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RSVP : Mixing Business With Pleasure

January 16, 1995|BRIDGET BYRNE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Master of ceremonies Alex Trebek came up with a few spontaneous laughs and entertainer Maureen McGovern concluded the proceedings by singing "Our Love Is Here to Stay" with her Yorkshire terrier, Nick, seated on her lap.

Otherwise the agenda was strictly to the point and businesslike at the 1995 Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Ball on Friday evening.

"If, as many of you have been telling me, 'Jeopardy' is your favorite show and you never miss it, what are you doing here?" game-show host Trebek teased the crowd of more than 900 business and community leaders who gathered in the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom to install the chamber's incoming officers and to pay tribute to the petroleum industry.

They were doing what the chamber has done 107 times before--putting a party face on the process of keeping contacts alive and the community together, mingling and glad-handing during the cocktail hour and hosting friends and clients over dinner. This time it was cold poached salmon and cucumber salad, filet of beef with Boursin cheese, spinach wrapped in phyllo dough and a trio of desserts--cheesecake, cappuccino mousse and fruit tart.

Honorees and their wives were provided with white and gold boutonnieres and corsages by Trebek's wife Jean's floral company, the Flower Studio, which also designed the table centerpieces of white lilies and tulips accented with gold-painted dried flowers and ribbons.

"We'll turn this Friday the 13th into good luck," said Trebek, announcing that the people with birthdays closest to this traditionally unlucky date should take the centerpieces home. That set off a chorus of claims at every table.

Outgoing chamber chairman Thomas Lee handed over the gold medallion of office to Charles Reed, who spoke briefly of his goals for 1995 to the audience, which included chamber president Ray Remy with his wife, Sandra, ball chairman Ed Carson with his wife, Nadine, Lt. Gov. Gray Davis and local business representatives, including Rosemarie and Howard Mill, Kathryn and Frank Foster, and Joni and Leonard Soebbing.

A video presentation, "The Greatest Show on Earth Is Earth," highlighted the petroleum industry's involvement in the economic and cultural life of the community, stressing concerns for the environment and culture and the region's youth and educational institutions.

Then representatives of seven major companies were recognized onstage: Arco President William Rusnack, Chevron Vice Chairman James Sullivan, Mobil West Region Manager Joel Maness, Occidental Vice President for Human Resources Richard Hallock, Shell General Manager Mike Greer, Texaco Senior Vice President Les Amidei and Unocal Chairman Richard Stegemeier.

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