BLYN — Annual awards, a look ahead at economic development and the evolution of an expensive toothbrush were among the topics presented during the Clallam County Economic Development Corp.’s dinner gala.
Some 220 business and community leaders attended the annual meeting sponsored by Kitsap Bank. The meeting with the theme of Celebrating the Year of the Entrepreneur was at the 7 Cedars Casino Club 7 on Friday evening.
Dorothy Field was awarded the Olympic Leader of the Year award for her work to support the Port Angeles Performing Arts Center now under construction.
Peninsula Behavioral Health (PBH) was named Nonprofit of the Year.
The Business of the Year award went to Sound Publishing Inc., parent company of the Peninsula Daily News.
Colleen McAleer, EDC executive director, introduced the program.
“Peninsula Behavioral Health is the largest health care organization and the largest business in this community that most have never heard of,” said County Commission Chairman Mark Ozias as he presented the Nonprofit of the Year award.
The agency has treated everyone from children to adults, provides crisis services, homeless outreach and residential services, among others, Ozias said, as he introduced Wendy Sisk, “a local hero,” to accept the award.
Sisk, executive director of the agency, told the crowd that PBH, has seen one of every 20 residents in east Clallam County, has increased staffing by 25 percent and brings some $10 million into the county. She also spoke of the agency’s new Children’s Behavioral Health Center and thanked those who had supported it.
“We work hard to ensure the work force is healthy,” Sisk said.
Sound Publishing was lauded for providing some $210,000 during the year in monetary and in-kind services, as well as for its long-running Peninsula Home Fund campaign, which just finished its 31st year, and its sponsorship with the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles — Noon Club of the annual Clallam County Community Service awards, which will mark its 41st year this year.
The business, which publishes two editions — Clallam and Jefferson counties — six days a week of the Peninsula Daily News (PDN) as well as weekly editions of the Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum on the North Olympic Peninsula is “at the heart of keeping hometowns informed and connected, ” said Christy Rookard, regional manager and vice-president of First Federal.
Rookard introduced Terry Ward, who is publisher of the PDN, Gazette and Forum as well as the vice president of Sound Publishing, which owns 42 newspapers throughout the state.
Trained, ethical journalism is especially important in light of the constant “fake news of today’s politicial landscape,” Ward said.
“We make sure we are reporting local, credible content,” he said.
“We’re honored to be recognized today,” Ward said. “We are often recognizing everybody else.”
Ward talked about the business’ partnerships with local organizations “to make an impact far beyond the news we do each day” before returning to the topic of news.
Acknowledging that all may not agree with all newspaper reports, Ward emphasized the care taken in professional reporting to hold to core journalistic values.
He urged all to support local community news reporting, no matter which outlet they choose, because journalism “matters to the democracy of the communities we serve.”
Olympic Leader of the Year
The recipient of the Olympic Leader of the Year award was unable to attend due to illness, said Chris Fidler, executive director of the Port Angeles Waterfront Center, who accepted the award in her stead.
Dorothy Field donated $1.43 million to the waterfront center to pay for the parcel of land upon which the Field Arts & Events Hall is being constructed now.
The center was begun with a $9 million behest from Donna Morris.
“Dorothy felt compelled to do something significant,” Fidler said, adding that Field has a lifelong passion for music.
In her regrets about her inability to attend the gala, Field said, “I am pleased to be able to move the project forward.”
Fidler also updated the audience of the project, saying that all 187 piles have been driven and that concrete is expected to be poured this week.
Fidler announced a $70,000 donation to the project from Soroptimist International of Port Angeles — Noon Club and said it served ”as a challenge to all service groups.”
Lisa Brown, Ph.D., Washington State Commerce director, installed the 2020 board of directors of the EDC and CCEDC Board of Directors.
She spoke of state support for such projects as remodeling of Sequim’s Guy Cole Events Center and the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC).
Broadband “is a passion for me,” she said. “There should be no place in Washington state that people are without what they need.
“We can end the digital divide in Washington state.”
The keynote speaker, David Giuliani, told the group that the threat of dental surgery for periodontal disease led to his development of the Sonicare toothbrush, which has since been sold to Phillips Healthcare.
His concern about marketing his invention was that he was competing with an item that dentists often give away for free — a manual toothbrush.
“How do I compete with free?” he said.
The answer lay in others finding the same value in his product that inspired him to invent it.
He had an offer of $1,000 for a Sonicare prototype from a person facing the knife if he couldn’t clear up his periodontal disease, Guiliani said.
The inventor gave it to him for free since he had just been gifted with an answer to his marketing dilemma.
“He was willing to pay because it had value for him,” Guiliani said.
“That was the beginning of the $150 toothbrush.”
Guiliani also was co-founder and CEO of Clarisonic skin-cleansing company, which was sold to L’Oreal in 2011. He was selected as the National Entrepreneur of the Year for Manufacturing and also U.S. Small Business Person of the Year.
The Seattle resident said that a wave of expansion is quickening now from urban to rural areas, and that the Peninsula, with its “cornucopia of assets” — its ocean coasts, beaches, tribes, unique forests, deep-water ports, Hurricane Ridge and other attractions — can benefit with proper attention to digital and transportation needs.
“You guys are really going places,” Guiliani said.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].
Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Economic Development Corp. board of directors.