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In This Issue
Harrison Celebrates Anniversaries of Top Employees
State Treasurer Addresses Leaders at EDC-VC Meeting
Ventura Chamber Welcomes New Board and President
Carpinteria Chamber Recognizes Its Best Citizens and Businesses
Agromin's Bill Camarillo Joins CLU Board of Regents
Ventura's Lincoln and Loma Vista Schools Honored for Recycling Efforts
'Midnight at the Oasis' to Benefit Santa Clara Valley's Kids
Join in the Fun at St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 14
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Harrison Celebrates Anniversaries of Top Employees

At Harrison Industries, our motto is "Service is Everything." Outstanding customer service is what separates successful businesses and those that do not succeed. We've been in business for 83 years so we must be doing something right, and it all starts with hiring outstanding employees - and keeping them.

We have 218 employees, and 89 of them have been with us for 20 years or more. That's 40 percent of our employees!

Each January we celebrate the milestone anniversaries of our employees - those who have been with us for five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, and so on. This year we had the privilege of honoring two of our very best employees - Armando Varela and Manuel Robles.


Armando Varela began as a swamper with Harrison Industries and now serves as a supervisor in Carpinteria, Ojai and Fillmore.

When Armando Varela showed up for his first day of work at Harrison Industries in October of 1969, he paid 35 cents for a gallon of gasoline. A postage stamp cost 6 cents. Neil Armstrong landed on the moon three months earlier, and Richard Nixon was in his first year of office as the president.

Forty-five years and seven U.S. presidents later, Varela is still with Harrison Industries, rising up the ranks from entry-level swamper to supervisor of our Carpinteria, Ojai and Fillmore residential and commercial routes. As supervisor, he sees to it that you have service second to none and he is available if you have any questions or concerns.


Manuel Robles enjoys the hard work required to be a roll-off driver.

Back in 1974, Manuel Robles had heard about possible work at Harrison Industries from his uncle, who was the barber for Myron Harrison.

Forty years ago, the company hired some workers as needed on a day-to-day basis. So Robles arrived early one morning, hoping to better his chances of finding employment that day. But he knew future work was not guaranteed.

Luckily, Robles was hired as a swamper that day. He did so well that he was invited to come back the next day. And the next day. And the next.

Robles has been with Harrison Industries ever since.

The Harrison family thanks you, Armando and Manuel, for your dedication over all these years. You are the best!

State Treasurer Addresses Leaders at EDC-VC Meeting

Keynote speaker State Treasurer John Chiang (left) and SBDC Director Ray Bowman at the Annual Meeting.

New California Treasurer John Chiang was the guest speaker at the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County's 18th annual meeting on Jan. 15 at Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo. Chiang offered his insights on California's and Ventura County's economies and described his goals for his next four years as treasurer.


Chiang's goals include having a transparent and politically accountable government, going so far as to post debt data for California. He also wants to provide financial education for state public policy-makers so they understand the best financial products, services and vehicles.


Chiang has a record of getting things done. As State Controller from 2006-2014, he worked to reduce waste and fraud of public funds, so the Harrisons and I are encouraged by what we heard.


Harrison Industries has a seat on this organization's Board of Directors and I'm proud to represent the company on it. EDC-VC is a very important business organization in Ventura County!

Ventura Chamber Welcomes New Board and President

Nan Drake (left), with Celina Zacharias, director of Community & Government Relations for California State University Channel Islands.

Exciting times at the Ventura Chamber of Commerce! On Jan. 22, the chamber held its annual meeting and board installation at the Wedgewood Banquet Center, and I'm honored to be among those installed to serve three more years on the chamber's Board of Directors.

During the evening, we also welcomed four new members to the board - Pattie Braga (Ventura County Credit Union), Greg Van Ness (Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services), Charnell Smith (Aloha Steakhouse), and Alice Love (Pacific View Mall).

