After months of fuss about the smell emanating from the Sriracha hot sauce factory in Irwindale and the subsequential battle to lure Huy Fong Foods away from the San Gabriel Valley, it was nice to see the company actually receive an award Saturday night (Sept. 6, 2014), and especially fitting that it was the region’s San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership showing appreciation.
No less than Congresswoman Judy Chu presented the Business Entrepreneur Award to CEO and founder David Tran and Executive Operations Officer Donna Lam at the 11th Annual San Gabriel Valley Awards Gala. Chu, who noted that the name of the company came from the name on the boat that Tran rode from his native Viet Nam to Hong Kong, said that word-of-mouth has made the sauces an international sensation.
In offering thanks for the recognition, Lam said, “We have been part of the San Gabriel Valley since 1986 and we really value organizations like the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership that endeavor to foster the success of businesses in the community.”
It was a lovely event at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the city of Industry that Arcadia Chamber of Commerce CEO Scott Hettrick and his wife Betty and the Chamber’s Immediate Past President Arlynn Robinson and her husband Gary were kindly invited to attend by former two-time Arcadia Chamber President Helen Romero Shaw of the The Gas Company of Southern California. Assembly Member Ed Chau was also at the same table.
The gala, held outdoors in a beautiful lawn setting with ambient lights overheard strewn between trees, honors individuals and organizations in the San Gabriel Valley who are making a significant contribution to the region’s economy and quality of life.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who leaves the Board of Supervisors in November after 23 years, was presented with the Public Service Award.
Foothill Transit, which had its environmentally-friendly bus on display outside the venue, was given the Green Business Award. Foothill Transit retired its diesel fleet in December and now has 316 compressed natural gas buses in service.
The Excellence in Education Award went to Cal Poly Pomona and was accepted by President Michael Ortiz. In presenting the award, Kristen Pugh, Associate Vice President of Government and Community Relations at City of Hope, said that one out of every 15 engineers in California is a Cal Poly graduate.
Development firm The Ratkovich Co. President and CEO Wayne Ratkovich received the Chairman’s Award.
Industry-based Prolacta Bioscience Inc. won the Business of the Year Award. Prolacta, which employs 130 people and expects to soon double that number, manufactures specialty products made from human milk that are designed to the meet the nutritional needs of premature infants in neonatal intensive care units worldwide.
CEO Scott Elster noted with pride that Prolacta manufactures its product in California. “What are the odds,” he said.
The well-attended event drew several media, including Kevin Smith, who filed a story for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.