Camas-Washougal Chamber names citizens, business person of the year

Awards honor community minded Washougal couple and Camas business leader

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Stephanie and Kyle Eakins, of Washougal, are the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce's 2017 "Citizens of the Year." (Contributed photo)

The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce has named a Washougal couple, Kyle and Stephanie Eakins, as the Chamber’s 2017 “Citizens of the Year.”

The Chamber also named Matt Olson, president of Robertson & Olson Construction, as the 2017 “Business Person of the Year.”

Kyle and Stephanie have both served in leadership roles with the Washougal Schools Foundation — Kyle is a former president and Stephanie is a past vice-president.

They currently serve on the Foundation’s board of directors and the organizing committee for the annual STRIDE for Education fundraiser. Stephanie is the STRIDE director.

Roger Daniels, a former Washougal Schools Foundation board member, nominated the Eakins as Citizens of the Year.

“These two individuals are a dynamic team that lead a life of leadership, service and set an example of altruism in our community,” Daniels said.

Kyle coaches boys and girls wrestling at Canyon Creek and Jemtegaard middle schools. The Washington State Wrestling Association selected him as the Middle School Coach of the Year in 2013.

Stephanie has helped raise more than $10,000 as a fundraising coordinator for the Washougal School District wrestling teams.

She also is a founding member of Southwest Washington Organization of Rescue Divers.

Stephanie said she and Kyle are surprised and honored to be named Citizens of the Year.

“Kyle and I are a package deal,” she said. “We feel that giving back to our community is a way to build a stronger one. We have made Washougal and Camas our home by design, because we feel that this a good backdrop to raise our family.”

Kyle said he never imagined he would be recognized as a Citizen of the Year. He recalls previous honorees, including Cliff “Bert” Duncan, Paul Runyan, Uta Zuendel, Barry Lutz and Nan Henriksen, and said he feels honored to be in the same group.

“I sincerely believe I need another 30 or 40 years to even consider having contributed as these (past award recipients) have,” Kyle said.

He described Stephanie as his “secret weapon.”

“It is not an exaggeration to say that there is nothing I do well that she is not part of,” Kyle said. “Stephanie is amazing, and I am humbled to share this moment with her. God willing, we’ll get another 30 to 40 years together to do many good things.”

The Eakinses have volunteered on the Washougal School District bond committee, with Kyle serving as the committee’s chairperson. They also worked with patrons to raise money for a new turf at Fishback Stadium.

Kyle has volunteered with “Man U,” an outdoor skill and value-based series of leadership training events held at Jemtegaard Middle School, and the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club’s “Young Men in Action” programs. He also has served as a Scoutmaster, venture coach and executive woodbadge trainer with the Cascade Pacific Boy Scouts of America.

Kyle attended Washougal High School in the late 1980s, before his family moved to Silverton, Oregon, where he graduated from Silverton Union High School. He received an honorary WHS diploma in 2015, and says that he is loyal to Washougal, but still a big fan of Camas.

“It is no secret that I bleed orange and black, and at the same time celebrate Camas’ success,” Kyle said. “These two communities are linked in so many ways, not the least of which is the quality of life we strive to bring to our youth or the economic viability of our cities. I hope that this recognition fairly reflects the investment of so many people in these two amazing communities that have set Stephanie and I up to succeed personally and professionally.”

Business leader Matt Olson gives back to the community

Matt Olson, president of Robertson & Olson Construction, said he is honored to be named the Chamber’s 2017 “Business Person of the Year.”

“I am sure that there are more deserving in our community,” Olson said.

On the nomination form, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins credited Olson for creating “Concerts for a Cause,” a series of musical performances at Camas Meadows Golf Club that entertain the community throughout the summer months and raise money for local nonprofits. The concerts’ past beneficiaries have included the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes, Northwest Battle Buddies, Home with Heroes and Innovative Services NW.

Olson and his wife, Tina Olson, along with Steve and Jan Oliva, purchased the golf club in 2005 and expanded it by adding a driving range.

“He purchased additional properties around the Meadows and built office spaces for companies to move into, which created jobs for Camas,” Higgins wrote about Olson in his nomination letter.

Companies that have since set up shop in Olson’s office space include PLEXSYS Interface Products, Inc., an aerospace corporation; Logitech Incorporated, a music products development corporation; and Safefire Indoor Shooting Range & Retail Sales.

Olson’s company, Robertson & Olson, sponsors Hometown Holidays, a downtown Camas event that takes place each December, and Camtown Youth Festival, a June celebration that also takes place in Camas.

“Having Matt as a business person in Camas, has been a win-win for the city,” Higgins stated in his letter.

Olson is a past president of the Humane Society of Southwest Washington Board of Directors and a former Identity Clark County board member. He is chairman of the Washington State chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association and a member of the CCA’s national board and national executive committee, as well as a past chairman of the board and supervisory committee for People’s Community Credit Union.

Awards will be presented June 7

The C-W Chamber’s annual awards banquet will be held Wednesday, June 7, at the Camas Meadows Golf Club, 4105 N.W. Camas Meadows Drive, Camas.

The social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

The cost to attend is $35 per person, and the event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the C-W Chamber office, 422 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas. Tickets can be reserved by phone, and paid for at the door on the night of the event.

Kyle and Stephanie Eakins will be honored, along with Matt Olson, the Chamber’s scholarship winners and the Camas and Washougal “Teachers of the Year.”

For more information, call the Chamber office at 360-834-2472.