The WVCBA looks forward to celebrating the winners of the annual Oxnard Community & Business Awards. Honorees will be recognized at a luncheon on Thursday, August 18, at 11:30 am at historic Heritage Square in Downtown Oxnard. Tickets are available online.
Now in its 72nd year, the Oxnard Community & Business Awards honors outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations that make Oxnard a wonderful community to live, work and do business in. Nominations for nine of the awards are submitted by the public and reviewed by a selection committee.
The 2022 winners are:
Distinguished Citizen of the Year: Patty Paumier
For decades, Patty Paumier has played a significant role in Oxnard, particularly at St. John’s Regional Medical Center where she is manager of the gift shop, and a longtime hospital and community volunteer. Thanks to her leadership, the gift shop donates a portion of its funds to support the purchase of lifesaving equipment at the hospital. Patty’s contributions are immeasurable. She is loved and appreciated by all hospital staff and the community alike. If Patty sees a hungry person, she will buy them a meal. If she sees someone feeling blue, she hears them out. If someone is celebrating a win, she cheers them on. Patty has truly dedicated herself to serving others, which has helped promote a healing environment at St. John’s and has had a remarkable impact in our community. Patty is also a tireless volunteer with the Oxnard Ambassadors. She is their Hospitality Chair, a golf tournament raffle chair extraordinaire, and is involved with any fundraising projects the group takes on. Patty serves on Santa Clara High School's Board of Directors and fundraising committees. She also is a passionate volunteer for Santa Clara Church, where she serves as an Eucharistic Minister. The Arch Dioses of Los Angeles has recognized her with Cardinals’ awards and she has received two prestigious awards from the Pope. The West Ventura County Business Alliance is privileged to have Patty serve on our Board as a Lifetime Director.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Jose Celedon
Born and raised in Oxnard, Jose Celedon opened Streets of Vintage in 2017, an ultra hip urban fashion store in Downtown Oxnard. Customers love going there to buy, sell or trade clothing and accessories at affordable prices. When the pandemic hit in 2020, his retail business was hit hard, but Jose was inspired to act. He reached out to other local small business owners, resellers and crafters, and started hosting outdoor flea markets near his store in the Fall of 2020. He brought the community together to support his fellow entrepreneurs and artists, and it was a huge success. The Streets of Vintage Flea Market has since become the go-to market for curators, vintage lovers, and anyone who loves to support small businesses and have fun doing it, with live entertainment, food trucks and more. Through markets held regularly in Centennial Plaza, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Heritage Square, Jose helps bring crowds of people to lesser-trafficked areas of Oxnard all while supporting local businesses, artists, entrepreneurs and the community.
Volunteer of the Year: Pedro A. Chavez
Pedro A. Chavez Co-Chaired the West Ventura County Walk to End Alzheimer's in 2021. This event broke records not only locally but nationally for the Alzheimer’s Association. His leadership efforts raised over $120,000 to fund research and local services for the community. He made the organization’s Walk at The Collection in Oxnard a fun, active, safe and exciting event by managing day-to-day operations, logistics, and even organizing a surprise mariachi band to entertain participants! The message and tone set by Pedro and his team in the community was “We must give back and when we do it collectively, anything is possible!” Pedro has been and continues to be a selfless leader. He also has been involved in many other nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County and United Way of Ventura County.
Young Professional of the Year: Emma Grossman
Emma Grossman’s work at St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital Camarillo goes far beyond her role as Chief Financial Officer. As a Ventura County native, Emma approaches every project and initiative with one common goal: Caring for the community. Emma is thoughtful, diligent, and a natural-born leader. Emma holds a Masters from the University of Southern California Leventhal School Of Accounting and a Bachelors Degree in Business Studies from Drew University. She joined St. John’s at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented some of the most significant challenges for health care and society, and Emma has handled it gracefully. From day one, she rolled up her sleeves to lead the hospital’s financial efforts while also being essential to resource management. At a time when resources were not abundant, she and her team consistently went above and beyond to ensure the hospital and community were more than equipped to navigate a surge in patients. Whether lending a hand in other departments or offering advice, Emma leads with kindness.
