The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) is proud to introduce you to our talented, hard-working team. Each DLBA team member brings a unique expertise and a passion for making Downtown a healthy, safe, and prosperous place for businesses, visitors, residents, and property owners.
The dedicated staff of the Downtown Long Beach Alliance each brings unique skill sets and backgrounds to the organization. Staff members each belong to a department – Administration, Operations, Economic Development, Marketing & Communications, Placemaking, and Events – which are focused on providing stakeholders with resources catered to meet specific needs.
In the coming months, Downtown Scene will feature profiles on each of our staff members to introduce them to the community. To start off, we are sharing mini biographies and photos of our entire staff. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these individuals – many of whom make their homes in Long Beach – who work together daily to help make Downtown a great place to live, work, and visit.
Kraig Kojian, President & CEO
Kraig Kojian currently serves as President & CEO of the DLBA. As president, Kojian oversees the management of the Downtown’s Property Based Improvement District and Downtown Parking Improvement Area, both of which consist of nearly 5,000 stakeholders and an annual budget that exceeds $4.9 million. Kraig leads, facilitates and motivates staff to accomplish all DLBA objectives as outlined in the mission statement and the PBID Management Plan. Subject to the direction of the Board of Directors, the President and CEO supervises and directs the day-to-day business and management of the organization and the BIDs.
Broc Coward, COO
Broc Coward is the Chief Operating Officer and oversees DLBA’s clean and safe programs, programming committees, and support for the overall day-to-day operations of each department. A self-proclaimed full-time “problem solver,” he enjoys bike rides in DTLB, a good view from the patio at one of our waterfront restaurants, and making sure visitors get the most out of Downtown. Broc previously served as the Chief of Staff for Long Beach Councilmember and Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal (2006-2016) and brings over 20 years of state and local legislative and community organizing experience to DLBA, including management of small business corridor visioning studies, special events, panel discussions and neighborhood improvement projects. An alumnus of UCSB (Go Gauchos!) and CSUF (Go Titans!), his interests include live music, soccer, breakfast burritos and most especially, spending time with his wife and two sons.
Steve Be Cotte, Community Outreach Manager
Steve Be Cotte is the Community Outreach Manager for the DLBA and acts as liaison between the DLBA, residents, businesses, and community groups. He meets regularly with neighborhood associations. His fans call him Downtown Steve, and he cannot walk 10 feet without being recognized on the streets of Downtown. He has a passion for helping others and is a member of the Long Beach Coalition for the Homeless and sits on the board of the Long Beach Continuum of Care. He has a real zest for pressure washing, baby carrots with hummus, power tools, and fast cars. When he is not at work, he spends his time working on the Circuit Breaker nostalgia top fuel dragster.
David Hughes, Finance Manager
Stephanie Gonzalez, Placemaking Manager
Stephanie Gonzalez serves as the Placemaking Manager for the Downtown Long Beach Alliance. She is passionate about placemaking and cities and wants to help bring life and activity to public spaces within Downtown Long Beach. She graduated from CSULB with a degree in Communication Studies and later attended Arizona State University to study Urban Planning. When she’s not at work, Stephanie loves doing craft side projects and talking with her husband about what kind of dog they’ll get one day. She also has a sweet tooth like a 5 year old and would never say no to some cotton candy.
Samantha Mehlinger, Communications Manager
Samantha “Sam” Mehlinger is the Communications Manager for DLBA. She oversees communications protocols and best practices, and is focused on growing awareness of Downtown, informing stakeholders, and managing public perception of DLBA and its programs. Sam grew up in Long Beach, attended Chapman University, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Cal State Long Beach. Following graduate school, she signed on as staff writer at the Long Beach Business Journal, where over the years (2013-2019) she fostered meaningful relationships with the City’s business community, government officials, and residents. She ultimately advanced to the position of Editor, in which she was responsible for planning and executing each bi-weekly edition. After hanging up her journalist hat to explore new opportunities, she took a too-brief trip to Italy (thanks for cutting that short, COVID) before joining the team at DLBA. In summary: Long Beach is going to have a tough time ever getting rid of Sam. She lives here with her mischievous cat, Olive, and any attempts to oust them will result in scratches and a bit of biting. Your guess as to who would be the culprit.
