PORT TOWNSEND — Sarah Spaeth, director of conservation and strategic partnerships at Jefferson Land Trust, was named citizen of the year, and Pete and Cathy Langley of Port Townsend Foundry were named business leaders of the year at the Jefferson County Community Leadership Awards.
More than 110 people attended Saturday’s Chamber of Jefferson County event at the American Legion Marvin G. Shields Memorial Post 26.
It honored people who had guided organizations, contributed to civic engagement efforts or inspired others through their community involvement. It was the first in-person indoor Leadership Awards ceremony since 2019.
Spaeth’s Citizen of the Year award recognizes an individual whose public service has made the community a better place.
“I didn’t know what a land trust was when I got the job,” said Spaeth, who began at the nonprofit in 1996. “We live in an amazing place and this has been my life’s work.”
The Langleys’ award came about a month before their 41st wedding anniversary on April 29. Pete Langley established Port Townsend Foundry in 1983 — 100 years after the original Port Townsend Foundry and Machine Co. began manufacturing hardware for the city’s distinctive Victorian homes, steam engines and street cars.
Today it uses environmentally friendly practices to manufacture hardware for the marine trades and to fill custom orders from bells to hinges.
Pete Langley said his advice to entrepreneurs and other business people is, “Don’t let them tell you no.”
Jack Davidson, COO of Jefferson Healthcare, received the Young Professional of the Year award, which recognizes excellence and service to the business community.
Davidson began at Jefferson Healthcare in July 2019, about nine months before the start of the COVID-19 epidemic.
After serving on the leadership team through the pandemic, he is now helping to spearhead Jefferson Healthcare’s $84 million campus modernization and expansion project.
Port Townsend High School student Adeline Gellert-DePalma received the Future Business Leader of the Year award, which is given to a graduating senior of a local high school who has demonstrated honesty, integrity and serves as a role model to his or her peers.
A Taxi Cab Company owner Jake Ramsey received the Rising Entrepreneur Award for his vision and innovative plan for transitioning from a gas to green fleet after he bought Peninsula Taxi in March 2021.
Ramsey started his business with three Ford Crown Victorias inherited from Peninsula Taxi, but today the fleet of A Taxi Cab Company consists of three Priuses and he’s actively looking to expand it.
Ramsey noted he had a connection with keynote speaker, Leif Whittaker: they attended Port Townsend High School at the same time.
Whittaker spoke of his childhood as the son of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mount Everest on May 1, 1963, and his own achievement in scaling the earth’s highest peak twice, in 2010 and 2012.
“People ask me, ‘Why would you do this twice?’” Leif Whittaker said. “The real answer is deep and complex. Everest was in my blood. It taught me about myself and why I climb.”
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.