Nonprofit of the Year: Nyeland Promise
Nyeland Promise was formed by, and is led by, the residents of Nyeland Acres in order to provide advocacy and resources to the community and improve the quality of life. Nyeland Acres is approximately 93% Hispanic and is considered a Disadvantaged Unincorporated Community. Nyeland Promise’s vision is to transform the area into a community that is filled with hope and pride. The volunteer corps, Comadres y Compadres, has been very active assisting the community. Nyeland Promise reaches residents through social media, a quarterly newsletter, robo text, and door-to-door canvassing. Some residents do not have access to the internet so the Comadres y Compadres go door-to-door conducting outreach in English, Spanish and Mixteco. Nyeland Promise hosts two food pantries per month and a senior box distribution to provide valuable meal supplementation. Since inception in 2018, Nyeland Promise has distributed more than 600,000 pounds of food to the residents, installed free internet to more than 150 households for elementary school children, led the 2020 Census outreach, and has been extremely successful in COVID-19 outreach and vaccinations. Nyeland Promise has even formed a soccer team for children! Most recently, Nyeland Promise was awarded $5 million from the County of Ventura through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to construct a new Community Center for Nyeland Acres. This will give residents a safe place to gather, and children a place to play soccer and other sports. Nyeland Promise works with other organizations to assist the residents of Nyeland Acres, including Santa to the Sea, FOOD Share, Rio School District, Goodwill Industries, First Five, United Farm Workers, and the two local mutual water companies. Nyeland Promise will continue to provide valuable resources and advocacy to the residents of Nyeland Acres.
Small Business of the Year: Reardon Funeral Homes
Reardon Funeral Home began serving Ventura County in 1911 when coroner Oliver L. Reardon felt led to start the business Oliver L. Reardon & Sons Funeral Home. In 1937, James Reardon branched off and began Reardon Funeral Home in Oxnard, which remains family-owned and operated. Over the years, thousands of families have used their services. The funeral home has five employees who help guide families through the entire funeral planning process. Employees provide the highest standard of support, care and comfort during such a painful time in their customers' lives. In addition to their services, Reardon Funeral Home in Oxnard has a beautiful chapel on their property with gorgeous stained-glass windows, original solid wood pews, TVs for memorial slideshows, and more. During the pandemic, Reardon’s team has prided themselves on not turning away a single family in need and strived to make sure all families were met with the same care and compassion. The team did anything they could to not make a family wait longer than they wanted to for their funeral.
Large Business of the Year: St. John's Regional Medical Center
For 110 years, St. John’s Regional Medical Center has delivered on one mission–to serve. What started as a humble, six-room, 12-bed hospital has seamlessly evolved into a vibrant and technologically advanced Regional Medical Center that employs approximately 1,200 health care professionals and is supported by more than 600 physicians. Driven by a team of expert caregivers, St. John’s Regional Medical Center continues to advance health care through investments in state-of-the-art technology, the development of innovative programs, and the commitment of its people. Most recently, St. John’s completed the expansion of its Emergency Department to meet the growing community's needs. Additionally, the hospital has greatly invested in treating complex conditions affecting the brain with the most advanced technologies here in Oxnard. True to its faith-based mission, St. John’s Hospitals have been at the forefront of improving the health of the people they serve, especially those who are vulnerable. From its inception, two of the 12 beds at St. John’s Hospital were dedicated to caring for the underserved. That legacy has evolved into programs designed to address community health needs, a food pantry, financial assistance, and community grants throughout the years. In 2021 St. John’s provided approximately $39,312,995 in patient financial assistance, unreimbursed costs of Medicaid, community health improvement services, community grants and other community Benefits to its primary service area of Oxnard and Port Hueneme.
Community Influencer of the Year: Visit Oxnard
Visit Oxnard’s general approach to social media helps the organization to accomplish its mission of building the positive perception of Oxnard and drive overnight visitation that results in increased travel spending and tax receipts, creates jobs and improves our community’s way of life. Visit Oxnard boasts an impressive social following, with 22.9k followers on Instagram 35.2k followers on Facebook. They use social media as a tool to build an audience and destination awareness, and amplifies their reach by running social giveaways with local partners. The organization compounds its social media reach by working with influencers. This past year, Visit Oxnard has worked with travel and foodie influencers including Tastemade, Black Foodie, Oxnard-based foodie influencer Trendi Eats, and more. The organization has also worked with travel influencer websites, like LA Parent, LA Magazine, Travel Zoo, Weekend Sherpa and The Journal of Lost Time, creating informative articles that highlight Oxnard’s hospitality businesses and building backlinks to its owned channels.
Best Place to Work: Gold Coast Transit District
In 2023, Gold Coast Transit District will celebrate 50 years of connecting passengers with people, places, and opportunities throughout West Ventura County. Gold Coast offers great benefits and hosts regular events for employees, like coffee with the General Manager, monthly birthday parties, and quarterly safety barbeques to celebrate the safe operations of their staff. Several recreational leagues soccer and softball teams have formed among employees in addition to participating in the Corporate Games in Ventura. But it is the staff of just over 200 people that make it a great place to work. Most employees end up being long-term employees, retiring after multiple decades of service to the community. Those who have moved on to other positions have enjoyed exceptional success in their careers, based in large part on the skills honed at Gold Coast Transit District. Gold Coast regularly provides promotional and training opportunities to all employees. Within the Administrative team, at least one person from each unit successfully completed their Master's credentials while employed there. They have not one, but seven parents whose children also are GCTD employees! They also have a great internship program - in fact, their current General Manager started out as an intern!