El Centro’s Imagine Award Ceremony Recognizes Top Businesses

Celia Herrerra, founder of Celia's Restaurant, giving an acceptance speech after receiving a 2016 Imagine Award for her business.
Celia Herrera, founder of Celia’s Restaurant, gives an acceptance speech after receiving a 2016 Imagine Award for her business on Thursday night.

EL CENTRO — The 2016 Imagine Awards ceremony was held on Thursday at the Barcelona Event Center. It was a special evening that celebrated and recognized the business acumen and talent of seven outstanding businesses in El Centro.

“The goal of tonight’s event was to honor businesses in the city of El Centro,” explained Debora Harrold, coordinator of the event. “We have over 200 businesses here in the city, so this is the city’s way of saying thank you for doing business in the city of El Centro and adding to the community while creating jobs. It’s just our small way of saying thank you.”

“We have seven award winners,” said Harrold. “We offer them a table for them and their guests. We honor them and set up video interviews with them. It is a public nomination process. Anyone could nominate any business in the city of El Centro. There are seven categories: Innovator, Motivator, Architects of Change, Genius, Industrious, Noble, and Entrepreneur.  The winners’ names are kept confidential until tonight and only released through the video, so nobody knows.”

“Every year is a different event,” said Harrold. “We started in 2008 with our 100 year anniversary of the city’s incorporation and we’ve had it in different locations. We’ve had it in four different locations in nine years. This year and every year we have a different theme. This year is ‘Mission Possible: The Vision’, and we focused on the Vision 2050, which is the strategic plan that the city council, city staff, and members of the public put together last year. That is what we’re concentrating on tonight, looking towards the future and celebrating the present. Let’s make El Centro the best it could be.”

Each guest was given a decorative magnifying glass as part of this year’s event theme. The theme was carried on throughout the event, with each business explaining what makes their “mission possible”.

The evening began with a hosted wine reception. Afterwards, dinner was served and Mayor Jason Jackson hosted the awards presentation. Before each outstanding business was recognized, a video montage was shown displaying the growth of each business, and then business owners were called to the stage to receive their award and deliver an acceptance speech.

“We have 280 RSVPs, so we have a really good turnout,” Harrold said. “People really turned out. We have some elected officials here, and we have some people that don’t normally go to events like this. Every year is different and every year is just great. We have great sponsors, we couldn’t do this without our sponsors. They’re the ones who really make it possible, them and the city council.”

The seven businesses recognized this year were El Centro Health Mart Pharmacy, Credit Bureau of Imperial County, Spectrum Creative Services, Dr. Vishwa Kapoor, M.D., Celia’s Restaurant, Desert Trails RV Park and Golf Course, and Tacos de Pescado Marlyn.


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