Jim Leahy said his wife and fellow Citizen of the Year Award recipient Terry Leahy took the honor she refers to as “COY” so seriously that when Jim was recently cut off in traffic and was about to confront the offender, Terry quickly reminded him about his obligation to live up to the award by yelling out “COY!” “COY!,” which stopped him in his tracks. It also made an anecdote that drew roars of laughter from the crowd of more than 220 people where Jim and Terry were being honored Thursday (March 26, 2015) by the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce at the annual Installation Dinner at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. (Two photo galleries below from the ceremony and the Red Carpet Experience.)
Also at the program sponsored primarily by Keystone Club Sponsor Singpoli and Gold Sponsors and Chamber Presenting Sponsors Westfield Santa Anita and Methodist Hospital, outgoing President Denise Weaver of Weaver & Associates Insurance was saluted, incoming President Andrew Gregson of The Executive Factor, dressed in a kilt, the uniform of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards (Her Majesty’s Armed Forces), was introduced and sworn-in along with more than two dozen board members and executive officers (listed below), and Foothill Credit Union was awarded the Chamber’s annual Corporate Community Contributor Award (see details below).
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Following eloquent, funny and warm introductory comments by their three daughters, Lauren, Megan and Caitlyn, and a touching acceptance speech by Terry, Jim had 225 people howling with laughter as he told stories of meeting Terry and raising their children and anecdotes involving his coaching of Little League baseball teams. But he also had sincere praise for the people who make Arcadia great at the schools, City Council and staff, the Chamber and other organizations. And he had touching praise for his family, saying that only in the shadow of Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park horse track could an Irish mutt like himself get matched with a thoroughbred like Terry and get champions like his daughters.
Mayor John Wuo swore in about two dozen members of the Chamber Board of Directors for the coming year, representing top management of myriad companies ranging from small independent shops to Westfield Santa Anita, Singpoli development, Foothill Credit Union, Santa Anita Park, the Mayor and City Manager, and the School Board President and School District Superintendent, among others.
Immediately upon being sworn in, new President Andrew Gregson presented Foothill Credit Union President/CEO Brian Hall with the Corporate Community Contributor award for his company that donates more than $140,000 each year to schools, hospitals, Chambers of Commerce and other organizations. Foothill was the third recipient of the annual award. Previous recipients were in attendance, the Arcadia Association of Realtors – new Vice President Andrew Cooper; and Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary – Board member Bruce Lazenby.
The more than half-a-century-old non-profit, member-owned Foothill Credit Union, which started as a tiny credit union of Arcadia Unified School District employees, has grown to a $300 million enterprise, most of that under Hall, who is celebrating his 20th anniversary in that role.
Arcadia Chamber CEO and emcee for the evening Scott Hettrick thanked Denise Weaver for her year of service as President, saying it was wonderful to have someone who offered so much practical help and advice but always in a helpful suggesting way and not mandating it. “Her mantra was always, ‘I’m just here to support you — just let me know how I can help you do everything you need to do, and hopefully make your job a little easier’.” Hettrick said. While naming just a few of the achievements for which she provided the necessary support — the biggest Taste of Arcadia ever; improvements to the Chamber building; the Chamber’s commitment to being first to announce Arcadia as a Host Town for the Special Olympics World Games; the launch of the Visit Arcadia initiative; contributing $1,000 to the Thoroughbred Racing Walk of Champions — Hettrick said that, most importantly, “Denise has always been there when the Chamber President was needed,” and always without financial compensation.
Hettrick presented Denise with a plaque and a gift of a weekend for two of “glamping” (glam camping) in a yurt at Treebones Resort near Big Sur.
He welcomed new President Gregson by saying Arcadia Chamber members can take comfort in the fact that the man responsible for protecting the Chamber for the next year is a man who once stood guard at Buckingham Palace and guarded Queen Elizabeth’s II crown jewels at the Tower of London! Hettrick also noted that Andrew comes to the position of President after his company, The Executive Factor, was named the Chamber’s Business of the Year for 2011-2012, and having spent the past two years on the Chamber’s Executive Committee as Vice President and President-Elect. He’s already devoted countless hours and thousands of dollars in support of the Arcadia Chamber and we look forward to an exciting and progressive year ahead of the benefit of all Chamber members. He officially takes over on Wednesday, April Fool’s Day.
