Goleta’s Finest 2022 Winners Announced

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The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is excited to announce the 2022 Goleta’s Finest Award Winners. Goleta’s Finest is a 72-year-old tradition honoring remarkable individuals whose contributions have enhanced the Goleta community.

“The Goleta community has a rich history of volunteerism and philanthropy, and we are eager to honor those individuals and organizations who have made such remarkable impacts in the community,” said Kristen Miller, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.
The 2022 award recipients will be honored at a formal celebration on December 17, 5:30-9:00 PM, at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Bacara. The evening will include dinner followed by the awards ceremony.
The 2022 Goleta’s Finest Award Recipients are:

Woman of the Year – Sachi Thompson
Sachi Thompson is a woman leader in tech, a community champion, an empathetic and effective manager, and an inspiration to her team of professionals. Sachi leads the global server, storage, and network hardware business as General Manager of Global Hardware at Curvature. She has been a long-time champion of the Goleta business community. Sachi has instilled a philanthropic attitude at Curvature and promoted a culture of giving back to the local community. Sachi has volunteered hours of her own time to special events and causes and encourages those around her to get involved. She inspires the people she employs to not only be great workers but to be great in all aspects of life. Her inspiration within the organization and local community, as well as the broader industry in which Curvature participates, is a testament to her forward-thinking attitude. She leads with excellence, hard work, and kindness. Sachi is an influential leader with strong roots within her community. A wife, mom, active community participant, and member of several non-profit boards, including the Chamber of Commerce, she has made a difference in her community and made Goleta a better place.

Man of the Year – Brian Borgatello
Brian and his family have lived in Goleta for decades. Brian is President of MarBorg Industries, a multi-generational family business on the South Coast since 1937, with nearly 500 employees. Brian was raised to value service, community, and commitment as tradition, and where employees are treated like family. Brian has supported local schools, hospitals, non-profits, and community events and, sometimes, simply offered help and support for good people doing good things in our community. Brian always follows up and expresses gratitude to be included in making a difference in our community. Brian is a true gentleman, an amazing business leader, and an example of community commitment and corporate responsibility.

Lifetime Achievement Recognition – Jean Blois
Jean Blois has spent a lifetime giving back to her community. Endless hours, expertise, advocacy, investment, volunteerism, philanthropy, and her big heart, have made Goleta a better place. Jean has spent her life serving on government boards, commissions, and nonprofits, and volunteering thousands of hours of her time to the Goleta Valley and its citizens. Jean served as the President of the Goleta Valley Community Center. She served as a Trustee of the Goleta Union School District for 13 years, a Director of the Goleta Water District for 10 years, and is a past chairwoman of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the Cottage Hospital Board and the Board of Community West Bank. As a charter member of the Goleta City Council, she helped form the City of Goleta and served as Mayor in 2004. At 90 years old Jean is still volunteering and working every day to better our community. Most recently she helped with the Goleta Old Town Holiday Parade. In 2022 Jean wrote and published her own biography Guarding Jean; in which she attributes having a guardian angel looking over her life and community.

Educator of the Year – Dare Holdren
Dare Holdren, a San Marcos High School graduate and member of its Athletics Hall of Fame, has spent more than 20 years in different capacities within the Santa Barbara Unified School district. Most recently, Dare was the assistant principal at Dos Pueblos High, where he oversaw athletics, activities, Associated Student Body, and the school leadership team. He had previously been a teacher at San Marcos for 16 years, including as the school’s Dean of Student Engagement from 2018-19. He was also the school’s football coach from 2005-08, where he was named Channel League Coach of the Year in his final season at the helm. Dare was also the Principal at Solvang School for two years. Dare holds a master’s degree in Education from Chapman University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brown University. Dare’s leadership at both of Goleta’s local high schools has made a difference in our community and makes him Educator of the Year. His history in the community includes a family tradition, as both of his parents also graduated from San Marcos High where he is now Principal.

Students of the Year – Aaliyah and Bella Rubio
Founders of the Youth Makers Market, sisters Aaliyah and Bella Rubio identified a unique way for youth to learn about working and being an entrepreneur. Aaliyah and Bella’s contribution to the community through the Youth Makers Market provides Santa Barbara and Goleta communities with access to products made or repurposed by youth. Their program encourages youth entrepreneurship and is a positive social outlet for kids during these challenging times. The Youth Makers Market connects diverse families, neighbors, visitors, and youth artisans while supporting the local economy. Both young women exhibit exceptional talent as young leaders and role models for their community. These two students are passionate about school and their education. On top of that, they work hard for their extracurricular activities inside and outside of school. They’ve inspired a community of youth to follow their entrepreneurial dream with the Youth Makers Market and give space for young makers to sell their crafts, snacks, and art in a positive and educational environment.

Volunteer of the Year – Jack Turney
Jack Turney is a member of the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital (GVCH) Foundation Board and has been involved with Cottage Health for 18 years serving over 5,111 hours of service as a volunteer. Jack has volunteered as an ambassador at the front desk of the hospital and working in the volunteer office. He has supported Fun in the Sun, gift shop sales at GVCH, and helped with annual events like the Senior Expo, flu clinics, and health fairs as well as assisted with moulage in disaster drills. Jack served as a committee member for Miles for Moms for 4 years and is the past president of the Tri-County Volunteer Networking Group serving hospitals in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. Jack continues to serve as a leader of the volunteer program at the hospital, where he started in 2011. Jack is married to Christa Turney who is also a Cottage Health volunteer at GVCH.

