The out going president of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce looks a lot like the new in coming president Jim Stogsdill because it is. At the 54th Awards Reception held last weekend Stogsdill explained, “Boyd Jorgerson was actually the 2012 president, however early in the year his company transferred him to Anchorage, so seeing I was president elect for 2013 I was moved into the presidency for 2012 and now my real term as president begins.” While the Soldotna Chamber is known for its many fun events and activities throughout the year like Progress Days and the Peninsula Winter Games there is a serious far greater purpose to Chamber of Commerce membership other than their social activities says Stogsdill, “We have almost 600 business members and our goal is to bring people to Soldotna for a wide variety of reasons that include the visitor, the family looking to relocate, as a location for conferences or anything you might imagine that brings people here because once they are here we can do business with them referring them to our members that can meet their needs while building a strong economy, creating jobs and bringing in tax dollars to the community. So our purpose and activities is a win win for everyone, but requires a lot of effort on the part of the Chamber,” he said. Stogsdill added that among his goals this year is to have a plan and movement forward toward a new visitors center to include conference areas, “There are a ton of people who would like to come here in the winter, spring and fall to have conferences and conventions and that translates into nothing but business for our community, so if we can pull that off in the next year or two we will have accomplished a lot for everyone,” added Stogsdill, owner of Fish Happens Guide Service. Joining Stogsdill on the 2013 board will be Becky Hutchinson of Alaska USA as secretary/treasurer, Janet Pope of Natron Air, Robyn Sullens of KSRM, Mary Hart of GCI, Ester Chambers with Freedom Realty, Robert Ruffner Kenai Watershed Forum, Ryan Kapp of Edward Jones, Sherri Nyitrai of AK Family Medical Clinic, Steve Horn KPC, Steve Manley of Wells Fargo, Becky Foster of Foster Construction and Dale Bagley Soldotna City Council representative.
Chosen for the annual awards were Dan Gensel for Devoted Service to Youth, The Redoubt Reporter was chosen for the Small Business of the Year award, and the Soldotna Historical Society was given the 2012 Pioneer Award. The Excellence in Profession went to Dan Nyitrai of the Alaska Family Medical Clinic, Volunteer of the Year was Tami Murray and Sweeney’s Clothing was chosen as the 2012 Business of the Year. The esteemed Person of the Year was Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Atwater, “It’ very humbling to be chosen as Person of the Year, there are a lot of strong, good leaders in this community and to be recognized in this way is very humbling and a great honor and makes me feel like I’m doing a good job and by extension everybody in my school district is doing a good job that is being recognized by the business community as well,” said Atwater. Dr. Atwater was also chosen as the Superintendent of Year for the State of Alaska in 2012.
Michelle Glaves reported that a good time was had by all, “Everyone enjoyed dancing to the music of Bull Don and the Moose Nuggets and I wish to express our sincere appreciation to all volunteers who make all our efforts effective, our sponsors and donors for their hard work and generosity in 2012,” she said.