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In This Issue
Parts Manager Robert Hilsdorf Rides Off into Retirement
Ojai Chamber Celebrates Citizens & Businesses at Gala
Fillmore Chamber's Dinner Recognizes City's Finest
'Orchard to Ocean' Run Raises Funds for Carpinteria's Students
Ventura Unified's Festival of Talent a Huge Success
In Annual Address, Mayor Says Ventura is On the Right Track
St. Patrick's Day Parade Pays Homage to Our Troops
Benefactors' Ball on April 18 Raises Funds for the New CMH
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Parts Manager Robert Hilsdorf Rides Off into Retirement

Robert Hilsdorf, (second from right) accepts retirement gifts from Lynn, Ralph and Myron Harrison.

We recently threw a retirement party for one of our finest employees, Robert Hilsdorf. Robert joined
Harrison Industries as parts manager in 1986, and he retired 29 years later - as parts manager. Talk about consistency!

The word that comes to mind when describing Robert is "steady." As General Manager Lynn Harrison put it: "He was very diligent and always on top of things. He had a routine every day, and it never changed."


A proud former Navy Seabee and John Wayne's No. 1 fan, Robert has collected vast amounts of memorabilia of his movie legend hero over the years. So, in addition to a retirement clock, we decided to add to his collection by presenting him with a John Wayne pocket knife. And whose face appeared on Robert's retirement cake? You guessed it: Duke's.


Keeping in the spirit, Robert's farewell words were, "It was a really good run, but like John Wayne, it's time to ride off into the sunset."

Robert said he plans to just relax with his wife, Fran, and spend more time landscaping at the couple's Oxnard home.

We'll miss Robert but wish him and Fran many wonderful sunsets together!

Ojai Chamber Celebrates Citizens & Businesses at Gala

Ojai Councilmember William Weirick (middle), his wife and Jim Harrison.
The Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated its best citizens and businesses at its annual gala held Feb. 26 at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.


Harrison Industries, which is a sponsor of the gala, congratulates the winners: Small Business of the Year - David Whipple Goldsmith; Customer Satisfaction Leader of the Year - Suzanne's Cuisine; Best New Chamber Member Award - The Declutter Lady; Sustainable Enterprise Award - the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy; Spirit of the Ojai Valley - the Ojai Valley Museum & Historical Society; and Destination Ojai - the Ojai Center for the Arts.

Raffle prizes included a four-person Ojai Valley wine-tasting tour; dinner for four at Suzanne's Cuisine; a one-week stay for two at a Victorian home in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; a two-night deluxe accommodation for two at Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito; and a three-night deluxe accommodation for two at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua-Maui, Hawaii.


The evening also included cocktails, dinner, dessert and wonderful singing and guitar music from the Ojai Valley's own Alan Thornhill and Martin Young. And, of course, you can't beat the venue: the beautiful Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

Fillmore Chamber's Dinner Recognizes City's Finest

Harrison Industries President Ralph Harrison, wearing a straw hat for the occasion, and his wife, Jenny, take in the Fillmore Chamber dinner.

The Veterans Memorial Building in Fillmore was transformed into a Chicago-style speakeasy for the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce's annual Community Awards and Installation Dinner on March 6.

Harrison Industries President Ralph Harrison, his wife Jenny, Vice President Jim Harrison and I were among those who attended "The Hotsy-Totsy 1920s" event. Also at our table were Harrison contracts manager Danny Harrison, his daughter Chloe and Jose Rangel, our human resources director, who is a Fillmore resident. Harrison also is Gold Sponsor of the event.


(L to R) Councilmember Carrie Broggie, Chris Neal and Councilmember Rick Neal, Jim Harrison, Councilmember Diane McCall and Mayor Douglas Tucker.

Fillmore's finest were honored. They included: Al Huerta - Citizen of the Year; Tom Brown - Officer of the Year; Chad Panke - Firefighter of the Year; Mary Allyn Garcia - Teacher of the Year; David Cadena - Student of the Year; El Pescador - Business of the Year; and American Dream Realty - New Outstanding Business of the Year. In addition, Don Gunderson was recognized as Fillmore's Lifetime Achievement Citizen.

It was a wonderful evening and again proof that Fillmore, as its motto proclaims, is "The Last Best Small Town in America."

'Orchard to Ocean' Run Raises Funds for Carpinteria's Students

Carpinteria Education
                                          Foundation logo Hundreds gathered at Main Elementary School in Carpinteria on March 21 to participate in the 23rd annual Orchard to Ocean Run benefiting Carpinteria's students from kindergarten through high school.

