Announcing the 2020 (event postponed to 2021) Winners!
Business Leader of the Year
Evie Lynn, Careage Corporation
Evie Lynn’s father emigrated from Sweden and raised his family on a farm in Puyallup, instilling belief in teamwork, long hours and individual responsibility. Graduating from the UW in 1961, Evie began her career as a high school
English teacher, later adding several counseling credentials to her bona fides— first a master’s in counseling psychology from the University of Puget Sound and later a second master’s degree, in family therapy, from Pacific Lutheran University. Her success as a therapist and founder of Lakewood Professional Counseling Center, which grew to include nine associates, required her to become familiar with real-estate leasing and management. During 18 years as a clinician, she began developing office buildings in the area and in Gig Harbor, ultimately making real estate development and management her full-time job. Meanwhile her late husband Gene was developing, building and operating senior-living facilities as well as home healthcare facilities under the company name, "Careage.” Evie now serves as chairman of the board for Careage, a private real estate development and management company specializing in housing and healthcare needs of seniors. The firm has developed and built over 400 hospitals, nursing homes and senior living communities in 26 states. It also manages healthcare facilities and service agencies in Washington and California. Evie and the rest of the Careage team work across all segments of the senior housing spectrum and describe ther work as a calling and a privilege.
Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year
Kathi Littmann, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation
A public, private and nonprofit leader with more than two decades of executive experience, Kathi Littman joined the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation in 2015 as president and CEO. She has held prominent positions across a variety of fields, ranging from public education leadership to commercial construction management.
Throughout her career, Kathi has worked to build deep community involvement to create opportunities for people to live healthy, happy and productive lives. Whether she was building innovative, teacher-centered professional learning systems for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a senior program officer, launching learning initiatives on U.S. military-base campuses around the world or managing multibillion-dollar construction programs, Kathi worked to empower teams of diverse stakeholders to collaborate toward a shared impact. She has been recognized for her team’s work to launch 175 new schools and additions across Los Angeles (for which she received the Engineering News Record’s Award of Excellence) and was a 2005 Broad Urban Superintendents Academy fellow. Kathi began her career as a middle school English teacher and holds an Ed. D. in educational leadership for social justice from Loyola and a master of education from Marymount University. Current work at Greater Tacoma Community Foundation includes the Pierce County Connected: COVID-19 Emergency Response project, the Tacoma Whole Child Partnership and grant disbursement of state funds related to Census 2020 outreach She loves exploring the Pacific Northwest outdoors with her two rescue pups.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Gordon Naccarato, Pacific Grill
Following graduation from the UW in 1977, Gordon Naccarato moved to Los Angeles to pursue a law degree, but soon discovered his passions lay not in the courthouse but in the culinary arts.
Now a partner in the Naccarato Restaurant Group, he is executive chef and vice president of the company, where he oversees all food operations, as well as the hiring, training and management of kitchen staff at Pacific Grill. Over a career of more than 30 years as chef and restaurateur, he has worked with some of the most talented chefs across the country, in restaurants—both famous and infamous—in Los Angeles, Aspen, Miami and New York City. His co-owned Aspen restaurant, Gordon’s, was so popular with the jet set that it was often booked a year in advance. Its New Year’s Eve party was so filled with celebrities they had to black out windows to prevent paparazzi from taking pictures of stars inside. Gordon has cooked for sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices, Hollywood stars and titans of business and publishing. His restaurants and menus have garnered critical praise in the pages of Gourmet Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine and the New York Times. Gordon’s recipes have appeared in countless books and magazines from around the world. He has appeared in the PBS series, “Great Chefs of the West,” and been called a genius in the kitchen.
Sustainable Business Leader of the Year
Jim Milgard, Jr., Continental Floral Greens
Jim Milgard Jr. is owner and CEO of Continental Floral Greens, which merged with Pacific Mountain Products in 2015.
Working together as farmers, global distributors, manufacturers and sellers, the company, with operations in California, Florida and Washington, has set out to bring an unparalleled new level of quality and breadth of product to its customers. The company supports fundraising in its communities by partnering with schools, sports teams, nonprofits and other groups, providing fresh, fragrant wreaths and other holiday greens to help these groups raise vital resources. The company’s Watsonville, Calif. farm uses recycled water, helping to conserve local resources and slow seawater intrusion. The plants also benefit from nutrients in the recycled water, so the company can use fewer commercial fertilizers. Continental Floral Greens, focusing on innovation and excellence, holds the highest rating in its industry for the sustainability and low environmental impact of all its Pacific Northwest greens. In addition to leading Continental Floral Greens, Jim who has an associate’s degree from Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, is managing partner and founder of Lake Creek Capital LLC and managing partner of Great Day Group, in Ketchum, Idaho. He was a plant manager at Milgard Windows & Doors for 12 years. With his wife, Jennifer, he has two daughters: Madison, a 2019 graduate of the UW in political science, and Molly, who is studying business at Southern Methodist University.
Non-Profit, Brad Cheney, Ben B. Cheney Foundation
A member of the Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma, Brad Cheney is president of the Ben B. Cheney Foundation and has led the foundation as executive director since 2002.
For Profit, Bill Weyerhaeuser, Columbia Bank
Bill Weyerhaeuser grew up in Tacoma and received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University. He earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology, in Pasadena, Calif., and maintained a private counseling practice in Tacoma from 1975 to 1998.
The Business Leadership Awards was to be held on May 27, 2020 (NOW CANCELED, based on the COVID-19 crisis) at the Tacoma Convention Center. It has been POSTPONED to Spring 2021. The change is being made to comply with UW and Washington state mandates, and more importantly out of our concern for the health and safety of participants. The 2019 Business Leadership Awards are documented below.
The Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington Tacoma and The Tacoma News Tribune are proud to present the 19th Annual Business Leadership Awards program recognizing outstanding business leaders in the South Sound Region.
The Community is Everything
NON-PROFIT LEADER OF THE YEAR 2019 - Ketul J. Patel
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (NON-PROFIT) 2019 - Liz Dunbar
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2019 - Henry Schatz
OUR 2019 WINNERS
The 2020 Business Leadership Awards was scheduled to occur on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. It no longer is occurring due to the COVID-19 situation. The change is being made to comply with UW and Washington state mandates, and more importantly out of our concern for the health and safety of participants. Above are video stories of our four award winners from 2019.
Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center
1500 Commerce Street
Tacoma, Washington 98402
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 (CANCELED)
It has been POSTPONED to Spring 2021.
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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