The WATB Group of Advisors & Consultants
Lawrence Hirson - Sr. Advisor & CEO of WATB Group
Since 2010, Lawrence has served as CEO of The WATB Group, which offers consultative management, sales and marketing expertise to businesses looking to achieve accelerated growth. He is also manager of WATB ISA, which makes select investments in public and private companies.
A seasoned entrepreneur, Lawrence brings to WATB clients nearly five decade of experience in finance, capital formation, startups, senior management, and shareholder value creation. Lawrence is known for his tremendous energy, enthusiasm and creative vision, along with a seasoned understanding of global markets and an extensive array of influential contacts from around the world.
Earlier in his career, he was co-founder and president of Protect-A-Bed, recognized as a worldwide leader in mattress protection innovation that he grew to $60 million in annual revenues in eight years. The company remains an industry leader to this day, with more than $100 million in annual revenues.
Alex Gerstenzang - Advisor, Retail Specialist
Alex is proven senior executive and company director, with more than 40 years of experience in corporate management, business development, branding, marketing, and retail merchandising. He is also president of DiMiSi, a consulting team devoted to retail and manufacturing launches, branding, communication and execution, and driving cutting-edge marketing excellence.
Prior to founding DiMiSi in 2009, he served as a senior executive at Target for 32 years, where we was responsible for the opening the the company's West Coast operations (California, Oregon, Arizona and Nevada). His responsibilities also included overseeing $11 billion in seasonal freight flow and the $4 billion divisions of Back to School, Halloween, Trim-a-Tree, Garden Place, Greeting Cards and others. He also covered numerous launches and merchandising categories for Target.
Earlier in his career, he was founder and president of Gerstenzang & Associate, based in Portland, Oregon, which consulted for Georgia Pacific, City of Portland, regional shopping centers and many retailers — servicing more than 80 accounts involving all phases of retailing. He also managed the east coast region for Paris Boutique Corporation.
Chris Najbicz - Advisor, Hospitality and Tourism
Chris Najbicz has more than 20 years in senior and executive level-positions for international enterprises. As an leading international hotelier, he possesses broad-based experience managing single and multi-site properties withassets exceeding US$2.5 billion.
Chris possesses a detailed and uncompromising approach to quality and standards. He has successfully opened and operated several integrated hotel and resort developments around the world, from South Africa and the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to North America and the Hawaiian Islands.
Given hisunderstanding of leading luxury and aspirational brands, trend setting design and creative concepts, in 2012 Chris was appointedexecutive VP of Warner Hospitality, a subsidiary of Warner Gaming, to lead the development and management of the modern lifestyle hotel group that caters to the discerning international traveler with a preference for ultra urban social environments.
Prior to joining Warner, Chris served as Chief Development Officer for WATB Group, and continues to offer his advise and guidance relatedto areas of expertise that includes business development, tourism, hospitality, marine, aviation, automotive, retail and technology.
Christina Shea - Advisor, Government Relations & Real Estate
Christina provides government relations for Kia Motors America, Hyundai Corporation, Phoenix Industries, Century 21 Professionals, and other business interests.
Shebegan her business career as the VP of business development for the family-owned business, Shea Auto Wash Consulting, in 1990. She transitioned to politics and served on the Irvine City Council from 1992 to 2010, and then as Mayor of Irvine from 1996 to 2000.
She was named one of Orange County’s ’Leaders of the Year’ by the California Women’s Leadership Association and featured as one of the ’Most Influential Women in Orange County’ by Orange County Metro Magazine. Christina Shea was recognized by our local assemblyman, Chuck DeVore, to be the 2008 Woman of the Year, for the Seventieth Assembly District.
Dedicated to sound fiscal responsibility for both the present and the future, Christina supports privatization and during her years as Mayor helped streamline Irvine’s municipal services and staff while maintaining high service levels. She has served on the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority, on the Board of Directors for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, on the board of directors for the Orange County Sanitation District, and as a member of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors, a billion dollar corporate project.
Christina Shea served and serves in numerous volunteer organizations, including the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, the Board of Directors for the Irvine Child Care Project and on the Advisory Board as past Capital Campaign Director for Human Option, as well as as an appointed representative to the OC Central Committee.