Awards of Excellence Winners

2013

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Max Spalding

Entrepreneur of the Year: Mark & Steffanie Anderson, Business Cents

Business of the Year – Tier 1: The Splash/The Current

Business of the Year – Tier 2: Telect, Inc.

Charity/Cultural Services Award: Spokane Symphony

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Julie Van Wormer, ALSC Architects

Community Caring Award: Mark Peterson, “KXLY Extreme Team”

Educators of the Year: Leanne Donley, Central Valley School District & Haley Murray, West Valley School District

2012

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: William H. Gothmann

Entrepreneur of the Year: The Grounds Guys – Kenny Smith

Business of the Year – Tier 1: Independent Wealth Connections

Business of the Year – Tier 2: Greenstone Corporation

Human Services Award: HUB Sports Center

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Cindra Shields

Community Caring Award: Avista

Ambassador of the Year: Jennifer Nemes

Special Lifetime Achievement Award: Dick Behm

Educators of the Year: Morgen Larsen of Greenacres Elementary School & Patricia Perrenoud, Consulting Educator at Spokane Valley High School

2011

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Chuck Stocker

Small Business of the Year: Tracy Jewelers

Medium Business of the Year: Baker Construction

Large Business of the Year: Valley Hospital

Non-Profit of the Year: Valleyfest

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Rick & Diana Wilhite, Safeguard Northwest

Community Caring Award: Hutton Settlement

Ambassador of the Year: Sonya Hutnik

2010

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Dick Denenny

Small Business of the Year: Clark’s Tire and Automotive

Medium Business of the Year: ALSC Architects

Large Business of the Year: Banner Bank

Non-Profit of the Year: Spokane Valley Partners

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Dick Behm, Behm’s Creamery

Community Caring Award: John Guarisco, MDI Marketing

Ambassador of the Year: Sheri Dickinson, Mountain West Bank

2009

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Peggy Doering

Small Business of the Year: MOJO Reprographics

Medium Business of the Year: Monique’s Salon

Large Business of the Year: Mirabeau Park Hotel

Non-Profit of the Year: Inland Northwest Blood Center

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Chuck Stocker

Community Caring Award: Barbara Olson, BNI

Ambassador of the Year: Vivian Shammel

2008

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Ian Robertson

Small Business of the Year: Walls That Talk

Medium Business of the Year: Design Events

Large Business of the Year: Coeur d’Alene Casino & Resort

Non-Profit of the Year: Inland Northwest Candlelighters

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Jim Giles

Community Caring Award: Monique Smith, Monique’s Salon

Ambassador of the Year: Debbie Navin

2007

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Diana Wilhite

Small Business of the Year: Marjoni Marketing

Medium Business of the Year: Quality Inn Valley Suites Hotel

Large Business of the Year: Wagstaff

Non-Profit of the Year: Spokane Valley Partners

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Philip L. Rudy, DDS

Community Caring Award: Ian Robertson and Dr. George Schneider, MD

Ambassador of the Year: Jim Giles

2006

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Joe Custer

Small Business of the Year: Brighton Court Assisted Living

Medium Business of the Year: Holiday Inn Express Spokane Valley

Large Business of the Year: Itron

Non-Profit of the Year: Spokane Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP)

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Sue Schindler, Blodgett & Co.

Community Caring Award: Susan DeLano, Wishing Star

2005

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Julie Prafke

Small Business of the Year: Beal Digital Media

Medium Business of the Year: Inland Empire Distributions Systems

Large Business of the Year: Mirabeau Park Hotel

Non-Profit of the Year: Transitions

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Connie Wagner, Quality Inn Valley Suites

Community Caring Award: Randy Johnson, Act Now

2004

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Mike DeVleming

Small Business of the Year: Heart in Hand

Medium Business of the Year: Office Depot

Large Business of the Year: Global Credit Union

Non-Profit of the Year: Meals on Wheels

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Skip Bonuccelli

Community Caring Award: Chris Armstrong

2003

Harry E. Nelson – Citizen of the Year: Norma Ventris

Small Business of the Year: Holiday Inn Express

Medium Business of the Year: Dishman Dodge

Large Business of the Year: STCU

Non-Profit of the Year: SV Community Center

Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year: Debbie Navin, Creative Business Systems

Community Caring Award: Kathleen Kozlowski, STCU

150-harry-e-nelson

Harry E. Nelson

Harry E. Nelson was born and raised in Iowa. As a young man, he learned carpentry and the printing trade, he then followed the silver boom to Colorado, where he published newspapers in the towns of Cripple Creek and Snyder at the turn of the century. He came to the Spokane area in 1905 and specifically to the Valley in 1907.

He returned to Iowa, married, and published more small papers, and then headed back to the Pacific Northwest to seek his fortune in the apple industry. In 1914, Mr. Nelson became associated with the Spokane Valley Growers Union, a cooperative apple house. It was while he was secretary-treasurer of the Growers Union that he and Karl Frolander saw the need for a Spokane Valley newspaper.

The first copy of the Spokane Valley Herald appeared March 24, 1920. On May 7, 1920, Harry outlined the philosophy of the Herald as well as expressing his faith in the Valley community. “Spokane Valley…is an empire within an empire,” he wrote. “Those with keen insight into the future know that the day is near at hand in which Spokane Valley will be so productive of wealth and so filled with homes that it will be one of the richest districts in the entire Northwest.”

In 1921, Harry Nelson joined with others to found the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. He then served as President in 1926.

After 16 years of service with the Washington State Horticultural Department, he retired for two years. During this time he devoted his energies to the Spokane Valley Kiwanis Club and the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. He was very involved with programs for children and to help young educators. In community development he was instrumental in forming the Pines Cemetery district. In 1949, the Chamber persuaded him to take the job of Managing Secretary. Under his management, the Spokane Valley Chamber soon began to accumulate a bank account, as well as property. Brochures describing the advantages of the Valley soon began to flow from the Chamber. In 1956, the Chamber was able to purchase three-quarters of an acre at 10303 E. Sprague, which had been part of the Balfour Ranch and the Balfour residence, which became the home of the chamber and later the site of the Fire Department and Balfour Park. The Chamber was serving the community, growing, and it was virtually debt free. Harry Nelson worked tirelessly at the Chamber until his death in 1959. His friend Jack Morrison, who was President during the time Harry worked at the Chamber, reflected, “He had a special way of putting things together and getting people involved.”

The Citizen of the Year Award has been named after Harry Nelson, because of his passion for the Spokane Valley and his commitment to the business community.

Harry E. Nelson Award Winners

2013 Max Spalding “Mr. Benevolent”

2012 William H. Gothmann “Mr. Reliable”

2011 Chuck Stocker “Community Educator”

2010 Dick Denenny “Community Visionary”

2009 Peggy Doering “Community Organizer”

2008 Ian Robertson “Community Involvement”

2007 Diana Wilhite “Business Advocate”

2006 Julie Prafke “Entrepreneur”

2005 Joe Custer “Lifetime Achievement”

2004 Mike DeVleming “First Mayor of Spokane Valley”

2003 Norma Ventris “Community Leader”