Sheryl Benoit to Accept Award from Supervisor Marion Ashley

The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce will honor the late Supervisor John J. Benoit with their Leadership (Legacy) Award at their Annual Board Installation and Business Award Gala on June 27th. The event will take place at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa beginning at 5:30 PM.

Born in Kankakee, Illinois, Benoit enjoyed a long career in public service. Benoit’s law enforcement career spanned thirty-one years including two with the Corona Police Department and twenty-nine with the California Highway Patrol. In 1999 Benoit was elected and served as a member of the Desert Sands Unified School Board until 2002. From 2002 to 2008, Benoit served in the California State Assembly. He then served in the California State Senate until his resignation on November 2009, to serve on the Riverside County, California Board of Supervisors. He served in that role from 2009 until his death in 2016.

“John Benoit has left a legacy of caring, commitment, and dedication that personifies our Leadership Award,” says Joshua Bonner, President and CEO of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce. “During his lifetime of public service, John enriched the lives of those he served, and those he loved. That is as fine a legacy as a man can leave for his community.”

The award will be presented by Riverside County Supervisor, 5th District, Marion Ashley, a long-time colleague of Benoit. Accepting the award will be Sheryl Benoit, John Benoit’s widow.

Developer Has Made Lasting Impact on Coachella Valley


The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce will also honor Alexander Haagen III with their Lifetime Achievement Award at their Annual Board Installation and Awards Ceremony June 27th. The event will take place at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Special Event Center beginning at 5:30 PM.

As an accomplished shopping center developer, businessman and real estate investor for many years, Mr. Haagen took notice of the potential the Coachella Valley held, particularly Indio, as an opportunity to expand his business. Consequentially, he began acquiring vacant land south of Highway 111 in 1984. His ultimate dream was to open a polo club. Just three short years later, that dream came true with the launching of Empire Polo Club. What began as a working polo operation evolved over the years into a major destination venue for corporate groups, sporting groups, weddings, art shows, dog shows, horse shows, festivals and concerts. “Mr. Haagen has had a profound impact on this valley,” says Indio Council Member Glenn Miller, the award presenter. “When you look at the events that are hosted annually at his property, he has not only put Indio on the international map, he has raised the visibility of the whole valley.”

The critically acclaimed Coachella Music & Arts Festival and the Stagecoach Country Music Festival are recognized worldwide and draw approximately one million festivalgoers to Indio and Empire over three weekends each April / May. No marketing campaign could begin to bring the national and worldwide tourism exposure to Indio and the Greater Coachella Valley that these events do. The events also enjoy coverage in prestigious publications such as Rolling Stone, NME, Vanity Fair, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Haagen worked closely with the executives of AEG Live and Goldenvoice to see these events to fruition. The 2018 events will mark the 19th time for Coachella and the 12th time for Stagecoach. Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Joshua Bonner says it is difficult to put in perspective Mr. Haagen’s impact with numbers alone. “Half-a-billion dollars in economic impact to our valley, that number is staggering. It is not a stretch to say that in some form, Mr. Haagen’s belief in our valley and subsequent investment has had a positive impact on practically every resident that calls the valley home.”

The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce will honor a total of nine recipients at the Annual Award Ceremony, including Non-Profit of the Year, Small Business of the Year, and more. For information about the event, or to reserve tickets, contact the chamber at 760.347.0676, or visit

CV Weekly is proud to announce that the GCVCC will be honoring us as “Small Business of the Year” at this event.