Chamber Press Releases

Jan 18, 2017 — by: Chrystal Vaughan

Close to 250 guests enjoyed a Hollywood-style awards show on January 14th at the 96th Annual Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala sponsored by US Bank. Chamber members were asked to nominate the businesses, organizations, or individuals that they felt best represented the spirit of the Gala.

The Best Place to Work category encompasses both businesses with fewer than 15 employees and businesses with more than 16 employees. These awards are granted to businesses that provide employees with an outstanding positive, healthy and productive workplace. The winner of the 15 or less category was Emmett’s Auto Repair. The nominators noted that the company puts family first, and the family oriented atmosphere infuses the organization. The winner of the 16 or more category was AirLink Critical Care Transport; the nominators were enthusiastic in their endorsement of AirLink’s passion for the work they do and the happiness of their employees.

The concept behind the Big IDEA Innovation Award is to recognize an organization in any industry that employs new ideas or approaches to doing business. The winner in this category was RAD Used Bikes, for their innovative use of available components to repurpose old bicycles into new machines of transportation.

The Commitment to Community Award is awarded to an organization in any industry that demonstrates a successful approach to corporate social responsibility and can show a positive impact on the community. This year, one of the nominees was not an organization, but an individual who has tirelessly toiled above and beyond for the community. The winner of this award was William Riggs.

The 2016 Award for Environmental Leadership is granted to Steen Sports Park, for their efforts to provide sustainable solar energy has not gone unrecognized by the community. Awarded to any organization in any industry that demonstrates an alignment with clean energy or clean technology practices, the members of the Chamber thanked Steen Sports Park for their leadership in environmental sustainability.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is just that: recognition of an individual who has demonstrated exceptional business achievement and outstanding commitment to Klamath’s business community over their lifetime. The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Greg Thede, whose nominators praised him for his advancements within the Klamath County School District system, his involvement in local government to improve the educational environment for students, and his endorsement of learning for all students.

The nominators for winner of the Pathfinder Award noted, “{He} is one of those people who moves mountains.” In this case, the winner forges his own path through the mountain with humble leadership, expansive vision, and drive to succeed. Mark McCrary has led the Ross Ragland to the height of fine entertainment in Klamath, while providing countless children with opportunities to learn and grow with theater summer programs and was therefore awarded the Pathfinder award.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurism award was given to Eric Wilson of Grovolution. Part of the Catalyze Klamath movement, and its first winner, Eric’s proprietary invention will revolutionize the way we consume food in the years to come. His “outside the box” thinking is an exciting vision for the future, noted his nominators.

Chamber Ambassadors recognized Jenine Stuedli for her efforts. Stuedli has been a member of the Chamber Ambassadors for several years. The Ambassadors recognized Stuedli for her willingness to volunteer, her leadership, and her 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.

And last but not least, the Chamber Board added a new award this year and have named it after its first recipient – the Massie Award. Charles “Chip” Massie led the Chamber for more than 8 years with steadiness, growth, and vision. His dedication to improving the workforce in Klamath led him to his new role with Klamath Community College, where he is able to pursue his passion of helping people in our community become educated and employed.

The winners are:

  • Best Place to Work (15 or less): Emmett’s Auto Repair
  • Best Place to Work (16 or more: AirLink Critical Care Transport
  • Big IDEA Innovation: RAD Used Bikes
  • Commitment to Community: William Riggs
  • Environmental Leadership: Steen Sports Park
  • Lifetime Achievement: Greg Thede
  • Pathfinder: Mark McCrary
  • Spirit of Entrepreneurism: Eric Wilson
  • Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Jenine Stuedli
  • President’s Award: Charles “Chip” Massie

The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who made a nomination for these awards and congratulates all of the winners. For more information on this event or the Chamber, call (541) 884-5193 or visit www.klamath.org.