Though its civic namesake resides just slightly to the north, the Los Angeles Transportation Club has made Long Beach its business-activity hub for decades. Since the transportation-industry non-profit was founded in 1924, it has found a logical home in the rich aerospace, rail, shipping and maritime histories of the City by the Sea.
In addition to the multitude of businesses that LATC engages with as it provides networking, learning and sharing opportunities for those involved in transportation, the group has also been deeply entrenched with Cal State Long Beach, one of the country's only schools to offer degrees specific to its industry. And as part of LATC's philanthropic arm—which works with everyone from City of Hope hospital to Boy Scouts of America—the group awards various scholarships to worthy recipients each year.
Newer, however, is the Los Angeles Transportation Club Endowment, which was created five years ago as a way to continue to give back to CSULB and the transportation industry for years to come.
"We’re a logistics and transportation club and the neat thing about Cal State Long Beach is that they actually have a department that’s geared specifically toward our industry," said Robert Thornburgh, a former LATC president who sits on the endowment's advisory council, "so it's just a perfect alliance because so many great students come out of there."
The longevity of LATC is visible in the continued presence of past Presidents such as Thornburgh and is a testament to the club's focus on not just its members, but also the entirety of the Southern California community in which it resides. Never without a diverse calendar of events, LATC knows that in an industry so indellibly connected to everyday life in the region, it takes more than just networking functions to support the future of transportation.
"We are all aware of what networking could do for our individual careers, but I think there’s also a real sense of fulfillment for being involved with the organization in great part, because of its focus on philanthropy and scholarships," said Thornburgh. "This is an organization that has always given back to the community and it is evident in everything the LATC does."
None of the group's community efforts would be possible, though, without fundraising events such as LATC's Annual Transportation Night, held at Knott's Berry Farm every September. Now in its 51st year, the Transportation Night allows supporters to purchase a discounted theme park admission with all the proceeds benefitting the LATC Endowment at Cal State Long Beach.
"Every year, seemingly more and more people become interested in transportation," said Thornburgh. "We are a non-profit, so the money we make funds the organization and provides opportunities for future partners in the industry."
LATC's Annual Transportation Night at Knott's Berry Farm will take place September 14 from 7PM to 1AM. Tickets are $30 (including parking) and can be purchased through LATC's website.