Val Wilcox – Ambassador Spotlight

It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in North Idaho for 44 years, (1980 Post Falls population, 7,000) enjoying it through all kinds of Lake CdA fun, weather, road construction, school levies, as well as other changes over the years.

I grew up in Mukilteo Washington, spending my summers down at the Puget Sound beach, digging clams, and swimming around the ferry docks. Mariners, Sonics and Seahawks were just a few miles down the freeway to Seattle. My parents owned a shoe store in Everett, Washington where I started working as a teenager and learned the ropes of banking, retail sales, customer service, marketing, and advertising. I became the head of the Downtown Everett Business Association events when I was 20. That was pretty overwhelming at 20, but it was a worthwhile successful endeavor, and a lot of fun.

My husband, Cort, and I both graduated from high school in Everett, and after college were on a new adventure to Richland, WA, then on to North Idaho. Cort and I both worked at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Coeur d’Alene for many years, and my job there was marketing, advertising, and organizing office and client events from fancy to Office Olympics and Casino Game Parties. We were always members of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce until Cort retired, but when I was offered the Chamber job, I thought working at the Chamber and Visitor Center was a great fit for me.

The time I’ve spent in community involvement has become very rewarding from the early days of the Post Falls Boys & Girls Club – Jordan Johnson Clubhouse, and the Post Falls Education Foundation. Oh yes, there were crazy years of Ponderosa Elementary PTO school carnivals, Girl Scout cookie sales, and sports with 2 active kids who are grown professionals in their fields; and now a grandson playing varsity football at Whitworth University, Go Bucs!

The Post Falls Chamber has always been a stable, worthwhile organization to be involved in where we can engage with and be enlightened by the people and leaders within the Chamber. I’ve been an Ambassador Committee member, and currently the Ambassador Committee Chair, where the Ambassador group has been able to learn a tremendous amount of information about local people and their businesses when we visit Chamber businesses each month. We are always in awe of what is thriving right here in our own area – new businesses and 100 yr. old businesses.

Yes, we have had an increase in the number of folks moving here, but from a business perspective, I see growing businesses with owners and employees who are working hard. They are looking forward to being involved in the Chamber and the community while making North Idaho the best place to work and live.

Mark Botterbusch – Ambassador Spotlight

Mark Botterbusch – Ambassador Spotlight

Welcome to March……spring weather (maybe!), St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, and Easter.

My name is Mark Botterbusch. I’m thankful to be able to be part of the Post Falls Ambassadors and for the opportunity to introduce myself.

I am a Montana native, but have had a strong connection to this area going back to when I was young, as grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins lived in Spokane, so family trips to the area were common. After graduating from University of Montana (go Griz!), I ventured west to Spokane to find work. After finding a Montana girl who was also living in Spokane, and getting married, we moved to the Seattle area and then Yakima before moving back to Spokane to raise our kids. I’ve worked for much of my career for banks in Spokane, and was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to work in Coeur d’Alene.

As a Commercial Relationship Manager for Washington Trust Bank, I’m blessed to work with amazing businesses and business owners in north Idaho to help their business thrive and grow through lines of credit, real estate and equipment lending, and cash management products and services. I’m going into my 8th year of serving and working alongside the great people of north Idaho, and it has been a true blessing – there are no better people to develop relationships with, and no better area to work in than north Idaho!

Personally, my wife and I have 3 grown children that we enjoy spending time with when we can. No grand kids yet, and currently no pets, so a lot of freedom! We enjoy a variety of activities, primarily centered around the outdoors – bike riding, kayaking, hiking, golf, spending time at the lake, skiing, etc. In addition, we both are involved with our church, including leading Bible studies.

Jerry Lyon – Ambassador Spotlight

Jerry Lyon – Ambassador Spotlight

My name is Jerry Lyon, and I want to encourage everyone that an amazing Spring is coming soon!

My time in beautiful North Idaho began with my birth in Coeur d’Alene, where I lived until I moved to the Spokane Valley at age 9 to accommodate my dad’s employment at Kaiser Aluminum.

After graduating from Central Valley High School, I returned to Coeur d’Alene to continue my education at NIC. In a great turn of events, I acquired a job as a teller at Idaho First National Bank AND got them to pay for my night school at NIC as well. That was the beginning of a 45-year career in banking that I retired from as North Idaho Market President for First Interstate Bank in October of 2021.

