In 2009, Rick Pendleton was laid off from his job

of 29 years as a process

engineer. Five years later, as the owner of Tualatin Tire

Factory, he will be named Business Person of the Year by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s quite an honor and a shock, actually,” Pendleton said. “It tells me people recognize what we do and how we do it.”

What they do is what all of the Celebrate Tualatin winners do — give back to the community however they can. For Tualatin Tire Factory, that means sponsoring local high school athletic teams, donating supplies to churches for car care clinics, supporting the Beavers, Ducks and Timbers, and making food bank donations.

For Yvonne Addington, the Spirit of Tualatin award winner and Tualatin Historical Society board director, putting huge efforts into volunteering has been especially important to her since her retirement from the governor’s office in 2003.

“Just doing volunteer work for my hometown is a self-satisfying job for me. Paying forward how the community allowed me to advance my career in community and economic development and then be recognized for my efforts by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. . .it makes me cry with happiness,” she said.

Jim Ruiz, the operations manager at Miller Insurance was recognized for his efforts in the community with the Volunteer of the Year award. To name a few of his achievements, Ruiz is active in the chamber, is a coalition member with Tualatin Together, and coordinates volunteer opportunities with other Miller Insurance staff members through Oregon Dog Rescue and the Tualatin School House Pantry. Miller Insurance also won its own award for Outstanding Community Service (Small Business).

“Without the support of our community, we would not be here. Volunteering has allowed our company to build stronger bonds with our employees, has affirmed our company’s values and allows us to truly connect with the community,” Ruiz said.

By putting $12 million into a renewal project, Tualatin Fred Meyer, which was awarded Outstanding Community Service (Large Business), was able to add multiple programs to its service and employ an additional 80 people. Currently, the store employs nearly 300 associates, according to Tualatin Store Director John Prochovnic.

For the winner of Rookie of the Year, Joan Riley, who owns Juice Plus and Tower Garden, business and community have been her passions since childhood. Riley, who also works in advertising sales, simply likes to assist people with whatever they need.

“I like to help people make the connections they need whether it’s for business or personal,” she said. “I help create strategic connections to help people build their businesses and better their lives.”

With Blakselee Vineyards, the winner of the Best Networking Event Award, owners Sheila and Bill Blakeslee were happy to be included as new chamber members. The couple was excited to tell their story and make new friends while hosting the Tualatin Chamber event that won them the award. For the couple, helping out the chamber was an easy decision, just as giving back comes naturally to all of the winners.

“Each of us, as we lift our heads from the trenches, must give back to the community to assist others in business, just as we were assisted ourselves. The community must continue to grow and thrive,” said Sheila Blakeslee. “Business is the ultimate backbone of community.”

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