Gateway Holds Sway
Chamber Praises Insurance Firm
By Amanda Janis/Business Writer
Cathy Spencer, owner of Gateway Professional Insurance Services in Vacaville, talks about her company, which was named the 2006 Business of the Year by the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce. (Brad Zweerink/The Reporter)
Gateway Professional Insurance Services is the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce's business of the year. The company will be honored officially at the chamber's second annual black tie Director's Ball on April 1, along with Jerry's Painting and Network Solutions - the first recipients of a new "Above and Beyond" recognition award for local businesses.
Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Tatum, explained that the criteria to be considered for business of the year involves "three musts and four shoulds."
The business must be a chamber member, must not be a board member, and must be a significant community partner. Additionally, the business should be noted for outstanding customer or client service, should be known for charitable donations or volunteerism, should be involved in community events, and should have at least five years longevity.
Gateway Professional Insurance Services, he said, "has just been outstanding in its community and chamber involvement."
Owner Cathy Spencer, he noted, previously was honored as chamber ambassador of the year, and served on the board for eight years.
When asked how it felt to be named business of the year, Spencer replied, "we're excited," and then called out to her staff, "how do we feel?"
Five or six employees rushed around her office and echoed one another's sentiments: "We're proud!"
The team that appeared within seconds of her call, she said, is the strength behind her business. "I rely on these ladies, and most of them have been here many, many years. They're just great."
She added, "We all share it - we are business of the year."
Gateway Professional Insurance was born 22 years ago in Fairfield, Spencer explained. "The business grew from just me to myself plus nine others."
The firm began by selling homeowners insurance through one carrier, and over the years has expanded to selling nearly every type of insurance imaginable, and now also offers financial services and investment planning.
While Spencer is honored to have had her firm chosen as business of the year, she highlighted Vacaville's host of community-oriented businesses.
"There's so many people and companies that just give, give, give, give," she said, "and that's what it takes."
Amanda Janis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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