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Chamber to install new directors

ARLINGTON Both incumbent and incoming members of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be installed at their black-and-white banquet Jan. 26. Some looked back on their accomplishments and shared their aspirations with The Arlington Times.
Longtime board member Becky Foster, who was re-elected for a one-year term, remains proudest of her role in expanding one of the more visible landmarks in Smokey Point.
We successfully funded the overpass in 2004, said Foster, of Bruce and Beckys Interiors in Smokey Point. Now, I think one of our biggest priorities is to educate new businesses that, regardless of whether theyre in Marysville or Arlington, theyre still part of Smokey Point. Its not a matter of extending their reach, because theyve always had that reach. They need to know theyre represented by the chamber.
Foster feels that new developments in Lakewood and Smokey Point have confused a number of area residents and obscured what she sees as the larger message of organizations such as the Chamber.
Its no longer about just the greater Arlington or Marysville areas, but the greater North Snohomish County area, Foster said. As our community grows, we need to focus on this whole area, and not just part of one city or another. Groups like ours can bring together everyone in a bipartisan way.
Fellow veteran board member Barb Tolbert, who was reelected for a two-year term, cites the more recent consolidation of the Smokey Point and Arlington Chambers as among the proudest moments of her tenure.
There were a lot of questions about how we would be organized, and some speed-bumps in our operations, but I think weve done a great job of merging, said Tolbert, of the Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association in Arlington. What we need to do from here is show the value and benefits of being a Chamber member to businesses. We offer a strong voice to represent them, and weve fostered public and private partnerships for economic development.
Tolbert cited traffic congestion in Smokey Point as one of her concerns, while welcoming new members to explore the Chamber.
Newly inducted board member Jesica Stickles was elected to a three-year term, and shes made it one of her goals to attract more customers to downtown Arlington.
Part of that is because of the Olympic Avenue remodeling, said Stickles, of Stickles Press in Arlington. I believe in small towns, and I want them to be prosperous as long as possible. We need to get more businesses involved in the Chamber. It already has a welcoming feel, but I want it to feel even more welcoming.
Stickles ran for board membership because she was already spending a great deal of time volunteering for the Chamber, and Executive Director Jennifer Shaw asked her to take the next step.
Paul Graves likewise ran for vice president of the board because of his lifelong friendship with outgoing Chamber President David Boulton, who encouraged Graves in his run.
Its important to get new folks involved, said Graves, also a newcomer to the board. A lot of our strongest volunteers in this community are involved in many of its activities. They need help from the next generation, to step up and take responsibility of their own. As Arlington grows, so too does its pool of volunteers need to grow.
Graves echoed the desire to expand the Chambers membership, in both Smokey Point and Arlington, while supporting the businesses in both locations.
Ive got offices in both Smokey Point and Arlington, Graves said. My home is on French Avenue. I want to see businesses succeed here.

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