LATAA 2012 BOD Nominees

LATAA 2012 BOD Nominees. Come to our general elections on Sunday, February 5th, 2012 to vote for the new LATAA Board of Directors for a fresh start to the year.

LATAA 2012 BOD Nominees

2011 was a very successful year for LATAA. We offered you monthly social networking events, various concerts by local Turkish musicians, a Turkish school, student outreach events, picnics, and a biweekly newsletter keeping you up-to-date with local Turkish events. We celebrated all Bayrams together and raised money for Van victims. Would you like to influence who continues LATAA’s legacy in 2012?

Come to our general elections on Sunday, February 5th, 2012 to vote for the new LATAA Board of Directors for a fresh start to the year.

Sunday, February 5th, 2012
Burton Chace Park
13650 Mindanao Way
Marina Del Rey, CAVoting Details

– You must be a LATAA member to vote. Becoming a member now takes only 5 minutes with our easy online LATAA Membership Form. Or, you can sign up in person at the event (please bring cash or checks).

– If you are unable to come to the elections, you can fill a proxy form and give voting rights to a friend. Download the Proxy Form Here.

Interested Candidates

There are 9 open positions for the LATAA Board.

– The condition to be eligible to be a candidate for the LATAA BOD positions is to be “having paid the current 2012 and last 2011 years membership dues”. Of course being an outstanding member of the community is also considered highly.

– If you are interested in joining the LATAA Board, e-mail your nomination to [email protected] and [email protected] with the following information: a short bio, why you are a good nominee for the LATAA Board, and a picture.

– Encourage your friends to become LATAA members so they can come to the elections (or send proxies) and vote for you.

We will continue to accept nominations through election day. You can also nominate yourself or someone else at the election event. Below are the current nominees in alphabetical order by last name.

Zafer Acar

Harun Diri

Mahmut Ekenel

Originally from Nigde, Turkey, I’ve been living in the U.S.A for last 13 years. I am a Civil Engineer with a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering and a licensed Professional Engineer. I am currently working for a research center conducting research on Building Codes. I was the president of the Turkish Student Association at the Southern Illinois University for one term (2000), and vice-president of the Turkish Student Association at the University of Missouri-Rolla for two terms (2002-2003). I am an active member and social activities volunteer for LATAA in 2006, and from 2009 to 2012. I was an active member and social activities volunteer for OCTAA between 2007-2008. I am also the co-founder of Los Angeles based group Turkish Construction Professionals in Southern California, which has had 5 meetings and two technical seminars since January 2011.

Yasemin Elmas

I was born in Ezine, Canakkale. I acquired my Bachelor’s degree in Communications at Anadolu University Communications Faculty and my Master’s degree in Human Resources Management and Development at Marmara University, Social Sciences Institute, in Türkiye.

I currently work at the Theabridge Group as General Manager and Consultant and have 16 years of experience in business management, start-ups, US immigration, business development, and marketing both from Türkiye and the United States. I am also a professional Mediator certified by the Los Angeles County Bar Association in 2001 and has had trainings and volunteer work with the Dispute Resolution Program of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

In addition to my professional background, I volunteered my time with various nonprofit organizations in both Türkiye and Los Angeles. I was involved with human rights and women rights organizations in Türkiye, working on issues such as domestic violence, forced marriages, dowries, and discrimination against women in the workplace and in family law and in Los Angeles working on issues related to immigration. I have been committed to deepening the social and cultural connections between Türkiye and the United States. I served and co-founded on the boards and have been a member of several nonprofit community organizations in both Türkiye and Los Angeles.

Murat Meşe

Murat was born in Bursa, Turkey. After graduating from Bursa Science High School, he got his B.Sc in Electrical Engineering from Bilkent University in 1996, M.Sc in Electrical Engineering from California Institute of Technology in 1997, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from California Technical Institute in 2001. He specializes in signal, image and, video processing, communication theory, systems, and implementation, control theory, statistics and data processing, and has published numerous papers and patents in his field.

After graduation, he joined and worked on Sequoia Communications 3G cell phone transceiver design until 2004. Then Murat continued his career at Qualcomm for two years designing 4G cell phone systems and has been working for Broadcom since 2006 as Senior Principal Engineer specializing in wireless connectivity and cellular systems.

Murat is a self-starter, he started numeruous companies, including where he implemented new phones / phone card services during his career at this company. Murat is skeptical and promotes networking across different disciplines. He was the president of Turkish Student Association at California Technical Institute between 1997 and 2001 and continues to be active within Turkish community, organizing and supporting various events and organizations.

Ahmet Önerbay

Ahmet Onerbay was born on October 19th 1979, in Giresun, Turkey. After graduating from High School he was accepted to Istanbul University in 1997 and graduated from History department in 2001. The same year he moved to New York and got accepted to City University of New York in 2002, finished his Master’s Degree in Political Science in 2005.

After moving to California he also finished the “Strategy and Leadership” Extension Program at the Chapman University in 2009.
He has managed several different companies and he is currently the Vice-President of a large corporation in Los Angeles. He also still enlightens the Turkish community with his columns at

He has written many columns for major magazines and online resources and also given many speeches about Turkish History and International Policies in many states. He has been very active in the community since his High School years; volunteered at the “Egitim Gonulluleri Vakfi, Turk Hava Kurumu, World Health Organization, Amnesty International and Los Angeles Turkish American Association.”

Ahmet Onerbay is currently an Executive Committee Member at the LATAA.

He speaks Turkish, English and Spanish fluently.

