503. Magazine: Summer 2022

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the salem chamber’s magazine

Leadership Salem fosters deep connections CTEC Café now open

Summer 2022

First Citizen Awards Business community unites to celebrate servant leaders

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Cul t of Per s o na lity

Building a More Positive Workplace Culture in 90 Days Building a positive workplace culture results in happier employees, which in turn, increases your production rates. Basically, a happy workplace is good for everyone. The question is: how can you create a positive, supportive workplace culture quickly? Check out these tips to get started.

Look for New Hires Who Fit In To create a positive work culture, your employees need to get along. So, it’s important for hiring managers to look for qualities in job applicants that would help them fit in at your company. For example, if most of your employees are the more casual, chatty types, you don’t want to hire someone who seems tightly wound. If you did, he or she would have a hard time working with and building relationships with your current employees. It might take you a Summer 2022

Chief Executive Officer

your employees that you’re happy and they should be too.

Have Some Fun

Design an Open Floor Plan Having a large, open floor plan lets your employees communicate with each other easily. This creates stronger team bonds and work friendships — and that alone can make your employees happy. While work shouldn’t be all about socializing, it is an important part of making your employees happy, and happier employees get more work done.

by Tom Hoffert,

bit longer to find someone to fill a job that will be a good fit but finding someone who “gets” your company’s culture is worth the wait. And when you ink them, celebrate them!

Be Approachable You might tell your employees that you have an open-door policy, but do you really make them feel comfortable approaching you? Take a few minutes each day to interact with your employees. Listen to their ideas and help them solve problems they’re having. When you show genuine interest in your employees, they know that you care about them and appreciate the work they do — and they’ll be a lot more comfortable entering your office to have a chat when needed. Also, say “hi” to people you pass in the hallways and smile frequently — it’s important for the boss to lead the way, and small gestures like these show

Don’t be afraid to let loose once in a while. It’s good to have some fun with your employees. It shows them that you’re just a regular person, not someone who’s powerful and scary. Host company-wide events such as a family picnic or an office holiday party. You can also host teambuilding events for each team. Simply choose fun activities that require team members to work together, such as a trip to the nearest escape room facility.

Recognize Accomplishments Set reachable goals for your employees each month and give recognition awards to employees who meet or exceed their goals. Alternatively, start an Employee of the Month program and let your employees nominate their coworkers for the award. Also, when an employee reaches a milestone, be sure to let them know that they did a great job. Creating a positive work environment doesn’t have to be difficult. The key to success is getting your employees to bond and interact with each other and ensure they feel valued and supported. 503. 3

TERTIARY LOGO This stacked logo is the tertiary logo option for the Salem Chamber. Utilize this option for instances where the space available is more fitting for a square orientation.


1110 Commercial St. NE Salem OR 97301 503.581.1466 www.salemchamber.org

Leadership Salem Recruiting Next Cohort.............................. 12 First Citizen Awards Unite Business & Servant Leaders....................................... 16 the salem chamber’s magazine

CTEC Café Opens......................24

President’s Message............... 6

CTEC Hiring Fair Benefits Students, Local Industries... 26

Directors & Staff..........................8 Manifesting Legacy................10

Ambassador of the Quarter: Mike Brickley.......................... 30

Cover & Above: First Citizen Awards Banquet was held on April 16. Zak Stone Photography.




401 Oak St., Silverton, OR 97381 P.O. Box 927, Mount Angel, OR 97362 503.845.9499 www.mtangelpub.com

503. is published quarterly by Mt. Angel Publishing, Inc., proud Chamber member. Publisher: Paula Mabry Project Manager: Tavis Bettoli-Lotten Advertising Graphics: Steve Beckner To advertise in the next issue, contact Advertising Executive: Jerry Stevens 541.944.2820 • jerry.s@mtangelpub.com

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S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g


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Summer 2022



by Laura Dorn,


SHOW UP As my 12 months at the helm of the Salem Chamber nears conclusion, I have had a number of people reach out to me to thank me for my efforts over the past year. I am humbled for the opportunity to serve as President, and equally thankful for all those who inspired me to serve. I consciously chose to be present and attend every event I could during my year as volunteer Board Chairwoman. And my, was it educational and enjoyable. I wish to share a couple of thoughts from my experiences as President of the Salem Chamber Board of Directors. If you expect to have any kind of influence in your company or industry, the first step is to show up. This means getting involved with your work community and going the extra mile in terms of the effort you give your assignments. The more you can put yourself out there, the more opportunities you will have for the higher-ups and key industry players to recognize you for your efforts.

