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Milpitas Chamber of Commerce recognizes winners at Awards Gala (PHOTOS)

Last Friday, September 22, at Milpitas’ Embassy Suites Hotel (901 E Calaveras Blvd.), the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce held its 2023 Awards Gala.

Most of the current lineup of Chamber Board Members was present to be formally sworn in by Milpitas Mayor Carmen Montano. They are: Jennifer Cullenbine (President), John Agg (Vice President), Kelly Yip-Chuan (Vice President), Armando Gomez (Corporate Secretary), Anu Nakka (Treasurer), Tim Alcorn, Larry Ciardella, Juliette Gomez, Francisco Hernandez, Casey McNeil, Sonia Medina-Ashby, Norma Morales, Chris Norwood, and Victor San Vicente.

Cullenbine and Hernandez gave opening remarks, with Hernandez on the mic throughout the evening to MC.

The 2023 award winners were: 


Citizens of the Year

Andy and Sharon Dyson


Police Officer of the Year

Tailor Goods, MPD 


Ambassador of the Year 

Kelly Yip-Chuan, Platinum Realty Group 


Corporate Citizen of the Year 

Casa Azteca 


Firefighter of the Year 

Kristen Cunningham, MFD 


Businessperson of the Year 

Debbie Koelbl, Nothing Bundt Cakes 


Non-Profit of the Year 

Spring Valley Fire Department 



Chamber Board Members about to get sworn in.


DJ Henry Nichols at the Chamber Gala.


Conversation before dinner is served.


The Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department wins Nonprofit of the Year.


Debbie Koelbl, owner of Milpitas’ Nothing Bundt Cakes, is named Businessperson of the Year.


Kristen Cunningham named Firefighter of the Year.


Sharon Dyson and Andy Dyson are named Citizens of the Year.


Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer & filmmaker. As a screenwriter, he’s won a Fade In Award and written numerous feature films in development by companies including WWE, Mandalay Sports Media, Game1, and Select Films. He is also the resident script doctor for Rebel Six Films (producers of A&E’s “Hoarders”). As a journalist, Eric’s won a California Journalism Award and is co-owner and editor of The Milpitas Beat, a Silicon Valley newspaper with tens of thousands of monthly readers that has won the Golden Quill Award as well as the John Swett Award for Media Excellence. As a filmmaker, Eric’s directed award-winning feature films that have premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and Shriekfest, and been endorsed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Eric’s apocalyptic novella “It’s Only Temporary” appears next to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” on Nightmare Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Horror Novels of All Time. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Rhoda, and their two sons.


  1. I have never seen such disappointing coverage of an event, especially for the Annual Milpitas Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala! With all the photographers and videographers taking individual and group shots of award recipients all night, you would think each winner’s photo would have accompanied their listed name in the article. And for Oh Henry being shown with a clipboard in his hand – why not a decent photo of him at his professional DJ set up? I just don’t understand the shoddy coverage for such an event for the Citizens honored as Milpitas “Recipients of the Year 2023” .


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