Friday, June 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on May 15th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 11

Spotlight on: Business and Education Partnerships Luncheon


Not everyone knows all of the ins and outs of adequately running a school district, but in most cases, the old adage “it takes a village” is fitting.

Aside from their many teachers, administrators, and other employees, most school districts partner with outside organizations and businesses that help schools provide enhanced services, educational opportunities, and supplies for students.

Glenn Morris, president and CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, was one of many speakers at the 2019 Business and Education Partnerships Luncheon on May 8.

In celebration of the most tight-knit of those relationships, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Barbara County Education Office join forces each year to host the Business and Education Partnerships Luncheon, where school district leaders in the Santa Maria area pay tribute to a few particularly supportive local businesses.

At this year’s luncheon, which was held on May 8 at the Santa Maria Fairpark, North County Liaison for the County Education Office Debra Hood said that businesses provide local school districts with a range of support services, from donations and scholarships to field trips and internships.

“This is our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for the multitude of ways the business community provides support to education,” Hood said at the event.

Honorees included Eric Melsheimer, CEO of Melfred Borzall, a Santa Maria company that designs, manufactures, and sells underground construction tools. The company has long partnered with the Orcutt Union School District. Melsheimer provides monetary donations and support for Orcutt’s arts and robotics programs, and often brings equipment to Orcutt’s campuses, where students get hands-on experience with welding and other construction supplies.

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and its executive director, Doug Jensen, were celebrated for the many educational experiences the center offers to students in the Guadalupe Union School District, conducting field trips and center visits where students are able to learn about micro habitats and ecology, among other things. The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District paid tribute to the Santa Maria Valley Physical Therapy Group, which provides athletic trainers—who often work nights, weekends, and during school breaks—at all the district’s sites.

Rabobank was honored for its lengthy list of sponsorships and help funding Allan Hancock College programs, and the Santa Maria-Bonita School District gave its praise to Student Transportation of America, an independent provider of school buses that Santa Maria-Bonita Superintendent Luke Ontiveros said “is like a daily miracle worker.”

“So this is a wonderful event and an opportunity to recognize not only business leadership,” Ontiveros said, “but partnerships.”


• May 5 through 11 was National Small Business Week, and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating all month with a series of seminars. The next is slated for 8 a.m. on May 17 at Allan Hancock College, where the chamber plans to host a free workshop to assist small businesses in becoming certified to bid on state government contracts. Attendees will learn how to find business and contracting opportunities, gain free marketing resources, and create a personalized online business profile.

• Several Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley High School business students recently attended “Defining Her Power,’’ a conference geared toward empowering and supporting women interested in entrepreneurship. The event, which was hosted by the Cal Poly Women in Business organization, featured keynote speaker, Haley Pavone, a Cal Poly student who invented stiletto heels that can convert into flats.

Kasey Bubnash wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at

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