2019 Annual Meeting Wrap Up!

2019 Annual Meeting Wrap Up!


On Tuesday, February 11th, the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Meeting.  Attended by a wide variety of Chamber members and local dignitaries, it was the perfect way to wrap up 2019 and begin on our vision for a prosperous and productive 2020!

The event kicked off with a warm welcome from our 2019 Chair of the Chamber Board, Diana Symonds.  Michael Mahaffey provided an inspiring invocation, and the attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch from Louie’s Custom Meats.

As Diana called the meeting to order, she reflected on a year of progress, achievement, collaboration and growth for the Chamber and for Clear Lake.  She then passed the gavel to the 2020 Board Chair, Dan Nichols of CLTel, who touched base on goals and aspirations for the upcoming year.

The 2020 Chair-Elect, Natalie Plagge, presented Diana Symonds with a plaque for her service as Board Chair.

Natalie also recognized our retiring Board Members: Stacie Gustafson of Drive Wise, and Kristy King of Bergland + Cram.

Natalie then introduced the 2020 Board Officers and Directors.  They are as follows:


Chair: Dan Nichols, CLTel

Past Chair: Diana Symonds, McQuaid Agency

Treasurer: Sarah Nielsen, First Citizens Bank

Vice Chair Tourism: Carrie Tysdahl, American Solutions for Business

Vice Chair Legislative Affairs: Mark Dodd, One Vision

Chair Elect: Natalie Plagge, Clear Lake Bank & Trust


Jay LeFevre, First Gabrielson Agency

Michael Knorr, Henkel Constsruction

Kent Thoe, MBT Bank

Deb Cash, Farmers State Bank

Kelli Mason, Lake Lifestyles

Aaron Donaldson, Lake Theatre

Denni Sue Erickson, Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel

Chelsey Anderson, Dean Snyder Construction

Sam Omen, McKesson

Kevin Paul, Clear Lake Bait & Tackle

Kristi Miles, Pritchard’s Lake Chevrolet

The reins were then handed over to our Chamber President & CEO, Stacy Doughan. She shared this incredible video put together by the Chamber team about some of the more interesting questions we receive daily at the Chamber. Check it out!


Before the awards ceremony, Casey Callahan & Mark Ebeling shared an Ignite Campaign update.  In a nutshell, the contributions over the years have placed Clear Lake in a steady position to provide 4th of July Fireworks for years to come; however, they will always accept donations!

Jamie Olthoff gave the First Mates report and presented the award to the First Mate of the Year.  The First Mates exist to be ambassadors of the Chamber.  They help with ribbon cuttings, Customer Service Awards, Business After Hours and are the Chamber’s first line of defense when looking for volunteers.

The First Mate of the Year is an individual who demonstrates significant contributions to the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce during the preceding year both in attendance and engagement.  This year’s winner, Chuck Myers, has been a dedicated member of the First Mates.  He was the first to volunteer to help at the Chautauqua and Harvest Festival, and he also serves on the TRI Clear Lake Committee.

Congratulations, Chuck!

Sarah Nielson presented the award for Education Partner of the Year to Central Gardens.  They made a conscious effort to offer kids programming at a space historically cared for by adult volunteers.  Children were invited to attend gardening programs and events in the Kids BEE Happy Gardens during Fresh on Fridays, where they learned about and explored nature through projects, speakers, green-thumb activities and art.

Congratulations, Central Gardens!

Carrie Tysdahl presented the North Iowa Service Award to the Association for the Preservation of Clear Lake.  Established in 1940, this group of volunteers is dedicated solely to the protection and enhancement of North Iowa’s most valuable natural resource – Clear Lake.  Throughout the past 80 years, the Association has contributed greatly to many projects to ensure high quality of our lake, its wildlife, beaches and marsh areas.  They’ve been integral in the establishment of the CLEAR Project, as well as providing financial and administrative support for many projects to ensure the cleanliness and sustainability of our beautiful lake.

Congratulations, Association for the Preservation of Clear Lake!

A new award for this year, the Soaring Above and Beyond award, was presented by Diana Symonds to Larry & Kay Day.  Every now and then, there is a selfless contribution to the betterment of our area that cannot be ignored.

The cold, bitter winters can be brutal in our area, but Larry & Kay saw the frozen lake as an opportunity to bring joy to thousands of people despite the frigid temps.

Color the Wind is the Midwest’s largest and most colorful winter kite festival, featuring huge inflatable kites of all kinds, flown by serious kite-flyers from across the United States.

Congratulations, Larry & Kay Day!  And thank you, for sharing your passion for kite flying with all of us in North Iowa!

A volunteer is an altruistic person who freely offers to take part in an organization or undertake a task.  The Larry Luker Voluneer of the Year Award was created to recognize an individual who stands out in his or her leadership, contributions, and unselfish record of volunteerism to the North Iowa Area.

This year, we were proud to announce Jennifer Larsen as the winner.  Jen serves on the Lake Leadership committee, TRI Clear Lake, and First Mates committees.  She also Chairs the Harvest Festival committee and is a dedicated Rotarian.  Selflessly serving the city of Clear Lake, Jen does it all!

Congratulations, Jen Larsen!  And thank you for everything you do!

Lastly, we presented the Business of the Year Award.  The Business of the Year recognizes a business who demonstrates outstanding service in a professional field while striving for improvements that benefit the broader community.

It started with Rookies twenty-five years ago.  The addition of Sevens in 2009 grew them into a Main Street double dose of fun.  In 2019, Tap’d joined the conglomerate, offering craft beers from around the state.  Whether you’re in the mood for a nice meal, happy hour specials, a game of pool, or need to satisfy your inner beer snob, the team at Rookies, Sevens & Tap’s has you covered.

Congratulations, Rookies, Sevens & Tap’d!  And thank you for your generous support, reliable partnership and dedication to Clear Lake’s Main Avenue.

Stacy concluded the meeting with thanks for all who attended, and congratulations to our many award recipients.

In conjunction, the team at the Clear Lake Area Chamber would like to thank all of you!  Those who participate in our activities, who donate their time and talent to better our area, who read the blog posts and share the stories of our fabulous lake town.

We thank you.

See ya at the Lake!


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