Be On Time or Early Every Day Do your best to be one of the first people in the office every day. Not only does this demonstrate your commitment to your job, but it can also give you a chance to get some uninterrupted work in before everyone else arrives. Of course, there may be occasions when you are forced to arrive late, but try not to make a habit of it. Embrace punctuality in your personal life as well, so that the habit becomes ingrained over time.

Always Be Prepared If you will be attending an important meeting or giving a presentation, don’t neglect the necessary advance preparations. This can include making note of a few talking points, reviewing your slides, researching your audience, confirming appointments, and more. A few extra minutes of preparation could make the difference between a presentation that is successful and one that isn’t. Your colleagues will appreciate that you are prepared as well, as this will ensure you aren’t wasting anyone’s time with an inefficient meeting. 6

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Offer Solutions, Not Problems If you expect to have any sway within your organization, you need to be able to identify potential trouble areas so that they can be addressed before they become major issues. However, it is not enough to simply point out the problem; you also need to be able to provide possible solutions. Otherwise, you’ll be seen merely as a complainer, not as someone who could be a driving force in improving the company. Even if your solutions aren’t fully worked out yet, it is still better to at least have a starting point so that you and your team can work together to come up with an action plan.

Keep Showing Up Networking is incredibly important when you are trying to build your influence. You never know who might be able to collaborate with you on a new initiative, so don’t be shy about putting yourself out there. Attend networking events, industry-specific trade shows, and other events geared towards people in your industry. If you have the time, you may want to get involved with professional organizations that serve your industry, like unions, associations and other entities. Over time, you’ll be able to build your network, which will expand your level of influence in your industry. In conclusion, I wish to thank YOU, our Salem business community members, for investing in the premier advocacy organization representing the needs of small businesses in our region. It was a distinct honor to represent each of our over 1,000 member companies and their over 40,000 employees. I salute our 25-person volunteer Board of Directors, as well as a remarkably talented staff team of servant leaders. And never forget the importance of the “F” word in your upcoming volunteer service... FUN! No enjoyable volunteer effort occurs without a healthy dose of fun. Cheers and thank you for the opportunity to serve. 503. S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g

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Let’s celebrate! Ribbon Cuttings are a complimentary service the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce provides to members at the Connector level and above that have just started a new business, have moved to a new location, or recently undergone a remodel. As the business owner, you have the option of making this event as simple or as elaborate as you wish.

Greeters is the largest and most active business networking opportunity in the Salem area. Greeters is available to all Salem Area Chamber of Commerce members (and their employees). Applications are due a week from booking your date. Requests are taken on a first-come basis. Members will be put on a wait list once the calendar year is full. Members can host Greeters once in a calendar year.

Be sure to fill out a request form at salemchamber.org/ ribboncuttingform to book your date now!



S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g

Welcome Newest Chamber Members

March 15 – May 1, 2022

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Salem Art and Photo LLC Pacific Coast Tech, Inc. Natural Garden LLC Interested in joining the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce? For more information, contact Membership Manager Michelle Terzenbach at michelle@salemchamber.org

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How Do Businesses

Create a Legacy?

By Zachary Sielicky, Director of Business Advocacy Why did you open the doors to your business? Today’s business owners often say it is because they want to make a difference, fill a need, solve a problem, or support their community. For many, business ownership is not just about making money; it is about making a difference. What role will your business play in supporting, molding, and developing our community? The answer depends on your goals. Our Members Make a Difference Daily Creating a legacy often starts with actions that seem small, but amount to significant impact over time. Whether it is donating time and resources to community causes, hosting or attending events, creating or participating in social programs, offering support and encouragement to fellow businesses, or even running for and serving in public office, there are countless ways our members support our community, give back, and open doors for those living here. Creating Important Jobs Assuming your business employs people, this is something you are already doing, inherently. By simply operating, you are creating jobs for the community, which ensures that people can support their families and work towards their financial goals. However, sometimes, the jobs our members offer can also provide new opportunities to the community indirectly. For each job your 10

business creates, you and your employees pay into our local tax base. These dollars are then spread out to local municipalities, all the way up to the federal government. On a local level, the impact job growth and creation have is enormous. This is why cities across the United States are finding ways to attract large employers from manufacturing to technology sectors. More jobs lead to more local growth.

contributions to the community by communicating needs. However, many of our members find ways to contribute on their own. Whether it is sponsoring a youth sports team or an event, raising money for a nonprofit, or helping organize programs behind the scenes, our members often inject positive energy into existing community projects and events. Community members remember those who work to foster this type of positive culture and they are drawn to it.

