Chamber Connection (September 2020)

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Catalyst. Convener. Champion.

Chamber Connection S A NTA M A RI A VA LLE Y CH A MB E R MO NTHLY NE WS LE T TE R | S E P TE MB E R 2020

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

CoastHills Credit Union is the Chamber's 2020 Large Business of the Year. They are one of the 8 recipients of this year's awards, which will be aired September 24th at 7:30pm on KCOY. 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 Continued on p.2


"Facts From Farmers" Website p. 3

Chamber Month in Review p. 4

Chamber Membership Corner p. 6

Continued - Celebrating Business & Community Continued from p.1 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


Care Connection Central Coast was announced as the 2020 Small Business of the Year. The local company provides ambulatory transportation to and from essential health care appointments. 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

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. - Krista Delia, COO, Santa Maria Valley Y



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 ( ) and Instagram ( 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!

“Facts From Farmers” Provides A Firsthand Look At Local Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to the local economy in Santa Maria Valley. Lacy Litten is hoping her "Facts From Farmers" website will give the general public a better understanding of an industry that plays such a large role in our community. In the Santa Maria Valley, Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to the local economy. Even so, many local residents don’t know a lot about an industry that plays such a big role in our community. Lacy Litten is hoping to change that with a new website aimed to help community members better understand the local agriculture industry. Litten, who works as the Director of Food Safety & Field Operations Manager at Innovative Produce, says her background in agriculture inspired her to launch the “Facts From Farmers” website. “Once I started working in agriculture, it didn’t take long to see how misunderstood,

poorly portrayed, and underrepresented our industry is,” Litten explained. “The general public isn’t exposed to how resourceful, innovative, adaptive, resilient, and proactive we really are. I want to provide farmers with a platform to tell their story, promote their best practices, and connect with the general public in a natural, relatable, and humanized way.” The website, www.factsfromfarmers. com, will launch in early September and feature different local farmers in Santa Maria Valley. Litten says in addition to highlighting these businesses, she hopes the website will provide a platform for

The "Facts From Farmers" will highlight a number of different agriculture businesses in Santa Maria Valley, and give community members a chance to have their questions answered. Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce | September 2020

community engagement. “Visitors to the site have the opportunity to submit their questions, and we’re going to do our best to address them,” Litten said. “I want people to see all the behind-the-scenes ways the agriculture industry contributes to our local communities. I think people will be surprised to learn how involved farmers are in community, industry, philanthropy, and regulatory relations.” So far, Litten has connected with four local agriculture companies to highlight on the website, and hopes to eventually grow the platform beyond just our local community. “Big picture, I’d love to feature farmers from around the country, varying commodities, areas of expertise, and levels in the supply chain.” Litten said. Litten hopes the site can be a platform for the agriculture industry to share their stories, and for the local community to better understand an industry that has such a huge impact on the Santa Maria Valley. “The stories being shared are individual. I’m not curating them, I’m just providing a platform,” Litten said. “My hope is that this website becomes a one-stop educational resource on agriculture for our community.” will launch in early September 2020. If there are any farmers or other ag-related companies that are interested in being featured, you can contact Lacy Litten at (805) 801-7032 or 3

Working Hard on Your Behalf: Chamber Month in Review The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is here for business. We are a catalyst for business growth, convener of leaders and influencers, and a champion for a stronger Santa Maria Valley. We continue to work hard to serve our members, local businesses and the Santa Maria Valley community. Here’s a glimpse at what we’ve been up to lately.

Catalyst for Business Growth • • • •

The Chamber launched the Support Santa Maria Valley campaign to encourage the community to continue to support local businesses. The campaign saw strong early engagement and will run through the end of 2020. The #SMVOpenForBusiness hashtag continues to gain momentum on Instagram, with over 1,300 tags. Chamber/EDC worked with regional partners to support the nomination of Vandenberg Air Force Base as a potential site for the US Space Command Headquarters. The EDC presented a plan to the City Council to solicit development proposals leveraging city-owned parcels in the Downtown core.