A certificate of appreciation was presented to Joan Francone of ORI Global, who is termed out after two consecutive two-year terms. Hettrick thanked her for being so supportive and showing up to so many events.
Representing sponsors were Singpoli founder and CEO Kin Hui with his wife Ivy. Westfield Santa Anita General Manager Ramon Oseguera, and Methodist Hospital’s representative on the board, Doneva Garcia, as well as Methodist Hospital Foundation President Mike Driebe.
Other Gold sponsors of the evening included school construction company Bernards; Foothill Credit Union thanks to Chris Anderson and Brian Hall; and Hart, Mieras & Morris thanks to Andrew Gregson. Pamela del Rey was the evening’s Silver Sponsor.
Hettrick also thanked program advertisers in attendance: Waddell & Reed, courtesy of Allen Tsay; Santa Anita Park’s Elizabeth Booth; and Century Rooter Service & Plumbing courtesy of our new President-Elect Vicki Knight. Knowland Construction Services bought a reserved table, as did the Arcadia Chinese Association, which bought two!
Former Chamber Presidents in attendance were also introduced by Hettrick, including Jim Helms (1978); Gil Stromsoe (2007); and Arlynn Robinson (2013). And former Citizens of the Year Jim Helms, Gary Kovacic, Vince Foley, Sho Tay, and Alice Wang.
In addition to Mayor Wuo and his wife Jane, three other City Council members and their wives were in attendance: Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kovacic and his wife Barb; and Council Members Tom Beck and his wife Jeri; and Sho Tay and his wife Sherry, as well as City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto, Assistant City Manager Jason Kruckeberg, and City Clerk Gene Glasco.
Also represented at the event were leaders and members of local organizations including The Arcadia Chinese Association; the Arcadia Historical Society; the Assistance League of Arcadia; and the Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation.
Hettrick offered many thanks to Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, and especially to General Manager Matthew Goo, who generously donated wine served at tables, as well as the hotel’s famous chocolate chip cookies.
And representatives of local legislators from Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office Viola Van; from Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez’s office Clayton Arick; and from Assemblyman Ed Chau’s office Adam Hsu presented certificates to each honoree. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s representative Brian Mejia could not be there due to his father’s grave illness but he also provided a certificate for each honoree in advance.
The new board of directors who were in attendance Thursday in:
• President Andrew Gregson of The Executive Factor
• President-Elect Vicki Knight of Century Rooter Service & Plumbing
• Vice President Andrew Cooper of the Arcadia Association of Realtors
• Secretary-Treasurer Gil Stromsoe, Mark Schaefer Associates
• Past President Denise Weaver of Weaver & Associates
Board of Directors
• Chris Andersson, Foothill Credit Union
• Andrew Chang, Santa Anita Inn
• Imy Dulake, Coldwell Banker
• Doneva Garcia, Methodist Hospital
• Kin Hui, Singpoli
• Bruce Lazenby, Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary
• Dominic Lazzaretto, Arcadia City Manager
• Matt McSweeny, Matt Denny’s Ale House
• Stephen J. Miyabe, Hart, Mieras & Morris
• Ramon Oseguera, Westfield Santa Anita
• Lori Phillipi, School Board President
• Luis Plascencia, Embassy Suites Arcadia
• Romy Rahmanian, Law Office of Romy Rahmanian
• Arlynn Robinson, Century 21 Earll
• John Sun, Budget Blinds
• Dr. Edward Wong, Arcadia Chinese Association
• Dr. Peter Young, Premier Dental Esthetic
Unable to attend:
- Dr. Nina Getz, Phillips Eye Center
- Annette Ousterhout, Jan’s Towing
- Mark Ramos, Vista Paint
- Pete Siberell, Santa Anita Park
- David Vannasdall, Arcadia School District
- Wayne Williams, Professional Advisory Services