• Celebrating Business, Leadership & Community: Chamber Announces 2020 Annual Award Recipients

    As a champion for our local business community, Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Gala is one of the organizations’ favorite events, because it is a chance to showcase some of the amazing leaders and local businesses in our community.

    Nominated by community members and voted on by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, the Chamber is proud to announce the 2020 Annual Award recipients:

    • Ambassador of the Year: Paula Fuller, American Self Storage of Santa Maria
    • Young Professional of the Year: Krista Delia, Santa Maria Valley Y
    • Tourism Partner of the Year: Costa De Oro Winery
    • Non-Profit of the Year: CASA of Santa Barbara County
    • Small Business of the Year: Care Connection Central Coast
    • Large Business of the Year: CoastHills Credit Union
    • Robert P. Hatch Citizen of the Year: Hugh Rafferty
    • Robert F. Grogan Public Service Award: Michael Moats

    “One of the great thing about our Annual Awards is that the community helps us decide who we should recognize,” explained Glenn Morris, President/CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “This year, we saw a wide range of nominations and we think the recipients are a great reflection of the impressive work our community members, organizations and businesses are doing in our community.”

    While recipients are typically honored at a live awards show event, the COVID pandemic has made the Chamber rethink how to pay recognition to the recipients in a virtual way. This year, the Annual Awards will be aired on KCOY on September 24th at 7:30pm. The Chamber will also be posting the full broadcast, along with the individual award recipient recognition videos, to their website and social media platforms.

    “Since we can’t hold our awards recognition in person this year, we thought the TV broadcast would be a great way to still give our recipients the recognition they deserve,” explained Alex Castillo, Events & Special Projects Manager at the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

    By airing the show on TV, the awards will have the potential to reach a larger audience. “As we’ve found with many of our recent events – a virtual format often lends itself to a new audience of individuals who may not have attended a Chamber event before, which is exciting,” Castillo explained. “We encourage all community members to tune in on the 24th and help us honor some of our many deserving leaders.”

    This year’s award recipients have expressed a mix of surprise, excitement and appreciation for the recognition.

    “It is an honor to represent such an important organization of our community,” said Paula Fuller, who is the Resident Manager of American Self Storage of Santa Maria and serves on the Chamber Ambassador Committee. Fuller has been selected as the 2020 Chamber Ambassador the Year.

    “Being an ambassador has made me more aware of how there is strength in numbers and by working together we can help build a stronger Santa Maria business community,” Fuller said. “I am so happy to be working alongside my great group of leaders in our beautiful city!”

    “It’s an absolute honor to receive the 2020 Young Professional of the Year award,” said Krista Delia, COO for the Santa Maria Valley Y. “I pride myself on my work ethic and the fact that it is being recognized and celebrated by the community is a true gift. My advice to young professionals is simple; remember your value and worth, speak up and lean in at the table, learn from your mistakes and make more, create a work environment you want to be a part of, and most importantly work hard and stay humble."

    This year’s Robert P. Hatch Citizen of the Year, Hugh Rafferty, says being selected for the award is a great honor. Rafferty, a veteran of the United States Marines, had an impressive career with IBM working on program’s like the FAA’s first automated Air Traffic System and the Shuttle program. Now retired, Rafferty prides himself on being a “full time community volunteer” and has served over 15 local boards or committees.

    “The feeling of being selected from among so many other deserving candidates is hard to describe,” Rafferty said. “I would encourage everyone in the community to try their best to find time to volunteer. There are endless organizations that exist only because people contribute their time to help others.”

    Rafferty and this year’s seven other award recipients will be honored during the Santa Maria Chamber’s Annual Awards TV broadcast, airing September 24th at 7:30pm on KCOY. Follow the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SMVCC) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/santamariachamberofcommerce/) to learn more about this year’s award recipients. And be sure to tune in September 24th to help celebrate the local community leaders being recognized at this year’s event!