GVC Business & Leadership Award winners announced

The Greater Vancouver Chamber (GVC) announced the 2021 Business & Leadership Awards’ recipients in a virtual ceremony, presented by the Port of Vancouver USA. Six outstanding business owners and leaders were recognized for their dedication and service to the community this past year.  

This year’s winners were awarded for their contributions in six categories that included: John S. McKibbin Leadership, Community Champion, Small Business, Statesperson, Start-Up to Watch and Large Business. 

The John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award went to the President of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington Jennifer Rhoads. Rhoads has had a rich history in a variety of positions in the financial sector leading up to her focus on philanthropy and efforts in interrupting poverty in the region while at the Community Foundation. This award recognizes an individual each year who similarly demonstrates a positive influence across many sectors of the community.  

The Community Champion Award’s recipient was Horenstein Law Group, who displayed through the pandemic a commitment to the region and acted like a champion offering their expertise and guidance to business owners as they navigated their way through the last year and a half, saving countless businesses.

The Small Business Award went to Delta Direct Care, a Battle Ground business that continuously seeks to help companies and community. Last year, they stepped up to partner with local community members and nonprofits to provide vaccine pop ups.

This year’s Statesperson Award was given to the Director and Health Officer of Clark County Public Health Dr. Alan Melnick. During 2020, when the region was experiencing the evolving threat of COVID-19, Dr. Melnick ceaselessly advocated for the health and safety of the people of Clark County, remaining committed to service, communication and equanimity.

GVC also recognized during the event the company Sprout Partners as the Start-Up to Watch. This award looks at those businesses that are up to their first five years and recognizes one that is emblematic of tenacity, vision and strong business practices.

Finally, LSW Architects was awarded as the Large Business of the Year for creating a sustainable community through creative solutions and design. This honor is given to an organization with more than 25 employees that is growing in market share, growing in sales, creating more jobs for the community and giving back in a way that helps make the community thrive.

About the honorees, GVC President/CEO John McDonagh said, “These six organizations and individuals represent the fabric of our business community in SW Washington. It is an honor for the Greater Vancouver Chamber to be able to shine a light on these six so everyone has the opportunity to understand it takes us all to create our community.”

“Just as our country cheered and celebrated the strength and dedication of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes who competed in Tokyo this summer, we are excited to turn our focus and recognize and cheer on our regions’ business and community champions,” added McDonagh.

In honor of the Tokyo Olympics, this year’s awards ceremony featured, as emcee and keynote speaker, former U.S. Olympian, Johnny Quinn. His keynote, “Think like an Olympian,” covered an Olympian’s perspective on perseverance and how to overcome adversity. Quinn concluded his speech encouraging the audience to consider if they are “available” to finding unexpected opportunities to serve the community, that includes clients, family and the people they interact with every day.

“I am going to let you know a secret. Ultra-performers, men and women, in sports and business, they figured this out. They considered this question and they answered ‘yes’ to the question, are you available?,” Quinn, who is a small-business owner himself, concluded. To watch Johnny Quinn’s speech, visit: https://youtu.be/VaJ8RPVT4vo.

During the event, the Chamber’s 2021-2022 Board was installed. The Officers and Executive Board for the year will be Chair Tamara Fuller of Capacity Commercial; Chair Elect John Dombroski of Chick-fil-A Cascade Park; Vice Chair Julianna Marler of Port of Vancouver USA; Secretary/Treasurer Lisa Goecke of Perkins & Co.; and Immediate Past Chair Kevin Getch of Webfor. 

The livestream, available on Facebook Live, was at no cost, a courtesy made possible by event sponsors, including: Presenting Sponsor, Port of Vancouver USA; Supporting Sponsors, PeaceHealth and Cal Portland; Virtual Platform Sponsor, ilani; Media Sponsor, The Columbian; and Award Sponsors, Riverview Community Bank, NW Natural, HAPO Community Credit Union, PacificSource Health Plans, The PEAK Fleet, and Perkins & Co.  

For more information about the awards and sponsorship opportunities for next year, please contact the Chamber at YourChamber@VancouverUSA.com or go to VancouverUSA.com/Annual-Events. 



Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.