Thank you to all those who took the time to submit nominations for the WVCBA’s 2021 Top Ten Community Awards for Camarillo! The Selection Committee met on September 15 and we are excited to announce this year’s honorees:
Stan Daily Lifetime Achievement Award - Mayor Charlotte Craven
In 1975, Charlotte and her husband, Mike, relocated to Camarillo. Charlotte ran for the City Council in 1986, was victorious and has never lost an election since. The biggest issue Charlotte initially ran on was the need to provide housing for low-income families and she is proud of the progress that's been made in providing subsidized housing during the decades she's served on City Council. Another highlight was celebrating Camarillo's 50th anniversary in 2014. Charlotte has an extensive list of her involvement in various organizations, honors received, and awards. Councilmember Kevin Kildee said it best recently in the Camarillo Acorn: "One word describes Charlotte, and that's legendary. Charlotte was a trailblazer in so many different ways for our city. It's going to be a big loss for the city with her historical and institutional knowledge. She's just one-of-a-kind."
Woman of the Year - Felicia Schoenewald
A native of Australia, Felicia and her husband, Daniel, made their way to Camarillo in the early 1990s. Together they founded Advanced Motion Controls, a well-known and respected technology company designing and manufacturing electronics. Felicia is a proud, loving and hardworking business owner, mother and grandmother but, most importantly, she gives back to the community with the utmost care and regard. She has been tirelessly involved in the community from the moment her and her husband came to Camarillo. Her generosity in volunteering, charity, and philanthropy has affected countless people through her involvement in groups and programs, including local schools, KidSTREAM Museum, YMCA, Camarillo Boys and Girls Club, Taste of Camarillo, Meadowlarks, Fiesta Days, Rotary and Casa Pacifica, to name a few. Felicia's "family-first" mentality, loyalty and commitment to helping others are just a few of the factors as to why she is this year's Woman of the Year awardee.
Man of the Year - Tim Sprinkles
Tim Sprinkles is a remarkable gentleman with a long and distinguished record as a trial attorney and community service leader in Camarillo spanning almost two decades. He is married to Lyda Noble Sprinkles, a retired florist and community leader who was honored as the Camarillo Chamber's Woman of the Year in 2019. Tim is known throughout the Camarillo area as a community leader and a tireless volunteer with a big heart. He is extremely involved with several nonprofits including Rotary Club of Camarillo, the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, and many others. Tim's dedication to serve others has benefited many residents.
Service Organization of the Year - Camarillo Wings Association
Camarillo Wings Association, an all-volunteer nonprofit, hosts the Wings Over Camarillo air show every year. Now in it's 40th year, the air show has been become the premiere air show on the Central Coast attracting thousands of people to the two-day event. In addition to the thrilling aerobatics by skilled pilots, pyrotechnics and other performances, the event includes a popular car show and STEM pavilion. This event is for people of all ages and families of all sizes to gather, enjoy and learn about history. The amount of time that is dedicated by all volunteers is admirable. Hundreds of hours are spent organizing and executing an event of that caliber. From pilots to aerospace professionals to those in the STEM field, the event unites many under one cause. The Camarillo Wings Association has donated more than $431,000 over the past 10 years to local nonprofits, promoting youth in science and aviation!
Entrepreneur of the Year - Lilian Bruce
Lilian Bruce is the President/Owner of L.I.F.E., Inc. and Founder of Heart and Grace Cares Foundation. Lilian possesses all the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur: motivation, passion, vision, confidence and decision-making. Lilian has a deep love and connection with Camarillo, the place she calls home. Throughout the years, in her family life and her career, Lilian has grown to know and understand her surrounding community in a special way. This has organically led her to have a greater understanding of some of the problems that residents throughout the community face. In 2014, Lilian opened L.I.F.E. Inc., which, at the time, operated solely as a referral service. Shortly after opening, Lilian expanded her business to include non-medical caregiving. Founded in 2014 and based out of Camarillo, L.I.F.E. Inc. provides non-medical in-home care to older adults and individuals with disabilities. In April 2021, Lilian founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization -- Heart and Grace Cares Foundation, which is named after her daughter and granddaughter. Their mission statement describes Lilian's passion and belief: “When you transform caregiving, you transform communities”.
