The Chamber will celebrate its 97th year on Friday, January 17, 2020. The largest business affair in Mason County, the semi-formal event will gather Mason County's finest business owners, professionals, elected officials, and non-profit employees. The program will give tribute to the successes of 2019 and unveil the announcement of 2019’s award winners.
This semi-formal event will begin with a champagne social at 6:00 PM, followed by a four course meal expertly paired with wine, and a program including the Board of Trustees installation and award announcements.
Ideas for how to dress for the Gala can be found on our Pinterest Page.
Reservations for this event have closed. For Inquiries please contact the Chamber Office at (360) 426-2021 or email@example.com.
For decades, the Chamber has recognized deserving businesses, individuals, and organizations through its annual awards program.
The community was invited to submit nominations and, following a rigorous process, dozens of nominees were narrowed to just three in each category. Chamber members received ballots to vote for the annual awards in early November. As always, ballots will be mailed to all members in good standing; each Chamber member receives one vote per category.
The majority vote by the membership determines the award winners. The winners will be announced at the Annual Awards Gala held at Little Creek Casino Resort’s Skookum Event Center on Friday, January 17, 2020.
Beko’s Trees, LLC & Wood Carving is a professional tree service providing removal, maintenance, and trimming. The company is owned and operated by Nolberto Chavez who always puts safety first—for his employees and the community. Beko’s is known for the many hours of labor and equipment donated during the winter snowstorms to clear driveways and church parking lots, as well as helping stranded drivers. Beko’s also supports Shelton High School, Forest Festival Logging Show, OysterFest, Kiwanis, and Relay For Life. Nolberto has a special heart for the elderly residents and cuts their limbs and provides firewood as no cost when they need it. One nomination nodded to the company for their good works “…on their way to a job (I assume), employees came across an idle car in an intersection. The employees jumped out of their truck without hesitation and helped push her to safety. Stand up guys!”
Ridge Motorsports Park opened in 2012 and the 170-acre site boasts a road course, motocross, karting, and off-road park. The venue is nationally acclaimed and in just the last 18 months hosted over 400 events brought over 60,000 visitors to Mason County. With the recent opening of their Performance Center, Ridge Motorsports now provides venue and banquet space for training facilities, meeting spaces, weddings, and special events. Like the existing facility, the new Performance Center was built entirely with private funding. One nominator said, “The Ridge is a huge economic driver here and, moreover, it is an exciting and high-caliber addition to the community.” This year the park also secured a contract for MotoAmerica which draws over 15,000 people.
Steph’s Espresso is one of the busiest Espresso stands in Shelton, opening as early as 3:30 AM during the week and 4:00 AM on the weekends. September marked the business’s 20th anniversary. Since opening, Steph has been determined to give back to the community. Each year they sponsor sports teams, donate items to charities and support local families. In 2019 Steph partnered with her customers to fill over 1,500 backpacks for local students and, when there was greater need, Steph’s came up with another 300 notebooks and other school supplies. Steph’s Espresso is also well known for their Community Easter Egg Hunt. The business supports OysterFest and Relay For Life, serves on the board for the Mason Area Scholarship Program, and keeps warm clothes, easy foods, and toiletries on hand to provide to homeless individuals in the community.
Paulie’s Place, owned and operated by Trish and Paul Girard, reflects her Italian heritage and his Mason County roots. The sub shop is quickly becoming well known for their large portions, delicious specials, and friendly service. The eatery provides seasonal offerings and signature items that are available to dine-in or take-out, as well as catering options. Taking up residence in Mariano Plaza, Paulie’s Place has amassed a loyal clientele who jump on board with their charitable efforts to support local drives: school supplies and backpacks, kicks for kids, and more, often matching dollars to extend the good work. Their nominator acknowledged their positive approach and remarked on their willingness to serve the community during weekend events and festivals.
