Friday, April 30, 2010

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

BGA 2010… it’s a wrap!

In one corner, International Air and Hospitality Academy founder Arch Miller greeted colleagues. Across the floor, Chris King of Howard S. Wright Constructors and Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation’s Shay Shinall chatted about the new Main Library at Evergreen and “C” streets in downtown Vancouver, a project that Chris’ firm happens to be building for Shay’s employer. By the doors, Wealth Planning Management principal Jack Engle offered a business editor (who saw fit to confuse almost everyone by shaving his beard) free investment advice while comparing scars from boyhood winter sport disasters.

VBJ’s Business Growth Awards, held Thursday evening at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, was first and foremost an event to honor some of the most promising companies in the region. It was also an opportunity to get our readers, sources and event sponsors into a room that just happened to have a fully-stocked bar at one end.

Joking aside, for us at the VBJ, events like the BGA give us a chance to reconnect with Southwest Washington’s business community in a relaxed social setting – to listen to concerns, consider ideas and occasionally, lap up praise.

This year, our BGA event took on added significance as we honored 18 small, medium and large organizations that managed to grow during an incredibly challenging 2009. Through a combination of perseverance, hard work and what BGA keynote speaker Steve Sliwa of Insitu, Inc. called “luck,” these companies exceeded everyone’s expectations – including, in some cases, that of their own founders, employees and chief officers.

The VBJ would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made last night’s event a success, including the Vancouver chapter of SCORE, which selected our BGA winners and finalists, as well as our sponsors Bullivant Houser Bailey PC, Peterson & Associates, RSV Building Solutions, Commercial Property Success Series, Biggs Insurance Services and Women In Networking.

For those who could not attend Thursday’s event, here are the links to the winners in each BGA category, including Start-up of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Fastest Growing 1-5 Years, Fastest Growing 6-10 Years, Fastest Growing 10+ Years, and Nonprofit of the Year.