Five Finalists Announced for Fernando Award

Jun 28, 2022


The Board of Directors of the Fernando Award Foundation is pleased to announce the five finalists for this year’s award honoring volunteer service in the San Fernando Valley. During the Annual Gala Awards Ceremony on September 9th, one of these nominees will be chosen for the award exemplifying outstanding service to the community. The five finalists are:

Steve Fazio, President & Owner, Fazio Cleaners and Laundry
Nominated by LAPD Valley Bureau Foundation and Rickey Gelb
Steve has been active since 1981 as a volunteer with more than 12 organizations spanning heath services, education, law enforcement and public policy organizations. He has served on the boards of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Sierra Canyon School and Providence Tarzana Foundation and has also served with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, California Reserve Peace Officers Association, Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, LAPD Valley Bureau Foundation, Los Angeles Fire Department and various other organizations. Additionally, Steve has served Valley residents for 40 years as an LAPD Reserve Officer.

Jane Skeeter, Founder & CEO, Ultraglas
Nominated by the Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley and Woodbury University
Since 2007, Jane has been active with 15 organizations serving on the board of directors of business, health, youth and education related services. Jane has served on the Pierce College Architecture and Engineering Community Advisory Board, the LA Mayor’s Community Forestry Advisory Committee for LA Council District #3, the board of directors for the Valley Green Team, the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, the West Hills Hospital Board of Trustees, Valley Economic Alliance, NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Los Angeles Chapter, Woodbury University’s School of Business Advisory Board and the Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley.

Kathleen Sterling, Publisher, Valley News Group
Nominated by Sherry Keowen and Gail Brow
Kathleen started volunteering at an early age and has been involved with many local organizations in the past several decades. Some of her many volunteer activities include the Valley Cultural Center, Heart Run and Walk, American Heart Association, Valley Women’s Center, Pacific Lodge Boy’s Home and Louisville High School. Through her group of newspapers, which she owns, Kathleen has supported many local non-profit organizations to get the word out about their work and their needs. By recording the news of the Valley, she finds many opportunities to help the community.

Kevin Tamaki, Tamaki Consulting
Nominated by VICA and Matthew Swearman
Kevin has been active serving business, youth and various non-profit organizations for decades, including chambers of commerce and New Directions for Youth. Kevin has taught English as a second language at Van Nuys Community Adult School and leadership and social responsibility at Woodbury University. He has served on non-profit boards such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles Chapter, the Valley Economic Alliance, Ability First, Asian Business Association, Los Angeles Chapter, Fernando Award Foundation, Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg’s San Fernando Valley Advisory Commission, Valley Leadership Institute and many more. Kevin continues his impact as chair emeritus of i.D.R.E.A.M. for Racial Health Equity.

Sharon Udkoff, Certified Public Accountant
Nominated by Los Angeles Jewish Home and Los Angeles Valley College
Sharon Udkoff has been engaged in community and business affairs for decades. Among the organizations she has been involved with are Los Angeles Valley College Foundation, Hillel 818, the Executives, Studio City Resident’s Association, Studio City Beautification Association and Save the Los Angeles River Open Space. As an engaged member of the Executives, an organization that aids the Los Angeles Jewish Home, Sharon has helped raise millions for the Jewish Home and at Los Angeles Valley College, has been instrumental in helping its Foundation grow from $400,000 in net assets to more than $8 million.

“It’s always challenging to identify the five finalists who will be this year’s Fernando Award recipient. However, this year was exceptionally challenging with 16 impressive nominees,” said Jason Schaff and Marian Jocz, selection committee co-chairs. “On behalf of the Fernando board of directors, we congratulate the five finalists and thank the members of the Finalist Selection Committee.” Other selection committee members were Fred Gaines, David Honda, Sarah Horvet, Vahid Khorsand, Darnell Tyler and Marcella Tyler.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of the selection process; every member of the committee feels the same way. The caliber and accomplishments of each nominee are both impressive and inspiring, and a true reflection of how fortunate the Valley is to have such passionate and selfless people, volunteering and leading by example,” said Sarah Horvet, of Galpin Motors and a member of this year’s finalist selection committee.

The five finalists were chosen from 16 nominations, one of the largest group of nominees the
organization has ever received. The other nominees are:

Maria Barron, nominated by Chrysalis and Christian Londono.
Michael Benedetto, Pinnacle Estate Properties. Nominated by Cheri Derohanian and Lori Kalman.
Victor Berrellez, US Bank. Nominated by Valley Community Healthcare and Linda Bessin.
Armida Colmenares-Stafford, Pacific Premier Bank. Nominated by United Chambers of Commerce and the Valley Economic Alliance.
Jeffrey Friedman, Dynamic Nursing. Nominated by Alzheimer’s Association and Susan Pomerantz.
Theresa Jackson, nominated by Hope of the Valley and Ken Craft.
Don Larson, Northridge Beautification Foundation. Nominated by California State University, Northridge and Independent Brokers & Agents in the San Fernando Valley.
Carol Loweree, nominated by North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and Nancy Cartwright.
Tammy Scher, Forgotten Treasurez. Nominated by Kiwanis Entertainment Industry Group and the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce.
David Tuckman, United States Department of Homeland Security. Nominated by Jeremy Sonenchein and Ali Tuckman.
Jessica Yasukochi, VICA. Nominated by Diana Sanchez and Stuart Waldman.