Also, Saurabh Bajaj, owner of FASTSIGNS Ventura, was installed as the new board chair, succeeding Mary Jarvis, marketing director of Kaiser Permanente. Working with Saurabh for several years, I know the board is in good hands!

Ventura businesses that have been members of the Ventura Chamber for 25 and 50 years also were honored, including: Robert L. Pazen, O.D.; Ventura County Credit Union; Wolfe, Emch & Crowley, CPAs; Ivy Lawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home; Marina Village Shopping Center; Ventura Family YMCA; West Coast Sash & Door, and Tri-County GLAD.


If you are a business owner and not a Ventura Chamber member, join! The chamber is a voice for you at the local and state levels, advocating public policy changes that stimulate and sustain growth for business, resulting in the creation and retention of jobs, which is vital to the local economy and Ventura's businesses and citizens. As we say, we are "Making Business Happen."

Carpinteria Chamber Recognizes Its Best Citizens and Businesses

2014 Carpinterian of the Year David Powdrell, with his wife Valerie.

Hundreds attended the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce's 57th annual Awards Banquet and Annual Meeting on Jan. 24. It celebrates the best of Carpinteria - its volunteers, nonprofits, local businesses and the people who make this beautiful seaside city such a wonderful place to live.


About 20 Carpinterians were recognized with Chamber Certificates of Merit for their community work. Debbie Stevens Kuhn was named Chamber Ambassador of the Year and David Powdrell was selected Chamber Volunteer of the Year. Powdrell also was named 2014 Carpinterian of the Year and Gabriel Zapien-Ybarra was named 2014 Junior Carpinterian of the Year.


Shepard Place Apartments was recognized as Large Business of the Year and Whimsy Antiques as Small Business of the Year. Congratulations to all!


Carpinteria is internationally recognized as home of the "World's Safest Beach." I serve on the Carpinteria Valley Chamber board and I see first-hand that it is also home of some of the "Gold Coast's Greatest Citizens."

Agromin's Bill Camarillo Joins CLU Board of Regents

Bill Camarillo Congratulations to Bill Camarillo, CEO of our strategic partner Agromin, for being selected to serve on California Lutheran University's Board of Regents. He was one of six new regents who will serve three-year terms on the 34-member board. The board is responsible for guiding the policies of the university in Thousand Oaks with an enrollment of 4,200 students.


Bill heads a company that is a pioneer in the sustainable management of biodegradable resources. Founded in 1990, Agromin is the green materials recycler for the cities and unincorporated areas of Ventura County served by Harrison Industries Organic materials (such as grass clippings, leaves and tree branches) are collected at curbside by Harrison and delivered to one of Agromin's recycling facilities.

Agromin uses cutting-edge technology to each year convert more than 380,000 tons of organic materials into reusable soil amendments, barks and mulches that fertilize plants and trees. These products, available to the public at 41 retail outlets in Southern California, save water, help reduce soil erosion and reduce the use of non-organic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides - making our air and water cleaner.

Bill is a busy man. He serves on several other boards, and we serve together on the Ventura County Economic Development Association's executive committee. Bill also is treasurer for the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, which supports our veterans in Ventura.

Ventura's Lincoln and Loma Vista Schools Honored for Recycling Efforts

Nan Drake (left) and Agromin CEO Bill Camarillo presented Lincoln School Principal Karen Senesac with the 2014 Green School Award.

Harrison Industries and our strategic partner Agromin were proud to join the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division and Ventura Water in honoring Lincoln and Loma Vista elementary schools for their recycling efforts.

We presented Lincoln School with the 2014 Green School Award and Loma Vista with the 2014 Watershed Hero Award at the Dec. 15 Ventura City Council meeting.

Lincoln has been an active recycler with the Ventura Unified School District for many years. The school has a thriving CRV/beverage recycling collection program that raises money for the school, and the campus also implemented a food waste composting and recycling program during lunch. The school also has an active composting program and a garden program that produces food which students can take home.

