Ramella Markarian

Glendale Adventist Medical Centers Ramella Markarian was honored with an "Outstanding Non-Profit Employee" Award during the 13th Annual Women in Business Luncheon. (Courtesy photo / August 18, 2012)

For 13 years Women in Business commendations have been awarded to exceptional women from the local communities who are leaders and role models. On Friday at the Pasadena Hilton the awardees were recognized by the 21st Senate District and the 43rd and 44th Assembly Districts represented by State Senator Carol Liu and Assemblymembers Mike Gatto and Anthony Portantino, respectively.

Lunch followed updates given by the three legislators. Keynote speaker Nagin Cox of NASA/JPL then spoke on the technology that put NASA’s Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. Her remarks brought a standing ovation.

Then the 30 honorees were introduced. Two especially outstanding women from Glendale were Ramella Markarian, of Glendale Adventist Medical Center, and Lt. Lola Abrahamian, currently a police lieutenant at the Glendale Police Dept.

Markarian received an “Outstanding Nonprofit Employee award. She is the director of physician development at the hospital. Among her many accomplishments, Markarian is president of the Armenian American Medical Society’s Ladies Auxiliary, which established Glendale Healthy Women. That organization ensures that uninsured women receive free access to health education and mammograms.

Abrahamian was recognized with a “Women in Law” award. She oversees the Glendale Police Dept.’s Criminal Investigations Bureau. Her community volunteerism includes active membership in Soroptimist International of Glendale.

Portantino said that as of 2012, “there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 7.7 million people.”

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A Surfin’ Safari is the welcome replacement for the old Summer Night on the Plaza. And if you were looking for an eight-hour time frame in which to place your silent-auction bid instead of the usual two hours, you had your chance. On Thursday hundreds of silent-auction fans dropped by the Glendale Police Community Room on Isabel Street to look over a plethora of auction items and have lunch from the popular Kogi barbecue truck and Goodie Girls Cupcakery truck.

Proceeds from the auction and food trucks will benefit the programs of Glendale Clean and Beautiful, including graffiti removal, litter abatement and youth education.

Looking to win her favorite auction item was Glendale Police Dept. Officer Patricia Larrigan. She had her eye on a three-day/two-night getaway with the choice of a variety of resorts. Unfortunately, “I was outbid by one of our jailers,” said Larrigan. But Larrigan could also chose to bid on more auction items, including a laser tag party for 15 and a weekend of pet setting.

Just off his special state recognition for Traffic Safety Excellence was Glendale Police Motor Officer Bryan Duncan. Duncan has racked up close to 100 driving-under-the-influence-related arrests so far in 2012. But his visit to the Surfin’ Safari was more mundane. He came to bid and he came to eat. Already a winner, he wasn’t as lucky winning any auction items.

Neighborhood Services Program Supervisor Juan Gonzalez was on hand to make sure all was running smoothly. Gonzalez attributed the popularity of the event to social media outreach.

Neighborhood Services Program Specialist Philippe Eskandar was also effusive about the popularity of Surfin’ Safari. “It has exceeded our expectations. The food trucks were a nice flair,” he said. Eskandar said that the trucks donated up to 33% of their profits to the fundraiser.

Sam Engel, soon to retire as Neighborhood Services Administrator, was present, accompanied by his wife Kathryn Engel. She is the city’s transit manager. Both tucked into dinners from the Frysmith truck.

Expected proceeds from Surfin’ Safari are $5,000.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.