Whatcom business leaders honored at annual dinner

An insurance company and a car dealership were among the businesses honored at the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce awards dinner.

The 10th annual event was held Thursday evening, Dec. 4, at the Best Western Lakeway Inn.

State Street Insurance of Bellingham won the Small Business of the Year award, while Wilson Motors was given the Large Business of the Year award. Boundary Bay Brewery won the Tourism Business of the Year award.

Several individuals also were honored. The first-ever Millie DeFord Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award went to Cale Luna of Advance Solutions Technology. Luna has served as the lead ambassador for four years and has been involved with the chamber since 2002. DeFord served as the chamber's lead ambassador for many years before her death in February at the age of 85.

The Man of the Year award went to Charles Self. He moved to Bellingham following a career as a senior executive at Walmart and is very active in the local community. He has served on the Whatcom Museum Society board of directors.

Carol McDonald was named Woman of the Year. She operates the Inn at Mount Baker and is very active in the Mt. Baker Foothills Chamber of Commerce.

The 2014 Young Professional of the Year award went to Travis Rhone of Whatcom Land Title. Rhone received the most votes from his peers at the Whatcom Young Professionals group. He’s been a member of that group for two years and is actively involved in organizing charity events in the community.