Wednesday, November 25 , 2015, 1:24 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º

Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce Names Winners of Business Star Awards

Honorees include Laura McIver, Dr. Sumita Pennathur, Penny Jenkins and Dr. Kurt Ransohoff

By Marcia Reed for the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce |

The Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced the winners of the quarterly Business Star Awards.

Laura McIver
Laura McIver

The businesses and individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the quality of life for Santa Barbara.

Southern California Edison is sponsoring this year’s awards. The awards will be presented at the 13th Annual State of the City Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. March 12 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. Tickets are available by calling Marcia Reed at 805.965.3023 x103.

Business Woman. Laura McIver, general manager of the Canary Hotel

This award is given to a chamber businesswoman who through her actions is a role model for the community.

McIver is a dedicated professional, community volunteer and mother of two children. She volunteers as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Santa Barbara Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Downtown Organization, and is the chairwoman of the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau and Film Commission.

McIver is a member of Go Red for Women, a founder of the Girl Friends Club of Girls Inc. and on the advisory board of the Dream Foundation. She is a leader in her profession and engaged in the community.

Innovator: Dr. Sumita Pennathur, professor in UCSB Department of Engineering

This award is traditionally presented to an individual who has made a significant innovative contribution to positively impacting the world. Past winners include university chancellors, Nobel laureates, architects, researchers and inventors.

Dr. Sumita Pennathur
Dr. Sumita Pennathur

Pennathur began teaching at UCSB in the Mechanical Engineering Department in July 2007. Her research group focuses on using fundamental fluidics knowledge at both micro and nano scales to create novel devices for practical applications. Major efforts include creating and developing enabling tools to identify and characterize biological substances, improving current bionalaytical devices, and designing/engineering entire systems for point-of-care usage.

Before coming to UCSB, Pennathur taught at the University of Twente. She has held multiple positions at various companies and schools, such as Sandia National Laboratories, Stanford University, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Tigris Corporation and Lockheed Martin.

President Barack Obama named Pennathur the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

Community Collaboration: Penny Jenkins, president/CEO of the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

This award is made to a chamber business making a significant contribution to the quality of life and economic vitality of the region.

Penny Jenkins
Penny Jenkins

“Community coalitions are one of the most promising and effective tools we have today in the fight against substance abuse,” Jenkins said. “By bringing together leaders who have the power to shift public policy and make changes in the sectors they lead, the Santa Barbara Fighting Back Coalition has been able to make significant systems changes in our community across all of the sectors that impact this issue — law enforcement, the media, city and county government, social services, business, health care and education. When all of these leaders unite in a common cause, the effect is exponentially more powerful than any one agency’s efforts alone. CADCA has been a strong voice for community coalitions at the national level and has provided invaluable training and support to our local efforts.”

Jenkins, president and CEO of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse since 1985, is a Phi Kappa Phi graduate of the University of Utah. In addition to postgraduate work at Antioch University and Harvard Medical School, she is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP) and Diplomat of the American Psychotherapy Association (DAPA).

As project director of Santa Barbara Fighting Back since 1990 (one of 12 selected cities by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), she recruited a task force of 60 community leaders committed to the goal of reducing the demand for alcohol and drugs in the greater Santa Barbara community. She oversees a staff of 120 employees of the council who have worked with more than 200 agencies, businesses and individuals to develop a plan that specifically addresses issues relevant to the citizens of Santa Barbara.

Jenkins was honored by the community as Santa Barbara’s 1993 Woman of the Year as well as the 1993 Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women, and the Soroptomist International 1993 Woman of Distinction and named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. In 1999, she was the recipient of the Westmont Medal given by Westmont College for her leadership in enlisting the resources and commitment of community leaders to participate in a citizen’s task force to confront the problem of alcohol and drug abuse in Santa Barbara.

She received the Women’s Economic Ventures Outstanding Woman Award in 2001 and the Fighting Back National Directors Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 1998 and the Community Health Care Hero Award from the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics in 2005. The Santa Barbara Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Jenkins in 2008 for her work in alcohol and drug abuse.

Businessman: Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, president of Sansum Clinic

This award is made to a chamber businessman who through his actions is a role model for the local community.

Dr. Kurt Ransohoff
Dr. Kurt Ransohoff

Today, the Sansum Clinic continues to research the causes and treatments of diabetes combat new diseases and manage the care of more than 150,000 patients. And Sansum Clinic has been providing excellence in comprehensive health care for 90 years.

Sansum Clinic is the largest independent nonprofit, multi-specialty provider of outpatient services between Los Angeles and San Francisco, providing the full spectrum of services ranging from primary care to more than 30 specialties.

Ransohoff joined the Sansum Clinic in 1992. Board certified in internal medicine, Dr. Ransohoff earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and a medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles. He was an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine from 1989-92, and chief resident and clinical instructor from 1988-89.

Dr. Ransohoff was chairman of the Internal Medicine Department from 1992-94 and assistant medical director from 1994-97. He has been medical director since 1997, pesident since 1998 and CEO since 2002.

The medical and business leadership of Dr. Ransohoff has served to make Santa Barbara a better place for all of us to live and work.

— Marcia Reed is vice president of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce

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