Photos courtesy Jeff Lui
It was more than just a night of bright lights and back-patting Friday, as the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated its members’ accomplishments with a gala dinner at the Valencia Hyatt Regency.
President CEO Terri Kingery (right)with Chamber board member Sue Nevius
Dedication to business in the face of a recession was awarded, as was one member’s efforts to honor a fallen Marine. Longevity and enthusiasm was also recognized and from accounts, a good time was had by all.
Awards were given out in several categories, including one that ranked the business not the size of their contributions, but the number of employees. Named Small Business of the Year was Steve’s Valencia Florist; Medium Business of the Year was SCV Bank and Large Business of the Year was Stay-Green Inc.
Receiving Special Achievement Awards for going above and beyond what is required of a “regular” Chamber member were Allen West and Joan Margolis-West of Margolis-West Graphics and long-time member (and former President) Kim Kurowski of A-1 Party and Balloons.
It was a tie for the title Ambassador of the Year, between Stu Blair (pictured at right) and Michael Remington (pictured below), and the Chairman’s Award went to Fred Arnold.
“The Chairman’s award was picked by our outgoing chamber chairman, John Shaffrey, at his own discretion,” explained Chamber event chair Laura Kirchhoff. “It can be for contributions to the chamber or something that benefited the entire community.”
In Arnold’s case, Shaffrey recognized his efforts to organize an “escort” of sorts for Army Sgt. Ian Gelig who was killed in Afghanistan. Thousands of people lined the route between the church where the young soldier’s services were held to Eternal Valley, where he was laid to rest.
Named 2010 Rookie of the Year was Stephen Youlios of Jersey Mike’s. The outgoing shop owner, who has been a member of the Chamber less than one year, has supported several charities as well as the local sheriff’s station, diving right into his community and, according to Kirchhoff, helping it “grow and succeed.”
Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were given out Friday night, to retired Chamber recruiter Carolyn Lodes and past President Connie Worden Roberts. The Chamber also honored Judy Cox, Marjanne Priest and Jane Bettancourt-Soto of the Betty Ferguson Foundation for their contributions to local youth.
After the awards were given out, there was some business to attend to – showing appreciation for 2010 Chairman John Shaffrey and welcoming 2011 Chairwoman Dana Cop to her new position. Also receiving a formal welcome was new President/CEO Terri Kingery, who returned to the community late last year.
The three joined 25 other business representatives doing the business of the Chamber on the Board, some of whom were sworn in that evening, including Greg Amsler, Chris Angelo, Jim Backer, Julie Benson, Hunt Braly, Scott Capistrano, Raj Chandani, Jason Crawford, Carlos Dominguez, Ana Frutos-Sanchez, Jon Gardner, Jeff Hacker, Mo Hafizi, Kris Hough, Bill Kennedy, Kim Kurowski, Marlee Lauffer, Dena Maloney, Dan Masnada, Dan McBrearty, Sue Nevius, Sue Reynolds, John Schleif and Morris Thomas.