The 2018 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards were awarded Saturday night to local individuals, organizations and businesses that have strived to improve the community.
The gala was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, where the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce announced the award winners, that, through their efforts, help the community realize its slogan of “Life as it should be.”
The completion of a brand-new interior and/or exterior building design integrating the environment with space and materials.
17th Place Townhomes: The 44-unit community is working to become a part of downtown Bakersfield’s renaissance, and change how people view living in the heart of the city. The development promotes healthy living and walkability to the area’s hottest locales, and the high-end finishes and amenities in each unit provide residents with a unique urban experience. Daniel Cater, Cater Design Group, architect; Eagle Land Development, contractor; Austin Smith, Sage Equities, developer; and 17th & O Investment Co., LP, Owner.
Arts and culture
Efforts by a group or individual to improve and/or enhance the arts and culture within our community.
Bakersfield Music Theatre and Stars Theatre Restaurant: The volunteers and small staff of Bakersfield Music Theatre and Stars Theatre Restaurant continuously bring their passion and creativity to the stage. The goal is to provide an enriching experience for the community. Along with its productions, BMT is always looking for the next opportunities to provide local talent a chance to shine. Its theatre programs have sparked a love of performing in hundreds of local youth.
Efforts by an educator, project or school/college that promotes or benefits education in our city at all levels.
Crystal Hoffmann, Ed.D.: Literacy is everywhere, and not having reading skills in this world can lead to a diminished quality of life. To combat a literacy gap within the Kern High School District, Crystal Hoffmann worked with a team of educators to identify the cause. Through their research, her team was able to develop a curriculum called Access and PreAccess, which provides struggling students the tools and resources to help them grow as independent readers.
An individual, group or organization that has made a significant contribution toward healthy living in Bakersfield through education, prevention or medical services.
The Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center: Every day, the staff at Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center strives to provide complete and world-class cancer care. They did just that in 2017. Hosting more than 70 free cancer education, lecture and screening events throughout Kern County, they reached more than 9,100 people and diagnosed multiple cancer cases that might have otherwise gone undetected.
Humanitarian — individual
An individual whose personal efforts have made a significant impact in the community.
Dr. Jorge A. Enriquez: The doctor has helped more than 5,000 individuals receive surgical procedures, creating a network of surgeons, hospitals and laboratories to open their doors and offer services at a more affordable cost to low-income and uninsured individuals. Dr. Enriquez believes that everyone needs a chance to improve their health regardless of their health insurance status.
Humanitarian — group
A group whose efforts have made a significant impact in the community.
What the Knit! Guild: The 100-plus guild members have turned their love for knitting and crocheting into a way to help the community. Just last year, they made more than 700 items, including knitted knockers for breast cancer survivors, hats for babies to raise awareness for heart disease and hats and scarves for the homeless.
Life As It Should Be
An annual event or project that enhances the quality of life in the community.
Kern County Library — Hart Park After Dark: In October, with just two months of planning, several Kern County departments partnered to coordinate the first-ever “Hart Park After Dark” event. More than 2,000 people came out for an evening that included costume contests, music, family storytime, star gazing, bike rides and more. This event’s purpose was to showcase Kern County parks and the vital role they play in the local quality of life.
The partnership between entities to use public/private funds to enhance the community’s quality of life.
Do the Math — KCSOS: Do the Math is a live interactive program with a goal to help local students increase their math awareness and problem-solving skills. Students work out math problems on live television with credentialed teachers. In the new “Math in the Real World” segment, students learn from business owners about STEM-related careers and the practical purpose of math.
The completion of a renovated design that upgrades an existing structure and/or incorporates the use of landscaping to enhance the aesthetic value of the property.
Job Spot: Created after the Bakersfield Adult School observed the need for adult education services in southeast Bakersfield, this multi-faceted educational and employment development center assists adult students in advancing their education as well as preparing them for the workforce. Radian Design Group, architect; JTS Construction, contractor; and Bakersfield Adult School, developer.
An individual or group from 14 to 20 years old that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the challenge of good citizenship.
Garces Memorial High School — Love Bags: Students have learned that great things can happen when everyone bands together. To help individuals in need, the school started the “Love Bags” program. Each month, dozens of students gather to make more than 100 sack lunches that are then transported and handed out at the St. Vincent de Paul Center.
An individual or group from kindergarten to eighth grade that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the challenge of good citizenship.
Eden Coughran: Eden Coughran has found a way to provide hope and healing to local children battling life-threatening diseases. Through her “Cranes for a Cause” project, she makes and sells origami crane ornaments and earrings. All proceeds have been donated to the Make a Wish Foundation to grant a “wish” for a local 4-year-old boy battling eye cancer.
Business person of the year
A local business owner/manager whose efforts truly impact and enhance the quality of life in the community.
Bob Meadows — Mission Bank: In his role as community development officer for Mission Bank, Bob Meadows is no stranger to giving back to the community. However, his service doesn’t end when he’s off the clock. He volunteers his time, knowledge and skills to dozens of local nonprofits, businesses and universities, including the United Way of Kern County, ADAKC, Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, University of LaVerne and Cal State Bakersfield. His driving force is to help individuals become more successful in both their professional and personal lives.
Corporation of the year
The recognition of a corporation whose volunteer hours and/or financial donations have made a meaningful difference.
Jim Burke Ford Lincoln: This automotive company is dedicated to giving time and financial support to programs and charities that improve education and health care outcomes in Kern County. It launched the Ford Dimension and Dream Builders programs as a way to provide service and leadership opportunities for local youth. Jim Burke Ford Lincoln also selects a company charity that its employees volunteer to support throughout the year.
Nonprofit of the year
Efforts of a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that impacts the community.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County: As one of the nation’s largest Boys & Girls Clubs, it provides a safe haven for more than 7,200 local youth. Its 63 club sites offer fun, engaging activities, including STEM, performing arts, homework help, gardening and more. The nonprofit’s nutrition program hit a major milestone in 2017, by dishing up more than 220,000 healthy snacks and meals.
Small business of the year
A small business (25 employees or less) whose contributions and/or products and services instill community pride.
Robin’s EnviroVac: Robin’s EnviroVac has served its clients with honesty and integrity since 1999. At the heart of its values is supporting the community in any way possible. Owner Robin Brassfield-Cooper launched a scholarship nonprofit, call Kern County Oil Contractors Association, aimed at helping local youth return to Kern County to work in the oil and gas, agriculture or energy sectors. The company also lends its time and resources to youth-driven charities.
This award is chosen from among all nominee submissions, and given in recognition of overall excellence.
Highgate at Seven Oaks: Castle & Cooke has spent close to 30 years shaping Bakersfield’s westside with its master-planned communities and shopping centers. Its latest development — Highgate at Seven Oaks — includes all of the elements of a true village. All five of its distinct neighborhoods are anchored by a 30-foot tall Georgian clock tower and resort-style clubhouse. The community has also served as the site of several fundraisers benefitting local nonprofits.
Horace Mitchell — CSUB: California State University Bakersfield’s President Horace Mitchell will retire at the end of this month after leading the university for 14 years. Under his leadership, CSUB has racked up a slew of accolades in both academics and athletics. Perhaps the most important accomplishment of his tenure is the broad range of initiatives and activities the university launched to increase student success. These initiatives have produced students who are contributing to the local economy.