After starting in February 2020 then pausing due to the pandemic, our 2020-21 Oxnard Leadership participants passed the midway point of the 10-session program this month. Session six focused on Energy, which included meeting with leaders from Southern California Edison, Western States Petroleum Association, and SimpliPhi Power and touring the California Oil Museum in Santa Paula.
For the first time in 2021, the morning began in-person at the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce for a general overview of the energy system in Ventura County with session coordinator Justin Campbell. Campbell is Director of Remediation and Environmental Compliance Service with Catalyst Environmental Solutions and is a graduate of the Oxnard Leadership Program. He now serves on the program's Steering Committee. Up next was a virtual presentation from Government Relations Manager Dani Anderson from Southern California Edison about their Wildfire Mitigation Plans.
From there, the group traveled to the California Oil Museum in Santa Paula to meet with Ben Oakley, Manager of the California Coastal Region for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). They also toured the museum and enjoyed lunch in the museum courtyard catered by Flight 126 Cafe and sponsored by Catalyst Environmental Solutions.
Their next meeting was at the Ventura County Government Center with Heather Allen and Javier Saucedo from the County's Sustainability Division, learning about the County's Green Business Program and other energy-saving initiatives. The day concluded at SimpliPhi Power, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of energy storage and management systems, where the group met with CEO & Co-Founder Catherine Von Burg and COO Sequoya Cross.
Every year, the Oxnard Leadership Program leads participants through 10 unique, day-long experiences to gain a better understanding and appreciation of Oxnard and the surrounding areas’ realities, opportunities and challenges. Each session includes visits to various locations and provides participants with a unique opportunity to meet key business and government leaders who play integral roles in the region.
Learn more about the Oxnard Leadership Program.
Our Member Spotlight this week comes from our monthly Business@Breakfast networking events, which feature a guest speaker and provide you with an opportunity to promote your business.
Why did I join the Chamber?
I joined the chamber in January 2020 to get more involved in the Ventura County business community, to meet other business owners, and to be a source of information for other businesses. I joined the Oxnard Chamber Ambassadors one month before COVID started, which stopped all in-person meetings. After 18 months, I attended my first ribbon-cutting ceremony! I am excited that the Camarillo and Oxnard Chambers have joined because together we are smarter, stronger, and have a bigger voice. I am very much looking forward to meeting members of the Camarillo Chamber. Lots of familiar faces!
PrideStaff is an award-winning staffing and recruiting company with 85 offices around the country. I am the owner of the offices in Thousand Oaks and Oxnard. We pride ourselves on making staffing personal again. We try to build strong, long-term relations with our clients and our candidates. We provide staffing for office jobs (admin, receptionist, customer service, paralegal, legal assistants, financial staff, and medical front office) as well as light industrial jobs (manufacturing, assembly, and warehouse).
About Daan Renssen
I am originally from The Netherlands and moved to the USA in 2010. I opened the PrideStaff Thousand Oaks office in 2013 and the Oxnard office in 2017 to realize the American dream. I love working with the local business community. When I am not working, I enjoy our beautiful nature walking my two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, hiking, or mountain biking, and enjoy some of the amazing restaurants in our area. I am married and have three kids, but we are about to become empty nesters. A new phase in our lives...more time to travel???
A big “Thank You!” goes out to everyone who took time to nominate a person, business or organization for the WVCBA’s 2021 Oxnard Community & Business Awards. The Selection Committee met on July 15 and we are excited to announce this year’s honorees:
Distinguished Citizen of the Year – Michael Mercurio
Michael Mercurio is an 80-year-old retired Marine veteran who founded Oxnard's Neighborhood Pride volunteer program. Over the last year, he has coordinated countless volunteer clean-ups across the city making Oxnard look cleaner, safer and better. He has been the organizer, field general, and worker bee providing consistent, nonstop volunteer hours, days, and weeks in his commitment to help the city improve its overall appearance. Oxnard would not have looked better over this last year if not for Michael’s dedication.
Volunteer of the Year – René Corado
René Corado was born in a small village in Guatemala. To help his family, he shined shoes after school starting at age 8. Because of 36 years of civil war in Guatemala, he came to the USA at the age of 21 with only a sixth-grade education and without speaking English. He has made a tremendous difference here in Ventura County, particularly through his decades of study of indigenous birds of the Santa Clara River Valley. Even during the pandemic, he continued to go to his field sites working with conservation groups doing habitat restoration. He served on the advisory board for the Extended Opportunity Program and Services for Oxnard College, and on the Art Commission of Oxnard. He is an example that education works and dreams can come true.
