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  • The Vancouver Chamber's 2017 Business & Leadership Award Recipients: 

    The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) is proud to announce the 2017 recipients of the Business & Leadership Awards program. All six recipients were honored at the Chamber’s Annual Officer Installation Dinner and Awards event on Wednesday, September 20th at the Hilton. This year, the Chamber recognized our first John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award recipient along with Business of the Year (large and small category), Start-Up to Watch, and Statesman of the Year.

    The 2017 “Business & Leadership Award” recipients are: 

    NEW: 2017 John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award: Lee Rafferty   
    Lee Rafferty is the 2017 John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award recipient. Lee is an entrepreneurial leader, strategic thinker, consensus builder, and can recognize the potential in others. As the Executive Director for Vancouver's Downtown Association, she found success in harnessing the passions of volunteers. "When people can find something that they believe in and can see that their efforts are making a difference, that's when the magic happens," she explained. At the VDA, Lee logged countless hours working with partners and investors to bring public art, savvy business practice trainings, facade improvements, better design standards, street trees, new memory-making events, and campaigns to share downtown's vibe with neighbors near and far. Lee also led the state in a significant fundraising effort over her tenure through the Tax Credit Incentive Program, which comes from the Department of Revenue. The competition was fierce, but local donors rallied behind Lee and the VDA's vision. Together, they became the highest performing downtown association in the State. Since 2007, the VDA raised nearly two million dollars in total to invest in city center projects. Lee has consistently worked to solve problems, bring solutions forward, advocate for downtown stakeholders, and plan for the future. Before becoming the VDA's Executive Director, Lee served on their board of directors for six years, while running her own small business with her partner for 28 years. Her work establishing Spanky's, running operations, expanding to the east side of Vancouver, and her final transition out of ownership gave her a unique retail perspective perfectly suited to support the downtown business community and face the realities of business ownership head on. As a business owner and Executive Director of the VDA, Lee consistently advocated for infrastructure improvements, projects to increase the quality of life for all Vancouverites, and has worked towards projects like the transformation of the downtown Transit Mall. Lee's legacy is truly reflected in every street of Downtown Vancouver.

    Business of the Year (Large Business): The Columbian  
    The Columbian has been deeply rooted in Clark County history since their first issue on October 10 in 1890. Every day since, they've brought local, national and international news to the community, as well as a variety of relevant events like the Economic Forecast Breakfast each January. Four generations of the Campbell family have seen The Columbian grow from molten lead cast into type, to a multimedia company with more than 60 unique print and digital products to meet the information needs of today’s world. The Columbian has donated millions of dollars in free advertising to local nonprofits through their Community Partnership Program and which results in increased visibility to grow their charitable giving.  Since the 1970s, The Columbian’s People in Need program has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist families in need throughout Southwest Washington. Columbian.com is Clark County’s most frequently visited local website with over 500,000 monthly web visitors and over 2 million page views of breaking news, features, blogs, business news, and vibrant, effective advertising. Their print and digital products allow them to report on people, places, events and life in completely new ways that reflect the flavor and variety of the local community. Even with the rapidly changing ways of accessing news and information, one thing has remained constant throughout The Columbian's 126 years - they are commitment to being Clark County’s #1 local news and information source. "The Columbian serves as an important community watch dog - an integral part of a thriving community. Jody, Scott and the Campbell family are active in the community as exemplary citizens. Their brand of leadership, vision and generosity has advanced the community in so many ways and we hope this will continue for many generations to come," - Rhona Sen Hoss (former employee).

    Business of the Year (Small Business): Chappelle’s Towing LLC
    Chappelle’s Towing LLC has been thriving in Southwest Washington for over 30 years and works to support the community at every turn. In 2016, the Chappelle's team create the "Uplift" program which identifies people in need within our community twice a year and gives them the gift of transportation to rebuild or enhance their lives. The Uplift program is a business-to-business partnership involving vendor partners in an effort to celebrate "doing good" in our community. Chappelle’s is also a sponsor of the Pink Lemonade Project, donors to the Share House, involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs, and in 2017 they stepped up as a sponsor of Cruise the Couve as the event faced peril. The Cruise the Couve sponsorship helped to provide basic waste disposal and sanitation services needed to keep our community clean and safe for the approximately 20,000 people that enjoy the event annually. Their commitment to quality is demonstrated through their state-of-the-art equipment, talented vehicle recovery specialists, and 24-hour damage free towing. In addition to towing, they provide roadside assistance, impound services, accident scene services, winching and public auto auctions. Chappelle’s Towing has earned "Best in Clark County" in 2016 and 2017 and is a Preferred Provider/Contractor for AAA Services, honored in 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 with the Provider of Excellence Award by AAA members.

    Statesman of the Year: Representative Brandon Vick
    (18th Legislative District, Pos. 1)  

    Representative Vick is an active participant in a variety of community efforts, not only in the 18th Legislative District, but throughout Southwest Washington. He is constantly engaging citizens and business leaders to hear about ways the legislature can work toward efficient and effective government. In 2017, Brandon became the Washington Hospitality Association's Legislative Hero and in 2016 was the Washington Retail Association's Legislator of the Year. This year, Brandon sponsored House Bill 1593, which provides small businesses the ability to access capital via crowdfunding platforms. Specifically, this bill works to remove investment limitations of accredited investors and is an improvement to legislation passed years ago. The goal was to provide businesses innovative new ways to invest and raise capital, specifically for rural and coastal communities that are struggling within our State. Vick also earned a 100 percent small business score and was honored with the 2016 Guardian of Small Business Award. Brandon is a lifelong resident of Clark County. He graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School and went onto complete his A.A. at Clark College. He also attended Washington State University and completed Leadership Clark County in 2010. He married his high school sweetheart, Darci, and together they have a young daughter, Makena. Brandon is the sales and marketing manager for Vick Landscaping, a family owned and operated business founded by his grandfather in 1961. Vick's community involvement includes work on the Salvation Army Capital Campaign, Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor, Habitat for Humanity Volunteer, Boys and Girls Clubs volunteer, Building Industry Association Member, and the past chairman, Clark County Republican Party.

