Ray Andazola takes over as Rotary president

DOWNEY - Ray C. Andazola started working for McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) as a timekeeper in 1965. He would work for the aircraft manufacturer "in various other accounting capacities" for the next 24 years.During the last five to six years of his near-quarter century of service there, he worked in project management for the implementation of the cost schedule control system for the giant firm's C-17 program, which was in the news just a few days ago. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Long Beach facility, which has been producing the four-engine cargo jet known as the C-17 Globemaster III that "can take off and land quickly despite its massive size," faces a shutdown because of dwindling orders (although efforts are being made to keep the assembly line going). Andazola, who was born in Silver City, New Mexico of parents who came from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, says he was already married and working at McDonnell-Douglas when he was going to Cal State Long Beach for his BS in accounting degree. "I worked, and went to school part-time," he says. He obtained his degree in 1972. Following graduation, he also attended advanced tax classes at UCLA. Always wanting to be "on my own," Andazola became self-employed in 1989, renting office space for his firm, Andazola Financial Services, Inc., on Paramount Boulevard in Downey. He experienced a fuller realization of his dream when he bought his own office building in 2003 at the near intersection of Florence and Downey avenues. He has since seen his tax preparation/bookkeeping and financial advice business prosper through good and rough times, on the strength of referrals mostly. The La Mirada resident has a current staff of three. There's an "EA" attached to his name. It means Enrolled Agent, someone sanctioned by the IRS as knowledgeable in all facets of taxation and thus licensed to prepare tax forms for clients. As a financial advisor, he says that, in addition to dispensing wisdom using the standard financial planning canon, he also has an insurance license by which he can advise clients on such financial instruments as, for instance, what he refers to as variable annuities with living and death benefits. "As a financial advisor," he says, "we offer investment options as well as manage emotions." He has three daughters (his wife passed away in August 2010): Carolyn, the oldest, has a degree from UCLA and is a paralegal with a legal firm in Irvine. The second daughter, Kathy, a graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a major in accounting, is an accountant and a financial advisor at Andazola Financial Services and has two children of her own-daughter Raquel, who just turned 14 last July 4, while son Jacob turns 12 "in less than two weeks." His third daughter, Alicia, an English teacher at Santa Fe High School, whose husband, Juan, works at Andazola Financial Services as well and is currently pursuing an accounting degree at Cal Poly Pomona. Andazola has two living siblings: a retiree brother who used to work as an assayer at the mines in Silver City, NM and a sister who resides in Hacienda Heights. A brother died just last year. Andazola was installed as the new president of the Rotary Club of Downey on July 3, succeeding Our Lady of Perpetual Help's Diane Davis. As the latest in a long line of Downey Rotary presidents, Andazola says the club plans to put added emphasis during his tenure on boosting club membership as well as engaging the energies of youth and young adults in such leadership development activities as InterAct, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Exchange, and other Rotary-inspired service projects. All this is in addition, he says, to the standard avenues of service along whose lines the Rotary has been built over the years: club service ("focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club"), vocational service ("encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards"), community service ("covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community"), and international service ("encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary's humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace")-implemented through various functional committees. . His board of directors, which represents a wide cross section of professions, businesses and service institutions, includes: Paul Velasco, president elect; Larry Garces, vice president; Tom Hutchinson, treasurer; Paul Mathys, treasurer co-chair; Patricia Megallon, secretary; community service, Larry McGrew; community service co-chair, Dale Self; vocational services, Manny Castro; club service, Alex Lopez; international service, Vahid Babaeian; new generations, Lorraine Neal; Rotary Foundation, Ray Brown; membership, Kevin MacDonald; membership co-chair, Raul Lopez; public relations, Larry Garces; Hub Bub editor, Dan Fox; and past president, Diane Davis. Andazola definitely falls under the category of the strong-and-silent type. You wouldn't suspect he's an avid golfer. "I've been playing golf for a long time," he says, harking back to his Western High School days in the late 50s at Silver City, NM. At one point he says he later rated a 14-handicap over at Industry Hills. Among golf aficionados, this is considered a strong rating since the Industry Hills course is a tough one. He says he follows all sports but especially UCLA football because of his and Carolyn's connection to the Westwood seat of learning. With their season tickets, daughter and dad seldom fail to attend UCLA football games. He reads everything, he says, adding that he recently finished reading "Team of Rivals," a book of presidential history by Doris Kearns Goodwin which he enjoyed immensely. Meanwhile he revealed that he has been taking private guitar lessons from "an accomplished musician and Downey resident, Jorge Argelagos" for quite some time now. He says for a reasonable fee, he might be persuaded at some future time ("When I'm ready") to play the instrument to entertain the Rotary Club.

********** Published: July 19, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 14