TULALIP — The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Business Leadership Awards for 2010 at the Tulalip Resort Casino May 21, to celebrate the accomplishments of local companies and individuals who have been judged to epitomize the spirit of leadership, excellent business practices and community involvement.
Jim Johnson was named “Volunteer of the Year” for his contributions to the Chamber and the Marysville and Tulalip communities.
Johnson moved to the area in 1997 after retiring as a school guidance counselor
Every Monday morning he picks up and delivers donations for the Marysville Community Food Bank, and served on its Board of Directors for approximately 4-5 years, until 2009.
Johnson’s seven years of volunteer work for Hospice earned him the title of “Hospice Volunteer of the Year” in 2009.
In 2006, he served as the Strawberry Festival Parade Grand Marshal and was cited for his work with the Marysville Kiwanis Club and as treasurer for the food bank’s annual Operation Marysville Community Christmas.
Johnson also designs wooden pins in the shapes of angels, butterflies and crosses, which he gives out as gifts and refuses to accept any payment for, aside from donations of materials.
His volunteer work for the Marysville United Methodist Church has seen him take mission trips to as far as Africa, and his longtime volunteer stint for the Marysville School District has included participation in its Pen Pal program.
Johnson has volunteered at the Chamber offices on Monday afternoons since 2002.
Stan Jones Sr. was named “Elected Official of the Year” for his commitment to the Chamber, its businesses and the local community, as well as for improving the business climate and encouraging economic development.
Jones served 15 consecutive elected terms of office for a total of 44 years of public service, making him the longest running Tribal Board member in the history of the Tulalip Tribes, before he retired last month at the age of 83.
He’s seen the Tribal government grow from three employees to 3,600, with an additional 2,500 jobs created through their economic development efforts, making the Tribes one of the top four employers in Snohomish County.
Jones was instrumental in the Boldt Fishing Treaty Decision, in which tribes received 50 percent of all harvestable salmon in the state of Washington.
In 1996, he joined Chamber President and CEO Caldie Rogers to create the first and only chamber to date to partner with a sovereign nation, which has been made “a national role model for diversity” by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Jones has served as president of Quil Ceda Village and on the Gaming, Hunting, Fishing and Business committees. He was also appointed the first National Chairman of the Task Force on Indian Gaming, and negotiated on the first tribal and state casino compact.
In 2007, Jones received the Tribal Gaming Visionary and Small Business Empowerment Award, and this year sees him receiving a Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award from National Indian Gaming Association.
Jones has spoken on Native American issues at the invitation of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and in China and Italy.
Dr. Larry Nyland was named “Individual Business Leader of the Year” for demonstrating leadership on local business and community issues.
Nyland was named the Washington State Superintendent of the Year for 2007, as well as a national finalist, and presided over the voter approval of a $120 million bond to build two new schools.
Nyland’s active engagement in his role has not been limited to his dozens of classroom walkthroughs each year. He’s presented on school leadership at the National Education Trust Conference and represented superintendents on the State Board of Education Math Panel. He’s likewise served as president of the Washington Alliance of Better Schools, as a juror for the Brock International Prize for education and on the Washington State Education Coordinating Council.
Nyland has also actively involved himself as a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and its Government Affairs committee, in addition to his membership on the Marysville Rotary Club and the Junior Achievement Board.
Upon learning of the Chamber’s “Buy Local” campaign, Nyland initiated an in-house audit of school district purchasing of goods and services, resulting in changes to the district’s purchasing policies giving priority to local businesses and services.
Before receiving his award, Nyland was credited with winning grants for the district in excess of several million dollars and leading passage of the recent four-year educational support levy, with a 57 percent “yes” vote.
In addition, more than 150 local businesses are connected through Career and Technical Education and the General Advisory Council, supporting students by providing jobs, internships, job shadows and volunteer work hours.
The Tulalip Resort Casino was named “Business of the Year,” with Tulalip Resort Casino President and COO Ken Kettler collecting the award on behalf of the casino for its customer and community services, as well as its corporate citizenship, business growth and innovative techniques.
Since its grand opening in 2003, the casino has become the fourth-largest private employer in Snohomish County, providing living wages to more than 2,320 employees, 90 percent of whom live and shop in the local area, with an impact exceeding $75 million.
The casino won the “Four Diamond” designation last year, which was also the same year that Sunny Kobe Cook visited the casino to deliver a motivational address to the Chamber. Since then, she’s incorporated her experience at the casino into her talks, citing her extensive worldwide stays at four- and five-star resorts, during which she states that none of those resorts can compare to standards set by the Tulalip Resort Casino in customer satisfaction.
In spite of the ongoing recession, the casino has made no reductions in its staff and continues to contribute to area businesses and other community organizations, often donating rooms and meals to auctions and fundraisers, as well as hosting groups ranging from Microsoft to the North America Motor Officers Association. The casino additionally creates millions of dollars for Tribal Community Impact funds that are distributed annually to area non-profits.
David Toyer has since left Marysville for Webster City, Iowa, but he was visibly emotional as he accepted this year’s Millikan-Howard Chairman’s Award, named after two former Chamber Board Chairs who have since passed on, but whose leadership Rogers credited with paving the way for the Chamber’s future successes.
Toyer simultaneously chaired both the Chamber’s Board and its Government Affairs Division from 2004-2009, which Rogers joked had earned him the nickname of the “Chairmanator.”
“In these roles, he moved quickly and with ease through the myriad of legislative, educational and economic development efforts that we are involved in as a chamber,” Rogers said. “He has the uncanny and rare skill of being able to research a new area of focus and become an overnight expert in any and all of the complex areas we work in. His dedication, skill and talent played a key role in why our Chamber is heralded as one of the leading chambers of commerce in our state and at the national level.”
Toyer joined in exploring the possibilities of a NASCAR track and a new four-year state polytechnic university. He’s held board seats on the Master Builders Association, the Everett Community College Foundation, the Lake Stevens Education Foundation, the Washington Affordable Housing Council and the Snohomish County Housing and Homelessness Policy Oversight Advisory Board, in addition to serving several years in the United Way Campaign Leadership Team. Rogers also credited Toyer with helping to develop the Business Leadership Awards program which was awarding him.
Toyer followed his fiancee to Webster City, where he now serves as an economic development consultant to try and breathe life back into an economically hard-hit area, but he was quick to credit Rogers and his parents for the path his life has taken.
“It’s a rural Iowa town, so it’s a happening place,” Toyer laughed, before turning serious. “It reminds me a lot of here. It’s had tough times, and more are on the way. This organization is so incredible. As the economy rebuilds, this Chamber will be at the forefront of that. I appreciate what this Chamber has given me. I got more out of it than I could ever repay.”