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1-14 Chamber Gala

Klamath County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 99th annual Chamber Gala on Saturday at the Ross Ragland Theater, honoring 12 organizations or individuals from around the Klamath Basin.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce presented 12 esteemed awards to businesses, organizations, and individuals from around the Klamath Basin.

Along with the awards show, nearly 250 guests enjoyed food, drink, live entertainment and a casino night. Almost 80 nominations were submitted for awards based on efforts, achievements and community presence over the last year.

The Best Place to Work award is broken into two categories, small businesses and large ones. A small business in the Basin is typically one with 15 or fewer employees, while a large one is 16 employees or more. These nominations are often turned in by employees who feel they are in a healthy, positive and productive work environment; or sometimes even customers who admire the workplace.

This year’s small Best Place to Work was awarded to Amcom Tax and Accounting. The nominator spoke on the empowering environment at Amcom, where employees feel heard and supported to grow. The large Best Place to Work award was presented to Ed Staub and Sons. While this business is one that is considered large and has undergone great growth over the last 10 years, the nominator noted it still maintains, “the small company feel, maintaining humility and genuine care for their employees.”

New ideas

The Big IDEA Innovation Award went to a business that adopts new ideas and approaches to business and industry: Fiber Light Fire Starter. Their nomination was based on their use of reclaimed materials, their commitment to their product, and developing business.

The Commitment to Community Award is awarded to an organization that gives back to the community through time and donations. This commitment can be short and long-term, and is done without the need for recognition but simply for the good of others. This self-giving manner has been acknowledged in Fast Break Convenience Stores. Fast Break was nominated for collecting money for several local education programs and schools, different community projects, and an overall desire for giving back to the Klamath Basin.

The 2020 Award for Environmental Leadership has been granted to IFA Nurseries. This award recognizes IFA Nurseries for an above and beyond effort to maintain environmentally safe practices. The nomination credited them for their exemplary work in growing high quality seedlings and practices in reforestation with their use of Klamath County’s abundant resource of geothermal heating.

Betterment of Klamath

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual or family who has dedicated themselves to the betterment of the Klamath community. The 2020 Lifetime Achievement award went to the Bocchi family, who have been an active part of the community for nearly 70 years.

The recipient of the 2020 Pathfinder Award is the President and CEO of Sky Lakes Medical Center, Paul Stewart. He received this award for his devotion to not only Sky Lakes, but the Klamath Basin. His nominator cited examples such as leadership in helping to bring Blue Zones Project to Klamath Falls, and then supporting the renewal for a second three-year term; renovations and improvements in Kit Carson Park, creation of the Klamath Commons Park, and his role in the building of the Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center.

This year, the Chamber presented the Spirit of Entrepreneurism award in two categories: civic and for-profit. This award recognized risk taking, vision, and dedication to an idea. The civic award went to Solid Ground Equine Therapy, while the for-profit recipient was Skyline Brewing. Shelley Trumbly of Solid Ground Equine Therapy was nominated for her vision of how to help and willingness to risk her time, energy, money, and personal property.

The Kliewers of Skyline Brewery were awarded the Spirit of Entrepreneurism for-profit award for bringing a new level of technology to brewing in the Klamath Basin. From designing and building an advanced electronically controlled keg washer, to designing and building thermostatically controlled brewing to automate the brewing process – allowing for production to happen with less human intervention.

Chamber Ambassadors

Chamber Ambassadors recognized Brienne Humphrey for her contributions to the Ambassador’s group. Humphrey has been a member of the Chamber Ambassadors for a year but has already energized the group, bringing fresh ideas and positive organization. The Ambassadors recognized Humphrey for her willingness to volunteer, leadership, and ability to get things done. The Ambassadors are a volunteer committee within the Chamber that helps with member retention. They help facilitate networking meetings, attend ribbon cuttings, and help promote Chamber member businesses.

The President’s Award was given to Joe Spendolini, who, according to the news release, is known for his relentless pursuit to improve the business environment and economy of Klamath County. He has spent countless hours doing volunteer work for many organizations, including the Klamath Chamber of Commerce.

In partnership with the Klamath Promise, the Chamber presented the Businesses Supporting Education Award to the Klamath Basin Home Builders Association. This organization reached over 30 businesses and 100 volunteers to support a day-long event that brought 288 youth, spanning across 12 different schools, three counties, and two states together to learn about different career pathways and the way to success.

For more information about the Chamber, call 541-884-5193 or visit