Honoring Community Members—AND having some fun…

A couple of lucky raffle prize winners happy about their spoils, donated by Lagunitas Brewing.

Cotati’s Chamber of Commerce honored both the magic and the enduring sense of pride for the city at its annual awards dinner and gala on Saturday, Jan. 28 in the Cotati Room.

Cotati Chamber’s 2017 Board of Directors and staff (absent: Kevin Gingher and Gisele Rue).

With a Vegas theme run by the motto “What Happens in Cotati Stays in Cotati,” new Chamber President Susan Kashack welcomed the room full of guests. Throughout the evening, casino trivia, games, raffles and songs were provided by the Chamber’s self-professed Chamber “office dude” Rick Minervini.

Rick Minervini lead the group in a rousing sing-a-long of “That’s Amore.”

Dinner was a delicious prime rib, prepared by Kevin Gingher, owner of Spanky’s bar, a member of Rip City Riders and Treasurer of the Chamber.

The evening event began with a special toast to the very recently passed Cotati historian Prue Draper. Prue was a journalist and historian and with her husband Lloyd, played an instrumental role in the founding of the city of Cotati and in developing the Cotati Historical Society and museum.

In attendance at the gala event, Congressman Mike Thompson spoke to the crowd, complementing the community for its efforts in maintaining success through the many businesses in town. “Cotati’s small business community has figured out a way to make a difference and make a profit,” said Thompson. Alluding to the concern from the election of Donald Trump, Thompson also said “If we stand up for what is right, good will prevail.”

Honorees for the evening included:

Cherie Chipman and Congressman Thompson present Business of the Year award to Mark Blair.

Business of the Year: Mark Blair of BlairWorks provides “above and beyond” support for the Chamber website and digital marketing activities. “Cotati is a perfect place to have a business,” said Blair who said he felt the “magic” of Cotati from the moment he came to the community. The award was presented to Mark Blair by Chamber Past President Cherie Chipman.

Lisa Moore and Mike Thompson present Citizen of the Year award to Jerry Pagnusat.


Citizen of the Year: Jerry Pagnusat was honored for his unwavering service on the city Planning Commission for more than 36 years. “He has shown exemplary involvement and was recognized for his hard work and persistence,” said Lisa Moore, Planning Commission member who presented the award.

Jake Page receives his Ambassador of the Year award from Congressman Mike Thompson.


Ambassador of the Year: Jake Page of Hines Signs took this year’s honor for his creative and generous approach to helping to connect community members to one another. “Jake and his colleagues do excellent work and truly embody a small-town America feel,” said Chamber President Susan Kashack who presented the award.

Pat Chipman receives his Volunteer of the Year award from Congressman Mike Thompson.

Volunteer for the Year: Pat Chipman was honored for his steady, calm and legendary service behind the scenes at all the major Chamber events. “He is always there to volunteer with whatever is needed,” said Rick Minervini who presented this award to Pat. “He has a good attitude and always seems to know what needs to be done—and then he does it. We are happy to have him in the Chamber family.”



Story by Jean Wasp
Photos by Dave Wasson