'Spirit' awards presented at chamber event

Winners are announced in 12 categories

the 2012 board of directors for chamber is also installed.

February 02, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • The 2012 board of directors for the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce includes: Peter Blake, Gerry Perez, Michelle Clark, Gregg Abel, President Michael Kinsman, President-elect Debbie MacDonald, Treasurer Todd Orlich, Julie Cimpko and Secretary Larry Nokes.
The 2012 board of directors for the Laguna Beach Chamber… (Courtesy CHAMBER…)

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce may be 95 years old, but officials are celebrating its anniversary as a rebirth.

A new board was officially installed Jan. 27, but the group had already been at work to revitalize the chamber.

"At our board retreat, it was clear that this group wants to have a different chamber than what you have seen in the past," said President Michael Kinsman. "This board is dedicated to a positive change in the chamber direction. Our new executive director, Kristine Thalman, has already moved us forward on many fronts.

"We have in place everything that will allow the chamber to serve the business community and the community of Laguna Beach to our best ability.

"And finally, we have a strong membership. You, individually, can make a difference, and although the board is committed to making the chamber more robust, actively involved members will make the Laguna business community more viable and stronger."


Attendance at the dinner was the largest ever for the installation and the bestowal of the annual Spirit of Laguna Awards.

In the absence of former award-winner Harry Lawrence, his wife, Zahide, led the pledge of allegiance prior to the presentation of the awards.

Business of the Year

Mission Hospital-Laguna Beach was honored as "one of the most compassionate and esteemed hospitals in Southern California and a critical resource to the community."

Volunteer of the Year

Hans Scharer, who worked at the dinner's sign-in table.

Citizen of the Year

June Neptune, owner of Tivoli Terrace and Tivoli Too!, two venues that host many nonprofit events.

Green Enterprise of the Year

The Montage.

Building Industry of the Year

Tresor Development, which was responsible for the first Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certified project on the California coastline.

Nonprofit of the Year

The Boys & Girls Club.

Restaurant of the Year

Chris Keller's House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer.

Government Official of the Year

City Manager John Pietig, for the way he handled the flood of Dec. 22, 2010.

Retail Store of the Year

Hobie Surf Shop, owned by Mark Christie.

Gallery of the Year

Salt Fine Art.

Professional Service of the Year

Surterre Real Estate and Michael Gosselin.

Board Member of the Year

"This award recognizes the board member who demonstrates leadership, commitment, participation and loyalty towards the betterment of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce," Kinsman said.

It was a tie between attorney Larry Nokes and hotelier/restaurateur Chris Keller.

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