August 16, 2019

Grays Harbor Chamber CEO honored for advocacy

By: Brian Mittge   Comments: 0
AWB President Kris Johnson surprised Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, and the chamber's board with the Advocate of the Year award during a presentation in Aberdeen on Aug. 15, 2019. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)
ABERDEEN - The employers of Grays Harbor support their communities every day by providing jobs and support, but there are other ways that businesses here are helping make Washington a better place. 

Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, has been an active spokesman for the employers and people of Grays Harbor at a statewide level through advocacy in Olympia and beyond. In recognition of his work, the Association of Washington Business has presented Garson and Greater Grays Harbor with the 2019 Advocate of the Year Award.  

AWB President Kris Johnson surprised Garson with the award with a presentation during a monthly meeting of the Greater Grays Harbor board on Thursday, Aug. 15. 

"When I think about a good grassroots partner, I think about a partner who's resilient, I think about a partner who lives the statewide engagement regularly along the way," Johnson said. "He's the perfect reflection of a statewide partner for us at AWB. You should be proud of that work that he does with us to advocate on behalf of your community and on behalf of your employer community."

Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, and Greater Grays Harbor Board Chair Don Kajans share a joke and a laugh after AWB President Kris Johnson presented Garson and the board with AWB Chamber Advocacy Award during a board meeting in Aberdeen on Aug. 15, 2019. 
Garson and Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. were charter members of AWB's Grassroots Alliance, a collaboration between AWB (Washington's oldest and largest business association) and 84 local Chambers.

As AWB has focused on rural development through three Rural Jobs Summits, Garson has been actively involved. He has also been a key business representative on the state's Washington Child Care Collaborative Task Force, where he is a voting member representing chambers of commerce in western Washington.

Garson was actively involved in an AWB-led economic business indicator research project, collecting information directly from local employers.  

"Dru's been one of our stellar people about being engaged early and on the ground on these issues that we think are important across the state of Washington," Johnson said in explaining why AWB chose Garson and Greater Grays Harbor to receive the award. 

He noted that Garson also serves on the board of the AWB Institute, the statewide 501(c)(3) "solutions arm" of AWB. 
Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor Inc., joins Steve Gano and AWB’s Mike Ennis (not pictured) to testify in support of Senate Bill 5423 before the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.
Garson accepted the award on behalf of the Greater Grays Harbor board.

"Of the different boards that I'm associated with, one of the ones I enjoy the most is AWB, because of the work that they do, the commitment of their employees," Garson said. "If there's anything that we need, especially in the legislative area, having people on your staff that walk us through how this whole process works and help us to testify and to be able to speak out on the different issues has been a blessing, really, because a lot of it can be really difficult sometimes to navigate." 

"I am definitely just honored to receive this," Garson said. "Thank you." 

Previous recipients of the award were the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and the Greater Vancouver Chamber. 

For more on AWB's Grassroots Alliance, contact AWB's Andrew Lenderman