beach, serves on DLBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee. To say she is an involved community member is an understatement; In addition to her post as Chief Operating Officer for Downtown-based Environ Architecture, Inc., she is a Board Member and former President of the Women’s Business Council of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. She also is a Board Member of the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a Member of the Long Beach Sustainable Business Network.
A graduate of CSULB with a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Creative Writing, Mandala found that she could apply the knowledge and critical thinking she learned in school to “just about anything. I found myself inspired and drawn back to my family roots and our rich history in the architectural profession,” she said. “To hone in on industry-specific skills, I earned certifications as a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) with the US Green Building Council, and as a Design Firm Administrator from the Society of Design Administration.”
As a member of the Marketing and Communications Committee, Mandala has helped the group remain at the forefront of releasing vital information during the pandemic, keeping folks aware of all the resources and services that are available, including loans and grants. “The goal is to keep stakeholders and visitors informed while also supporting businesses and highlighting services that are available to all,” Mandala said.
A renaissance woman of sorts, Mandala is a professional graphite and charcoal artist in her free time. She is currently working on “Handmade: A Craftsman Drawing Series,” which highlights and celebrates the hard-working hands of craftsmen and women, their gritty tools, and their rugged workwear. Her artwork can be viewed on her website.