The George Whittlesey Memorial Award is one of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce’s most coveted honors and is presented only when an individual exhibits characteristics of prominent leadership and dedication.


This year’s recipient is Rob Van Lingen of The Van Lingen Group, a third-generation small business owner in Torrance. He grew up in the towing, transport, and wrecked vehicle recovery industry. After experiencing a near-fatal injury during a vehicle recovery, he used the incident as the catalyst to re-engineer the rigging, training, and equipment standards of the towing industry. Today he is considered a leading innovator in the super-heavy-duty recovery arena, consulting with private companies and municipalities across the country.


Rob’s unique perspective of private enterprise and of government policy led to his appointment in 2014 as Vice-Chair of the Chamber’s Public & Government Relations Affairs & Policy, and Chair of the Government Affairs Policy (GAP) program. Part of Rob’s vision was to engage more of the chamber’s general membership in the chamber’s advocacy. He has represented the Chamber numerous times in front of our elected representatives locally and in Sacramento, and in 2016 was presented with the Small Business Advocate of the Year Award by the California Chamber of Commerce. Every year under Rob’s leadership, TACC was awarded the California Chamber’s premier business advocacy recognition – the Chairman’s Circle. Typically, only about ten to fifteen percent of the Chamber’s in the state receive the recognition.


Rob is a consummate professional, always crediting success to others and thanking others for their work. He has modestly described his position at the Chamber as an intermediary who matches the needs of various government entities with the day-to-day reality of running a business.


Van Lingen will be honored at the Friday, June 15th Inaugural and Business Awards Luncheon. For more information, please visit

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