Friday, December 7, 2012

Spirit of Solano honors county businesses

FAIRFIELD — Ford Lincoln Fairfield, Delta Graphics and NorthBay Heathcare were among those honored Thursday at the 17th annual Spirit of Solano ceremony.

Local chambers of commerce chose the honorees. The awards were handed out at the Hilton Garden Inn at a luncheon sponsored by Westamerica Bank and the Solano Economic Development Corp.
“What better way to show a united economic front than being here to cheer on our champions?”

Solano EDC President Sandy Person told the crowd of about 200 people.

Westamerica Bank Chief Executive Officer David Payne described the criteria for naming businesses as Spirit of Solano winners. Among them are outstanding customer service, adaptability, profitability and contributions to the community.

The Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce named both a large and a small business of the year. Chamber Executive Board Chairwoman Sue Vaccaro thanked Spirit of Solano organizers for allowing the group to go against the norm and have two winners for this time only.

Price Simms Dealergroup opened Ford Lincoln Fairfield in 2010, helping to revive an auto mall battered by the recession. The dealership provides about 100 jobs. Its community contributions include working with the Tomato Festival, local schools, Toys for Tots and The Leaven.

“It is truly one of our guiding principles to give to our local community,” General Sales Manager Sohail Tabar said. “I want everyone to understand, this is only the beginning for Ford Lincoln Fairfield.”

Delta Graphics won as the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce’s small business of the year. Vaccaro called it a “mom and pop” business with two employees.

The business opened in 1995 in Fairfield. Pat Holzwarth became a partner in 1995 and she and her husband Ken became the sole owners in 1997. They have been active chamber members, with Holzwarth serving as a chamber ambassador.

“I hope all of you will remember to support your local economy – the small businesses,” Holzwarth said.

The Vacaville Chamber of Commerce named NorthBay Healthcare as its business of the year. NorthBay Healthcare operates VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville and NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield.

Vacaville City Councilwoman Dilenna Harris introduced the award. She talked about NorthBay Healthcare’s local roots, given that a local group of physicians founded it about 50 years ago. She described how it has over time added such features as neonatal care and a cancer center.

“When our community grew, NorthBay was very aware of the needs and the advanced treatments that would be needed,” Harris said.

Though it has grown to have 1,800 employees, NorthBay remains connected to the community, she said.

NorthBay Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Gary Passama said the medical group believes having a healthy community also means having a strong and vibrant business sector.

The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce presented its award to Richard and Krissy Hiteshew of A-1 Guaranteed Heating and Air Conditioning; the Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce to K. Patrice Williams of 123 Target Marketing of Vallejo; the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Marisela Barbosa of Monarch Engineers in Vallejo; the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Solano County to Omar Enrique Martinez Zerbato of Martinez Multi-Services in Vallejo; the Dixon Chamber of Commerce to Dorothy Luedke and Cher Besneatte of Curves of Dixon; and the Benicia Chamber of Commerce to Frances Hurley and Dennie Geltz of Printer Concepts Technology.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or Follow him on Twitter at