Empowering Employees Our members also empower their employees to learn and grow professionally. Some help support the educational goals of their employees by offering flexible scheduling, tuition reimbursement, or continuing education access. This can change the future path for employees, allowing them to pursue their ambitions, passions, and aspirations. Often, they end up using their newly acquired skills to improve the community, too, creating a comprehensively positive result and a mutually beneficial relationship between the employee, employer and the community at large.

Are You Building a Legacy? Some entrepreneurs and owners build their business as their legacy. They work hard to grow and scale. Others measure their business’ success by the impact they are making beyond the company building. How do you hope to leave an indelible imprint?

Many of Salem’s businesses, such as Capitol Auto Group, encourage their employees to give back to their community, either through volunteering hours, personal donations, or both. Any business can do this to create an incredible impact, both for the employee and the community. Contributing to the Positive Culture of the Community As an independent local association, we help facilitate opportunities for our members to make positive

Many of our members look for the good in the world and praise it. They volunteer, give their time, provide discounts on products or services, or simply share their knowledge. They work to support charities, children’s activities, and seniors. They listen, learn, and act to help others in our community achieve their goals or meet their needs. As the Chamber of Commerce, we are proud of our members’ community-minded efforts. We encourage every member to reflect on their own legacy and how they can enrich it to benefit all of us. At the end of the day, a legacy is more than what you leave behind (wealth, property), but more so, how you’ve impacted the hearts and minds of residents who make up your community. 503. S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g

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Leadership Salem by Jacob Espinoza, Leadership Foundation Program Director

Ambitious Leaders Sought for Program’s Next Cohort Get exclusive access to the inner workings of Salem while forming deep connections with peers.

Are you ready to join our team of Salem’s best and brightest leaders? Apply at SalemChamber.org/LeadershipSalem


S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g

Relaunching the Leadership Salem program over the past nine months has been a journey of discovery, not just for our inaugural cohort of emerging leaders, but for myself as well. We have learned just how powerful an impact we can make when leaders join forces and how we can help one another grow in our professions, as well as in our personal lives. One thing we knew all along was that Salem was in desperate need of stronger, more meaningful, and longer-lasting connections within its business community. With Leadership Salem, we believe we are already addressing this need. Since January, a diverse group of 26 Leadership Salem members has explored the city, learning how it truly works while forming genuine bonds with fellow leaders in the process. We have held regular, productive meetings; toured and met with local nonprofits, such as Church @ the Park and IKE Box, to learn what they need to serve our community; and most recently, met with elected officials during our Local Government Day, which also included a guided tour

Ismael Zuniga Belman, Katya Mendez and Kelsey Oran tour the Oregon State Capitol.

of the Capitol Building and its congressional chambers. We have been all over Salem during the past few months and our cohort has soaked up the experience, ready now to turn their new knowledge into action. With this first-year group transitioning to become mentors for our incoming cohort, we are now looking for that next group of Salem leaders to step forward and join us in our mission to reconnect Salem.

ARE YOU READY TO LEAD? The deadline to apply for our 20222023 Salem Leadership cohort is July 22, 2022. If selected, you will join a group of our community’s best and brightest leaders. As part of Leadership Salem, you will gain important context and perspective of how Salem got to where it is today, while also getting a vision of what this city can become. Our future impact on Salem will be substantial, but the time commitment is not. The group


