Tech businesses aren’t only players in San Francisco’s thriving economy

San Francisco’s tech sector received a lot of attention last month — and for good reason. California announced the expansion of The City’s Innovation Hub (iHub) in Mission Bay to include the entire city and county of San Francisco. Mayor Ed Lee declared October to be Innovation Month to spotlight local tech companies. And leading technology firms, such as Square Inc., announced plans for expansion in our city.

San Francisco is fortunate to have a booming tech industry that now boasts more than 1,850 companies. But a healthy economy also depends on a diverse economy that includes a wide range of industries and businesses employing workers of all backgrounds, professions and skill levels. It is important that we recognize the many other industries and businesses that help contribute to San Francisco’s economic vitality.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce did just that at its recent Excellence in Business Awards. During our 21st annual awards gala, we honored eight leading businesses for their accomplishments and contributions to San Francisco. Nearly 800 business leaders came together to celebrate this year’s honorees and rally for continued economic growth in our city.

This year’s award recipients exemplify the leadership and dedication of so many of our local businesses. The evening’s highest honor — the United Airlines Excellence in Business Award — was bestowed upon leading asset manager BlackRock for its tremendous growth and success.

We also recognized the Exploratorium for its soon-to-be-opened waterfront location and the Central Market Partnership for its important role in helping to revitalize the long-blighted mid-Market Street area.

The chamber honored fast-growing companies GoPago, Gumas Advertising and One Kings Lane for their business success. We awarded the Bain & Company Change Leader Award to Josh Golomb, the president and general manager of DaVita Rx, for his vision and his business acumen. And we recognized employee-owned Recology for its continued commitment to our community and loyalty to local small businesses.

Economic success cannot be measured by a single sector or industry. The 2012 Excellence in Business Awards winners — and many other businesses like them — are the collective engine fueling our economy and keeping our city strong.

San Francisco’s private sector employs more than 400,000 people and generates more than $1.4 billion in revenues to support vital city services each year. In addition to fueling our economy, The City’s top corporate philanthropists give more than $100 million to charities annually.

With Innovation Month and the World Series-winning Giants’ #OrangeOctober now behind us, the Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate this year’s award winners and salute San Francisco businesses for their commitment and contributions that are keeping us all giant.

A complete list of the 2012 award winners is available at the chamber’s website, www.sfchamber.com.

Steve Falk is the president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

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