Westside Awards: Congratulations to Ventana Construction, Sozo Wine, Nature Consortium, Lauren Englund

(Ventana Construction owners Anne and Clarence Higuera; WSB photo, March 2013)
Just announced by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the winners of this year’s Westside Awards, which will be presented next Thursday:

The Westside Awards Breakfast honors three local businesses and one individual who demonstrate success and innovation that contribute to this thriving economic region:

Westside Business of the Year – Ventana Construction
Ventana Construction just reached its ten year milestone emerging from a challenging economic time, especially for contractors. From business inception to now, Owners Anne & Clarence Higuera have consistently executed quality projects while being incredibly involved in their community. They have been Chamber Members for years and active in activities from schools to non-profit Board Member to Native American cultural outreach. Their business holds regular workshops for those interested in learning about remodeling and they have one a number of prestigious awards including being named the 2013 Houzz.com “Best Of Remodeling” Winners and Anne even recently authored an article that highlighted West Seattle Architecture for a national publication.

Westside Emerging Business – Sozo Wine
A new business providing community food through wine sales. Stefan has been connecting local restaurants with the Sozo brand to fund meals for those in need. Purchasing one Sozo product provides 1 to 10 meals and the purchases can choose the charity which benefits. Sozo wine is served in West Seattle restaurants and provides support to the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks. They are raising awareness through partnerships with nonprofits, corporations, restaurants, and cause partners.

Westside Not-For-Profit of the Year – Nature Consortium
As a West Seattle grassroots nonprofit connecting people, arts and nature, Nature Consortium teaches urban youth about planting a garden, allows the community to find glorious sanctuary in the forest at their annual Arts in Nature Festival and leads volunteer groups into the woods to clear the way for future towering trees especially in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. As many West Seattlites know, the greenbelt is very important to air quality, reduction of noise pollution and natural enjoyment. Under the vision of Executive Director, Nancy Whitlock, Nature Consortium has thrived for more than 15 years.

Westsider of the Year – Lauren Englund

Lauren had a vision for a bee garden and mobilized huge resources to get it done with her kindness, joyfulness, inspiriation, energy, time, passion, and more! Her motivation is truly for a happier, more inclusive community. Lauren took on a very large project, the P-Patch Bee Enclosure at High Point and managed to include small, local businesses such as architect, graphic designers, builders as well as associations such as the bee keepers and environmental groups, and the HPNA. She won a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods. She engaged schools, libraries, soccer teams, and most importantly, included and involved members of immigrant communities who are often marginalized. Lauren organized the bee project with the same dedication, clarity and consistency that she would show at work. (She is a pharmacist.) The Bee Enclosure will educate, inspire and delight kids and adults for years to come because Lauren arranged funding and support well into the future.

Join Us for Breakfast to honor these amazing businesses and individuals:
The Keynote will be delivered by Randy Gardiner, 2012 Seattle Business Magazine Manufacturing Executive Award Winner as well as President and CEO of Red Dot Corporation. Mr. Gardiner is a 3rd generation West Seattleite and will speak about the origin and growth of Red Dot from its humble beginnings as a sideline business out of a West Seattle radiator shop in the 1950’s. Mr. Gardiner is passionate about businesses taking an active role in workforce development and will provide insight from his corporation’s practices in workforce development.

When: Thursday June 6 7:30-9:00 am
Where: Salty’s on Alki
Tickets: $55 per individual or Table of 10 for $450

Contact Lynn Dennis, Interim Staff at info@wschamber.com or Nancy Woodland, Board Member, at nancy@westsidebaby.org with questions.

13 Replies to "Westside Awards: Congratulations to Ventana Construction, Sozo Wine, Nature Consortium, Lauren Englund"

  • frank May 31, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Way to go Ventana Construction. Wonderful people who are very connected to the community. Especially their children’s schools. We’d be lost with out Anne’s energy. YEAH!!

  • miws May 31, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    Congrats to everyone, but especially Ventana!



  • furryfaces May 31, 2013 (12:21 pm)

    Congratulations to everyone! Well done!

    A special congratulations to Anne and Clarence! They have personally supported Furry Faces Foundation in so many ways. Anne is also a Westside Baby Board Member.

    We love you two,

  • chas redmond May 31, 2013 (1:24 pm)

    Congratulations to Ventana (and Anne and Clarence especially) for being amazing community partners; and to Nature Consortium for being – well – such a really cool and productive non-profit and to Nancy for shepherding NC through a decade of community participation. Super pleased with the selections – congrats to Lauren Englund and Sazo Wine also.

  • mama3boys May 31, 2013 (1:38 pm)

    Congrats to Anne & Ventana! We are so proud of you! – your STEM friends

  • let them swim May 31, 2013 (3:39 pm)

    Congrats to Lauren,
    With U.S. having devastating deaths among the bee population this award is well merited. With all the building and true nature disappearing it’s great with what you are doing. Too much concrete and not enough nature. Could it happen to have Ventana
    and Lauren come together for a co-op of some sort to include nature with new buildins/additions? Just a thought– we need bees!!!!!!

  • Christine May 31, 2013 (4:51 pm)

    So happy about this! Well deserved everyone and special congrats to my neighbor Lauren who spent endless hours on the Bee Garden, Parade & Fest. She is a magic worker, shoveling sod in heavy rain, not stopping until everything is done. So happy to see many come visit our wonderful garden and learning about the importance of bees.

  • West Seattle Greats May 31, 2013 (7:48 pm)

    Ventana rocks.

  • AH Parent May 31, 2013 (8:28 pm)

    Congratulations to Anne and Clarence!

    Hats off to all the winners of this award!

  • laura June 1, 2013 (7:53 am)

    Congratulations Lauren! You deserve this award! You energized the high point community and we Thank You for it! Our Bee Garden looks MARVELOUS!

  • Nancy Whitlock June 1, 2013 (2:44 pm)

    Thank you, West Seattle!! We love being part of this amazing community!
    Nancy Whitlock
    Nature Consortium

  • Anne & Clarence June 1, 2013 (7:41 pm)

    We are still pinching ourselves, and were so happy to tell our staff about this great honor. Thank you to the chamber–we’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the awards breakfast on Thursday!

    Anne and Clarence/Ventana Construction

  • Michael - Liberty Bell P&D June 1, 2013 (9:52 pm)

    CONGRATS to Anne and Clarence. They truly deserve the award. They are true examples of what it means to be from West Seattle. Thanks Anne and Clarence for all you do for the community!!!

    Hats off to The nature Consortium for their award and all the good works they do!

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