The event began with a sparkling Champagne Social courtesy of Reception Sponsor Beko’s Tree's. Then, after moving into the dramatically draped and lighted room, Melanie Bakala of State Farm Insurance hopped on the mic with South Sound YMCA’s Kyle Cronk and laid down the beat of 2018’s accomplishments to the tune of “Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer. It was better than can be imagined.
Guests received a warm welcome from executive director Heidi McCutcheon who introduced those who made the evening possible, including Premier Sponsor, Little Creek Casino Resort. Media Sponsor The Shopper then took the stage and to round out the night was Photo Sponsor Cooper Studios, who provided a photo booth in addition to photographing the night’s festivities.
A stunning four course meal served showcased the expertise of the kitchen staff and, thanks to course sponsor Edward Jones - Karen Schade, Financial Advisor, featured specialty fare and tasty local ingredients. Retired Mason County District Court Judge Victoria Meadows took the stage and invited the 2019 Chamber Board of Trustees to the stage for the formal installation. Outgoing President of the Board Will Johnson thanked Past President John Lester for his years of service on the board and presented him with a personalized gift. Also retiring from this year’s board were Drew MacEwen (Falcon Financial, Inc.), Julie Nichols (Whitehouse & Nichols), Karen Schade, Wes Taylor (Taylor Shellfish), and Mark West (Little Creek Casino Resort).
To begin the awards portion, Will and Heidi announced the award nominees and announced the winners, beginning with Will Johnson’s President's Choice Award winner, Ray Frederick of Garage Sale Maniacs.
New this year, Boss of the Year recognizes an individual who empowers their employees and is an example of leadership and/or management excellence. The inaugural slate of candidates was Holly Cahoon of 2nd Street Design Studio, Kevin & Kathy Dorcy of Urraco Coffee Co., Mike Oblizalo of Hood Canal Communications, and Jeff Slakey of iFiber One News Radio. The 2018 Boss of the Year award went to Kevin & Kathy Dorcy.
Rookie of the Year, another addition to the awards, recognizes the best business that opened a storefront or began operations within the past two year who fulfilled a gap in service, retail, or operation that benefited the Mason County community at large. The two newcomers making this year’s ballot included Craft Pie & Art Bar and Northwest Clothing Co. The inaugural award went to Northwest Clothing Co.
Volunteer of the Year recognizes an individual who has largely contributed to the Chamber's programs and activities. This person must serve on one or more Chamber committees. Making the list of people who give their time, talents, energies, and expertise were Stephanie Boysen of Bella Acres, Jennifer Owens of Peninsula Credit Union, and Teresa Gilman formerly of Maple Glen Senior Living. Teresa Gilman won this year’s award. Her husband, son, and sister came to the stage to accept the award on her behalf.
An individual who has made outstanding contributions to the business community and the community at large is honored as Citizen of the Year. This person gives freely of their time, talent, energy and expertise. Our great thanks and appreciation goes to the three deserving nominees Tom Beben of Smoking Mo's, Julie Rowan of Belco Forest Products and Kristmas Town Kiwanis, and Jim Morell of Peninsula Credit Union. The crowd rose to their feet as the announcement of 2018’s Citizen of the Year Tom Beben.
Business of the Year recognizes the company that made the most significant contribution benefiting the Mason County business community. Any size business is eligible; recognition is given for overall contribution to improving the community and/or business climate. This business must be a member in good standing of the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce and should be headquartered in Mason County. Our great thanks and appreciation goes to Brady Trucking Co. Inc., Cali Cutz, Taylor Shellfish Farms, and Sierra Pacific Industries. 2018 Business of the Year was awarded to Sierra Pacific Industries.
The entire evening was a brilliant celebration of the amazing individuals and businesses that support the Chamber and Mason County. With the outpouring of support shown by the attendees, it was evident that the community shares in both our appreciation and our enthusiasm. The Chamber cannot thank this community enough for the its spirit of volunteerism, selflessness, and dedication to growing Mason County into the great place it is to work, live, and play.