2023 Newport Chamber Honors – Citizen of the Year LAIRD HAYES and Business Person of the Year ROBERT OLSON


Date(s) - 10/27/2023
6:00 pm


Balboa Bay Resort
1221 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660
2023 Newport Chamber Honors - Citizen of the Year LAIRD HAYES and Business Person of the Year ROBERT OLSON


Laird Hayes

Laird was born October 3, 1949 in Santa Barbara, California and now lives in Newport Beach. He is supported by his wife, Maggie, and daughter Katie and son Andy. His grandchildren are Lily, Chloe and Jack.

He attended San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara where he played football, basketball and baseball. After, he attended Princeton University where he was a catcher on the baseball team and played freshman football. He went on to earn his Masters and Doctorate in Higher Education from UCLA.

At Orange Coast College, he has served as Assistant Dean, Student Affairs; Coast Community College District Director of Community Relations; Professor, Kinesiology and Athletics and Men’s Soccer and Surf Team Coach. He is part of the Emeritus Faculty still teaching Surfing and Ocean Safety.
He also worked at Quarterback and Receiver Camp, LLC serving California, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, Texas) from 1965-2016.

He retired from football in 2018 after 43 years on the field. His officiating career has spanned the decades.

As a NFL Game Official he was a Side Judge 125 from 1995 to 2017 and was appointed to the officiating staff in 1995 retiring in 2018 after 23 seasons including three Super Bowls: XXXVI (2002); XXXVIII (2004); and XLVI (2012); the 2011 AFC Championship game; two Pro Bowls in 2006 and 2015; and 15 wildcard and divisional playoff games.

Since 2020, he has served as an NFL Officials’ Scout where he scouts college and high school officials as prospective NFL game officials.

For College, he has officiated in the Pac-10 (1982-94); small college and community college (1978-1991). He also began officiating high school frosh/soph and junior varsity games in Orange County in 1976 followed by high school varsity games including three CIF Championships and numerous playoffs. He is also a Southeastern, Sun Belt and Southern Conference Film Grader since 2021. In addition, he officiated at high school and college basketball games from 1971 to 1985, umpired baseball for high school and college from 1976 to 1985.

His service to the Community is vast and diverse and can fill volumes.

He was the Newport Beach Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission – January 2014-2023; Newport Beach General Plan Citizens Advisory Committee – November 2022-Present and Newport Beach Police Department Volunteer in Policing – April 2015-present.

Since 2015, he has been a volunteer with the Newport Beach Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) He has served on the Newport Beach Water Quality and Coastal Tidelands Committee – 2012-2013 and was the Volunteer of the Year, Newport Beach Police Department Volunteer in Policing Program – April 2022.

His experience also includes…
• Newport Beach Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy – Fall 2014
• Newport Beach City Council Volunteer Proclamation – February 25, 2020
• Newport Beach Fire Department Fire Ops 101 – September 2018
• Covid-19 Vaccinator Support – Soka University and Orange County Fairground POD’s – Spring 2021
• Leadership Tomorrow Board of Directors 2016-2020
• Leadership Tomorrow Class of 2016
• Share Our Selves (SOS) Foundation Board 2016-2018
• Member, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
• Kingdom Justice Advisory Team, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church 2020
• Special Olympics Orange County Organizing Committee 2015
• Universal Life Ministries
• Mentor – Newport Harbor High School Junior Mentor Program
• Speaker, Santa Ana High School Career Day – 2017-2019
• PGA Golf Tournaments Volunteer Walking Scorer: Hoag Classic (2013-present) and Farmer’s and Genesis Open (2014-present)
• Assistant Editor, California Golf + Travel Magazine – 2020-present
• Orange County Football Officials Association Lifetime Achievement Award – June 2019
• City of Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame
• San Marcos High School Athletic Hall of Fame
• Founding Vice President, National Scholastic Surfing Association 1978
• City of Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame Honor Roll
• Eagle Scout, Santa Barbara CA 1964
• Member, Screen Actors Guild 1975-Present
• Los Angeles Olympic Games Organizing Committee 1982-84
• NAUI Certified SCUBA Diver – August 1970

Another amazing fact about Laird is that he has been to all 50 United States, as well as travel to Antarctica, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada, Caribbean (Cuba, Cayman Islands & Nassau), Central & South America, Easter Island, Galapagos, Israel, Mexico & Baja California and Baja Sur, Palestine, Qatar, South Africa, Western & Eastern Europe , Zimbabwe.

Robert D. Olson

Robert Olson is the founder of R.D. Olson Development, a Newport Beach, California-based firm engaged in the development of commercial properties nationwide with a specific focus on hotels and resorts. He established the company in 1997, following nearly 20 years as founder and CEO of R.D. Olson Construction.

