From top left, Ryan James, Rich Lerz and Samantha St. John; bottom from left, Brenda Kauffman, Penny Sweet, Nathalia Zuluaga Gomez and Doug Davis, were all honored by the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. BOB GASSEN/Humanature Photography

Kirkland Chamber of Commerce presents 81st annual awards

Local business leaders gathered last week for the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce’s 81st Annual Awards Luncheon.

Lifestyle technology company Nytec, which has its Product Innovation Center in Kirkland, won the Charles (Chuck) O. Morgan Business Excellence Award. CEO Rich Lerz accepted the award on behalf of the company.

“The award came as quite a surprise,” Lerz said, adding he was honored that his company joined the ranks of previous winners such as Google and Ford/Hyundai of Kirkland. “We moved to Kirkland three years ago, and we made a commitment to getting more involved in the community.”

Lerz credited the Chamber as being a great facilitator between Nytec and the various arts, education, environmental and healthcare causes the company has supported, including the Cross Kirkland Corridor, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Lake Washington School District and EvergreenHealth.

“There’s more and more big-name companies coming to Kirkland, but it still feels like a warm and cozy town,” Lerz said. “Every company that moves here gets involved.”

The Chamber also awarded individuals for their contributions to the Kirkland business community, including Councilmember Penny Sweet, who owns The Grape Choice with her husband, 45th District Rep. Larry Springer. She was given the William C. Woods Above and Beyond Award for her dedication to supporting local businesses, including showing up at most ribbon-cutting events.

“One of the values of a small business community is the solidarity,” Sweet said. “I take a great deal of pride in welcoming businesses.”

Lifelong Kirkland resident Samantha St. John received the Teddy Overleese “Teddy” Award, which is presented by the Kirkland Downtown Association to someone who is a dedicated volunteer at city events. St. John regularly volunteers at a variety of Kirkland events, including Google Lights, Winterfest, Summerfest and Oktoberfest.

“I love seeing the happiness (these events) bring to the community,” St. John, who works as a marketing and communications consultant, said. “These events truly bring people together … they are put on by members of the community for members of the community.”

The other award recipients include Ryan James of Ryan James Fine Arts, who received the A. Duane Lund Chamber Member of the Year Award; Brenda Kauffman of Columbia Athletic Club, who received the Anne J. Owen Community Service Award; Juanita High School student Nathalia Zuluaga Gomez, who received the Lee Johnson Student Community Service Award; and Doug Davis of Hallmark Realty, who received the Dick Beazell Friend of Kirkland Award.

More in Business

Coldwell Banker Bain hires new principal managing broker

Coldwell Banker Bain, which provides real estate brokerage services throughout the Pacific… Continue reading

Staypineapple announces new regional director of operations

Staypineapple, a hospitality company based in the Pacific Northwest, announced Troy Longwith… Continue reading

Millennial entrepreneurs gearing up to launch crowdfunding campaign for Ombraz Sunglasses

For each pair of sunglasses sold, 20 trees will be planted.

Kirkland-based STAM offers toys for grown ups

The humor gifts are raunchy-humored stuffed toys meant to be gag gifts for adults.

Gordy Marks Real Estate accepting nominations for nonprofit donations

Nominations for donations are being accepted on the Gordy Marks Facebook page through Feb. 21.

Livengood Alskog attornies to host educational event regarding sexual harassment

As the list of high profile sexual harassment claims grows, many employers… Continue reading

Kirkland’s Plummer named a director of sales at American Income Life-Altig

He was one of two people appointed to the position at the Redmond business.

Santa to make appearance at Simplicity ABC for toy and clothing drive

He will be at the store from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday before he heads back to the North Pole.

Shopping for a cause: ECA Thrift Shop gives back to local nonprofits

The shop gives a majority of its profits away in cash but also provides vouchers for those in need.

Firewalls for small businesses

Kirkland Chamber of Commerce educates local entrepreneurs on cyber security

Claudia Smith owns and runs the Kirkland and Redmond franchise of Murphy Business and Financial Corporation. <em>Courtesy Photo</em>
Local small business helps sell other small businesses

Smith helps businesses get the most value when they sell.

AT&T unveils new store design in Totem Lake

The new 3,500-square-foot entertainment-focused retail store is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.