The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2023 Business Awards on March 28th at CenterPlace Regional Event Center.
The awards celebrate the exceptional achievements of local businesses that have made a significant impact on the Greater Spokane Valley community. The winners of each category were selected by an independent judging committee, with one small business and one large business chosen for each category.
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.
Spokane Valley Summer Theatre
The Spokane Valley Summer Theatre was the small businesses award recipient.
Innovation and expansion are two key factors that drive business success, and the Spokane Valley Summer Theatre (SVST) has demonstrated both. The award is a recognition of the extraordinary efforts made by SVST to innovate and expand their programs continually.
The SVST’s utilization of the pandemic to better understand their audience demographics is one of their most significant innovations. This was done by identifying who was coming to their shows and where the growing demand for theatre was. This resulted in a massive increase in sales and sign-ups, particularly from more rural and underserved theatre communities. Through their efforts, the SVST has been able to reach out to communities that have not had access to arts programs in recent years.
With schools continuing to cut arts programs, the SVST has been able to fill that void by expanding their summer theatre classes and conservatory program. By doing so, they have provided a way for students to engage with the arts, showcase their talents, and provide a platform for aspiring performers looking to take the next step toward a professional career in the performing arts.
Western States Equipment Company
Western States Cat Equipment Company was the large business recipient for Innovative Workplace. Western States was selected for their ability to identify and create creative solutions to their industry’s looming issues and commitment to putting employee satisfaction at the front of their business.
One of Western States’ recent initiatives was the launch of the Western State Tech Academy. This program was designed to train the next generation of workers, focusing on entry-level and skills-intensive training. The program is ideal for recent high school graduates, individuals without industry experience, military service members, or individuals seeking on-the-job training. The program is fully immersive, and successful students can step into an apprentice technician role after less than a year of study.
Western States’ commitment to understanding their employees has allowed them to identify and make the necessary changes to develop programs such as the Tech Academy. They’ve leaned on employee feedback to create a happier workplace with less turnover than their competitors.
Congratulations to Western States Cat Equipment Company for being an example for businesses looking to develop innovative solutions and investing in their employees and their future.
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.
Roller Valley Named Winner of Inspiring Workplace Award for Small Businesses
Five years ago, Zhanna Oberemok purchased Roller Valley with no intention of keeping it as a roller rink. But after such overwhelming feedback, she decided not only to keep it as Roller Valley but to give it a much-needed facelift. Now, it’s back as the hangout spot of the valley for kids and teens alike.
As a women-owned and operated business, and a mother herself, Zhanna knew firsthand how hard life can be as a working mother. Knowing this, she decided to alleviate that burden and allow working mothers to bring their children to work with them. This has allowed the women who work at Roller Valley to provide for their families without sacrificing time away from their children.
Roller Valley is not just a business but a community center that offers a safe and positive environment for kids and teenagers in the Valley. Operating with a minor’s permit, Roller Valley starts hiring at 14 and has committed to ushering the next generation of workers into the workplace with the experience and letters of recommendation needed.
Apart from volunteering and helping local nonprofits, Roller Valley’s only hope is to be the best place for families to spend time together, a home away from home for those who don’t have one.
Roller Valley’s commitment to creating a supportive workplace for working mothers and their dedication to their community has earned them the 2022 Business Awards for Inspiring Workplace.
Spokane Indians Baseball Club
The Spokane Indians Baseball Club was honored for the Inspiring Workplace award for large companies.
The Spokane Indians offer more than just a summer job for the people of Spokane. For many kids in the community, it’s their first job, and the team takes this responsibility seriously. Their commitment to employee development is evident in the fact that 75% of their front office staff started as interns or gameday team members with the Indians.
The team’s relentless desire to create the best workplace has resulted in various employee development programs throughout the year, relying on employee feedback to create a positive and supportive work environment. All new and returning team members undergo customer service training each year to ensure a perfect gameday experience for every fan.
With their dedication to employee development and customer satisfaction, it’s no surprise that the Spokane Indians were awarded “Organization of the Year” in 2021 by the Minor League of Baseball.
The Spokane Indians’ efforts have been noticed, and their recognition as the winner of the Inspiring Workplace award is well-deserved. We congratulate the Spokane Indians on this achievement and look forward to seeing their continued success.
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.
Valleyfest was awarded the Community Stewardship Award for the Small Business Category.
The Community Stewardship Award recognizes businesses that have significantly impacted the community through established volunteerism and philanthropic practices. Valleyfest has been a shining example of this since its inception.
Valleyfest is unique by bringing together businesses of all sizes and offering a platform for them to connect with the Valley in a much more personable way. While important, coming together as a community has become increasingly difficult. Yet Valleyfest has remained a consistent community gathering for over 34 years.
Valleyfest Board Member Rick Wilhite said, “It’s always been about the kids. That’s why this event started because we wanted a free community event for kids.” Valleyfest still requires that every business that reserves a booth has an activity for kids.
After 34 successful years, Valleyfest has earned the title of Community Stewards for their commitment to community involvement and support for local businesses in the Spokane Valley.
BECU is the recipient of this year’s Community Stewardship Award for Large Business. Their philanthropic work in the community, and commitment to empowering their members and employees, are why they were awarded.
BECU’s support for non-profit organizations ranges from their employee non-profit gift matching program to their People Helping People campaign, which invests $50,000 into local nonprofits nominated by their members and employees.
Last year, BECU provided three $15,000 grants to local non-profit organizations – Joya, Spokane AIDS Network, and Idaho Central Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center – through the People Helping People campaign. They’ve also introduced the Black Community Development Project – a five-year, $5 million commitment to Black communities and racial equity to address racial inequality and injustice issues.
For their continued support of local non-profits, financial education, and community empowerment, BECU deserves recognition for their commitment to making a difference. It’s an honor to present BECU with this year’s Community Stewardship Award for Large Business.
Congratulations to BECU for their outstanding contribution to the community. We hope their work inspires other businesses to follow in their footsteps and make a positive impact in their communities.
“We are honored to recognize and celebrate these local businesses that have positively impacted our community,” Lance Beck, President & CEO of the Valley Chamber, said. “They continue to inspire the members of our community and reflect the values of the Valley.”