A record 55 attendees and City and Chamber officials packed the Embassy Suites Arcadia ballroom Thursday (Jan. 22, 2015) and got hours worth of valuable information from dynamic and fun presentations and panels, as well as plenty of delicious and visually stunning gourmet food and drinks at the breakfast buffet provided by host sponsor Embassy Suites.
The morning-long program featured the always anticipated and informative State of the City Address by City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto and a first-ever panel featuring six former Mayors of Arcadia. Listening to them in the audience was current Mayor John Wuo, current Mayor Pro Tem and former Mayor Gary Kovacic, and City Council Member Sho Tay. Also in attendance was Police Chief Bob Guthrie.
Presentations were also made by Chamber President Denise Weaver of Weaver & Associates Insurance, President-Elect Andrew Gregson of The Executive Factor, events and marketing executives from Santa Anita Park, and Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick on the historical impact of Chambers around the world and in Arcadia (click here for the full PowerPoint presentation “The Chamber Was There”).
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The former Mayors panel featured Jim Helms (1971-72), Floretta Lauber (1976-77), Bob Harbicht (1988-89; 1997-98; 2008-09; 2012-13), George Fasching (1992-93), Dr. Sheng Chang (2003), and Peter Amundson (2010-11), who each offered interesting and sometimes humorous anecdotes about the most interesting or challenging business-related issues or developments during their tenure and how it was handled. Lauber recalled how many residents fought hard against opening the mall that is now a point of pride and huge revenue in the city.
In between questions from moderator Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick, several of the mayors chided each other jokingly as they recalled real and imagined experiences. The Mayors applauded Lazzaretto for his performance and said the City is generally continuing to perform very well.
Hettrick opened the program with a thank you to event sponsors Singpoli and Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary, as well as year-round Arcadia Chamber of Commerce Community Builder Presenting Sponsors Westfield Santa Anita and Methodist Hospital. Embassy General Manager Luis Plascencia and Sales Director Naomi Briones welcomed the group and offered brief comments about the many improvements at the hotel.
Following an abbreviated board meeting during which directors voted unanimously to approve the new slate of directors and officers to begin new terms on April 1, 2015, Santa Anita Park Director of Community Services and Special Projects Pete Siberell and Senior Director of Marketing Dan Cirimele gave an illuminating presentation called “Rediscover Santa Anita” that included an overview of the $35 million in recent renovations and noted the hundreds of non-horse racing and community events hosted by the track. (Click here for full story on “Rediscover Santa Anita.”)
President Weaver then offered a year in review of the Chamber’s many successful projects and activities during the past 10-months, as well as the ongoing support of many local organizations. (Click here for complete story and PowerPoint slides.)
President-Elect Gregson challenged board members to think about why they joined the Chamber and encouraged them to keep in mind the mission statement of the Arcadia Chamber: “To play a critical and integral role in maintaining a healthy business environment, contributing to the economic growth of the city and enhancing the city’s image.”
City Manager Lazzaretto covered many matters relating to the City and businesses, including that about a third of city revenues comes from business sales, occupancy taxes and licenses/permits, that crime is down, and he showcased the many new major developments under construction or in planning stages around town. (Click here for full story and many slides from State of City PowerPoint show.)
The program concluded with the announcement of this year’s recipients of the Citizens of the Year Award — Jim and Terry Leahy, and the Corporate Community Contributor — Foothill Credit Union, both to be recognized at the annual Installation Dinner on March 26.