Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce to Celebrate Regional Business Excellence

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is pleased to announce the recipients of the prestigious Regional Business Awards. These awards will be formally presented at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting & Regional Business Awards Gala on Thursday, February 1, 2024 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.

Kristen Miller, President & CEO of the Chamber, expressed her enthusiasm: “This event is a cornerstone in celebrating the remarkable businesses that not only bolster our local economy but also enhance the quality of life across our communities. It’s a moment to acknowledge their significant contributions and to appreciate their enduring commitment to economic growth and community vitality.”

This year, the award ceremony will take center stage at a gala event at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort from 6 to 9 PM. The gala promises an evening of elegance and celebration, commencing with the Chamber’s annual membership meeting. This segment will feature the formal installation of the 2024 Chair of the Board, Anne Pazier, the 2024 Executive Officers and Board Members, alongside a tribute to the outgoing Board Members for their invaluable service. The highlight of the evening, the Regional Business Awards, will follow, showcasing the achievements and impact of businesses and leaders in our region.

Join us in this celebration of business excellence and community spirit.  The Regional Business Awards Winners are:

Large Business of the Year – DMHA Architecture + Interior Design

Celebrating a decade of excellence under the visionary leadership of its principals, DMHA has been pivotal in designing some of the South Coast’s most iconic projects. Their commitment to sustainable and environmental design has been influential for over 20 years, solidifying their reputation as industry leaders.

The firm’s ethos extends beyond professional achievements, deeply entrenching itself in community service. DMHA’s contributions to local non-profits, including Kids Helping Kids, Habitat for Humanity, and the SB Rescue Mission, highlight their dedication to societal betterment. Their principals have also held significant roles in various community organizations, influencing regional development and economic growth.

DMHA’s recent projects, like the revitalization of many Santa Barbara Funk Zone buildings, Direct Relief World Headquarters in Goleta, and designed and secured permits for a city block of renovation and revitalization on Linden Avenue in Carpinteria, showcase their innovative approach to architecture that resonates with the community’s spirit. With a 300% growth in the last decade, driven by a team of dynamic young professionals, DMHA exemplifies the spirit of business excellence and community commitment, making them a deserving recipient of this prestigious award.

Small Business of the Year – Celebration Cruises

Celebration Cruises is a cornerstone of the Santa Barbara community due to their 20 years of exceptional service and community engagement. More than just a cruise service, they have played a pivotal role in supporting the local community through various initiatives.

Their commitment extends beyond the picturesque cruises along Santa Barbara’s coastline and the adorable boat shuttle between the Harbor and Stearn’s Wharf, Lil’ Toot. Their business investment adds to our local tourism experience, offering visitors a way to experience being on the water in Santa Barbara. They also add to the vitality of the Harbor economy, waterfront businesses and entire downtown and Funk Zone.

Celebration Cruises has been a staunch supporter of local schools and educational institutions, including Santa Barbara High School, Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School, and several elementary and junior high schools in the area. Their contributions have significantly impacted the educational landscape, providing invaluable support to these institutions.

Additionally, their involvement with non-profits, charities, and foundations has been remarkable. Through donations, complimentary cruises, and special events, Celebration Cruises has demonstrated a deep-rooted commitment to fostering community spirit and aiding various local causes.

This award not only highlights their business achievements but also shines a light on their unwavering dedication to community support and development. As they celebrate two decades of success, Celebration Cruises continues to set a benchmark for community involvement and economic contribution in Santa Barbara.

Milestone Business Award – Old Spanish Days

In August, Santa Barbara will celebrate Old Spanish Days Fiesta’s centennial. This historic festival, which began in 1924 to mark the reopening of the Lobero Theatre and attract summer tourists, has become an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric, celebrating its rich Spanish and Mexican heritage.

Over the years, Fiesta has beautifully evolved, intertwining traditional elements with modern interpretations. The historical parade, a vibrant display of Santa Barbara’s history, has been a signature event since its inception, curated by Dwight Murphy. Similarly, La Fiesta Pequeña, a mix of religious and cultural festivities at the Old Mission Santa Barbara, and La Misa del Presidente, a mass symbolizing unity, have been pivotal in the celebration.

