Toren Smith is President of Studios Proteus and one of the people who was pivotal in the way manga
was brought to the US. He has lived in Japan
(and is married to Tomoko Saito a Japanese manga artist).
Toren looks for eligable comics in Japan and then arbitrates between the Japanese and US publishers. Studio Proteus also has the talent to translate and touch up the manga. It was thanks to the integrity and perseverance of Toren that material like "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind", "Appleseed", "Outlanders", and "Oh My Goddess!" are available in the US.
Toren was immortalised by Gainax as a character in their galaxy shattering (literally) anime GunBuster. Apparently he was living with some of the people working on the anime at the time and they thought it would be fun to put him so that they could then kill him off (gotta love those crazy anime guys).
Toren was also instrumental in getting permission for the creation of a "Dirty Pair" comic book in the US (there is not one in Japan). Originally he wrote it with Adam Warren though Adam has taken over all the creative tasks in recent series.
Toren has voice-acted in some anime, and has apparently even worked as a cel painter to help make a deadline.