Convener of Leaders and Influencers • • • •

Santa Maria Connect! continues to have a strong social media presence, offering articles, podcasts and other professional development resource recommendations geared towards young professionals. Visitors Bureau continued their monthly tourism development virtual meetings with tourism industry professionals. The Chamber Continues to hold virtual BYB (Build Your Business) meetings every Friday as a networking opportunity for Chamber Members. The Chamber’s August Virtual Mixer was hosted by CASA of Santa Barbara County and Great Business Marketing, and provided another networking opportunity for our business community.

Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley • • • • • • •

The Chamber distributed free face masks, hand sanitizer and face shields to small businesses, provided by the Economic Development Collaborative’s Small Business Development Center and the California Office of Emergency Services. The Chamber received over 100 responses to their August COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. The survey responses help us understand business needs and identify ways to better support our local economy and community. The Visitors Bureau hosted 3 travel journalists to experience the Santa Maria Valley; we look forward to their articles this fall. The Chamber announced their 2020 Annual Award recipients. The recipients will be honored on a TV broadcast, set to air September 24th at 7:30pm on KCOY. The Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley won the “Best of” Award for Best Winery/ Brewery Transportation in the 2020 Santa Maria Sun’s annual readers’ poll. Chamber President/CEO Glenn Morris accepted the Pacific Coast Business Times’ “Small Business Advocate” award at their Spirit of Small Business Awards. The award recognized the Chamber’s role in advocating for and keeping informed our local business community. The Chamber’s Business/Government Roundtable and Board of Directors approved recommended positions related to the ballot propositions that will appear on the November ballot. A “voters’ guide” explaining those recommendations will be distributed in early September.

What Our Members Have Shared: "The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce provides me an opportunity to interact with other businesses in the community and gain the exposure that every business needs. With weekly and monthly events available to get involved, you truly will get as much out of the experience as you put in. It has been my experience that the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to providing events which benefit the community and business members. I recommend chamber membership to anyone who wants their business to grow." -Timothy J. Bomben Wave Business 4

Building A Company Culture in a Remote-Run Business

Thank You to our Chamber Investor Program Businesses:

Providing employees more flexibility when working remote can yield higher productivity. In uncertain times when there is slow growth in different industries, the natural reaction for many people is fear. As a business leader, you should build a company culture that makes everyone want to be part of the company. Below are some values, attitudes, and practices that can encourage you to build a great company culture. Pay your employees full salary When employees work remotely, you will not be able to boost their morale with corporate culture wall graphics. As such, you will have to find innovative ways of building a company culture. Some companies are finding ways to pay their employees their full salaries – a bold statement when times are tough. By taking care of the financial aspect, you will help make their lives much better. You can also redo your office space to provide them with a great work environment once normalcy returns. Show your staff that you care about them You can find ways to encourage your employees to look out for each other. As a business leader, you should be the first person to embrace the company culture and set the pace in practicing the shared values. Simple acts of kindness, such as sending your staff meal plans, buying them cookbooks, cooking videos, and suggesting fun family activities, will go a long way in building strong relationships. Your staff will be pleasantly surprised and feel appreciated through such actions. Connect with employees When employees who were working remotely come back to work, you can

organize new activities that will help strengthen your relationship with them. Activities that have never been done before will make for great fun while providing employees from different departments an opportunity to bond. For instance, staff from different departments can form teams and play against each other in a game. When you take part in the activities, you will not only connect with your employees but also show them that they matter. Promote employee well-being Even as the company goes through a rough patch, your employees will need to be reassured. You will have to create a secure environment where they can work by providing on- and off-site support. Considering the increasing fear and stress levels during such times, you can find ways to foster positive coping. Support employee physical and mental health through employee assistance programs, webinars on resilience, and tutorials on mindfulness. It would also be important to provide them with information on health risks and preventative measures. Provide more flexibility Depending on their living situations and responsibilities, working remotely can affect your employees in different ways. Workers with young children or elder-care responsibilities will have to balance work tasks and take care of their loved ones. Try to be flexible and relax your expectations during this time. One of the best ways to go about it would be to have an open discussion with employees regarding when and how tasks will be accomplished.

Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce | September 2020

American General Media Armando’s Autobody & Paint Inc. Babe Farms, Inc. Black Bear Diner - Santa Maria Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast CALM Certified Freight Logistics College and Career Readiness, Santa Barbara County Education Office Comcast Community Bank of Santa Maria Community Carpenters Diani Companies Family Care Network, Inc. Golden State Water Company J. Wilkes Wines Mega 97.1/La Buena Morris & Garritano Insurance New Life Painting/Bath & Kitchen/Restoration NKT Commercial I, LLC On the 101/ Beach Betty Creative PCPA - Pacific Conservatory Theatre Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC Phoenix Property Inspections Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. Plantel Nurseries Safran Cabin Santa Maria Safran Seats Santa Maria Santa Maria Bonita School District Santa Maria Country Club Santa Maria Joint Union High School District SCORE San Luis Obispo SESLOC Federal Credit Union Smith’s Alarms & Electronics, Inc. SM Tire SunOpta Terracore Operating Company Testa Catering Tileco Distributors, Inc. The Towbes Group, Inc. Trojan Petroleum, Inc. Urban Planning Concepts/ Rural Planning Services VTC Enterprises Walmart #2507 Wave Business Wells Fargo Bank Wine & Design Orcutt WSPA Xtreme Electronics The Y


Chamber Membership Corner New Members: June 15 - August 15, 2020 The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome these new members joining the Chamber. We appreciate their vote of confidence in our ability to add value to their business and to create a strong local economy together. Cold Stone Creamery 4869 S. Bradley Rd Ste. #113, Santa Maria (805) 934-9545 Cottage Urgent Care – Cottage Health 1846 N. Broadway St. A., Santa Maria (805) 361-4279 DRK Real Estate, Inc. 195 S. Broadway, Orcutt (805) 714-3072 Laurel Wrapz & Signs 2015 Preisker Ln, Unit A, Santa Maria (805) 868-8817

NKT Commercial I, LLC 684 Higuera Street, Ste. B, San Luis Obispo (805) 541-9004 Sergio Ruiz Productions Santa Maria, CA (805) 264-6841 Walpole & CO., LLP 2243 S. Depot Street #101, Santa Maria (805) 569-9864 ZenBusiness (844) 493-6249

Chamber Board of Directors: 2020-2021 Executive Committee Chairman: Edgar Gascon, Hacienda Realty Chairman-Elect: Danny Deveraux, CalPortland Vice Chairman: Janet Silveria, Community Bank of Santa Maria Vice Chairman: Laurie Tamura, Urban Planning Concepts Past Chairman: Jean-Luc Garon, Radisson Hotel Santa Maria Board Members Mark Allen, Marian Regional Medical Center Ron Cossa, Tolman & Wiker Insurance Sandra Dickerson, Your People Professionals Donna Farrell, Santa Maria Town Center Karen Fothergill, Andre, Morris & Buttary Doug Janzen, The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center Emily Kitts, Naughty Oak Brewing Company David LeRoy, Toyota of Santa Maria Butch Lopez, V Lopez Jr. & Sons General Engineering Contractors David Merlo, Glenn Burdette Tere Paredes, Maya Restaurant Era Polly, Era Polly Real Estate Shannon Seifert, Santa Maria Valley YMCA Michelle Shipman, Searchlight Properties Kevin Walthers, Allan Hancock College Tim Williams, Digital West

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers, and a champion for a stronger Santa Maria Valley. Learn more about the Chamber by visiting


Renewing Members: July 2020 The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is excited to recognize these partners who strive each day to create jobs, boost our local economy and build a community of which we can all be proud. Thank you for your continued membership with the Chamber. 80 Years: Marian Regional Medical Center

