Friday, July 6, 2012

The Stars come out at Chamber's 107th Annual Meeting

The 107th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce recognized and celebrated its members, the lifeblood of the organization.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Solomon Ets-Hokin, a senior vice president of Colliers International. Other award winners were Holistic Veterinary Care (Small Business Innovator), Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland (Nonprofit Impact), Wells Fargo (Education First), Kaiser Permanente (Community Contributor) and Romeo Garcia (Leadership Alumni).
A seventh award, a new category reflecting Oakland’s popular restaurant scene, was “Best Oakland Dish,” which involved four local restaurants and a caterer and their signature dishes. Those winners were Chop Bar, Brown Sugar Kitchen, A’ Cote, Mua and Blue Heron Catering.
“Our Board members, staff and volunteers are here today to thank the hundreds of local businesspeople who continue to work on the critical issues that make this Chamber the finest and most diverse business organization in the most diverse city in America,” said Chamber President Joe Haraburda.

The meeting also featured a change in Chamber leadership, with Chairman of the Board John Nelson, a partner in the architectural firm of murakami/Nelson, stepping down after two years and passing the gavel to Shannon Pedder, owner of BRAND: CREATIVE.
During his remarks, Nelson said, “We have emphasized the importance of many issues during the past year.” They include:

  • A balanced budget for the city and pension reform statewide.
  • Defended property rights for individuals and businesses.
  • Recommended long-term thinking and vigilance to prevent unintended financial consequences to decisions made without consulting the business point of view.
  • Advocated for the speedy appointment of our new police chief, Howard Jordan.
  • Fueled the discussion to expand police academies, and thankfully three are being planned.
  • Encouraged the federal monitor to seek a solution to an end to the federal oversight.
  • The gang injunction in Fruitvale and North Oakland and believe more should be implemented.
  • Supported technology upgrades including shot spotter and improved in-car computers.
  • Supported education, collaborating with Tony Smith of the Oakland Unified School District and the Peralta Community College District’s parcel tax initiative.
  • Advocated to end the Occupy encampment.
  • Encouraged business savvy appointments to the Port Commission.
The event was sponsored by Visa, Inc., “More people go with VISA,” and was attended by nearly 400 local businesspeople at the Oakland Marriott City Center.

Accepting the Volunteer of the Year Award, Ets-Hokin said, “If you stop and think about it, just about everything we do in life is voluntary. And it seems like we are always compensated one way or another for our voluntary actions. Sometimes our compensation comes in the form of consequences. And sometimes it comes in the form of that satisfaction you get when you do something that is important and impactful for the greater good. The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which is effectively the business community that is sitting here in this room today, is truly a wonderful greater good to serve and be a part of.”

The Winners

Volunteer of the Year – Solomon Ets-Hokin started the Oakland Retail Advisory Committee (ORAC) in April 2010, in answer to a recommendation within the Oakland Retail Enhancement Initiative, which was adopted by the City Council in 2009. The committee consists of some 15 members with deep experience and varying backgrounds in all aspects of retail leasing and development. Its members meet once a month with elected officials and community stakeholders to review projects and plans to enhance retail in Oakland.
Education First – Wells Fargo has a long-standing commitment to local education. In November 2011, the company announced $1 million in new grants to benefit education throughout the Bay Area, and including the $1 million, Wells Fargo has donated more than $13.3 million to schools and nonprofit organizations for educational purposes in the Bay Area since 2009.
Best Oakland Dish – Chop Bar (Oxtail Poutine with oxtail gravy, French fries, and Fiscalini cheddar), Brown Sugar Kitchen (cornmeal waffles with tarragon-laced buttermilk fried chicken), A’ Cote (mussels with Pernod from the wood oven), Mua (kabocha squash tempura) and Blue Heron Catering (roasted filet of fresh Pacific salmon with chardonnay oak salt finished with creamy fresh herbs and lemon butter). 

Small Business Innovator – Dr. Gary Richter at Holistic Veterinary Care and his holistic approach typify the new ideas of small business, developing a new model to meet the needs of his customers and helping to build a new method, a new approach to build a new, strong business in a very competitive climate.

Community Contributor – In the spirit of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, Kaiser Permanente has continued to demonstrate to Oakland and the region the same commitment to humanity as its founder. Kaiser Permanente has continued to follow the philosophy of giving, demonstrating tolerance for all people.

Nonprofit Impact – Community service and social justice have been an essential value at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland for 100 years, and today the facility continues to provide equal access to exceptional health care for kids in our communities and beyond – regardless of their ability to pay.

The Chamber thanks the many sponsors that made the
Annual Meeting such a great event:
  • Presenting Sponsor: VISA, The Preferred Card
  • Award Sponsors: The Clorox Company; Kaiser Permanente; Oakland Restaurant Association; Southwest Airlines; Visa; Wells Fargo
  • Inner Circle Sponsors: Buttner Properties; Port of Oakland
  • Table Sponsors: Alameda County Medical Center; Alta Bates Summit Medical Center; Bank of America; Barney & Barney LLP/Pankow Builders; Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland; Chiodo Art Development; Colliers International; East Bay Regional Parks; Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLP; Full Court Press/murakami/Nelson; Jack London Gateway Shopping Center; KTVU/Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP;  Matson Navigation; McGuire & Hester; PD Wolf Law; Recology East Bay; Securitas; Visit Oakland

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