Bits 'n' Pieces

Port Trade Cools in June

Trade moving through the Port of Long Beach cooled in June as retailers continued to clear warehouses.

Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 597,076 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, a 28.5% decline from June 2022, which was the port’s busiest June on record. Imports were down 34% to 274,325 TEUs, while exports declined 18% to 94,508 TEUs. Empty containers moving through the port decreased 25% to 228,243 TEUs.

“We are hopeful to obtain a greater percentile of market share,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero. “We remain confident that our reliability, efficiency and unparalleled service will attract additional trade and economic activity to our Port.”

“We continue to work with our industry partners to grow cargo volume and raise the bar on sustainable operations,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman. “Our highly skilled workforce, infrastructure projects and environmental programs continue to make us the Port of Choice.”

Economists report that consumer spending exceeded expectations during the first half of 2023 and may flatten out through the rest of the year.

The port has moved 3,732,676 TEUs during the first half of 2023, down 25.5% from the same period last year.


Credit Union’s President & CEO Napper Retires

Following a career that spanned over 46 years at LBS Financial Credit Union, including 21 years serving as president & CEO, Jeff Napper will be retiring from LBS Financial Credit Union on Aug. 17. He has served as the third president & CEO in the company’s 87-year history.

Jeff Napper is a Long Beach native, where he was the only male senior elected to Millikan High School’s Hall of Fame when he graduated in 1975. Napper continued his education at Long Beach City College (LBCC), receiving the highest academic honors and an associate of arts degree. He subsequently earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a major in finance with great distinction and a Master of Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Napper has earned many distinctions during his career. He was elected to the LBCC Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the LBCC President’s Award in 2009. He continues to actively serve on the LBCC Board of Governors since 2002. In 2018 he was awarded the California Credit Union League’s Advocacy Award, a great testament to the efforts he has made in political advocacy for the credit union movement.

More recently, Napper was the 2022 awardee of the California and Nevada Credit Union League’s highest honor, the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment and dedication to great member service and the financial strength of LBS Financial, plus his many contributions to the credit union movement.

Since Napper started working full-time for LBS Financial Credit Union, he has held various management positions and ultimately became the president & CEO in 2002. When Jeff began working as a part-time teller at LBS Financial in 1977, the credit union had just $50 million in assets and deposits and only one branch. In 2002, the year he was appointed president & CEO, the credit union’s assets and deposits reached $674 million. Today, under Napper’s leadership, the credit union has tripled in size to more than $2 billion in assets and deposits with eight branches.

Ensuring the credit union’s financial strength and sustainability to continue serving Members far beyond his retirement has been a focus under Jeff’s leadership. As a result, LBS Financial Credit Union is one of the strongest credit unions in the State of California with a net capital ratio of 12.92% as of June 2023. The credit union has also been voted “the Best in Long Beach” for 13 consecutive years by Press-Telegram and Grunion Gazette readers, for 11 years by Beachcomber readers, and the last four years by Long Beach Post readers.

Jeff Napper will be succeeded by LBS Financial’s Executive Vice President/Chief Lending Officer, Sean Hardeman, who has been with the credit union for the past 12 years.


Two New Electron Missions for Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab USA, headquartered in Long Beach, announced it has signed a deal with Japanese Earth imaging company Synspective to launch two dedicated Electron missions. The new missions bring the total number of Electron launches contracted by Synspective to six.

Rocket Lab has been launching for Synspective since 2020 when the Company deployed the first satellite in Synspective’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation, which is designed to deliver imagery that can detect millimetre-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space. Since that first mission, Rocket Lab has been the sole launch provider for Synspective’s StriX constellation to date, successfully deploying three StriX satellites across three dedicated Electron launches. Including the two new missions, Rocket Lab is now scheduled to launch three missions for Synspective beginning in late 2023 from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive Peter Beck, said: “It’s an honor to be entrusted with the continued deployment of Synspective’s constellation. We’re proud to enable them to build out their constellation with precision and efficiency, giving Synspective ultimate schedule and orbit flexibility with frequent dedicated launch opportunities. We’re delighted to continue delivering this unique ability to Synspective through our continued partnership.”

In addition to providing Synspective with a high degree over schedule and orbit by flying as a dedicated mission, Rocket Lab also delivers the unique ability to perform an advanced mid-mission maneuver with the Electron rocket’s Kick Stage to shield the StriX satellite from the sun to reduce radiation exposure ahead of payload deployment.


Youth Chorus Receives $20,000 Donation

The Long Beach Youth Chorus is the recipient of an unsolicited donation for $20,000 from the California Foundation for Stronger Communities (CFSC).

In their announcement letter, CFSC said “Your service to the community is heartwarming and we are honored to help support your goals.” CFSC acts as the board of directors for the California Municipal Finance Authority, a joint power authority created to help strengthen local communities by assisting the financing of economic development and charitable activities throughout the State of California.

The chorus is coming off its strongest season yet. Enrollment doubled from 2021-22, and the chorus was able to take its first tour. The season-ending Summer Arts Institute and Long Beach Family Arts Festival (both sponsored by the chorus) saw increases in attendance and organizations participating.

Executive Director Stan DeWitt said of the CFSC donation, “This is a fantastic affirmation that the work we are doing is being noticed and is important. It feels really great.”

The donation allows the chorus to expand its offerings in 2023-24 to include a long-planned Music Mastery Program, that will train all of its young singers into a deeper understanding of music theory, sight-singing and ear-training. The program will include different levels so that all of the singers can advance through their knowledge, regardless of their grade or skill level.

For more information about or to register for the Long Beach Youth Chorus, contact Executive Director Stan DeWitt at or visit


Olvera Elected Harbor Commission President

Harbor Commission Vice President Bobby Olvera Jr. was elected Monday as president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, the five-member panel that oversees the Port of Long Beach.

The board also selected Bonnie Lowenthal as vice president and Frank Colonna as secretary. Each July, commissioners select a President and two board officers for one-year terms. The commission’s new officers will begin their terms at the next regularly scheduled meeting, on Monday, Aug. 14, when outgoing President Sharon L. Weissman will hand the gavel to Olvera.

Olvera is a fifth-generation longshoreman and serves as international vice president (mainland) of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. He began his 30-year history with the ILWU in 1989 and has held numerous leadership roles, including three terms as president of Local 13.

In 1991, Olvera took a leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. In addition to his work as a labor leader and his military service, Olvera has served on the boards of the Miguel Contreras Advocacy Foundation and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Labor Community Services. He is also a former member of the Long Beach Economic Development Commission. Appointed to the Harbor Commission in 2020, Olvera was elected as vice president of the board in July 2022.

Under the City Charter, the board sets policy for the port and directs the port’s CEO, who leads about 530 employees in developing and promoting the Port of Long Beach.


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