Louis was born and raised in Western Montana where he graduated from Polson High School before attending Montana State University and ultimately moving to North Dakota for a short time. Louis always wanted to raise his family in the Mission Valley and moved back to Polson in 2003. He is the Hotel Manager at the Kwataqnuk Resort where he was first introduced to the Polson Chamber of Commerce and discovered his enjoyment of working with the community and other Polson businesses. He was a Chamber Ambassador before becoming a member of the board and eventually Chamber Board President in 2015. After his term he went on to be a member of the Polson Economic Development Committee and is now serving a second term as a Polson Chamber Board member. Louis is married to Julie Cross and has 3 kids Alex, Cole, and Sara. They enjoy spending their time on the lake, and hiking and camping throughout Western Montana when they are not following the kids in their athletic events.
Cole WallaceVice President
Cole was born in Bozeman Montana and moved with his wife Lyndi to Polson in 2016. Together Lyndi and Cole have two amazing children- Cooper & Anna, and feel lucky for the opportunity to call Polson their home. Cole is a graduate of Montana State University College of Business with bachelor degrees in both Accounting and Business Management. Currently, Cole is a licensed real estate broker with Century 21 Big Sky in Polson, and also holds a property management license. Growing up in a small-business family; entrepreneurship and business of all kinds have always fascinated Cole, which is a big reason why he pursued the opportunity to serve as a Chamber Board Member, along with his desire to assist in the community he loves. As a new board member for 2022, Cole looks forward to learning the ropes and contributing wherever possible.
Laura was born and raised in Sterling, Colorado and moved to Polson in 1990 where she met her love of her life, Shawn Burland, and they raised two amazing children, Shawntaya and Blaise Burland. Laura has been in the banking business for 23 years and is currently a universal banker at Valley Bank of Polson. Being involved in the community is an important aspect in Laura’s Life. She has helped serve as a chamber ambassador, board member of the Festival of Trees, and helped participate and organize the Valley Banks Scholarship Program for local high school seniors. As well as helping out her community members, she is always willing to help a neighbor or an elder in need. If she’s not in the community, Laura loves to spend time on the beautiful waters of Flathead Lake or hit the slopes of Big Mountain. Laura is blessed that she has been able to call Polson home and it has been a great place to raise a family and she looks forward to continuing to serve her community with the Polson Chamber of Commerce.
Mandy SmithPast President
Mandy is a new 2020 Polson Chamber of Commerce board member, and excited to serve her hometown in this capacity. Born and raised in Polson, she has chosen to raise her own 3 boys here as well. Mandy attended the University of Montana, then moved back to Polson where she worked for Community Bank to later become Glacier Bank. She has been in banking for 25 years, and has worked in many areas of the bank, from operations to lending to management. Currently Mandy is a Consumer Lender and Assistant Vice President for Glacier Bank. She has 1 grown son, 2 sons at home, and the cutest little grandson in the world.
Carol Lynn Lapotka
The talented Carol Lynn Lapotka wears many hats—founder of the MADE fair, handMADE Montana, and REcreate designs. Her skills were fine-tuned while attending Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and receiving a Fine Arts degree with a minor in environmental studies. She is focused on organizing and marketing with tendencies toward a creative flare. After moving to Montana in 2007, she vended her upcycled tee-skirts at the local market and saw a need for a holiday show. She is the powerhouse behind the MADE fair operation and a dreamer of how to expand and help artists and makers of Montana through handMADE Montana. REcreate designs makes adult & children’s clothing, accessories, and home goods handcrafted from upcycled materials.
Lapotka has seen things not as they are but for what they can become since 2005.
Launa BensonBoard Member
Launa and her husband Tom have raised 2 beautiful daughters in the Mission Valley. Launa and Tom own and operate Xtreme Weed & Pest Solutions in Western Montana and Billings. In her spare time she loves spending time with their 4 grandbabies and riding horses. She is passionate about her family and helping others succeed.
Erin RumelhartBoard Member
Erin is a born and raised Montanan hailing originally from Libby, MT. After living in Missoula for several years, Erin and her family relocated to Polson in 2014. She currently serves in the role as the Director of Nursing at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, and has been in the healthcare arena for the last 24 years. Erin spends most of her time chasing kids around and responding to the health care needs of the community, and she looks forward to learning more about how Chamber supports local businesses and how best to be involved at the community level.
Jesse YarbroughBoard Member
Jesse Yarbrough is a Polson Pirate through and through. He grew up in western Montana and graduated from Polson High School. He attended the University of Montana for his undergraduate and graduate degrees. After spending a few years in the Oregon wine country, he was fortunate enough to return to Polson to work in the schools. He has worked in the district for 16 years between Polson High School and Polson Middle School. He and his wife, Raina, who is also a Polson High School graduate have two children. Esme, is attending the University of Montana and Jackson, is a student in the Polson School District. He is looking forward to seeing how the school district and local businesses can support each other in taking Polson to the next level.
Karen DelaneyBoard Member
Karen has been a Polson Chamber of Commerce Board member since 2018. She and her husband, Tim (who grew up in St. Ignatius) moved to Polson in April of 2012, and now has retired from the position as Development Director with the Salish Kootenai College Foundation in Pablo. Before moving to Polson, Karen and her family lived in Soldotna, Alaska for 37 years. She has over 30 years of management and administrative experience and worked 22 years as Assistant Executive Director for the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, a local citizens group tasked by federal law with oversight of the oil industry operating in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Karen and Tim have 5 grown children, 8 granddaughters, 1 grandson and 2 great-grandchildren. She looks forward to serving as a Polson Chamber Board member and giving back to the community.
Kate SheridanBoard Member
Originally from the West Coast, Kate moved to Missoula in 2010 to pursue a Masters degree in Environmental Studies. After graduation, Kate worked in a variety of fields and positions, including barista, assistant farm manager, and conservation campaign organizer, before taking on the Executive Director role at the Flathead Lakers in 2019. Kate was drawn to Flathead Lake through the world of open water swimming and racing. When not in the water, or working for the protection of our local watershed, Kate enjoys hiking in the Missions.
Jesse VargasBoard Member
Jesse Vargas moved to Montana in the summer of 2005. Originally from southern California. Jesse quickly adapted making friends throughout the community, and developed a strong love for the great outdoors of beautiful Montana wilderness.
Jesse’s enjoyment of helping and improving the community had led him to his involvement in local nonprofit organizations where he works towards improving the lives of local youth by giving them positive outlets to recreate.
Jesse decided after his early career in sales to become a Realtor to further help his community by providing excellent customer service to his clients around the northwestern parts of Montana.
His joy of working with the public as an influencing member of the community is felt through his work and enjoyed by his family, friends, and clients.