El Mercado, mirroring traditional Spanish and Mexican marketplaces, has become a hub for cultural exchange and community support, while Noches de Ronda showcases enchanting music and dance performances, drawing locals and tourists alike.

Fiesta Ranchera was begun as a kick-off event to the celebration season at the Stow House in Goleta.  This expansion to include the entire South Coast marked another important milestone in the history of this treasured cultural event.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta’s 100th Anniversary not only commemorates a century of cultural preservation but also reflects Santa Barbara’s ongoing commitment to its historical roots and community spirit. This landmark event aptly symbolizes the essence of the Milestone Business of the Year award.

Non-Profit of the Year – CommUnify

For over half a century, CommUnify (formerly known as CAC) has been at the forefront of aiding the county’s most vulnerable populations, spanning all ages and demographics.

With a suite of 16 comprehensive programs, CommUnify stands out for its untiring commitment to community service. Its impact is felt through the 23 Head Start campuses, the 2-1-1 HelpLine, and essential assistance programs for utilities, rent, and senior safety upgrades. The organization’s dedication to education is evident in its Cal-SOAP tutoring program, enhancing educational opportunities for the youth.

The heart of CommUnify lies in its dedicated staff and leadership, whose hard work and professionalism have significantly improved the lives of countless residents. Their person-centered approach emphasizes client dignity and self-sufficiency, making a tangible difference in the community.

CommUnify’s role extends beyond immediate assistance, focusing on long-term stability and wellbeing through education, case management, mental health support, and disaster response. This holistic approach has made them an indispensable pillar in the community, truly embodying their mission of support and empowerment.

Celebrating over 50 years of service, CommUnify’s dedication to helping families, at-risk youth, and low-income communities has made them an exemplary non-profit organization, one that not only represents its mission but also elevates the quality of life for all in Santa Barbara County.

Hospitality Business of the Year – Upham Hotel

Celebrating 152 years of service, The Upham Hotel holds the distinguished title of Southern California’s oldest continuously operating hotel, a tribute to its enduring legacy and commitment to excellence.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, which led to the postponement of its 150-year celebration, The Upham Hotel has continued to provide exceptional service and an unforgettable experience to its guests. This award highlights the hotel’s dedication to maintaining a perfect blend of modern amenities and historic charm, ensuring a unique and luxurious stay for every guest.

The Upham Hotel is more than just a place to stay; it’s a gateway to the rich tapestry of culture and adventure that Santa Barbara offers. From its iconic redwood verandas to its beautifully curated suites and cottages, the hotel encapsulates the essence of classic hospitality while offering a range of accommodations to suit every preference. As The Upham Hotel celebrates this milestone, it continues to set the standard for hospitality, offering a timeless experience that guests will cherish for years to come.

Community Business of the Year – VNA Health

As the only certified nonprofit home healthcare and hospice agency in the region, VNA Health has been caring for the Santa Barbara community with a deep sense of dedication and excellence. Their services, ranging from skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapies to hospice and palliative care, have been pivotal in enhancing the quality of life for countless individuals and families.

VNA Health’s commitment goes beyond healthcare services. They have been instrumental in enriching the community through various life enrichment programs, including pet therapy and integrative therapies, which have significantly contributed to the well-being of their clients. Their Loan Closet service, offering medical equipment to those in need, is a prime example of their dedication to accessible healthcare.

Their bereavement care and support groups provide essential emotional support, showcasing their holistic approach to care. VNA Health’s efforts in honoring veterans through specialized programs further highlight their inclusive and comprehensive community support.

This award is a recognition of VNA Health’s century-long legacy of caring and their continuous efforts to adapt and expand their services to meet the evolving needs of the Santa Barbara community. Their role in the community is not just as a healthcare provider, but as a symbol of hope and support for those in need.

Innovator of the Year – Grace Fisher

Grace Fisher is a visionary in the realm of inclusive arts due to her remarkable contribution to the community through the Grace Fisher Foundation. Her pioneering initiative, an all-inclusive Arts Clubhouse located in La Cumbre Plaza, has become a sanctuary where art transcends all barriers, welcoming individuals of all abilities to explore, create, and celebrate artistic expression.

