Did you know that The Port of Hueneme is the only deep-water port between San Francisco and Los Angeles? Have you ever wondered what happens at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC)?
For their fifth session of 2019, participants in the Oxnard Leadership Program went behind-the-scenes at The Port and NBVC Point Mugu to gain a better understanding of how each impacts the local economy and community.
The day started at NBVC Point Mugu, which is one of the base’s three operating facilities in the region (the others are in Port Hueneme and on San Nicolas Island). NBVC Commanding Officer Captain Jeff Chism shared the history of the base, the role it plays in national security, and its economic impact on the community.
With 20,000 military and civilian employees, NBVC is the largest employer in Ventura County and has an economic impact of $2 billion.
After, the group toured the base with Public Information Officer Theresa Miller. They stopped at its combat training facility and the hangar that houses a MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, which is part of the Navy’s first-ever Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP-19).
The afternoon was spent exploring The Port of Hueneme, which is the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateway for niche cargo on the West Coast. They were led by Dona Lacayo, Chief Commercial & Public Affairs Officer, who gave an overview of port operations and what it does for the community.
The Port of Hueneme moves $9 billion in goods each year and consistently ranks among the Top 10 U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $1.5 billion in economic activity, creating 13,633 trade-related jobs and generating more than $93 million in annual state and local taxes, which funds vital community services.
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.
In June, session six will focus on public services with visits to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, City Maintenance Yard, Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station, and more.
Learn more about the Oxnard Leadership Program.
“The young professionals are the business leaders of tomorrow, so by investing in them through networking and leadership, we are enhancing the future of business,” says Taylor Penny, Annual Campaigns Coordinator for St. John’s Healthcare Foundation.
Penny helps lead Oxnard Young Professionals, also known as OXYP, with co-chair Miguel Valencia, Account Executive with United Staffing Associates. OXYP launched in late 2017 as a platform for the next generation of leaders to build strong connections, develop leadership skills, partner with business and community leaders, and interact with elected officials.
“The vision is to have a group in the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce that will be able to service the community, volunteer, support Chamber members and yield new members to come,” says Penny. “We feel that there are a lot of young professionals in the city who are becoming community leaders and having an influence on the generations to come.”
With more than 30 members, OXYP is open to individuals between the ages of 21-40. Membership is free for those employed by a Chamber member business; all others can join for $100 per year.
“One thing that might surprise people about this group is the amount of hard-working people that want to make a difference in this community,” says Penny. “We have new people join all the time and it is great to see them so eager to join and want to get involved.”
There are many opportunities for members to connect and grow their businesses and networks: The Chamber’s monthly Happy Hour 1.5 mixers, monthly OXYP meetings, monthly networking breakfasts at member businesses, and other special events.
In May, breakfast will be hosted at JR Bookkeeping, and in June, OXYP is hosting a Young Professionals Regional Mixer at the Annex Food Hall.
“We are excited about all the business relationships that we have been exposed to and that are on the horizon,” says Penny. “We want to have a group of members that can continue to make great connections, want to grow their business, yield business, and to grow as a young professional in the City of Oxnard.”
Learn more about OXYP.
On Thursday, April 25, the Oxnard Chamber hosted its annual Community & Business Awards at the Residence Inn by Marriott at River Ridge. Now in its 69th year, the Community & Business Awards honors outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations that make Oxnard a wonderful community to live, work and do business in.
"There are incredible people doing amazing things in Oxnard," says Chamber CEO Nancy Lindholm. "We're glad we could identify a few of them so we can honor their efforts."
Winners for 2019 are:
Nonprofit Organization of the Year – Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association
For more than 70 years, Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association has been a cornerstone in Ventura County and a leader in health care. Today, as Ventura County’s only nonprofit home health and medical hospice, Livingston provides affordable home health, palliative care, hospice, non-medical home care, and grief and bereavement services. In 2018 alone, they served more than 4500 people in our community. Director of Development Molly Corbett accepted the award.
Volunteer of the Year – Jeff McGreevy
Sergeant Jeff McGreevy with the Oxnard Police Department has volunteered countless hours to supporting, coordinating and leading events and initiatives to fundraise and raise awareness for many incredible causes. In 2018, he helped raise more than $23,000 for the Oxnard Police Explorers Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, American Cancer Society and more. Already in 2019, he promoted an Oxnard Police Department commemorative patch to support Autism Awareness Month, which raised more than $13,000. McGreevy accepted the award.
