President’s Message, February 2019

Scott Tuffnell has been named the El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce 2018 Citizen of the Year.  Here is his acceptance address: I am humbled at being named Citizen of the Year.  Past Honorees have been people who were in charge of a special project, or those who had a lifetime of service to the community. Occasionally they were someone who participated for several years in one of our community service groups, and I suppose I fall into that last category.

What I know is that I did not earn this distinction on my efforts alone.  I was very happy to have my family join me at the Awards dinner last month.  The award belongs in part to them, as they have supported my activities within the chamber.  My wife Jenny, daughter Laura and her husband Spenser and my dad, Robert Tuffnell have all helped me have the time to spend on community projects.  Thank you, guys.

I also have been supported by my peers and colleagues at work, and I’m grateful to have Mike and Renee Rowland, and Diane Cockrell there as well.  They have all supported the Chamber of Commerce for many years, and as you heard earlier, they were an early inspiration to my community service to both the Chamber and the Boys and Girls Club.

I had the support of a great Board of Directors this past year. Together we completed a few projects and began work on others.  We finally revamped our website and newsletter, thanks especially to our Editor, Martha Booz, with the assistance of new board member, Lauren Hanley, and the input of the other members of the board.  I recently discovered the remarks I prepared in 2005 when I was first elected President, and I had proposed redoing our website back then.  Thank you all for your patience in getting that project completed!

We produced another great stroll this past year.  Many thanks to Stroll Boss Bob Davis who directed the Stroll Committee for the last how many years, Bob?  Bob is also our treasurer, so he has shouldered two heavy duty positions on the board for quite a while.  Thank you so much, Bob, for your leadership with the Stroll, arguably El Sobrante’s premiere event.

New Stroll Director Tom Lang has stepped up to take on the Stroll for the next 25 years, thank you, Tom.

We began the process of installing new Welcome to El Sobrante signs.  Originally an idea brought to the board by Maurice, the project developed into an Eagle Scout project.  Unfortunately, the scout had to move on because of the time it took to maneuver through bureaucracy of securing permission to locate and build more permanent pillars welcoming visitors and returning residents to our town.  We will pick this project up this year and my hope is to have them built and maybe even completed by our 26th Annual Stroll. Thank you, Maurice, I look forward to your input as we move forward with your proposal.

We continue to publish our Business Directory, and distribute it to residents, businesses and new members.  Thank you, Marie and Judy, for continuing this publication.  We also have an online version; check it out at

We accomplished these and other projects and events because of the incredible energy and enthusiasm of the members of the Chamber and leadership of the Board.  We are one of the few remaining “smaller” Chambers in the region.  Other Chambers have either dissolved or joined forces to accomplish what we do every day, serve our community.  We do it as volunteers, all of us giving our time, talent and energy to make El Sobrante a great place to live, work or run a business.  I cannot thank enough the members of the 2018 board for the time you have given to our community.

I am excited to welcome three new members to the board for 2019.   Karla, Lauren and Tom, we all welcome you, and thank you in advance for the time you are prepared to give this community in the coming year.

Thank you to every one of you who donates time, talent or treasure or supports a loved one who does; that makes El Sobrante the best kept secret in the Bay Area.

Scott Tuffnell