Austin Metoyer, Economic Development & Policy Manager
Austin Metoyer serves as the Economic Development & Policy Manager for the Downtown Long Beach Alliance. In his role, he serves as a liaison for Downtown investors, developers, businesses and brokers through the recruitment, retention, planning and entitlement processes. Before his arrival to the DLBA, Austin served under former Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa’s Office of Economic and Business Policy, as well as the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington D.C. During his stint in D.C., he served as Senior Project Analyst for Brailsford & Dunlavey, a real estate development planning firm. Austin completed his BS in International Business at California State University, Long Beach and is pursuing an Executive Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California.
Kelsey Mader, Executive Assistant
As the DLBA’s Executive Assistant, Kelsey supports the President and CEO while helping to enhance the general administrative functions of the organization. She comes to the DLBA with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Cal State Fullerton and a professional background in California Storm Water Regulation Policy (yes, it is just as exciting as it sounds). After years of working for the private sector, she is excited to become more involved with the lively community of Downtown Long Beach. In her spare time, you can find her at the beach, hiking, biking, or camping (she went 10 times last year alone!). If she is not doing something outside, she is probably busy spending time with her friends, family or, most importantly, her dog Penny. Be sure to ask her about Penny’s puppy for a good foster pup story!
Lauren Mayne, Social Media & Digital Marketing Coordinator
Lauren Mayne serves as the DLBA’s Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator. She is responsible for managing the organization’s digital presence through regular website updates and both paid & organic posts across their various social media channels. Like many, Lauren is a Long Beach transplant. Originally from the Central Valley, she made her way down to Southern California for college. After earning her degree in Communications-Advertising at Cal State Fullerton, Lauren worked as a copywriter for an e-commerce company in Irvine. There she wore a variety of hats, from product launch to digital marketing. Lauren was first introduced to the Long Beach community when she began playing kickball through the Varsity Gay League. It was love at first sight, in more ways than one. After 2 years of playing, she moved to her current home in Downtown Long Beach with her partner Lor, whom she met through kickball, and their two cats, Gilbert and Jenny. When the weather is particularly nice, you can often find them walking Gilbert throughout Downtown in her personal cat stroller.
Morris (Mo) Mills, Research & Public Policy Analyst
Mo serves as the Research and Public Policy Analyst for the DLBA, where he helps to gather data and insights used in reports and stakeholder assistance. In addition, Mo helps to track and manage the organization’s business and property databases, as well as monitoring city and county policy. Prior to working at the DLBA, Mo attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he majored in Urban & Environmental Policy. When he is not working, he is probably riding his bike.
Monica Morrill, Administrative Assistant
Monica came to the DLBA from a small retail chain called Crate & Barrel, or as she refers to it, “the barrel.” She considers herself a jack of all trades and is even forklift certified. Her hairstyle, the fun bun, is her trademark and you will not see her rocking any other hairstyle. She has a corgi named Marshall Tucker, named after The Marshall Tucker Band, for no reason other than liking the name. As the Administrative Assistant, she keeps the office moving and grooving. Her role is to support all aspects of the office and assist the Executive Assistant daily. You will see her answering the phone, making giant bows, eating her lunch in the courtyard, filling the snack bowl, and so much more.
Justine Nevarez, Special Projects Coordinator
Justine Nevarez is the Special Projects Coordinator, aka “Jill-of-all-trades,” and lends support to all departments of the DLBA. She also coordinates the Virtual Taste of Downtown events. After moving to Long Beach for college (Go Beach!) from OC, she fell in love with the LBC, planted roots here, and has no plans of leaving. Nevarez has worked in a variety of industries, but her time as Manager and Event Coordinator at L’Opera Ristorante for nearly 10 years was most influential. Because of her long history in DTLB, she has developed relationships with all types of businesses (local and from afar, thanks to the LB Convention Center) and feels most at home on Pine Avenue. Currently, you will find Nevarez, her husband, and their kitten, Angelina “Jolie” Nevarez, hanging around their backyard fire pit, spinning classic soul records. Outside of “these unprecedented times,” you can find them riding bikes around town, traveling, and adding to their baseball stadium and National Park pin collections.