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Chamber awards offer surprises

Arlynn Robinson receives gift from Maestro Victor Vener

Arlynn Robinson receives gift from Maestro Victor Vener

California Philharmonic conductor Maestro Victor Vener made a surprise presentation to outgoing Arcadia Chamber of Commerce President Arlynn Robinson that included a gift on behalf of the Chamber of two VP seats at a table in the Conductor’s Circle for all five upcoming summer outdoor concerts at Santa Anita Park.

Arcadia High School Theatre Department director Steven Volpe and senior student star Liam Swan made a surprise presentation to Corporate Community Contributor Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary executive Bruce Lazenby.

Councilman Bob Harbicht drew a big laugh when he followed his wife Patsy to the microphone to accept their award as Citizens of the Year by rolling out a lengthy scroll from the podium ostensibly holding his “few comments.”

L-r: Steven Volpe, Bruze Lazenby, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Liam Swan

L-r: Steven Volpe, Bruce Lazenby, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Liam Swan

And all of the honorees received Congressional Certificates of Recognition personally from Congresswoman Judy Chu, who flew back from Washington D.C. specifically for the event and drove herself from LAX just in time for her first presentation at the Chamber’s annual dinner in front of more than 180 attendees at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Thursday evening, March 27, 2014. Honorees also received presentations from Arcadia Mayor Mickey Segal as well as representatives from the offices of State Senator Ed Hernandez (Iso Nakasato), Assembly Member Ed Chau (Olivia Lee), and County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (Brian Mejia).

Bob Harbicht starts scroll speech as Patsy looks on

Bob Harbicht starts scroll speech as Patsy looks on

New President Denise Weaver of Weaver & Associates Insurance followed the swearing in of more than two dozen Chamber board members for the year 2013-14 by laying out her goals for the Chamber in the coming year. And many of the Who’s Who in Arcadia attendees who rated the evening one of the best and most enjoyable in decades also enjoyed a free photo opportunity on a Hollywood-style Red Carpet Experience by Printing Control in front of “paparazzi” outside the elegantly decorated hotel ballroom.

New Chamber President Denise Weaver with husband Matt Weaver

New Chamber President Denise Weaver with husband Matt Weaver

Denise Weaver introduced the Harbichts who succeed Jim and Shelly Romo as Citizens of the Year. Early on a Monday morning last September, Bob Harbicht was spotted putting table cloths on dozens of tables at the Arboretum being set up for that evening’s Taste of Arcadia, which he calls “Arcadia’s signature event.” It was emblematic of his attitude even while leading the City as Mayor four times and on a record-setting 20 years on the City Council, which ends in April. “We’re pretty good at being Indians as well as chiefs,” he and Patsy said in accepting their honor. Bob Harbicht is in the final couple of weeks of a record-setting 20-year tenure on the Arcadia City Council, serving as Mayor four times. Patsy is a super worker bee at Bargain Box thrift store putting things on shelves, marking prices, whatever it takes, and does the same with the Assistance League of Arcadia. In addition to serving on the PTA from Highland Oaks Elementary, Foothills Middle School and Arcadia High School and as a leader in the Girl Scouts, she has also been President of: Visiting Nurses Association of Methodist Hospital; Children’s Home Society of Arcadia; Arcadia Partners in Rotary; and Monrovia Guild of Children’s Hospital. Her decades of volunteering also included years of helping with the Methodist Hospital Home Tour and more than 30 years at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. She and Bob have also been presidents of the Merri-Mates couples club at their church. Even while on the Council, Bob attends almost all the Chamber’s monthly board meetings and Government Affairs Forums and many ribbon-cuttings and mixers. He has been Chairman of the Lucky Baldwin District of the Boy Scouts of America, and received the Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award. He’s also been President of the Arcadia Educational Foundation; President of the Arcadia Rotary Club and Arcadia High School Drill Team Booster Club, and served on the Board of Directors for the Chamber, Arcadia Red Cross, Arcadia Welfare & Thrift, and the Arcadia Tournament of Roses Association. And that’s in addition to his years as AYSO soccer coach and referee.


Mayor Mickey Segal swears in Chamber board of directors

In presenting the second annual Corporate Community Contributor award, Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick and host for the evening, said Rose Hills has exemplified the role of corporate citizen since coming to town a couple years ago. Rose Hills quickly became a major sponsor of the Arcadia High School Theatre Department, working with parent volunteer Bill Clark to instantly elevate awareness and attendance at the school plays with huge street banners and other support even before they moved to the Performing Arts Center. And Rose Hills’ affiliated SkyRose Chapel Foundation provided a grant to the school. The company has also supported the Arcadia Chinese Association’s annual Gala for the past three years and provided a large one-time gift to the community group. Similarly, Rose Hills has supported the Methodist Hospital Foundation’s annual Gala and Mardi Gras fundraisers for the past three years. This division of Rose Hills operates in dozens of cities in Southern California, most of the marketing of which is overseen primarily by one man, Executive Director of Business Development Bruce Lazenby. Bruce has Rose Hills as a member of many Chambers and takes the time to actively participate as a board member on several of them, including Arcadia. Despite being spread so thin, Bruce takes an active role in local organizations by being a member of the Arcadia Community Coordinating Council. And he did not hesitate to have Rose Hills become the first sponsor of the Chamber’s monthly Networking Breakfasts. But he didn’t just throw money at it, he drives a couple hours from his house in time to get there by 7:30 – sometimes even by 7, depending on traffic, during which time he cools his heels by practicing his stand-up comedy routines, some of which he makes up on the drive and tests out with breakfast attendees. Rose Hills was also the inaugural sponsor of the instantly immensely popular Business Showcase at the Taste two years ago.

— By Scott Hettrick


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