UW Tacoma honors business leaders April 5

Three local businesspeople have been named Business Leaders of the Year by the Milgard School of Business at University of Washington, Tacoma. This honor is awarded annually to local leaders who exemplify outstanding business achievement in the South Sound region.

The awards recognize the achievements of business leaders from Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and South King counties and strengthen the relationship between the business community and UW Tacoma, according to Milgard School of Business Dean Shahrokh Saudagaran. The 2005 winners are Dan Absher of Absher Construction Company in Puyallup, Michael Miller of Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning in Bremerton, and Terry Hayes of Tacoma Goodwill Industries in Tacoma.

Judges for the awards included Milgard School of Business faculty and advisory board members.

Honorees will be honored at the Fifth Annual Business Annual Leadership Awards gala dinner on April 5, at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

Tickets for the Business Leadership Awards dinner are $125. To register or get more information, contact the Milgard School of Business at (253) 692-5630 or visit the Milgard School Web site.

The 2006 winners are:

Business Leader of the Year — Dan Absher, president, Absher Construction Company, in Puyallup — Dan Absher has led Absher Construction Company since 1990, and under his tenure, the company has grown into one of the largest general contractors in Washington.  Receiving the U.S. General Service Administration’s Construction Excellence Honor award last March for on-time and on-budget project completion and team unity and commitment, Absher Construction was also named Washington CEO magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For.”

Small Business Leader of the Year — Michael L. Miller, president, Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning, in Bremerton — As an architect, Mike Miller specializes in design and master planning of health care facilities and senior housing projects. The addition of his expertise to Rice Fergus Miller allowed the company to quickly establish itself as a leader in the senior housing market.  Rice Ferguson Miller was named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in 2005 by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Non-Profit Business Leader of the Year — Terry A. Hayes, CEO, Tacoma Goodwill Industries, Tacoma — Terry Hayes joined Tacoma Goodwill Industries in September 2001.  Under her leadership, it has grown into the 15th largest Goodwill in the United States with 19 retail stores in 15 counties. In addition to employing more than 850 people, Tacoma Goodwill Industries focuses on helping people with special needs through education, training and job opportunities.  Almost 90 percent of every dollar earned supports program services.