Business achievers honored at Economic Alliance event

TULALIP — Dog treats, Boeing’s new 777X airliner and social responsibility were all highlighted in awards given Thursday by Economic Alliance Snohomish County and the Herald Business Journal.

At a luncheon at the Tulalip Resort Casino, Economic Alliance Snohomish County presented Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson with its Henry M. Jackson Citizen of the Year Award for his support of the business community and particularly for his work to bring the 777X to Boeing’s plant at Paine Field.

Stephanson praised the alliance work to coordinate economic development efforts in the area. The group was formed three years ago by merging three smaller groups with similar missions.

“People like me come and go. But the vision for Snohomish County, the vision for all of us has to be one that stands the test of time,” Stephanson said.

Stephanson said Everett remains committed to finding a maritime use for the former Kimberly-Clark mill site on the waterfront, supporting expansion of higher education in the area and bringing passenger service at Paine Field.

The longtime mayor said he lives by two principles. First, do the right thing regardless of the political consequences, and second, “don’t do anything you don’t want to read about above the fold in The Herald.”

Economic Alliance’s John M. Fluke Sr. Community Leader award went to Greg Hoff, of Woodway, who owns Windermere Real Estate franchises in Edmonds, Mukilteo, Alderwood and Sun Valley, Idaho.

Hoff has used his business success to support the local community. His franchises have sponsored Edmonds’ Fourth of July Children’s Parade for 20 years and contributed time and money to local Boys and Girls Clubs and the Edmonds Food Bank.

When he was 18, his mentor pulled him aside and asked him, “What are you going to do for your community?” he said.

Then he directed the question to the audience.

“Who are we going to mentor? Who’s going to replace us in this room?” Hoff said. “That’s the challenge for today.”

The Herald Business Journal presented the owners of Himalayan Dog Chews with its Entrepreneur of the Year award. Two brothers — Suman and Sujan Shrestha — and their partner, Nishes Shrestha, all hail from Nepal. Despite the common last name, Nishes is not related.

Drawing on their heritage, they started making dog treats from yak and cow milk in 2008. Today, the Mukilteo-based company has revenue of $6 million a year.

“Although the Himalayas are the land of our birth, Snohomish (County) is the land of our karma,” Sujan Shrestha said.

The Journal gave its Executive of the Year award to Buzz Rodland, owner of Rodland Toyota-Scion. Sno-Isles Libraries was recognized for science-education advocacy by the Washington Leadership and Assistance for Science and Education Reform program.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454;; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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