Love Catalina Island Celebrates Industry Leadership at Annual Meeting

Tourism Authority Announces Award Winners and Board Transitions


As one fiscal year ends and another begins and with summer travel upon us, Love Catalina Island, the official Catalina Island Tourism Authority, is excited to share information on tourism industry leadership and outstanding efforts made by businesses and members of the community.  Love Catalina held its 74th Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers & Directors on Jul 20, 2023 at FLX Biergarten in Avalon.  An Awards Ceremony was part of the annual event.


Harvey Cowell Business of the Year Winner, Pancake Cottage

The Harvey Cowell Business of the Year Award is given each year in honor of Harvey Cowell, one of 15 visionary businessmen who, on June 2, 1949, founded the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, now known as Love Catalina Island, the Catalina Island Tourism Authority. Harvey Cowell, the proprietor of Island Pharmacy and a prominent leader of the Catalina Island business community, served as an Avalon City Council Member and Mayor, remaining active in the community until his death at the age of 98 in 2011. The Harvey Cowell Business of the Year Award was established to recognize an extraordinary contribution by a business to the furtherance of tourism in/to Avalon and Catalina Island.

Nominees for the award this year included:

  • Catalina Adventure Sailing
  • Catalina Backcountry
  • Catalina Island Mermaids
  • The Pancake Cottage

The Pancake Cottage was nominated by retired local Judy Grear, citing the “outstanding customer service and generous attitude with visitors and locals alike.”

Care For Catalina, Sustainable Tourism Award Winner, Catalina Divers Supply

The Care For Catalina Sustainable Tourism Award is given in acknowledgment of outstanding efforts made by a business or organization in support of sustainable tourism on Catalina Island. Care For Catalina initiatives were adopted by the Catalina Island Tourism Authority in 2019. The Sustainable Tourism Business of the Year Award was established to recognize an extraordinary contribution by a business to the furtherance of sustainable tourism in/to Avalon and Catalina Island.

Nominees for this year's award included:

  • Avalon Rotary
  • Catalina Express
  • Catalina Divers Supply
  • Scuba By Design

Catalina Divers Supply received multiple nominations for successfully managing the Avalon Harbor Underwater Clean-up.

President’s and Chair’s Awards

When a business or individual does something supporting tourism and commerce that would not otherwise be obvious to the larger community, the President & CEO may award them in thanks.  This year’s winners were locals, Mary Boyd and Tim McDowell, aka the Raffle Ticket Team, who have raised thousands of dollars to support the Catalina Island Concert Series. 

This year, the Chair’s Award was made for an individual who has demonstrated outstanding support of tourism, the community, and nonprofits through generous gifts of time, talent and resources.  According to outgoing Chair Bryce Noll, “Nicole Hohenstein serves on the board of multiple nonprofits, supports community events both personally and professionally, and volunteers multiple times a year to raise funds for Avalon Rotary.  She is extremely deserving of the award.”

Officers & DIrectors

Officers for the fiscal year that ended June 30 were acknowledged with certificates from Love Catalina Island and Assemblymember Lowenthal’s office.  Bryce Noll completed his term as Chair and will transition to Past Chair for 2023-24.  Tim Kielpinski completed his term as Past Chair and will continue to serve on the board in a non-executive capacity.  Amanda Bombard completed her term as Chair-Elect, and will now become the Chair for 2023-24.  Dave Stevenson will join the Executive Committee as Chair-Elect for 2023-24.  Gail Fornasiere and Ben Villalobos will serve another term as Marketing Chair and Treasurer, respectively, during the 2023-24 fiscal year. 

Board Member Michael Ponce completed his second term on the board, previously serving as Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair.  The seat vacated by Ponce’s exit is being filled by Elaina Garcia.  A previously vacated seat was filled mid-term by Cinde MacGugen-Cassidy, who will remain on the board in that seat for a new term.

Bombard told the audience of over 70 local business and community leaders that she “looks forward to an exciting year ahead in her new role.” 

Annual Report

Love Catalina Island’s 2022-23 Annual Report was distributed at the event and will be mailed to all members and government officials.  The report highlights the year’s marketing programs, budget and expenditures, tourism industry event attendance, public relations, and various measures on visitor engagements, events by Love Catalina, and the Care for Catalina programs.

To see the Annual Report or for more information about Catalina Island, please visit

About Love Catalina Island:

Love Catalina Island Tourism Authority is the Island's official visitor information source. Originally founded in 1949, the nonprofit comprises approximately 230 member organizations, working closely with city officials, local businesses, and the community to attract visitors and support the local economy. Love Catalina Island is governed by an elected board of directors and is partly funded through the collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes. For more information, please visit Travelers can also join the conversation on Facebook ( Instagram (@LoveCatalinaIsland), and Twitter (@LoveCatalina_).