Bill Smittcamp, president and chief executive officer of Wawona Frozen Foods, was following in some big footsteps as he accepted the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Leon S. Peters award on Thursday.
The award recognizes an individual for accomplishments, leadership and commitment to the community. The award was started in 1984 and is named after Peters, a longtime businessman and pillar of the community. Earl Smittcamp, founder of Wawona Frozen Foods and Bill’s father, received the honor in 1993.
“It is a tremendously humbling experience for me and it’s an honor beyond words,” Smittcamp said during the chamber’s Valley Business Awards Luncheon. “It also means a lot to be able to follow in Dad’s footsteps.”
Along with running the nation’s largest frozen peach processor, Smittcamp serves as chairman of the board of trustees at Valley Children's Hospital and is on the boards of the CSU Fresno Foundation, Central Valley Community Bank, Garfield Water District and Fresno Food Expo Advisory Committee.
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Smittcamp thanked the chamber, the previous award winners, his family and the Wawona employees, several of whom were present at the luncheon.
“Without this team we could not do what we do in this community,” Smittcamp said.
The chamber also announced the winners in several other categories, including the High School Entrepreneur of the Year, Danhya Jimenez, for her anti-bullying app called Alleviate; College Entrepreneur of the Year, Natalie Martin, founder of the Painted Press, a company that makes ceramic jewelry bowls; Rising Star Award, Bitwise Industries; and Zinkin Entrepreneur of the Year, La Tapatia Tortilleria.
Leon S. Peters Award
Past recipients of the Peters award include: Stan Oken, Ray Steele Jr., Richard “Dick” Caglia, John E. Horstmann, Peter Mehas, Dr. Peter P. Peters, Joe Williams, Lou Herwaldt, Bill Jones, Sid Cox, Bud Richter, O. James Woodward III, Samuel Reeves, Octavia Diener, Robert Oliver, Frederick Ruiz, Anne Speake, Larry A. Shehadey, Claude Laval III, Robert Carter, Richard Johanson, James Hallowell, Lou Gentile, Earl Smittcamp, Helen Smades, William Lyles, Martin Nelson, Joe Levy, Frank Caglia, B. Franklin Knapp, James B. Mayer, Robert Duncan and Lewis B. Eaton.