Large Business of the Year – Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties goes above and beyond providing supportive and employment services to the Oxnard community and beyond. During the pandemic, they continued to support people with barriers to employment to find jobs and support their families. They provide services to veterans, people with disabilities, youth, single parents, people who need a second chance, and so much more. They do all this while operating as a large business that employs hundreds of people in the region. Their headquarters is right here in Oxnard.
Small Business of the Year – Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals was recently listed as one of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in the tri-counties by the Pacific Coast Business Times. They have been in business for 15 years in Ventura County, with offices in Oxnard and Thousand Oaks. Owners and operators Neil and Janet McMillan work to supply local employers with exceptional recruiting, employment and professional staffing. They and their team support various nonprofits including Food Share of Ventura County, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Make-A-Wish, Spark of Love and Ventura County Rescue Mission.
Best Place to Work of the Year – Regency Palms Oxnard
To say Regency Palms Oxnard has put together a dynamic team is an understatement. It appears they all love going to work each day! Here are a few comments from their associates: "At Regency Palms, you are made to feel appreciated, you are made to feel like you add value to the business. I have been treated with gifts, accolades and praise on a consistent basis. It makes me love what I do even more because the company I do it for cares and appreciates me"; "Every employee, including management, continuously shows interest in bettering the level of care provided with training and team building to ensure a great quality of life in a free, fun, loving home environment"; and "Regency Palms gets to know you as a person and finds ways to show you they care about you based on your own interest or events occurring in your life. It's so refreshing to work for a company where you feel like you're not at work... you're home!" Congratulations to Executive Director Ken Mahler for creating the Best Place to Work.
Young Professional of the Year – Brenda Heredia
Brenda is a graduate of USC and a lifelong resident of Nyeland Acres. She currently works for the City of Oxnard. Brenda is a Board Member of Nyeland Promise where she provides leadership on how the organization is run, the programs that are provided, and other guidance. Ms. Heredia oversees social media for the organization and prepares its community newsletters. She developed successful social media outreach programs for the Census (2020), Covid Outreach (2021), and various food distribution events. She participated as a volunteer in "Feeding the Front Line" that started in 2020, and volunteers with Oxnard Student Success to help encourage other young Oxnard Union High School District students to continue their education by attending college. She helped develop a backpack distribution last year that provided more than 250 backpacks with school supplies to Oxnard students. She is a smart, thoughtful individual with a passion to help her community.
Nonprofit Organization of the Year – Ventura County Rescue Mission
The Ventura County Rescue Mission, which includes the Lighthouse for Women & Children, has been serving the county, and specifically Oxnard, for nearly 50 years. The mission of VCRM is to provide a place of refuge, recovery and restoration to our neighbors in need. The Mission offers meals, shelter and longer-term programs, including transitional housing for men experiencing homelessness, addiction or hunger. The Lighthouse is a haven for women and their children, and offers the same services. Job training, counseling and case management allows Ventura County Rescue Mission to offer a hand-up instead of a handout. Last year, they provided more than 49,700 nights of safe, warm and comfortable sleep for men, women and children.
Innovative Business of the Year – SimpliPhi Power
The concept of SimpliPhi Power started in 2001, when founder Stuart Lennox was working as a production designer for the film and television industry. He needed a cool-looking bicycle for a commercial shoot and thought the Lee Iacocca electric bike would be perfect. He then started wondering about its batteries and what other uses they might have. In 2010, Stuart teamed up with Catherine Von Burg, now SimpliPhi’s President and CEO, to leverage technology for use in a wide-range of business and consumer products. “Our drive was to bring the same power security and energy resiliency the film and television industry was enjoying to the residential and commercial markets. Whether on or off grid, people were expressing a desire to have more control of their own power, either for back-up security, peak-shaving, load shifting or the resultant cost-saving benefits from all the functions that efficient and safe energy storage afforded,” Catherine said. “Yet, we knew we had to keep things simple and user-friendly. So, we ensured our Optimized Energy Storage line was lightweight, non-toxic, maintenance-free and provided seamless integration with renewable power sources in conjunction with or independent of the grid." SimpliPhi Power units can be found all over the world, employed in a wide variety of applications. The company started in Ojai and is now headquartered in Oxnard.
Oxnard Trophy – Anderson .Paak
Grammy-winning artist Anderson .Paak has been selected by our Board of Directors to receive the Oxnard Trophy at the 71st Annual Community & Business Awards. The Oxnard Trophy is presented to a person, business or organization that has brought recognition to Oxnard and has bettered the community. From his 2018 album titled "Oxnard" to his efforts to save the Oxnard Performing Arts Center to becoming an honorary OPAC board member in May, we are sincerely thankful to him and his team for having such a positive impact on the Oxnard community.