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WHAT OUR LEADERS SAY ABOUT THE PROGRAM “The most impactful parts of Leadership Salem are the relationships you build through mutual learning and access to the inner workings of the Salem community,” said Grant Kendall, a Financial Advisor at Edwards Jones. Elizabeth Scharback, a Columbia Bank Branch Manager, added, “The part of Leadership Salem that has been most impactful for me has been the connections. I’ve also enjoyed everything from the dedicated time we take getting to know each other to the layers of community services, programs, and businesses that we have had the chance to visit and learn from. [The program] confirmed for me just how connected we are all, and how important our role as leaders within each of our communities can be.” “Leadership Salem has been such a rewarding experience for me,” said Corrina Hawkins, Director of Donor Relations at Marion Polk Food Share. “What has been the most impactful for me has been the opportunity to learn more about Salem, its history and future, the opportunities, and challenges we face. I’ve had the chance to meet the many individuals who care so deeply about this community. I have also really enjoyed getting to know the members of my cohort — it has been fun to meet professionals from such a wide variety of organizations. Leadership Salem challenges its participants to think more deeply about their community and consider the many opportunities there are to become more involved and connected.”

Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis addressing the tour.

will meet just one day each month from September 2022 to May 2023. So, if you want to form deep connections with other emerging leaders, learn more about Salem than you ever have, and get access to decision-makers in town, Leadership Salem is where you want to be. Now that you have learned a little more about Leadership Salem, we would love to learn a little more about you. 503.

Apply at: SalemChamber.org/ LeadershipSalem

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First Citizen Awards Banquet

! s n r u

t e R

Photos by Zak Stone Photography. 16

Honoring Local Servant Leaders While Uniting the Salem Business Community S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g

On Saturday, April 16, more than 500 Salem Chamber members and guests packed the Salem Convention Center for the 71st Annual First Citizen Awards Banquet, a Salem tradition that brings the Salem business community together to recognize individual servant leaders. by Dan Johnson, Marketing & Communications Manager “We haven’t seen some of these people in two years!” said Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Board President Laura Dorn from the Salem Convention Center banquet room floor as she weaved her way through a sea of dining tables with Allied Video Productions’ camera crew in tow. She continued making her way through the room filled with Salem’s most prominent business and nonprofit leaders and local elected officials en route to the stage, where the official program for the 71st Annual First Citizen Awards Banquet began. “Has it been two years?” Salem Chamber CEO Tom Hoffert rhetorically asked from the stage in front of a silky blue curtain to an audience in their finest formal attire. Indeed, like many major community events, the First Citizen Awards had skipped a year due to the pandemic, but based on the response, both before and at the event, the built-up anticipation surrounding its return was obvious and palpable. As event registrations poured in, hitting and then exceeding the 500-person capacity in the weeks prior, the sense that Salem’s business community not only wanted but needed to gather again in person for the occasion was undeniable. Summer 2022

Chamber President, Laura Dorn, introducing the the First Citizen Awards.

“There’s nothing better than having person-to-person interaction, especially when you are talking about achievements of individuals, and coming together to see what success is and how others can be motivated to engage in their community,” said Salem philanthropist and businessman Dick Withnell. Along with the longing to reconnect with friends, business partners, and colleagues they may not have seen (except on a screen) in some time, Chamber and community members were excited to recognize this year’s award recipients: siblings Gary Epping and Shawn Epping Engelberg (First Citizen Award) of the Larry and Jeanette Epping Family

Foundation; Family Building Blocks Board Chair Rich Schultz (Outstanding Young Professional); retired Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore (Distinguished Service Award); retired educator and student advocate Mary Jean “MJ” Sandall (Distinguished Service Award); and Union Gospel Mission men’s programs leader Myron Jones (Distinguished Service Award). Since 1950, First Citizen has been about honoring the individuals in our community who exemplify servant leadership. And after hearing the stories and supportive words from others about our recipients’ service, volunteering, business and philanthropic efforts, it was 17

clear they were more than deserving of the awards they respectively received. In accepting their awards, the recipients gave credit to others who had inspired them. Schultz, also a leader in his family’s business, Cherry City Metals, recognized his family, fellow philanthropists, and Family Building Blocks Executive Director Patrice Altenhofen. Moore paid tribute to his father, who received the same service award from the Chamber 40 years earlier. Sandall, a longtime supporter of Isaac’s Room, thanked Tiffany and Mark Bulgin for leading that organization. Then, in sharing his own redemption story, Jones gave glory to God for putting him on the path to graciously serve Salem’s vulnerable homeless population.

Shawn Epping Engelberg and Gary Epping received the First Citizen Award.

Toward the end of the evening, the Eppings, whose family foundation donates to a multitude of local nonprofits each year, accepted the Chamber’s highest service honor in being named First Citizen. But after arriving on stage, they quickly turned the attention to the audience, composed of so many business leaders and nonprofit supporters, for helping their family foundation make an impact.

