Spirit of Solano awards bestowed on outstanding businesses

December 09 2019

By Kimberly K. Fu | kfu@thereporter.com | Vacaville Reporter

PUBLISHED: December 5, 2019 at 6:44 pm | UPDATED: December 6, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Good food, better conversation and a cross-section of the local business community came together Thursday for the annual Spirit of Solano gathering in Fairfield.

Ensconced at the Hilton Garden Inn, which was all decked out for Christmas, members of Solano’s nine chambers of commerce each honored a business or business person (Fairfield-Suisun recognized two) deemed outstanding.

In Vacaville, the owners of the iconic Pacific Ace Hardware were celebrated.

David, Scott and Ian McKenzie, who were also this year’s Fiesta Days grand marshals, weren’t able to make the Spirit ceremony but sent their well wishes with Recology’s Scott Pardini. He accepted the award on the family’s behalf.

The McKenzie family has a long history in Solano, with five generations at Pacific Hardware.

As the story goes, William McKenzie and his son, Albert, operated a business in Monticello in 1893. In 1957 William retired and Albert and his son, Albert Jr., took over. That year, the two bought Pacific Hardware in Vacaville and a cousin, Jim, came aboard. Today, Albert Jr.’s son, David, Jim’s son, Scott, and David’s son, Ian, run the beloved shop together.

“The McKenzie family has served locals for five generations and is actively involved in the community,” advised Diane Barney with the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce. “They have been members of the Vacaville Chamber for 62 years.”

In Vallejo, Jeanne Kilkenny-Turk and Tom Atwood with Vallejo Insurance Associates were acknowledged.

Aside from holding various Chamber positions, they’re visible in the community, active in the Vallejo Rotary Club and Executive Lions Club and support numerous other groups throughout Solano, officials said.

Community service projects include Vallejo’s Relay for Life, Vallejo Peace Project, Senior Santa and more.”We are very honored for this,” Atwood said.

Kilkenny-Turk agreed, pledging to continue to “provide the best, greatest customer service that we can.”

Other honorees include:

Antonio Fernandes Santos III, Dress for Success Global Educational Foundation, Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce

Warren Gomes Sr., Warren Gomes Jr. and Quinn Gomes, Warren E. Gomes Excavating, Inc., Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce

Maria Zuniga, State Farm Insurance, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Solano County

Jess Malgapo, ARS Realty, Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Solano County

Major Randy Hartt, The Salvation Army Kroc Center and Jared Neumayr, Solano First Federal Credit Union, Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce

Debbie Muhl, Altec, Dixon Chamber of Commerce

Guy Benjamin, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, Benicia Chamber of Commerce

The event was sponsored by Westamerica Bank and the Solano Economic Development Corporation.