Reprinted from San Gabriel Valley Tribune
By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
POSTED: 09/11/16, 9:29 PM PDT | UPDATED: 4 HRS AGO 1 COMMENT
Business leaders, elected officials and community members from throughout the San Gabriel Valley gathered in Pomona over the weekend to honor the Valley’s best and brightest.
The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s annual Awards Gala, held Saturday night at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, touted the people and businesses that are helping to boost the region’s economy and quality of life, and celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary.
Cynthia Kurtz, who served as the partnership’s president and CEO from January 2009 to December 2015, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Some of her most revealing observations were conveyed in a film that was presented at the beginning of the event.
“I’m really proud of what the partnership does,” Kurtz said. “I think focusing on bringing together education, business and government to solve problems is something every region should do, and this region has been committed to it for over 25 years now. I think it really has made a difference in the San Gabriel Valley.”
Kurtz, who left the partnership to become chief operating officer for the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp., previously served as Pasadena’s city manager and interim city manager for Covina.
Many of the other presenters and honorees touted Kurtz as a mentor who helped them further their own careers.
The Business of the Year Award went to Majestic Realty, an Industry-based development firm that was founded in 1948 by Edward P. Roski Jr. The company has expanded well beyond its humble beginnings to become the nation’s largest privately held developer and owner of master-planned business parks.
Majestic’s 76.5 million-square-foot portfolio includes industrial, office and retail space, as well as sports, entertainment and hospitality projects. Locally, Majestic is probably best known for co-developing the world-renowned Staples Center sports/concert arena in Los Angeles.
The company’s work has not gone unnoticed. NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, selected Majestic as its 2015 Developer of the Year, the association’s highest honor.
“We were honored as the North American developer of the year last year, but it’s really cool to be recognized at home,” said Fran Inman, a senior vice president with Majestic. “And the San Gabriel Valley is our home.”
Kaiser Permanente snagged the Environmental Leadership Award. Last year Kaiser Permanente Southern California curbed its water use by 11.2 percent, or 95 million gallons — enough to provide water to 723 homes for a year. But the medical provider’s environmental efforts don’t end there.
“Kaiser Permanente has installed over 50 solar installations,” said Maggie Carras, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser’s medical center in Baldwin Park. “We’ve installed them at our Baldwin Park medical center as well as at two of our medical office buildings in San Dimas and Diamond Bar.”
City of Hope and Duarte Unified School District received the Excellence in Educational Pathways Award. The school district currently offers innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs that are provided in partnership with the City of Hope Cancer Treatment and Research Center.
“We’re excited to move forward in working with our partnership with Duarte Unified School District,” said Dr. Marisa Bowers, City of Hope’s program coordinator. “We’re planning some new, exciting programs. We’re looking forward to starting a community science project, so we’ll be inviting members of the community to interview for an ongoing science research project at City of Hope.”
David Reyno, director of government relations for Foothill Transit and former chair of the partnership’s board, was given the Chairman’s Award. With Foothill, he is responsible for establishing and maintaining legislative contacts, tracking transit-related legislation and getting the maximum amount of local, state and federal funding as well as informing stakeholders of pending government developments.
“I am truly honored and humbled,” he said. “I want to congratulate the honorees, but especially Cynthia because to have you as the CEO when I was chair just made the job so much easier. You helped guide me.”
Pacific Plate Brewing Co. landed the Small Business of the Year Award. Founded in 2012 by longtime friends Stephen Kooshian, Steven Cardenas and Jonathan Parada, the Monrovia craft brewery is known for developing signature beers that are infused with Latin American Flavors.
They include Agave Wheat, Horchata Stout and Mango IPA, among others. The brewery is close to opening a satellite location in Glendale.
“This would not have been possible without my very dedicated business partners and friends,” Kooshian said. “Without them this business would still just be dream and it would probably still just be a hobby of mine — making beer in the kitchen of my apartment in college rather than an actual business here in the San Gabriel Valley.”