The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100th anniversary at a ceremony and award show at Canyon Country’s Community Center.
Several prominent elected officials and dignitaries were in attendance including Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, former Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, Mayor Jason Gibbs, City Councilwoman Laurene Weste and City Councilman Bill Miranda.
Additional video messages congratulating the chamber were sent in by Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, 5th District, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang.
The Feb. 23 ceremony began with the pledge of allegiance, led by Schiavo, followed by the swearing-in of the new board of directors by Gibbs.
“The chamber’s leadership continues to ensure our city is one of the most business-friendly cities in L.A. County and I would suggest that it is the most business-friendly,” said Gibbs. “A lot of that is because of the work that is done right here by the chamber locally, statewide and federally, all in partnership with our city.”
After the board was sworn in, the chair award was presented by the chamber’s former chairman of the board, Dr. Chris Raigosa. The award was given to Marisol Espinoza.
“For those who don’t know, I am a representative for SoCal Gas here in the Santa Clarita Valley. We are so proud to have been members for more than 40 years and to be part of this community,” said Espinoza. “I am really in shock right now. But I’m just grateful to everyone in this room and to be part of this incredible community of Santa Clarita.”
Recipient of the Cheri Fleming Heart of the Community award was SCVTV President/CEO Leon Worden, also a board member of the SCV Historical Society and former city editor of The Signal.
“We are a community and what makes us a community? Well, good leadership,” said Worden. “A couple hundred nonprofits that make this community tick, and all of you who contribute to those nonprofits, and our geography that binds us together, the stories, the history that binds us together. You’re part of that history… and the things that you are doing deserve to be remembered and recorded for posterity.”
The Public Service Award was given to Miranda, who applauded the chamber for having the most diverse board that it’s ever had.
“We’ve got a great city today. We are looking for an even greater city into the future and we need your help, and you’re leading the way, the Chamber of Commerce [is] leading the way,” said Miranda. “You have the most diverse board of directors we’ve ever had. For that I think we should all congratulate the chamber.”
The lifetime achievement award was given to Wilk, who thanked the chamber and complimented the city on being a great place to raise a family. Wilk is known for his sense of humor and in line with his character, he opened his acceptance speech with a joke.
“I’m very touched and I’m just so glad that it was happening now instead of posthumously,” said Wilk. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it, so that’s good.”
Business of the year was awarded to Vance Wealth, Nonprofit of the Year was awarded to Make the World a Better Place, the Rising Star award was presented to Statham Academy and the Entrepreneurial Spirit award was presented to Newleaf.