Participants had a choice of competing in a 10-kilometer or 5-kilometer run. For those just wanting to get a little exercise, there was a 1-mile "fun run." Courses took runners through agricultural groves and scenic beach trails.

Harrison Industries is an enthusiastic sponsor of this fantastic event that is put on each year by the Carpinteria Education Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to provide programs no longer covered under state funds.

Proceeds from the run are divided among all schools, based on the number of students at the school sites.

Ventura Unified's Festival of Talent a Huge Success

Festival of Talent flier

Harrison Industries was a proud sponsor of the Ventura Unified School District's 14th annual Festival of Talent on Feb. 28, with nearly 260 students from district elementary, middle and high schools performing a variety of acts.

This year's theme was "California Dreamin'" and there were pianists, singing groups, dancing groups, martial artists and even a yo-yo artist!

The Festival of Talent drew a crowd of 1,400 to the Ventura High School auditorium and they certainly were entertained. And kudos to Brian McDonald of the Rubicon Theatre Company, who directed this outstanding event. All proceeds go to a grant program through the Ventura Education Partnership, a nonprofit foundation that supports the school district.

I'm told that in 14 years, the festival has raised over $800,000 for Ventura Unified arts programs that benefit thousands of students. Way to go!

In Annual Address, Mayor Says Ventura is On the Right Track

Cheryl Heitmann Cheryl Heitmann gave her second Ventura Chamber of Commerce State of the City address as Ventura mayor on March 12. She focused on the Ventura City Council's four priorities for 2015 - and beyond: economic development; delivering core services; maintaining a safe and clean city; and enhancing public trust.


Heitmann stressed that in order for Ventura to thrive economically, it must have reliable infrastructure. To that end, Ventura Water
replaced 5.5 miles of pipelines and cleaned 129 miles of sewer lines in 2014.


Speaking of water, Heitmann said that finding it and conserving it will be Ventura's greatest challenges this year and in coming years.


Harrison Industries is a sponsor of the State of the City address and, like the mayor, we're optimistic about Ventura's future!

St. Patrick's Day Parade Pays Homage to Our Troops

One of my biggest joys is serving as co-chair of the annual Ventura County St. Patrick's Day Parade. This year's theme was "Honoring Our Troops," and I believe it's the best one we've had.


It was inspiring to see so many military heroes, from Grand Marshal Jeff Gorell, who served in Afghanistan while he also was a member of the State Assembly, to 95-year-old World War II veteran Lt. Col. Robert Friend, a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. Also riding in the parade was Capt. Lawrence Vasquez, commanding officer of Naval Base Ventura County. Marching behind them were members of the Navy's VAW-113 World Famous Black Eagles and the Army's 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, among other enlisted personnel and veterans.


I was so thrilled to see how the green-wearing parade-watchers embraced our men and women in uniform by applauding them and waving American flags!


This year's parade drew over 90 entries, including floats sponsored by civic groups, nonprofits and local businesses and restaurants; marching bands; car clubs; horses; clowns; and the Biggest Green Pig in the World. There also were high school pep bands, youth groups and fun-loving adult groups parading down Main Street. Danny Harrison accepted the honor of driving one of our new compressed natural gas vehicles down the parade route, with his son Jack riding shotgun.


I want to thank co-chairs Jim Monahan and Brian Brennan, Elks Parade co-chairs Art Amelio and Lance Baird, members of the St. Patrick's Day Committee and members of Ventura Elks Lodge No. 1430 for help putting on such a great show. It was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun!


Also, thanks to all who attended! Mark your calendars for next year's parade. It's on March 12.

Benefactors' Ball on April 18 Raises Funds for the New CMH

The Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation is holding its annual Benefactors' Ball on Saturday, April 18, with proceeds benefiting the new Community Memorial Hospital, which is about a year away from opening. This year's event will be held at the Embassy Suites at Mandalay Beach Resorts in Oxnard.


Festivities begin with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by gourmet cuisine with fine wine. The evening also features music provided by Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries, a popular Southern California party rock band, so bring your dancing shoes!


The Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation does such great work for our health and well-being. Its mission is to provide meaningful ways to educate the community regarding the service capabilities of Community Memorial Hospital; to work with the community to facilitate support of CMH; and to raise funds for the development, operation and maintenance of programs and services.


Harrison Industries is an enthusiastic sponsor of the Benefactors' Ball, and we hope you will join us. Tickets can be bought individually or by table of eight. For more information, visit or call (805) 667-2881.

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Nan Drake
Harrison Industries

phone: 805-701-9809