Business of the Year - Livingston Memorial
Livingston has been around for more than 75 years serving Ventura County. They are the only nonprofit offering home health, palliative care, hospice and personal home care. They were among the first agencies willing to take Covid-19 patients when only about half of the local home health/hospice agencies were willing to do so, and about half of the Covid-19 positive patients were referred to Livingston Memorial. Their heroes include the nurses and clinicians who made many sacrifices to serve patients in Ventura County, as well as their administrative staff .
Youth of the Year - Naomi Zhang
Naomi is a 16-year-old senior at Rancho Campana High School. She is currently the Lieutenant Governor of the KIWINS Turquoise Division (Ventura County). She has aided UNICEF with pledges, donations, selling merchandise, and even animating an education video for them. She has volunteered at beach cleanups, collected donations for various organizations, and simply dedicates her time to those in need. Naomi is a very important leader with many diverse interests, and is extremely deserving of the Youth of the Year award!
Senior of the Year - Robert R. Kelly
Robert Ross Kelly is a long time resident of Camarillo. At age 90, his deeds and actions have greatly contributed to the betterment of the Camarillo community. Currently, he sits as President of the Camarillo Kiwanis Club. Robert has led the way in service projects for KidSTREAM, including repair and renovation of the old public library (where KidSTREAM children's museum is located). Robert was a regular volunteer for Senior Nutrition (formerly Meals on Wheels), has led and organized food drives for The Pantry, and is an active member of the Padre Serra Parish. Robert is the lucky father of five and a grandfather many times over. His sense of humor and friendly personality make him the perfect recipient for Senior of the Year.
Public Servant of the Year - Karen Sher
Karen Sher served as Chair of the Oxnard Union High School District (covering Camarillo, Oxnard and Port Hueneme) during the Covid-19 pandemic leading the district through a very challenging time for students, teachers and staff. Her steadfast leadership has been credited with helping balance safety concerns with a desire to make sure students continue receiving the high quality of education for which the schools are known. Raised in Ventura County and a Camarillo resident since 2006, Karen has been a public school teacher for 27 years, serving the last 21 years in the Oxnard School District where she currently teaches English Language Arts at Fremont Academy of Environmental Science and Innovative Design. Karen believes that improvements to our education system must happen at all levels, and that is why she works so hard to influence the system from top to bottom. She has an incredible work ethic and a passion for people and helping others.
Volunteer of the Year - Ward Fridrich
The past school year would have been even more challenging without Ward Fridrich. Ward led the Task Force for the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo that worked with the Pleasant Valley School District and University Preparation Charter School to provide distance learning and supervision for hundreds of local youth and working families. Ward volunteered countless hours, working with the various groups to plan and coordinate this wonderfully successful program that helped essential workers continue moving the economy forward, and ensuring kids could go to their school sites and learn in a safe environment. Throughout the entire process, he was thorough and remained focused on finding solutions to help our community. Overall, the program ensured that more than 500 kids had a place to go and learn during the school day, had internet access, and had some socializing time as well.
Educator of the Year - Maria Ballesteros-Sola
Dr. Maria Ballesteros-Sola joined the Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) in 2007. Dr. Ballesteros-Sola uses innovative teaching methods, publishes her research extensively, and is deeply committed to supporting her students and the local business community. Her work with Benefit Corporations, or B-Corps (i.e., companies that use business as a force for social good), is one example of how her teaching extends far beyond the classroom to positively enhance both her students’ lives, as well as the broader business and nonprofit community. Students, faculty, administrators and community partners consistently recognize Dr. Ballesteros-Sola as an innovative, dedicated and passionate educator. She has taught a variety of courses across the University’s general education and core business curriculum, and she is known for infusing her courses with a mix of pedagogical tools and high impact practices. Dr. Ballesteros-Sola exemplifies all of the qualities of a truly exemplary educator.