Chris Edlund to lead Danville Chamber
Brad Blake named Citizen of the Year
Chris Edlund of Christe James Fine Jewelry Works was sworn in last week as the new chairman of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce. She was introduced by her husband Jim, who praised her for running their business as well as helping found the annual Danville d'Elegance to benefit the Parkinson's Institute, and raising their family.
"Everything my wife does, she does with her heart," said Jim Edlund. "She does her best job or she won't do it."
Brad Blake, co-founder and CEO of Blake Hunt Ventures, was named Citizen of the Year, in awards presented by local media.
Blake, developer of the new Rose Garden Shopping Center, is the founder of College is Real, a nonprofit group that helps boys and girls who play soccer realize that college is possible.
"The last time I won an award of any significance was in 1976," he told the audience. He and another girl were honored at San Ramon Valley High School as outstanding seniors.
"The principal at the time, Jim Henderson, is here tonight," said Blake. "It must be serendipity."
Marty Breen, owner of Forward Motion Sports with his wife Cameryn, was named Business Person of the Year. He is a major sponsor of Primo's Run to help local school, and his Wednesday night running club that meets in front of his store is the longest held "running group" in the country.
"My goal was to start a business to support myself, my wife and my co-workers," he said, "and I have a business to support the well-being of the community."
John Geltmeyer, who has been teaching at Del Amigo Continuation High School for 18 years, was named Educator of the Year. He teaches all subjects at the 100-student alternative high school.
"We help kids heal so they can grow," said Geltmeyer. He urged people to call the school and visit. "It's Danville's best-kept secret," he said.
An award was given for the first time this year by the Danville Weekly to a Charitable Organization of the Year. The honor went to Friends of Discovery/Thrift Station and was accepted by Nancy Hickey.
"After 35 years we have some volunteers who are still active," said Hickey. She said the Thrift Station has raised more than $5.5 million to support Discovery Counseling Center and currently has 140 women and one man volunteering.
She held up one of her designer shoes and announced she'd purchased them for $6 at the Thrift Station. "Come in the front and shop - and come in the back and donate," she urged.
Outgoing chairman Elaine Cortez Schroth announced the winner of her Chairman's Award: Steve Wilcox of Summit Financial.
"He's gone above and beyond," Schroth said. "He's professional, sincere and quick to smile. He's a glass-half-full person." Wilcox was instrumental in developing the new logo and image for the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce unveiled at last year's dinner.
"All I'm doing is supporting the town," said Wilcox when he accepted the award. "I love all that I'm doing."
Chris Edlund gave two goals for 2009. "I want to focus on membership," she said. "I know companies will be cutting back this year but this is the year you want to join. I can't tell you how much being Chamber members has helped our business." The second goal is to focus on Shop Local, the program launched jointly by the Chamber and the Town of Danville.
The event will be broadcast on Comcast, Channel 26 in Danville, San Ramon, Blackhawk and Alamo at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22, and March 1.