Paul Davis, a civically involved small-business owner, on Saturday won the Fernando Award, considered the top honor for volunteerism in the San Fernando Valley and one of the top such awards in the country.
The award was announced at a black-tie dinner event that was attended by several hundred civic leaders and their guests at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center at California State University – Northridge.
Davis has been active in civic affairs for 30 years. He began in 1986 when a high school friend introduced him to what is now the Greater Van Nuys Rotary Club, and Davis went on to hold every position in the club including president. Over the years, he has been involved with New Horizons, the nonprofit that helps special needs individuals work and live in the community; ONEgeneration, a nonprofit that helps children, seniors and families; and Valley Community Healthcare, a community clinic. He and his partner have been members of six chambers and he has taken leadership roles in three of them.
Davis, who runs Paul Davis and Alberta Bellisario Insurance Services of Northridge, said at the event that he presumes his insurance business could have been more successful if he had spent less time volunteering, but he said it is important to serve the community.
He was nominated by the Encino and Northridge chambers of commerce.
The other finalists for the award were David Adelman, a partner at law firm Greenberg & Bass; William C. Allen, chief executive of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.; Horace H. Heidt, president of Horace Heidt Agency and Horace Heidt Productions; and Jane Skeeter, founder and chief executive of UltraGlas Inc.
The master of ceremonies was Mickey Stevenson, a songwriter and producer who was instrumental in the early success of the Motown group of labels. A song and dance medley was performed from his latest project, “Les Gemmes.” Such entertainment was new this year for the award show.
The Fernando Award has been given every year beginning in 1959. Last year’s winner was Dale Surowitz, the chief executive of Providence Tarzana Hospital.