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ORANGE COUNTY STYLE : 10 TO WATCH : These dynamic achievers are on the move and making their mark

October 04, 1987

Gaddi H. Vasquez, the first Latino to serve on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, is young and enthusiastic, a Republican leader with impressive credentials.

"My career has been a resume preparing me for this job," says the newest supervisor, representing the east county. Gov. George Deukmejian apparently thought so, too, when he named Vasquez in March to the 3rd District seat on the nonpartisan board left vacant by Bruce Nestande's resignation.

Vasquez was a police officer in Orange for five years and then a community-relations officer for the City of Riverside. He was a county supervisor's aide in 1980-84, and for three of those years was also a city planning commissioner in Orange. He worked in Deukmejian's gubernatorial campaigns and in early 1985 began commuting from his Mission Viejo home to Sacramento, where he was on the governor's staff, first as Latino liaison officer, then in the appointments department.

"What's exciting about Orange County is that the median age is 30, 31," says Vasquez, "33. "As a young supervisor, I represent not only a large portion of the county, but contemporaries. It's just tremendous to have a chance to help map out the county's future. I never want to become an ivory tower leader." His immediate goal is to prevent construction of a 6,000-bed jail in his district, slated to open in 1999.

Vasquez won't talk about his own political future. But at a time when the other four Republicans on the supervisorial board are probably at the peak of their careers, Vasquez is only beginning to make his mark.

Janet Evans is a girl who has FAST written all over her--and not merely because of her royal-blue swimsuit bears the acronym of the Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team.

Barely 5-foot-4 and 95 pounds, Evans a 16-year-old from Placentia, has been likened to a tiny wind-up toy. Before the 800-meter freestyle event at last year's Goodwill Games in Moscow, some chunky Soviet swimmers took one look at their wisp-like U.S. rival and burst into belly laughter.

Evans beat them all. "After the 800, they weren't laughing," she says. And the fastest American is even speedier now.

Evans' diminutive stature leaves her behind the others after the starting dive. But her strokes are so swift and so powerful hat she often stands waiting full seconds at the finish line for a runner-up to arrive. When Evans smashed a record held by Olympic gold medalist and U.S. record holder Tracy Caulkins, her coach said the teen-ager was swimminga full year ahead of schedule. Caulkins herself told Evans: "Brush up your butterfly and backstroke and you could have it all."

She nearly does. Swimming at the U.S. Longcourse Nationals in July, Evans set a new world's record of 8:22.44 for the 800-meter freestyle, shaving more than two seconds off the standing nine-year record.

Wind up the toy and watch her go for the gold at the 1988 Olympics.

Count the new buildings going up on the Cal State Fullertoncampus. Compute the increase in private donations to the school. Tally its rising number of active alumni. And keep your eye on the dynamic young administrator behind the expansion--ANTHONY A. MACIAS, vice president for university relations and development.

The charismatic Macias, 39, was hired away from Stanford three years ago to beef up fund raising and community relations at Orange County's largest four-year institution. In that short time, annual private donations to the university have risen from about $200,000 to close to $3 million, and the number of alumni addresses in the university data base has quadrupled. A privately funded building, the Continuing Learning Experience's Gerontology Center, is under construction on the campus.

No one would have expected less from Macias, whose signature is achievement. Both cerebral and fit--he is a member of the California Bach Society and a weightlifter--Macias is a graduate of Stanford and of Harvard Law School. He worked as an attorney in Chula Vista before joining Stanford's legendary fund-raising team in 1978.

Born and reared in Ventura County, Macias speaks proudly of his Mexican-American origins. "Being of Hispanic background means many things," he says. "It means understanding both sides of cultural issues. It means knowing what it's like to live on the periphery of the mainstream."

Now very much in the mainstream, Macias is a man who translates that knowledge into action.

Not long ago medical researchers believed it hopeless to dream of repairing the intricate network of brain cells once any part had been damaged by disease or injury.

Then along came CARL W. COTMAN and a number of neuroscientists who are convinced that the day is near when certain brain functions may be restored to thousands of paraplegics, victims of strokes and Alzheimer's disease and others with brain damage. That day drew closer when the 47-year-old UC Irvine researcher discovered that the brain orders healthy nerve cells to generate new sprouts to make up for those that die.

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