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Distinguished Service Award recpient, Myron Jones.

Distinguished Service Award recipient, Mary Jean Sandall.

“When you look at the entities we work with day in and day out, they are solving problems and they don’t need anybody to know about it,” said Gary during the Eppings’ acceptance speech. “They’re making it happen. Every person on these tables right here. We are just privileged to be there to help them.” Many in attendance were teary-eyed as each award recipient spoke with humble gratitude. They were moved and inspired by the awardees’ stories of service and the calling each one answered to help our community thrive. But the powerful positive energy in

Distinguished Service Award recipient, Jerry Moore.

Outstanding Young Professional, Rich Schultz.

the room was also bubbling up from another source: the collective support of the business community. “It is truly staggering how many of our nonprofits benefit from the leadership and business operations talents that exist in the private sector in our community,” said Jennifer Martin, Chamber Board of Directors member and Principal Broker at First Commercial Real Estate. “And I am so proud of how the business community steps up over and over again in support of each other and of the nonprofit and community service segment of our city.”

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Perhaps the best individual example of business stepping up to support community events and projects was embodied in none other than the late Gerry Frank. Before the awards were presented, Frank’s longtime friend Dick Withnell remembered the Salem business icon and philanthropist, who passed away at the age of 98 this year, with several stories that illustrated his savvy, tenacity and compassion for the Salem community. From the stage, Withnell also reflected upon how he’s seen the business community grow over the last 50 years in Salem and what has stood out to him. “Our community is different than any other community,” Withnell said. “The fact is that 60, 70, 80 and 90-year-olds are still engaged in the community and the 20, 30, 40, and 50-year-olds that you are seeing here tonight are also engaged in the community.” Some of those younger, active and newly-involved members of the business community included

Dick Withnell gave a tribute to his friend, the late Gerry Frank.

the event’s host/emcee, Salem Capitals Basketball Club President and Team Market Owner Jason Conrad; entertainment sponsor, the Manny Martinez Jazz Quartet, led by musician and entrepreneur Manny Martinez; and Chubby Bao House owners Sara and Joe Ngo, whose restaurant inside the Fork Forty Food Hall in downtown Salem has been operational for just two years.

“As new business owners, we are constantly learning,” said Sara Ngo. “This event allows us to see the potential of how we can give back to our community and how important it is to do so.” Of course, the evening’s sponsors represented great examples of community support themselves. More than 30 companies and individual philanthropists helped put on the event and place the

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S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g

spotlight on those doing the hard work to make Salem better.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

“Our founder often reminds our team that you can get a lot done when you don’t care who gets the credit,” said Tori Van Cleave on behalf of presenting sponsor Mountain West Investment Corporation. “This year’s award recipients are living embodiments of that value. They’re exactly the kind of leaders we need in Salem — and that’s why it’s so humbling and enjoyable to help honor their selfless work within our community.”

The Salem Chamber thanks the 71st Annual First Citizen Awards Banquet sponsors for making this special night happen.

With the relationship between the success of Salem businesses and nonprofits on full display, the night became about much more than simply talking about impact. The impact was tangible. It could be seen and felt.

Photography Sponsor: Zak Stone Photography

“I think it is fantastic for the business sector in Salem to gather and celebrate the interconnectedness between business, business owners and leaders, and the nonprofit sector,” said Martin. “While the First



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Event Design: Cindy Peck & Stephanie Bobb Floral Sponsor: Roth’s Fresh Markets Silver Sponsors: Aldrich CPAs + Advisors; AmeriTitle; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Capitol Auto Group; Dick and Gayle Withnell; Fidelity Title; First American Title Insurance Company; First Commercial Real Estate; Health Net Health Plan of Oregon; HomeSmart Realty Group; Landmark Professional Mortgage; NW Natural; Rich Duncan Construction, Inc; Summit Wealth Management; Sunco Homes & Remodeling; and Ticor Title. Bronze Sponsors: Chemeketa Community College; Express Employment Professionals, and Salem Electric.

Make sure to join us for the 72nd Annual First Citizen Awards, hosted in April 2023!




