Business owners honored by Contra Costa Council

Fourteen Outstanding  Honorees Nominated by Contra Costa County Chambers of Commerce                     

Fourteen small-business owners are being honored at the Contra Costa Council’s 13th Annual Small Business Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 10, at the Hilton Concord. Honorees were nominated by their local Chamber of Commerce for their achievements in building their businesses and their contributions to the community.

The luncheon keynote will be presented by Rich Stump, founder and principal at Fathom (, a full-service East Bay product development company specializing in 3D printing, rapid prototyping and design. Congressman George Miller will also make a few remarks. Master of ceremonies will be Dan Ashley, ABC/KGO-TV news anchor.

This popular luncheon is presented annually by the Council’s Small Business/Entrepreneurial Task Force, led by Angela De La Housaye of De La Housaye and Associates, and David Kelly of Kelly & Associates.

The 2013 Chamber honorees, who will each be introduced by a Chamber executive, include:

Antioch Chamber: Nicholas Welzenbach, managing partner of Higgins Chapel Funeral Directors & Oak View Memorial Park, a funeral home and cemetery that supports community organizations and hosts a community garden for homeless and needy families.

Brentwood Chamber: Jeff Cohen, founder and CEO of Halt Medical, a developer and manufacturer of a breakthrough medical device (sold under the name of Acessaâ„¢) to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids.

Concord Chamber: Tonya Amos, owner and operator of Aspire Pilates Center, a dedicated community supporter and fundraiser who donates classes and training to low-income students and athletes.

Danville Chamber: Bill White of Allstate Insurance William White Agency. Winner of multiple Allstate leadership awards, White brought back the Town Council Candidate Forum and supports many community causes and youth activities.

Hispanic Chamber: Pablo Martinez, owner of Carlos Shoe Repair, a “green” shoe repair business. Martinez has created the Carlos Cobbler School, an apprenticeship to teach foster kids the disappearing craft of making and repairing shoes.

Lafayette Chamber: Linda Higham, owner of The Storyteller Bookstore, an independent bookstore specializing in literature for children and young adults. Higham is a former teacher and employs other educators and librarians.

Martinez Chamber: Dan, Paula and Justin Kinder, owners of Kinder’s Meat *Deli* BBQ, a caterer, deli and retail business since 1946, now with multiple stores featuring the nationally recognized California BBQ brand.

Moraga Chamber: William F. Snider, owner of Moraga Hardware & Lumber, a traditional hardware store, and Across the Way, a home and garden store. Snider volunteers in schools, supports many charity and service organizations, and is a founder of Shop Moraga First.

Orinda Chamber: Allen Pennebaker, owner of Flying A Gasoline of Orinda, also owner of Orinda Motors, who converted a vacant gas station into a first-class service station. Pennebaker and his employees support community auctions and fundraisers benefiting Orinda schools and Scouts.

Pittsburg Chamber: John Felipe, owner of East Bay Karate-Do, is a 7th degree Black-Belt karate master instructor and three-time national grand champion. He offers family-oriented martial arts experiences to students of all ages.

Pleasant Hill Chamber: Elena Hutslar, Becky Coburn and Jennifer Neyes, publishers of The Community Focus, an independent newspaper founded in 2009 and published to inform, entertain and connect the communities of Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pacheco, Walnut Creek and Lafayette.

Richmond Chamber: Mike Davidson, VP and CFO of Gardeners’ Guild, Inc., a Contra Costa Certified Green Business and employee-owned landscape management company. The community-minded firm supported a garden renovation project for the Richmond Library and the Solano Play Lot.

San Ramon Chamber: Mary C. Whipple, principal of the Law Office of Mary C. Whipple, providing mediation and litigation services. Whipple is active in the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee, the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary Club and the American Association of University Women.

Walnut Creek Chamber: Ingrid B. James, president and CEO of James Consolidated, Inc., manufacturer of the Volkner Turning System and JamesAir™ Medical Products, specialized support surfaces for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores. A public health visiting nurse, James received two U.S. patents on the overlay design and was honored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

Luncheon title sponsors are Chevron and Wells Fargo. (For more information, visit or call 925.246-1880.)

About the Contra Costa Council: The Council is a private sector, public policy organization with a membership that includes business, government, education and labor. The mission of the Council is to provide advocacy on public policy issues affecting the economic vitality and quality of life in Contra Costa County and the region. For more information, see