Business Insurance, a national magazine published by Crain Communications Inc., has named San Diego executive Merry DeMartino its benefit manager of the year. DeMartino is executive vice president for talent development at Event Network Inc., a Kearny Mesa-based business that manages gift shops for 70 museums in the United States, Canada and Europe.

DeMartino was highlighted for her efforts to develop a wellness program for her company — a program that includes benefits such as company garden plots, a Zen room for employees who need a few minutes to decompress, and a “Weight Loss Warriors” program that puts a competitive spirit into weight loss.

The magazine reported that the wellness program reduced Event Network’s benefit costs by $700,000 since 2008.

Event Network has 1,250 employees, including 100 in San Diego. The business reported sales of $145 million in 2011.

Locally, Event Network manages gift shops for the USS Midway Museum, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air & Space Museum and UCSD hospitals. Other clients include Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Boston’s Museum of Science and the Gettysburg National Military Park.

The San Diego Business Journal also honored Event Network in its Healthiest Companies 2012 awards event on May 16.