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Business Journal Celebrates Family-Owned Businesses

Nearly 300 members of the Orange County business community attended the 22nd annual Family-Owned Business Awards ceremony on August 26.

It was the Business Journal’s first in-person event in 18 months.

The ceremony, held at the Irvine Marriott, celebrates OC-based family-owned firms who have made noticeable community contributions and business accomplishments.

The keynote address was delivered by Olen Properties Corp. founder and President Igor Olenicoff, and his daughter Natalia Ostensen, who serves as executive vice president for the Newport Beach real estate developer and investor.

“The American dream is alive and well,” said Olenicoff, whose firm counts a commercial real estate portfolio of 7.5 million square feet, and an apartment portfolio topping 17,000 units.

Olen is among the largest privately held commercial real estate firms in the country.

Olenicoff recounted his family’s perilous move from what’s now Iran to the U.S. in his early years, eventually settling in Los Angeles, and how after working for several other firms he decided to strike out on his own, with a focus on real estate in Southern California.

“The pot of gold is right here,” he said of the area’s real estate.

5 Honorees

The event’s five honorees, selected from 54 nominees, were:

• Blue Buoy Swim School in Tustin, for the Small Business category.

• Thermal-Vac Technology Inc., an Orange-based technology services provider, for the Medium Business category.

• West Coast Arborist Inc., a tree maintenance and management servicer in Anaheim, for the Large Business category.

• McClain Cellars, an Irvine-based winery, for Up-and-Coming company.

• Tait & Associates, a civil engineering and architecture firm in Santa Ana, for Longevity.

The five winners will be profiled in the Sept. 6 print edition of the Business Journal.

The Business Journal’s next event is the Innovator of the Year Awards, which will be held Sept. 9.

E-commerce entrepreneur and exec Neel Grover will be that event’s keynote speaker. 

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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