In just a few weeks, on March 6, the Business Times will publish Issue 1 of Volume 16, kicking off the beginning of our 15th Anniversary year.
The purpose of this column is to talk a little bit about what lies ahead for our readers in 2015.
Those of you who’ve followed the evolution of our newspaper during the past decade and a half know we are relentless innovators. This year is no exception.
To celebrate our anniversary, we’ll be holding a Tri-County Business Hall of Fame gala at the Bacara Resort & Spa on Thursday, May 14. And I’m delighted to announce this year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame:
• Angel Martinez, CEO of Deckers Outdoor Corp. and the person most responsible for transforming the South Coast into the Milan of America’s footwear business.
• Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chair at Lynda.com, the world’s biggest online training academy. Her company made news recently with a $186 million capital raise that widens the distance between Lynda.com and its competitors.
• Brooks Firestone, the pioneering entrepreneur who put Santa Barbara County’s wine industry on the map, sparking a revolution up and down the Central Coast. Along the way he found time to serve as an assembly member and county supervisor.
• Clint Pearce, the son-in-law of the late Alex Madonna and CEO of Madonna Enterprises. He has brought the Madonna family’s crown jewel, the Madonna Inn, into the 21st Century and restructured the family holdings to focus on real estate in San Luis Obispo County.
• The late Alan Teague, longtime chairman of Limoneira Co., one of the world’s largest producers of lemons and avocados. Teague passed up a chance to succeed his late father in the U.S. House of Representatives in order to focus on the things he loved most: his family, the city of Santa Paula, Ventura County and his beloved Limoneira.
In addition to our May anniversary celebration, we’re going to be adding new twists and wrinkles to many of our event programs.
Our Family Business & Closely-held Company awards luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach on March 12 will add a new category for employee-owned companies. The Central Coast is a hotbed of activity for employee ownership as an alternative to the outright sale of a business.
On April 16, we’ll be hosting QAD President and co-founder Pam Lopker as the keynote for our annual Top 50 Women in Business program, an evening reception that will be held this year at the rotunda at the Deckers Outdoor corporate headquarters in Goleta.
And on June 18 at the Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara, we’ve invited Melissa Stafford Jones, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to keynote our annual Champions in Health Care awards luncheon.
In the second half of the year we’ll be presenting our annual Latino Business Awards, Spirit of Small Business, Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies and 40 Under 40. We’ll also be publishing our popular Giving Guide and Top 25 Book of Lists, which are included with your paid subscription to the Business Times.
When I started the Business Times 15 years ago with a leased Saab, a checkbook and a business plan, I didn’t have any idea that a decade and a half later we’d be celebrating such a milestone.
We’ve grown from a fledgling weekly to a multi-faceted publication that has a substantial online presence but that holds firm to our belief that we should be paid for the content we produce.
We take a regional approach to news coverage, balancing between Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. Our stories have won numerous regional and national awards, and week in and week out we chronicle the players and follow the money in tri-county business.
We’ve become skilled at presenting awards-oriented programs, and our Latino Business Awards effort has become so successful we’ve created a scholarship fund using some of the ticket sales.
And we’ve offered more than $2.5 million in sponsorship benefits to the region’s nonprofits to support better engagement between the business community and social services and cultural organizations.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be announcing deadlines for nominations to our awards programs and sponsorship opportunities. I hope you will join us in celebrating 15 years of excellence in business journalism.