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Ahmad Jamal Butler and Chef Jillana Nadine Miller, owners of Miller Butler, this year’s Entrepreneurs of the Year. (photo: John Mattera Photography)

The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2024 Business Award recipients, and it is a list packed with businesses and individuals making a difference here in San Pedro. 

First up, Entrepreneurs of the Year: Miller Butler. Miller Butler is a grassroots mobile fresh pasta and woodfired pizza company based in San Pedro. They do mobile pizza pop-ups, cater events, and offer culinary classes around San Pedro. 

“Miller” is Chef Jillana Nadine Miller. She has worked as a private chef to the stars for legends like Mary J. Bilge, Rick Rubin, Kobe Bryant, and Rajon Rondo. “Butler” is Ahmad Jamal Butler, a gifted pizzaiolo and pasta maker. Together, they contribute to San Pedro at events, teaching pasta making in people’s homes, and recently, they spent the day at Willenberg Career and Transition Center, where they taught young adults with disabilities how to make fresh pizzas and explore careers in cooking (millerbutler.com).

Small Business of the Year: Sheikh/Impact is a firm that helps support nonprofits in fundraising, organizational development, and external relations. Led by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s newest commissioner, Amber Sheikh, their mission is to help community organizations do what they do best and achieve a lasting and meaningful impact. 

Sheikh/Impact has donated hundreds of hours to local nonprofits and has created workshops and events to help smaller organizations get started. The chamber also welcomes Tammy Kahn, Sheikh/Impact’s vice president of operations, to its board (sheikhimpact.com).

Nonprofit of the Year: Maria’s Closet. Founded by Ronna Luna and named after her mother, Maria’s Closet has helped hundreds of young ladies prepare for and enjoy their senior prom with confidence, grace, and pride (mariasclosets.org).

Business of the Year: Coastline Equity, a property management company with a heart. Real estate investing in Southern California can be very complicated, with property owners needing to maintain their investments, while tenants need consistent communication, swift resolution of issues, and to be treated fairly. They diligently maintain the property owner’s assets while ensuring consistent tenant satisfaction. 

Coastline Equity is also a huge proponent for more affordable housing opportunities by increasing the number of units available and, more importantly, educating property owners about the benefits of providing affordable and subsidized housing to folks in need. 

Owners Anthony and Lauren Luna are generous philanthropists and serve on boards throughout the community fighting homelessness and providing career opportunities to our youth (coastlineequity.net).

Community Business Impact Award: Mona Sutton & Leslie Jones for San Pedro Caring Proactive Residents Crew. These two spend countless hours beautifying San Pedro by calling in city services, contacting property owners about blighted properties, and rolling up their sleeves and coordinating volunteer cleanups. 

Their work has dramatically reduced the graffiti, litter, and blight in San Pedro, and their list of over 500 volunteers continues to make a difference in our community daily (facebook.com/sanpedrocpr).

Lastly, the Leadership Award goes to San Pedro native Mike Lansing for 30 years of dedication to uplifting the youth of our community. 

As leader of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, Lansing has grown the organization to serve over 14,000 youth annually at 24 sites. He is retiring at the end of this year, and many will never know the countless sacrifices and selfless dedication Lansing has delivered to our kids to provide first-generation college-bound opportunities to thousands of students. 

In addition, Lansing is leaving a lasting legacy that will also prepare thousands of career opportunities for students in all of the construction trades, along with arts and media creation, production, and jobs that inspire others (bgclaharbor.org). spt

Lee Williams

Lee Williams leads The Lee Williams Real Estate Group at REAL Broker and is a Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. He also serves on the board of directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the LA Harbor, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, Harbor Connects, and the San Pedro Education Foundation. He can be reached at lee@lamove.com.

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