Richard Budman Signal Publisher/Owner, left , addresses the attendees at the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita's Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

SCV’s ‘51 Most Influential’ honored

Santa Clarita Valley’s most influential people were honored for their time and efforts in making the community what it is today over lunch on Thursday.

Each year, The Signal recognizes a total of 51 people as part of its annual “51 Most Influential” list, which was created by Publisher Richard Budman 15 years ago as a way to say, “Thank you.”

“It’s these people that make the city such a great community and such a great place to live and work,” Budman said.

Among those included in the compilation were law enforcement, educators, business leaders, government officials and local elected officials, such as Councilman Bill Miranda, who came to Santa Clarita 36 years ago.

“We came here because of the schools, safety, environment and a wonderful place to raise a family,” said Miranda, who was elected to the City Council three years ago. “I love it. It’s an opportunity to serve the city … to serve the community … and to get some serious input from the diverse community in Santa Clarita.”

Miranda was honored to be chosen as part of the 51. “I’m thrilled to be one of them, but I’m also very humbled.”

Attendees from left, Ivan Volschenk, Holly Schroder, Bill Cooper, Linda Storli-Koontz, Joan MacGregor and Kevin MacDonald pose fora photo the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Carrie Lujan, who was also on the list, said being communications manager for the city of Santa Clarita has been a fantastic experience. “We’re such a close-knit, family-oriented community, and the city organization is running strong.”

Though state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, was born and raised in the Antelope Valley, he said he always wanted to live in Santa Clarita, he said, finally achieving that in 1990.

“There’s a lot of people that could be on the top 51 list and … in my opinion, we’re all No. 1,” Wilk said. “This community is a great community. It’s very focused on family, and we’ve had tragic events recently, and honestly, I just think that’s going to make us stronger. Both my kids went to Saugus … and it’s just been a really emotional time for everybody, but we’re going to come through this.”

Kevin MacDonald, left, and State Senator Scott Wilk attend the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

The luncheon, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 14, was postponed due to the tragic shooting that left three students dead at Saugus High School, giving the event a new meaning, according to Budman.

“The original intention (on the lunch) was just to get the 51 people together to socialize, not asking anything of them … but I think today’s different, and the events of last week make it different,” Budman said. “Today, I am asking you to help me not allow the events of last week to define our city or to define us — that is not who we are. We have to remain positive, we have to boost the city, and we have to continue to do the great things that you all do. And we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by this. It’s up to us to make sure that the positive message of the city gets out.”

For a complete list of the Top 51, visit signalscv.com/top-51-2019.

Mayor Marsha McLean, center, joins Don and Cheri Fleming at the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
Bob Kellar, left, and Robert Newman attend the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
Attendees from left, Larry Rasmussen, Dale Donahoe and Tim Cole chat at the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
Larry Rasmussen and Vicki Engbrecht attend the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
Holly Schroeder, Cheri Fleming and Assemblywoman Christy Smith attend the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Captain Robert Lewis, left, and Don Fleming attend the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
Kevin MacDonald, left, Assemblywoman Christy Smith attend the 15th annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

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