Chamber of Commerce Hosts Business Awards Gala
Last night, Thursday, January 30, 2020, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Business Awards gala at the Senior Community Center. Members of the San Leandro business community are invited to this event to celebrate leaders in their industries and recognize standout businesses.
The event highlighted six awardees over the course of the evening, and was attended by a true who’s-who in San Leandro, including large and small business owners, elected officials, former elected officials, City staff, and more. The event was catered by Pinx Catering, which operates out of Gate510 – one of the event’s sponsors. Other sponsors included Creekside Plaza Partners, the Port of Oakland, Pacific Farms, Kaiser Permanente, F.H. Dailey Chevrolet, Alameda Health System, Shannon Leigh, ACCO Engineered Systems, 440 Creates, Alameda County Industries, Leadership San Leandro, and Wells Fargo.
The first awardee was Alameda County Industries (ACI), whose long-time standing as a San Leandro business earned them the Legacy Leader in Business award. Family-owned and operated, ACI has provided waste removal services to the San Leandro community for nearly two decades. General Manager Chris Valbusa joked that, even though a legacy is something you leave behind, ACI’s job is literally to never leave anything behind.
The second awardee was Kristin Lima, Dean of Applied Technology & Business at Chabot College, whose partnership with the San Leandro Unified School District and the Chamber of Commerce on East Bay Manufacturing Day earned her this year’s Leader in Education award. Every fall, the East Bay Manufacturing Day event invites hundreds of high school students to visit local manufacturers, learn about career paths in manufacturing, and ultimately touring the Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering facilities at Chabot College.
The Innovation & Technology Leader award this year went to Geltor, whose groundbreaking development of animal-free collagen for cosmetics products has earned them many spots in the bio-tech limelight over the past couple of years. What started “in a coffee shop in New Jersey,” is now a quickly growing bio-tech company located at Gate510 on Davis Street.
The Spirit of the Community award was bestowed upon Arlene Lum, whose extensive curriculum vitae of board positions, committee seats, and volunteer activity span several decades in San Leandro and Alameda County, including roles as Chair of the Asian Business Council, Vice President of the Asian Community Cultural Association of San Leandro, and serving on the Board of Directors for the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.
After a tight race, the People’s Choice Small Business award went to Barberians Barbershop, which opened on Bancroft Avenue in 2019. Barberians is a husband-and-wife business operated by Shevelle Mitchell and Skye Rodriguez that has been positively embraced by the community.
Owner of Shannon Leigh Associates and Station SL, Shannon Hackley, received the Business Person of the Year award. Shannon encouraged entrepreneurs at all stages of their development to invest in their future workforce by engaging with local schools and educational programs.
Lastly, the Business of the Year award was presented to ACCO Engineered Systems, whose expanding employee-owned business has grown to become one of the largest mechanical contractors in the United States. In the Bay area, their work can be seen in projects such as the Salesforce Tower and the Chase Center.
If there was one common thread throughout the evening, it was that entrepreneurship–perhaps particularly in manufacturing–is quite strong in San Leandro. The camaraderie experienced among the many industry leaders in the room is indicative of the positive business-to-business climate that has developed into an effective asset to the San Leandro business community.