The Voice of Business in Whatcom County

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the leading advocate for businesses in the Northwest Washington region. The chamber advocates for a strong business community and aims to make the Bellingham and Whatcom County area a great place to live, work, shop and play by influencing public policy, aiding in economic development and helping its members succeed.

The primary role of a chamber of commerce is to help create a strong economy. The chamber doesn’t do that by directly starting up new businesses, creating jobs or exporting products, it does that by making it easier for local businesses to do business. However, the chamber doesn’t do this alone; there are a variety of organizations that assist businesses, and the chamber often partners with these organizations for the betterment of the community.

In addition, the chamber offers a variety of programs to help the local business community, like monthly networking events that help the chamber’s business members make new connections educational events on subjects important to local businesses.

Many think the chamber is a government entity or is funded by tax dollars. The truth is that the chamber is an independent, membership-based organization solely funded by its membership dues and event revenue. All the businesses and community events and programs the chamber hosts are funded by those individual member businesses.

By sponsoring the chamber’s popular community events, members can reach new consumers thanks to the many marketing and outreach benefits an event sponsorship offers. The chamber also offers marketing options like email blasts or promotion of an open house, so members can reach other parts of the community and other chamber members.

One of the chamber’s key responsibilities is making sure that business has an equal and fair voice regarding the issues facing the business community. For example, the chamber led the charge when the Department of Homeland Security, looking for a new revenue stream, proposed a toll on traffic crossing the U.S. border. The result potentially could have decreased the flow of traffic and goods across the border. In Whatcom County, where local retail outlets see up to 50% of their shoppers from Canada, the results could have been devastating. Border-area chambers from coast to coast lobbied to convinced the Feds that the economic toll to local businesses was too high a price to pay. This is just one example of how chambers of commerce look out for the best interest of business.

With a variety of marketing and outreach benefits, networking opportunities, resources to help your business grow and strong advocacy in all levels of government, there is no question that your voice is heard louder and stronger as a member of the chamber.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Troy Wills, First Federal (Chair)

Glen Groenig The UPS Store

Rene Morris, Bellis Fair Mall

Anne Rasmussen, PeaceHealth

Directors

Cale Luna, Advanced Solutions Tech

Don Kurtis, Cascade Radio Group

Lesa Boxx, Country Financial

Seth Woolson, Chmelik, Sitkin & Davis PS, Attorneys at Law

Lynn Murphy, Puget Sound Energy

Lori Reece, REMAX

Keith Coleman, SpringHill Suites by Marriott

Kathy Herndon, VSH CPAs

Anne Bowen, Edward Jones

Ex-Officio

Michael Lilliquist, City of Bellingham

Rud Browne, Whatcom County

Rob Fix, Port of Bellingham

Bob Wilson, Whatcom Council of Governments

Cassie Robles, Whatcom Young Professionals

Our Team

Guy Occhiogrosso
Guy OcchiogrossoPresident/CEO
As President/CEO, it is my job to oversee the day to day functions of the Chamber and lead the way for the economic health of our community. I have the privilege of leading the Chamber and this business community into sustainable prosperity now and into the future.
Shelli Jones
Shelli JonesMarketing Coordinator
As the Marketing Coordinator, it is my job to help promote the Chamber and our members. This is accomplished through the Chamber’s website, weekly e-newsletter, weekly radio program on KGMI, business referrals, at our events, and various publications including our Community & Business Resource Directory, our online business directory, and through our local media partners.
Silvia Reed
Silvia ReedEvents Coordinator
As the Events Coordinator, I am in charge different aspects of the planning, volunteer management and set up/tear down of the Chamber signature events including the Spring Business Showcase, Chamber Golf Classic, Annual Awards Dinner and community events like Ski to Sea Jr. Parade and Jr. Race, Haggen Family 4th of July among others. I also coordinate the Ambassador Program and varied Chamber Members Events
Berri Schroeder
Berri SchroederMembership
My position enables me to interact with potential, new and long standing members. I work for the membership department by ensuring all membership information is kept up-to-date in our database and complete the ‘set-up’ for new members, correspondence with new businesses and renewing members. I also lend a hand by assisting with member accounts.