Press Release

Thursday, December 1

AWB Honors Six Innovative Employers

Association of Washington Business honored 20 finalists and presented six employers awards Wednesday at first-ever Evening of Excellence

OLYMPIA — Twenty employers from across the state were honored Wednesday and six took home top awards in the Association of Washington Business’ first-ever Evening of Excellence awards program at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Each employer was recognized for exemplifying the community spirit and stewardship that make Washington a great place to live and work.

“We have so many great employers around the state doing great things, building community and being good stewards of our natural resources and workforce talent,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “We’re honored to recognize six of them, understanding they represent a small fraction of the thousands of Washington businesses that harness innovation, invest in employees and embrace the community spirit that drives our economy and supports our families.”

In all, six awards were given out in a series of categories that align with AWB’s strategies for achieving its new Mission and Vision statements.

Employer of the Year: Richland’s Energy Northwest took home the Employer of the Year award for its commitment to not only serving its 1.5 million customers, but for its support of employees and surrounding communities. The company adopted an Excellence Model to select and retain the right people, including a focus on military veteran recruitment.

The other finalists for the Employer of the Year Award were Phillips 66 in Ferndale and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Seattle-based M3 Biotechnology received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for its groundbreaking leadership to deliver therapies that address the unmet medical needs in patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The other finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award were Aslan Brewing in Bellingham, C2S Tech in Bellevue, Heritage Distilling in Gig Harbor and Schilling Cider in Auburn.

Achieve Award: D.A. Davidson Companies, an employee-owned financial services company in Seattle, received the Achieve Award, which recognizes an employer that has excelled in creating, implementing or supporting a high-caliber education or workforce development system. D.A. Davidson was recognized for its long-standing practice of providing internships, apprenticeships and hands-on programs to develop teamwork, decision-making and other crucial skills to students, young professionals and those seeking their second career.

The other finalists for the Achieve Award were: Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Richland and WGU Washington in Kent.

Connect Award: The Seattle Symphony received the 2016 Connect Award, which recognizes an employer whose products or services have positively impacted the way in which Washington employers are connected to each other and the world. Believing that music is a universal force for inspiration and wellbeing, the Seattle Symphony works with 60 local nonprofits to help Seattle’s homeless population. Through its Simple Gifts events and comprehensive Community Connections program, the Seattle Symphony is bringing hope and dignity to some of Seattle’s neediest residents.

The other finalists for the Connect Award were Bellevue’s Expedia and Mill Creek Pub, located in Battle Ground.

Leading Environmental Practices: Banfield Pet Hospital took home the award for Leading Environmental Practices. In June 2016, the company officially moved its corporate headquarters to a new, ultra-green building in Vancouver. The dog-friendly building saves 56 percent of the electricity needed for a typical building of its size.

The other finalists for the Leading Environmental Practices Award were Earth Friendly Products in Lacey and Nucor Steel Seattle.

Advance Award: International Air Academy in Vancouver received the 2016 Advance Award, which recognizes a business that has made a significant cause-oriented impact in its sector or community and contributed to the advancement of the economy. International Air Academy was recognized for providing high-quality training at low cost to help students from all socio-economic groups find satisfying, good-paying careers. Its programs have grown to include coaching, mentoring and technical training for the hospitality, culinary, railroad and renewable energy industries.

The other finalists for the Advance Award were Seattle’s Level 11 and Wafla in Lacey.

For more information on the award winners and nominees, visit this link. High-resolution photos of the winners are available to download here.

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