Loma Vista, meanwhile, converted its front entryway into an ocean-friendly garden that captures thousands of gallons of rainwater from the roof and allows it to soak into the soil before heading out to the storm drain. We also want to give a "shout-out" to the Midtown Community Council for its support in the garden's installation.

Congratulations to Lincoln Principal Karen Senesac, Loma Vista Principal Marlene McMullen and their staffs for these well-deserved honors. What particularly impresses us is that they are making recycling an important component of their students' education. Kids are learning at a young age that recycling matters!

'Midnight at the Oasis' to Benefit Santa Clara Valley's Kids

The Saticoy Country Club will have a certain "Arabian nights" feel to it on Feb. 7 when the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley holds "Midnight at the Oasis," its 11th annual auction and dinner.

The Harrison family will be out in force for this fun-filled evening - B&GC of Santa Valley's largest fundraiser - that begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by a silent auction, dinner and live auction featuring sporting events, dining and entertainment packages, luxurious stays in private vacation rentals, jewelry, gift baskets and assorted wines.

Harrison Industries is also a sponsor of this event that benefits hundreds of boys and girls who are regulars at the B&GC of Santa Clara Valley's clubhouses in Fillmore, Santa Paula and Piru and who participate in the club's many after-school and summer programs.

Tickets are $95 per person and can be purchased by calling Pearl Galvan at 525-7910 or by visiting If you'd like to donate an auction item, please also give Pearl a call.


Join in the Fun at St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 14

The annual Ventura County St. Patrick's Day Parade will march down Main Street for the 27th time in downtown Ventura on Saturday, March 14, beginning at 10 a.m. This year's theme is "Honoring Our Troops."

The whole county will be turning out for the wearin' of the green on Main Street. Horses, clowns, car clubs, marching bands and the Biggest Green Pig in the World will be there with all of the hoopla and shenanigans that make St. Patrick's Day a fun day for all.

I love helping organize this grand event with Ventura City Councilman Jim Monahan and the rest of the parade committee members. Represented by Ventura Elks Lodge #1430, the parade will have oodles of entries and will make its way down Main Street from the old Mission San Buenaventura, past the reviewing stand at Chestnut Street and on to the end of the parade route on Fir Street.

Fitting the parade's theme, former assemblyman and Afghanistan War veteran Jeff Gorell will serve as Grand Marshal of this year's parade. He is a true patriot.

Gorell represented the 37th District in the California Assembly from 2010 to 2012, and after the decennial redistricting, the 44th District from 2012-2014. Just before the 2010 general election, Gorell announced that he was being deployed to Afghanistan on March 18, 2011 as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. It marked Gorell's second year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan; his first started three weeks after 9/11 in 2001.

Upon winning, Gorell spent less than three months in office before becoming the first sitting California lawmaker since World War II to be called into active military duty overseas. During his deployment, 14 bills were sponsored in his name. Gorell later served as vice-chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee and now serves as Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Gorell also will serve as a parade judge and will be joined on the reviewing stand by fellow judges Trudy Arriaga, superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District; James Lockwood, public relations director of the Ventura County Fair and a St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee representative; Ventura Elks Lodge #1430 representative Connie Stahl; Sue Georgino of Georgino Development; and CSUCI President Richard Rush, who served as last year's grand marshal.

As I've already said, I love this parade and will be thinking of Harrison Industries co-founder Myra often on March 14. As you may know, she passed away last May at age 99 and in 2007 she was thrilled to serve as the parade's grand marshal. That year's theme was "Going Green."

Do you want to participate in the parade? The committee is accepting entries for the parade. For entry forms or more information about the parade, visit, or call 643-4275.

Join the fun in downtown Ventura. There are lots of great new shops and restaurants. Make it a family day of fun, and, remember, wear lots of green!

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Nan Drake
Harrison Industries

phone: 805-701-9809