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Citizen Awards aren’t designed to directly celebrate those who serve in the nonprofit sector, it is amazing how many small business owners and operators serve at a high level in our community’s worthy nonprofits, in addition to operating their businesses.” After celebrating the award recipients, Hoffert concluded the evening with a unifying reminder of the importance of small businesses and how the Chamber and its members will continue to fight for businesses still only beginning to recover from the pandemic.

Reception at Salem Convention Center.

For more about the 71st Annual First Citizen Awards, including the full video recording of the event, visit:


“There is simply no such thing as non-essential small businesses and there is simply no such thing as a non-essential small-business employee,” Hoffert said. “At the Salem Chamber, we are humbled by the perseverance of our business community during one of this world’s most challenging times. Our organization does not stand behind you and we do not stand in front of you, but rather, side-by-side with you, and it is an absolute honor for our board and staff to serve your needs.” 503.

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CTEC Café On March 30, 2022, the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) celebrated the ribboncutting ceremony and official grand opening of its student-run café at the program’s facility in Salem.

Student-Run Operation Hosts Long-Awaited Grand Opening and student representatives, who discussed the unique opportunities and valuable experience CTEC programs provide.

“I now look at it as an investment in my future and I believe my classmates feel the same way,” said Brenda, Students showed off their a 16-year-old McKay High new culinary skills as they School student, about her served the CTEC Café’s decision to apply to the first beverages and hors CTEC culinary program. d’oeuvres to a batch of CTEC students celebrate ribbon cutting with former Salem “One of my many goals in the Mayor Tom Neilsen (center), and current Salem Mayor customers and supporters future is to open a bakery that included Marion County Chuck Bennett (right). of my own. I know that with Commissioners Colm Willis the help of our chefs, who are the center of our culinary and Danielle Bethell, Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett, program, I will be able to build off of the foundation that I Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, and former Salem Mayor have made here.” Tom Neilsen. With their instructors watching proudly, student baristas whipped up coffee drinks topped with The culinary program — which is just one of 10 workforce original foam art displaying the café logo and operated training programs at CTEC educating nearly 700 higha station serving Italian sodas. school juniors and seniors in total — had a cohort of about 65 first-year students and about a dozen secondIt was a significant moment for the CTEC Culinary year students participate in 2021-2022. With positive Arts and Management Program after the pandemic momentum building from the opening, the hope is that had delayed the grand opening of the café for two many more students will return for their second year and years. During that time, students and their instructors continue to invite their friends and schoolmates to join. continued building toward the eventual opening, creating Of course, CTEC and the workforce training programs a full commercial kitchen out of the former cafeteria it offers would not be possible without partners complete with new cooking equipment and tools. and investors such as Mountain West Investment “Between quarantine and the COVID restrictions in place Corporation. upon return to in-person learning, this has been a dream “The dream and vision for this program has always deferred for about two years,” said CTEC Principal been to have a student-run café and mirror the industry Rhonda Rhodes before the ribbon-cutting. “And it means standard as closely as possible,” said Mountain West so much to us to open this café to the public today. Investment Corporation Project Manager Katya Mendez. Thank you for being here with us to celebrate. While “This grand opening ceremony of the CTEC Café gets so many things seemed to grind to a halt during the us just that much closer to this goal and we hope that pandemic, CTEC was not one of them.” having an opportunity like this will propel students into The event also included remarks from Salem Chamber their careers and give them the competitive advantage CEO Tom Hoffert, Culinary Instructor Austin Stinson, to excel in their lives.” 503. 24

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CTEC From May 12 - 13, 2022, the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) held its annual Hiring Fair that engaged approximately 700 students and brought 55 employers and a dozen industry experts from across the Mid-Willamette Valley to host informational sessions, interviews, and vendor tables. Designed to provide opportunities for students to explore their interests and interact with real employers, the event also gave local companies a great venue to recruit the young, talented, and ambitious graduates of CTEC programs. Since CTEC opened in 2015 with just two technical education programs, the Hiring Fair has evolved to not only better serve its growing enrollment and expansion of programs, but also to meet the demand of employers needing to immediately address labor shortages.

Hiring Fair Provides Learning Experiences, Job Opportunities

Students engage with industry professionals at the 2022 CTEC Hiring Fair.

With CTEC’s hallways bustling with activity throughout the two days, McLaran Leadership Foundation Director and guest presenter on professional social media Jacob Espinoza noted that “the building was buzzing.”

