Celebrating San Francisco’s Business Excellence

How We See ItLast night we announced the winners of the Chamber’s 2015 Excellence in Business – or ‘Ebbies’ – Awards at the 24th annual gala event. This year’s ceremony, presented by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was held at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square. If you weren’t among the 600 business and community leaders on-hand for the celebration, I thought I’d give you a snapshot of this year’s program and its winners.

As you know, the Ebbies was created almost a quarter century ago to honor the entrepreneurs, businesses and exemplary corporate citizens that exemplify the Bay Area’s spirit of innovation and to recognize these businesses for their vision and many contributions to our community.

This year we had an exceptionally strong field of deserving nominees in each award category. We even added new categories to this year’s program to better represent the diversity of today’s Bay Area businesses and the ways that they are enhancing our region. The Chamber salutes all of our 2015 Ebbies finalists.

Now, without further ado, the 2015 Ebbies go to . . .

  • The United Airlines Excellence in Business Award presented to SquareTrade, the SoMa-headquartered company that offers protection plans millions trust to protect their mobile devices, laptops and tablets, and other consumer electronics and appliances.

  • SFMade received the Kaiser Permanente Economic Development Award in recognition of the San Francisco-based nonprofit’s commitment to building and supporting a vibrant manufacturing sector in San Francisco.

  • The Innovation Through Technology Award sponsored by Comcast and Visa was bestowed upon Airbnb, the trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.

  • Sponsored by Recology and Wells Fargo, the Emerging Growth Award was given to Planet Labs to recognize them as the “art meets aerospace” company that furthers its mission to image the entire Earth every day, and provide universal access to that data.

  • The American Express Small Business Award was presented to Covet Boutique, the women’s jewelry, clothing, and accessories company. Founded in San Francisco just eight years ago, today the company offers its products and services at three separate locations.

  • The Building San Francisco Award, presented by Hathaway Dinwiddie, was given to the City of San Francisco, HOK, Mark Cavagnero Associates, and Charles Pankow Builders Ltd for the new Public Safety Campus located in Mission Bay. The facility hosts the San Francisco Police Headquarters, Southern District Police Station, Fire Station No. 4, and the Arson Task Force, and also meets the LEED Gold rating for sustainability.

  • The inaugural Bank of America Small Business Woman of the Year Award was presented to Bu Nygrens, co-owner and director of purchasing at Veritable Vegetable, the San Francisco-based company that distributes high quality, organic produce to independent cooperatives, retailers, restaurants, schools, corporate campuses and wholesalers.

  • This year the first-ever Step Up Excellence in Energy Award, presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, was bestowed upon The California Center, 345 California LP, in recognition of their commitment to their community’s energy reduction goals.

This year, we presented one special award to honor the exceptional economic impact that one Bay Area company has made on our city and region. After working closely with the San Francisco Center for Economic Development (SFCED), and after a highly competitive process, this company chose to make its home here in the Bay Area. We think their success proves that they made the right choice! We were pleased to present the first SFCED Economic Impact Award to San Francisco’s hometown airline, Virgin America.

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My personal thanks to all who made this event possible, and to all of the businesses, large and small, that embrace innovation and contribute so much to San Francisco and our region. Again, congratulations to all 2015 Ebbies finalists and winners!

ob Linscheid is the President & CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.