Southern California

Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at

Jeff Solomon, MAS is the creator of, the industry's most popular business resource program. Jeff’s Rant will touch on topics with his straightforward approach to life and business.

Our evolving industry business model continues to be a hot topic. Recently I started wondering how an online purchasing mentality, I’ll call the Amazon click-to-buy world, affects our industry. It begs the question, are we (aka distributors) really needed? It’s getting easier and easier for end-users to buy online or direct from suppliers.

As I write this, it is hot in Southern California, making it hard to believe that summer is almost over and fall soon will be upon us. This year we didn’t take a big vacation, but took a couple of short ones. Our end-of-the-summer getaway was a few days on Catalina Island. Catalina is an awesome gem, just an hour by boat out of Long Beach, Calif. We hiked, visited the interior where bison roam, saw bald eagles, did miniature bowling, at which I am horrible, and had a few good meals. Getting away is so important to our personal and professional development.

I recently returned from a few days at Disneyland. My wife and I agreed to be chaperones for Grad Nite. On Grad Nite, Disneyland is open until 2 a.m. with just high school graduates and their chaperones. (It sounded like a good idea at the time.) I’m sure this goes on at locations all around the country, but being from Southern California, Disneyland is the place to be.

It took more than a year, but the Small Business Administration finally has a permanent leader back at the helm.

The Senate on Thursday easily confirmed Maria Contreras-Sweet as the agency’s new administrator in a voice vote, handing the reins to the former banking executive and public official from Los Angeles. President Barack Obama nominated Contreras-Sweet to the post back in January, filling the last remaining vacancy on his second-term cabinet.

Contreras-Sweet is the founder of both ProAmérica Bank, a community bank specializing in small-business loans in southern California, and venture capital firm Fortius Holdings.

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