21 Local Chambers Receive 2020 President’s Circle Award

The California Chamber of Commerce has named 21 local chambers of commerce as recipients of the 2020 President’s Circle Award.

The award, first presented in 2009, recognizes chambers for excellence in business advocacy and helping their members comply with California employment laws.

Normally, the chambers would have been honored and the awards presented during the CalChamber Capitol Summit in Sacramento. With the cancellation of the Summit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award recipients were announced during the weekly local chamber legislative conference call.

Six of the chambers have received the award all 12 years it has been presented.

“Now more than ever, communities need the leadership that chambers of commerce can provide,” said CalChamber Vice President Russell Lahodny. “We want to take this opportunity to say thank you and recognize the hard work of our top local chamber partners. The President’s Circle chambers excel at helping their members comply with California’s often confusing and onerous HR laws, and representing the interests of their members on state issues as exemplary grassroots legislative advocates.”

2020 President’s Circle

The 2020 recipients of the President’s Circle Award are as follows. An * marks the chambers that have received the award all 12 years:

Greater Bakersfield Chamber*: Nicholas Ortiz, president/CEO;

• Brawley Chamber: Katie Luna, CEO;

• Camarillo Chamber: Gary Cushing, CEO/president;

• Carlsbad Chamber: Bret Schanzenbach, president/CEO;

• Greater Coachella Valley Chamber: Joshua Bonner, president/CEO;

• Greater Conejo Valley Chamber*: Danielle Borja, president/CEO;

• El Centro Area Chamber and Visitors Bureau*: Anthony Moreno, chief operating officer;

• Fresno Chamber: Nathan Ahle, president/CEO;

• Lake Elsinore Chamber: Kim Joseph Cousins, president/CEO;

• Lodi District Chamber: Pat Patrick, president/CEO;

• Long Beach Area Chamber*: Randy Gordon, president/CEO;

• Menifee Valley Chamber: Tony LoPiccolo, president/CEO;

• Oxnard Chamber: Nancy Lindholm, president/CEO;

• Palm Desert Area Chamber*: Pam Scannell, president/CEO;

• Greater Riverside Chambers*: Cindy Roth, president/CEO;

• Roseville Area Chamber: Wendy Gerig, CEO;

• Greater San Fernando Chamber: Nancy Hoffman Vanyek, president/CEO;

• Simi Valley Chamber: Kathi Van Etten, president/CEO;

• Temecula Valley Chamber: Laura Turnbow, chief operating officer;

• Tulare Chamber: Donnette Silva Carter, president/CEO.

• Victor Valley Chamber: Mark Creffield, president/CEO.

President’s Circle Award recipients published vote records of their state legislators on key business issues, generated letters to state elected officials on issues of interest to members and participated in the CalChamber compliance product resale program at an exemplary level.

Staff Contact: Russell Lahodny

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Russell Lahodny
Russell Lahodny joined the California Chamber of Commerce as vice president of local chamber relations in October 2014. He serves as an information resource for and CalChamber liaison with local chambers of commerce. From 2010 until joining the CalChamber staff, Lahodny was senior vice president, communications for the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. His role was to maintain the quality and consistency of the chamber’s messaging to its members and the business community. He created and oversaw all Anaheim Chamber communication tools, including a member newspaper, weekly e-newsletters, press releases, marketing materials, and website design. He also oversaw the Anaheim Chamber’s legislative actions and coordinated monthly meetings featuring local elected officials. Before relocating to Anaheim, Lahodny was vice president of communications at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. During his seven years in Irvine, he helped the chamber earn 15 communications awards from the Western Association of Chamber Executives. In his CalChamber position, Lahodny also will serve as vice president of the association. Lahodny received his B.A. in communications with an emphasis in photojournalism from California State University, Fullerton, where he served as photo editor for the college newspaper, The Daily Titan.​