Kalispell Chamber celebrates its 110th year with the theme "Taking Care of Business in the Flathead"

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 110th year of community and business enterprise at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel with the theme "Taking Care of Business." With a crowd of 425, the Chamber awarded the community- chosen Great Chief, Businessman and Businesswoman of the Year awards.

100 percent of the proceeds from the Auction were dedicated to the Chamber’s initiatives. The Taking Care of Business initiative supports improved air service, completion of the Kalispell Bypass, a strong downtown, high-tech business development, small business development, and a strong manufacturing sector.

The Banquet and Auction also recognized the contributions, achievements, and leadership of community members including:

43rd Great Chiefs – Bev and Duane Larson

The Chamber’s oldest and most prestigious award, the Great Chief Award honors civic and volunteer spirit, which spans a lifetime and provide a legacy for the community. Through their efforts, the recipients have made Kalispell and the Flathead Valley a better place in which to live and work. The Larson’s award is an original watercolor painting of the Central School Museum by renowned artist Karen Leigh.

Their nominator said "Bev and Duane leave a legacy for the citizens of Kalispell that is unmatched. They are two of the most generous individuals this community has ever seen." Duane served as Fire Chief for the City of Kalispell and served on the Kalispell City Council for 24 years. He also served on numerous boards such as NW Montana Historical Society, Park Side Federal Credit Union, Montana League of Cities and Towns, and City County Health Department. Bev also served on many non-profit boards including Samaritan House, Flathead Food Bank, United Way, and Neighbors in Need.

Member of the Year – Dorinda Grey, Insured Titles

The Member of the Year Award goes to the general member who goes above and beyond in their service to the goals of the Chamber. This year’s award goes to Dorinda Gray, Business Development Officer for Insured Titles. Dorinda chaired two of the most active and complex committees of the Chamber: the Ambassadors and Leadership Flathead. Because of her always-positive attitude, her great leadership skills, and her dedication to the Chamber, Dorinda is the Member of the Year.

Businessman of the Year – Mark Blasdel, Vista Linda Restaurant and Catering

Mark Blasdel is an owner of Vista Linda Restaurant and Catering and the current Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Flathead High and Flathead Valley Community College. A nominator said, "he is known for the countless gift certificates that they give out and discount food prices the give for charity events." In the legislature Mark was known for fighting for the taxpayer, business, and education through his work on dual credit and distance learning and perhaps best known for securing a 100-0 vote on the budget bill in the 2014 session.

Businesswoman of the Year – Karen Cramer, Beckman’s Fine Furnishings

Karen Cramer is the owner of Beckman’s Fine Furnishings in downtown Kalispell and now in Whitefish. Karen is also on the board of directors of the Kalispell Downtown Business Improvement District. Ms. Cramer brings enthusiasm and professionalism to all of her endeavors in a way that inspires everyone she works with.

2015 Chamber Officers

Chairman of the Board – Brian Pelc, First Interstate Bank

Vice Chairman of the Board – Lisa Brown, Red Lion Hotel

Secretary/Treasurer – Mike Mower, Northwest Drywall

Immediate-Past Chairman – R Gunlikson & Associates CPA PC

2015 Chamber Directors

Joe Carbonari – Carbonari and Associates

Jim Drager – The Drager Group

Mark Gronley – NorthWestern Energy

Bob Herron – Bob Herron, Chartered Life Underwriter

Mark Johnson – Flathead Electric Cooperative

Kristen Jones – Flathead Valley Community College

Jason Manger – Applied Material

David Mitchell – CTA Architects and Engineers

Bob Nystuen – Glacier Bank

Chris Ohler – Insured Titles

Jim Oliverson – Kalispell Regional Healthcare

Jim Peterson – Valley Ford

Jerry Sorensen – Plum Creek Timber Company

Laura Taylor – KOFI/Monster

Kary Tonjum – City Service Valcon

Holly Wagner – Payne West Insurance

David Waldenberg – Central Heating and Cooling

Rick Weaver – Daily Inter Lake

Ex-Officio – Mark Flatau – Kalispell Schools Superintendent

Ex-Officio – Mike Pence – Flathead County Administrator

Ex-Officio – Maria Phelps – Flathead Area Young Professionals

Ex-Officio – Doug Russell – Kalispell City Manager

To learn more, visit or call 406-758-2803.

About the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Since 1904, the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Convention, and Visitor’s Bureau has been a leading voice in strengthening our community and the business climate in order to make Kalispell and the Flathead Valley an ideal location to live and work. The Chamber consists of 700 businesses and organizations that employ over half of the workforce in Flathead, County, Montana.

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The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce is the longest-standing and leading advocate for the Flathead Valley community and business climate.

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