Winners of the 27th Business Person, Small Business Of The Year Awards

From L To R: Randy Hartnell, President & CEO, VItal Choice – Small Business Of The Year; Nick Kaiser, Saturna Capital – Lifetime Achievement Award; Bob Pritchett, CEO & Co-Founder, Logos Bible Software – Business Person Of The Year; Mike Hughes, Founder & CEO, NextLevel Training – Start-Up Business Of The Year

We congratulate the 2013 recipients selected by our committee of judges for the 27th annual Whatcom Business Person of the Year Awards, hosted Wednesday night (March 20) by Business Pulse Magazine and Whatcom Business Alliance:

Business Person of the Year – Bob Pritchett, CEO and co-founder of Logos Bible Software in Bellingham. He has grown the business to more than 300 employees, mostly in three downtown campus buildings including the historic Flatiron, and a satellite office in Phoenix, Ariz. The company, which deeply involves Pritchett’s family (father, mother, and brother), repeatedly shows up on “best” lists of fastest-growing and best places to work. Read more about Bob in our magazine.

Small Business of the Year (fewer than 100 employees) – Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics in Ferndale. President and CEO Randy Hartnell, a former fisherman, started the company 12 years ago around the concept of wild salmon from Alaska providing the benefits of natural Omega 3 oils. The business since has grown internationally as an e-commerce enterprise requiring 25 full-time employees to keep up with the pace of on-line demand. The company’s line of products runs a mile long with fish varieties and numerous other food products for people and pets, with salmon still at the fore. Read more about Vital Choice’s story.

Start-Up Business of the Year (founded since January, 2010) – NextLevel Training in Ferndale. Founder and CEO Mike Hughes, he of the finals in “Top Shot” Season 3 on the History Channel, became a competitive shooter, a trainer of shooters (largely in law enforcement, military, and other careers), and he invented the SIRT. That’s a training pistol that fires a laser beam rather than live ammo. It has taken the company around the world with customers, along with a cartridge version for a rifle, saving shooters expense in practice. Read Mike’s success story.

Lifetime Achievement Award – As we announced last week, Nicholas Kaiser at Saturna Capital received the annual Lifetime Achievement Award for his work not only in the unique niche of Muslim-based mutual funds on the business side, but also philanthropy in education (St. Paul’s Academy, Western Washington University, and more) and other endeavors in the community where he grew up. Read more of Nick’s life.

A packed house of about 400 in the sellout crowd celebrated business success in Whatcom County at the event. The attendees included several past award winners and finalists, a large contingency of sponsoring business leaders from around the county, and several elected officials from the county and its cities.

We thank our sponsors for their support without which this event would not have been the great success that it is. We look forward to seeing you next year!

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