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Saluting 'an officer and a gentleman'

SCV Chamber of Commerce swears in new board president

Posted: January 25, 2010 4:39 p.m.
Updated: January 26, 2010 4:55 a.m.
The ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Valencia was packed with the movers and shakers of the Santa Clarita Valley's business community to salute an "officer and a gentleman."

That was the theme Friday night for the annual SCV Chamber of Commerce gala, a black-tie-optional dinner to salute last year's Chamber board president and swear in the new president.

Bill Kennedy - a retired U.S. Air Force colonel - stepped down as 2009's board president and passed the gavel to attorney John Shaffery.

"A year ago we faced difficult prospects," Kennedy said during his address to the crowd of several hundred. "We were all about business, and business wasn't looking good."

Among the successes of 2009, he said, was the formation of the SCV Economic Development Corp., "a multi-year objective" and the outgrowth of the Chamber's Economic Development Committee. Kennedy and Shaffery both sit on the board of the new corporation.

Kennedy lauded Shaffery as the new Chamber board president and remained focused on the future.

"The most important step in business ... is the next step," he said.

Kennedy was presented with certificates and awards from the offices of Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, Sen. George Runner, the city of Santa Clarita and county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

"(Last year) was tough, but I don't think anybody felt that because of your enthusiasm," said Rosalind Wayman, field deputy for Antonovich.

Kennedy presented his Chairman's Award to Sue Saffir of USANA Health Sciences. He said Saffir was instrumental in the formation of the Chamber's micro-finance committee.

After the Chamber board was sworn in and Kennedy passed the gavel, Shaffery took to the podium to talk about the year ahead.

"It's not my plan; it's the board of directors'," he said.

Shaffery outlined six objectives for 2010: Retaining Chamber members; creating networking opportunities; keeping chamber members informed of goings-on; lobbying elected officials; focusing on economic development - "It's going to be our epitaph," he said - and showing smart stewardship of members' funds.

"We want to be the leading business voice in Santa Clarita Valley," Shaffery said.

The chamber capped off the evening by naming its small, medium and large businesses of the year.

Vino 100 was awarded small business of the year; SOS Entertainment received medium business of the year; and Bristol Farms was named large business of the year.

Laura Kirchhoff of The Signal was presented with the Ambassador of the Year award, described by emcee Ed Masterson as an award for someone who puts her heart and soul into the business community.


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