Farron Elizabeth, Glenn’s Repair & Rental celebrated as outstanding businesses

While Jeannie Malik was the talk of the town at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner in January as she received the 2018 Citizen of the Year award, her grace did not overshadow five additional and equally-deserving award winners.

Alongside Jeannie, Mike & Charlotte Byrne, Gary Borjan, Ray Johnson, Farron Walker, and Geoff and Kate Auslen were invited on stage to receive awards.

Mike and Charlotte Byrne — 2018 Community Service Award

Co-founders of the El Camino Homeless Organization, or ECHO as it is well-known, Mike and Charlotte have made a significant impact on Atascadero since arriving in 1971.

Both teachers, they brought compassion to their jobs and that compassion carried on in their retirements. Mike taught in Special Education at Atascadero High School, and Charlotte taught Child Development at Cuesta College. Before helping start ECHO, Mike and Charlotte served as volunteers at Loaves and Fishes Food Bank.

In 2018, Mike and Charlotte stepped down from the board of ECHO, but according to board chair Eric Gobler their contributions will leave a lasting impact on the organization and the community.

Additional Awards Included:

• Gary Borjan, 2018 Ambassador of the Year
• Ray Johnson, 2018 Lifetime Member
• Glenn’s Rental & Repair, 2018 Business of the Year
• Farron Walker, owner of Farron Elizabeth, 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year

The event also served as the 2019 Installation Dinner for incoming board members and outgoing Board Chair John Donovan, owner of John Donovan’s State Farm Insurance and Financial Services, recognized the service of the outgoing members.

“John [Donovan] stepped in as the board chairperson on January 1, 2018,” Kirk said, “and I don’t think it is ever easy to step into an organization with a brand new CEO, but he did so fabulously.”
At 7’1”, Big John then dwarfed the podium, but his sincere humility and attitude of service put the event in perspective.

“I would like to thank my board of directors from last year for all the hard work you did,” “Each one of you showed up to the meetings, volunteered your time and you made the job of chair very, very easy. Thank you.”

Donovan also thanked the ambassadors, committee chairs, council chairs, volunteers, Kirk and the Chamber staff, and the membership of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.
“Without participation from [the members] nothing happens,” Donovan said.

Donovan then introduced the outgoing chairpersons, Ray Buban, Eric Gobler, Jessica Sohi, Ryan McGaughey, and Tim Bauman.

“Thank you everybody for your participation,” Donovan said. “We are going to miss you.”

Then Donovan handed the baton to incoming 2019 Chamber Board Chair Angela Cisneros, manager of K-Jon’s Fine Jewelers.

“Last year, I stood before you and told you that Atascadero is on the verge of breaking out,” Donovan said. “I don’t think there is any doubt that is indeed happening. At this time I’d like to introduce the chairwoman of the board of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce for 2019, Angela Cisneros.”

“I’m very honored to be your 2019 chairperson,” Cisneros said. “It’s great to be a part of a chamber that is evolving. The chamber’s vision is for business leaders and our business community to succeed.”

Cisneros announced the 2019 board, with Tom Jones (PG&E) serving as Chair eElect, Phil Koziel (Atascadero State Hospital) as Vice Chair of Finance, Maria Kelly (JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery) as Vice Chair, Donovan remaining on as Past Chair, and rank and file members Terrie Banish (City of Atascadero), Gary Borjan (Pacific Premier Bank), Jacque Fields (Wild Fields Brewhouse), Mike Giancola (Chicago Grade Landfill), Sabrina Harper (CoastHills Credit Union), Don Idler (Idler’s Home), Sean Kennedy (Kennedy Club Fitness), Janet Wallace (O’Leary Wallace LLP), and Zoe Zappas (Z Villages and La Plaza).

For information, go to atascaderochamber.org.