Tuncer Toprakçı

I am originally from Izmir and have been living in the Los Angeles area since January 1969, with the exception of three years (1976-1979), when I lived in Turkey. I am a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), where I graduated with honors, earning both a B.S. and a Masters degree from the Civil Engineering department. I also taught classes for USC’s Department of Civil Engineering for over 8 years.

Since my arrival in California in 1969, and following 1½ years at Pasadena Community College (PCC), I lead the efforts to form a Turkish Folk Dance Group, and participated in seminars and International Festivals to promote Turkish culture and history, along with my other Turkish friends. In addition, my friends and I formed the first ever soccer team at PCC, in order to promote understanding between the international students and the American students and faculty.

I have very valuable leadership qualities, which I gained while I was the President of the International Students Association and a member of the PCC Student Body Council. Additionally, I was the President of the USC student chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers. I have gained great experience in the application of Robert’s Rules that must be followed during organizational meetings. As a practicing Professional Engineer, I have had the honor of mentoring many young engineers, and I have been a Vice President at two of the oldest Structural Engineering companies in Los Angeles, prior to forming my own firm. I have gained great experience in leadership and executive activities in these positions.

After continuing my support of Turkish – American affairs in the background, I have now decided to increase my involvement by seeking a position on the LATAA BOD. Currently I am a member of LATAA, and I am an active member of the Turkish Construction Professional Association. My wife and I have been active with the Children’s Day picnic and we have been involved in various Turkish functions.

I am interested in contributing to the Turkish – American community more actively since I am now semi-retired and have more available time. I am a devoted follower of the Atatürk’s ideals and believer of the secular Republic of Turkey, with great respect to all religious beliefs.

I strongly believe that my many years of experience in executive positions and my detailed knowledge of the Robert’s Rules for meetings will be beneficial to our organization.

I hope that you will find me worthy of a position on the LATAA BOD and vote for me in person or through a proxy on 5 February 2012.
I wish all the other nominees the best of luck and send you all my deepest regards.

Güven Uzun

Dear LATAA Members:

I would like to announce my candidacy for board of director of LATAA and introduce myself to the members. I am a physician born and raised in Turkey. I received my medical degree from Ege University School of Medicine in Izmir, Turkey in 1989. I continued my medical specialty training at major medical institutions in the US including Emory University, Columbia University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Tufts New England Medical Center. I am the author of numerous scientific publications. I am currently president and CEO of the Beverly Hills Pain Institute and Neurology in Beverly Hills where I have been in practice for the last ten years. I hold Board Certification from the American Academy of Neurology and Psychiatry and am affiliated with the major medical centers in West Los Angeles. I am a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Heart Association Stroke Council. My resume and further qualifications are attached. I am also the father of four young children. It is, of course, for all of our youngsters that the role of Turkey in the world in general and Turkish-American relations in particular are of the utmost importance. In particular my management skills may be more helpful in this development of this organization.

I am aware of the rules and regulations regarding board member requirements. I feel that we need dynamic and new people that can lead us on from where Mr. Mese has so gracefully brought us.

I would like to promote a pragmatic, functional, organization that will help the new generation achieve success. I believe our organization will benefit from becoming more business oriented and by promoting ongoing cultural activities.

I would engage other Turkish organizations in the US as well as other parts of world. I would plan bi-annual and annual international seminars about Turkey and Tukish businesses around the world and work to increase communication between Turks around the world.

I would also work closely with ongoing “think tank” group with individuals in the US and around the world to help guide Turkey’s future independent of governmental and political organizations. I believe being a LATAA board of directors will be very unique and will help us to overcome the many challenges of Turkish people living outside our nation of origin.

Melike Yersiz

I have been a very active member of the LATAA sub-committees in the past year. In 2011, I began to prepare LATAA newsletters every other week to increase visibility around all Turkish events in Southern California. Then, I helped upgrade the website to the new template and unofficially took over the primary webmaster role. I created the online membership page so that people would no longer have to mail in membership forms. I created the LATAA School webpage. I volunteered to do all of these things from my personal passion to improve LATAA. I still have many more ideas I have yet to implement.

In 2012, I would like to be an official board member so I can continue to improve LATAA and serve the Turkish American community in Southern California through LATAA. I have very much enjoyed working with fellow volunteers in LATAA, ATASC, and sister chapters so far.

I was born in Istanbul and moved to Los Angeles with my parents when I was 7 years old. I grew up in Santa Monica and went to MIT for college. There I double majored in Chemical Engineering and Music. Currently, I work as a process engineer in a local oil refinery and am pursing my Master’s in Chemical Engineering at USC. In my spare time I enjoy making music and websites.

Merve Yurdacan

After graduating from Beykent College, I got my B.S degree in Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering from Yeditepe University. I also studied at the California State University, East Bay as an exchange student in Chemistry and Engineering department.

I am currently a third year PhD student in the department of Chemistry and the Head Teaching Assistant of General Chemistry division at the University of Southern California. I specialize in polymer synthesis; perfluorocarbon polymers; optical, mechanical, surface and thermal properties of polymers and nanomaterials; nanoindentation and microscopy imaging.

I am also an active member of USC TURKSA, Turkish Student Association. I believe I will be a good candidate for LATAA BOD position since I am always very ambitious about providing a better understanding between Turkish and American cultures. I always try to enlighten Americans and other cultures about our culture and I would like to take one step forward by being a more active individual as a part of LATAA BOD. As an individual who takes part of many team projects and leadership positions, I believe I will be a good team member to promote our beautiful country and culture.