The Community Unites For A Triumphant 2023 State Of The City

Burbank Chamber of Commerce CEO Jamie Keyser Thomas speaks at this year's State of the City. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce held another successful State of the City Address & Luncheon at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Every year, Burbank government officials, businesspeople, and various community leaders appear at State of the City, where guests are offered information regarding the city’s most recent achievements and future developments. 

Burbank Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, City Councilmembers Zizette Mullins, Tamala Takahashi, and Nikki Perez were in attendance, as were Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Assemblymember Chris Holden, Burbank Unified School District Superintendent John Paramo, and representatives from Senator Caroline Menjivar’s and Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s offices. In total, there were about 620 visitors present. 

The sponsors for State of the City 2023 included the city of Burbank, Cusumano Real Estate Group, Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. Discovery, Ikea Burbank, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Gain Federal Credit Union, Comcast NBCUniversal, Hollywood Burbank Airport, Worthe Real Estate Group, and more. 

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The annual event kicked off with a welcome delivered by Burbank Chamber of Commerce CEO Jamie Keyser Thomas. As she greeted attendees, Keyser Thomas mentioned some standout initiatives that have been backed by the chamber, like the Downtown Burbank Cultural Market and the Chamber Excellence Awards. She then praised the work of the city of Burbank Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke and The Walt Disney Company Director of Community Engagement Joan McCarthy, both of whom are nearing retirement.

This was followed by an invocation from Covenant Church pastor Brooks Pipher. The John Burroughs High School mixed contemporary a cappella group Neo Chromatics took the stage to sing a riveting rendition of the national anthem, and a presentation of colors ceremony was performed by the U.S. Army color guard.

After a lunch break, Burbank Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Paul Herman carried out an update in which he discussed the 100-year anniversaries of Warner Bros. and Disney. Herman additionally highlighted some newly-opened Burbank small businesses: Petrossian Pharmacy, Three Sisters Coffee & Tea, and Cypher VR. 

“…Please know that the chamber will be there for you and for this community because who knows — 100 years from now we may be talking about Petrossian pharmacies, Three Sisters Coffee chain, or Cypher virtual reality as ubiquitously as we do Disney and Warner,” Herman said. 

Schultz provided a keynote address as he filled in for Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony. During his speech, Schultz named numerous local advancements that have been implemented over approximately the past year, such as the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center 44-bed ER department, the Parks and Recreation Department and Triumph Foundation wheelchair rugby program, increased housing options for residents, conservation initiatives of Burbank Water and Power, as well as the recurrent noteworthy response times of the Burbank Fire Department and Burbank Police Department.

“Folks, I’m very proud to share that the state of our city is strong,” Schultz said. “We are robust. We are resilient. Not only have we made remarkable strides amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I believe we’ve also set a solid foundation for this community’s enduring success well into the future. Whether it’s ensuring a high quality of life, delivering outstanding city services, maintaining reliable infrastructure, championing sustainability, or stimulating equitable economic growth, we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to each of these endeavors.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Keyser Thomas again spoke before audience members to finish out the ceremony. She extended her gratitude to the Burbank Chamber of Commerce team, city of Burbank Communications Manager Jonathan Jones, Public Information Specialist Mary Movsesyan, and current and former chamber board members and executive committee members Carmenita Helligar, Romik Hacobian, Gema Sanchez, Paul Herman, Dave Knight, and Kevin McCarney. 

Following the close of State of the City, the chamber CEO reflected on the gathering’s fulfillment of bringing a diverse range of Burbank business leaders together and celebrating their contributions to the area. 

“This year’s State of the City theme was UNITY, and that’s just what the Marriott’s packed ballroom represented – a tight-knit community inclusive of businesses of all shapes and sizes who create the vibrant mosaic of our remarkable city,” Keyser Thomas said in a statement.

She went on to note how Burbank’s standing as a media hub plays a part in its economy before detailing the elements that have shaped the city’s flourishing business world. 

“Burbank stands out as a unique city. Notably, it’s known as the ‘Media Capital of the World,’ home to major entertainment companies and studios. The media presence significantly shapes the city’s identity and economic landscape,” Keyser Thomas said. “The business community’s success is due in large part to the strong integration of city services, healthcare, schools, tourism (including restaurants and retail), as well as our nonprofits. Together, we form a robust supply chain that supports the local economy. The synergy between various sectors makes Burbank an exceptional place for professionals and businesses to flourish. This operational structure helps create the backbone that makes Burbank a wonderful place to live, work, and thrive!”

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