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Longtime business, civic and athletics leader honored by Riverside City Council

Riverside business and civic leader Debbi Guthrie was presented with Riverside’s 2013 City Spirit Award on Tuesday (6/10) in recognition of her decades of work on behalf of city residents, including the last several in which she has brought world-class sporting events to Riverside.

Guthrie, a lifelong Riverside resident, was recognized for her extraordinary work and community spirit, good citizenship and dedication to enhancing the quality of life in Riverside.

“If you have spent any time in the civic life of Riverside, chances are you have crossed paths with Debbi Guthrie and came away the better for it,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “In business, in community affairs and through her community service, Debbi has been a major contributor to making Riverside what it is today. She is a kindred spirit who inspires our future.”

Guthrie is a long-time Riverside professional and civic leader, most recently as Senior Vice President of Raincross Hospitality Corporation, which manages the newly-renovated Riverside Convention Center, which re-opened earlier this year and already is bringing meeting and convention business back to downtown Riverside.

She also is Founder and Director of the Riverside Sports Commission, which has worked tirelessly with sports organizations locally and from around the world to bring world-class sporting events to Riverside. The recent 2014 FINA Women’s Intercontinental Water Polo Tournament at the Riverside Aquatics Complex included the defending Olympic Gold Medalists, the United States of America, as well as athletes from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Kazakhstan and Venezuela.

“This is much more of an honor than you may realize to me, to be recognized for the love I have for my city, the city that my mother and father had businesses in, that my grandmother and grandfather had businesses in, and that their mother and father had businesses in,” Guthrie said. “I am truly, truly honored to join the ranks of all these wonderful people who are here tonight and who also have been honored in this way.”

Guthrie previously retired from a 27-year career as the third-generation owner of a roofing company established in Riverside by her grandfather in 1921. Under her leadership from 1977-2004, the company grew to nearly $5 million in annual revenue with an average of 35 employees. As a result of her business acumen, Debbi was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year/Small Business by Ernst & Young; Inc. Magazine; and Merrill Lynch; and was recognized by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce with the “Small Business of the Year Eagle Award.” She is a former Citizen of the Year in 2011, as recognized by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

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