Living and serving in North Idaho for much of my life has given me a strong appreciation of our communities’ people and core values. I have been blessed to have many, many opportunities to be locally involved through various board positions in organizations such as Real Life Ministries, the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce, Post Falls Kiwanis, and Panhandle Area Council (representing the City of Post Falls), and in an advisory role with the River City Leadership Academy program. I have seen firsthand what a treasure we have in this area we call home and one that must be considered every day from a “how can I help” perspective. My current opportunity as a Post Falls Chamber Ambassador provides that conduit, and I am grateful to be a part of this energetic and enthusiastic team.

Danitza Smith – Ambassador Spotlight

Danitza Smith – Ambassador Spotlight

My family and I moved to Idaho from Utah in the summer of 2021, as we both received offers for employment in the area. We had vacationed in Coeur d’Alene for the past 5 years and were excited to enroll in this new endeavor.

I recently took on a new role as the Director of Sales of the newest hotel in Coeur d’Alene. The TownePlace Suites by Marriott is an all-suite extended-stay property where guests can feel at home. We look forward to welcoming the thriving tourism market in 2024, and we have felt blessed to be a part of such a strong community.

I have been an Ambassador with the Post Falls Chamber for over two years, and it has been a great opportunity to get to know this wonderful community. From welcoming new businesses to the area to visiting continuous community members, being an Ambassador has provided me with great knowledge of the area, and I have met some extraordinary people.

You can always catch me outdoors. We enjoy the outdoor life as a family by camping, boating, ATV riding, and attending local events. In my downtime, you will find me reading a good book, traveling, and spending time with loved ones.

Heather Kavanaugh – Ambassador Spotlight

Heather Kavanaugh – Ambassador Spotlight

Merry Christmas, Everyone – What a special time of year!

I am Heather and am very grateful to be part of the Post Falls Chamber Ambassador group. As a resident of Post Falls and a proud north Idahoan, I genuinely love helping others and participating in any event that positively impacts the community.

I grew up in a small rural farming town where everyone knew each other, and people worked hard every day. The support and love I felt from my community were tremendous, and I have no doubt that period of time had a huge impact on my wanting to continue to be part of that culture throughout my life. Although living in a small town, I had very big dreams & couldn’t wait to get started!

My history includes earning a Bachelor’s Degree in interior design and working in and around architects, fellow designers, developers, contractors, and City Government officials for over 25 years. In my spare time, I continue to volunteer with various local non-profit groups that mesh with my personal views, helping support their cause and reach their goals. I’m also a self-proclaimed foodie and will travel far and wide to eat delicious food!

I am a proud mother of one daughter, Madison, who lives college life as close to the ocean as possible and is as happy as a clam. My husband Tracey is an avid fly-fisherman, hobbyist & hunter who, when not working, spends as much time as possible in the mountains. Last, our kind-hearted Goldendoodle Timber just turned one and always gives us as many snuggles as we can stand. We are lucky to be surrounded here by many other family members and get together for all the holidays, birthdays & fun events as we can.

As a Realtor® with Century 21, Beutler & Associates, I am thankful to be able to assist people buy & sell their homes, which can often be some of the most impactful moments in life. My heart for helping others gets to merge with a career that allows me to easily guide people through the buying & selling process from start to finish. My main goals are to provide my clients with accurate information, clear communication, and the highest quality of care, resulting in a successful, stress-free transaction.

I couldn’t be more proud to be a Post Falls Chamber Ambassador and part of the community, and I look forward to many more years of doing my small part to assist the Chamber in doing big things!

Jenny Buatte – Ambassador Spotlight

Jenny Buatte – Ambassador Spotlight

Hello everybody!

I moved to Idaho in June 2022 to teach 2nd grade and Spanish at a brand-new school. It was a big task that required many extra hours. Being a single parent who had just relocated here with my two teenagers, the long hours of planning weren’t a good fit. After teaching for 15 years, I changed careers and accepted my new position for Servpro of CDA in February of this year. I had spoken to Paul at K&S staffing at a networking meeting I attended as I built my Mary Kay clientele in this area. He realized I had many good marketing skills from having my at-home business with Mary Kay and connected me with Servpro.

