The city’s business elite came out in force Thursday night to celebrate a year of civic accomplishment at the Seaside Chamber of Commerce Annual Award Dinner.

“One of the biggest years ever,” chamber Executive Director Brian Owen said from the podium of the Best Western Oceanview Resort banquet room.

Members and guests celebrated staff, a new board, volunteerism and local businesses.

With a theme of “We are Growing,” table decorations offered metal buckets and seed packages.

“It’s all about the success of the community and it’s all about the business and community leaders who are growing and thriving in Seaside,” the city’s visitor information specialist Ken Heman said.

Seven award-winners received recognition and applause.

Sue Pickell garnered an award for lifetime achievement for her years of volunteerism. She congratulated the chamber and its members. “I can see the growth,” Pickell said in accepting her honor. “Seaside is the greatest place to live and you guys are making it happen.”

A standing ovation greeted Nancy McCune as she accepted the Byron Award, named after legendary local volunteer Byron Meeks and presented to a member of the Seaside community who has shown outstanding qualities in community service.

A new year ahead

As the chamber closed out one year, its director looked ahead. Chamber events Pouring at the Coast, beach volleyball, Fourth of July fireworks, Hood to Coast and Yuletide in Seaside will see registration upgrades and increased social media presence.

“This year we’re going to focus on a true strategic plan,” Owen said. “We’re going to have a plan that’s going to build into the future. We’re going to have ideas on structure, where we want to go and how we’re going to get there.”

Owen said the chamber aims to “set the stage” for growth by becoming a hub for Seaside businesses.

The chamber will also look for advocacy partners.

“The biggest challenge is to work with our politicians in an advocacy role, either in the city role, county or the state,” Owen said. “We really need to plug in and put time and energy at the state levels.”

Business of the Year — Clatsop Community Bank

Volunteer of the Year — Robin Knoll, EZ Shipping Drop Off

2017 Legacy Award — Mark and Marci Utti, TD&M Enterprises

Community Impact Award — Jeremy Mills, State Farm

Rising Star/New Business Award — Andrew Stein, Logotek

Retail Excellence Award ­— Lum’s Auto Center

Chamber Ambassador of the Year — Beverly Renne

Lifetime Award — Sue Pickell

Byron Award — Nancy McCune

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