The Turlock Chamber of Commerce hosted the Best of Turlock 2009 award ceremony on Saturday night at CSU Stanislaus.
Around 275 people came out to honor citizens and community contributors that have gone above and beyond as a Turlocker or for Turlock.
Special Recognition – Turlock Centennial Committee
The Turlock Centennial was a year long celebration with many events commemorating Turlock’s 100 years of incorporation. A Centennial Committee was formed consisting of members that would take lead roles in the celebration and its events. The committee included Centennial Chair Mayor John Lazar, Centennial Co-Chair Sharon Silva, Centennial Co-Chair Dr. Rob Santos, Scott Atherton, Desa Basulto, Sharon Berry, Steve Carkeet, Toni Cordell, Bob Endsley, David “DJ” Fransen, John French, Rick Harden, Tony Leo, Judy Loretelli, Kristi Massey, Lisa McDermott, Kristin Olsen, Ray Souza, Kirk Sperry, Trina Walley, Bill Youngdale, and Abe Rojas.
Mayor John Lazar was given special recognition as the Centennial Chair and was presented with a special miniature sized replica of the John Mitchell statue that now stands in Central Park.
Ambassadors of the Year – Shawna Casey
The Ambassadors are a prestigious and integral part of the success of the Chamber. The Mission of an Ambassador is to serve as the public relations arm of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce with the general membership_ The Ambassador Committee desires growth of the Chamber membership, retention of the existing membership and interaction between the memberships as a whole.
The Turlock Chamber of Commerce ambassador Program requires total commitment. Each Ambassador must complete and return numerous goodwill visit surveys each month to members who are coming up on their renewal time. They provide the member with a survey to measure how well we are doing as a Chamber with the services we provide. They assist at Special Events, Ribbon Cuttings, and Mixers as well as any other chamber programs as needed.
The Ambassadors accumulate points for the various activities that they participate in each month. At the end of the year the points are totaled and the Ambassador of the Year is selected for the outstanding work and time that they provided the Turlock Chamber of Commerce. It is with great privilege to honor Shawna Casey as the 2009 Ambassador of the Year.
Volunteer of the Year – Pat Wilkey
Without the help of volunteers, it would be nearly impossible for organizations and businesses to produce successful programs and events. There are few who go above and beyond expectations. These individuals seem to always be there when you need them and you can count on them to be there for as long as they are needed.
This year’s volunteer has been in many leadership roles and has dedicated her life to the community of Turlock, serving in many volunteer capacities and chairing numerous committees.
This past year our volunteer of the year has been involved with the Salvation Army Board of Directors, Teen Challenge; Mayors Prayer Breakfast; Turlock Leadership; Turlock Community Auditorium; Emanuel Hospital’s Legacy Circle; Assisting with the Special Peoples Day at the Fair; as well as she services on many of her church committees over the years. It is obvious that our Volunteer of the Year’s effort in just this past year shows that she has a heart to help others. Please help me congratulate 2009 Volunteer of the Year Pat Wilkey.
Special Recognition – Michael Everett
It is our honor to give a Special Recognize this year to a very special individual whose talents are countless. He is an accomplished musician and plays many different instruments. He was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia and in 1982 he attended Belmont University, Nashville, Tn. While at Belmont he was offered a tennis scholarship, but lucky for us he turned it down, because he wanted to concentrate on the music business. After graduation from Belmont University he did just that; he went to work as a recording engineer and session player in Nashville, working with many country and Christian artist at the time. Mike also worked at STAR television productions in Baton Rouge, La. ‘from 1983-1990.
He worked as senior audio producer and has been credited for being one of the most listened too recording engineers of the 80Is… That job carried him to more than 50 countries.
