Keeping a 70-year tradition going of recognizing community and business champions has had its challenges in the middle of a pandemic. However, the Oxnard Chamber has risen to those challenges and is proud to announce the 2020 awardees who will be honored at the virtual event on October 8. Here they are:
Distinguished Citizen of the Year – Marvin Boos is on a mission to clean up our city. After he retired from Naval Base Ventura County, he certainly was not going to become a couch potato. Last year when the city of Oxnard had to cut its budget and eliminate groundskeepers and graffiti removal personnel, Marvin Boos loaded his truck with a rake, dustpan, and hand saw and went to work. He spends about five days a week, three or four hours a day, cleaning up Oxnard's medians, parks and sidewalks. He's also inspired many others to join him in his fight against weeds, litter, overgrown trees, and graffiti. Thank you, Marvin!
Volunteer of the Year – Jim Magnusson is the definition of what a great community volunteer should be. He has spent the last 25 years volunteering his time and talent to help high school athletes respond and recover from injury. Over the course of the last two-and-a-half decades, Jim has helped hundreds of students at local high schools. Since 2005, Jim has volunteered a Pacifica High School, working with the football team. But Jim has done even more than serve as the team's medical support. He has also pitched in at other schools, such as for Oxnard High School's baseball team.
Business Advocate of the Year – Ashley Golden is the Assistant City Manager for the city of Oxnard, which seems odd that a chamber of commerce would name a government employee the Business Advocate of the Year. However, the Oxnard Chamber has had more input on city matters since Ms. Golden sought and incorporated opinions of the business community in city issues. Whether it's a minor change in city policy or a major overhaul of a process affecting business, she seeks responses from the entities impacted. Even when she has bad news to deliver to the business community, Ashley brings the issue to the Chamber for feedback.
Young Professional of the Year – Taylor Penny is hard to keep up with. She's a habitual volunteer! She's an avid supporter of the Oxnard Young Professionals, a champion for the local Boys & Girls Clubs, a board member for the California Strawberry Festival, board member for the Friends of the Bard Mansion, Oxnard PD K-9 Unit, mentor with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and serves on the Steering Committee for the Chamber's Oxnard Leadership program. Taylor's coworkers say she is always volunteering to help with any projects at St. John's Hospital, where she works for their foundation. Ms. Penny lives in Oxnard, works in Oxnard, and serves many organizations in Oxnard.
Nonprofit Organization of the Year – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County is celebrating 50 years of service through youth mentoring in 2020. With a big focus in Oxnard, they opened a new mentoring site earlier this year, bringing group and individual mentoring opportunities to youth for after-school hours. Through the guidance of dedicated case managers across all of their programs, BBBSVC has provided Oxnard youth the benefits of 1-to-1 mentoring to support individual needs, leading to life-long and life-changing friendships for many.
Small Business of the Year – PODS Moving & Storage has donated more than $1.5 million in logistics, PODS containers, trucks, fuel, and personnel to Central Coast charities in the past 15 years. Franchise owner Steve Yapp has instilled his passion for service in his entire team. Recipients of this generosity include the Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County, Casa Pacifica, FOOD Share, California Strawberry Festival, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and veterans Stand Down events. Giving back to the community that helped grow his business is a big part of Yapp's business model.
Large Business of the Year – DW Drums was founded in Santa Monica in 1972 and moved to Oxnard in 2000 where their international headquarters is today. Their mission is to produce the finest drums possible, to be innovative leaders in their industry, to provide outstanding customer service, and to bring together a team of employees and give them the opportunity to work with pride at a fun place to work. They also bring elite music legends to Oxnard ranging from Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) to Oxnard's own Grammy-winning Anderson Paak. Hundreds of big-name musicians come to Oxnard each year to monitor the progress of their made-to-order drums.
Innovative Business of the Year – FOMAT Medical Research has launched a search to find treatment and a vaccine for COVID-19. FOMAT has set up a testing site adjacent to the Oxnard Library on A Street. FOMAT conducts trials on whether antibody medicine offers effective treatment for people that have tested positive for the virus, and a second study will be on healthy people at high risk of the virus who will take a cocktail to measure the effectiveness in preventing infection. Testing is free, aimed at people willing to participate in the trials, and tests will provide results in 45 minutes.
Best place to Work – Visit Oxnard offers an unparalleled work culture, so ingrained in its employees that the term "staff" is always substituted by the word "team." Flexible schedules allow team members to put family first. Annual reviews allow for both professional growth and consistency in performance-based compensation adjustments. Team outings to support Oxnard restaurants, retailers, and attractions are common occurrences. Leadership guides by the principles of sociocracy, giving everyone the opportunity have their voices heard. "Coming to work each day is a joy," said the nominator for this award.
The Community & Business Awards were held virtually on October 8 at 4:00 pm. For those that missed our live event, you may view a recording of the presentation here.