Tech Week Taps Into Secrets of Success

First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

For A.J. Abdallat, success in tech comes down to hiring the smartest people available, empowering them to do what they do best and developing a culture in which they’ll thrive.
Those steps, he contended, helped Beyond Limits rise from a Glendale startup to a successful artificial intelligence software developer. Abdallat, the firm’s founder and CEO, shared his recipe for achievement and insight into the industry to close out Glendale Tech Week on Wednesday, serving as the keynote speaker for the wrap-up party.

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City Council Gets Preview of NASA’s JPL Mission to Mars

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory new mission to Mars took center stage at the La Cañada Flintridge City Council meeting this week ahead of its scheduled Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landing on the red planet on Thursday.
JPL Director Michael Watkins and Mars Helicopter Project Manager Mimi Aung gave a thrilling presentation before the council as to how Perseverance and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will touch down, with the help from two robotic devices from orbit.
“This is one of those times we’re super proud to work at JPL and also live in La Cañada Flintridge; the eyes of the world are upon us here,” Watkins told council members.
The much-anticipated landing is expected at about 12:55 p.m. on Thursday, with a signal of confirmation expected to be received 11 minutes and 22 seconds later, the time of the distance the signal has to travel from Mars to earth.
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Local JPL Physicist Joins Pandemic Fight by Creating Life-Saving Device

Photo courtesy Arbi Karapetian
Arbi Karapetian, a La Cañada Flintridge resident and JPL scientist, works from his makeshift home office to help create VITAL, a new ventilator tailored to treat COVID-19 patients.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory made headlines recently after announcing its scientists — in just 37 days — have developed a high-pressure ventilator prototype tailored for coronavirus patients which was given the green light by doctors at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, one of the epicenters of the disease in the United States.
JPL, based in La Cañada Flintridge, is well-known as home base to many local engineers, physicists and researchers who work there, and one resident in particular served as a critical member on the JPL team that created the life-saving device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally). The device has been created to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators with the intent they may be used on patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.
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Buck, Urata Headline ‘Challenge Success: Building Your Path’ Event

La Cañada High School, in conjunction with the LCHS Alumni Association, is sponsoring the first “Challenge Success: Building Your Path” event from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, at LCHS.


It will feature two highly acclaimed keynote speakers: Chris Buck, an Academy Award-winning director of the Disney animation feature “Frozen,” and Dr. Mark Urata, a renowned surgeon and head of the Plastic Surgery Division at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
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Online Tickets For ‘Explore JPL’

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge is again using an online ticketing system for the public to sign up to attend this year’s “Explore JPL.” During the event, JPL will open its doors to the public for one weekend. To ensure a safe, enjoyable experience, advance tickets are required.
Tickets are free but limited, and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with a maximum of five tickets per purchaser. No one will be admitted without a ticket. Visitors to JPL during the event — to be held May 20 and 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — must have their tickets in hand, and anyone age 18 or older must show a matching ID. Tickets are not transferable and cannot be sold.
Tickets will be sold for specific time slots and will be available online at 9 a.m. PST on Saturday, March 11, at: The site also has additional information.
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