The chief executive officer of an Auburn-based nonprofit agency, organizers of three highly successful events and several business owners were recognized for their contributions to local economic prosperity during the 22nd annual Placer County Economic Development Summit Wednesday.
The Placer County Economic Development Board, the sponsor of the annual breakfast meeting, presented its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Brent Smith, CEO of the Sierra Economic Development Corporation. For more than 40 years, the agency has provided economic development support to local government agencies, offered small-business lending programs and provided training services to the business community.
“An award to this recipient is long overdue,” City of Auburn Vice Mayor Bridget Powers told the audience before she presented the award to Smith.
Other award winners included organizers of the three events: the annual Mountain Mandarin Festival, Auburn Industry 2012 and a street fair held last year to kick off a downtown rejuvenation campaign in the City of Lincoln. Rounding out the list of award winners were two successful North Lake Tahoe businessmen, a thriving cupcake business based in Rocklin and a couple who owns a successful Lincoln restaurant.
More than 200 people attended this year’s summit breakfast at Sun City Roseville. The theme this year was “Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity.”
The summit is sponsored by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and organized by the county Office of Economic Development. Each year, the EDB presents awards to recognize public and private-sector contributions to the county’s economic well-being.
Joining Smith on the list of this year’s award winners were:
- Brendan Madigan of Alpenglow Sports, who received a Private-Sector Award for Entrepreneurship and Economic Vitality;
- Kelly and Mike Drust of Beermann’s Restaurant in Lincoln, recipients of the Private-Sector Business of the Year Award;
- Rocklin-based Icing on the Cupcake, winner of a Private-Sector Small Business Award that recognized its contributions to the economy and local charities;
- The Mountain Mandarin Festival, a Private-Sector Award for its support of agriculture;
- The City of Auburn and Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, a Public-Sector award for organizing Auburn Industry 2012;
- Jim Datzman, a Public-Sector Award for taking the lead in organizing last year’s Lincoln Boulevard Celebration, the event that kicked off downtown rejuvenation efforts in Lincoln; and
- Dave Polivy, a Public-Sector Award for his leading role in strengthening community partnerships through such organizations as the North Tahoe Business Association;
The EDB is an advisory board that assists the county with its business attraction and retention efforts. It promotes the creation of new jobs and tax revenue and supports tourism, agribusiness, film production and workforce development initiatives.
The EDB includes representatives from the Placer County Board of Supervisors; the town of Loomis; and the cities of Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville. It also has members who represent agriculture, public and private education, healthcare, utilities, manufacturing, tourism, communications and nonprofit organizations.
Smith has been CEO of SEDCorp for more than six years and an economic development specialist for more than 20 years. He is an experienced business counselor and specializes in small business finance.
Powers told the audience Wednesday that Smith’s contributions to Placer County and the region are unsurpassed, saying he is an outstanding small business trainer whose boot camp training program has been imitated statewide, but never duplicated.
“Over the past many years, he has supported the creation and growth of dozens of small businesses through lending programs,” Powers said. “He has taken a leadership role in bringing high-speed broadband services to businesses and residents in underserved areas.”
SEDCorp serves Placer, El Dorado, Nevada and Sierra counties.
The owner of Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, Madigan is credited with getting other businesses in his community involved in a myriad of activities that are bringing vitality to Tahoe City’s downtown area.
Madigan was nominated for his award by Chief Executive Officer Sandy Evans Hall of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Executive Director Steve Hoch of the Tahoe City Downtown Association.
“He has been actively involved in the visioning of Tahoe City and helping others to be able to see why it is so important to create an economically viable area in which to do business,” they wrote. “He is highly respected by his peers and the outdoor community, so his voice for economic development at the lake shore has been critical.”
They also noted Madigan is on the cutting edge of backcountry and Nordic skiing, two of the fastest growing activities in the Sierra, and an expert in the use of social media, customer seminars and film production.
Kelly and Mike Drust were loyal patrons of Beermann’s before it closed and remained vacant for six years. The couple responded by buying the restaurant, renovating its historic building and reopening Beermann’s on April 11, 2012.
“Their community contributions are extraordinary for a business less than one year old,’ Clark Osterhout of the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce told the gathering.
