The Fresno Chamber of Commerce named Mathias “Matty” Matoian as the recipient of the 2019 Leon S. Peters award for his business leadership and charitable contributions at the Henry Madden Library on Friday.
Retired Fresno County Superior Court Judge Robert Oliver, a past recipient of the Leon S. Peters award, announced Matoian as this year’s recipient. Oliver said Maroian embodies the philanthropic and community-oriented spirit of the award’s namesake.
“The ‘OK [Produce] way’ is based on mutual prosperity, mutual respect, honesty, fairness and accountability. That I will suggest to you, was the legend of Leon Peters,” Oliver said. “That I will suggest to you, is the legend of the 2019 recipient, his mom and dad and his children.”
Matoian, who graduated from Fresno State in 1965, took over his parents’ business, OK Produce, in 1979. Later in 1986, he led the company through a large expansion to a new facility.
Under Matoian’s leadership the company grew to be one of the preeminent produce facilities in Central and Northern California.
Matoian’s sons, Chad and Brady, joined the company in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
Matoian retired from his position at OK Produce in 2008, but continues to give back to the Fresno Community. He has made contributions to many local organizations including Community Medical Centers, Children’s Hospital, Break the Barriers and the Poverello House.
Speaking to The Collegian, Matoian reflected on the value of developing and growing local roots. He said that when he attended Fresno State many of his friends who had come from out of town remained in Fresno after graduation.
“Fresno is such a great place to live. It’s getting better all the time,” Matoian told The Collegian. “Going to Fresno State, what I like is they take care of their graduates here in the Valley.”
The Leon S. Peters award is an annual award presented to an individual who demonstrates community and business leadership through public and personal service.
Past recipients of the award include Jim Pardini, Bill Smittcamp and Richard Caglia.