November 22, 2004

Gary Bombalicki


Gary Bombalicki juggles a busy business schedule with work for the Mission College Foundation.

A wide variety of careers can be found on Gary Bombalicki’s resume: Sous chef…radio disk jockey...cable television sales entrepreneur.

And, he is president of the Los Angeles Mission College Foundation.

It takes a lot of energy to pursue the paths that Bombalicki has followed, and he brings that drive to his role as head of the 12-member college support group. In his fifth year as president, Bombalicki said he would like to bring more consistency to the group’s fundraising efforts.

"I’ve seen years when all we raised was $1,000 and years when we went well over $20,000," he said. "From this point on, I’d like to see us get better and better at it every year."

About a year ago, Bombalicki launched a new business, IQ West. It offers business executives a software program that allows them to instantly view their company’s financial situation and create any number of "what if" scenarios. To date, the venture has been successful. Bombalicki believes he can apply his skills as IQ West’s national marketing arm to the benefit of Mission College.

"With Proposition A and AA, we expect to put up several new buildings at Mission College, but they’re not going to have anything in them," he said. "One of my goals is to get the Foundation to convince local businesses to furnish the buildings or equip them with modern learning tools."

Bombalicki, himself a community college graduate, believes strongly in the role that community colleges play in providing quality, affordable educational opportunities. It’s the reason why he’s been on the Foundation board since 1999.

Bombalicki and the other Foundation members are extremely pleased with their latest accomplishment: providing funds to allow the LRC Library to expand the hours it is open to students. On Monday through Thursday, the library now opens at 8 a.m. (instead of 11 a.m.), allowing students to do research in the mornings before their classes begin.

His other Foundation goals include creating a new Foundation scholarship to award to a continuing Mission College student. The Foundation already matches scholarship grants given to Mission College by TELACU (The East Los Angeles Community Union) and CompuCredit.

A former ‘jock’ on KROQ in L.A., Bombalicki still does a weekly show for Albuquerque station KDSK.
[ Photo courtesy of KDSK ]

Among the many Foundation activities, Bombalicki admits a preference to those that involve culinary themes, like the annual Food and Wine Festival. Understandable, for someone who, right out of high school, worked his way from apprentice to one of Cleveland’s leading chefs to sous chef and soucier. Those skills brought him to Los Angeles, where he worked at country clubs, and ultimately embarked on new careers in radio, the cable television industry, and direct mail marketing.

Does he ever take any time for himself?

Once a week, he pauses to do something he loves: hosting an “oldies” show on Albuquerque station KDSK. Bombalicki does his part of the program on a remote from Ventura. For 10 years in Los Angeles, he did fill-in shifts at radio station KROQ and never lost the bug for being on the air.

“Once the mike is turned on, you become a different person. I love doing it. It’s great fun.”

– BY EDUARDO PARDO / Photos: Lydia Chung