2 groups give tech awards
Two business and technology associations announced their 2008 award winners this month.
Honorees range from a burgeoning burger chain to a philanthropist promoting science in higher education.
The South Coast Business and Technology Awards dinner, set for June 5 in Santa Barbara, supports the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.
The 2008 Company of the Year does dirty work, and does it well. MarBorg Industries deals in residential and commercial garbage collection, recycling and waste management, and portable sanitation equipment.
“There’s no such thing as just being a trash hauler today,” said David Borgatello, vice president. Ambitious recycling programs ensure that 70 percent of the company’s pick-ups find a new purpose.
Customer service is the family-owned company’s guiding principal. MarBorg is also one of Santa Barbara’s largest corporate supporters of nonprofits.
“It’s a great honor,” Borgatello said of the award. “We do give a lot back to the community and I guess it’s something this group recognized.”
Entrepreneur of the Year honoree Brent Reichard turned a high school job into a lifelong endeavor. At 16 he took a job at The Habit, a Goleta-based hamburger stand. Four years later, he and brother Bruce bought the business.
Over the years, they tried real estate and other restaurant concepts, but Brent Reichard, now CEO, realized the hamburger stand concept suited him best. Since 1997, the chain has expanded to more than 20 locations, with 30 percent annual growth and revenue of $25 million expected last year. Future growth plans are aggressive: more than 100 stores in the next five to six years.
A 2007 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, Reichard named one key to entrepreneurial success. “Hire and surround yourself with good people, and when you have good people, take care of them,” he said.
Executive of the Year is John Romo, president of Santa Barbara City College. Romo helped create or expand programs including the SBCC Professional Development Center, the Scheinfeld Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Construction Technology Program and the School of Media Arts. He retires this year.
Virgil Elings, Pioneer Award winner, brought 20 years’ experience as a University of California, Santa Barbara, physics professor to the business world in 1987, co-founding Digital Instruments. Elings served as president and chairman until 1999, a year after the company merged with Veeco Instruments.
Elings’ continued support of education includes a $3.5 million gift to the physics department at alma mater MIT, and $12.5 million to the California NanoSystems Institute at UCSB.
Partners in Education won the Excellence in Service award for connecting businesses and individuals with schools to improve public education.
Business, Tech Partnership
California State University Channel Islands’ Business and Technology Partnership Leadership Dinner is slated for April 24 in Oxnard.
Proceeds support five $3,000 scholarships for business or technology students at CSUCI. The Pacific Coast Business Times is a sponsor of this event.
Ruby Oertle is the 2008 Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics business and community leader of the year. Oertle joined the hospitality industry at age 16, moving from coffee shops to fine dining on her way to ownership.
Today, she owns six restaurants and catering businesses – Capistrano’s and Matisse – located in upscale California hotels. Former president of the Ventura Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, Oertle supports several community service organizations.
Technologist of the Year is Fred Kavli, founder of the Kavli Foundation and former chairman and chief executive of Moorpark-based sensor-maker Kavlico Corp.
The foundation promotes astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience and theoretical physics in higher education for the betterment of society. It has funded Kavli Institutes on 15 university campuses worldwide, and six Kavli professorships in California.
Norwegian-born Kavli holds the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for Outstanding Service, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Geoff Dougherty, professor of physics at CSUCI, is the 2008 Faculty Leader of the Year. He headed departments at Kuwait and Oxford Brookes universities.
At CSUCI, he introduced a minor and a major in applied physics as well as a medical imaging emphasis within the biology major. His current research is in medical imaging and image analysis, and he has published numerous articles and book chapters.