Press Release

Monday, August 19

Greater Grays Harbor CEO honored for advocacy

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."

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.

Garson accepted the award on behalf of the Greater Grays Harbor board.

"We are honored to receive this award and are very appreciative of all the hard work and effort that has taken place among a variety of stakeholders to improve our local economy," Garson said. "AWB has been leading the charge in facilitating state-wide conversations around the creation of jobs in rural areas – an issue that is critically important to our county. We look forward to continuing our work with AWB to ensure the needs of Grays Harbor are reflected in AWB’s legislative priorities."

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

Download high-resolution photos of the award and the presentation to Garson here.

For more on AWB's Grassroots Alliance, contact Jason Hagey.

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