Mr. Olson guides the strategic vision for R.D. Olson Development and the hotels he develops.  He works closely with his design and development team, providing the industry-leading vision for concepting, planning and entitlements, operating model, marketing, capital structures, budgeting, and constructability, all focusing on achieving guest satisfaction. R.D. Olson Development is recognized for its ability to identify and act on opportunities, delivering solid execution through all phases of entitlements, design, and development while maintaining focus on the business strategy and the bottom line.

Many of the firm’s hotel developments have occurred in the Western U.S. and Hawaii, though Mr. Olson has built projects nationwide. A specialist in developing hospitality properties, the firm is also experienced in the development of office, retail, multifamily, warehouse, and recreational projects. Mr. Olson’s longstanding experience as a builder has proven to be highly beneficial for development projects.

In Newport Beach, Mr. Olson headed up the development for securing the right to redevelop the old city hall into an award-winning hotel. Lido House Hotel has been recognized globally for its unique concept and guest satisfaction with the Autograph brand within the Marriott family of Brands.  This 130-room Nantucket-themed boutique hotel, mirroring Mr. Olson’s personal home on Balboa Island, features a rooftop lounge, spa, coffee shop, retail, and 5 individually designed beach cottages designed by 5 local interior designers.  The hotel has won many travel awards and is considered one of the best hotels in the Autograph brand.

RD Olson Development is recognized as the most active hotel builder in the Western US for the past 10 years.  In Orange County, CA, Mr. Olson has developed almost 2,000 rooms in 11 hotels. These include the Pasea Hotel and Spa, the Marriott at Spectrum with the Hive and Honey rooftop, the adjacent Marriott Courtyard, and the Renaissance Club Sport in Aliso Viejo. Mr. Olson’s company is also a 1/3 partner in the recreation of the Dana Point Harbor with Bellingham Financial and Burnham Ward Properties. RD Olson is responsible for creating two new hotels, the Dana House and Surf Lodge.  RD Olson Development is also planning a resort on its own land in Sedona, Arizona, and an industrial warehouse at the Maui Airport.

Robert Olson has been recognized as a business leader and entrepreneur on numerous occasions. He was selected as Marriott International’s “Developer of the Year” in 2017 and 2014, and was named the 2016 Robert Mondavi Wine & Food Award winner. He has also been the recipient of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award, Boy Scouts of America’s Good Scout Award, Construction Financial Management Association’s Construction Executive of the Year and the Orange County Business Journal’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship award. He was recognized as a 2012 Hotel Icon by Real Estate FORUM magazine and is a frequent speaker at leading industry events. Mr. Olson is an MBA graduate of the University of Southern California.

He is also affiliated with…

  • Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO)
  • Executive Board Member for Construction of Orange County Museum of the Arts since 2021
  • Augie’s Quest 2012 Founder’s Award
  • Laura’s House
  • Boys Scouts 2014 Real Estate Good Scout of the Year
  • Orange County Entrepreneur of the Year Award 1989
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee, American Red Cross OC Chapter

Past Newport Beach Citizens of the Year

Robert “Bob” Murphy

Harry Welch

Robert Callis

1952 Myford Irvine

O.W. “Dick” Richards

Dora O. Hill

Joseph A. Beek

Edward Milum, M.D.

J.L. “Les” Steffensen | James “Jim” Edwards

William “Bill” Spurgeon

David Nielsen, M.D.

Gerald Lynch

Carroll Beek

Paul A. Palmer

Dr. Basil H. Peterson

Robert Reed

Isabel Pease

Theodore Robins

John Murdy

Judge Robert Gardner  |  Walter Longmoor

A. Vincent Jorgenson

Fred Schope

John Macnab  |  Doreen Marshall

John Lawson

Phil Tozer

George Hoag

Richard “Dick” Stevens

Ray Watson

Arvo Haapa

Robert Wynn

T. Duncan Stewart

Robert Shelton

William P. Ficker  |  Bill Banning

Harry Babbitt

J. Peter Barrett

William D. Lusk

Charley Hester

Jackie Heather

Bob McCurdy

Hans Prager

Bill Hamilton

Paul Salata

Jim Dale

Art Gronsky

Bob Robins

Michael Stephens

Lucille Kuehn

Rush N. Hill, II

Marian Bergeson

Clarence “Bus” Turner

Thomas C. Edwards

Dayna Pettit

2002 Bill Grundy

Scott Paulsen

William Ring

Seymour Beek

Dennis O’Neil

Evelyn Hart

Lula Halfacre

Norm Loats, E.d.D

Ralph Rodheim

Tom Johnson

Jean Watt

Jack and Nancy Skinner

Paul Watkins

John and Elizabeth Stahr

Homer Bludau

Debbie Snavely

Nancy Gardner

Joe Stapleton

Walt Howald

David Beek