Bishop chamber announces new officers

Register Staff
Staff Writer

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce, which is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors elected by the 300+ members of the organization, has announced that it recently completed its election and has released the following slate of leaders for 2020-2021.
President Joseph Cabral – Cabral’s career in hospitality began in 2007. He has served as a general manager and director of operations for various hotels. He is a certified hotel administrator, and since 2011, has served as a board director for the Ventura County Coast Lodging Association. Cabral currently serves as a board member for the Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau. He looks forward to continuing work with the Bishop chamber board to encourage the growth and development of tourism and travel to Bishop.
 Vice President Debi Yerkes – Yerkes and husband, Alex, have owned and operated Alex Printing for 41 years and she enjoys serving Inyo, Mono, Alpine and Kern counties. She’s enjoyed being a member of the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce since 2007, serving as president in 2011/2012. Yerkes says “Living in the Eastern Sierra is my Heaven on Earth and I feel the need to promote and protect this awesome place.” She believes deeply in what the chamber stands for and accomplishes each year.
Immediate Past President Tammy Mandrell – Mandrell was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, attending the University of Toledo earning a bachelor’s of education in 1986. After relocating from Ohio to California, Mandrell earned her master of arts at University of California Santa Barbara in 1994. Prior to moving to Bishop in September 2013, Mandrell spent 25 years as an educator in Santa Barbara County. She spent more than 12 years as a volunteer in Barns & Stalls for Bishop Mule Days and served as the organization’s executive director from 2013-2019. She is currently taking a temporary pause from the professional world to focus on family. Mandrell is honored to serve on the chamber board “in the best community in this great nation, Bishop.”
Treasurer Sarah Freundt – Freundt is co-owner, with husband, Dennis, of Bishop’s local Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. She believes in success through service to the community and is an active community volunteer and supporter of local non-profit organizations. A native of California’s Wine Country, she has a unique understanding of the business of tourism and the importance of balancing the wants of our visitors with the business needs of our local community. Freundt believes a strong, active chamber of commerce is vital to community success and is grateful for the privilege of serving on the Bishop Chamber Board.
Board member Rohit Bhakta – Bhakta was born in India and attended college in London before moving to the United States in 1994. He has previously operated motels in Hawthorne, Nevada, and Blue Earth, Minnesota. In 2001, he purchased the Starlite Motel in Bishop, which is now known as America’s Best Value Inn. Bhakta’s wife, Kirti, is a terrific business partner and they’ll celebrate 17 years of marriage next year. They have 12-year-old twin daughters, Diti and Disha, who have lots of fun while learning the family business. Bhakta enjoys spending time with his family fishing, biking and exploring the area in their OHV in all four seasons.
Board Member Robin Bolser – After a short career as a young marine biologist, Bolser moved to the Bishop area in 2001 in order to enjoy the incredible recreational opportunities the Eastern Sierra has to offer. Upon meeting her husband, Jeff Perry, on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain, she decided to dig in her roots and embrace the community of Bishop by starting the Great Basin Bakery in 2003. Bolser believes strongly that the success of the local economy and residents will depend on preserving the character of the Owens Valley while being proactive in adapting to a changing world. Bishop depends on good urban planning, business-friendly initiatives, creative marketing, fund-raising and a clear vision for itself. As a Bishop Chamber Board member, she vows to bring a fresh perspective and a good listening ear to the discussion of how to achieve this vision.
Board member Deena Davenport-Conway – Davenport-Conway owns Luxe Salon in Bishop. She has been a small business owner in many iterations for over 37 years. She owned a successful small chain of hair salons in San Francisco and Oakland, before selling them and moving to the Eastern Sierra. Never being one who likes to sit idle, she opened Luxe in 2019.  While in San Francisco, Davenport-Conway formed and presided over the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association. The VCMA was responsible for helping draft protective legislation for small business owners and neighborhoods by limiting and controlling the attempted influx of formula retail into the small business corridor. Davenport-Conway currently sits on the board of the Friends of the Eastern California Museum and the board of the Owens Valley Growers. She spends her spare time hiking, manning the OVG food bank and transporting injured animals for Wildcare Eastern Sierra.
