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In This Issue

Time to Go Green - at St. Patrick's Day Parade!

New Year, New Chair at the EDC

Harrison to Host March Chamber Connection Breakfast

Carpinteria Chamber Honors Local Award Winners

SCV Boys & Girls Club Auction Heralds 'Roaring '20s'

Run to the Ocean

Ventura Chamber Celebrates its Members, Installs New Board

A Shout-Out to Food Share

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Time to Go Green - at St. Patrick's Day Parade!

Here comes spring ... and one of our favorite events of the year: the County Ventura St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The Ventura Elks Club's 32nd annual parade is set to commence at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, on Main Street in downtown Ventura. If you'd like to join the parade, you have till March 5 to sign up. For details on the simple, all-online entry process, visit

As a longtime co-chair of the parade committee, along with Brian Brennan and Jim Monahan, I am thrilled to be serving this year as parade grand marshal. I also am proud to be there representing Harrison, which does such amazing work for the community and, among its countless philanthropic causes, has been a parade sponsor since its first year.

If you've never gone to the St. Patrick's Day Parade, you really should go; it's one of the county's most popular community events, drawing thousands to Main Street to watch the dozens of amusing entries of every shape and size (from bicycle riders to a huge inflated pig) but all pretty much the same color. For this event, we're all green for the day. So grab your greenest garb and we hope to see you there!

For additional information on the parade, visit If you have any entry questions, call parade committee members Dan McGrath at 805-231-2779; Aaron Gaston at 805-340-8217; or Blake Merryman at 805-479-3032. For other parade information, contact Faye McDonald at or 805-340-7525; Tim O'Neil at or 805-320-3181; or me at or 805-701-9809.
New Year, New Chair at the EDC
Pictured with me at the annual meeting are: at top left, Bruce Stenslie, EDC president and CEO, and Carmen Ramirez, Oxnard Deputy Mayor and outgoing EDC board chair; at top right, Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn; and above, Jim Harrison and Ventura Councilwoman Cheryl Heitmann.

It's a dynamic time for business in our area, and I've been happy to serve for the past decade on the board of the Economic Development Collaborative. Together, we've helped to develop the strategies and improve the economic climate that allow for business growth and workforce development in and around Ventura County.

This year, I am proud to be chairing the board. I was installed as 2020 chair at the EDC's 23rd annual meeting, held Jan. 16 at the Hyatt Regency Westlake.

What a fabulous night it was, attended by a who's who of Ventura County civic leaders, including Ventura Councilwoman Cheryl Heitmann and Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn, to name just a couple. Kudos to outgoing EDC board chairwoman (and Oxnard Deputy Mayor) Carmen Ramirez and to EDC President and CEO Bruce Stenslie, for jobs well done.

Stenslie humbled me in returning the thanks, saying: "Nan Drake brings extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of our local business community and economy and the challenges we face. (She) has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for business growth and workforce development."

I appreciate the kind words and look forward to all of us on the board rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. There is much work to be done.

To learn more about the EDC, visit
Harrison to Host March Chamber Connection Breakfast
On Friday, March 6, E.J. Harrison and Sons will sponsor the Ventura Chamber's next Connection Breakfast. We'll greet everyone, we'll present a great new video of the recently upgraded operation at Gold Coast Recycling, and we'll bring along some friends to provide some additional information.

We'll also open the floor to you. If you have a business or event you'd like to share with the local community, the monthly connection breakfast is a wonderful way to share your message with over 100 businesspeople. As an attendee, you will have 20 seconds to stand and introduce your business. (Don't forget to bring your business cards.)

The event begins at 7:15 a.m. at the Pierpont Inn, 550 Sanjon Road, Ventura. For tickets, visit

We hope all our friends in the Ventura business community will come join us for breakfast and some of the best networking available.
Carpinteria Chamber Honors Local Award Winners

Congratulations to Lori Bowles for being named the Carpinteria Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Carpinterian of the Year.

Bowles' honor was announced during the chamber's 62nd annual awards banquet, held Jan. 25 at the Boys & Girls Club on Foothill Road. Harrison is proud to be a silver sponsor of this wonderful community event.

The Carpinterian of the Year award is based on volunteerism, community service and a generous spirit of accomplishment for the betterment of the community.

In introducing Bowles, last year's Carpinterian of the Year, Curtis Lopez, praised her for her endless community work, including for the Carpinteria Valley Little League, where she has volunteered for the past 20 years and long after her now-grown son stopped playing in the league. She also has helped for many years at countless other youth and school events and has been active in several local parent support groups.

A Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Montecito, Bowles, who grew up in Goleta, said the Carpinterian of the Year award "is the biggest honor I will probably ever receive in my life." She attributed her giving ways to her parents, both staunch volunteers in the community. "I grew up being told that volunteering is not an option," Bowles said. "It's an obligation."