Innovative Business of the Year – CURE Pharmaceutical
At its research and production facility in Oxnard, CURE Pharmaceutical is manufacturing CUREfilm™, one of the most advanced oral thin film on the market today. It makes it easier for patients to take medication without having to swallow pills – something 40% of people struggle with – and creates an alternative to injections or liquid medication. CURE’s proprietary technology unleashes the full potential of drug treatments, resulting in medication that is easy to take, delivers fast results, is the precise dosage, and portable. Founder and Chief Accounting Officer Mark Udell accepted the award.
Small Business of the Year – JaniTek Cleaning Solutions
JaniTek Cleaning Solutions provides fast and affordable cleaning services for businesses. The company’s Central Coast office is located in Oxnard and serves Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. In August 2018, it became one of the few Green Certified Businesses in Ventura County for its commitment to sustainable business practices. Customer satisfaction is the company’s first priority, believing that serving customers with care, urgency, and diligence brings about the best service results. The company also takes care of its own -- rewarding, developing and retaining the best employees in order to better serve their customers. Operation Manager Celia Cortez accepted the award.
Large Business of the Year – Ventura County Credit Union
Today, as the largest and most convenient credit union in the region, Ventura County Credit Union serves more than 80,000 members in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. VCCU invests its profits back into the credit union to benefit members and the community, and supports a variety of nonprofits through its CommUNITY Giving Program, which encourages employees to volunteer by compensating up to 40 hours of community service. Some of the credit union’s community involvement includes FOOD Share’s CAN-tree event, partnering with the Oxnard Housing Authority, and supporting or sponsoring many organizations including the Rotary Club, Oxnard High School’s Career Fair, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Oxnard, and so much more. Chief Administrative Officer Linda Rossi accepted the award
Business Advocate of the Year – Mark Spellman
Mark Spellman takes pride in always putting his best foot forward, giving 110% towards helping others in the business community and the community at large. As a Director with the Oxnard Downtown Management District, he is helping revitalize the heart of Oxnard. Spellman was a vocal advocate in support of reliable and affordable energy supplies for Oxnard and testified numerous times at public hearings. He also followed through with correspondence and meetings with elected officials. Spellman is a Past President and 16-year member with the Rotary Club of Oxnard, sits on the Oxnard Union High School District Business Advisory Committee and recently joined the Boards of both the CA Strawberry Festival and Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties so he could expand his support of non-profit entities and interact with more business-like minded professionals that share the same vision of community for this great city. Spellman accepted the award.
Best Place to Work – PURETEC Industrial Water
In 2018, Puretec Industrial Water received certification as a Great Place to Work® after an independent survey showed that 95 percent of employees say they love working there. What do they love most? Among the top reasons are opportunities for advancement, work/life balance, and attention to employees’ health and well-being: 97% are proud to tell others they work there, 94% feel a sense of pride when they look at what the company accomplishes, and 95% say when you join the company, you are made to feel welcome. On top of offering a competitive benefits package, employees are given paid time off on their birthday and on their work anniversary, which they call “Family Day,” to encourage employees to spend it with their families. President Jed Harris accepted the award.
Oxnard Trophy – Oxnard Salsa Festival
Now in its 26th year, the Oxnard Salsa Festival is Southern California’s HOTTEST Summer festival. Attracting more than 35,000 attendees from around the world to Downtown Oxnard every year, the Oxnard Salsa Festival is a two-day celebration of everything salsa: food, music and dance. Presented by the Oxnard Downtowners, the Festival features live salsa bands, salsa dance lessons, a salsa recipe challenge, and a “Dancing With Our Community Stars” competition. It showcases more than 100 arts, craft and retail vendors from all over California, two international food courts, a kids' zone and more surprises every year. But more than being an amazing, fun weekend, in the last 10 years, the festival has raised more than half-a-million dollars for the local community by supporting and partnering with local nonprofits, including Boys & Girls Club of Oxnard & Port Hueneme, Rotary Club of Oxnard, Friends of Heritage Square, and more. Salsa Festival emcee Pablo F. Ortiz, Festival Director Kellie Meehan, and President of the Downtown Oxnard Business Association Gary Blum accepted the award.
