‘It’s in her DNA, this is just what she does’

The now Chamber of Commerce executive director started her community involvement by volunteering, working with athletics for young children



Marie Dymkoski and her grandson at WSUs opening football game against UI.

JOSIE GOODRICH, Reporter/Copy Editor

From volunteer work to hiking the nature trails at any possible moment, Marie Dymkoski is a Jane of all trades. 

Dymkoski, Chamber of Commerce executive director, moved to Palouse at the age of 20 with her two daughters and husband at the time after growing up as a third-generation child in St. Maries, Idaho, she said. She has been in Palouse for around 35 years now, and has not looked back for a second.

Dymkoski did not go to college due to a lack of opportunity and having children at a young age, but she never missed the opportunity to volunteer and donate her time where it was needed, she said.

“When I came to Palouse, I was doing a lot of volunteering. I’ve worked with nonprofits and volunteer opportunities since I was 18,” Dymkoski said. “I was coaching softball at that time, I started coaching soccer for little kids, which I knew nothing about, and I helped start an athletic booster club called the Viking Crew in the town of Palouse.” 

Dymkoski secured her first Pullman job working at Excel Foods, then sold to Rosauer’s, from 1989-92, and immediately fell in love with the town. While at the grocery store, she picked up another job at the Whitman County Humane Society where she worked for four years when she was offered her first full-time salary position as the office manager for the Pullman Chamber of Commerce in April 2007. 

“I realized after I got here to this position in this organization how much I loved it. I mean, I’ve always worked in nonprofit work and so it really just surprised me how much I loved it and how good I was at everything from the budgeting to just working with people and volunteers and business owners,” Dymkoski said.

After three years in that position, Dymkoski said she was offered a position as the executive director for the Chamber of Commerce and has held that position for the past 12 years.

Aside from her full-time job as executive director for the chamber, Dymkoski has never lost her love for nonprofits, she said. She is the co-chair for the Palouse Skate Park Gardens in the town of Palouse, raising funds and managing the native flower garden. 

Additionally, she is the vice president of the Halpin Foundation, an organization raising money for math and science-related activities in Palouse and Garfield. Dymkoski is also a board member on the Pullman Civic Trust, as well as on the Downtown Pullman Association. 

“I am a big fan of nonprofits, I think that they really pull our communities together and our people together,” Dymkoski said. “I am currently the president of the Palouse Audubon Society, which covers the Moscow Pullman area, and I’ve been the president for a few years now and been involved in that organization for a long time. I’ve been mostly a lifelong birder, which a lot of people can’t believe because it doesn’t really go with my wild personality.”

Aside from keeping her resume busy and filled to the brim, she never runs out of time for her love of the great outdoors. Dymkoski’s passport has taken her to China, Dubai, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hawaii, Mexico and all over the state of Alaska, she said. 

“I’m an opportunist, so if I get an opportunity to go somewhere with someone or with a group I try to take that if it works out,” Dymkoski said. “I get in my car and go camping quite often up in the forests of northern Idaho. I really don’t mind traveling alone and being out, meeting people and seeing beautiful country.”

Although she lives in Palouse, Pullman is home and she loves everything from the nature trails to Cougar Country. Dymkoski said she has season tickets for WSU football for the past eight years as well as the Regional Theatre of the Palouse, located here in Pullman, so she spends quite some time here outside of work.

“I love the Arboretum, I love our trail system. I think those are both really great assets for outdoor activities in town. I mean the path system in Pullman is top notch and you can ride your bike anywhere, you can walk anywhere, and I love doing that,” Dymkoski said. “Oftentimes I’ll bring my road bike into Pullman and jump on the trail and ride over to Moscow and back on the trail there. What a great asset for this community.”

With work, nonprofits and the great outdoors taking a majority of her time, she has four children that are the impetus for her to become a better person and to be involved in all the things that she has done over the years, she said. 

Bobbie Ryder, a close friend and colleague of Dymkoski, said this community is fortunate to have someone like Dymkoski, a hard worker that makes things happen efficiently and effectively.

“It’s in her DNA. This is just what she does and what motivates her. You have to have events that make people proud of their community and she knows how to get those things done really well,” Ryder said. “It motivates her to see a successful outcome of all the efforts and coordination that she’s put together with her staff and she is very happy to spread the recognition to everyone that’s been involved in a project.”

Ryder said one of the best traits Dymkoski has and spreads with others is her sense of humor. Whether it be a business meeting or a conversation, she is witty and spreads laughter to the people around her. 

“Marie has high standards for Pullman to make it the best it possibly can be and I appreciate that. What you get is what starts at the top and she keeps track of what’s going on and she does a really great job,” Ryder said. “I have a whole lot of respect for Marie, I just love her. I think she’s a great person all the way around.”