I have loved working for Servpro. I have been through a house fire and floods before, so I know how devastating these disasters are, and I love that I help people get the help they need. I love telling people about our company because when something horrible happens, you last want to search on Google and hope to get good help. If you ever have a disaster, you already know about us and can call me or the office to get immediate and reliable help. These situations are very inconvenient, and I love that at least finding help can be convenient because you’ve already met me and know we’re available 24/7. We’re faster to any disaster and make it like it never happened!

My 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter are my pride and joy. They’re artistic, kind, caring, and fun kids. Before moving here, we had spent the last three summers camping in our RV. My dad taught me how to pull and park, and a friend taught me how to connect to hookups and use my RV. My kids direct me as I back into camping spots. I had summers off as a teacher, so we joined a camping resort and went camping for about five weeks out of the summer. I had grown up riding horses and packing into the mountains to camp, so camping comes easily to me. I wanted to RV instead because I thought “glamping” would be much easier than setting up camp every time. It was still a lot of work, as I soon found out. Spending quality time with my kids and their friends who came camping with us was well worth it. We loved taking our dog along, hiking, swimming, and cooking many smores around the campfire. When we moved here, I chose a house with a large yard and put in a trampoline, pool, and hot tub. I can walk out my back door and feel like I’m on vacation unless I’m doing yard work again! We also love to go to skate parks! My daughter roller skates, my son skates, and I ride my BMX bike. It’s good exercise and fun to do with my teens!

My favorite hobby is dancing, so I’m very happy about the many dancing opportunities here. In college, I was in swing dancing clubs. When I studied in Spain, I did a lot of salsa dancing. Now, I’m learning many other dance styles. The dancing community here is friendly and encouraging, so if you’re interested, I hope you’ll join us on the dance floor!

This year, I’m the President of the River City Leadership Academy. I’m enjoying learning about our community. Post Falls is a great town, and I’m looking forward to many years of helping our community to keep it a wonderful place to live. Thank you, Post Falls Chamber, for everything you do!

Vicky Busby – Ambassador Spotlight

Vicky Busby – Ambassador Spotlight

I have represented Umpqua Bank as a Post Falls Chamber Ambassador since 2019. I love the opportunity to welcome people and support business in our growing community.

My dad grew up in Wallace, Idaho and later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a jazz musician and magician. Born in Southern California, I looked forward to visiting North Idaho every summer – deciding “Someday I’m moving here!”

I started my banking career in my early 20s where I learned every branch position and loved helping people. I went to work for a Swiss bank and later sold specialized equipment to banks. I also learned sleight-of-hand and loved to entertain people.

On a trip to Idaho, our family stopped in San Francisco where my dad was hired to lecture to magicians. My future husband Jeff organized the lecture. He owned a mail order business, publishing books and manufacturing props for professional magicians in over 80 countries.

I joined his business and discovered the challenges of being self-employed.

The dotcom boom arrived along with a huge increase in rent, thus forcing us to relocate. While visiting family, Jeff suggested we move to North Idaho. We bought our first house here in 1991 and never looked back.

Fast forward… Jeff had a major stroke and couldn’t work. I jumped back into banking where I’ve worked in a variety of positions including banker and branch manager. I am active in the community and love talking to business owners about their passion, challenges, dreams and how I can help. As an Ambassador, I like attending ribbon cuttings, visiting members, and interacting with the Chamber team.

When Jeff passed, I bought a house in Post Falls and have lived there since 2016. I love time with family, friends, my kitty, Romeo, and also enjoy road trips and exploring new places. I love to travel and experience different cultures, and my most recent trip included Europe and a second visit to Croatia, one of my favorites!

Larain Saige – Ambassador Spotlight

Larain Saige – Ambassador Spotlight

Hi, my name is LaRain Saige and I moved to Post Falls Idaho in 2001 from Arizona, working for Walmart and opening Supercenters for 16 years. After surviving Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2004, a change in careers was in order!

I have been around animals my whole life (being raised on a farm), including llamas, horses, cows, pigs, goats, ducks, chickens, ferrets, hamsters, dogs, cats, etc, etc, etc. Even a snake or two!! I currently have 4 dogs, 2 cats (all rescues) 10 chickens, 2 goats and lots of rabbits! So a career in working with animals seemed to be the best fit.

In 2008 I started working as a Pet Sitter, Dog Walker and Animal Care Specialist. I also volunteered at the Post Falls Police Dept Animal Shelter, then became the Volunteer Coordinator for the Kootenai Humane Society, and after that worked at a Veterinary Clinic. I currently work as a Pet Health Consultant helping pets stay happy and healthy at home!

