Two distinguished Greek-Americans were honored by Chapman University on October 6.
Ambassador George L. Argyros was awarded the highest award of distinction, the Bert C. Williams Lifetime Service Award at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards.
Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, president and CEO of Earth Friendly Products, was awarded the School and College Distinguished Alumni.
The honors are awarded to those who have achieved remarkable professional success and who have made significant contributions benefiting businesses, organizations and communities across the nation and around the globe.
“Being recognized on the same evening as the Ambassador was extra special since I’m a graduate of the Argyros School of Business and Economics,” noted Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks.
Ambassador Argyros served as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra from November 2001 to November 2004.
He is currently Chairman of Arnel & Affiliates, a prominent West Coast diversified Investment Company, with corporate offices located in Costa Mesa, California. He is also a General Partner in Westar Capital, a private investment company.
From 1981-1987, he was co-owner of AirCal, which was successfully sold to American Airlines in 1987; and from 1981-1989, he was owner of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club of the American League for nine full seasons.
Mr. Argyros was selected in 2005 as an Archon of the Mother Church of Constantinople, an esteemed honor in the Greek Orthodox Church, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle.
Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Pasadena, California, Ambassador Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in business and economics. He and his wife, Julia, have been married for 56 years and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Champion of corporate social responsibility
As president and CEO of Earth Friendly Products, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks oversees four manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and a global sales team. Vlahakis-Hanks has been internationally recognized for her highly effective leadership and influential voice in the green movement and in corporate social responsibility.
Vlahakis-Hanks has implemented sustainable operating practices that have made Earth Friendly Products (EFP) a model for green American business.
Under her leadership, EFP achieved the unprecedented “trifecta” of sustainable manufacturing: carbon neutrality, water neutrality, and Zero Waste Platinum certification at all four of its manufacturing facilities across the U.S.
As a primary manufacturer, EFP has received many awards for its innovations in safer green chemistry, including the U.S. EPA’s coveted Safer Choice Partner of the Year. EFP makes its plant-based products using 100% renewable energy and has reduced its waste by over 95% through recycling and reuse.
She has received many awards for her sustainable leadership, including Global Green’s 2016 Corporate Environmental Leadership Award and Green Building & Design magazine’s 2016 Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.
Also in 2016, she was named one of Orange Coast Magazine’s Remarkable Women and won the Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award.
She is an active member of several boards, including the Environmental Media Association and the American Sustainable Business Council, which awarded her its 2016 Sustainable Policymakers Award (SUSTY) for championing policies that help build a more sustainable economy.