More than 180 elected officials, business owners and Valley-area chambers of commerce members gathered Jan. 26 for the 31st Annual United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley gala. The dinner at the Hilton Woodland Hills recognized the 2006 board of the UCC, which represents 21 Valley chambers of commerce and 5,000 area businesses. The bulk of the event was devoted to the 2007 Recognition Awards given to notable members nominated by their respective chambers. All of the chamber members can nominate candidates, with a special UCC committee picking the winners, said United Chambers President and CEO Debi Schultze. The Individual Recognition award went to Susan Basler, marketing director for Winnetka-based Valley Village, a nonprofit educational center for people with development disabilities, and an active member of the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce. Gary Washburn, senior district director for former Assemblyman Dr. Keith S. Richman, received the Retired Legislative Staff award, as nominated by the Woodland Hills/Tarzana Chamber of Commerce. The UCC also awarded its Tami Ginsburg Celebration of Service Award to Dallas Boardman, a tax accountant and active member of the Reseda Chamber of Commerce. A series of awards was also presented to especially committed businesses members. The Large Business Recognition award was accepted by David Johnson, a senior management analyst with Los Angeles World Airports, which runs Van Nuys Regional Airport. Johnson, who is also involved with the airport’s jobs and education training programs, was nominated by the Encino Chamber of Commerce. The Small Business Recognition award went to Lucchese Insurance Agency Inc., a Burbank broker started in 1997 by brothers Mario and Dante Lucchese, whose family operates Lucchese Delicatessen in Sun Valley. The company was nominated for the award by the Sun Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. The most emotional moment came when Julie Lewis received the Medium Business Recognition award for her Chatsworth commercial construction company, Tico Contractors Inc. Her husband, Rex Lewis, died just recently, which made the award that much more special. “I knew he’d be honored,” said Julie Lewis, who was nominated for the award by the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce. The dinner concluded with Richman installing the 2007 board, comprised of Chairman Pamela Corradi; Vice Chairman Stephen Holzer; Secretary William F. Powers; Treasurer and Immediate Past Chair Joel Simon; Assistant Secretary Bonnie M. Bursk; Assistant Treasurer Sherry Keowen; regional vice presidents Joe Vitti, Tinalyn Firestone, Allen Budzichowski, and Lee McTaggart; Governmental Affairs Co-Chair Dorena Knepper; Directors J. Richard Leyner (fundraising and marketing), Deborah Sable (events), Jacque McMillan (planning), Alex Soteras (membership), Matt Lynch (employment and training), Matt Hunter (communications and creative development) and Sean McCarthy (director of transportation); directors-at-large Ivy Weiss, Gloria Pollack, Lois Curran-Klein and Horace Heidt; and Historian Rose Goldwater. The event also featured a keynote address from David L. Brewer III, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Brewer delivered a familiar speech about the need for businesses to take a more proactive role in reforming the troubled district.