The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association hosted its annual Inaugural Gala at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. More than 200 community and business leaders joined Congresswoman Judy Chu and State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Assistant City Manager Julie Gutierrez and Fire Chief Bertral Washington who attended with his wife Cheri and Glendale City Council Member Paula Devine. Also in attendance were Pacific Oaks College and Children’s Center President Patricia Breen, Hollywood Burbank Airport Executive Director Frank Miller, future Tournament of Roses Presidents Laura Farber and Mark Leavens along with leaders of business and industry in Pasadena.
Guests enjoyed a hosted cocktail hour and silent auction with passed hors d’oeuvres of chicken wellington, mushroom tempura and ahi poke cones.There was lively bidding on items including Springsteen on Broadway tickets, tickets and parking for Beyonce and Jay-Z at the Rose Bowl, tickets to Pasadena Heritage’s famous ad fun Bridge Party trips to Iceland, the Vatican and Fiji, as well as Dodger tickets and much more. Pasadena Chamber members donate items for the silent auction.
Pasadena Chamber CEO Paul Little recognized event Gold Sponsors Kaiser Permanente and Well Fargo with a special presentation. Also recognized were Silver Sponsors Athens Services, California Institute of Technology & Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Hollywood Burbank Airport, Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School, Parsons Corporation, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, Sierra Family of Dealerships and Southern California Gas Company.
Guests enjoyed heirloom tomato and burrata salad with basil balsamic vinaigrette before enjoying a dinner of pan-fried beef tenderloin and lemon pepper shrimp over vegetables fricassee and garlic mashed potatoes with a green pepper corn sauce. Dessert was a delicious blackberry crème caramel with a citrus crumble. Red wine was provided by Old Oak Cellars, Pasadena’s local winery.
During the dinner program, local businesses were recognized as Corporate Citizen of the Year. Pasadena Ronald McDonald House was named Small Business Corporate Citizen of the Year. In recognizing Pasadena Ronald McDonald House, Chamber President and CEO Paul Little cited the non-profits commitment to assisting families of children at Huntington Hospital in recognizing that, “Pasadena Ronald McDonald House housed nearly 400 families with children in treatment in 2017, and depending on the illness, a stay can be as short and one night or extend to more than a year and Pasadena Ronald McDonald House never turns a family away because of an inability to pay.” Accepting the recognition were RMH Executive Director Elizabeth Dever and Board Chair Megan Foker.
California Linen Services was awarded the Corporate Citizen of the Year in the Large Business category. Company President Andrew O’Neil accepted the award. In recognizing California Linen Services, Mr. Little remarked on the loyalty of both customers and employees as well as the 80 years of excellent customer service California Linens has provided to Southern California.
The Chamber also recognized Anderson Business Technology for being the first business member with 100 years of continuous membership in thePasadena Chamber of Commerce. “When the Board of Trade evolved into a member-based organization, Anderson Typewriter Company was one of the founding members. The company and the Anderson family have been very strong and loyal supporters of the Chamber ever since. I am very pleased to present a plaque recognizing Anderson Business Technology for 100 years of membership in the Chamber,” Mr. Little remarked in recognizing the family owned company. In accepting the award, Donald Anderson, chair of the board and son of company founder Elmer Anderson acknowledged his father’s commitment to the community and the Chamber, “Our company has always prided itself on being a part of the Pasadena community and have been proud to be members of the Chamber.”
Congresswoman Chu and State Senator Portantino, along with Christian Daly representing LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, presented commendations to those recognized.
The Pasadena Chamber also awarded the Bill Bogaard Scholarship of $1,000 to Myeisha Jackson, an emancipated foster youth who recently graduated from Pasadena City College and will be attending San Diego State University in the fall. Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP partners Ann Wang, Lauren Schneider and Thomas Daly presented a scholarship check for $500 to Hope Morrison, also an emancipated foster youth who is matriculating from PCC to the University of California, Riverside in the fall. Both students were identified by Pasadena Chamber member Journey House, a nonprofit that works to support emancipated foster youth once they have aged out of support systems.
Helen Romero Shaw of Southern California Gas Company presented a scholarship to Maya Hinton who recently graduated from Pasadena High School and will attend Cal State San Marcos in the fall.
Karl Bird, acquisitions department manager at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory was sworn in as chair of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 2018-19. He presented outgoing Chair Robin McCarthy with a plaque commemorating her service as chair during the previous year. Congresswoman Chu and Mr. Daly presented commendations and gave Ms. McCarthy certificates on behalf of Mr. Portantino, Assembly Member Chris Holden and the Pasadena City Council.
Mr. Bird conducted the ceremonial swearing in of new and returning members of the Chamber Board of Directors. Taking the oath of office as new members of the Board were Patricia Breen, president of Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School, Elizabeth Dever, executive director of Pasadena Ronald McDonald House, Jesse Dillon, CEO of Beacon Media News and the Pasadena Independent, Betty Ma, partner and principal with real estate investment and management firm Pacific Starr Group and Nerissa Sugars, air service support and customer experience manager at Hollywood Burbank Airport. Taking the oath for a second term were Raphael Henderson of Wells Fargo, John Leano of Bryan’s Cleaners and Laundry, Valerie Prince of Pacific Commerce bank and Donald Schweitzer of the Law Office of Donald P. Schweitzer.
Mr. Bird also swore in the Executive Committee for 2018-19. Those were Chair-elect Justin Tsui of TeamLogicIT, Mr. Leano of Bryan’s Cleaners and Laundry, Ms. McCarthy of Ste. Marie Specialists, Ms. Prince of Pacific Commerce Bank and Mr. Schweitzer of the Law Office of Donald P. Schweitzer. Mr. Tsui is Chair-elect and chairs the Chamber Technology Committee. Ms. Prince will be Board Secretary. Mr. Leano is Member Services Chair and Mr. Schweitzer will lead the Economic and Business Development Committee. Ms. McCarthy serves as Immediate Past Chair.
After the swearing in, Mr. Bird addressed the crowd with brief remarks about the long history of involvement between the Chamber and JPL, includingtwo previous chairs of the board, Willis Chapman in 2008-09 and Peter Lyman in the early 1990s. Mr. Bird also outlined his vision for the future, which includes continued partnerships with the Chamber and our large company members for events such as the Industry Day matchmaking event and the Mission Match non-profit job fair. “I am very supportive of our work to provide opportunity to our members so that they can grow, prosper and create new jobs, Mr. Bird remarked. “The Chamber is here to provide support through everything from networking events and workshops to issue-oriented forums and information on market and economic trends. We are aspirational in what we want the Chamber to be and do, and what we want for our members. My expectation and focus for the year is to continue to grow our ability to serve.”
Mr. Bird also pointed out the partnerships between the Chamber and Lincoln Partners, the developer of the project at Parsons Corporation, and Trammel Crow, the developer of the housing project at Space bank in east Pasadena, “I am happy to report that the Chamber is working with Lincoln Properties and Trammel Crow to integrate learning, observation and internship opportunities for high school students in Pasadena Unified into those projects as they move forward. “As important, the Chamber is working to ensure opportunities those projects provide are available to our member companies through procurement and service opportunities. With partnerships throughout our community, we can make economic development activity in Pasadena a learning opportunity for our students and economic opportunity for their families.”
The evening ended about 9:30 as guests picked up their silent auction winnings and mingled over wine and coffee.
You can support the Chamber's work-based learning and workforce development activities by donating to the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Any donation is 100% tax deductible and will go directly to supporting our work with students in our local public schools. To donate visit: http://www.pasadenayouthworks.org/host/donate.