“I have been a businessman on the corner of Orange Grove and Raymond since 1969 with my parents. Once you reach a certain level of success you have to give back to your community,” incoming Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Ishmael Trone said this week, as he readies for Friday night’s Installation.
Trone’s 49-year residency in Pasadena has cemented him as a long-time community member who has witnessed the city go through many economic transformations. He credits this longevity for fueling his overall mission and goals for the coming year as the Board Chair.
“Through the lens of being in this neighborhood and seeing the effects of our school district and the lack of employment, and the continuing escalation of crime among the young people, we have to focus on our young people, which are our future,” explained Trone.
Trone is owns F&M Business Solutions, which he took over from his parents. Established in 1969, it was originally a bail bonds company and is now a business solutions firm.
He also founded Unyque Realty, and in 2009 established a non-profit called Ideal Youth, which aims to educate students about workplace readiness.
“Growing up in a business household at a young age is why I believe in local hiring, local business preference and local purchasing,” explained Trone.
Trone was voted as the Chair-Elect last year with widespread support from fellow colleagues.
“He’s a both-feet-on-the-ground kind of guy and he has a clear vision of where we want to go,” said Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Paul Little.
Trone said that some of the biggest challenges he sees many of the city’s small business facing are lack of access to capital and the lack of resources for companies to learn how to conduct business over the web. Both can ultimately lead to bankruptcy.
“Most sales are taking place on the internet and a lot of small business owners, especially in Pasadena, have not converted their infrastructure to be competitive and conduct business in that manner,” explained Trone. “We’ve got to adapt with the technology in order to exist in this market.”
Trone’s business acumen and desire to keep Pasadena’s economy localized is a priority for the Chamber of Commerce.
“He has great business experience in regards to practical financial initiatives,” said Little.
Creating jobs and enhancing how businesses operate on every level in the modern day market are both of concern, according to Trone.
“Under my leadership as Chair for this year, the Chamber will be working to ensure that local development opportunities support our local companies,” said Trone.
“We need to be sure that our residents are prepared for the employment opportunities and are trained in specific skills,” he explained.
Trone’s longtime focus on youth employment will play a role in his administration.
“It’s important to develop ways in which we can provide resources for small business to help them create more jobs and work with PUSD to give young adults the opportunity to go to college or become a part of the 21st century workforce,” said Trone.
Trone is an active figure in providing job skill training through his Pasadena based organization Ideal Youth, whose mission is to educate students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through hands-on advanced job training and career internships.
“His enthusiasm and advocacy for young people and getting them familiar with the working work in the future aligns well with the mission of the Chamber of Commerce,” said Little.
PUSD received a grant last year for its College and Career Pathway program and partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to find companies to place high school students for internships and job shadowing.
The Chamber of Commerce established a program at Eliot Middle School two years ago that teaches sixth grade students the fundamentals of financial literacy in topics of budgeting, the stock market and cyber awareness.
Ultimately, Trone’s mission boils down to one thing.
“We’re not just talking about what should happen. We’re actually doing it,” said Trone.
The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the installation of Ishmael Trone and other new board members at 6 p.m. Friday at the Langham Huntington Hotel located at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave.
Corporate tables for the dinner are $1,750. Individual tickets to the Inaugural Gala are $175. Valet parking and a hosted cocktail reception are included.
For more information, call (626) 795-3355.