2024 Valley Chamber Business Awards

April 10, 2024

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual  2024 Valley Chamber Business Awards on March 27th at CenterPlace Regional Event Center. 

Each year, an independent panel of judges selects two organizations, one large (26 or more employees) and one small (25 or fewer employees), businesses or nonprofits, for each award category. The categories are Business Innovation, Inspiring Workplace and Community Stewardship. You can see last year’s winners here.

Educators of the Year

Katie Louie - Central Valley School District

Katie Louie has been recognized as the 2024 Educator of the Year for Central Valley School District.

Backstory: Katie joined Central Valley High School in 2008 as a math teacher and rose the ranks from CVHS assistant principal to principal at Spokane Valley Tech. She has since returned to CVHS to step into the principal role to start this school year. 

The big picture: Katie has stepped into multiple leadership roles and is known for her decisive and empathetic leadership, which has significantly improved school culture and community engagement.

Katie’s leadership style, ability to connect with students and staff, and innovative approach to education truly make her deserving of this accolade.

Molly Coulter - West Valley School District

Molly Coulter of Dishman Hills High School has been honored as the Educator of the Year by the West Valley School District.

Backstory: A dedicated educator since 2010, Molly’s innovative teaching methods in mathematics have pushed students beyond their limits, demonstrating her passion for building strong, impactful relationships with her students.

What they’re saying: “I have the best job in the world,” Molly said.

Congratulations, Molly! Thank you for your profound impact on our students’ lives!

Community Stewardship

The Community Stewardship award recipients have demonstrated a significant impact on our community through established volunteerism and philanthropic practices, ideally, those that involve the organization as a whole.


Walmart has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to community stewardship through various initiatives that have positively impacted the Spokane Valley community. From their disaster relief efforts, addressing food insecurity, supporting law enforcement, and partnering with local organizations, Walmart has consistently shown up for their community. Their financial contributions, volunteering efforts, and programs have made a significant difference in the lives of many, and we commend them for their dedication to being an outstanding corporate citizen.

Bank of America

Bank of America has set a high standard for community stewardship through their substantial philanthropic investments, volunteering efforts, and partnerships with local organizations. By addressing various social causes such as food insecurity, housing, workforce development, and arts and culture, Bank of America has made a significant impact on the Spokane Valley community. We applaud their commitment to giving back and making a difference in the lives of those they serve.

HUB Sports Center

HUB Sports Center has shown exceptional community stewardship through their various youth programs, collaborations with schools and businesses, and initiatives like Unlock Your Future, which promotes career pathways for students. Their efforts have not only positively impacted the community but also fostered strong partnerships. We commend HUB Sports Center for their dedication to empowering youth and creating opportunities for growth and success.

Inspiring Workplace

The Inspiring Workplace award recipients have demonstrated an excellent place to work and the individual roles within, shining a spotlight on their inspirational leaders who strive to deliver a better experience for their colleagues. They highlighted the internal human resource practices that create a uniquely inspiring and welcoming place for their employees to work and thrive.

Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel

Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel is this year’s large business winner for cultivating an Inspiring Workplace. Their slogan, “Welcome Home,” came from what the Coeur d’Alene Tribe calls ‘Traditional Tribal Hospitality’ which is why they treat their guests and employees like family.

Their family culture extends to how they treat their employees, which has stayed the same since they opened their doors in 1993. Since then, the CdA Casino has grown from 96 to 850 employees, but their care and employee benefits have been steadfast in generosity. The CdA Casino has prioritized training programs for its employees by empowering and mentoring them to learn new skills to help them level up in the workplace. 

The CdA Casino is an inspirational example for other businesses to look to when evaluating their culture. Their offering of robust benefits, prioritization of employee well-being through activities and communications, and implementation of new training and development programs demonstrate their commitment to their philosophy—”Welcome Home”—as an employer that values and cares for their employees.

Partners INW

Partners INW is this year’s small business winner for creating an Inspiring Workplace through their mission-driven culture of removing barriers and providing dignified assistance. 

Partners INW’s mission is to prevent hunger and poverty alongside great community partners. In the past two years, they have experienced record growth for their services, but they have maintained their tight-knit team as they continue to meet the needs of our vulnerable neighbors. Despite being a nonprofit, Partners INW offers generous benefits and celebrates its employees’ achievements inside and outside the office. 

Partners INW’s ability to manage rapid growth while sustaining employee morale is a testament to its strong leadership and commitment to its team. They have created a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and inspired to make a difference in their community, and we are grateful for the work they do in the Greater Spokane Valley. 

Business Innovation

The Business Innovation award recipients have demonstrated unique innovation through technology, product development, business processes, or other specialized techniques. They defined how the innovative business practice or product has a significant impact on their organization, industry, market, or client base through data and testimonials.

Numerica Credit Union

Numerica Credit Union was this year’s large business recipient for Business Innovation. Numerica was chosen for its two groundbreaking programs introduced last year: Down Payment Assistance and the Village Cohousing Works Project. These programs align with Numerica’s core purpose of enhancing lives, fulfilling dreams, and building communities. These initiatives directly address the housing crisis and increase access to homeownership for low-income and underbanked families.

In 2021, The City of Spokane declared a State of Emergency for its housing crisis. Many families who wanted to buy a home could no longer afford to, even with good credit and the means to afford a mortgage. So, in 2023, the City of Spokane awarded Numerica a $1.5 million grant. With that, Numerica created the Down Payment Assistance program, which gave first-time home buyers the help they needed to afford a down payment.

Numerica also enlisted and created a loan program for Village Cohousing Works, a local nonprofit that provides affordable and permanent housing for low-income households. VCW’s goal is to get ten families into manufactured homes in the next two years, a loan that VCW said no other credit union they approached would be willing to provide.

By developing these new programs, Numerica expects over 30 Spokane families will be able to realize their dream of owning a home. The Valley Chamber believes Numerica’s innovative approach will effectively mitigate the challenges brought on by the current housing market climate, and we hope it sets an example for others in the industry to follow.

Graze Craze

Graze Craze was this year’s small business recipient for Business Innovation. “There’s something special going on in Spokane Valley with Graze Craze,” Cory Hibbard, President of  Graze Craze, said when the Spokane Valley Graze Craze franchise won the President Award in July of 2023. Since then, the awards have kept coming for franchise owner Cindy Rice.

After just seven months of operating, Graze Craze was recognized nationally for its innovative approach to franchise operation. Most Graze Craze franchises look something akin to Domino’s Pizza, with a focus on carry-out orders, but Rice took a different approach, opting for an “event center” that seats 57 and serves beer and wine. They also inked a private label deal with Arbor Crest Wine Cellars last year and included distribution nationwide to Graze Craze franchises.

Graze Craze is famous for its beautifully designed and curated charcuterie boards. But to create the perfect visual display, not every slice of salami, cheese, or blueberry was going to make the main event. Rice decided to use the imperfect meats and cheeses to create hot sandwiches and use the leftover berries for jam and blackberry brie flatbread.

By repurposing food waste into new menu items and creatively utilizing their event space, Graze Craze was recognized by our judges for its innovation. We are excited to see how it continues to innovate and evolve as a part of the Greater Spokane Valley community.


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