Monday, December 5, 2011

Chambers of commerce give out Spirit of Solano awards

FAIRFIELD — Solano County’s chambers of commerce on Thursday honored local businesses and community members, such as Meyer Corp. and Travis Credit Union, for their contributions to the community.

They did so at the Spirit of Solano luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn. About 325 people attended the sold-out event hosted by Westamerica Bank and the Solano Economic Development Corp.

“This gives us an opportunity to publicly recognize how important business is to our local economy,” Solano EDC President Sandy Person told the gathering. “You are the backbone of our economic well-being.”

Meyer Corp., the cookware giant with its main distribution center on 58 acres in Solano Business Park, won recognition from the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce. It opened a 165,000-square-foot, 100-foot-tall warehouse in 2010 that has an automated storage and retrieval system.

“We appreciate your commitment to the Chamber of Commerce and your investment in our community,” Chamber of Commerce President Barry Young said.

Ed Blackman of Meyer Corp. in turn praised Fairfield. Meyer Corp. got unbelievable cooperation from the city in constructing its buildings, he said.

“Solano is a great place to live and a great place to work,” said Blackman, senior vice president of logistics and facilities.

Mark Warcholski, director of warehouse operations, also accepted the award on behalf of Meyer Corp.

The Vacaville Chamber of Commerce honored Travis Credit Union. Among other things, chamber officials praised the credit union for being involved in helping nonprofit organizations ranging from Boys & Girls Clubs to Habitat for Humanity.

Foster’s Bighorn Restaurant and Bar won the Spirit of Solano award from the Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce. Owners Howard and MaryEllen Lamothe are prominent members of the chamber, chamber officials said. Howard Lamothe is a fourth-generation Rio Vistan who previously owned Henry’s Coffee Shop and bought Foster’s Bighorn in 2001.

Other Spirit of Solano honorees were:

  • Michael Paric of Computer Business Solutions, honored by the Benicia City Council.
  • Max Villalobos, manager of the Kaiser Permanente Napa/Solano service area, honored by the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce.
  • Jim and Kathy Ernest of Ramtown Karate, honored by the Dixon Chamber of Commerce.
  • Mary Bitagon of Vallejo, honored by the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Solano County.
  • Roberto Cortez of Vallejo, president of Monarch Engineering, honored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Solano County.
  • Ruby Joyce Barnett, owner of Ruby Joyce Barnett Nationwide Insurance Agency in Vallejo and Oakland, honored by the Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or