Several area businesses were recognized last week by the Association of Washington Business during its annual “Evening of Excellence” ceremony.
The event, sponsored by Walla Walla-based Banner Bank, celebrated the innovations of the private sector in a challenging year. It honored family-owned businesses, those that support veterans and employers that have successfully adapted to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Employers have kept our supply chains open, switched their operations to make personal protective equipment and set good examples of safe operations during the outbreak,” association President Kris Johnson said in a news release. “This is our chance to say thank you.”
Winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year was Colville-based Vaagen Timbers, which specializes in harvesting small logs that would not normally be useful in standard timber operations. The logs are used as part of a process, called cross-laminated timber technology, to create lightweight, aesthetic beams that are cost-effective, strong and easy to assemble, according to the release.
In the new category of Excellence in Washington Family-Owned Business, the winner was Spokane Valley’s Dishman Dodge Ram Chrysler Jeep, founded in 1964 by Mark Holllenback. In 1996, Mark’s daughter, the late Maurene “Marti” Hollenback, took over. She then passed management over to her sons, Mark and Matt Waltermire. They are part of 13 family members on a staff of a company that employs more than 100 people.
The Washington Achieve Award was given to Wagstaff Inc., of Spokane Valley. It has collaborated with several area colleges to provide hundreds of internships and jobs in engineering, welding and machining, according to the news release. Wagstaff also has increased its middle school grants, after-school programs and scholarships, and plans an upcoming production and manufacturing academy.
The Association of Washington Business was formed in 1904 and has 7,900 members that represent about 700,000 employees. The organization serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association.
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