Innovator of the Year – Santa Barbara County Co-Response Team
Two local agencies have come together to solve an intense community problem and their innovation and dedication have made a big difference in the Goleta community. The Sheriff’s department partnered with the County Behavioral Sciences Unit to create what is called “co-response” so that when an emergency call is made for assistance from someone in the community, and there is evidence of a mental health crisis involved, a specially trained deputy and a mental health case worker respond together on the scene to address the situation. The intent is to de-escalate persons in crises, divert them from the criminal justice system, connect them directly with care and provide follow-up after the crises have subsided. The co-response teams work 10-hour days and have contributed to significant support in our community.

This innovative program has already proven to be successful and has helped many people and families in crisis. Co-response has resulted in reducing the number of arrests and instead provided mental health support when possible and needed. The Sheriff’s Behavioral Sciences Unit is proud to have launched Santa Barbara County’s first county co-response program with its partners at Behavioral Wellness. Dr. Cherylynn Lee, manager of the Sheriff’s Department Behavioral Sciences Unit has championed this effort and reports that the Sheriff’s Office has received 3,913 documented mental health calls and of those, the co-response teams handled 989 of them, about 25%, and just 43 of the calls resulted in arrests.

Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network
For more than 30 years, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network has been saving and helping wild animals from all over Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. In February, SBWCN celebrated the opening of the 5,400 square-foot Wendy McCaw Wildlife Hospital in Goleta. The new hospital allows the nonprofit to keep more patients from initial intake to release, rather than transferring patients to partners. This non-profit has gone above and beyond to grow its capacity to help wildlife. From recruiting volunteers to educating the public, to building their new facility, the dedicated people at SBWCN care about making a difference for animals in distress, the people who care for them, and the precious environment in our Goleta community. In addition to providing quality rescue, treatment, rehabilitation, and release services for injured, sick, oiled, orphaned, and displaced wildlife, they also work to educate the public about the needs of at-risk wildlife, the challenges faced by wildlife in the region, and effective ways to help ensure the health and survival of wild animals.

Special Recognition Award – Goleta Lemon Festival Volunteer Committee
After a two-year hiatus, the Goleta Lemon Festival returned this September for its 29th year. The successful return of the festival would not have been possible without the return of the Lemon Festival Volunteer Committee. Goleta’s signature event counts on over 200 volunteers to put on the event – but the core group of 13 volunteer leaders who make up the committee has been helping the Chamber of Commerce put the festival on for years. The Committee is made up of 13 local leaders, many of who represent their own small businesses or non-profits, and they work for months to plan and execute the sweet event. The group helps with all stages of planning, but more importantly, they dedicate numerous hours to help set up, work all weekend long and tear down the event. These are the people behind the slices of lemon meringue pie, who coordinate the car show, hand you a pint of lemon ale, facilitate the kids’ activities, put on Safety Street, and so much more. Most of the committee has been volunteering for years – many of them over 10. This year’s Goleta’s Finest event will honor this outstanding group of volunteers for their work. A special thank you to the Lemon Festival Committee – Tony Vallejo, Pete Wolf, Teri McDuffie, Jennifer Newell, April Lee, Rogelio Aguilar, Cary Harrison, Kyle Begley, Javier Quezada, Michael Krissman, Bob Strojek, Anthony Rodriguez and Hallie Avolio.

Please join us for this memorable evening. Tickets to attend Goleta’s Finest are $175 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at SBSCChamber.com. Goleta’s Finest Community Awards Gala will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2022, at 5:30 PM at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Have questions about the event, please contact Chelsea Weininger, Events Coordinator at Chelsea@stg.sbscchamber.com.
The 2022 Goleta’s Finest Community Awards Gala is presented by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to our Platinum Presenting Sponsors: American Riviera Bank, Fauver Large Archbald & Spray LLP, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Community West Bank, ExxonMobil, Pacific Premier Bank, and The Towbes Group.

We would also like to thank our Gold Sponsors: Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta and Residence Inn by Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta.

Silver Sponsors include Atlantic Aviation, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Chevron, Cottage Health, Cox Communications, Edhat, Latitude 34 Technologies, LinkedIn, MarBorg Industries, Nicholson & Schwartz, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara Airport, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Zoo, Signature Flight Support, Teledyne FLIR, UCLA Health, UC Santa Barbara, and Village Properties.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact Michele Schneider–Director of Business Development: Michele@stg.sbscchamber.com or (805) 967-2500 x105.

About Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce
The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is a regional business organization with the mission to help South Coast businesses, residents, and visitors thrive. Through leadership and collaboration, the Chamber is the principal economic development entity advocating for the business community. We engage with businesses, elected officials, and regional partners in proactive business initiatives that foster the South Coast’s unique business environment and create opportunities for our communities. The Chamber is proud to represent local business members who create 75,000 jobs on the South Coast! To learn more, visit stg.sbscchamber.com or follow @SBSouthCoastChamber on Facebook and Instagram, and @SBSCChamber on Twitter.