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Gilroy Chamber of Commerce OFFICERS


The winds of change…

AS WE HAVE NOW changed from summer to fall, we have also had a change of leadership at the Chamber Past chair of Commerce. After 24 tremendous ERIC HOWARD • Bruce’s Tire, Inc. years with the Gilroy Chamber of chair of the board-ElecT Commerce, Susan Valenta has now DEBBI SANCHEZ • Fortino Winery moved on to a new chapter in her life. Like many people Susan has Secretary/Treasurer touched over the years, I feel honored DAVID MATUSZAK, Ed.D. to have worked side by side with her. Vc OPERATIONS & DEVELOPMENT Susan’s dedication to the community JAN PEAT • McDonald’s of Gilroy and events in Gilroy will never be forgotten. Susan will be a hard person Vc public affairs to replace. She made my position as chair of the board ERIC GEBHARDT • Hilton Garden Inn

GREGG GIUSIANA • Retired Police Chief

Vc business programs & Services MESSAGE DEBBI SANCHEZ • Fortino Winery

Chairman of the Board a pleasure to be a part of and I thank her for that. But as many businesses eventually have to do, a new leader must be found to keep moving forward. I believe we have found a great one in our hiring of Mark Turner. I am confident Mark will lead the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce in the right direction and look forward to working with him as he takes on his new role. Susan has left the Chamber of Commerce in a great position and Mark is ready to continue that

success. He will be calling and visiting our members over the next few weeks. Feel free to let Mark and I know what “winds of change” are currently affecting your business…


2013 Chair of the Board Gilroy Chamber of Commerce


We’re here to serve you, the business community


AS I TAKE OVER AS THE new President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, I can’t help but think about BRIGITTE NICHOLLS several important factors. First and fore• Union Bank most, the great job Susan Valenta has CHAR MARRAZZO • The Dispatch done over the last 24 years serving LLOYD LOWREY the business community in this role. • Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss Susan has overseen the development JAY MENCHACA of several organizations that play • Menchaca Law Offices a significant role in our city. Most CHERYL ELLEMBERG • ABD Promotions notably, the Economic Development GINA LOPEZ • State Farm Insurance Corporation, the Gilroy Welcome Center, formally known as the Gilroy CHAMBER STAFF Visitor’s Bureau and the Gilroy Mark Turner • President/CEO Leadership Education Foundation. Michelle Garcia • Administrative Assistant Through the Chamber, Susan has also Chris Bevilacqua • Administrative Assistant established a partnership with the Rosie Vogel • Administrative Assistant Downtown Business Association. Sue Thurman • Business Relationship Manager What I am struck by is how all of these organizations in conjunction with the Chamber work together to WELCOME CENTER STAFF establish strong economic momentum Jane Howard • Executive Director for the community. Pam Gimenez • Office Manager Secondly, the staff at the Chamber is committed to the success of its



Tammy Brownlow • President/CEO Candace Van Sambeek, Administrative Assistant


EDITOR • Mark Turner, President/CEO Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

PRODUCTION & DESIGN • J. Chris Mickartz InfoPOWER Communications

PHOTOGRAPHY • Larry Mickartz InfoPOWER Communication

7471 Monterey Street • Gilroy, CA 95020 web: e-mail: phone: (408) 842-6437

members. When we say, “Your business is our business,” the staff takes it seriously. They work diligently to serve the needs of local businesses. Sue Thurman, Michelle Garcia, Chris Bevilacqua and Rosie Vogel bring a combined 40 years of Chamber experience to the table. They are all committed to the core competency areas that business people have said were important; programs to strengthen the local economy, promoting the community, representing the interests of business with government, providing networking opportunities and building business relationships. Third, the dedication of the Board of Directors and Chamber volunteers. The Board members, who happen to be volunteers, sacrificially give of their time to provide direction and oversight. They are a hands-on group of individuals working on behalf of the business community. Other volunteers serve as members of the Government

development. “My perspective is simple,” Debbi states, “The most important thing we have in life is our relationships, and I love being in a position where I can help to increase and build on relationships for the betterment of our community.”

A graduate of the Leadership Class of 2010, Debbi brought her leadership skills to the forefront and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Business Programs and Services Division on the Chamber Board. An Ambassador for over 5 years, Debbi has a keen understanding of marketing and business development, and is passionate about

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President/CEO Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

Menchaca, continued from page 1

Sanchez, continued from page 1 After being elected to the Chamber Board in 2011, Debbi immediately took a leadership role with an emphasis on membership

Relations Committee, as Ambassadors, and the Partner Connect Committee to name a few. All our volunteers play a critical role in the successful efforts of the Chamber and are greatly appreciated. I’m honored to be associated with so many dedicated people and look forward to working more closely with the businesses in our community. For those of you that have yet to join the Chamber of Commerce, I would strongly recommend you do so. Take the next step and contact our office. Meet the staff that’s waiting to serve you.

the community building a loyalty to their local businesses. Professionally, Debbi is the Events Coordinator at Fortino Winery, where she manages corporate events and weddings. “My profession allows me to meet and work with incredible people from all walks of life on a regular basis – whether it is a fundraiser for a non-profit or an off-site corporate meeting, every connection is a valued relationship.” Debbi has been involved in a number of organizations including MDA, Susan G. Komen, Relay for Life, Gilroy Garlic Festival, Youth Group Facilitator, Gilroy Memorial Day Parade, Gilroy Downtown Christmas Parade, and serves as an advocate for Women’s Health and Patient Care.

Monterey. Jay brings a unique combination of skills and experience to his practice. Prior to attending law school, he was a State Narcotics Agent with the local task force UNET, a Probation Officer, and a Political Consultant. These occupations, coupled with his desire to learn more about the law, drew Jay to Washington, D.C., where he attended George Washington University Law School. He has successfully represented clients in state and federal court as well as in mediation and other alternative dispute resolution forums. Jay currently provides general and commercial civil litigation representation and counsel to individuals and business clients.

Gilroy Business Focus I Octobber 2013

Morgan Hill


Oct. 22, 2013 • 2-4 PM

Oct. 23, 2013 • 2-4 PM

Mama Mia’s Restaurant 275 E. Dunne Avenue

Forest Park Inn 375 Leavesley Road

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Hollister Oct. 24, 2013 • 2-4 PM San Juan Oaks Golf Club 3825 Union Road

Gilroy Business Focus I Octobber 2013

Gilroy Business Focus - October | 2013 Edition  

A Publication of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce