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Introducing Goleta’s Finest

Bacara Gala Honors People Who Matter in the Good Land


The Goleta’s Finest Celebration is a 62-year-old tradition honoring remarkable individuals who have had a positive impact on the community of Goleta. This year’s awards ceremony, held on Wednesday, November 30, was presented by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and Bacara Resort and Spa with music provided by the Montecito Jazz Band. It was a night of extravagance and honor as some of the city’s finest citizens and companies gathered together to recognize those who have gone above and beyond to give back to their community. Cox Communications, Business First Bank, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Montecito Bank & Trust, UCSB, The Towbes Group, and The Santa Barbara Independent were among the many distinguished sponsors of the event.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Primit Parikh and Umesh Mishra, cofounders of Transphorm, an electricity solutions company. Transphorm optimizes power conversion through new technologies to eliminate 90 percent of all electric conversion losses. Transphorm saves a significant amount of money and energy for many companies and individuals.

The Small Business of the Year award went to Palius and O’Kelley CPAs Inc. Palius and O’Kelley host small business seminars and help local businesses with anything from tax planning to profit analysis. The firm members are not the typical CPAs, as they focus on building personal relationships with their clients and describe themselves as flexible and fun. They stay true to their company motto, “exceptional service, valued product.”

The Community Business of the Year award went to Santa Barbara Axxess. As a citizen of Santa Barbara, it’s hard to miss to influence that Axxess has on our community. Axxess brings local businesses together to offer coupons and discounts to cardholders. Axxess has also raised over $750,000 for local schools and nonprofit organizations. From the stickers posted on many small businesses around Santa Barbara and Goleta, to the excitement of those reaping the benefits of the Axxess card, to the students benefiting from their fundraising efforts, it’s easy to see why Santa Barbara Axxess won this year’s Community Business award.

The Nonprofit of the Year award went to PathPoint. The staff at PathPoint have been working hard to improve the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities. PathPoint gives intellectually disabled citizens the opportunity to live independently and helps them to develop and maintain various vocational skills so that they may be more prepared to enter the workforce. Not only has the work of PathPoint benefited thousands of individuals from Santa Barbara to Ventura to Los Angeles, it has also benefited dozens of companies that’ve filled job openings through PathPoint, like Chili’s, Best Buy, Hollister Brewing Company, and Vons, just to name a few.

The Education Professor of the Year award went to Michelle Magnusson, the program development & accountability manager at Santa Barbara County Education Office. Magnusson has been instrumental in getting the community more involved in local schools. She has recruited individuals and corporations to volunteer and donate supplies that teachers need to teach their students effectively.

The Educator of the Year award went to Clark Sayre. He has performed on Broadway in the musicals Oliver!, Sweeney Todd, and Merrily We Roll Along. He left the stage to pursue his passion for teaching theater. Sayre truly cares for each student he teaches and is particularly proud of his ability to engage the hearts and minds of students in an increasingly disengaged world. He has given many troubled teens a safe environment in which to express their feelings and thoughts in a constructive and creative manner through the transformative power of theater.

The Student of the Year award went to Susana Murillo, a senior at Dos Pueblos. Despite being an at-risk youth and traversing a much more difficult path than most students, Murillo currently maintains a 4.0 grade point average. She intends to study culinary arts and business management after she graduates.

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue, which provides emergency help to anyone who is injured, lost, or in an otherwise emergency state. Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year with the help of only 33 volunteer members. In addition to providing emergency help to those lost or injured, they also provide senior citizens with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia with an emergency support system via Project Lifesaver.

The Man of the Year award went to Richard Temple who is retired after 41 years as a mechanical engineer and manager at Delco Systems. Temple has been extremely active in the Goleta community ever since he moved here in 1972. While he was working at Delco, he assisted in the YMCA Indian Guides program and assisted as a coach at the Goleta Valley Boys and Girls Club. He has been a member of Toastmasters International for 27 years and a member of the Rotary Club for 12 years. Temple has supported many local functions over the years, including the Fireworks Festival, which is the number one fundraiser for the Rotary Club. He and his wife, Bernadette, have always been and continue to be very passionate supporters of the Goleta Valley community.

Last, but certainly not least, the Woman of the Year award went to Patricia Fabing. She is the marketing director at Friendship Manor and has always been an avid volunteer. She has contributed to many nonprofit organizations while raising children and maintaining a career. Fabing believes that volunteering brings quality and value to all of our lives and believes that everyone has the power to enrich the world. She sees problems in a community and actively fixes them by recruiting others to help and using her own talents. When schools were cutting music programs due to budget constraints, Fabing helped create a music camp for kids who couldn’t afford to get music lessons. Most of her contributions are in the interest of young children and seniors in the community.

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