2010 marks the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 91st fiscal year. Almost a century has passed which prompts us to reflect on how far we’ve come. I don’t know what those earlier times were like, but I know that the Chamber has made some tremendous leaps and bounds in keeping up with technological advances, economic demands and social trends over the years. We’ve even managed to remain steady and fiscally strong despite the recent hardships facing our state. A lot of our success can be attributed to the fine leadership we have within the Chamber starting with our President & CEO Bob Hatch, to our hardworking Staff, Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, Ambassadors and last, but absolutely not least, our membership. This dedicated, community-focused team makes it all happen. It is a pleasure to be a part of it.
It is in this spirit that we gather each August to honor outstanding members of our community, install new members to our board, recognize our outgoing board members, and celebrate the dawn of another year. On August 11, we held the 91st Annual Installation & Awards Dinner and it was a beautiful event. As usual we gathered at the Elks Lodge for a formal event hosted by Ed Murray (Morgan Stanley) with music and sound by A Class Act Entertainment and catered by the Elks. Guests gathered for cocktail hour to chat around the bar and then were ushered into the dining area at 7pm. With stunning arrangements of white orchids and lillys by Art of Flowers, elegant black and white table settings, and shimmery silver event programs and accents the mood was set beautifully.
We started off with the National Anthem which I had the pleasure to perform, followed by an Invocation by Pastor Dave Brogren (Heritage Evangelical Presbyterian Church) then Cindy McKellar (Your People Professionals) gracefully passed the torch to new Chairman of the Board Jason Diani (The Diani Companies) with a witty review of his Facebook page. Randy Wise (Straw Hat Pizza) was recognized and thanked for his 9 years on the board as his term has now ended. Next it was on the main event, the awards ceremony.
First up was Robert F. Grogan Award Honoree Trent Benedetti (CPA). Trent was honored for his many selfless contributions to our community serving on countless boards and volunteering for a plethora of community causes. Next came Business of the Year Okonite who employs over 150 people in their 440,000 square foot facility at the Santa Maria Airport where they manufacture wire and cable. They play a key economic role in Santa Maria. And our Citizen of the Year award went to James McGlothlin
(Quintron Sysstems, Inc.). Jim is CEO and one of the founders of Quintron. He was honored for his years of dedication to the community, helping others, volunteerism, and involvement with many area agencies and programs.
In addition to these honors, we also paid tribute to Ambassador of the Year Erika Weber (VTC Enterprises). Honoring Erika was a special occasion, as usually the Ambassador of the Year is voted on from quarterly award recipients based on attendance and involvement with the group. This year the Ambassadors overruled the protocol and unanimously opted to give the much-deserved award to their own Chief Ambassador, Erika. Erika has been chief now 5 years and with the club for over 7. Her leadership of the group has been outstanding. Under her guidance the group has grown, attendance has remained consistent and the members cohesive, dedicated and well representing our Chamber.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THESE VERY DESERVING HONOREES!
I would like to thank major sponsor The Diani Companies for making this event possible. Thanks also to our Silver Sponsors (Heritage Oaks Bank, Pacific Coast
Business Times, Santa Lucia Bank, Your People Professionals), Bronze Sponsors (Community Bank of Santa Maria, Dr. Jose Ortiz of Allan Hancock College, Premiere Auto Body, RaboBank, Rooney’s Irish Pub, Toyota/Honda of Santa Maria) and Table Sponsors (Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria, CoastHills Federal Credit Union, Elks Lodge #1538, and Santa Maria Valley Humane Society) We can’t do what we do without your support!