Past and present leaders of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce remembered one of their own this week, celebrating the life and contributions of Viki Rudolph Black.
Widely known as Viki Rudolph, she served as president of the chamber from 1981 to 1995. Rudolph, who died Dec. 30 at the age of 91, was remembered at an annual gathering of past chairs of the chamber’s board of directors.
“Viki was a true visionary,” said Jim Backer, CEO of JSB Development and 2014 chamber chairman. “I still support Teacher Tribute and many other projects she started. She embodied the chamber for me.”
John Musella, incoming chair, said, “Our chamber stands on the shoulders of giants, and Viki Rudolph was among the greats.”
Current chamber president Lois Baucchio agreed. “It’s hard to follow in her footsteps. She paved the way for much of the economic development that’s taken place in the Santa Clarita Valley. She was a strong advocate for business and for the entire community.”
Rudolph was hailed as one of the major forces in Santa Clarita’s emergence as a city and as a business-friendly community.
Under her leadership, the chamber, which traces its roots to 1923, organized the Film Bureau and Tourism Bureau, the Business Expo, Teacher Tribute, and the Outlook Conference, among other major projects supporting business.
For the first seven years of her tenure as president, the chamber was located in the historic Pardee House in Newhall. In 1987 the chamber moved to the building that would become City Hall.
“She was an amazing mentor to us all in those formational days of the Valencia business community,” said Marlee Lauffer, CEO of the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, and chamber chairwoman in 1992-93.
Rudolph’s husband, Walter Black, died in 2010. She is survived by sons Alan and Peter Rudolph.