Laurie Brandt Honored as South Bay Woman of the Year

For nearly two decades Switzer Learning Center has honored women who have made significant contributions to the South Bay through their work in the community. This year was no exception, as the Center honored four incredibly dedicated, hard working, innovative and generous women who have left indelible marks in our area.

The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates Laurie Brandt, co-proprietor of Red Car Brewery & Restaurant and Chairwoman of the Board for the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce, on being named one of this year’s “Women of the Year.” Brandt has been an enthusiastic partner in her role as this year’s TACC Board Chair and for several years prior as an active participant in Chamber community. She and her husband Bob have donated food, beer and services for a multitude of non-profit organizations in the South Bay throughout their 17 years in business. Laurie has truly committed to giving back to her community; which she thanks for supporting her family owned and operated business in the heart of Downtown Torrance. She states, “It is my mission to put the unity in our community.” The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to have Laurie as this year’s Chairwoman of the Board and congratulates her on this honor.

Brandt accepts this year’s award in exceptional company. Additional 2018 award recipients are: Supervisor Janice Hahn, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 4th District; Lea Ann King, founder and coordinator of the Visions of Unity Arts Contest; and Jill Smisek Maroney, Office Manager for Linda Schack, MD, Torrance Historical Society President.

The list of past honorees includes the TACC’s own President & CEO, Donna Duperron and a multitude of Chamber members, community leaders and champions for making Torrance a more wonderful place to live, work and play.

To view the full list of past honorees, click here.

About Switzer Learning Center:

Switzer Learning Center began as the South Bay Center for Educational Therapy in a leased storefront in Hermosa Beach in 1966. Offering an innovative educational therapy program to a few students with learning disabilities, founder Dr. Janet Switzer’s after-school educational therapy became a groundbreaking model for working with children with learning and emotional problems. In 1972, services were expanded to include a nonprofit, nonpublic, special education school; and the new Switzer Center moved to Torrance.

Executive Director, Dr. Rebecca Foo, expanded services to include a nonpublic agency and psychological services under the new name Switzer Center School and Clinical Services after Dr. Switzer retired in 1994. With the move to a new custom-built campus in Fall 2005, Switzer Learning Center almost tripled in space, allowing for more students and services in their Heritage School Program. To serve the needs of students with moderate to severe autism, the Spectrum Program began in 2006, and the Self Advocacy and Independent Living (SAIL) Transition Program was added in 2012.

The Center has a highly respected history of more than 50 years of working with children who have been unsuccessful in traditional classrooms because they need the special attention and encouragement that only a school like Switzer can provide. In a caring, supportive, and individualized academic program, students learn to develop their strengths, accommodate their weaknesses, and build upon their successes – one step at a time. Switzer Learning Center has helped thousands of students of all ages and learning abilities achieve their academic and personal goals that were unattainable in conventional academic settings. To learn more, please visit

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