Visalia Chamber opens nominations for annual awards

Visalia is Tulare County’s largest city. It is a hub of economic activity for the region. And there are a host of non-profits to support any of the city’s needs. But what makes Visalia great is the people and groups of people who go above and beyond the average citizen.

Those individuals, businesses and organizations should be recognized with a special evening which is why the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual Awards Banquet this summer.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Man and Woman of the Year, Emerging Leaders as well as Non-profit, Small, Medium, and Large Business of the Year.

Nominations are due Tuesday, March 15 and can be submitted online at

For Man & Woman of the Year as well as Emerging Leaders, awards are given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community or have served Visalia in important ways during the past year or over a number of years.

The nominee’s records of community and civic involvement, work on behalf of a charitable organization, business or professional leadership, as well as any major personal achievements are evaluated by a selection committee. 

Nominees do not need to be members of or affiliated with the Visalia Chamber of Commerce. Current officers and directors of the Chamber are not eligible to be nominated, nor are elected officials if currently in office. Emerging Leaders nominees must be under 40 years of age.

Small, Medium, Large, and Non-Profit of the Year honors go to local organizations that have made significant contributions to the community or have served Visalia in exceptional ways over a number of years. 

Candidates for this award will maintain successful, best business practices, be domiciled in the Visalia area, provide support and participation in community events, and demonstrate innovation and job creation in their business. Must be current members of the Chamber or will be prior to consideration.

Nominees cannot have won the award in the last 10 years. Small businesses are defined as a company with less than 20 employees; medium businesses employ 21-75, and large business have 76 or more employees.

Non-Profits must have 501(c)3 tax exempt status. Nominations can be submitted by anybody in the community including the business contact if he or she feels the business is deserving.

Last year’s winners were: Man of the Year, Donn Ritter; Woman of the Year, Barbara Mayeda; Emerging Leader of the Year, July Hong; Small Business of the Year, Companion Animal Medical Center; Medium Business of the Year, Seals/Biehle General Contractors; Large Business of the Year, Joann’s Fabric & Crafts Stores West Coast Distribution Center; Non-Profit of the Year, Family Services of Tulare County.

Winners will be announced at the 63rd annual Awards Celebration presented by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 16 at the Visalia Convention Center. For more information, call the Visalia Chamber of Commerce at 559-734-5876.

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