Danville Area Chamber of Commerce Announces 2022 Community Awards Recipients

March 8, 2022

Today, the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce announced its 2022 Community Awards recipients, who will be recognized at our Annual State of the Town and Community Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at 11:30 AM at Crow Canyon Country Club. 

“We are honored to recognize business and non-profit leaders in our community who have excelled in many ways in making the Danville area the outstanding community it is to live, work and play. We invite the community to join us for our Annual State of the Town and Community Awards Luncheon, to recognize those who do so much to keep our community vibrant and strong,” said Judy Lloyd, President & CEO of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Citizen of the Year – David Miller 

David Miller is the founder of the “Hot Summer Nights” (now “Hot Summer Sundays”) Car Show is an annual event in Danville since 1994 that started to stimulate business in historic downtown Danville. The show is now in its 26th year. 

Re-named and repurposed as the “Hot Summer Sunday Car Show”, the event was originally created to stimulate the economy for downtown local businesses. It has now grown into a major family friendly community event, drawing more than 15,000 visitor per day from all over the Northern California area. More than 400 Collector cars are on display for the community’s viewing pleasure. This year’s Hot Summer Sundays Car Show takes place on July 17, 2022, and August 21, 2022. 

Business of the Year – Face Reality Skincare 

Face Reality was founded in 2005 in San Leandro, CA as an esthetician clinic, specializing in the treatment of acne. Founders Laura Cooksey and Patrick Romani, who still own the company, had a vision to become the #1 acne clinic in the United States by providing customized acne products and education for every client. They soon found that this customized approach resulted in successfully getting more than 90% of clients clear. 

Since moving the corporate headquarters to Danville in early 2021, Face Reality has a demonstrated commitment to the growth of local jobs in the area, having more than doubled the number of employees from 18 to 40 people. The clinic supports clients living all over the Bay Area. Face Reality’s primary business is now partnering with more than 2,500 estheticians around the United States. That unique approach—partnering with estheticians, and the highly effective results—is really paying off. 

Jeremy Soine, CEO, stated “While we’re very proud of our own clinic, our #1 company focus is supporting our partner estheticians, five of whom are Danville businesses. They’re the reason we’re able to continue growing and succeeding.” 

Face Reality has taken an innovative approach to professional skincare, particularly after COVID began, developing technology allowing estheticians to place individual orders for their customers and helped train them to clear acne clients remotely through video calls. While remote appointments don’t allow for those impactful in-person treatments, this innovation helped many of those businesses to survive and grow. 

They also introduced a unique app, recognizing that newer estheticians don’t yet have that treatment room experience that eventually builds their confidence. The app, called Acne Assist, uses a proprietary algorithm to help estheticians provide just the right product regimen for their clients—from right within the treatment room. 

Business Person of the Year – Darren Matte 

Darren Matte started his career working as a Finance Manager for Procter & Gamble. He moved to San Francisco in 2004 and has since been involved in two start-ups and four restaurants. 

In July 2016, Matte opened Danville Harvest in downtown Danville’s historic Eddy House. Danville Harvest has quickly become a neighborhood favorite and received numerous accolades including “Best Farm to Table Restaurant” from Diablo Magazine. 

In January 2019, Matte opened Cocina Hermanas in downtown Danville, bringing quality Mexican cuisine with a fun atmosphere. Cocina Hermanas has been recognized among the “10 best new Bay Area restaurants for outdoor dining”. 

Non-Profit of the Year – Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area 

The Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area (DSCBA) is thriving in its 24th year thanks to a passionate and dedicated staff and a very generous community. The organization continues to grow with satellite locations throughout the entire Bay Area. On average the DSCBA welcomes 40 beautiful babies a year and all who love them into their family. 

The DSCBA not only supports their members. They serve the greater community through partnerships with Bay Area hospitals, school districts and the mental health community. The DSCBA provides training and support so new families receive accurate information from medical professionals, students get an individualized strength-based education, and their members have access to quality mental health services. 

Employee of the Year – Gayle Israel 

Gayle Israel has been Chief of Staff to Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen since 2013. She has been a member of the Red Cross Contra Costa Leadership Council since 2017 and has served on the Board of Directors of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation from 2018 to 2021. 

Gayle is a proud graduate of the Leadership San Ramon Valley Class of 2013, and a recipient of the Congressional Award Gold Medal, which recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in America’s youth. She is currently mentoring young people in Danville who hope to achieve this prestigious award. 

Ambassador of the Year – Maria Cooper 

Maria Cooper has been capturing stories through video for over 12 years in the Northern California region. She is the Founder & CEO of Above and Beyond Productions whose mission is to provide clients with quality cinematography, creating memories for a lifetime. Whether a client needs help presenting to a large virtual meeting/workshop/conference, celebrating a special event, small business commercials, or is getting married, Above and Beyond Productions can provide clients with exactly what they need. 

Maria, who serves as a Chamber Ambassador, has been producing video content, promotional clips, full-length programs, and facilitating virtual meetings for the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce, all of which are available on the Chamber’s YouTube channel. Among her successes is the celebrated production of the Chamber’s Simply the Best program, Celebrating Care and Compassion in our Community, recognizing first responders and hospital workers during the COVID-19 pandemic whose heroic deeds were captured on video.