2017 Distinguished Business Awards - Business Advocate of the Year: Johnny Khamis

Johnny Khamis San Jose City Council

Johnny was first elected to the San Jose City Council in November 2012 and took office January 1, 2013. Councilmember Khamis represents the Almaden Valley and Blossom Hill areas of South San Jose. He has a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and has been actively engaged in improving public safety, making it easier for individuals and companies to do business in San Jose, growing the San Jose economy, and keeping San Jose a great place to live, work, and raise a family. 

Johnny was born in Beirut, Lebanon and, as a child, immigrated to the United States with his family. Johnny spent most of his childhood in the City of San José and fondly remembers the orchards that stretched over so much of the City. From George Minor Elementary School to Leonard Herman Middle and on to Oak Grove High School, Johnny spent much of his youth exploring San Jose on his bicycle, going to the movies or swimming at the Oak Grove pool.

After graduating from high school, Johnny went on to San Jose State University to earn his degree in Business Management and Communication. He used his education, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to start his own company, Western Benefit Solutions, where he is CEO. Johnny was also a financial advisor and personally managed over 200 individual and business accounts.

Johnny is a devoted family man and 17 year resident of District 10. He and his wife, Juliana, have made their home in Almaden with their two sons, Constantine and Alexander. Johnny and his family love spending their free time out in nature, enjoying the beauty of the Almaden and Santa Teresa Foothills. 

Johnny has been dedicated to attending all of the neighborhood and community associations meetings in the District, as well as volunteering his time with organizations like Almaden Cares, Almaden Kiwanis, his sons' Boy Scout troop and the Martin Fontana Parks Association. Johnny is chairs the Community and Economic Development Committee of the City Council and is also the former chair of the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission and the San Jose Small Business Development Commission.

Q&A

Share your thoughts on what it means to receive this award?

It was an honor for me to be recognized by the business community to help streamline government and make it more business-friendly over the past four years. As an entrepreneur, I know how important it is to have an environment which is welcoming to entrepreneurs and in which we make it as easy as possible for them to invest in and grow their businesses by not putting unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles into place or burdening them with over-regulation.

Why is it important for the business community, and the work that it does, to be highlighted annually by The SVO?

The work of The SVO is critical to keeping the business environment welcoming as are The SVO’s efforts to attract businesses to San Jose and to retain them once they are here. I am thrilled that The SVO recognizes the businesses in our community that are helping it achieve its mission in our community. Hopefully it will encourage others to follow their example and get more involved in making sure that our community remains a great place to do business.

Share words of advice that someone gave you at the beginning of your career?

You have worked hard to get here. Keep working hard and try to enjoy your work even on bad days because it will all be over faster than you know. - Pete Constant

Share words of advice to give to those aspiring to be future Distinguished Business Award recipients?

You will be faced with tough decisions in your career. Listen to all sides and act with principle.