    2017 Start-Up to Watch (defined as first five years in business): 
    TriStar Family Chiropractic
     
    A recent transplant from Central Florida, Dr. Gloria Arroyo-Grubbs opened her specialized Chiropractic practice in Vancouver in 2015. Dr. Gloria Arroyo-Grubbs, DC, BA, BS has over 20 years’ experience in the health care industry and is passionate about her community, working to ensure a better health future for all cultures in the Pacific Northwest. From running large corporate wellness projects across the U.S. to specialized chiropractic care for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and scoliosis reduction center, Dr. Grubbs’ healthcare experience comes with a diverse toolbox. In less than two years in practice, she has jumped in to be an asset to our community. She is the only Spanish speaking Chiropractic Physician in SW WA, she is the Health Care Chair for SW WA LULAC chapter, Steering committee member for SW WA Healthy Living Collaborative, Board member of Community Roots Collaborative, Ethics committee member for Clark County health department, active supporter of Autism Empowerment, Alzheimer’s Association as well as HOPE dementia support group, she is an inaugural member of the “B2B” mentor program for Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) as well as a presenter for the GVCC Ready, Set, Go! Wellness Workshop Series. Recently, she has been awarded the Best in Business 2016 by the Vancouver Business Journal and nominated for the Impactful Woman NW of the Year Award. She has dual undergraduate degrees from East Carolina University, received her Master’s in health administration from Central Michigan University and graduated top her class at the prestigious Palmer College of Chiropractic where she received her Doctorate of Chiropractic Medicine. A busy mom of three and married to her fellow power lifter and college sweetheart for over 17 1/2 years, she serves her community from her private practice in Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek.

    Community Champion (individual with outstanding community contributions):
    Mark Matthias & Ali Novinger

    Mark Matthias and Ali Novinger have impacted countless lives in Southwest Washington. Partnering with the local community, Beaches Restaurants and WareHouse '23 work year-round to coordinate fundraising efforts and events to raise money for those in need. Besides the Beaches Summertime Cruise-In, guests have participated in the Beaches Charity table, billboard, monthly charity match days, celebrity server days, Beaches Golf tournament, numerous Cashback Days for a variety of nonprofits, and this past year WareHouse '23 provided free Thanksgiving meals for those in need. Through Beaches, Warehouse '23, and Choose Fun Inc., they've infused over 2.3 million dollars back into the community. While Mark and Ali receive requests daily, they rarely turn down a good cause. Here are just a few of the great nonprofits they've supported: Share, YWCA Clark County, Vancouver School District Foundation, Free Clinic, Bridge the Gap, YWCA Clark County, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington, NW Association for Blind Athletes, and the Police Activities League. Annually, they organize Green Eggs & Ham, bringing the characters, books, and a “green egg” breakfast to about 8,000 students from 48 elementary schools within the Vancouver and Evergreen School Districts each spring. Mark Matthias and the late George Propstra founded Beaches Restaurant and Bar back in 1995. Matthias has also earned the title of Vancouver’s First Citizen, an elite group of extraordinary people designated by the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington. The goal of the Beaches Charity Fund (supported largely by the Beaches’ Summer Cruise-In) is to raise $3 million by 2020 and they're almost there. Alasondra Novinger, better known as Ali, is originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and moved to Vancouver in 1998. Over the years she has helped organize and run multiple community events, is on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, and runs one of the largest weekly cruise-in classic car shows in the United States. 

     

     
  • 2016 Business and Leadership Award Photos

  • Photo Gallery

    Please view the 2016 event photo gallery on facebook. 

  • Please view the "Chamber Delivers" video (produced by Casey Evans Media) that stole the spotlight at our event: 

  • 2015 Business and Leadership Award Photos

  • Photos by Kate Singh of Aevum Images


  • Past Recipients of the GVCC's Business & Leadership Awards:

    Business of the Year (large category):
    2017 - The Columbian
    2016 - Waste Connections
    2015 - Columbia Credit Union
    2014 - New Seasons Market
    2013 - Riverview Community Bank
    2012 - The Nutter Corporation 

    Business of the Year (small category):
    2017 - Chappelle's Towing
    2016 - Sweet Spot Skirts
    2015 - Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
    2014 - Mill Creek Pub
    2013 - Pritchard Orthodontics
    2012 - Northwest Personal Training 
     

    Start up to Watch (defined as first five years in business):  
    2017 - TriStar Chiropractic
    2016 - High End Market Place
    2015 - Trek Global
    2014 - Fringe Digital Marketing Agency 
    2013 - Pangea Motors *Award debut

    Statesman of the Year:
    2017 - Brandon Vick
    2016 - Commissioner: Neil Kimsey
    2015 - State Senator: Annette Cleveland
    2014 - Freeholder: Nan Henriksen
    2013 - County Commissioner: Steve Stuart
    2012 - State Representative: Tim Probst

    Community Champion (individual with outstanding community contributions):
    2017 - Mark Matthias & Ali Novinger
    2016 - Ben Bagherpour (SEH America)
    2015 - Scott Campbell (Waste Connections)
    2014 - Tom Hagley Jr. (Vancouver Public Schools)
    2013 - Billy Henry (North Association of Blind Athletes)
    2012 - Ben Hoskins (1-800 GOT JUNK / You Move Me) 

    John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award:
    2017 - Lee Rafferty 

    Excellence in Leadership Award:
    2016 - John McKibbin
    2013 - Bill Barron