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Lodi Chamber of Commerce will host Outstanding Citizens Award dinner

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:00 am

The Lodi Chamber of Commerce will host an Outstanding Citizens Award Celebration later this month to celebrate their 90th year in operation this month.

The event on Jan. 24 will be held at the Wine & Roses Garden Ballroom and feature awards as well as the graduation of the 2012 Leadership Lodi class.

Honorees include Outstanding Citizens of the Year Bill and Carol Meehleis, owners of Meehleis Modular Buildings, and the people and businesses profiled below.

At the event, the chamber will also discuss its goals for 2013 and efforts to make Lodi successful globally.

Tickets are $75 per person, and chamber staff encourage people to purchase in advance because the event sells out.

To purchase tickets, go to the chamber office at 35 S. School St., or call 209-367-7840, ext. 100 for more information.

Here are profiles of three of the honorees for 2012:

Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year: Reynolds Ranch

Background: Reynolds Ranch was started in 2005, with the main goal of encouraging Blue Shield of California to relocate more than 600 Lodi jobs to Stockton.

The partnership also wanted to create a community where people can live, work, shop and dine.

Dale Gillespie joined general partners Bart Robertson, Dave Fisher and Donnie Garibaldi and landowner partners Don and Rocky Reynolds families and the Eddie LeBaron family to create the company.

The developers received approval for the project in 2006, and the Blue Shield campus was constructed. The insurance company opened in 2008 in a LEED-certified facility and hired 500 more employees.

The second phase of the project was delayed by the downturn in the economy in 2008. The owners of Reynolds Ranch found two retailers — Costco and Home Depot — that had been looking at Lodi for years and were still successful despite the economy.

In 2010, Costco started construction, while Reynolds Ranch partners built the driveways for the shopping center and widened Harney Lane. Costco opened in June 2011 and hired 180 employees.

Home Depot then opened in April 2012 with their first LEED-certified retail store in the nation. They hired 125 new employees.

Why did the Chamber select this business?: In the future, Reynolds Ranch will provide new stores, restaurants and housing opportunities, including senior housing.

Reynolds Ranch continues to lead the Lodi development community by trying to fill real needs in job growth, housing opportunities for a variety of family and age needs, and retail and restaurant opportunities in an effort to keep Lodi residents shopping in Lodi, and attract shoppers from outlying communities to spend their dollars in Lodi.

Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Persons of the Year: The Phillips Family

Background: The ancestors of the Phillips family began farming 160 acres in Lodi in the 1860s. They started with vegetables and grew in to what is now Phillips Farms, which features Michael~David Winery, a cafe and a fruit stand. The family opened the farm in 1972 on Highway 12 near Interstate 5.

The family: Don and Jeanne Phillips are in charge of the family business, which includes their children and grandchildren.

The couple's sons, Michael and David, are fifth-generation wine growers who farm 650 acres of premium wine grapes, including Zinfandel, Syrah, Viognier and Chardonnay.

Why did they receive the award?: The family's farm is one of the first things tourists see when driving into Lodi, Patrick said.

"Thousands of guests from all over the world have been welcomed into this warm family operation to sample fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh pies and award-winning wines," Patrick said. "In the fall, schoolchildren from all over the region visit the fun-filled pumpkin patch."

The Phillips Family has also promoted the Lodi Appellation nationally and internationally.

"They are one of the most successful of our appellation's wineries," Patrick said. "They are also leaders in promoting natural methods of growing winegrapes."

Michael and David Phillips are leaders in paying grape growers a premium for using Lodi Rules. The Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission created the system where winegrapes in the Lodi area are third-party certified as being sustainably grown.

The family also participates in the community. The farm sponsors the annual Lodi Cycle Fest in Downtown, David Phillips has served on the Lodi Planning Commission and as director of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club, and Michael's son Kevin serves on the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission.

"The Phillips Family are proud to be Lodi agriculturists," he said. "This community is fortunate to have had them play such an important role in the past and into the future."

Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year: Paul Anderson

Background: Anderson was born and raised in Stockton and went to Franklin High School.

Where does he work?: Anderson works for ServPro of Lodi, which repairs and does restoration after fire, water or mold damage.

Where does he volunteer?: Anderson is a member of the Rotary Club of Lodi, an affiliate of the Lodi Association of Realtors, past treasurer of the Lodi Chamber Hispanic Business Committee, founder of the Associates Networking Group and creator of the Facebook fan page "Wine Country Social."

Why did he receive the award?: Paul is always the first to volunteer for Chamber of Commerce events, according the chamber staff. Anderson serves as the current co-chair of the Lodi Chamber Ambassador Committee. He often works at the Street Fair, the School Street Wine Stroll, ribbon-cuttings, mixers and numerous other events.

"Paul always steps up with a cheerful smile and a positive can-do attitude. His enthusiasm for the Chamber and Lodi is infectious and is the reason he is the Lodi Chamber Volunteer of the Year," Patrick stated in a news release.

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