March 27, 2024

EDB honors Derek Kilmer, Brown & Haley

A master of economic development and an iconic candy company were honored at this year’s EDB Annual Meeting.

Congressman Derek Kilmer receives inaugural Moving Mountain Award  

The EDB’s inaugural Moving Mountain Award was created to honor individuals who have made deep and lasting contributions to the well-being of Tacoma-Pierce County over many years. The first recipient of this honor is Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06).

Port of Tacoma Executive Director Eric Johnson presented the award to Kilmer, who was in Washington D.C. and unable to accept the honor in person. Johnson noted Kilmer’s years of public service and decade working with the EDB as Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion.

“Derek Kilmer has been a maestro of economic development whose work has helped orchestrate tens of thousands of jobs and massive amounts of private and public investment in Pierce County and beyond,” Johnson said. “We can use more of that talent in Washington D.C.”

In a video message, Kilmer thanked the EDB for the honor and credited the organization for setting him on an economic development and public service path.

“Twenty three years ago, I walked into the EDB offices and sat down with Bruce Kendall because I cared about economic development,” Kilmer said. “We ended that meeting with Bruce asking me if I was interested in coming to work at the EDB. That absolutely changed the trajectory of my life. I’m forever grateful for his support as I stepped into public service.”

Almond Roca-Brown & Haley takes home Golden Shovel

Each year, the Golden Shovel Award is given to individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the economic well-being of Tacoma-Pierce County. This year, the EDB honored Tacoma’s iconic candy company, Brown & Haley, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

EDB Vice Chair Bett Lucas, Vice President Commercial for SeaPort Sound Terminal, presented the award to Brown & Haley Director of Marketing Kathi Rennaker.

“Almond Roca and Brown & Haley are synonymous with Tacoma, the South Sound and Washington state,” Lucas said. “Today, Almond Roca is exported to more than 65 countries around the world, representing 40 percent of the company’s production. Exports of this sweet product exemplifies this community’s global outlook and commitment to international trade.”

“It is our honor and privilege to say we take the words ‘Tacoma, Washington’ to more places than anybody else ,” Rennaker said. “As many of you have seen over the last several years, a lot has been changing. We’re so excited that this year ends 9 years of investment and effort so that we can ensure that Almond Roca will last for another 100 years.”



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