Scouts Honor Local as Business Leader of the Year

For his continuing contributions to the Los Angeles metropolitan area and to local Scout troops, San Marino resident Chris Martin was honored as Business Leader of the Year at the annual Business Leaders’ Breakfast by the Boy Scouts Greater Los Angeles Area Council.
Martin, chairman and CEO of the architecture firm AC Martin, was introduced by Pasadena real estate lawyer John Cushman, which he considered a great honor to go along with the accolade.
“It’s very humbling, frankly, to be surrounded by this business community and with the leadership of all these individuals,” Martin said during a conference phone call with Greater L.A. Area President Tim Greenleaf.
In the same call, Greenleaf said Martin “by far and away” meets the organization’s criteria for selecting recipients for this recognition.
“We look for people who are really exemplary business leaders as well as having a clear significant commitment to the community,” Greenleaf said in a phone interview. “What we look for are exceptional people who are great leaders but also people who have a real love and commitment in giving back to the community.”
Martin’s firm, which is in year 112 of business, is the oldest family-owned architecture firm in the nation and includes Los Angeles City Hall, the Bank of America Plaza and City National Plaza among its iconic projects. Built by his grandfather, City Hall also underwent a complete retrofitting for seismic tolerance at the hand of Martin and his family.
AC Martin also plays host for the Scouts’ architecture merit badge, showing them the ropes of what it takes to enter the architecture field and inspiring the kids to possible future careers. Part of the merit badge includes a tour of one of Martin’s buildings being built, most recently the Wilshire Grand Center (which hosted the breakfast).
“We’ve always got something under construction,” Martin said. “This year we got to take them to the completed building. We only had one area that was still under construction, which is a Korean restaurant. The kids got a chance to really see the building.”
“Chris is so good at explaining to them things like, not only what they physically see, but what they don’t see,” Greenleaf added.
Martin’s active contributions to the L.A. Metro area also helped put him in consideration for the Boy Scouts’ recognition this year.
“We’re trying to help our client but we’re also trying to make jobs in Los Angeles,” Martin said, commenting on the Wilshire Grand Center project. “We made 11,000 jobs with this project, and we’re trying to attract foreign investment with this project. That helps fuel the economic vitality of an international city. That’s what’s really important in architecture; it is doing something successful for the owner.”
The breakfast served another purpose: donors contributed nearly $400,000 to help fund the Boy Scout program Scoutreach. Martin, whose children were in Scouts in San Marino and whose grandchildren are currently in Pack No. 368 there, said he greatly enjoyed sharing the morning with so many like-minded people.
“It was a fun and real congenial atmosphere,” he said. “I’ve never seen a thousand people at a meeting in downtown L.A. having coffee at 6 in the morning before.”

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