2019 MEM Chamber Sponsor A
Ashland Chamber
Home / Your Chamber / 2022 Annual Dinner Recap


There was great revelry and happiness shared by the attendees of the 114th Annual Dinner of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce held on Friday, October 21, 2022 at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites to a sold out crowd of nearly 200 people. Clearly, people were happy to be back in person at this event to celebrate our businesses, community and to connect with each other. 


Gary Blake, current President of the Board of Directors, served as Master of Ceremonies thanking those who operate our small businesses who have retooled, expanded and prospered through the past two years of enormous challenges from the pandemic. He shared accomplishments of the Chamber as well as introduced the new community leaders who began their roles during the pandemic. Each shared a bit about themselves and their organizations which included SOU President Rick Bailey, Asante Ashland Hospital CEO Dr. Steven Hersch, City Manager Joe Lessard, OSF Executive Director David Schmitz and Ashland School Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove. Read more

Entertainment was provided by five Ashland High School musicians and appreciation was given to Board members, Past Presidents, Committee Chairs and community partners. 


Chamber staff members, Katharine Cato, Director, Travel Ashland and
Dana Preston, Membership & Business Development Director welcomed all:


Past Presidents were honored for their decades of dedication to the Chamber:

Left to Right: Gary Blake (2021-23), Meiwen Richards (2009-10), Dennis Slattery (1991-93), Mary Gardiner (2017-19), Bob Rassmussen (1995-96), Jac Nickels (1993-94), Barbara Allen (1987-88), Ann Seltzer (1997-98), Dana Welsh (2002-04), Cindy Bernard (2013-15) and Deena Branson (2019-21).

Retiring Board members recognized for their contributions to the Chamber:


Sheila Clough (Mercy Flights), Mary Gardiner (Past President), Meiwen Richards (Past President) and Larry Steiner (Edward Jones) whose terms ended in 2020 and 2021
serving two consecutive terms


Julie Gurwell (Hearsay Restaurant) whose term ends in 2022
after also serving two consecutive terms


Hiram Towle (Mt. Ashland) who served as
Chair of Travel Ashland 2019-21 and on the Board of Directors 2021-22. 



The highlight of the evening were the awards
which were given to the following individuals:


The first recognition was given to every one of the Small Businesses recognizing the huge amount of effort it took to operate and succeed as well as providing our community with needed products and services we value. A huge round of applause was given to our entrepreneurs. 



Tourism Industry Leader: Don Anway
Presented by Katharine Cato

Don was recognized with a newly titled award for Tourism Industry Leader of the Year for 2022.

For the 16 years he has been in Ashland, Don has served with the Chamber in numerous areas for the improvement of the community and especially for tourism. He has served on the Travel Ashland committee and as Chair, on the Chamber Board, and as an Oregon Tourism commissioner for Travel Oregon the past eight years recently retiring from that role. He has gone above and beyond and worked hand-in-hand with us on developing our tourism marketing, participated with every effort to garner more helpful research on smoke impacts on travel that we did in the past to the recent in-depth visitor analysis to the Travel Ashland rebrand in 2012 and our latest rebrand this past January of 2022. Read more


Greeter of the Year: Jordan Pease
Presented by Dana Preston

Jordan Pease, Greeter of the Year, is the true epitome of someone who looks around the "room" contemplative, semi-quiet and wonders, how can I help this person's business or organization survive and thrive? How do I help connect them to the right resources? How can I provide them with a place or a platform to share what they have with the community? How can I give them a voice to the broader community? How can I volunteer my time, offer my support to help this business person meet their goals? Jordan is also the "founder" of several great ideas. And he's someone who never says, I have a good idea for you to go do. He says, I have this idea, I hope it's a good one, and if you love it, how can I help make it happen? Read more



Sustainable Business of the Year: Stracker Solar
Presented by Gary Blake

Jeff Sharpe, founder and CEO of Stracker Solar, an Ashland-based solar manufacturer and installer firm received the Sustainable Business of the Year for 2022.

Stracker Inc. was formed in January 2017, bringing together a great team of young engineers partnering with Oak Street Tank and Steel who has been manufacturing metal products for over 100 years in Ashland – our oldest Ashland business and longest Chamber member! Within 4 months, they had the first Stracker prototype built, sold, installed and producing clean solar power for Oak Street Tank and Steel. Read more


Volunteer of the Year: Elaine Yates
Presented by Sandra Slattery

Elaine and her husband, Michael, moved to Ashland in 2016 and immediately got involved in the community wanting to engage with others, make new friends and help out wherever she could. She joined the Chamber as one of our office volunteers right after moving here. Her successful previous career in office management combined with her always professional demeanor, intelligence and humor has been an incredible asset to us. We all love working with her and are pleased to be recognizing this year – Elaine Yates as our Volunteer of the Year for 2022. Read more


Special Recognition: Dana Welsh
Presented by Sandra Slattery

Special recognition and appreciation was given to Chamber staff member, Dana Welsh, who will be retiring in the next few months from the Chamber office after 18 years. Dana worked in her family business, Chamber member Artisan Press, doing much printing business with the Chamber. Read more


Citizen of the Year: John Stromberg
Presented by Dennis Slattery

The Citizen of the Year for 2022  was given to John Stromberg, Mayor of Ashland 2008-2020 for his outstanding service to the Ashland community. Beyond the list of things Mayor John Stromberg has accomplished – numbers of academic degrees, high end consulting experience, public servant, philosopher, engager in chief – all of this and so much more…but deeper still, he is about kindness and intelligent caring through to his soul combined with a strong desire to understand and serve this community. Read More

Honorary Life Member - Presented by Sandra Slattery

The Honorary Life Member award for 2022 was presented to Bunny Lewis. The Honorary Life Member award recognizes an individual who has given above and beyond to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce through their personal contributions to the organization and its mission. Former recipients include Cindy Bernard, Jac Nickels, Dennis Slattery, Allen Drescher, John Karns, Meiwen Richards and Bob Rasmussen among many others. Read more

Many thanks to our Annual Dinner Sponsors:


Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker

Manzanita Home + Flowers

Click here to view event photos by David Hess | DJ Design Studio

Mountain Meadows
Alchemy Restaurant and Bar
Ashland Chamber_Website_AD_400x300-01
Get Email Updates

We will never share your information with any advertiser or third party - read our privacy policy
We want to hear from you!
Ashland Chamber of Commerce | 110 E. Main Street. Ashland, OR 97520 | (541) 482-3486
Office Hours: 10am-3pm, Monday through Friday
Have a Question? Drop us a Note
©2024 Ashland Chamber of Commerce
Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A