Vernon Chamber of Commerce Announces Recipients of Vernon Corporate Citizen of the Year Awards to be Held March 24, 2020

Created by Marisa Olguin |

Sweetener Products Company selected as Vernon Corporate Citizen and Ron Gustafson of Coast Packing Company as Vernon Citizen of the Year Award


VERNON, CA – Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of its first Vernon Citizen of the Year Awards, a corporate philanthropic event to highlight Vernon companies and special individuals for their industry leadership and long-standing commitment to local communities.


“We are thrilled to have two anchored Vernon companies, each with more than a 90-year record of business growth and innovation to be selected as our first honorees, both who exemplify the spirit of Vernon,” stated Douglas Williams, Vernon Chamber Chairman of the Board and CEO of Williams Data Management. 


The inaugural event will annually recognize prominent Vernon companies and special individuals for their exceptional growth within the city of Vernon, innovation in products, services & technology, industry leadership, and philanthropic commitment to community.



About the Vernon Citizen Honorees

Vernon Corporate Citizen of the Year - Sweetener Products Company ( is a prominent industry leader and innovator in sweetener storage and handling since 1923. Sweetener Products stores, handles and supplies sugar and other nutritive sweeteners, starches, salts, proteins, fiber, gums, pulse grains, and other specialty ingredients including Non-GMO and organic ingredients. Its SQF Level III warehouses, processing plants, truck fleet and rail-serviced locations enable Sweetener Products to efficiently serve nearly 1,000 customers throughout the Western United States ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to contract manufacturers to small business entrepreneurs that operate in the baking, beverage, confectionary, dairy, and food manufacturing industries.

Vernon Citizen of the Year – Ron Gustafson, President of Coast Packing Company ( – will be honored for his distinguished career as an innovator and leader in the meat processing industry, particularly for the technological advances and development of the Coast Packing plant that lead to tremendous business growth to become the number one supplier of animal fat shortenings in the Western United States. Gustafson represents the third in the line of four generations of leadership at Coast Packing Company. The privately held corporation started as a livestock and meat packing business in 1922, then transformed itself into a regional food-industry powerhouse over the years with its headquarters in the City of Vernon. Coast Packing sells to major manufacturers, distributors, retailers, smaller food service operations, leading bakeries and lesser concerns. The company participates actively in various ethnic markets – from Hispanic retail chains, with its VIVA brand, to various Asian specialty markets.

Vernon Food Industry Leaders Actively Partner with Local Charities                               Vernon Chamber’s philanthropic event will highlight prominent Vernon companies that have a long history in leadership, innovation, and have yet to be recognized for their extensive partnership with charities that continue to make a positive impact on local communities in the greater Vernon area.  A portion of the proceeds from the event will be given to the honoree’s select charities. The selected beneficiaries for 2020 are listed below:

Reading by 9Sweetener Products Company has made literacy a priority in its commitment to community. Reading by 9 is a highly recognized literacy program first started by Los Angeles Times and then adopted by Rio-Hondo Vernon Rotary to help local children achieve grade-level reading skills by age 9. A longstanding member of Rotary, Sweetener Products spearheads the literacy program to provide new books to thousands of children at local area schools.

Neighborhood Music School of Boyle Heights - Ron Gustafson serves on the board of the Neighborhood Music School which provides low-cost music lessons to develop musical talent in children who otherwise may not have the opportunity to be exposed to musical instruments or afford lessons.

North American Meat Institute Scholarship Foundation – As a founding board member, Ron Gustafson helped start a scholarship foundation in 1995 to support exceptional undergraduate students pursuing careers in animal, meat, food sciences and culinary arts.

The inaugural event will take place Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles.  Attendees interested in partnering with the Vernon Chamber in support of Vernon honorees and charities can contact Marisa Olguin, President / CEO at the Vernon Chamber of Commerce at 323.583.333

About Vernon Chamber of Commerce                                                                                  Vernon Chamber of Commerce is the voice for business and industries in the City of Vernon, California, one of the last manufacturing-based communities in the nation that offers a haven to employers in food processing, plastics, apparel design, and international trade and distribution. Tapatio Hot Sauce, F. Gavińa & Sons, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, Whole Foods Distribution, Amazon Fresh, Lineage Logistics Cold Storage, CR Laurence, Tadashi Apparel, Fashion Nova, Owens-Illinois, Red Chamber, and H&N Foods Intl. are notable companies operating in the City of Vernon.  The Chamber’s advocacy efforts reach across all levels of community including residents, commissions, government officials, and regulatory agencies to ensure Vernon retains its attractive location as a low-cost, streamlined-service community that caters to job-producing employers who collectively generate an $8.5 billion economic output which powers the region.

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