Saturday, February 24, 2024

Chamber of Commerce Chairman Honored as Coronado Welcomes Its New Chairwoman

It was like a scene from Ocean’s Eleven: one by one the Coronado Chamber of Commerce board members assembled on the marina view promenade outside City Hall for an unconventional swearing in ceremony.

As with the movie, each individual brings their own particular expertise and skill set, with businesses ranging from banking and investments to real estate and restaurants. Whether you are in need of military precision or a hospitality tradition, this team has it covered.

Ten dedicated members returned for another year’s service alongside newbie Brant Sarber of Costa Azul and Island Pasta. Brant perfectly aligns with the Chamber’s mission to “Help businesses succeed so that our community prospers.” The originator of this message is the Chamber’s very own George Clooney, aka Dean K. Eckenroth, Jr., who was being honored this day for his service as Chairman from 2018-2020.

Chamber Executive Director Sue Gillingham praised Dean for his exceptional contribution, noting how involved he has been in the day-to-day running of the Chamber, always on hand to discuss pertinent topics and offer island-specific strategies. She also noted that, as Editor of the Eagle & Journal newspaper, Dean has been key in keeping the Chamber’s positive message front and center in the community. “I can’t say how appreciative I am for this gift to the Chamber.”

Coronado’s City Clerk Jennifer Ekblad then stepped to the fore to read the City’s proclamation, acknowledging Dean’s strong leadership and how he has “helped promote economic vitality and strength in Coronado, as well as being a leading public policy advocate for the business community, most notably during the Covid 19 pandemic.” She concluded by proclaiming the 12th day of August 2020 Dean K. Eckenroth, Jr. Day, to much applause.

In response Dean recalled how, 26 years ago, he was in the audience, looking on as his father was recognized for having served as President of the Chamber. “Service to the community is something I grew up watching my parents take pride in, and I can’t emphasize enough the need for all of us to follow that example of giving back. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to be of service to Coronado, especially in such challenging times.”

“I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to recognize the hard work of the Chamber staff members,” Dean continued. “As Board Members, we are as much keepers of tradition, as we are the leaders of the present and designers of the future. But, it falls on the staff to make good on every crazy idea we come up with. Over the last five years on the Chamber Board I’ve had the pleasure of working with some very special staff members. This year, while operating in such a pressure-filled environment, the hard work, enthusiasm and get-it-done attitude of Rena Clancy, Belinda Jones and Sue Gillingham has been a remarkable sight to behold and something I will always be humbled to have been a part of.”

Now the spotlight is on his successor, Claudia Ludlow, General Manager of the Glorietta Bay Inn. The new Chamber Chairwoman sported a burnt orange top to show her support for Orange Avenue and is raring to go in her new role. “I could not be more proud. The unity of the Board will be essential this year, making sure we are supporting each other in new ideas, promoting our businesses and supporting local growth.”

If this was a movie scene, the board members would conclude the ceremony by stepping aboard their gleaming yachts and sailing into a Glorietta Bay sunset. But here on Coronado Island every day is like a movie and every board member knows there is work to be done to keep this magical island thriving. As Sue Gillingham concludes, “We enter this new fiscal year ever more committed to championing our Coronado businesses, always Loyal to Local.”

Looking for ways to stay Loyal to Local? Visit and find your new favorite restaurant, store, activity or indulgence.

Claudia’s Eleven: New Chamber Chairwoman Claudia Ludlow joins Executive Director Sue Gillingham to welcome the Coronado Chamber of Commerce board members for 2020.

L-R: Dean K. Eckenroth, Jr., Mike Woiwode, Sue Gillingham, Suzanne Frontz, Hayley Beard, Brant Sarber and Claudia Ludlow.

Absent but also on the board are Brian Barreto of California America Water, Fred Eckert of Chicago Title, Dave Sweeney of Buckeye Investments, Marco Topete of EDCO and Berenice Zamaro of CalPrivate Bank.

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