On June 6, more than 600 people converged on the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort for the South Coast Business & Technology Awards, which celebrate leadership and ingenuity while raising funds for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. An all-volunteer steering committee selects the honorees. This year, about $150,000 was raised for students pursuing degrees in business and technology-related fields. Since 2001, the event has raised more than $2 million for the Scholarship Foundation.
During the reception, guests mingled in the Rotunda at what has become known as the premier networking event of the year. In the Grand Ballroom, Event Co-chairs Arnold Brier and Renee Grubb welcomed the guests. A special Local Heroes Award was presented to area first responders for their efforts during the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow. In accepting the award, Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni explained how in the wake of the debris flow, first responders performed hundreds of land-based rescues in addition to 131 helicopter rescues, 26 of which were very dangerous hoist operations. Of those 26, 25 were transported to Cottage Hospital with life-threatening injuries and all survived. He thanked everyone for the staggering outpouring of support.
KEYT/KCOY/KKFX was recognized with the Excellence in Service Award for the invaluable, continual stream of information during the twin disasters. In presenting the award, Janet Garufis remarked that through its coverage, KEYT became a frontline responder in its own right.
Guy De Mangeon was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year. De Mangeon started out in 1988 as a new, non-English speaking immigrant from France selling flats of strawberries and went on to build the Berry Man, Inc., a highly successful wholesale produce distributor with $15 million in annual sales. De Mangeon endeared himself to the audience by sharing anecdotes of his journey, like how his company name came from the nickname he got from his customers who could not pronounce “Guy.” De Mangeon declared that he is proof that any entrepreneur can succeed in America.
The Company of the Year Award went to Rusty’s Pizza Parlors. In 1969, Roger and Carol Duncan started with the purchase of Rusty’s Roast Beef in Isla Vista and over the years, the family created a business empire with 18 locations.
Montecito Bank & Trust (MB&T) Chair and CEO Janet Garufis received the Executive of the Year Award. Garufis remarked on how odd it was that MB&T founder Michael Towbes never received the award (though she noted he did receive the Pioneer Award) and her speech was an eloquent testimonial to him. Garufis rose from being a bank teller in Los Angeles to Chairman and CEO of MB&T. She expressed her gratitude to Towbes for his many years of mentorship and for the extraordinary opportunity to “lead a banking institution whose vision it is to make the communities we serve better places to live and work.”
Garufis serves as chair of the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank’s 12th District. Somehow, she also manages to meaningfully volunteer for a large number of organizations in town, including Sansum Clinic, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, CALM, the S.B. Symphony, the American Heart Association, and the United Way of S.B. County.
The Pioneer Award went to John Bowers, who has been on the UCSB faculty since 1987, where he is a world-leading researcher in silicon photonics, optoelectronics, energy efficiency, and the development of novel low-power optoelectronic devices. Bowers is the Nanotechnology Chair and the Director of the institute for Energy Efficiency. He is also the co-founder of the nonprofit Unite to Light, which provides solar lights to students in the developing world to enable them to study longer and avoid the ill effects of kerosene lamps.
The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara County is the largest community-based provider of college scholarships in the entire country, having cumulatively awarded in excess of $108 million to more than 50,000 students since 1962. This year, it awarded roughly $8.3 million in scholarships to about 2,700 students throughout the county. For more info about the Scholarship Foundation, go to sbscholarship.org.
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