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Bend Chamber announces business honors


The Bend Chamber of Commerce held its annual business SAGE Awards ceremony at a new location Tuesday night. There also was a new surprise award — a Corporate Excellence in Business award whose winner had no idea they were even nominated.

This is the 27th year for the awards, but the first year the event has been held at Tetherow Resort. There were red carpets, people taking pictures, cheering with drinks, and also getting ready for the main stage.

Organizers said this year’s nominees were diverse.

“With the diversity of the companies that were nominated, it really brought new energy to the table and a lot of new faces that we haven’t seen before,” said Sandy Stephenson, the Bend Chamber’s interim CEO.

The SAGE Awards are more than a networking event. Organizers say they’re a way for a business to get more credibility in the community. And the new faces were excited, and nervous about what was going to happen.

The panel of judges spends four weeks studying the nominee packets. Half of the scoring is based on written nominations and the other half on personal interviews.

“It’s pretty rigorous, and there’s some pretty heavy criteria and to be able to move on, it’s pretty deserving for the nominees,” said Robin Rogers, the Bend Chamber’s executive vice president of programs and events.

Winners get a certificate, a feature on the chamber’s website and maybe most important, community recognition.

Congratulations to all winners and nominees this year. Organizers say it’s truly an honor just to be selected as a nominee.

Members of the Bend Chamber and others in the community were able to nominate businesses. It is an annual event, so if you didn’t get a chance to nominate your favorite business this time, there’s always next year.

Here’s the news release announcing the winners:

On Tuesday evening, more than 200 attendees gathered at the Tetherow Resort Event Pavilion to celebrate the region’s finest citizens and businesses at the sold out 27 th annual Star Awards for Greatness and Excellence (SAGE) event.

“The Bend Chamber SAGE Business Awards are renowned for showcasing the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of our region’s most brilliant businesses and citizens,” said Robin Rogers, executive vice president of programs and events for the Bend Chamber. “We know our members and businesses are the engine of our economy, driving growth and delivering jobs for thousands in our community. And, we appreciate that these businesses and individuals invest their heart and soul into their businesses and professions every single day.”

The Bend Chamber received more than 30 nominations. Nominations were open to Bend Chamber members. Citizen of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award were open to both members and the community at large. All nominees, with the exception of the People’s Choice Award, were judged by an independent panel of judges comprised of past winners, business owners and community dignitaries.

“Every one of our nominees is deserving,” said Rogers. “It’s these members, citizens and businesses that help our community prosper and thrive.”

2016 Winners:

Lifetime Achievement: Jim Schell
Citizen of the Year: Gwenn Wysling
Large Business of the Year: Humm Kombucha
Small Business of the Year: ASI Wealth Management & Consulting Services
Nonprofit Organization of the Year: MountainStar Family Relief Nursery
New and Emerging Business of the Year: Cairn
Entrepreneur of the Year: Atlas Cider
Healthy Workplace of the Year: G5
Corporate Excellence in Business Award: U.S. Bank
People’s Choice Award: SMART (Start Making A Reader Today)

About the Bend Chamber – The Bend Chamber, serving over 1,200 businesses and representing more than 24,000 jobs, is a vital strategic partner creating resources and opportunities for member success, quality of life, engagement and meaningful impact. For more information, please visit

For more information on the awards, you can visit their website:

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