Railroad Tap Station offers 17 craft beers, 4 ciders on tap, and a nice wine selection and proudly serves great pizzas, pastas, soups, salads, and appetizers. A nod to the community’s heritage, the modern tap house anchors the historical 1912 building in the heart of downtown. The business is owned by longtime Shelton resident, Realtor, and landlord Scott Barnard. He reflects that, “Shelton has been good to me. At this point of my life it is about making new friends and putting smiles on people’s faces.” The unique layout of the restaurant makes it a flexible space for parties, a quick bite at lunch, or a casual meet-up. Since opening, Railroad Tap Station has already given donations to about 30 different causes in Mason County.
WashingTone’s Junk Removal works seven days a week to clean up junk in Mason County. When owner Tony Solano is not working, he is donating clothes, bikes, doll houses, and toys to children as well as collecting warm clothes, rain coats, and umbrellas for the homeless shelter and the domestic violence shelter. WashingTone’s Junk Removal is most proud of making people happy and relieving their stress—and Tony does so with good humor and a positive attitude. He takes pride in becoming a customer’s strength, family, and friend, looking out for many in our community. He says, “Whenever I see a senior trying to unload at the dump, I always help. I would want someone to help out my grandparents.” This sentiment is noticed and noted in many of his nominations, one of which shared, “he cares about his community and wants to strengthen his neighbors in any way he can.”
Kevin Cronquist of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services studied at University of Montana before moving to Shelton in 1991 to become a partner in his father’s business, Mason County Realty. The next year, Kevin also purchased Preview Realty and Gateway Property Management. In 2011, the real estate company was renamed Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest Real Estate Shelton. Kevin served on the NWMLS Board of Directors for over six years and several terms on the Chamber’s board of trustees. He promotes a family attitude with his staff where everyone works together and helps out. His employees gushed that “having a great mentor like him as a boss, is a blessing” and that “his heart is so big and filled with so much love, it's great to see how much he does for the community. He will always be one of my greatest role models.”
Emmanuel Reyes of Bella Casa Service Management opened his business with his wife Lorena eight years ago out of the garage of their home. They have grown to a team of nearly twenty and Emmanuel considers them all part of his family. Growing up with his grandparents, he says they taught him his most valuable life lessons: always be positive, respect life, don’t worry, live simply, and always make time to be happy. Emmanuel passes these lessons on to his employees encouraging them not to be afraid to make mistakes and to see challenges as opportunities. Among the nominations, his staff touted “he saw my potential to do greater things than what I was doing. He is always pushing to help his employees reach their full potential.” Others commended his kindness, mentorship, and generosity.
Stephanie Steen of Our Community Credit Union believes in leading by example. After nearly 15 years, Stephanie worked her way up from a part-time teller to director of operations, overseeing 5 branches. Her nominators pointed to her having “an unmatched ability to lead and grow staff” and expressed gratitude that “she recognizes accomplishments and makes sure that credit is given, even when it’s not in her department.” Stephanie says that her early experience at the credit union taught her the importance of working as a team and positive communication. She leans into the philosophy that you can’t choose what happens, but you can choose your attitude.
Andy Conklin of The Conklin Team at Windermere is a 5th generation Mason County resident who finds making an impact in his community fulfilling. His passion for athletics has kept him involved with our community’s youth, coaching football, baseball, and girls’ fastpitch—without having kids involved in those sports. Recently he worked with SHS staff and volunteers to create an athletic training class that is available to high school students before school daily. His nominator calls him an unsung hero and “the guy who is committed to kids. If he sees a need, he is ready and willing to step in and fill it.” He has served on scholarship committees and, this year, Andy served an integral role in the capital campaign to bring YMCA to Shelton. As a member of the Mason County Association of Realtors, he has been an active participant on numerous committees including the Quality of Life Committee which helped ensure that property owner’s voices were heard when important legislative decisions were made effecting property rights and values. Andy asserts that when a problem is identified, it is best to jump in and make a difference rather than sit back and complain.