“As the center expanded, it became clear that many of our industry partners need employees now,” said CTEC Principal Rhonda Rhodes. “At the same time, we recognized that our students need some important Adulting 101 classes before we send them off into the workforce.”

“The interviews and the adulting sessions offered were the most popular,” said CTEC Business Liaison Chelsea Lynch about what the students gravitated towards. “We also had an alumni panel of past students from CTEC who shared their successes and failures and how CTEC guided them. The most rewarding part was seeing a multitude of ideas unfurl into an event of such magnitude. It was truly an event for both students and industry.”

What started as a small-scale endeavor hosting a few vendors and mock interviews boasted a packed agenda spread over two days this year, including multiple floors of vendor tables, real interviews, and sessions on topics ranging from budgeting and credit to renting an apartment and voting.

Getting the most of its space, the fair utilized the Residential Construction program’s studentbuilt sheds as small private rooms for one-on-one job interviews between employers and students. Lynch estimates that about 45% of student participants land jobs directly from the Hiring Fair, but says that the primary goals of the


event are to provide the experience and the opportunity for students, as well as industry partners. “We want students to feel confident in their ability to present the best version of themselves in any interview, and that industry has restored faith in the capabilities of our young professionals,” Lynch said. One way CTEC is working to help students with confidence in their presentation is with its Clothing Closet. In preparing for the Hiring Fair, students, who did not have access to professional or properlyfitting clothing, were encouraged to visit the closet earlier in the week, where they were outfitted with blouses, dress shirts, and ties donated by local community members. Many students took notice and full advantage of the opportunities the fair presented, while not taking them for granted at the same time. “The most beneficial part for me was all of the industry S a l e m C h a m b e r. o r g


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Our work is centralized around these four focus areas, and we find every dollar we can to address these critical issues, but we are more than fundraisers. Guided by them, we look for innovative projects, issue service provider grants, facilitate connections for greater impact, and work to increase resources for Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties.
















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professional connections I had the honor to make, all in one facility,” said CTEC student Oliver Marche, an aspiring electrician who had the chance to meet with an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) representative at the fair. “I could learn about any career path I had an interest in. That is the most helpful thing anyone could do for a soon-to-be highschool graduate.” While the fair has certainly progressed over time to provide more tangible experiences and real-world opportunities for students, faculty and staff still feel there are several ways in which the event can continue to improve its offerings, primarily in the ever-evolving technology sector.

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“It would be great to get more vendors in areas such as video game design, 3D animation, sustainable plant science, and auto body involved,” Lynch said. “Our students definitely have a lot of interest in those fields.” If you or your business is interested in participating in next year’s CTEC Hiring Fair, or if you simply want to learn more, contact us at info@salemchamber.org. 503.

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Mike Brickley To me, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce is an embodiment of Salem’s marketplace of businesses, governmental agencies, nonprofits, and individuals which come together to create an atmosphere of mutual support for a better and livable community. Not only does the Chamber do community work itself, but it also acts as a clearinghouse of ideas.

Chamber Ambassador is the perfect fit for me.

If we think of the Chamber as an engine, then the Ambassador’s role is that of the oil that makes the engine run smoothly, unseen and inside. When thinking about the role, I also think of the wait staff of a restaurant, who often wear black, so as to not bring attention to themselves but to serve others. This is why, as Ambassadors, we wear black jackets.

After serving, I used my G.I. Bill to attend college. I received a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Systems Engineering Technology at the Oregon Institute of Technology. And yes, the technology at the time was punch cards.

In my faith and in the church, I have the Spiritual Gift of Helps (often described as someone working behind the scenes to get things done), so the role of

After high school, I enlisted in the United States Air Force in the electronics field. At the time, the Air Force had a need on the flight line with auxiliary power units, including start carts, heaters, air conditioners, and hydraulic testing. I also completed one tour of duty in South Vietnam.

I spent the majority of my career working for the State of Oregon as a programmer/analyst. During the middle of my career, I entered the financial services field on a part-time basis and on the side at the suggestion of a friend. Later, my senior vice president recommended I join my local

chamber, a decision I do not regret! I keep very busy in my “retirement,” not only as a Chamber Ambassador but also as a volunteer with veterans organizations in several roles, including as an adjutant/ treasurer, and B-17 Alliance A/V guy. 503.

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