The Region’s Best In Leadership And Ingenuity Celebrated At The 2016 South Coast Business & Technology Awards


Tonight five local individuals and companies will be honored at the 2016 South Coast Business & Technology Awards, the region’s largest networking event for business and technology leaders. Almost 700 guests will gather at the Fess Parker Hotel and Resort to celebrate those who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to ensuring the economic vitality of the South Coast of Santa Barbara County.

The longevity of the South Coast Business & Technology Awards – now in its 22nd year – is attributed to the commitment and dedication of its talented and entirely volunteer Steering Committee led by Co-Chairs Steven Amerikaner, Partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; and Susan Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, Brown & Brown Insurance. They choose the honorees and raise all the funds necessary to put on the annual event, one of the most popular in Santa Barbara’s business community. Past honorees include notable innovators and influencers across a spectrum of industries and trades.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the nation’s largest community-based scholarship provider. The Scholarship Foundation manages the South Coast Business & Technology Awards Fund, which grants scholarships to local students studying business and technology-related subjects. To date the fund has distributed 811 awards totaling more than $1.8 million. In our 2016 scholarship awards season, the South Coast Business & Technology Awards’ generosity provided $272,100 in scholarships to Santa Barbara County students.

This year the Scholarship Foundation and the South Coast Business & Technology awards will be highlighting Santa Barbara entrepreneurs. The evening’s awards ceremony will begin with a video starring two Scholarship Foundation alumni: Jaime Dietenhofer, co-founder of Figueroa Mountain Brewery; and Kirsten McLaughlin, Public Affairs Manager for Cox Communications in Santa Barbara. The video, produced by director-level sponsor Cox Communications, traces Dietenhofer’s journey from a Santa Ynez Valley Union High School graduate to a local brewer and business owner, showcasing one of many Scholarship Foundation award recipients who return home after their college experience to become part of the business community.

Another featured Scholarship Foundation award recipient, Mackenzie Fell, did not wait to graduate college – or even high school – to become an entrepreneur. In her speech tonight, Fell will recount how her passion for business and entrepreneurship culminated in a first place win in the Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge. She plans to keep her company, Fell Design, up and running when she attends college in the fall.

As always, the South Coast Business & Technology Awards honorees are also exceptional businesspeople and innovators who have made significant contributions to the South Coast business community. The 2016 honorees are:

Excellence in Service: Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara

Entrepreneur of the Year: Sandra Hirsch, President and CEO, Isolite Systems

Company of the Year: a LinkedIn Company

Executive of the Year: Gordon Morell, Executive Vice President, Yardi

Pioneer Award: George Powell, Co-Founder and Owner of Powell Peralta

Please find full biographies of the honorees here.

About the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s mission is to inspire, encourage, and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of higher education through financial aid advising and scholarships. Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has provided more than 44,000 scholarships to local students with a value of $99.3 million. Additionally, the Scholarship Foundation provides free financial aid advising services to more than 36,500 students and parents each year. The Scholarship Foundation has been awarded the highest rating by Charity Navigator for 11 years.

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