Around 125 years ago, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce was known as the Board of Trade, and its focus was largely on the port.
“It was officially incorporated in 1918,” said President and CEO Randy Gordon. That year, the organization officially changed its name to its current moniker, framed in its historic glory and placed elegantly on the wall of Gordon’s office.
However, according to Gordon, the galas appear to have been hosted by the organization since its inception.
When Gordon began working for the Chamber 22 years ago, he said he was intrigued by the collection of years and years of programs he saw for an annual gala, building up to his current year.
The 2016 gala looks to be the organization’s biggest yet, and that’s saying a lot, given the Chamber’s rich history. Taking place Thursday, June 16 and beginning at 5:00PM at the Long Beach Convention Center's Grand Ballroom, Gordon said attendees may reach as many 1,000. As of last week, over 900 people had RSVP’d.
The Chamber honors members of the local community with every gala, and this year is no exception. The Long Beach Commercial Real Estate Council is set to be honored this year, as part of what Gordon says is Long Beach’s real estate renaissance.
“We try to honor different facets of the economy every year, and I don’t think Long Beach has ever had such an exciting moment in real estate,” said Gordon. “We’ve never honored the Long Beach Commercial Real Estate Council, and we thought it was time to do so.”
Specifically, the chamber doles out awards to organizations making an impact on the community, including the Destination Tomorrow award and various industry awards. This year, outgoing chair and Vice President, hotel operations for Ensemble Hotel Partners, Kristi Allen will speak, as well as incoming chair, West Region Director of Finance for UPS John Duesneberry.
“The most prestigious award that we bestow upon a company is the Destination Tomorrow award, which we award to a business—a few times to a nonprofit—that has shown incredible community service, that has grown and will continue to grow,” said Gordon.
According to Gordon’s earliest recollection, this included the former aerospace company McDonnell Douglas back in 1985, before they were bought by Boeing. The 2016 co-recipients are the Sares-Regis Group and Plenary/Edgemoor Civic Partnership (PECP). Such honorees look to shake things up in the city in a big way, according to Gordon, including the new Civic Center (a project managed by PECP) and a new hotel project at Pine and Ocean (developed by the Sares-Regis Group).
Industry honorees include Coldwell Banker, Ensemble Real Estate Investments, INCO Commercial, LBCREC, Lee and Associates and Studio One eleven.
All signs show the community is poised to celebrate an exciting era in the city. All recipients will receive a special coin celebrating the Chamber’s 125 years, in addition to hearing comments from the slate of speakers.
As Gordon said, “Nobody runs an event like the Chamber.”
The 125th Gala will take place at the Long Beach Convention Center's Grand Ballroom (300 East Ocean Boulvard). For information and registration, click here.