San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Receives 2023 Inland Empire “Business of the Year” Award

San Manuel 2023 Business of the Year
IEEP representatives presented the Business of the Year award to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena (second to left) and Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez (far right) accepted the award on behalf of the tribe.

HIGHLAND, CA – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians received the 2023 “Business of the Year” award from the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), recognizing the tribe as a leader in trailblazing economic growth for the community, while also producing significant benefits for the region and ensuring a brighter future for its residents.

The recognition was announced at the IEEP annual dinner held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Ontario on Jan. 12, 2023. The Board of Directors identified the tribe’s recent accomplishments in elevating the consumer experience in luxury and entertainment and the tribe’s outstanding corporate citizenship as the reason for attaining the award.  

In 2021, the tribe expanded their casino by adding a luxury resort and spa to the property, which elevated the amenities that attracts visitors to the region. In addition, in April of 2022, they added a state-of-the-art entertainment venue that has acts such as Kevin Hart, Adam Sandler, P!nk and other diverse performers ranging from country to Latin music. The casino also launched a new sports bar venue named after one of the region’s top area codes – The 909 Food Hall. 

Their growth led to employing over 3,000 new job seekers in the region offering competitive pay and benefits, growth opportunities, appreciation events and the casino has even launched a new employee dependent scholarship to extend benefits to their employee’s family members. Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena says one of the ways the tribe values the communities they serve is by providing opportunities for families to thrive where they work. 

“The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is deeply honored by the recognition as ‘Business of the Year’ from the Inland Empire Economic Partnership,” said Lynn Valbuena, San Manuel Chairwoman. “We are proud to be a partner with the IEEP and other private and community organizations who work tirelessly to facilitate growth and prosperity throughout the Inland Empire.”

The IEEP’s Board of Directors honors seven outstanding individuals, organizations, or businesses for their commitment to the Inland Empire. Each recipient is recognized during the IEEP annual dinner. This year’s list of honorees included:

  • Public Partner: San Bernardino County Sheriff Department
  • Educator of the Year: Rodolfo H. Torres, Vice Chancellor, University of California Riverside
  • Non-profit of the Year: Inland Southern California United Way
  • Chairman’s Award: Patty Senecal, WSPA
  • President’s Award: Kim Snyder, Prologis – for his leadership and support of the Southern California Logistics Summit
  • Larry Sharp Inland Empire Lifetime Leadership Award: Supervisor Janice Rutherford