AWB honors exceptional Washington employers

by Staff report
| December 10, 2022 1:00 AM

TACOMA — The Association of Washington Business presented its top awards to 13 employers Thursday at the annual Evening of Excellence during a gala ceremony at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

“It is our distinct privilege to honor employers who are helping make Washington an incredible place to work, live and raise a family,” said AWB President Kris Johnson, who emceed the event. “Through these awards, we are celebrating their successes and thanking them for their contributions to the economy and our communities.”

Nine Washington Excellence Awards and four Manufacturing Excellence Awards were presented. Approximately 250 companies were nominated for awards. A panel of judges chose the finalists and winners.

Here are the awards and their finalists and winners:

Employer of the Year: Recognizes an employer that has implemented innovative job retention, creation, benefits and/or compensation plans that foster a thriving work environment.

Winner: Apogee Group LLC, Richland

Finalists: Step by Step and Farm 12, Puyallup and ZoomInfo, Vancouver.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Given to an entrepreneur whose business is less than 5 years old and has made a significant impact in its industry.

Winner: Boundless Immigration, Seattle

Finalists: BRINC Drones, Inc, Seattle and Starfish Space, Tukwila.

Excellence in Washington Family-Owned Business: Given to a family-owned business that is setting the standard for excellence and success by growing the business while serving its communities and paying close attention to the personal touch in customer service.

Winner: Senske Services, Kennewick

Finalists: Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar/Chelsea Farms, Olympia and Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma.

Washington Veterans and Families Award: Recognizing employers who have developed and applied hiring and retention best practices for addressing the employment challenges faced by veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses.

Winner: NineLine Veterans Services, Fife

Finalists: Ravenox, Mount Vernon and Amazon, Seattle.

Washington Resiliency Award: Recognizing an employer that has shown resilience and determination in overcoming difficult obstacles and demonstrates leadership in carrying out initiatives addressing safety, community resiliency and/or financial threats related to an emerging, immediate or long-term threat or community crisis while taking into consideration the varying needs of all residents of the geographic region.

Winner: Step by Step and Farm 12, Puyallup

Finalists: Pete’s Milk Delivery, Kent and Westport Winery and Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, Aberdeen.

Leading Environmental Practices Award: Recognizes a business that has put a priority on environmental improvement, education or outreach to its business sector and/or community.

Winner: QFC, Bellevue

Finalists: Advanced Nutrients/Applied Plant Science, Woodland and Swire Coca-Cola.

Washington Achieve Award: Recognizes a business that has excelled in creating, implementing or supporting a high-caliber education and/or workforce development system aligned with closing the employment gap.

Winner: Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma

Finalists: Skills Inc., Auburn and Step by Step and Farm 12, Puyallup.

Washington Connect Award: Recognizes a business whose products and/or services have positively impacted the way in which Washington employers and communities are connected to each other and the world.

Winner: Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Redmond

Finalists: Amerigroup Washington Inc., Seattle and Identity Clark County, Vancouver.

Washington Advance Award: Recognizes a business that has had a significant impact in its sector, contributing to the advancement of its community and/or statewide economy.

Winner: Goodman Real Estate Inc., Seattle

Finalists: Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Redmond and Premera Blue Cross, Mountlake Terrace.

Manufacturer of the Year: Recognizes a manufacturer that has a commitment to business excellence, has found creative solutions to challenges that raise or enhance the industry standard, and is involved in state and/or local public policy issues that affect manufacturers.

Winner: SAFE Boats International LLC, Bremerton

Finalists: Analog Devices Inc., Camas and Naked Prosthetics, Olympia.

Manufacturing Excellence Award for Green Manufacturing: Recognizes a manufacturer that has maximized energy efficiency levels, gone above and beyond regulatory requirements, minimized waste from the production process, and reduced its carbon footprint.

Winner: Inland Empire Paper Company, Millwood

Finalists: CarbonQuest, Spokane Valley and WestRock, Tacoma.

Manufacturing Excellence Award for Operational Excellence: Recognizes a manufacturer that has a distinctive manufacturing process, including continuous improvement, Lean and Six Sigma and/or application of high technology.

Winner: Advanced Nutrients/Applied Plant Science, Woodland

Finalists: Analog Devices Inc., Camas and Altek Inc., Liberty Lake.

Manufacturing Excellence Award for Innovation: Recognizes a manufacturer that has maintained a competitive advantage by utilizing innovation while remaining responsive to market demands.

Winner: BRINC Drones Inc., Seattle

Finalists: Mount Adams Fruit, Bingen and Naked Prosthetics, Olympia.

AWB is currently accepting nominations for the 2023 award program; more information is available at