Vancouver Chamber honors 6, installs officers

State Rep. Vick named Statesman of the Year at annual dinner

By Craig Brown, Columbian Managing Editor

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Several hundred members of the local business community turned out Wednesday night to celebrate local success stories and install new officers at the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner, held at the Hilton Vancouver Washington.

Six honors were presented to the following businesses and people:

• State Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida, was honored as the Statesman of the Year. The award is presented in honor of the late Bill Fromhold, a longtime local educator and community leader whom Vick noted defeated him in Vick’s first try for the Legislature. Since that time, Vick has been honored for his work in the Legislature by the Washington Retail Association and the Washington Hospitality Association, among others.

• Gloria Arroyo-Grubbs, owner of Tristar Family Chiropractic, received the Start-Up To Watch Award. A recent arrival to Clark County, she opened her chiropractic practice here in 2015 and is already involved in a host of community organizations. She and her husband are competitive power lifters.

• The Columbian was honored as the Large Business of the Year. The Columbian and the chamber have a relationship dating back more than a century. The business, which is owned by the Campbell family, was recognized for donating millions of dollars of advertising to nonprofit groups and also for its People in Need campaign, which has given hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to local families.

• Chappelle’s Towing was honored as the Small Business of the Year. Among the company’s charitable efforts is the Uplift program, which provides transportation to needy people. Chappelle’s also helped sponsor this year’s Cruise the Couve event, which was put together quickly after a similar event was withdrawn.

• Mark Matthias and Ali Novinger were recipients of the Community Champion Award, given in memory of longtime chamber executive Donna Cantonwine. The restaurateurs have been involved in dozens of charitable causes through Beaches Restaurant and WareHouse ’23, including the annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast for thousands of local children in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and a weekly classic car cruise-in that raises money for charities.

• Lee Rafferty received the John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award. Rafferty and a business partner started Spanky’s consignment shop, a downtown anchor for many years, and then she went on to lead Vancouver’s Downtown Association. The association has been recognized as the highest performing downtown association in the state, and has raised nearly $2 million to invest in downtown projects since 2007.

Chamber officers for 2017-18 were installed. They are Eric Sawyer, chair; Amy O’Hara, chair-elect; Kevin Getch, vice chair; Lisa Goecke, secretary/treasurer; Ben Hoskins, past chair; and directors Winston Asai, Ben Bagherpour, Leanne Bremer, Carol Bua, Jody Campbell, Julianna Marler, Bryce Helgerson, Nelson Holmberg, Robert Knight, Eric Olmsted, Tim Schauer, Kristy Weaver, Steve Webb and Jim West.