Whatcom Business Alliance honored several businesses and business owners at the 29th annual Whatcom Business person of the Year Awards dinner, held on Wednesday, March 25 at the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa. Here are the winners:
Business person of the year: Ben Kinney, owner of Keller Williams Real Estate Bellingham. He is also a partner in the Big Fresh technology company.
Startup business of the year: Innotech Metal Designs. Here’s a link to the company’s website.
Small Business of the year: Home Port Seafoods.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Terry Smith, retired in 2003 from Smith Gardens, which is now operated by his two sons.
Innovator of the Year Award (only awarded for special circumstances): Ivan Owen. According to a news release, Owen is a local inventor, now an instructor in 3-D printing at the University of Washington-Bothell. He created an artificial hand he created that led to an international movement, e-NABLE, a global network of more than 4,000 volunteers who have designed, created with 3-D printing, and distributed free across 25 countries. Instead of getting a patent on the hand, he put it on the Internet as an open-systems project that has led to home-made prosthetic hands for around $50.