S PonTell  
Steve PonTell
BOARD  Member  


Steve PonTell joined The California Endowment’s board of directors in July 2011.

PonTell, a resident of Ontario, CA, is the president of the La Jolla Institute, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan, institution for policy research, education and economic development. The Institute focuses on advancing understanding of the critical elements necessary for both communities and corporations to achieve long‐term economic competitiveness.

Prior to his current positions, PonTell was involved in the start‐up and management of a number of entrepreneurial ventures in the Inland Empire. He was also a co‐founder and served as a consultant for @Work Consulting Group, a consulting company focused on improving the performance of its national
and international clients through the integration of technology, work practice and architecture. PonTell also served from 1993‐1996 as the California Director for the Center for the New West, a think tank founded in 1989 with the stated mission to provide a platform for Western State leaders of business, government, education and civic institutions to address, regional, national and global problems and to develop practical solutions.

His passion for economic and community development was kindled in the first decade of his career serving as CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Council (1989‐1993), the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (1987‐1989), and the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce (1985‐1987). PonTell also served as the assistant to the city manager for Economic Development for the City of Big Bear Lake (1983‐1985).

He has a history of working with thought leaders from around Southern California on big‐picture issues such as the evolution of suburbia, the changing nature of work and the emerging creative economy. He is not strictly an economist, charting the economic development of the region, he is an economic developer, helping public and private entities understand contemporary issues and trends and how they can best prepare themselves to work within those new realities.

PonTell also serves on a number of nonprofits’ board of directors, including Vice Chairman of the Children’s Fund, a public/private partnership founded to bridge the gap between the needs of children in San Bernardino County and services available through government programs. He is also Vice chairman of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, on the board of the Leonard Transportation Center at Cal State San Bernardino and a member of the Urban Land Institute and the American Planning Association, and has presented at numerous conferences.