Jaron Garza of Domino’s started as a delivery driver looking to earn some extra money before graduating from Choice High School. Fast forward 13 years, that part-time gig has become a career. Jaron gratefully acknowledges his franchisee owners and mentors, Jeff and Chris Farmer, for empowering him to give back to the community. He avows he is “passionate about being involved in fundraising for good causes” and that’s obvious when he pitches in on so many efforts: classroom awards, honoring teachers and staff on appreciation days, recognizing nurses and first responders during national celebrations, and supporting local clubs and organizations programs. As a Relay For Life Sponsor, Jaron supplies pizza for each committee meeting and holds a canned food drive annually for their society. His nominator insists “I can't think of a single person that has spent the time and energy it takes to consistently reach out to others.”
Rachel Hansen is a local graphic artist and editor, who received her BA in classical studies from the University of Victoria and trained as an archaeological illustrator, working as a reconstruction artist on classical exhibits. She moved to Shelton in 2003 with her husband John and their children. Rachel owns Image in Action Design and is the president of Northwest Event Organizers where she manages Mason County’s tourism promotion program. She is also the editor/publisher of Tracing the Fjord, a local magazine that heralds authentic experiences in our community. Her nominator says “Rachel’s enthusiasm is contagious. She takes on projects that are larger than life and gives others the confidence to bring them to reality.” Last year Rachel recreated the iconic Beauchamp Santa and has partnered with the Chamber and City to revitalize the Christmas season. She recently teamed up with local culinary genius Xinh Dwelley, working with her to publish a cookbook tribute which was released at OysterFest.
Habitat for Humanity of Mason County was founded in 1996 and has built 30 homes in Mason County, 2 being completed during 2019. They do this by partnering with individuals, congregations, businesses, and other organizations to lend a hand up to those in need of housing. Habitat for Humanity also provides a partnership opportunity for homeowners in need of home repair and maintenance support. Just this year, their Home Preservation program assisted more than 30 families with safety and maintenance improvements. They are most passionate about fulfilling the ultimate dream of homeownership for families in need in Mason County. To that end, this year the organization reached out to Peninsula Credit Union to develop a model which would give homeowners ownership of their mortgage thereby expanding Habitat’s capacity.
Kristmas Town Kiwanis Club works to serve the youth of Mason County by supporting Scouts and South Mason Youth Soccer as well as the “Caught Being Good” program at Shelton High School, awarding scholarships to graduating high school students, offering kiddie train rides and games at OysterFest, in addition to collecting school supplies and Christmas gifts for Mason County children in need. The club is perhaps best known for their collaboration in presenting Holiday Magic. This year Kristmas Town Kiwanis led the effort to organize a local Day of Champions, a one-day modified track and field event for special needs students. The inaugural event was a huge undertaking. The club partnered with the other four Mason County’s Kiwanis Clubs and gathered more than 100 volunteers for the event where more than 150 students from 5 different school districts participated—and every student received a medal.
Martha Reed Foundation is named for the former nurse, coroner, cancer patient, and female inspiration. The foundation began raising funds for local families in need and scholarships for those pursuing a career in healthcare. Today the Martha Reed Foundation rallies the community to support unmet needs. Whether monies are raised at a cook-off or concert, the foundation has committed that every dollar raised in Mason County stays in Mason County. Martha Reed Foundation is most proud of the impacts they have made through specific gifts. They have provided things like chest waders for a paraplegic male who had never been able to go on school field trips, mattresses to the homeless shelter, weekend meals for homeless youth, an electric wheelchair for a local veteran, and Christmas gifts for the local elderly. Martha Reed Foundation also sponsored the traffic box wrap program, through the Shelton Arts Commission, to beautify the traffic boxes at key intersections.
President's Choice recognizes contributions to the Chamber or the community and is selected annually by the President of the Chamber Board of Trustees. 2018 President’s Choice was awarded to Ray Frederick.
Volunteer of the Year recognizes an individual who has largely contributed to the Chamber’s programs and activities. This is someone who has given their time, talent, energy and expertise in an effort to enhance the business community and the community at large. This person must serve on one or more Chamber committees. In 2019, Chamber staff will select the recipient based upon participation, volunteerism, and overall contribution to the Chamber and its programs. 2018 Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Teresa Gilman.