Chamber holds 2019 changing of the guard

Attendees and awards at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Jan. 12, 2019 (Photos by Camas Frank)

ATASCADERO — Business and community leaders of Atascadero, with some guests from around the Central Coast, celebrated in orange-hued style on Jan. 12 with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards and board installation dinner.

Big events for the year past were acknowledged by Chamber CEO Derek Kirk, himself now a year in the post. Those included events as recent as the demolition of the old Jack in the Box building on El Camino Real that Wednesday, to the move of the Chamber itself in May 2018.

Outgoing Board Chair John Donovan told those in attendance that his prophecy for 2018 that the City and Chamber itself were poised for expansion through the year had proved true, before thanking the other outgoing members of the Board and those coming into the role for 2019.

Angela Cisneros will be stepping in as Board Chair, with Tom Jones as Chair Elect, Phil Koziel as Vice Chair of Finance, Maria Kelly as Vice Chair, and Donovan still lending his expertise as Past Chair.

Rank and file members of the Board for 2019 are Terrie Banish, Gary Borjan, Jacque Fields, Mike Giancola, Sabrina Harper, Rich Johnson, Sean Kennedy, Janet Wallace, and Zoe Zappas.

Jacque Fields comes to the board as co-owner of Wilds Fields Brewhouse, the County’s newest brewery set to take up residence in the former bowling alley, then temporary City Hall building which currently also houses the Chamber Commerce across from Galaxy Theater.

Kirk joked that he’d have a regular booth reserved for more informal business once the brewhouse is open.

In all seriousness, later in the evening, Kirk underscored the connection between community and business, adding that their citizenship award was among the most sought after, or at least well respected on the list, “these are the people I aspire to be like.”

Jeannie Malik received the Citizen of the Year award with Mike and Charlotte Byrne took home the Community Service Award.

Among many community contributions, Malik is most well-known as Friends of the Atascadero Library Vice President and for her work on the popular Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser.

The Byrnes were recognized for their work in founding the El Camino Homeless Organization.

Geoff Auslen used the attention garnered, along with his wife Kate Auslen, for their Business of the Year award — Glenn’s Repair and Rental, to give the community an update on the Playground for Joy project at Colony Park and invite the Chamber members to fundraise at a sneak peek Chamber Mixer, Feb. 21.

Other awards included Borjan, Ambassador of the Year; Farron Walker, Entrepreneur of the Year; and a special lifetime membership to Ray Johnson, past president of the Chamber and Atascadero Mayor.


Attendees and awards at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Jan. 12, 2019 (Photos by Camas Frank)

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