Distinguished Citizen of the Year – Bryan MacDonald
For 30 years, Bryan MacDonald served in the Oxnard Police Department before retiring with the rank of Assistant Police Chief. As an Oxnard City Council Member since November 2008, MacDonald serves or has served the community as a member of Oxnard’s Public Safety Committee, the Ventura County Transportation Commission, LOSSAN Regional Rail Service, the Gold Coast Transit District, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and more. He has a long history of community involvement, including past Chairperson of the American Cancer Society Gold Coast Community Council; Board member and past President for the Elite Theatre Company; and an active member of the Knights of Columbus Council 750. He also has taught criminology as an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Ventura College for more than 35 years, and he’s currently an instructor and liaison to The Sheriff’s Academy. MacDonald has a lot of fun in the community as well. During the holidays, he and his wife of 35 years, Lorraine, spread Christmas cheer as Santa and Mrs. Claus for a number of local events and organizations, including the Santa-to-the-Sea Half-Marathon, Soroptimist International of Oxnard and the Port Hueneme Police Department. MacDonald accepted the award.
Award nominations are submitted by the public and reviewed by a selection committee, with the exception of the Oxnard Trophy, which is selected by the the Oxnard Chamber Board of Directors.
Did you know that Oxnard was once home to the largest hotel between Los Angeles and San Francisco? Have you ever wondered the story behind the pagoda in Plaza Park?
Whether you are new to Oxnard or a long-time resident, learning about the city’s rich history is a fun and eye-opening experience.
On Friday, April 19, members of the Chamber’s 2019 Oxnard Leadership Program were treated to a day with local historian Jeff Maulhardt. He led them through various historic sites throughout the city, including the original Oxnard sugar beet factory and Heritage Square.
This was the group’s fourth session this year, having already explored the city’s government, public safety and education.
Maulhardt, a fifth-generation descendant of two of Oxnard’s pioneer families, has authored 15 books about the area and is director of the Oxnard Historic Farm Park, where the group’s tour began. The park is home to two of the oldest remaining structures on the Oxnard Plain: an 1870s farmhouse and brick winery.
After a history lesson and tour, the group drove to the site of the original Oxnard sugar beet factory, which is near Wooley Road and Factory Lane. Two of the original five buildings remain, and are still used to support the distribution of local agriculture.
The group also visited the Carnegie Art Museum where Martha Jimenez, Curator of Education, led the tour. Originally known as Oxnard’s Carnegie Library, it was built in 1906 as one of the free public libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. It was converted into an art museum in 1986.
Their final stop was Heritage Square where docent Tom Von Allmen shared the significance of each building’s location, architecture and origin. The 15 beautifully restored Victorian homes preserve some of the special history of Oxnard’s early pioneer families. Many businesses now occupy the buildings, including the restaurant La Dolce Vita and 1901 Speakeasy, where the group ended its day.
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 regions.
In May, participants will learn about the region’s impact on trade and commerce with visits to the Port of Hueneme and Naval Base Ventura County - Point Mugu.
Learn more about the Oxnard Leadership Program.
We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2019 Community & Business Awards, which will be celebrated April 25 at the Residence Inn by Marriott/River Ridge. Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations and to our award selection committee, which consists of representatives from our event sponsors. In addition to the nominations, the Oxnard Chamber Board selects a person, business or organization to receive the Oxnard Trophy for bringing recognition to Oxnard and bettering the community.
The 2019 winners are:
The 69th annual Community & Business Awards will be held Thursday, April 25 at 6:00 pm at Residence Inn by Marriott/River Ridge. Reservations are required in advance and are $60 per person.
The city of Oxnard will hold a special council meeting on March 25 to address short term rentals. This has been a hot topic over the past couple of years.
Emotions run high on both sides of the issue. Beach residents don't want loud parties in their neighborhoods, and homeowners rely on short term rentals to fund their investments. Families like to stay at the beach in a house.
The Chamber Board took a position on this issue back in October of 2016. That position was to not ban short term rentals. However, the Chamber has given city staff a lot of input on the issue. They have done an enormous amount of research on what other communities do and how the California Coastal Commission rules on these rentals.
The special council meeting on March 25 is a Study Session. Staff will make a presentation, the public will have their say, and the staff will ask the council for direction to draft an ordinance. The agenda can be found here.
Since a large turnout from the public is expected, the meeting will be held at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center on Hobson Way. It will begin at 6:00 pm.
Nominations for the 2019 Community & Business Awards are open. Who will be the Distinguished Citizen? How about the Small Business of the Year? The award categories for 2019 have been updated, so they now include:
The Chamber relies on nominations from the business community and general public. Nominees are not required to be members of the Oxnard Chamber. Also, those submitting nominations do not need to be Chamber members.
Nominations are due by March 25. Following that date, the selection committee will pour over the submittals and choose the awardees. We all know of people, organizations and businesses that make Oxnard such a great place to live and work. Let's thank them with a nomination!
Click here for the Nomination Form
The Community & Business Awards will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, April 25.