Greater Irvine Chamber Receives Industry's Top Honors

Monday, February 11, 2019

Bryan Starr receives WACE executive of the year awardGreater Irvine Chamber President and CEO Bryan Starr has been named the 2019 Executive of the Year by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.). Starr was selected from CEOs throughout the Western United States and was formally recognized during the 2019 W.A.C.E. Conference in Anaheim in front of more than 500 attendees. Starr was honored for leading the Greater Irvine Chamber to achievements in membership attainment goals, economic development, staff empowerment, thought leadership, and positioning the organization as a leader in advancing economic vitality in greater Irvine.

Jessica Welch receives ACE Gerald W. Hathaway AwardGreater Irvine Chamber Vice President of Operations Jessica Welch, IOM, received the 2018 W.A.C.E. Gerald W. Hathaway Staff Person of the Year award, for contributions made to advance chamber goals and systems. She was nominated from among thousands of chamber staff members across the western states. Welch serves on the W.A.C.E Board of Directors and the W.A.C.E. Foundation, and chairs the organization’s Emerging Leaders Council.


The Chamber received a 2019 Outstanding Chamber Program Award for its economic development team’s Irvine Ready! foreign direct investment initiative. The Chamber also earned a Special Merit award for its IRVINE Uniquely Qualified video.

Sharing his expertise, Starr co-presented the breakout session “Beyond the Basics - Taking You and Your Chamber to the Next Level,” along with Eli Matthews of the Medford/Jackson County Chamber in Oregon. The session was moderated by Welch, who also co-presented “Executive Leadership - Governance, Board Management, Team Building,” with Lisa Kruger, ACE, of the Lake Havasu Area Chamber. Laura Perdew, director of communications at the Greater Irvine Chamber, co-presented “Communications Tips from Award Recipients,” along with Bethany Wiekamp of the Greater Riverside Chambers. 

Greater Irvine Chamber staff members also attending the 2019 W.A.C.E. Conference, Feb. 6 - 8 – continuing their professional development and bringing further expertise to the Chamber and greater Irvine – were Kaitlynn Irvine, events manager; Danielle Spellman, membership services manager; Anna Spitz, communications coordinator; and Tracy Yannotti, finance administrator.

For more information on the Greater Irvine Chamber, visit

Category: Chamber News, Business Achievement Awards, Breaking News