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Kalispell chamber president elected chair of association, while child care initiative honored

| February 26, 2023 12:00 AM

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce President has been elected board chair of an association of chamber executives and the chamber’s initiative aimed at improving child care services here.

Lorraine Clarno, president and CEO of the Kalispell chamber, was recently elected as the 2023-24 chair of the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) at the association’s annual conference in Sacramento, California.

“I am honored and delighted to give back through service to the organization that has afforded me 28 plus years of professional development and mentorships in my career of Chamber of Commerce management,” Clarno said in a release.

In addition to Clarno’s election as board chair, the Kalispell chamber also received one of only five Outstanding Program Award for its exemplary “Child Care Initiative” efforts.

The chamber launched a task force initiative in February 2022 looking to collaborate with businesses, school districts and churches to improve child care in the area. That work resulted in two Kalispell businesses being awarded American Rescue Plan grants to allow for the expansion of one child care facility and the creation of a new center.

“This is truly a community award,” Clarno said. “This award belongs to our business sponsors who funded our study and work, Gabe Mariman, the chair of the steering committee, and the 39 members of the action teams and steering committee that have made remarkable progress for Kalispell employers and families.”

“There is much work to be done and we look forward to another year of driving solutions through our public relations pipe line campaign and continuing to work with our business members to develop ways to increase employee loyalty and retention through quality, accessible, and affordable child care option developments,” Clarno added.

W.A.C.E. is an association of chamber of commerce executives and staff professionals with over 800 members in 21 Western states and two Canadian provinces. The association is designed to promote and enhance the professional development of chamber of commerce executives and is the largest state or regional chamber of commerce executives’ association in the United States.