Ventura County Star: Chamber Honors Oxnard’s BestMay 27, 2008
Chamber Honors Oxnard’s Best
Oxnard Chamber of Commerce
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2008 Community and Business Awards. The selection committee met on May 13 and poured over a record number of nominations. “The participation of the community in submitting numerous, quality nominations was magnificent,” remarked
Community & Business Awards Committee Chair Patty Paumier. “The selection committee deliberated long and hard to narrow it down to the respective recipients.”
If you have been anywhere around Downtown Oxnard in the past 20 years, you will recognize the infectious smile and gregarious personality of the 2008 Distinguished Citizen of the Year, Pablo Ortiz. He is the face of the annual Salsa Festival as he is the master of ceremonies and the chairman of the event. He
has lent his expertise to the Downtown Oxnard Merchants Association and the Downtown Oxnard Management District through service on their boards of directors and marketing committee. His professional career has provided him with great success in cable, radio and television. The Oxnard community is truly blessed to have such an ardent supporter and promoter.
The Chamber was fortunate to coerce Patrick Mullin to serve as its Chairman of the Board in 2007. He is a very busy man! As a result of his involvement in the community, he has been named the 2008 Man of the Year. Patrick serves or has served on the Strawberry Festival, Oxnard Chamber, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Rotary Club boards. He also serves on the advisory committee for the Hospitality School at Oxnard High School. Patrick is an active member of the Oxnard Ambassadors. He is well known in local charitable organization circles for his generosity in assisting with fundraising and events. One of the nomination submittals for Patrick read, “It takes most people a lifetime or generation of family ties to a community to contribute what Patrick has in his time as an Oxnard business person and resident.”
As a passionate supporter of Oxnard and its historical Downtown district, Michelle Kenney will receive the 2008 Woman of the Year award. Michelle has quite a long resume. She serves on the boards of directors for the Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau, Oxnard Downtowners, Oxnard Downtown Management District, and the Oxnard Republican Women’s Club. She is a longstanding member of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. In her efforts to promote our community, she has hosted numerous press trips in Oxnard over the past 25 years. Her financial and/or volunteer support has assisted the Kiwanis of Port Hueneme, Santa Clara High and Elementary Schools, Oxnard High School, Boys and Girls Club of Oxnard and Port Hueneme, Casa Pacifica, Oxnard Heritage Foundation, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Hollywood Beach School, and the Strawberry Festival.
St. John’s Regional Medical Center has been named the 2008 Large Business of the Year. Nobody likes to spend time in a hospital, but hundreds of Oxnard residents are thankful for the medical care they have received from St. John’s. Given the number of residents with no health insurance, the hospital becomes the caregiver of last resort for many families in the city, and last year St. John’s provided more than $8 million worth of uncompensated care to people in need. The hospital also supports many community education programs and specialty clinics for the under-served population in Oxnard. St. John’s is well known for its California Neuroscience Institute, which is one of the national centers of excellence for Parkinson’s Disease research and treatment; for its Caner Center, which is affiliated with UCLA; and its stellar record of performance in cardiac surgery, which elevated it to a Top Five position in the entire State of California.
The Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard is a small hotel with a big heart. As a result of its support of local service clubs, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Oxnard School District, local charities, and the Chamber of Commerce it is the 2008 Small Business of the Year. The hotel management encourages its staff to be active within the community, such as Kiwanis, Rotary and Soroptimist clubs. They also provide in kind donations and sponsorships for numerous Oxnard organizations. Within the arts community, the Courtyard has provided ongoing support as a major sponsor of the Elite Theatre, the Summer Concert Series at Heritage Square, and the Carnegie Art Museum. The hotel has also provided support to local festivals by supplying complimentary guest rooms for special guests at the Strawberry Festival, the Salsa Festival and the Air Show.
Congratulations to American Cleaners for being named the 2008 Downtown Business of the Year. Nothing says “Downtown” like the Behrens family name. Vince Behrens, the owner of American Cleaners is following in his father’s footsteps by working tirelessly to establish businesses and helping others to succeed. There have been very few activities, if any, that have not had American Cleaners and the Behrens family involved in them. Vince is the Chairman of the Oxnard Downtown Management District, an organization that should be extremely proud of its accomplishments. If by chance you haven not met Vince, you can see him on the stage for the Summer Concert Series at Heritage Square on Friday evenings through the season.
The 2008 Innovative Business of the Year is Meathead Movers. (Editor’s note: Naming a business “Meathead” is rather innovative in itself.) This company was founded on the principle to support athletes working their way through college in pursuit of their own American dream. They work hard, have fun, and serve the community by providing premium moving services as well as assisting victims of domestic violence with a fresh start in life. They treat their employees like a sports team, providing them with workout equipment, masseuses and chiropractors. Safety of their employees and their clients’ belongings is a number one priority. They offer some very innovative incentive benefits for their employees as well and pride themselves on their philanthropic beliefs.
The Ventura County Rescue Mission has been named the 2008 Service Organization of the Year. Starting out as the Oxnard Rescue Mission providing a small emergency shelter for homeless men, the organization has expanded to be the only year-round shelter for homeless men in the County. In addition, the Rescue Mission offers a year-round facility for women and children operating as the Lighthouse Women and Children’s Mission. Spend a little time at the Rescue Mission and you will be truly impressed with its operations. You may start with touring a clean, safe and organized residential facility that annually provides 37,635 nights of shelter; 39,589 hot showers and shaves; and 27,413 articles of clothing. Or, taste one of the 237,095 first class meals prepared annually in a professional kitchen by students of their culinary school. The management of the Rescue Mission should be applauded for its professional management, leadership and compassion.
The 2008 Community & Business Awards will be presented Friday, June 20 at the Residence Inn River Ridge. Reservations for the luncheon can be made via the Chamber’s website (OxnardChamber.org) or by calling the Chamber office at 805.983.6118.