Past Honorees

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Since 2001, the Milgard School of Business has hosted the Business Leadership Awards. These awards recognize local business leaders for outstanding service to their company and the community and for exemplifying the Business School's five core competencies: integrated business knowledge, strategic thinking, communication, teamwork and professionalism.

2018 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Bill Robertson, President & CEO, Multicare Health System

Small Business Leader of the Year 
Dale Maris, Owner, Maris Farms

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Maureen Fife, CEO, Habitat for Humanity

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Helen McGovern-Pilant, Executive Director, Emergency Food Network

Lifetime Achievement Award
Joanne Bamford & Calvin D. Bamford, Jr, Chairman, Globe Machine and Bamford Foundation


2017 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
John Wiborg, President, Stellar Industrial Supply

Small Business Leader of the Year 
Tom Hoare, President, Green Air Supply

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Bill Lemke, Executive Director, Northwest Furniture Bank

Distinguished Leadership Award
Shahrokh Saudagaran, Dean (2004-2015), Milgard School of Business

Lifetime Achievement Award
Karl Anderson, Chairman, Concrete Technology Corp.


2016 recipients

Lifetime Achievement
Melanie Dressel, CEO, Columbia Bank

Business Leader of the Year
Marc Rogers, President & CEO, Interstate Distributor Co.

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Tanya Andrews, Executive Director, Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Small Business Leader of the Year
Chris Johnston, Owner, Sparks Firehouse and Deli


2015 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Paul Ellingson, President and CEO Bargreen Ellingson

Small Business Leader of the Year
Bill Evans, Owner, The Pacific Northwest Shop

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Jane Taylor, The Geneva Foundation


2014 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Gordon Rush, Founder of The Rush Companies

Small Business Leader of the Year 
Hal Russell, President and CEO of Commencement Bank

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of the Tacoma Art Museum

Lifetime Achievement Award
B. Corry McFarland, McFarland Cascade


2013 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Richard Brandsma, President & CEO of Sound Credit Union

Small Business Leader of the Year 
Janine Terrano, CEO of Topia Technology

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Joseph W. Wilczek, CEO of Franciscan Health System

Lifetime Achievement Award
Brian Sonntag

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Michael P. Slevin III, Director of the Environmental Services Department with City of Tacoma (MBA, University of Washington Tacoma – 2004)


2012 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Luke Xitco, President and CEO of Associated Petroleum Products

Small Business Leader of the Year
Tony G. Panagiotu, President of Panagiotu Pension Advisors

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
John R. Peterson, President of Bellarmine Preparatory School


2011 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Greg Biersack, Vice President of Operations, Burkhart Dental Supply

Small Business Leader of the Year
Brian Haynes, President and CEO, Rainier Connect

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Diane Cecchettini, RN, President and CEO, MultiCare Health System


2010 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Melanie Dressel, President and CEO, Columbia Banking System,Inc.

Small Business Leader of the Year
Mohsen Aliabadi, President and CEO, South Tacoma Auto Sales, Inc.

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Charles Shelan, Executive Director, Community Youth Services


2009 recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award
James A. Milgard, Executive Vice President, Milgard Windows and Doors

Business Leader of the Year
William Matthaei, CEO and Director, Roman Meal Company

Small Business Leader of the Year
Brian Forth, President and Founder, SiteCrafting, Inc.

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
David Ottey, Director, Emergency Food Network


2008 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Michael A. Tucci, Chairman of the Board, Tucci & Sons

Small Business Leader of the Year
Ben I. Pentecost, Co-owner, Rickabaugh Pentecost Development, LLC

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
George Cargill, Chairman of the Board, United Service Organization of the Puget Sound Area


2007 recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award
George H. Weyerhaeuser, Retired, Weyerhaeuser

Business Leader of the Year
Ray Tennison, President, Simpson Investment Company

Small Business Leader of the Year
Joe Stortini, President, Joeseppi's Italian Restaurant, Deli, and Catering

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Bob Ecklund, President and CEO, YMCA of Tacoma-Pierce County


2006 recipients

Business Leader of the Year
Dan Absher, President, Absher Construction Company

Small Business Leader of the Year
Michael L. Miller, President, Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Terry A. Hayes, CEO, Tacoma Goodwill Industries


2004 recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award
Bill Philip, Retired CEO, Columbia Bank

Business Leader of the Year
Robert Magee, Chairman, American Shipping Group, Inc.


2003 recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award
Fred Haley, Chairman-Emeritus, Brown & Haley, Inc.

Business Leader of the Year
Don Johnson, Vice President and General Manager, Simpson Tacoma Kraft

Rising Star Award
Thaddeus Martin IV, Partner, Gordon Thomas Honeywell Malanca Peterson & Daheim

Leadership Award
Melanie Dressel, President and CEO, Columbia Bank
John A. Hall, President and CEO, Rainier Pacific Bank
Andrea Riniker, Executive Director, Port of Tacoma
Randy Rushforth, CEO, Rushforth Construction Co.
Linda Thomas, Executie Director, Gordon Thomas Honeywell Malanca Perterson & Daheim
Janeanne Upp, CEO,
Tacoma Art Museum


2002 recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award
Gary Milgard, Chairman, Milgard Manufacturing Inc.

Business Leader of the Year
Mark Crisson, Director of Utilities, City of Tacoma and CEO, Tacoma Public Utilities

Rising Star Award
Josi Callan, Founding Director, Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art

Leadership Award
Donald R. Anderson, President, Washington Architectural Hardware
David Graybill, President and CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
Ross Hjelseth, Headmaster, Life Christian School and Academy
Jeffrey S. Lyon, President and CEO, GVA Kidder Mathews
David Morris, CEO, Dillanos Coffee Roasters and Atomic Distributing
Tom Seigel, Superintendent, Bethel School District
Mike Wallingford, Vice President and Regional Manager, Wells Fargo


2001 recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award
George Russell, Chairman of the Board, Frank Russell Co.

Business Leader of the Year
Bruce Greene, General Manager, Advanced Tel-Com Group

Rising Star Award
Janine Terrano, President, Business Internet Services

Leadership Award
Rick Allen, President, United Way of Pierce County
Joe Guizzetti, General Manager and CEO, Buffelen Woodworking
Chuck Miller, President and CEO, Bratrud Middleton Insurance
Clare Petrich, Owner, Petrich Marine Dock LLC
Mark Rake-Marona, Director, Franciscan Health System Hospice Program
David Senner, Owner, Abolins Inc.
Juli Wilkerson, Director, Tacoma Economic Development Department