Board member Tara Frank – Frank is the director for the Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center, an entity of the Bishop Paiute Tribe. She was born and raised in Bishop; after high school, she left to pursue college and adulthood in Riverside, her second home for 12 years. During the time in Southern California she found a variety of callings in retail – customer service, high-school youth-oriented outreach programs, tribal government – land and cultural resource management. In 2008, Frank found her passion and began a career in preservation of history, collections, and archives. She returned to Bishop in 2012 and focused on family and volunteering within the community. In 2014, she became the Cultural Center director, where she hopes to continue to inspire others and bring focus to the cultural heritage and traditions of the area. Frank has seen the community grow and believes residents have the potential and opportunities to expand, educate and showcase all that Bishop has to offer, while preserving and honoring the legacy and heritage of the past.
Board member Jose Garcia – Garcia has been a Bishop resident since 1989 and has dedicated a significant part of his life to serve and support the community that he loves. Over the years he has had the opportunity to volunteer for different activities and organizations, such as Inyo Council for the Arts (former board member), BUHS Latino Club (former advisor), and the city of Bishop Planning Commission (current member). At the state level, Garcia has served on the board of directors for the California Healthcare Interpreting Association since 2007.
Board member Corinna Korpi – Korpi is the Member Center manager of AltaOne Federal Credit Union. She was born in Germany and proudly served in the Air Force where she earned her American citizenship and began attending college at night. After serving in the military honorably, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Montana State University in media/theatre arts. Moving to California to work on films such as “Far and Away,” “Get Shorty,” “True Colors” among a few others, she eventually met and fell in love with the Eastern Sierra. An opportunity presented itself to get out of fast-paced city life and Korpi jumped on board with Alta One in 2008. She has served on various community boards and organizations in and around Inyo and Mono County including NIHD Foundation and Tri-County Fair Board. Community service is one of her passions.
Board member John Louth – Louth and his family have lived in the Bishop area for 28 years. He retired following a 37-year career with the Forest Service, managing the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and visitor information operation at the White Mountain Ranger Station. Louth is active in several civic and volunteer organizations and is a co-owner of the Mountain Rambler Brewery.
Board member Niral Munshaw – Munshaw began working in the lodging industry while still a student at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton. He studied hotel and restaurant management at Cal Poly Pomona. Munshaw has worked for Tarsadia Hotels, DKN Hotels, Holiday Inn and now Attune Hospitality which operates Vagabond Inn, Motel 6 and Travelodge here in Bishop. Munshaw likes the Angels, Dodgers and Lakers and has been married to his beautiful wife, Swati, for 11 years.
Board member Bina Patel – Patel and husband, Peter Patel, returned to the Eastern Sierra in the spring of 2016 and they’ve been quite busy ever since renovating their motel and building a great reputation as solid community supporters. With more than 20 years of experience in the lodging industry, they know what it takes. They operated properties in Mammoth Lakes, then Florida and now in Bishop. They’ve not only invested in the business, they’ve also invested in the Bishop community. They proudly support many groups including California High School Rodeo Association, American Alpine Club’s Fall Highball, Mule Days and others. Patel enjoys hiking, entertaining friends and visiting two sons in Florida. She says “I like to travel, but I LOVE to come home to Bishop!”
Board Member Scott Piercey – Piercey’s family moved to Big Pine in late 1965 when his father began employment with the California Department of Fish and Game at Fish Springs fish hatchery south of Big Pine. Piercey attended Big Pine Elementary School from kindergarten through 12th grade and graduated from Big Pine High School in 1979. He married wife, Vickie, in 1982 and began working at High Country Lumber shortly thereafter. In the year 2000, Piercey and his partner acquired the company from the Joseph family. He is proud to be a longtime member and past president of the Bishop Chamber Board of Directors.
Board member Cheryl Underhill – Underhill recently retired as Community Relations at Northern Inyo Healthcare District. She serves on the board of Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance, NIHD Foundation and city of Bishop Parks and Recreation Commission. She is an active member of NIH Auxiliary, VFW Auxiliary Post 8988, American Legion Auxiliary, Altrusa International, Bishop Lions Club, United We Ride, Moms Club, American Red Cross (Disaster Action Team), and Salvation Army Shelter team. She participates in many other community activities, events and fundraisers. Underhill has been married to John for 33 Years. They have 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Underhill says “It’s my honor and privilege to serve on the chamber board and I look forward to another successful year.”