Spotlight Shines on Local Businesses

“Local businesses were honored yesterday during the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce Annual Spotlight on Business at the Sheraton Tacoma Hotel Ballroom.The well-attended ceremony, with a Hollywood showbiz theme, featured Groucho Marx entertaining arriving guests, and chocolate Oscars for the winners. Roy Chitwood of Max Sacks International was the keynote speaker, and former television news anchor Gary Justice, was the master of ceremonies.There were 15 nominees for the awards, with four winners chosen, one for each business size category.The winner for a business in the 1-10 employee category was Wendy McGowan, McGowan Advertising, Inc. McGowan began her award-winning one-woman business about 35 years ago, according to Jennifer Adams, the firm’s creative director, who accepted the award for McGowan.Winning in the 11-50 employee business category was David Senner, Abolins. Abolins, a vendor of professional presentation and video equipment, has invested $1 million in its Tacoma headquarters, and now does $10 million yearly in sales, Senner said.The winner for a business in the 51-100 employee category was Rob Pollard, The Pollard Group. Pollard recently purchased the firm from his brother.The winner for a business in the 100+ employee category was Lea Armstrong of Armstrong Uniserve, Inc.Armstrong said she began her business in 1994 with two employees. A little over five years later, she said, she now has around 400 people working for her company.Thanking longtime employees who followed her from a previous business, associates and family, Armstrong said she initiated a foundation to give back to society.The Spotlight awards were followed by a presentation by U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator Joann Francis to the SBA Financial Services Advocate of the Year 2000 Region X award winner, Craig Chance, vice president of SBA and commercial loans for Columbia Bank.”