21 Years: Economy Inn

60 Years: Travelodge

19 Years: Community Bank of Santa Maria Motel 6 South Town & Country Inn

40 Years: Jiffy Lube Orcutt Union School District Peppertree Chevron Santa Maria Country Club United Way Northern Santa Barbara County 39 Years: Fargen Survey, Inc. 36 Years: First American Title Insurance Co 35 Years: VTC Enterprises 34 Years: Radisson Hotel Santa Maria 33 Years: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites - Portabella Restaurant 32 Years: Costco Wholesale #1275 31 Years: Best Western Plus Big America Primus Laboratories Santa Maria Joint High School District 30 Years: Foot & Ankle Center Of The Central Coast 28 Years: American Red Cross Econo Lodge Plus Inn & Suites 27 Years: Allan Hancock College Leachman Home Loans 24 Years: Glad A Way Gardens, Inc.

18 Years: Historic Santa Maria Inn 17 Years: Community West Bank, N.A. New Life Painting, Inc. Nishimori Landscape & Design/Stix N Stones 16 Years: Gina's Piece of Cake 15 Years: Applied Imaginations, Inc. McCarty Davis Patterson Realty - Shea Hutchinson 14 Years: Buckboard Motor Lodge 13 Years: Driscoll Inc. Fairfield by Marriott 12 Years: Candlewood Suites Santa Maria Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara 11 Years: Mega 97.1 Solaire Inn & Suites 10 Years: St Mary of the Assumption School 9 Years: Ana-Margarita Sevcik, MA, LMFT 8 Years: Days Inn Santa Maria Pacific Western Bank

Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce | September 2020

7 Years: Cugini's Pizzeria & Trattoria Maya Restaurant 5 Years: Cell Phone Repair - Santa Maria Mall CovenTree Olde World Market Healing Rooms of the Santa Maria Valley Wine & Design Orcutt 4 Years: Broadway 11, LLC Broadway Motel California Star Insurance Svs Inc. Colonial Motel DeVille Motel Fountain Motel Hayward Lumber Holiday Motel Laura Lodge Mission Hotel Motel 6 North Palms Motor Motel Plaza Motel Restwell Motel Santa Maria Cottages Santa Maria Public Library Foundation Valley Motel Villa Motel Western Motel 3 Years: Santa Barbara Co. Animal Care Foundation Tony Cravello Insurance & Financial Solutions UA Local 114 2 Years: Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld SunOpta Wave Business 1 Year: Bob Nelson 4 Supervisor Central Coast Truck Center Cool Hand Luke's Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Maria Pacific Coast Flag Phoenix Property Inspections Stability Studio TheVegBoss Wine Stone Inn 7

Stay Connected with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber Visit: 614 S. Broadway, Santa Maria Call: (805) 925-2403 Email:

614 S. Broadway Santa Maria, CA 93454

Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: santamariachamberofcommerce Email List: Text Message Alerts: Text "CHAMBER" to 33222 Chamber Connection is the official monthly publication of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. For questions about this publication or to be added to our monthly mailing distribution list, email

Leadership Santa Maria Valley Needs Your Support! Steve A. Williams, Systems Engineer, L3Harris Corp. Leadership Santa Maria Valley continues to work on their two community projects - a mobile observatory and a children’s book - and they need your support! The class still has a need for donations in terms of labor, expertise, and finances. Partly due to the COVID19 situation, it has become much more difficult for the class to reach and persuade students to participate and follow through on the art contest they set up for their Children's book. What would have entailed visiting school teachers and administrators with direct student access, have now resulted in the need to find other creative ways to reach students. For the mobile observatory, it has been difficult to find contractors with the skills, resources, time, and expertise to help us complete such a novel project. The observatory needs carpenters with the ability to modify the back portion of a toy hauler trailer for the fitting of a six foot diameter dome in the ceiling. When completed, the Class of 2020 hopes that these projects will serve as shining examples of community unity that will endure for years to come. To learn more about the projects and how to get involved or donate, visit

Community members try out the telescope which will be part of the mobile observatory being built by Leadership Santa Maria Valley class of 2020.

Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau 614 S. Broadway, Santa Maria | (805) 925-2403 | | 8