While he attended LSU part time to work on Masters in Business, he met and married Danielle Christoffersen from Turlock in 1988, then in 1990 they moved to Turlock, Danielle’s home town. Mike left the music/TV business and worked with father-in-Iaw’s Trucking Co. overseeing the business side; But, Mike still needed to keep h creative side alive. One of his many talents is photography so he took his photography talents one step further by being published in National Geographic, and NAS Car’s, Racing Magazine. In 2005 missing his love of the music business Mike with partner Matt Swanson started The Creation Lab; A state-of-the-art recording studio as well as HD video productions. Mike has produced 20 records since then and several videos including the Turlock Historical Documentary, an Multi-award winning documentary for Turlock’s Centennial. (at this time there are 4 award recognition, Most recipient is Las Vegas Film Festival) He and Danielle have recently released a book entitled “Grief -Thoughts & Reflections” from the experience they had with the passing of their daughter Jessica in 2004 from Leukemia, they a have one son, Mitchell who is a junior at Turlock Christian who they are very proud of… Michael Everett we want to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication in making a piece of history for the generation of Turlockians to come.
Small Business of the Year – Lancaster Painting
The 2009 Small Business of the Year was formed in May of 1986 by two brothers Jim & John Lancaster. Jim left Lancaster painting in Feb of 1995, John continued on, teaming up with Steve Talking in 1996 to form a successful partnership. Focusing on customer satisfaction and customer service, Lancaster painting has grown to be one of Turlock’s most requested and sought after painting companies. Steve is a 4th generation Turlockian. He graduated ‘from Turlock High school in 1982. Steve has been married to Wilma for 24 years; they have 3 children, 4 Grandchildren. Steve keeps a hectic schedule but still finds time to do what he enjoys Fishing, Golfing, snorkeling, Parasailing, Snowmobiling, Fox news & Spending time with family and friends.
He is a member of Rotary Club of Turlock and service on the Turlock Historical Society Board.
Small Business of the Year is Lancaster Painting, Owner and Operator, Steve Talkington.
Corporation of the Year – Wal-Mart
This year’s corporation of the year is Wal-Mart who opened its Turlock store, located at 2111 Fulkerth Road, on June 1, 1993; The Turlock Wal-Mart store features a Vision Center, Pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, One-Hour Photo, Picture Me! portrait studio, as well as a McDonalds restaurant within its 124,968 square feet. The store currently employs about 370 associates, whose average wage is above the $11.48 per hour average earned by Wal-Mart’s 74,980 California associates. In 2008, the Turlock Wal-Mart and its associates donated $27,484 to several local organizations including the City of Turlock Charity Committee, Emanuel Medical Center, Turlock High School, and Friends of the Turlock Animal Shelter. Additionally, the store’s customers and associates donated more than $9000 to the Salvation Army’s bell ringers who were at the store during the recent Christmas season.
Store Manager David Wright began his career with Wal-Mart in 1986, as a cartpusher in Carthage, Mo. He was promoted to lead the Turlock store in September, 2004, after working at several other Wal-Marts in California. As store manager, David feels privileged to present checks from the Wal-Mart Foundation to many recipients, including scholarships to local high school seniors. David particularly enjoyed an assembly at Turlock’s Walnut Elementary, where he presented Angelica Grishaw with his store’s 2008 Teacher of the Year award. “The enthusiasm of the students was amazing. These kids will be a great asset to the future of Turlock”. David and his wife Kelly own a home in Turlock where they have become active members of the community while raising their two daughters.
Youth Involvement Award – Martin Purdy
This year’s Youth Involvement Award receipting is very busy in overseeing all of the TID District’s personnel program; but he still makes time to volunteer with Turlock’s youth programs. Martin Purdy is a member of the Turlock First Presbyterian Church were he works on the church’s Mission Commission which focuses on helping others locally and globally. This past year he has been assisting with the Turlock We Care homeless Shelter; every Christmas he organizes the drive to provide gifts for the children less fortunate. He works to reinforce his concern regarding promotion of the youth in our community. “Martin is an amazing advocate for the teen population of Turlock. He has volunteered countless hours to ensure the success of the “Teens in Action Program”. Teen’s in Action is a program that developed from Leadership Turlock which Martin is a graduate of. The Program was developed to create and educate area teens on the resources that exist in the community and to provide educational and potential career opportunities to Turlock’s future leaders. CONGRATULATIONS TO MARTIN PURDY 2009 YOUTH INVOLVEMENT RECIEPENT.
