Local businesses earn honors

Drake's 7 Dees, Yoshida Foods earn prestigious awards
by: Carole Archer, Laura Thiel-Dufla, an employee at Drake’s 7 Dees, points out the many wreath options available at the local garden center, which earned top honors in the medium category at the Oregon State University Austin Family Business Program awards.

It was a good month for East County businesses.

In mid-November, Drake's 7 Dees, a 50-year-old nursery and landscaping company in Gresham's Rockwood neighborhood, took top honors in the 'medium' category at the Oregon State University's Austin Family Business Program awards ceremony.

The event, held Nov. 16 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, honored several family owned businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington for their innovation, entrepreneurship and commitment to the community.

Drake's 7 Dees was named No. 1 in its category of businesses that have between 25 and 99 employees.

Judges said the company is 'well organized, has a large breadth of family involvement, an open-book budgeting system and is a good steward of the land.'

The top large business honored at this year's awards ceremony was Halton Co. of Portland. The heavy equipment dealer was founded in 1940 and now has more than 300 employees. Collier Arbor Care of Clackamas won in the small category (between 10 and 25 employees) and Diversified Welding Works Inc. of Vancouver, Wash., won the micro-category for businesses with less than 10 employees.

This year, more than 200 businesses were nominated for the awards and 60 went through the application process.

Thuy Tran, assistant director of the Austin Family Business Program, said the finalists and winners get more out of the awards than plaques and a ceremony.

'For me, there is nothing more satisfying than hearing our award process prompted a family to begin formal succession planning, or that winning that award put their business in the public eye and pushed them to take their business practices up a notch,' Tran said.

Yoshida Foods

also honored

Another East County business also took home a prestigious award this month.

Yoshida Foods International, which is one of 18 companies under the umbrella of the Yoshida Group of East County, took home a third-place award in the agriculture category in the Portland Business Journal's Most Admired Companies 2006 competition.

The Portland business magazine surveys 2,500 CEOs across Oregon each year to find out which companies have earned the respect of their peers.

Yoshida Foods International, headed by Troutdale businessman Junki Yoshida, was one of the top 10 companies in the agriculture category.

Portland Business Journal Publisher Craig Wessel said the honor is 'a tremendous tribute to the accomplishments of (the) organization.'

The 'most admired' companies were honored at an awards luncheon held at the Hilton Hotel in Portland on Dec. 7.