Her groundbreaking achievement has ignited a wave of excitement within the hospitality community, driving a movement toward establishing Santa Barbara as an accessible and welcoming destination. This initiative guarantees that individuals of all abilities can visit and experience a sense of empowerment and inclusion.

The Clubhouse, open to everyone without any fee, is a testament to Grace’s belief in the universal accessibility of the arts. It’s a place where learning, participating, and instructing in the arts converge, leaving everyone with a sense of joy and fulfillment. Grace’s approach is not just about providing access to the arts but about fostering a community where every person, regardless of their ability, can experience the transformative power of artistic expression.

Her foundation’s mission to connect people living with disabilities to various forms of artistic expression has created an accessible space for community inclusion, education, creation, and self-discovery.

Grace Fisher’s innovative vision and dedication to inclusivity in the arts have significantly impacted the community, making the arts a medium for connection and empowerment. Her work exemplifies how creativity can bridge gaps and bring people together, making her a deserving recipient of the Innovator of the Year award.

Chamber Champion – Randy Berg

Randy Berg is a pivotal figure in the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce and is celebrated for his remarkable contributions and leadership. As the board representative to the Chamber’s Technology and Manufacturing Committee, Randy has been instrumental in strengthening the local technology and manufacturing sectors through his extensive relationships and strategic initiatives.

Under Randy’s guidance, the South Coast Tech Roundtables, hosted by the Chamber’s Technology & Manufacturing Committee, have seen tremendous success, fostering collaboration and innovation within the industry. His personal touch in connecting various local companies to the Chamber has not only expanded the Chamber’s reach but also helped these companies leverage the benefits of their Chamber memberships.

Randy’s proactive involvement in addressing key concerns is exemplified by his voluntary participation in the Electricity Reliability working group. His leadership in this subcommittee has been crucial in maintaining focus, forging new connections with local, regional, and statewide officials, and sustaining momentum towards achieving electricity reliability, a top priority for the committee.

Beyond committee work, Randy is a vocal advocate for the Chamber’s goals and values. His consistent presence and advocacy at community events reinforce the Chamber’s priorities, including workforce development, housing, and more. His enthusiasm and passion for these topics are infectious, inspiring new community allies and partnerships.

Randy’s dedication and energetic approach to addressing the needs of the tech and manufacturing sectors, while aligning with the broader goals of the Chamber, make him an outstanding recipient of the Chamber Champion award. His efforts have not only benefited the Chamber but have also significantly contributed to the growth and vitality of the business community.

Tickets to attend the Regional Business Awards Gala are $175 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at The Gala will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2024, from 6 to 9 PM at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. For questions about the event, please contact Chelsea Weininger, Events Manager at

The Regional Business Awards Gala is presented by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria. For sponsorship information, please contact Michele at 805-967-2500 ext. 105 or

Many thanks to our Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsors: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, DoorDash, ExxonMobil, and Village Properties

Corporate Sponsors: Agilent Technologies, Bartlett Pringle & Wolf LLP, Chevron, Courtyard Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, Cox Communications, LinkedIn, MarBorg Industries, Noozhawk, Pacific Premier Bank, Residence Inn Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, Santa Barbara Airport, Santa Barbara Independent, Signature Flight Support, Southern California Edison, Southwest Airlines, Teledyne FLIR, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, and UC Santa Barbara.

About Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is a regional, business organization with the mission to help South Coast businesses, residents, and visitors thrive. Through leadership and collaboration, the Chamber is the principal economic development entity advocating for the business community. We engage with businesses, elected officials, and regional partners in proactive business initiatives that foster the South Coast’s unique business environment and create opportunities for our communities. The Chamber is proud to represent local business members who create 75,000 jobs on the South Coast! To learn more, visit

SBSC Chamber

Written by SBSC Chamber

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce proudly represents 1,100 businesses and 75,000 jobs spanning Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, and the surrounding areas. Our mission is to champion businesses, foster economic growth, and enhance tourism and visitor services. Learn more at

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Honors Ryan Gosling with Kirk Douglas Award

Supreme Court will hear case about homeless encampments, with huge implications for California