Noozhawk founder and publisher Bill Macfadyen is returning as chamber board chairman for the second consecutive year and third time overall.
The annual membership meeting, which also honored exiting board members while installing new ones, was held at Karl Storz Imaging in Goleta. The guests gathered in the building’s courtyard as chamber president and CEO Kristen Miller welcomed the crowd to the campus at Karl Storz Drive off South Los Carneros Road.
Macfadyen recapped the main goals that the chamber wanted to focus on in 2019: economic development, Old Town Goleta, visitor services and community relations.
“On the economic development front, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce has been leading the way on regional collaboration,” he said.
All the chambers of commerce in Santa Barbara County came together to support two important jobs projects, he said, citing the ExxonMobil interim trucking proposaland the Lompoc wind-energy farm that the Board of Supervisors approved the day before.
The chamber’s public policy work “was as robust as ever,” Macfadyen said, tackling topics like outdoor cannabis grows, water, the Santa Barbara Airport land-use plan, and the upcoming approval of Goleta’s new zoning ordinance.
In March, he said, the county’s chambers of commerce will also meet in Goleta for the first countywide board meeting.
The Goleta chamber also is taking over the Fourth of July fireworks show at Girsh Park, expanding its lineup of community activities, which include the Goleta’s Finest Awards gala and the popular Lemon Festival.
“We’re looking forward to building on the groundwork the Goleta Rotary clubs have laid while we blow stuff up in the sky over western Goleta,” Macfadyen said, referring to Rotary’s decision to discontinue its involvement and turn it over to the chamber.
He noted that the one area that languished was Old Town Goleta, but not because the chamber didn’t try.
“We continue to work on revitalizing Old Town,” Macfadyen said. “We are proud of the new community park, the record turnout for the Old Town Christmas Parade, and the difference our chamber members there are making in their neighborhood.
“You have my word that we will always be champions of Old Town, as the heart and heritage of Goleta.”
The evening’s festivities, sponsored by The Towbes Group, included the installation of three new board members: entrepreneurs Chris Chiarappa, owner of Mesa Burger and Corner Tap Room; Kathy Odell, CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures and a longtime business founder and executive; and Sachi Thompson, supply chain executive vice president at Curvature.
They join Macfadyen, McLaughlin and fellow returning board members Rich Antles of FLIR Systems, Alex Bauer of Sansum Clinic, Ron Caird of Por La Mar Nursery, Beth Collins of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Francois DeJohn of Hayes Commercial Group, Arie Dejong of Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, Barry Dorsey of The Kimpton Goodland Hotel, Dan Gabie of LogMeIn, Janet Garufis of Montecito Bank & Trust, Steve Greig of Plains All American Pipeline, Renee Grubb of Village Properties, Trevor Large of Buynak Fauver Archbald Spray and the chamber’s first vice chairman, Brian Larinan of Granite Construction, Donna Lewis of the Goleta Union School District, Matt Long of Signature Flight Support, John Longbrake of UC Santa Barbara, Trish Miller of Spherion, Craig Minus, Anne Pazier of Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, Susan Rodriguez of Brown & Brown Insurance, and Tony Vallejo of Nicholson & Schwartz CPAs.
In announcing the chairman’s award, Macfadyen called McLaughlin “brilliant, persuasive, effective, optimistic and enthusiastic.”
“She always looks for and works toward a positive and mutually beneficial outcome — no matter the issue,” he said of Cox’s market vice president.
In accepting the award, McLaughlin said, “Thank you, oh my gosh, I am so touched.”
Harrison, an account executive at Spectrum Reach, accepted the Volunteer of the Year award, and said, “To be honored as ambassador of the year means so much.”
For Odell, the evening — and the venue — was a homecoming of sorts. She embarked on her entrepreneurial career in 1985 as co-founder of Medical Concepts Inc., which grew into the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of video systems for minimally invasive surgery before it was acquired by Karl Storz in 1990.