Daily Sitka Sentinel

Sitka Chamber Presents Awards to Three Businesses

    Sitka Chamber of Commerce Saturday night honored Allen Marine’s Alaskan Dream Cruises as Business of the Year, the Dock Shack restaurant as New Business of the Year, and Daily Sitka Sentinel publishers Thad and Sandy  Poulson as Cossack Cap recipients.
    Also honored were the “dedicated volunteers at the White Elephant Shop,” who received the Community Heroes award for their contributions to Sitka’s wellbeing. Chamber Vice President Cory Baggen quoted longtime volunteer Jan Nelson, who said that in the 21 years since the White E dropped its Easter Seals affiiliation and became a nonprofit, it has given $1,038,960.32 to local nonprofits and in individual assistance.
{mosimage}    The awards were presented at the Chamber’s annual banquet, held at Harrigan Centennial Hall with a Roaring Twenties theme.
    Accepting the Business of the Year Award for Alaskan Dream Cruises were Bob Allen, who with his wife Betty established Allen Marine in 1970; one of his sons, Rob Allen; one of his grandchildren, Jamie Cagle; and the Alaskan Dream Cruises vice president Mike Wien. Allen Marine itself was named Business of the Year in 1996.
    Alaskan Dream Cruises was launched in 2010, one of many innovations the family-owned business has developed over the years of giving tours and designing, building and operating boats, including aluminum catamarans with four propulsion engines.
    Called on stage to accept the New Business of the Year honor were Ptarmica McConnell, controller of Shee Atika Inc., which owns the Dock Shack, and restaurant employees, including Linda Barker Olsen, who was called to be a consultant in getting the Dock Shack opened last June in the Totem Square Inn. She pointed out she had started her career in the 1980s at what was then the Sheffield Hotel restaurant, which was located at the exact same spot as the Dock Shack.
    Olsen praised her co-workers, and thanked the Chamber for the award.
    Gerry Hope, Chamber president, presented the Poulsons with the Cossack Cap and proclamation for community service. The couple took over the Sentinel in 1969 after working for newspapers in Oklahoma City and then for the Associated Press. Hope mentioned the Sentinel’s local news coverage, the hundreds of  kids who have earned money as carriers and sellers, and the contributions to the local economy through ads and news stories.
    He also pointed out Thad Poulson’s  efforts in preserving Sitka’s history and historic buildings. After thanking the Chamber, Poulson said the Sentinel is fortunate to be in a good newspaper town.
    Others thanked during the evening were corporate and individual sponsors and donors; volunteers who helped arrange the event; silent auction donors; Mike Sullivan on saxophone and Iko Sullivan on piano, who provided era music during the cocktail hour; and Los Angeles comedian Eric Hunter.
    Board members, along with Chef Randy of Westmark Shee Atika, provided desserts for an auction capping the dinner. Serving on the board along with Hope, Baggen and McConnell, are Craig Shoemaker, Seth Bone, Olga Borland, Bob Burnett, Kathy Dumag, Bob Medinger, Linda Mudry, Mandy Odenheimer, Jay Sweeney and Aaron Wilkinson.
    Staff members, also recognized for their contributions, are Executive Director Jennifer Robinson and administrative assistants Linda Litten and Shauna Unger.

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