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Goleta Celebrates Angel Martinez, Kathleen Cochran as Man, Woman of Year

Noozhawk earns Small Business of Year honors as Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts 66th Annual Goleta's Finest Awards

The 2015 Goleta’s Finest award winners and their presenters gather for a photo opportunity Friday night at Bacara Resort & Spa. Click to view larger
The 2015 Goleta’s Finest award winners and their presenters gather for a photo opportunity Friday night at Bacara Resort & Spa. (jayfarbman.com photo)

The community’s shining stars — large and small — were honored Friday night at a gala hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Hundreds of people gathered at Bacara Resort & Spa for the 66th annual Goleta’s Finest Community Awards Ceremony, a tribute to the many individuals, organizations and companies that contribute to the strength and vibrancy of the community.

The location was particularly fitting, as Kathleen Cochran, Bacara’s ​former general manager, was recognized as Woman of the Year.

Man of the Year honors went to Angel Martinez, CEO and board chairman of Deckers Brands.

Cochran, who stepped down last month after four years at the helm of Bacara, is credited with both building the success of the ocean-front resort and welcoming a community that had been shunned by previous owners.

In addition, she was recognized for her support of the business and nonprofit communities.

Martinez has a classic rags-to-riches story — a Cuban immigrant, he spent his early years in the Bronx in New York City, earning money recycling glass bottles. As a teen he moved to the West Coast, and he ultimately parlayed his ideas and hard work into what is now one of Goleta’s most successful large businesses.

He, too, has been a strong supporter of business and the nonprofit community locally, but spoke movingly of his experience as an immigrant and the counsel he received along the way.

“Show up on time, do your job, and tell the truth,” he said his first boss told him, adding that he’s followed the advice ever since.

Amid the national debate over immigration, he asked the audience to remember the many contributions immigrants have made in the United States, noting that the impact can be both unexpected and profound.

“Things just keep getting better in The Goodland, including at Goleta’s Finest,” Kristen Miller, the chamber’s president and CEO, told Noozhawk.

“The award recipients this year gave such moving speeches; we were all able to be touched by their experiences and their words. It was a great night.” 

The fast-growing Noozhawk was honored as Small Business of the Year, seven years after founder and publisher Bill Macfadyen was named Goleta’s Finest Entrepreneur of the Year.

Macfadyen accepted Friday’s award on behalf of his business partners, executive editor Tom Bolton and business development vice president Kim Clark, and the Noozhawk team, all of whom were in attendance.

Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk’s founder and publisher, accepts the Goleta’s Finest Small Business of the Year award. Click to view larger
Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk’s founder and publisher, accepts the Goleta’s Finest Small Business of the Year award. (jayfarbman.com photo)

“This is not an easy era for news media, but Noozhawk is energized by the opportunities that we see,” he said. “To be able to be pioneers in the community we love and respect makes our success all the more rewarding.”

While the announcement for Noozhawk was greeted with thunderous applause from the packed ballroom, the following reception for Kyle’s Kitchen, the Innovative Business of the Year, brought down the house.

The restaurant at 5723 Calle Real was founded by Deena and Jay Ferro, and named for their 11-year-old special-needs son, Kyle. To the delight of the audience, a beaming Kyle high-fived guests and even posed for a selfie with one as his dad made his acceptance remarks.

Others honored Friday included:

» Frank Koroshec, a teacher at San Marcos High School, as Educator of the Year

» Margaret Miller, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, as Student of the Year

» Devereux, which serves children and adults with special needs, as Large Nonprofit of the Year

» Hugs for Cubs, a Santa Barbara Foresters-associated nonprofit organization that supports children fighting cancer, as Small Nonprofit of the Year

» Ed de la Torre, who has fought a long battle to preserve Goleta Beach Park, as Volunteer of the Year

» Orbital ATK, which develops and manufactures space technology, as Large Business of the Year

» Brent Daniels, Public Servant of the Year

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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