The Community & Business Awards luncheon emceed by Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen will be presented on Thursday, August 12, at 11:30 am at the Courtyard By Marriott in Oxnard. Registration is open and costs $60 per person, which includes lunch. Sponsorships are still available. To learn more, please visit https://bit.ly/OxCBAwards21.
We recently welcomed Ryan Charlon Insurance & Financial Services as a member of the WVCBA community! From insurance for your life and home, to insurance for your cars and pets, they will ensure that you are armed with the appropriate information to make an informed decision. Learn more at www.mycamarilloagent.com.
What products or services do you provide?
What is your mission statement?
Our mission is to help our State Farm customers insure against what can go wrong so they can invest in what can go right.
What’s one thing the business is known for?
I am a second generation State Farm Agent, proud father, blessed husband, grateful son, loyal friend, and a small business owner who wants to make a positive impact in the lives of my Customers, my Team, and my Community. I am very fortunate to say I enjoy what I do and have welcomed the personal and professional growth over my long tenure with State Farm.
At the Ryan Charlon State Farm Agency we are well equipped to offer you any Insurance and Financial Services plan found in the marketplace today, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right fit for you.
If you are looking for a local, State Farm office that takes the time to the understand what’s important to you, helps identify your specific goals and dreams, and arms you with the appropriate information so you can make an informed decision – this State Farm Agency is for you.
We are Camarillo, Somis, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura County’s premier State Farm Agency. We are more than superior insurance protection, we are problem solvers.
My Agency can help you plan and protect your family's financial future with a variety of Life Insurance options. My Team and I can ensure your Business and your Commercial vehicles are properly covered. We can assist in developing a personalized income coverage plan. Our office can insure your Cars, Motorcycles, Recreational Vehicles, Homeowners, Renters, Condo, Apartment, Boat, Jewelry, and even your Pets.
We look forward to assisting you with your Insurance and Financial Service needs, whether it be in person, over the phone or online. #statefarmcamarillo #mycamarilloagent
Why did you select Camarillo as your business location?
Camarillo is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Ryan is happily married and has a 7-year-old son. Ryan’s wife works at the Naval Air Station, Point Mugu and their son attends a local elementary school with aspirations of becoming a sea doctor one day.
Are there any new products you want to highlight?
Banking: Invest in your future and help meet your goals with State Farm® Investment Planning Services. You’re offered a variety of account types and multiple investment products. Banking, your way. When, where, and how you want. When you're looking for help to achieve your financial goals, we want to be your first and best choice in Camarillo, CA. Thanks to an all-new alliance between U.S. Bank and State Farm®, now, you'll be able to apply for U.S. Bank Checking, Savings, CDs and Retirement CDs.
Pet Insurance: When your pets need medical attention, the last thing you should worry about is cost. Unfortunately, many pet owners find themselves facing tough decisions about their dog or cat’s care. We’re here to help. State Farm works with Trupanion – a leader in high-quality pet medical insurance – to make it easier for pet owners to care for their furry family members.
We recently welcomed Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers as a member of the WVCBA community! Located off of Rose Avenue in Oxnard, Raising Cane's is committed to being part of the community and strives to support the local schools and non-profit organizations to make a positive impact. Visit them online at www.raisingcanes.com.
What products or services do you provide? Fresh, never frozen, high quality Chicken Fingers Meals
How and when did the business get started? Founded by Todd Graves in 1996 in Baton Rouge, La., RAISING CANE'S CHICKEN FINGERS has more than 550 Restaurants in 31 states and the Middle East with 75 new Restaurants and 20 new markets planned for 2021. The company has ONE LOVE®—quality chicken finger meals—and is continually recognized for its unique business model and customer satisfaction. Raising Cane’s vision is to grow Restaurants, serving our Customers, all over the world and be the brand for quality chicken finger meals, a great Crew, cool Culture and active Community involvement. In addition to being named the “Fastest Growing Chicken Chain” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2020, Raising Cane’s was also named the #1 fast-casual restaurant for “Keeping Customers Safe.”
What is the company's mission or motto? Fast, Fresh, Clean and Have Fun
What’s one thing the business is known for over its competitors? High Quality, Fresh, never frozen chicken fingers, house-made cane's sauce and our fresh squeezed lemonade
How can the community help the business? We would love to be connected to the community to support it and be an active participant in everything Oxnard.