The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has installed its 2008-09 Board of Directors, with Paul Hortobagyi of Le Merigot hotel as chairman of the board.

New board members, including Brian Hepp of AG Edwards and Jeff Jarow of Par Commercial, were installed during a dinner at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica Thursday, June 5th.

Hortobagyi, a longtime member of Santa Monica’s hospitality community and board member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, will take over for Tom Larmore of HLM Law.

“We are excited to kick off the year under Paul Hortobagyi’s leadership, along with that of a very strong and active Board of Directors,” said chamber president/chief executive officer Laurel Rosen. “Each of our volunteer board members has been active in the community for many years and we look forward to the energy and commitment they will bring to the chamber.”

Under Larmore’s leadership, the chamber continued to increase communication between the business community and City Hall through the chamber’s new Business Roundtable and numerous advocacy efforts, chamber officials said.

The board played a vocal role this year in advocating for workforce housing, updating the city’s draft Land Use and Circulation Element, simplifying implementation of the city’s polystyrene and no-smoking bans, promoting sustainable business practices and bringing businesses and nonprofits together to discuss solutions to end homelessness, chamber officials said.

Also honored at the installation dinner were Richard Lawrence of First Private Bank and Trust for the Roy E. Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award, and UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital for the first-ever Bob Gabriel Community Service Business Award.

Chairman Awards were given to Megan Sheehy of Locanda del Lago; Michael Farzam of Ocean Avenue Management; Sharon O’Rourke of Sempre Utilities; Tish Starbuck of Saint John’s Health Center and Kevin McVearry, formerly of Rusty’s Surf Ranch.

Event sponsors also honored staff members who went “above and beyond” in 2007-08 as part of the event’s “Dedicated Employees Sustain Our Future” theme.