Specifically, this award recognizes people who are trailblazers and have had a tremendous social and/or economic impact on the county; whose efforts in this vein will continue to positively affect Orange County for years to come; and who have done so, under the radar, without significant public recognition.
“Paul’s unwavering and long-lasting contributions to our community, specifically his enduring support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Southern California, are an inspiration to all of us here at The Waltos Group,” says Bob Waltos, managing partner of The Waltos Group. “Paul has served many years as a director and president of the chapter and has volunteered countless hours to help find a cure for this disease which affects more than 30,000 children each year. He has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars through numerous fundraising events including the recent Pipeline to a Cure with surf legends Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama serving as bridge to a new wave of supporters. Yet he remains humble and modest and devoted to his daughter, who has lived with the disease for all of her 22 years.”
Paul Motenko was born and raised in the Chicago area. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1976 with a degree in accounting. He then spent 17 years in public accounting with firms such as Peat Marwick and Kenneth Leventhal & Company. He was also a founding partner in the accounting firm Motenko, Bachtelle & Hennessy. In 1991, Paul left the public accounting profession to pursue a lifelong dream of being in the restaurant business. He has been involved with BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. since that time as co-CEO and currently as Co-Founder. BJ’s owns and operates 80 restaurants in 13 states.
Paul is also very involved with charitable activities. He serves as president of the Southern California Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, is an officer on the Advisory Board to Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, and is on the Board of Trustees of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. He also is a member of the Chapman University Business School’s Board of Counselors.