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Everyday Business | Awards and insights on biz calendar

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Drink up, eat up, whoop it up

The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet is less than three weeks away, so make sure your wrinkled paisley suit jacket gets to the dry cleaners soon.

The big event starts with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. (dinner at 6:30 p.m.) March 6 at the Wenatchee Convention Center. The cost is $45 for pre-registered Chamber members and $55 for non-members.

This is the night, of course, when the organization’s top annual awards are handed out — Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Heart of the Chamber Award and the Legacy Award. If that isn’t enticing enough, the evening is also loaded with donated goodies at raffles and a silent auction.

For more info or to register, call 662-2116 or visit

Innovator awards luncheon coming up

Nominations have closed for GWATA’s 2014 Innovator Awards, and we’re hoping again this year that the top innovator designs a space-time warp from The Wenatchee World newsroom to the Red Lobster in Yakima.

Presented at the group’s annual luncheon, the awards include Entrepreneur of the Year, Tech Savvy Business of the Year, Future Technology Leader and Innovative Use of Technology in the Classroom.

This year’s luncheon cranks up at noon March 19 at the Wenatchee Convention Center, 121 N. Wenatchee Ave. Cost is $25 for GWATA members and $30 for non-members. To register, call 661-9000 or visit

By the way, GWATA is the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance, a group that promotes a technology-based economy for the region. No space-time warps yet, however.

Retired airline exec next in CEO series

A former president and CEO of Alaska Airlines is the next hotshot exec in the CEO Insights Seminar Series, sponsored here by accounting and consulting firm McQuaig & Welk.

Bill Ayer, who retired from Alaska-Horizon in 2012 after more than three decades with the company, will talk about marketing, team building, facing the competition and business expansion.

The event starts with refreshments at 4 p.m. March 11, with Ayer’s presentation beginning at 4:30 p.m., at the Riverside Playhouse, 233-B N. Wenatchee Ave. Cost is $15, with proceeds to benefit the Wenatchee High School’s Interact Club.

For more info, call 665-6600 or visit

A toast to Garcia and Sarmiento

Leo Garcia and Francisco Sarmiento, instructors at Wenatchee Valley College, were honored last week by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers for all they’ve done for the Hispanic population in the tree fruit and vineyard industries. They shared the grower group’s 2013 Industry Service Award for helping farmworkers “reach their full potential through education,” said a WAWGG press release.

Garcia, the Bilingual Agricultural Education Programs Director at the college, developed curricula for many of its agricultural programs, including the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program and the Latino Ag Education Program for Viticulture. Sarmiento is coordinator and instructor in the programs and has also worked on developing curricula.

Sun Mountain is ‘grand’ again

For the seventh year in a row, Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop has nabbed a prestigious Grand Award in the annual Washington State Wine Awards held Jan. 28 in Seattle. The award, given to only a handful of restaurants and organizations around the state each year, commends businesses and groups for their wine offerings and efforts in wine promotion and education.

Just so you know … the Marc Restaurant in Walla Walla was named Restaurant of the Year. Sun Mountain received that honor in 2010. Also receiving a Grand Award was the Valley Cafe in Ellensburg and the Yakima Valley Tourism office.

In another award category, the Breadline Cafe in Omak received an Award of Distinction at the wine award ceremony.

Tons of taters in Super Bowl bet

Remember the Super Bowl wager between the Washington State Potato Commission (Seahawks) and the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (Broncos)? The loser was supposed to send 500 pounds of taters for every point scored to the winning city’s favorite food bank.

Based on the Seahawks 43-8 demolition of the Broncos, Colorado will send 25,500 pounds of spuds to a Seattle food bank. Just to keep things friendly, however, the Washington group will match Colorado’s donation by giving 12.75 tons of their own taters to a Denver food bank. So everybody wins.

In the end it isn’t about who won or lost,” said Chris Voigt, executive director of the WSPC.

The spuds will be delivered in coming weeks and provide more than 76,500 servings of potatoes to folks who rely on food banks, said a WSPC press release.

This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.