State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, was in a jovial mood Tuesday at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons as he was there for the installation of the 2024 board of directors for the Valley Industry Association.
He was there as an honored guest of VIA, the fifth time he’s hosted the ceremony. He was proud of that, and the fact that he’s been able to grow his hair longer than normal in his final year as a senator.
Wilk terms out next December after first joining the Legislature as an assemblyman in 2012.
“When I grew up in the ’70s, I wore my hair as far as my parents would allow,” Wilk said. “And then the day before I went into interview to become an intern for my local state assemblyperson, I cut my hair. It’s been the same way since I was 19.
“And I’m not doing that anymore.”
Wilk wasn’t the only person in the room in a good mood, and it wasn’t just because Christmas is rapidly approaching. David Cantrell, the board’s outgoing chair, reflected on his two years as the head of the board, calling it a “huge honor.”
“As we look back on the two years, VIA has really done some great things for our members and for our community,” Cantrell said. “I always joke with the board, I say, ‘Boy, I can’t wait to take credit for this.’ But I’m sure, as you all know, that’s not the case. All of these events that took place over the last few years, I just happened to be the chairman at the time.”
Cantrell touted events that VIA has put on such as Cocktails and Conversation, Chill at The Cube and Connecting to Success, among others. Connecting to Success is one that Cantrell was personally proud of, as it helped to get kids on the right path for a career even if they were not going to college. VIA recently acquired $675,000 in appropriation money to support that program, Cantrell said.
“Maybe you’re gonna go into the trades, and that’s great,” Cantrell said. “You can be successful at anything and so Connecting to Success is really something that has been fantastic.”
After the board installation, incoming Chair Selina Thomas provided an outlook for her term.
“As we set forth our collective goals for 2024, I want all of you to know that VIA is not just an organization — we are a platform for action and progress,” Thomas said. “I encourage all of you to lean on me and this entire body as a whole. We will listen, we will activate, we will respond. We are not just deliberating; we are looking forward to having tangible outcomes that benefit our community and businesses.”
Thomas had her three children in attendance and spoke of the challenges she has faced being both a single mom and the CEO and founder of 6 Degrees HR Consulting. Considering herself a “successful person,” Thomas said she views herself that way because of the way she has been able to raise her children in a community such as Santa Clarita.
As for what Thomas is hoping to bring to the table as the head of the board, she said the board is “committed to being innovative and grounded in realities” and will continue to focus on providing opportunities for the community.
“Whether it’s through workshops or seminars, you will see VIA,” Thomas said. “We will be a vibrant presence in this community. No matter what, you can count on VIA to be innovative and, of course, a catalyst for growth.”