[KHTS] – The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated 90 years of service Friday night during its annual installation and recognition banquet.
Chamber CEO Terri Crain said the banquet was a sell-out, with about 365 people packing the Hyatt Regency in Valencia for dinner, awards and laughs.
“The event was amazing. All the business award winners were surprised and very grateful,” Crain said. “(Assemblyman) Scott Wilk and (State Sen.) Steve Knight did a great job swearing in the 2014 board and executive committee. They were very funny.”
Four businesses won awards for their involvement in the community.
Michael Asmar, operations manager at Joie de Vivre Photographie, took home the Small Business of the Year award because he has reached out to the community, volunteered his time and photographed many chamber events and ribbon cuttings, Crain said.
Nancy Starczyk, Dana Cop, Sue Nevius
Two businesses shared the Medium Business of the Year award, designated for a company with 10 to 40 employees.
One, Mission Valley Bank, is a big supporters of SCV nonprofits and gives scholarship money, including $1,000 to different charities on its 10th anniversary, Crain said.
The other was Persia Restaurant, which is always the first to step up and cater chamber events, Crain said.
“They’ve really come on the scene the last few years and done a great job marketing themselves,” Crain said. “They really show how a business can grow by being part of the community.”
Located at 27600 Bouquet Canyon Road, Persia will soon open a restaurant in Old Town Newhall.
Winning the Large Business of the Year award was Chiquita Canyon Landfill, for its generous donations and environmentally friendly business model, Crain said.
“They are a shining example of community stewardship and responsible business ownership,” she said.
Completing his year as chairman of the board board chair, Fred Arnold of American Family Funding was lauded for revamping the SCV Leadership Academy, Crain said.
Chris Kaub won the Special Achievement award.
The first crop of students graduated during the banquet; they learned about Santa Clarita business planning, taxes, marketing, government, what it takes to be a City Council member, and how the local education system works.
Jim Backer, head of JSB Development, was welcomed as the 2014 board chair and said his primary goal is focusing on membership growth.
Dana Cop received the Chairman’s Award for her support of Arnold and her continual involvement in Santa Clarita.
“She was a great mentor for him, and she’s just larger than life in this community,” Crain said. “We really love her, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than her.”
Chris Kaub was the winner of the Special Acheivement award, while Rochelle Randall and Jack Puckett tied for Ambassador of the Year.