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Message from the CEO – March ’14 

message_from_ceoCecil Russell, Chamber CEO In this issue of Progress, we celebrate our 2013 Annual Gala and Members Choice Awards. We had a fantastic Gala with great food, drinks and entertainment. David Halvorson did a superb job as the Master of Ceremonies. We honored several individuals for their commitment to not only the Modesto Chamber, but also the community. Brad Blakely was awarded Ambassador of the Year, along with Susie Fagundes as the Welcome Team Member of the Year. It is amazing the number of nonprofit organizations we have within our community and we were honored to present the Latino Community Roundtable as the Chamber Non Profit of the Year. This year, we were also thrilled to present Village Baking Company and Café as the Small Business of the Year. They are also featured on this month’s cover. The Distinguished Service award was awarded to Modesto Toyota for their continued dedication to the Modesto community. Prudential Reality was named Chamber Member of the Year in recognition of their unparalleled support of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. We also created a new award this year recognizing the graduates of the Chamber’s Leadership Modesto Program. Mike Garcia and Meredith Brandsma were the first recipients of this award. The highlight of the evening was David Halvorson singing to Lynn Dickerson after she won the Robert J. Cardoza Citizen of the Year Award. Dave did a masterful job of singing his version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Lynn was thoroughly surprised and I am sure it will be a pleasant memory that will last a lifetime.

David Gianelli gave an excellent speech outlining his agenda for his tenure as Chairman of the Board. David covered these goals in last month’s edition of Progress as well. At the top of the list is for your Modesto Chamber to continue working with the City to develop shovel-ready land for job creation, as well as work with the County and surrounding cities to become a ‘self help’ County by passing a tax measure for transportation improvements. We will continue to be a strong advocate for business growth and economic development. In order for us to have a more vibrant economy, we need to attract more job-producing business to our community. Our Chairman David Gianelli’s column in this issue of Progress clarifies the Modesto Chamber’s position. Thank you for your continued support of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

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