El Centro businesses honored for IMAGINE
Bobby and Mary Locke, of Locke Air Conditioning, were awarded the Innovator award during the IMAGINE Awards 2012 on Thursday at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro. (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / March 23, 2012)
The city held its fifth annual IMAGINE Awards, bringing out city and business representatives to celebrate the success of the past year.
These businesses have contributed to the community, including supporting community groups, city events and more, said Marcela Piedra, economic development director for the city.
“It’s a night for them,” she said. “It’s a night to say ‘thank you.’”
The businesses get to network and the award validates the success of the past year, she said. These businesses believe in the community.
Those called up at the end of the evening thanked the city, community, family members and friends.
ABC Pediatrics won the Genius award, and Dr. Daniel Manjarrez thanked the city and community for the award. Things like the awards encourage businesses to do better.
“If we all do better it benefits our community,” he said.
Each of the awards was geared toward a different theme: innovation, motivation, changing, genius, industrious, noble, and entrepreneurs. When those topics were originally chosen, it was by looking back at what business had been like when the city was started in the early 1900s, and how many of the same features have stayed the same, said Deborah Harrold, who worked to organize the event.
“It’s a wonderful night celebrating businesses in El Centro,” she said.
The businesses were nominated by members of the public, and chosen by former winners of the awards, she said. It’s the private sector picking the best of the businesses.
One of those honored, Jeff Lyon of GS Lyon/Landmark, embodied his Motivator award in his speech. He tries to help young business members by explaining to them the experiences he had early on.
“We all have different gifts, and I believe one of mine is that of encouragement,” he said. “I always encourage anybody to reach out, try a new enterprise.”
While the winners knew they had won before the event, being revealed to the crowd as a whole through a video presentation where each was interviewed, some still expressed surprise at the award. Sizzler Restaurant’s Don Thompson said it wasn’t something he had expected.
“I’m just a restaurant operator,” he said.
However, it was also his work with the community, like Rotary, the Police Activities League and the snowbirds breakfast, that clenched the Architect of Change award for him.
Innovator — Locke Air Conditioning
Motivator —GS Lyon/Landmark
Architect of Change — Sizzler Restaurant
Genius — ABC Pediatrics
Industrious — Imperial Valley Paint Center
Noble — River Ranch Fresh Food
Entrepreneurs — R&K Air Conditioning