Congratulations also to Emily Calkins on being named Junior Carpinterian of the Year - and, along with finalists Ethan Ha and Esteban Zapata, earning a scholarship through the chamber.

Businesses honored at the awards banquet included the Big Red Crane Company, Inc., named Small Business of the Year; and Grant Cox Enterprises Inc., named Large Business of the Year. (Grant Cox does business as Greenleaf Landscapes and Tarpitz Gardening and Landscapes.)

A big congratulations to the entire community of Carpinteria for so much excellence contained there - and especially on that special night.

Visit the chamber at
SCV Boys & Girls Club Auction Heralds 'Roaring '20s'
A flappin' good time was had by all at the auction and dinner gala, which featured a wonderful honor of Dorcas Thille, pictured in red in the bottom left photo.

At its 16th annual auction and dinner gala, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley officially greeted the new decade with an amusing theme: "Roaring '20s - a Night of Frolicking, Flappers and Fundraising."

Taking place on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Saticoy Club in Somis, the charity event was a terrific success, raising lots of money for this vital club.

True to the period theme, the festivities kicked off with a "Gin Joint Cocktail Hour" and a "Speakeasy Silent Auction," followed by the "Great Gatsby Dinner" and a "Twenty-Three Skidoo Live Auction." It was, as always, a supremely fun evening and a wonderful benefit for the nearly 2,000 youths and other community members who use the local Boys & Girls Club.

In addition to food, drink and auctions, the event included a tribute to the amazing Dorcas Thille, a living pioneer of west Ventura County's agricultural industry. Having grown up on her father's avocado ranch, which was developed in 1947, Thille today owns the 260-acre J K Thille Ranches in Santa Paula and is a board member at Calavo Growers, Inc. She's a remarkable woman and most deserving of the recognition.

Harrison Industries is a proud sponsor of the Boys & Girls Club event, and a table sponsor, as well, with a large group of us attending each year to show our support. As usual, this year, between everyone at our table - me and Jim Harrison, former Ventura Mayor Jim Monahan and Glenda Cardona, Lynn and Patty Harrison, John and Letha Harrison, and Ted and Mary Harrison - we really bid up the auction. We came away with some great items and it was a pleasure to know we were helping. Ultimately, of course, it is all about the kids.
Run to the Ocean

Just up the coast from Ventura, another great traditional outdoor event will be taking place on Saturday, March 14, in Carpinteria: the 28th annual Orchard 2 Ocean 10k, 5k and 1-mile fun run.

Registration for the fundraising run will begin at 7 a.m., and the first race starts at 8, at Carpinteria Middle School, at 5351 Carpinteria Ave.

Harrison is a longtime sponsor of this terrific event to benefit the Carpinteria Education Foundation. We're always happy to do what we can to help young people and especially in the communities we serve.

For all the details on registering for the Orchard 2 Ocean run or sponsoring a runner, visit the CEF website or go to the Carpinteria Chamber of Commerce website, at
Ventura Chamber Celebrates its Members, Installs New Board

Steeped in tradition and margaritas, the Ventura Chamber of Commerce's 2020 State of the Chamber and Board Installation event was a fun and gratifying way to spend an evening. Held Jan. 15 at the Poinsettia Pavilion, the packed two-hour reception celebrated networking and the new year - complete with its own signature cocktail, the Golden Margarita.

Perhaps the drink was an homage to the milestone membership anniversaries celebrated at the festive event, with special recognition for 25- and 50-year members. The program also included a la review of the chamber's successes and accomplishments in 2019 and news about what's in store for 2020.

In addition, the new board of directors was introduced. Congratulations to the incoming board and its chair, Brad Golden, who replaces outgoing chair Shannon Hillygus. I am happy to continue my work with the board, as a senior director.

Ventura Chamber President and CEO Stephanie Caldwell and her team work incredibly hard to help existing local businesses grow - and they put immense effort into creating an easy pathway for new businesses to settle in Ventura. It has been my supreme honor to be an integral part of it for many years, as I will continue to do in the year ahead.

For more information on the chamber and to join, visit
A Shout-Out to Food Share
The holidays may be behind us, but it's never too late to recognize the incredible efforts of Food Share Ventura County, during the holiday season and all year long.

We at Harrison are very proud of our relationship with the nonprofit Food Share food pantry, including as a Tree Sponsor and trash service provider during its annual holiday CAN-Tree food-raising drive and throughout the year, in its ongoing cooperation with our partners at Agromin to reduce organic waste.

Thanks as always to President and CEO Monica White and all the great folks at the Oxnard-based Food Share for their efforts to sustainably feed our community in need.

For more information on the organization and how you can help, visit
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Nan Drake
Harrison Industries

phone: 805-701-9809