The Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce has announced that Janne Kouri is this year’s winner of The Bob Meistrell Local Legend Award.

Kouri is Founder & President of NextStep. He is also a disability activist and an entrepreneur. This award was created in memory of Body Glove Co-Founder Bob Meistrell. The award recognizes an individual for a lifetime of work to improve the community of Manhattan Beach through their professional, volunteer, or civic roles.

The awards were presented on October 17th at 5:30 at the Westdrift hotel. 

A bit about Janne Kouri…

Janne Kouri is an accomplished entrepreneur, business development leader, philanthropist, investor, and speaker. But those who have the honor of meeting him learn quickly that he is also a deeply concerned citizen. He is passionate about changing the outlook and improving quality of life for victims of paralysis.

On August 5, 2006, Janne’s life changed in an instant when he broke his neck diving into the ocean in Manhattan Beach. Janne was left paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors told him that he had no hope for recovery. Since his injury, Janne has dedicated his life to bettering the lives of people suffering from paralysis.

He is the President and Founder of NextStep. NextStep is an internationally recognized non-profit. It makes life-changing rehab and fitness accessible and affordable.

Read more of his bio here.

A bit about Bob Meistrell…

Bob was a local businessman, philanthropist, surfer, and diver. Meistrell helped develop and market the first commercial neoprene wetsuit. He did this with his twin brother Bill and business partner Bev Morgan. This evolved into the Body Glove surf brand, which by 2013 was a $200 million annual enterprise and a leader in the field.
Bob was known in then South Bay for his love of surfing, diving, and being around the ocean. Bob’s motto was “Do what you love and love what you do.” He died doing what he loved, spending time with his family, on board his boat.

As the co-founder of Body Glove along with his twin brother Bill, Bob was an innovator, a visionary and a legend. Those who knew him loved him for his kind spirit, his captivating personality, and his generous nature. Bob valued education, character, and making a difference for everyone he knew and even those he didn’t. Bob Meistrell was a man of great character, a kind and generous soul and a true friend to the South Bay.”

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