C. J. Segerstrom & Sons, Segerstrom Foundation,
South Coast Plaza Partners
Overview. After college I worked for U. S. Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart — on Capitol Hill, for the National Commission on Air Quality which he chaired, and on his successful 1984 New Hampshire presidential primary campaign. Before leaving Washington, D. C., I also worked for an international telecom trade group during the restructuring of ATT’s Bell System.
Since moving to California in the late 1980s, I’ve been fortunate to work with and learn much from successful entrepreneurs, visionary leaders, and highly capable and dedicated people in diverse realms. That varied experience and acquired expertise has been useful in my helping to strengthen clients’ communications, collaborative efforts, and board and program development.
South Coast Plaza. One staple of my consulting practice has been providing strategic counsel and management services for family-owned businesses, often involving real estate. Three of my mixed-use projects in southern California were 90+ acres. Although I’ve helped to plan and entitle projects big and small for developers, landowners, nonprofits and public agencies, much of my work in this realm for more than 15 years was for the Segerstroms, owners of South Coast Plaza ($2+ billion in annual retail sales) and The Offices of South Coast Plaza.
Noguchi Garden, California Scenario, as viewed from offices above. Commissioned by Henry Segerstrom.
I’ve been fortunate to work with top-tier clients, generally reporting to ownership, a president/CEO or a board of directors. At South Coast Plaza, I worked closely with the late Henry Segerstrom, the longtime co-managing partner. There was a broad array of assignments; the experience was invaluable. I managed land entitlements, supervising the work of attorneys, engineers and other professionals supporting the company’s efforts. I also managed diverse ad hoc projects, served as spokesman for non-retail issues, and was Secretary of the family foundation. Additionally I acted as deputy for owners on certain boards such as the California Business Roundtable.
Overall I’ve been chiefly responsible for entitling roughly 7 million square feet in Southern California, more than 3 million of that for Segerstrom business and cultural interests: retail stores, office buildings, homes, hotels, schools, a concert hall, a stage theater and an art museum. I like to think my role in helping to manage the company’s support for public bond measures served to strengthen county schools and infrastructure, and that my role in helping to manage the company’s charitable giving, and philanthropy for some of the family members, made a positive difference in people’s lives.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, with Plaza Tower office building in the background.
I was proud to be part of and to represent the Segerstrom organization. They practice what they preach concerning quality, and understand enlightened self interest. Thus the Segerstrom legacy is of real and lasting value. I’ve not worked for a client who cares more about excellence than did Henry Segerstrom. Plus Henry possessed a rare combination of qualities: great vision with a keen eye for detail.
Another view of California Scenario by Isamu Noguchi.