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OC METRO celebrates the 2012 HOT 25

Hundreds gather at the newly expanded Island Hotel in Newport Beach to fete this year’s honorees

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: November 15, 2012

More than 500 of Orange County’s business elite convened at the Island Hotel last night to mingle, network and recognize the honorees of OC METRO’s 2012 class of the Hot 25. The event was the first to be held in the newly expanded area of the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, and had in fact been postponed due to the expansion.

Sipping wine, beer and champagne and enjoying small plates from the Island Hotel’s Executive Chef David Man, including mini chili bread bowls, Caesar salad, a grilled cheese sandwich bar, a fresh pasta bar, and assorted cake balls for dessert, attendees discussed the state of business in Orange County, the awards and economic news and events.

The Hot 25 is OC METRO’s annual November issue of Orange County’s most innovative and high-achieving executives and business people. Each year’s list chronicles a variety of successful and fresh new minds across a variety of industries, including media, technology, healthcare, design, manufacturing, automotive, tourism and entertainment, and transportation.

The program opened with the presentation of the Quiet Achiever Award, presented by Bob Waltos of The Waltos Group, Northwestern Mutual. The award spotlights those who, in a quieter way, are achieving as much or more as those in the November issue of OC METRO. The recipients of the award this year were the educators at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim.

Waltos was joined onstage by two of his children, Addison and Camille, who presented the awards to representatives of the Tiger Woods Foundation’s Education Center in Anaheim.

“At the end of the day [these honorees] really represent gracious leadership, that’s probably the best way to say it,” Waltos said. “The foundation believes that every child deserves a shot at education and they work with children from 5th to 12th grade. They launched the flagship center in Anaheim, which most of you are aware of, which is over 35,000 square feet, in 2006. Since that point in time, what most people don’t realize is that more than 40,000 students have come through that one-of-a-kind classroom.”

The Tiger Woods Foundation has recently realized strategies to expand across the U.S., with new facilities in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and Florida with more on board, Waltos added. “Once students are ready for college, the Earl Woods Scholarship Program then picks up, they open admissions counseling, they work with special mentors, internships, financial assistance, and help them. And what’s great about it is this year is the first year of graduates from college and they had twelve students that graduated from the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, and they went to schools like Georgetown, USC, Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard and Chapman.”

OC METRO Publisher and Churm Media CEO Steve Churm presented the HOT 25 awards to this year’s honorees, which included among their ranks a former California secretary of agriculture, the Disney vice president who spearheaded the $1.2 billion expansion of Disney California Adventure, and a research team in the ground-breaking field of stem cell treatments for spinal cord injuries.

Churm closed the program with a quote tailored to his high-achieving, ambitious audience. “Work like there’s no tomorrow and when you get there, feel damn lucky.”

Sponsors for the evening included Union Bank, Newport Lexus, Wells Fargo, Latisys, Wahoo’s, Disneyland, the Irvine Chamber and Concordia University Irvine. Event sponsors included the Island Hotel, Ripe Orange and DPS.

To view photos from the evening, visit the OC METRO Hot 25 Event page.