Educator of the Year – Marsha Memmott
Turlock’s Educator of the Year has served our community in her role as an educator for the past 30 years. She is an aviate supporter of students and their families and provides assistance for them in reading and writing skills necessary for success as they transition from elementary to high school. This educator collaborates regularly with teacher and administrators as she is the President of the Turlock Teachers Association, representing 700 teachers. Marsha Memmott has demonstrated over her 30 year tenure with the Turlock Unified School District a positive attitude and common sense approach as she supports what is best for the children.
As a language arts teacher at Turlock Junior High School she has served the community of Turlock in a myriad of ways through her role as an educator. It is a privilege to present Marsha Memmott as 2009 Educator of the Year for Turlock.
Humanitarian of the Year – Dick Weaver
Humanitarian of the year is an outstanding individual who has been a tenacious and shining beacon to those who need help in the greater Turlock area on many levels.
This years Humanitarian is very active with a lifetime impact on Turlock. He is a native Turlockian who continues to give back to h community. He spent many years serving the Boy Scouts; all four of his son were Eagles and I am sure if his daughter could have been a Boy Scout she to would have earned the level of Eagle as well. He served on various community boards, such as a Trustee on the Turlock High School board for twelve years, the Salvation Army, a member of the Century Club at CSU and The Turlock Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Turlock. As you can see Richard “Dickn Weaver has served his community well, but upon his retirement he has devoted much of his time driving cancer patients from Turlock, Hilmar and Delhi for treatment in Modesto and Turlock. Until it was discontinued, he delivered Meals on Wheels for Emanuel Hospital, and he volunteers at Emanuel Hospital front desk. Dick is currently on the Endowment Committee of the Turlock Historical Society. We want to thank and congratulate him on being Turlock’s Humanitarian of the Year for 2009.
Agricultural Leader of the Year – Denise Mullinax
Our Agricultural Leader has multiple experiences in the agricultural industry. Denise Mullinax is the Assistant Director, California Dairy Quality Assurance Program for the California Dairy Research Foundation. Denise has a B.S. in Animal Science and a Master in Agriculture & Management both from the University of California, Davis. Over the past 8 + Years she worked for the University of California Cooperative Extension Dairy Advisor, Stanislaus and Merced Counties, and Hilmar Cheese Company, as the Dairy Producer Education and Quality Coordinator. Denise has Multiple years of presenting producer education workshops as well as providing on-farm assistance for producers on numerous issues including: environmental stewardship and compliance; farm safety and Biosecurity; milk quality and financial risk management. She has participation in numerous advisory and policy development committees with regulatory agency staff, environmental advocates and industry representatives on environmental issues. The committees varied from policy development to on-farm implementation, she also does the facilitation of the development and implementation of milk tanker security program for Hilmar Cheese Company and she oversaw the milk quality program-worked on-farm with producers as well as coordinating with in-plant quality control Staff. It is an honor to recognize this year Agricultural Leader for 2009 Denise Mullinax.
Business Leader of the Year – Mark Hall
This year’s business leader is a role model for all to pattern themselves. He is provocative with his participation in community efforts. Upon graduation with a SA in economics from the University of California, Los Angles in 1982, he started his professional Real Estate Career with the Western U.S. Division of New York-based Tishman Management. During his tenure at Tishman, he attained the distinction of being appointed as the youngest officer in the company’s 100 plus year history. In 1987 he left Tishman and joined his fathers firm, and by 1992 he acquired 50% of the business and in 2000 he owned 100% of newly re-named Hall Equities Group, Mark Hall transformed the organization into a diversified full service income property investor, developer and property manager.
Hall Equities Group has developed in Turlock Two urban infill, a mixed use multi-family condominium, two hotels and retail project known as Monte Vista Crossings; a self-storage complex; and a major office complex. There is still development in the process. Mark Hall has put Turlock on the map and has brought a wealth of tax dollars to the community of Turlock. Is a pleasure to honor the 2009 Business Leader of the Year Mark Hall.
