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SCV Chamber of Commerce inducts new chair

Bill Kennedy named leader of SCV’s Chamber of Commerce at the 85th annual installment dinner

Posted: February 3, 2009 8:52 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, right, also recognized Gill's leadership at the awards dinner.

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The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 85th annual installment dinner at the Hyatt Valencia, Friday.

Chamber members and local officials gave a celebratory goodbye to outgoing Chairman of the Board Charlie Gill and welcomed Bill Kennedy as the 2009 chairman.

“It has been a tough year, and 2009 will easily be just as tough, but I can’t think of two better people to help guide the chamber,” said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita.

Gill was praised for gallantly leading the chamber through a rough economic year. Past-chamber president Ed Masterson compared Gill to Walt Disney as a visionary, entrepreneurial mind and fan of Mickey Mouse.

Gill gave a recap of 2008’s successes including the Chamber’s November China trip and the organization’s membership, which currently totals more than 1,500. He asked chamber members to focus on each other and opportunities in the face of the hard economic times.

It’s hard to be upbeat about a recession but “Change, challenge and opportunity are what you look for,” Gill said.

“Happiness is not based on power or prestige but on relationships,” he said.

City Councilwoman Laurene Weste recognized Gill as a leader who cared about those around him.

“The true test of a man’s quality is a man that acknowledges everybody else’s qualities,” she said.

After Gill’s recognition, Smyth swore in the recurring board members and three new board members which includes Signal Publisher, Ian Lamont, Dena Maloney of College of the Canyons and Dana Cop of Att&T Inc.

Gill passed the gavel to Kennedy whose first order of business was to thank Gill.

“The hallmark of a good leader is the type of organization they leave behind … nobody worked harder or longer than Charlie,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy, of Valencia, accepted his new position and compared his leadership to that which should resemble a fighter pilot in battle.

“No fighter pilot accomplished anything on his own,” he said.

The economy’s threat will be great in the year to come, but success stems from mutual support of a leader and his wingmen, he said.

“It’s not just the fighter pilot, but the whole team together,” he said.

Kennedy created a spirited atmosphere and at one point had the room chanting, “Your chamber, now more than ever.”  

The installation closed with recognition of the Small, Medium and Large Business of the Year awards.

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