At the 111th Annual Dinner, the Ashland Chamber gave awards to businesses and individuals for their excellence in business achievements and dedication to our community. It also offers an opportunity to appreciate the members who serve as leaders in our organization, whether on the board or as valuable committee chairs. These individuals volunteer their time, donating hundreds of hours to improve the economy and overall quality of life in our community.

For two terms, Marie Lange of Ashland Homes Real Estate has served as Ashland Chamber Board President. She has been an amazing president, rolling up her sleeves and getting involved in just about everything. Marie makes time to serve and offer leadership on numerous task forces, committees, issues, and many behind the scene topics that affect business and community.

Marie is deeply caring about the success of our hard-working small businesses, the individuals behind those businesses and their employees. The economic and social vibrancy of our community is directly linked to the quality of life for our citizens and visitors which requires at times the tackling of hard issues which she and the chamber work hard to achieve. The Ashland Chamber community is grateful and thanks Marie Lange for her two years as board president and seven years on the board. Mary Gardiner from SOU International Programs has been elected 2017-2018 board president.

Three Ashland Chamber board members completed their terms at Thursday’s event:

• Annie Hoy, the Ashland Chamber’s first and continual Green Best Practices Chair. Annie has served on numerous committees in her tenure on the Chamber board and continues to stay involved with the Railroad District Task Force and attending our weekly Greeters meetings.

• Drew Gibbs, from Alchemy Bar & Restaurant and the Winchester Inn, also has retired from the board and we thank Drew for his service as a past chair of Ashland’s Visitor and Conference Bureau (Travel Ashland) and his involvement in the growth of the Ashland Culinary Festival.

• Cindy Bernard, who served eight years on the board and was also recognized as Honorary Life Member at the event. Through the board, Cindy has been involved in countless chamber committees, task forces, has been a liaison to important city programs and will even get on a ladder and hang wreaths during the holidays. She also was a two-term president of the board.

Thank you to three wonderful members of our community for their service to the chamber!

Four new members were added to the chamber board for the upcoming year: Debra Ingram of First Interstate Bank, Eli Katkin of Brickroom, Gary Blake of Recology Ashland, and Anne Robison of The Crown Jewel. They join Jac Nickels of Architectural Design Works; Meiwen Richards an Honorary Life Member; Deena Branson of Branson’s Chocolates; Eric Weisinger of Weisinger Family Winery; Larry Steiner of Edward Jones; Sheila Clough of Asante Ashland Community Hospital; Julie Gurwell of Hearsay Restaurant, Lounge & Bar; Marie Lange of Ashland Homes Real Estate; and Mary Gardiner of SOU International Programs. We are looking forward to a great year with the Board of Directors.

Beyond the board, several committee chairs help develop programs within the chamber. Graham Sheldon of Ashland Creek Inn was last year’s VCB Chair, Ashland’s Destination Marketing Organization. He will continue in this leadership role into the 2017-2018 year. Sean Marc Nipper of Reel House Films and Teri Badenhop of Emerald Spa Boutique have served this past year as our Greeters Co-chairs. Sean retired Thursday and Daniel Perry from Air Hop will step into his role. Allen Drescher, reited Chamber legal counsel, has served as co-chair of the Behavioral Task Force and Cynthia Rider of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has served and will continue to serve as the Ashland Coalition Chair. The Ashland Chamber also recognized Judith Pavlik of Judith Pavlik Photography for her two years as the Chair of Ashland’s Old- Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. Additional Chamber and business leaders form the members of this group which also includes our Retail Task Force and Railroad District Task Force.

Thank these leaders the next time you see them. They give so much of their time to the community.

—Sandra Slattery is executive director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. For more information, go to www.ashlandchamber.com, call 541-482-3486 or stop by the office at 110 East Main St.