The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce honored several residents and local businesses who make a positive contribution to the city at its 58th annual Community Service Awards on Monday.
The awards ceremony, which dates back to 1963, is intended to “recognize individuals, groups and companies that have demonstrated excellence and leadership in the fields of business, volunteerism and achievement at Pleasanton,” according to a press release ahead of the event. at the Callippe Preserve golf course in Pleasanton.
Herb Ritter, former chairman of the Pleasanton Planning Commission, presented the City Initiative Award to the city’s Downtown Transportation Corridor project on behalf of the Chamber’s Community Foundation.
According to the Chamber, the prize differs from other awards that recognize the achievements of individuals, companies and non-profit organizations. Instead, it recognized the city’s investment expansion project for the transit corridor between Bernal Avenue and Abbie Street, adding 81 additional parking spaces to downtown parking.
The expanded parking lot, which just opened to the public this Wednesday, was hailed as “an outstanding project or program by the City of Pleasanton that improves the quality of life in our community,” according to chamber officials.
Previous honorees have gone to Pioneer Cemetery, the Firehouse Arts Center, the Regional Food Storage Facility, the renovation of the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center and other city-led projects, according to the chamber.
“The implemented sustainability measures are an essential part of this project. Three e-charging stations were installed in the parking lot to enable charging on up to five parking spaces,” the chamber said. “The paving materials throughout the park areas are made from 100% recycled materials, the asphalt pavement is made from 20% recycled materials, and drought-tolerant landscaping has been planted.”
Kim Damiani, financial advisor at Summit Financial Group, presented the other awards as Chair of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Excellence in Service: Alan Hu Foundation. After parents Xiaofang Chen and Chih-Ching Hu lost their 15-year-old son Alan to suicide in 2018, they tried to channel that grief into establishing the Alan Hu Foundation.
The foundation was established to help others like the former Amador Valley High School student who are struggling with mental illness and to “promote mental health, raise awareness and remove the stigma associated with psychiatric disorders.” and to support basic research for medicinal products”.
“At Alan’s memorial service, though overcome with grief, Xiaofang vowed to establish the Alan Hu Foundation in honor of her son,” read the script for the event. “She wanted to help people suffering from mental illness and support their families. In four short years, she has achieved these goals through a laser focus on the foundation’s mission.”
Corporate Philanthropy: Nina Pomeroy Photography. Pomeroy is a Pleasanton-based headshot photographer who not only donates her time to local charities and nonprofits, but also works extensively with veterans.
One of the organizations she works with is Portraits for Patriots, a national organization that enables photographers to work with veterans and create professional headshots for rotating military members.
She is the organization’s only volunteer photographer in the greater Bay Area, which means participants have traveled to her studio from across the state.
Pomeroy plans to soon move her photography business to a larger studio in downtown Pleasanton as she hopes to expand her work and continue providing photography services to the community, the board said.
“I can honestly say that what I do is never ‘work,'” she said in a statement. “Life is not worth living without giving something back.”
Distinguished Individual Service: Ken Mano. Mano has lived in Pleasanton with his wife Carolyn since 1971. They have six children, all of whom graduated from Amador Valley.
According to the board, there are many reasons why Ken Mano received Monday’s award, but some of his favorite reasons were his stint as Scoutmaster and his time as Amador’s volleyball coach.
He also serves as the public affairs chair on the Twin Valley District Committee for Boy Scouts of America and serves as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which visits nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area to provide humanitarian grants for abused homeless women , refugees and food insecurity.
Aside from that, he was the blood donation coordinator for the American Red Cross for 10 years, coordinating volunteers helping with food distribution during the pandemic. He is also a member of the Committee for Thanksgiving Dinner, which helps those in need at St. Raymond Catholic Church.
Excellence in Business (Small Business): Schlicher Orthodontics. Will Schlicher said he “really appreciates the opportunity to help kids, teens and adults love their smiles.” That’s why his orthodontic achievements are recognized – for the extra mile he goes to make his patients happy.
“I love making people smile. It’s so cool to see the joy and confidence when a patient sees their new smile at the end of their treatment,” he told the chamber. “I love the challenge of designing a treatment plan to move teeth efficiently, and then working with my patients to make their results amazing.”
Originally founded in 2008, Schlicher relocated its business to a larger location on Stoneridge Drive in 2017. According to the board, his team is about more than just orthodontics — it’s about engaging with patients “in a way that creates a practice where patients feel heard, respected and encouraged.”
Among other things, they do this by handing out goodie bags when people take off their braces, supporting schools with donations, organizing toy drives and collecting donations for other needy people.
Excellence in Business (Enterprise): Omron Robotics and Safety Technologies. Omron Adept Technology is a multinational company headquartered in Pleasanton. The company focuses on industrial automation and robotics, including software and vision guidance.
According to the event script, the company’s mission is to improve lives and contribute to a better society. Founded in 1933 in Kyoto, Japan, today it has more than 29,000 employees and total net sales of more than US$750 billion.
The company has been recognized for its academic collaboration with colleges and high schools in the area, such as sponsoring and supporting the Foothill High School Robotics Club and creating a talent pipeline for internships and career placement.
It has also formed a partnership with the Pleasanton Unified School District’s Internship Program for Adults with Disabilities. Company employees also recently wrapped 9,600 meals for Pleasanton’s nonprofit organization Kids Against Hunger.