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Chamber installs new officers, directors
ARLINGTON — Paul Graves accepted the gavel from Jim Lonneker Jan. 13 and closed the meeting as the 2009 president of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce.
Graves, an employee with Response Mortgage Services, said he got involved with the chamber after his long-time friend David Boulton, and David’s father George Boulton strongly encouraged him to do so.
“I was inspired by their examples,” said Graves, a life-long resident of Arlington and 1983 graduate of Arlington High School.
Graves has been in the mortgage business for 12 years. He said he has attended chamber meetings periodically through the years, and joined in the fall of 2007 as a director.
“When they asked me to be an officer and I agreed to be vice president last year,” Graves said, adding he was inspired to participate also by his love for the community.
Graves learned the ropes this past year working with now past-president Jim Lonneker, of North County Bank.
“Jim has tremendous amount of experience, good at listening and deliberating,” Graves said. “I don’t want to call him an old sage but.”
Lonneker said he offered his services to the chamber because he believes in community service, no matter what the organization. He joined about eight years ago.
“At first it was to meet people in this area,” Lonneker said.
“Then I was asked to serve on the board which lead to vice president and then president. I joined at the time when our newly-combined chamber was facing many challenges.”
Lonneker believes his biggest contribution has been developing a strong board of directors and getting them involved with the committees.
“I can assure you that going forward, this board will be successful,” Lonneker said.
Graves sees his own strengths as nuts and bolts.
“My personal goal for the chamber is to make sure it invests in itself,” Graves said. “We’ve got a much improved Web site and the software, Chambermaster, to maintain it,” he said. Now in the year ahead, we have to use that to give more value to our members. That’s my goal: to grow the value of membership without adding cost.”
See the new chamber Web site that is still in development at www.arlingtonsmokeypointchamber.chambermaster.com.
Both Lonneker and Graves agree that the chamber is an important networking system that is important in these times of slow economy.
“In this economic time, it’s necessary for businesses to come together and support one another,” Graves said.
Lonneker wants the chamber to continue confronting issues facing the community. He noted the chamber’s hard work and effort toward bringing the University of Washington north campus to this area as one of the biggest issues in the past year.
“The chamber needs the continuing support of the community,” Lonneker said.
“I still want to see more unity between the downtown and Smokey Point. This has improved but there is still have work to do. This is the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce and we should all work for the common good of our area.”
Lonneker suggested to Graves after the Jan. 13 meeting that he should think about what he wants to accomplish this year and focus on that for the upcoming retreat.
He also advised Graves, “Have fun. The year goes by very quickly.”
In his free time, the new president enjoys playing the euphonium with the North Cascades Concert Band and skiing and other fun activities with his wife and three daughters.
Chamber social at Medallion Hotel
A chamber Business After Hours event is scheduled from 5 - 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29 at the Medallion Hotel, formerly the Hawthorne Inn, at 16710 Smokey Point Blvd., in Arlington. The event is a celebration of the new name of the hotel and there will be food, drinks and spa samples. Please RSVP to 360-657-0500. The chamber has set the date for it’s auction banquet on Feb. 28.
preparedness for businesses
Christine Badger offered an interesting exercise at the Jan. 13 chamber meeting.
The emergency management coordinator for the city of Arlington, the Arlington School District and Cascade Valley Hospital, Badger has been working over the past year and more to develop a web of readiness for any kind of major disaster. She provided a list of questions for chamber members to find answers for, encouraging them all to interact and discuss solutions. All the way from how to pay your employees when the banks are closed due to earthquake to how to get supplies if highways are closed from floods.
“Please take note where your suppliers are located, and if they are all in the Seattle area, then look north for another supplier,” Badger suggested.
She also reminded the business owners to examine their flood insurance and what know what it covers and to stock up on emergency supplies, as all residents should do as well. For information about preparing for emergencies, call Badger at 360-403-3618.