Chamber of Commerce bestows honors tonight

Board members will also be installed

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter



Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

WHAT: 1,100-member organization providing networking and political action services on behalf of business.

FOUNDED: 1890.

STAFF: Six full- and part-time employees.

WHERE: 1101 Broadway, Vancouver.

ONLINE: Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce will install new and returning board members and honor a select group of business leaders during its annual banquet this evening at the Hilton Vancouver Washington.

More than 250 people are expected at the event, called Evening d'Elegance, said Kelly Parker, president and chief executive officer of the 1,100-member chamber. Activities will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m. Board member installation will start at 6 p.m. with the inauguration of Kristy Weaver, a team leader with Pacific Continental Bank, who will serve as the chamber's board chair.

Among others to be installed are new board members Eric Sawyer of Barrett Business Services; Todd Coleman of the Port of Vancouver; and Jody Campbell of The Columbian. Returning board members are: Don Russo, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt; Winston Asai, Columbia Machine; Jonathan Avery, Legacy Salmon Creek; John Deeder, Evergreen School District; David Horowitz, David A. Horowitz CPA; Tamara Fuller, NAI Norris Beggs & Simpson; Jeff Harvey, Burgerville; Elie Kassab, Prestige Development; Wayne Nelson, Clark Public Utilities; Eric Olmsted, On Line Support Inc.; William Pritchard, Pritchard Orthodontics; Rhona Sen Hoss, Washington State University Vancouver; and Keith Wallace, Frumenti Lander & Wallace P.S.

"This is an annual tradition and the changing of the guard for officers," Parker said.

However, a new twist to this year's event will include awards being handed out to a slate of business leaders being honored in four different categories.

"We wanted to acknowledge civic engagement," in four award categories, Parker said.

For example, the chamber's Champion Award will honor business leaders who are working on projects that benefit the business community. Parker said the award itself honors one of the chamber's former executives, the late Donna Cantonwine Wend, who served the organization from 1969 to 1992.

The chamber's Statesman Award also was named in the spirit of a longtime chamber supporter, the late Bill Fromhold, a Democratic state legislator from Clark County who died of leukemia in 2010.

"It will go to an elected official who stands up to the political pressures in representing the business community," Parker said.

Two Chamber Community Builder Awards will honor both a small business with less than 25 employees and large business with more than 25 employees.

"We want to acknowledge good corporate citizens," Parker said, adding that the chamber strives to cover three core competencies.

"Support, services and advocacy," she said.

The group recently announced it will not support a proposed sales tax hike to help operate light rail in Vancouver.

"I know the economists pronounced the recovery had begun more than a year ago, but nobody real-ly trusts it," Parker said. "That's why every cost matters. Every increase in every fee matters."