In my last column, I shared an intention to showcase real stories of business and community leaders who were shaped by the strong public education system we have been proud and blessed to have here in Coeur d’Alene. Today we are featuring a wonderful family FULL of leaders, that for generations has contributed significant economic and community impact in our region, including providing over 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, to over 200 businesses. Meet Ryan Nipp, Partner at Parkwood Business Properties (the largest private commercial real estate developer in Kootenai County) and Past Chair, Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber Board of Directors, this is his family’s story…

My family lineage runs far and deep as proud Coeur d’Alene High School Viking alumni.  My mom Susan Nipp’s parents Inez Pederson Hagen and Bert Hagen graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School.  My dad’s mother (Ruth Thompson Nipp) and father (Rhinehard Nipp) also attended CHS.  My father Charlie, mother-in-law Donna Hamlet Runge, and father-in-law Jim Runge are Viking graduates. My wife Teri Runge Nipp graduated CHS in 1990 and I followed in 1993.

This long family lineage of CHS Vikings did not happen by chance.  Each generation chose to stay in this wonderful community to raise their children and attend our exceptional public schools.  Our family recognized the Coeur d’Alene public school system would prepare our children to flourish in their academic and career endeavors. 

Here are a few examples of how our school system impacted our family: My father Charlie Nipp had the opportunities and support that enabled him to excel in academics and athletics.  These activities gave my dad the chance to attend Whitworth University on scholarship where he played baseball and basketball.  My wife Teri played three sports at CHS.  Her accomplishments on the volleyball court earned her a Division 1 college scholarship.  I played basketball and tennis at CHS as well as a trumpet in the symphonic band.  Such activities created a well-rounded resume that allowed me to attend Georgetown University, my dream college.  These post-secondary opportunities helped my dad, Teri, and me embark on exciting journeys and rewarding careers.

These examples and experiences compelled Teri and me to raise our two children in the Coeur d’Alene area.  We couldn’t imagine a better place for our boys to be educated.  Our sons Alexander (senior at CHS) and Trey (junior at CHS) are nearing the finish line as students in District 271.  Trey and Alexander both play multiple sports and have taken full advantage of the many elective courses offered at CHS.  Their futures are bright. 

 I can say with complete confidence and unwavering conviction that our educational system in District 271 is incredible.  Our school board, superintendent, district administrators, principals, teachers, coaches, security officers, counselors, bus drivers, janitors, and all other staff are exceptional.  I’m truly in awe of the passion and commitment these individuals have for our students. 

Our Supplemental Levy supports these dedicated teachers, administrators, and staff.  Now, imagine for a moment if our school district did not offer extra-curricular activities and elective courses while these three generations of Nipps attended school.  Would my father have attended Whitworth?  The answer is no.  He would not have been able to afford college without the athletic scholarships.  Would my wife have earned a volleyball scholarship?  No.  Would I have been accepted to Georgetown University without my participation in extracurricular activities and elective courses taken?  No.  Would Teri and I be raising Alexander and Trey in Coeur d’Alene without the programs and services the Supplemental Levy provides?  No.  Consequently, my business career would have certainly been in a different community. 

We are now faced with a Supplemental Levy vote on May 16th that will have a critical and lasting impact on our community.  If the levy passes, we will continue this great trajectory of supporting our students and providing them with incredible opportunities to succeed in life.  Our community will continue to thrive.  Existing businesses will stay and new companies will arrive as they are attracted to our exemplary educational system.  Our students will go on to achieve great things and come back to start careers and raise their families in Coeur d’Alene.  The cycle repeats itself.  Dreams become a reality.

A failed Supplemental Levy ends the cycle and crushes dreams.  Opportunities are stripped away from our amazing students.  The support for our children in need evaporates.  Our teachers lose faith in our community.  Jobs are lost and our economy suffers. 

Please vote YES on May 16th.  Our prosperous future hinges on this election.

When I think about the incredible contribution of this family over the past several decades, I wonder where our community might be without their leadership.

Our mission is truly our members. We are the voice of business and would love to have you join us:

May Upbeat Breakfast — Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Hagadone Event Center, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Jeremy Chase, Marketing & Innovation Administrator at Idaho Department of Commerce, will share insights on the state’s economic landscape for 2023, providing valuable data and trends, with a specific focus on key industries, like tourism, that drive our economy in Idaho. To register, visit

Kootenai County Commissioners Breakfast – Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn, 7 to 9 a.m.

Join us for an update from our Kootenai County commissioners: Bill Brooks, Bruce Mattare, and Leslie Duncan! To sign up, visit

Linda Coppess is President and CEO of the Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber.

Ryan Nipp is Partner at Parkwood Business Properties and Past Chair of the Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber.