Business / Economy

Chamber celebrates long-time contributors Huboi, Sleznick, Biesemeyer

The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau will honor the man, woman, ambassador and businesses of the year Jan. 24.

The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau President/CEO Juli Vieira has announced the individuals and businesses that will be honored at the 2015 “The Stars of San Benito County” awards dinner on Jan. 24.

This year’s honorees include David Huboi as Man of the Year, Gayle Sleznick as Woman of the Year, and Cindy Biesemeyer as Chamber Ambassador of the Year. See the list below for business honorees.

Huboi has been a resident of San Benito County for 20 years, according to a nomination submitted to the Chamber for the award. Huboi has volunteered extensively with local nonprofits and has served the city of Hollister as a planning commissioner. He participated on the steering committee for the city of Hollister's general plan, served on the board of the Homeless Coalition of San Benito County, served on the Hollister Downtown Association Design committee, chaired the Measure R campaign and co-chaired the Measure T campaign in support of a city tax measure, served on the San Benito Chamber of Commerce Green Building committee and he hosts a public access television show called “Going Green,” among other accomplishments. He was recognized as a producer of the year in 2012 by Community Media Access Partnership for his work on “Going Green,” and the San Benito Chamber of Commerce recognized him for his contributions at National Philanthropy Day in 2011.

In his capacity as an architect, Huboi was involved in the renovation of the Veterans Memorial Building, the Honda Powerhouse building, the Gateway Palms low-income apartment complex, which was green point rated, and the new research and development building for Enza Zaden, which is noted as San Benito’s first LEED certified building.

“I am proud to be from San Benito County and in fellowship of many nonprofit organizations and individuals who are so generous in sharing their talents and resources with their fellow citizens and also those who are disadvantaged,” he wrote on his nomination form. “I feel this is what sets us apart and makes us special.”

Sleznick, who originally moved to San Benito County when her husband, Jim, was assigned by the National Park Service to work at Pinnacles National Park (formerly a monument,) will be honored as Women of the Year. She and Jim retired to San Juan Bautista 20 years ago. She has been an active member of the arts community in San Benito since coming to the county. She served on the Arts Commission and was integral in starting the Open Studios tour in 1991, working to keep it running even when the Arts Commission was disbanded. When the Arts Commission was re-established as the San Benito County Arts Council, she served as its vice president for three years. She also has participated in the Aromas Hills Artisan group in supporting their fundraisers and taking part in the Garden Tour. Sleznick has been involved in the Oriana Chorale for 20 years, serving as secretary of the group for five years and designing posters, programs and other marketing items for the group.

 In addition to the many arts-oriented groups in which Sleznick is involved, she has supported the Hollister and San Juan Bautista Rotary Clubs, volunteered for the Community Pantry, the United Way of San Benito County, the Community Foundation for San Benito County, and many other organizations.

Her work was selected as the People’s Choice Award during the Open Studio Tour in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and was also selected to paint an ornament to represent Pinnacles National Park for the White House Christmas Tree in 2007.

Sleznick counts one of her biggest contributions to the community maintaining wooden paintings of saints that are put out at Christmas time in San Juan. Since 1965, the wooden paintings have been displayed in the city every year, except for 2001. Sleznick has helped to restore the paintings twice and when the San Juan Chamber of Commerce closed, she stored the items in her garage and started to restore them without financial support from the city. The Rotary of San Juan Bautista decided to take ownership of the paintings, which now has an adoption process to help cover the cost of restoration and also has a place to store the items permanently.

“My mission is to keep my painting language professional, help other artists and non artists understand the art process,” Sleznick wrote in her nomination. “It builds creative thought and that is a beautiful and useful thing.”

Cindy Biesemeyer, a member of the Women’s Club of Hollister, will be honored as Chamber Ambassador of the Year. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce as an independent consultant for Perfectly Posh, a company that sells cosmetics and beauty supplies.

The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau will be hosting “The Stars of San Benito County” annual awards dinner Jan. 24, from 6-11 p.m. at San Juan Oaks Golf Club. Tickets are available by calling 831-637-5315.

Businesses of the Year

Joshua Inn Bed & Breakfast – Hospitality

Wright Brothers Welding – Manufacturing

San Benito County Farm Bureau – Agricultural

Small Steps – Nonprofit

Bill's Bullpen Baseball Cards & Comics – Retail

Shelton Insurance – Professional Service

Design Line Granger Printing – Creative

Farmhouse Communications – Service

Melissa Anderson

Melissa (Flores) Anderson is the former city editor of the Weekend Pinnacle and Hollister Free Lance, where she covered education, county government and more. She currently works for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San Jose State University, where she manages the College blog, newsletter and website updates. She has a master's in print journalism from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.