sorrow that we announce [VICA] President and CEO, Bruce Ackerman passed
away today after a 6 1/2 year battle with cancer. Bruce touched so many
lives and had a profound impact on those he worked with to further
economic development in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County
or the state. He was passionate about causes and sat on numerous not-for-
profit boards for organizations focused on improving the quality of life for all Angelinos. Bruce worked tirelessly and was willing to give of himself. He left his indelible mark on everything and everyone he touched.
Bruce began his career as a leader of chambers of commerce and economic development organizations more than 30 years ago at the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce. He later matriculated to the Greater Van Nuys Chamber of Commerce in 1976 as its Executive Vice President/General Manager where he honed his skills in economic development. Then in 1987, he moved to the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce & Civic Association as its CEO. During his
tenure with each organization, Bruce helped them grow to the next level.
Following his stint in Pasadena, Bruce opened his own consulting practice in 1993,
concentrating on executive-level management services for chambers and similar organizations. That eventually led him to the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership in 1997 as its President & CEO. He successfully concentrated the SGVEP’s attention on marketing the region’s economic attractiveness, which brought new businesses to the fold.
The last phase of his professional career commenced in 2000 when he joined the Alliance, taking over the reins from Bill Allen, one of the Alliance’s founders. Thus began the love affair that we mourn today with Bruce’s passing. As President & CEO of [the] Economic Alliance, as he liked to say, he extended the organization’s reach beyond business assistance to include workforce preparedness, improving the quality of education and other equally important endeavors. That confluence led to the Alliance’s motto, “Better businesses. Better jobs. Better communities.” Bruce simultaneously smoothed edges while still promoting the Alliance’s ideals.
Throughout Bruce’s life, he was also committed to helping others through his volunteer efforts. Whether at economic development organizations like CRA, CalEd or LAEDC, or with not-for-profits like West Hills Hospital, Project GRAD, the Boys & Girls Club or Valley Interfaith Council, Bruce gave of himself. He committed to causes that bettered the lives of everyone around him. As he said, “When you give to yourself, it goes with you; when you give to others, it’s eternal.”
One of Bruce’s favorite sayings told so much about him and his Midwestern roots: You either were part of the solution or you were the problem. It’s an attitude he exuded and imparted on others. Combine that with his effervescence and style – his pace wasn’t leisurely; it was a million miles an hour – and you have the formula for Bruce’s success and life. He never missed anything during his 64 years.
We know you join us in extending condolences to his wife, Cathy, mother, children, grandchildren, sister and brothers, and extended family. There can be no question: He will be deeply missed by many!