The stars of the local business and technology community aligned Thursday at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort for the 17th annual South Coast Business & Technology Awards.
More than 500 people gathered to recognize South Coast businesses and technical professionals, as well as honor outstanding local students for achievements and awards provided by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.
Guests began the evening in the Plaza Del Sol Rotunda before moving into the Grand Ballroom for a welcome and thank you from steering committee co-chairwoman Joanne Funari, president of Business First Bank.
Funari thanked the enthusiastic crowd by noting that, “Through your generous contributions over the years, the South Coast Business & Technology fund has been responsible for 530 scholarships representing over $1.2 million!”
Next, George Leis, president and chief operating officer of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust introduced Patricia MacFarlane, board president of the Scholarship Foundation.
“This event is designed to raise money for scholarships for local students who are studying business and technology in Santa Barbara,” said MacFarlane. “It’s an opportunity for the business and technology community to invest in the future workforce.”
More than 70 corporate sponsors, including Noozhawk, ensured that the Scholarship Foundation received more than $125,000 in net proceeds this year to support local students majoring in business and technology fields at UCSB, Westmont College and SBCC.
Before dinner, a scholarship was awarded to SBCC student Noe Gonzalez, who plans to stay local and transfer to UCSB.
“I’m a self-supporting student so it gives me a chance to continue doing what I really love, which is studying and pursuing my career as an electrical engineer,” he said.
After dinner, Funari again greeted the crowd before the five prestigious awards were presented for 2011.
“VNHC was founded in 1908 by 14 amazing women who joined together for the good of the community and compassion for the less fortunate,” Brown said.
Lynda Tanner, president and CEO, accepted the award from Brown on behalf of VNHC.
“I’d like to think that if those 14 amazing women from 1908 came to Santa Barbara today, they would stand tall, proudly nodding their heads in affirmation of the excellence and service that we continue to provide,” she said.
The Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Bruce Willard by Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com. Willard was the founder of The Territory Ahead, partnered with Robert Redford on the Sundance Catalog, and is the founder and chairman of Blue Highways.
“To the entrepreneur, success is not measured in dollars so much as in visible response and enthusiasm for a brand,” said Willard. “Do what you love in life and figure out a business that integrates as much as possible.”
Meanwhile, Mike Sheldon of Network Hardware Resale presented the Company of the Year award to Green Hills Software, whose founder, Dan O’Dowd, accepted the honors. Jamal Hamdani of Moseley Associates presented the Executive of the Year award to Santa Barbara Asset Management CEO Michael Mayfield, who also currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Lotusland. Jeff Henley of Oracle presented the final accolade of the evening, the Pioneer Award, to Fred Kavli, founder and CEO of Kavlico.
Additionally, three local area youths received scholarship funding, including Matthew Baum of Santa Barbara High School and Loyola Marymount University, Dawa Sherpa of Santa Barbara High and UCSB, and Mario Zubia of Righetti High School in Santa Maria and Caltech.
Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has helped motivated and deserving students with scholarships and counseling to positively affect the lives of local youth.
“The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary,” MacFarlane said. “We’ve been raising money for kids for 50 years and I’d say it’s one of the soundest investments you can make for our community.”
» Founding Sponsor: Santa Barbara Bank & Trust
Click here for more information on the South Coast Business & Technology Awards.
— Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.