Today, the restaurant employs almost 50 people and is credited with pumping sales tax revenue into the local economy while helping Lincoln’s downtown revitalization efforts gain momentum. In an upstairs room, the restaurant hosts birthdays, reunions, salsa lessons, Zumba, and murder mystery dinners.
Beermann’s also was recognized for its contributions to Lincoln schools, sports teams, churches and other organizations.
ICING ON THE CUPCAKE
Since opening its doors in 2007, the Rocklin-based Icing on the Cupcake has already grown to four locations and recently announced new expansion plans.
Owner Christee Owens and partners Chuck Meridith and Shirley Nagasawa based the business on a family tradition of tasty cupcakes. Their approximately 60 employees serve more than 150,000 cupcakes per month.
“They also contribute mightily to our economy and local charities,” explained Rocklin Councilman Dave Butler.
Butler nominated the business for its award, emphasizing that others should consider emulating its business model. “Icing on the Cupcake is a perfect example of the type of new business formation that we in Placer County should encourage,” he explained. “IOTC is a female-owned business, headquartered locally, serving a quality product, providing employment, growing our tax base and enhancing our local community.”
He also noted that its original location serves as an anchor store for downtown Rocklin.
MOUNTAIN MANDARIN FESTIVAL
Created by Joanne Neft 20 years ago, the annual festival now hosts up to 25,000 guests from 45 states and several foreign countries each year. It features food, chef demonstrations, cooking contests, crafts and live music.
“What you probably didn’t know is the fact that this little weekend gathering has become the largest ag event in the region and a significant contributor to the local economy,” explained Customer Relationship Manager Shane Lopez of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
During the event, local growers sell more than 20,000 bags of mandarins. Many of Placer County’s approximately 80 mandarin growers sell as much as 80 percent of their crops during the festival.
The festival helps raise funds for a scholarship program sponsored by the Newcastle Area Business Association and for the Newcastle Fire Protection District.
AUBURN INDUSTRY 2012
Held last October, the conference highlighted business opportunities available at the Auburn Municipal Airport and its industrial park.
PG&E Senior Customer Relationship Manager Chuck Heisleman presented the award to city of Auburn and Chamber officials, saying the event was a spectacular success.
During the conference, executives from businesses located in the industrial park discussed why they located in Auburn and what it is like to do business in the community. Participants took facility tours and attended a luncheon that featured speeches by financial advisor and business reporter Kelly Brothers and President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Hayes of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization.
Heisleman told the audience Wednesday that the event will pay economic development dividends for years.
The event was hosted by the City of Auburn, Auburn Chamber and Placer County.
Datzman was recognized for the leadership role he played in organizing the Lincoln Boulevard Celebration, an event held last October after the Highway 65 Bypass opened, drawing away through traffic that had created congestion in downtown Lincoln for many years. The goals included having residents take a fresh look at downtown businesses and to launch a downtown revitalization campaign.
The event was organized by an army of volunteers. Datzman got involved early, and took over as event leader when his predecessor became seriously ill.
Rick Bluhm of the City of Lincoln’s Economic Development Committee recognized Datzman, saying the event was an incredible success. More than 5,000 people attended the street fair, which featured a parade, 80 vendor booths, children’s activities and much more.
“Lincoln is fortunate to have a resident population filled with talent, knowledge and experience ready to step up to the plate during these tough economic times, and Jim Datzman is the epitome of Lincoln’s talented population,” Bluhm wrote when he nominated Datzman for his award.
Polivy, the co-owner of Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach, was recognized for the instrumental role he played in the formation of a benefit assessment district in Kings Beach.
“This is the first maintenance district of its kinds to be approved in the Lake Tahoe Basin and is critical for business access and economic impact once the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project is completed,” wrote Sandy Evans Hall of the Resort Association and Executive Director Joy Doyle of the North Tahoe Business Association in nominating Polivy for his award.
They credited him with using exemplary business practices and a lead-by-example attitude that has positively impacted the North Lake Tahoe community and economy. They also saluted Polivy for sharing his knowledge of e-commerce, online marketing and social media.
Polivy serves on the Economic Vitality Committee of the North Tahoe Business Association. Tahoe Mountain Sports is noted for supporting local nonprofit organizations and many annual North Lake Tahoe events.