Enoch Christoffersen Award – George Piro
We are honoring a very special person this evening Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Piro, who is currently in charge of the international Terrorism Branch for the Washington Field Office. Agent Piro entered on duty with the FBI as a Special Agent on March 14, 1999. Upon completion of his training, Agent Piro was assigned to the BI’s Phoenix Field Office working International Terrorism matters. In March 2003, Agent Piro was selected to the FBI’s newly created Counterterrorism Rapid Deployment Team at FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. That same year, Agent Piro was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent within the Team. In December 2003, he was selected as the team leader and interrogator for the BI team responsible for the interrogation of Saddam Hussein, the former President of Iraq. Agent Piro spent nearly seven months leading the interrogation of Saddam Hussein and other key figures within the former Iraq regime.
In March 2006, Agent Piro was promoted as the supervisor of the Washington D.C. Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, responsible for the investigation of threats against the National Capital Region from International Terrorist Organizations. In November 2008, Agent Piro was promoted to his current position at the Washington Field Office. As part of his Counter-terrorism assignments, he has deployed throughout the Middle East. George Piro was born in Beirut Lebanon, but was raised in Turlock were he graduated from Turlock High School; George is a fluent Arabic and Assyrian speaker. Prior to joining the FBI, Agent Piro was a police officer in Ceres California for nearly ten years. In 2006, Agent Piro received the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, and, in 2007, he received the FBI Director’s Award for excellence. Agent Piro received his Bachelor’s degree from Chapman University in Criminal Justice, and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Security Studies and a Master’s Certificate in Arab Studies.
Youth Citizen of the Year – Lauren LaVelle
The Youth Citizen for 2009 has a stellar academic record is an accomplished athlete, an exceptional leader and a winning personality. Some say she marches to the beat of her own drummer and does not follow the crowd, and on top of all that she is found to be articulate, confident and outgoing; Lauren LaVelle has many talents, she even designs her own clothing!
As a result of her positive attitude she was able to demonstrate a great deal of service, leadership and patriotism in her cooperation, loyalty and unselfish actions to her family, her educators and her nation. During her sophomore year Lauren was a member of the Stanislaus County Office of Education Teen Leadership Academy which was a prelude to an even greater leadership opportunity, she was selected by Representative George Radanovich ® to serve as a Congressional Page for a semester in Washington D.C. During her tenure in D.C. Lauren wrote a weekly Bog that was posted on the school website allowing other THS Students to share in her experience as House Page. Lauren rubbed elbows with famous politicians, sojourned all over the East Coast, and burned the midnight oil balancing her busy work responsibilities with a very rigorous school schedule.
Ladies and Gentleman the 2009 Youth Citizen of the Year Miss Lauren LaVelle.
Citizen of the Year(s) – Dick and Barbara Carl
This year it is a privilege to honor an outstanding couple as Turlock’s Citizens of the Year. Dick and Barbara Carl demonstrate their dedication to their community through their work of Humanitarian, Volunteer and Service. It is said weather it is family, friend or neighbor in need they say just Call Dick because they know he will always be there to help. Everyday, Dick checks on everyone to see if they are in need of groceries or errands ran.
The Carl’s began as volunteers; donating their time on scheduled days to work at the Turlock Historical Museum and serving on the Museum Committee. Since they joined the Turlock Historical Society they have given countless hours of service in sharing the Turlock History with children and others who come to visit the Museum. Dick installs, cleans and sorts the items to create the displays. Barbara’s teaching experience was invaluable she conducts the tours and talks to the children and shares the stories about the artifacts and the history of Turlock.
The Carl’s take on additional responsibility, provide the necessary follow-through, and create the enthusiasm needed to inspire others. They are special Turlockers that bring a sense of pride and inspiration to all who work and know them. Please help me in honoring Turlock’s Citizens of the Year for 2009.