The annual “Business Excellence Awards” presented by the Kent Chamber of Commerce recognized and applauded exceptional leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that member companies and their employees embody and share with our organization and our community.

The chamber’s goal was to net $54,000, but they ended up exceeding that by $10,000 with a $64,000 total!

“We netted $64K due to the generosity of our membership and tenacity of our staff and volunteers,” Chamber CEO Andrea Keikkala told I Love Kent. “This event continues to grow year after year. Every year I think we can’t top our stretch goals and every year we blow it out of the water.”

Andrea added:

“This is by far the largest gap between our stretch goal of $54K and just killing that goal by $10K. To give you some context – 10 years ago when I took over the Chamber this event lost -$2,000 and the Board asked me not to do it. I asked them to believe in the event and in my first year running it we netted $10K and our success has been snowballing ever since.”

“It is going to be hard to beat it next year but I am certain our staff, events committee and volunteers will go above and beyond as we go to Italy with our 2019 theme.”

Award nominations are completed by fellow business leaders in the community that value their peers’ contribution to the Kent community.

The Educator of the Year award is presented to an educator, school administrator or businessperson who has made a significant impact to ensure a highly motivated and skilled workforce. The 2018 Kent Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year is Dr. Wade Barringer:

The Chamber Member of the Year honors a member whose infectious enthusiasm, vision and drive has caused more businesses and their employees to be engaged and supportive of the organization. The 2018 Kent Chamber Member of the Year is Harry Wilson, owner of Shine on Signs & Graphics. He is the Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the organization.

The Legislator/Government Employee of the Year is awarded to an elected official or government employee who, through their actions and leadership, supported the business community’s need for reasonable costs for rules of doing business. The 2018 Kent Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year is: Kent City Councilmember Brenda Fincher:

The Citizen of the Year is awarded to a member that has contributed significant resources to the community, thus improving the livability and quality of the community through personal or company leadership. The 2018 Citizen of the Year 2018 is Judge Karli Jorgensen:

The Customer Service of the Year is presented to a member company that engages in exceptional customer service. The Customer Service of the Year for 2018 is Plemmons Industries:

The Manufacturer of the Year honors the individuals and companies that bring uncompromising excellence to Kent manufacturing. The 2018 Manufacturer of the Year is Exotic Metals Forming Company, LLC:

The New Business of the Year is awarded to a new business that has come to Kent in the last two years. The 2018 New Business of the Year 2018 is ANEW – Apprenticeships & Non-Traditional Employment for Women:

The Economic Engine of the Year is presented to a member company that caused new jobs to be sustained in the area or maintained a significant number of current jobs to insure a stable job force in our community. The 2018 Economic Engine of the Year is Columbia Distributing:

The Business of the Year is presented to a member company that has engaged in civic and community leadership. The 2018 Business of the Year is Champion Arms Indoor Shooting Range:

Each year, the Kent Chamber will recognize industry specific Businesses of the Year. The 2018 Award category is the Community Influencer of the Year (NOTE: was nominated!). This will be awarded to an individual or business that has influenced and shaped our community. The 2018 Community Influencer of the Year is Jeff Kelly with AssetLab:

Each year, the Past President awards their President’s Award to a business that has gone above and beyond for the Kent Chamber and community. Past President, Cindi Cameron of Fairway Independent mortgage bestowed the 2018 Presidents Awards to the John Volken Academy:

Watch the full video of the Chamber’s event, as broadcast live on our Facebook page (be sure to “Like” us here to receive alerts for future live videos):

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...