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Sephos takes over as chamber president
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Manteca Ford dealer Phil Waterford receives the President’s Choice Award from Mayor Steve DeBrum for his service to the needy members of the community. - photo by GLEN KAHL /The Bulletin

Laurin Sephos was bursting with energy as she was installed the new Manteca Chamber of Commerce president.

She took over the chamber leadership Friday evening from Debbie Baglietto during the 95th annual installation and awards banquet conducted at the Manteca Senior Center. Baglietto held the office of president for the last two years. She oversees the Manteca branch of Oak Valley Community Bank. 

There were nearly 200 in attendance for a unique hamburger entrée built by the diners to their own delight – adding their favorites from mushrooms, onions and olives to a list of other choice ingredients.

“We’ve leveraged our location to become the crossroads and now we’re poised to become the valley’s top destination but we can’t afford to stop here,” Sephos said. “We’ve officially stepped into Manteca’s one hundred and first year as a city and we’re tasked with an exciting responsibility as business leaders to set the stage for the next 100 years.”

Sephos told her audience that a home is one of the last remaining handmade products that can be purchased. 

“Not only is a house built by less-than-perfect hands, but it is built outside in unpredictable weather conditions through the efforts of 32 different trade contractors. Building a home is the ultimate group project: you must have excellent communication, be able to troubleshoot on the spot and have the back of your fellow trade partners. Building a home is definitely a team sport,” she said comparing it to the successes of a business group such as her chamber of commerce she is leading for the next year. 

“I’m excited to harness the energy and ambition in this room to strengthen our business community,” Sephos stressed.  “Okay, enough talking. Let’s get to work!” she concluded.  

In the presentation of the Awards, the following were honored:

Tim Ogden, Manteca city manager receiving the Large Business of the Year Award on behalf of the City of Manteca.

Shawn Nussbaumer, J&J Printing, Board Member of the Year.

East Union Memorial Cemetery, Non-Profit of the Year.

Parminder Singh, Mabel Brocchini Community Service Award.

Gary Colby, past VFW commander, Gladys Brock Chamber Service Award.

Nancy Loewen, Chamber Ambassador of the Year.

Donna Shannon, Office Volunteer of the Year. 

Phil Waterford, President’s Choice Award.

Charlie Halford, Lifetime Achievement Award.

When Phil Waterford’s citation was announced he was welcomed with a standing ovation when he walked forward from his table in the middle of the room to receive his award at the podium.

The outgoing president Debbie Baglietto was presented a wall plaque for her year of service by Executive Director Joann Beattie and she will continue on the board in the traditional leadership role as the former president.  The new chamber leader, Laurin Sephos, represents Raymus Homes.

The first vice president being installed was Leo DeGroot of DeGroot Development and the second vice president is Nick Obligacion, former Manteca Police Chief.  

The board members include Lisa Blackman, secretary; Eddie Torres, treasurer; Shawn Nussbaumer, Steve Jessup, Christina Keefhaver, Ryan Harris, Toni Lundgren, Tony Montalbo and Jacob Naven.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email