Hoag Irvine receives top business award

IRVINE — Less than a year after Hoag Hospital opened a branch in Irvine, civic leaders here on Thursday named it the 2010 Business of the Year award.

About 500 people attended a morning ceremony hosted by the city and the Irvine Chamber of Commerce at the Hilton hotel.

Robert Braithwaite, Hoag Irvine's chief administrative officer, accepted the award presented by Mayor Sukhee Kang.

Braithwaite told the crowd he was "surprised and honored … largely because we're one of the newest corporate members of the community."

Hoag Irvine opened in September after staff members hosted 83 meetings with Irvine residents to discuss designs and plans for the hospital, Braithwaite said.

The new 154-bed hospital replaced the old Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center. It brought 900 jobs to Irvine, 60% of which were new hires rather than staff transfers from Hoag in Newport Beach. Hoag's Irvine campus was designed with cultural features reflecting that city's strong Asian-American influence.

"We've tried to be very generous in our involvement with the community and giving back to the city in a way to be thoroughly worthy of this award," Braithwaite said.

The award shows that the hospital is moving in the right direction, he said.

"When we opened, we said that we would define success when the community accepted the hospital as its own hospital," Braithwaite said.

After presenting the award to Hoag Irvine, the mayor gave his annual address to the business community.

Kang pointed to last year's 14.1% increase in revenue generated by city sales tax and 19.5% generated by hotel tax as proof that Irvine has moved from "recession-ready to recovery-ready."

Kang attributed the city's success to high-quality education available through the city's public school system, its standing as one of America's safest cities (according to the FBI statistics), environmental consciousness and population diversity.

"We are a city of unity," Kang said. "All these efforts reflect the heart of Irvine."

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