After helping people with their animals in different situations for years and after seeing gaps in the current community programs, I founded TAILS Foundation Inc in 2016. The mission is to help families care for their pets through education, training and resources for optimal health and well-being of all animals. This is so families don’t have to give up their pets for temporary financial reasons, and keeps animals out of the shelters and rescues that are already overwhelmed.

I have been a part of the Post Falls Chamber and have been an Ambassador for them for over a year now, visiting and getting to know local businesses. I have also completed the River City Leadership Academy program this year which was amazing! I have been blessed with so many wonderful experiences and have met many amazing people in our community!

Callie Pierce – Ambassador Spotlight

Callie Pierce – Ambassador Spotlight

My name is Callie Pierce. I was born and raised in the small town of Libby, Montana, graduating in the class of 2000! I moved to the Post Falls/CDA area in June 2000, a week after I graduated, and fell in love with the area. Here I am, still here 23 years later, but part of me will always be in Montana. Like I said, you can take me out of Montana, but you can’t take Montana out of me!

I started my career as a manager in the grocery business in 2000, doing that for 16 years for Tidyman’s/Trading Company. In 2016, I moved occupations and started working for the Springhill Suites by Marriott in CDA, where I am the Sales Manager. I love every minute of my job and love being a part of this wonderful community. I am an Ambassador for the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Hayden Chamber.

I have been a resident of Post Falls for the last 12 years, so the Post Falls Chamber will always have my Heart as it is run by some pretty amazing people – this community wouldn’t be the same without them in it. As a sales manager for Springhill Suites, I am the face of the community. Joining the Post Falls Chamber and becoming an Ambassador has opened many doors and opportunities to meet some amazing Women and Men in the area. I am blessed to be a part of it and looking forward to growing even more and engaging in everything I can.

I have been happily married for 10 years, together for 12 years, to my wonderful husband Brandon. Together, we have a 12-year-old daughter, Tatyana, a 21-year-old child, Alex, a step-son Brandon JR, 25, and a very beautiful 5-year-old Granddaughter, Ella, who is the light of our lives! We also have 2 Shihtzu dogs, Liza and Rosie, who are two very spoiled fur babies!

I enjoy the outdoors, and camping is my favorite thing to do. I am a very outgoing people person and I love to meet new people and hear their stories.

J and Pancho Elder – Ambassador Spotlight

J and Pancho Elder – Ambassador Spotlight

J and Pancho Edler came to our community several years ago, intending to slow down! Instead, they have become incredibly active by joining the Post Falls Chamber to be more connected to the local companies already here and learn about the new ones moving in. They soon became Ambassadors for the Chamber to ratchet up their awareness and are active in new Chamber member ribbon cuttings and open houses.

They joined doTERRA as Advocates over eight years ago, helping families and individuals here and across the country with health issues by offering all-natural solutions through therapeutic essential oils. They often share their oils at the state fair, home and garden shows, and various wellness fairs locally and in Sandpoint. Additionally, J provides educational classes to expand the knowledge of essential oils and discusses how they work in our bodies. J is especially passionate about sharing these oils, which have offered her many personal benefits. She loves helping others find ways to benefit! They are dedicated to each person they meet who needs help. Also worth mentioning is that J is a licensed realtor! She is dedicated to being a professional in each of these fields.

Besides helping his wife, Pancho joined Dixon Golf last spring to help drive donations to 501c3 charities locally and in Montana. Now, he and J work together at charity events. Pancho is an avid golfer and loves the outdoors. His passion is giving back whenever possible.

Both are grateful to have many family members living here as well. J’s cousin and her husband have lived in Coeur d’Alene for over 40 years and were nurses at Kootenai Hospital for much of that time. There are now over 20 family members here! About three years ago, their daughter, son-in-law, and 2 grandsons moved to Post Falls from Auckland, New Zealand, to be closer to their grandparents. Pancho and J can now see the children play in local basketball and baseball games, plus enjoy the grandchildren with sleepovers. Having so much family here – especially the grandchildren – is a blessing for them.

They also love having their special 3-year-old Cavapoo fur baby, Rosy, who has stolen their hearts!

They are forever grateful to be so involved in the community. If you see them on the street, please say hello!

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