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The virtue of selflessness

Money Manager Steve Holwerda was honored at the Portland Business Alliance's Business Leadership evening


Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JOHN M. VINCENT - Steve Holwerda, Principal and Chief Operating Officer for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, was given the William S. Naito Outstand Service Award.Steve Holwerda, Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, was awarded the William S. Naito Outstanding Service Award Tuesday night.

The Portland Business Alliance Business Leadership Evening celebrated leadership in the business community with words from Ted Wheeler and keynote speaker Clare Hamill, VP Global Growth Initiatives at Nike. But it was Holwerda (and his daughter Sina) who inspired the gathering with their way with words rather than numbers.

Holwerda proved to be more than just another bespectacled money manager when cracked jokes about always losing by betting on Oregon Republicans in elections against PBA CEO Sandra McDonough, and about possibly donating the $1,000 award to the conservative Cascade Policy Institute.

He also quieted the room briefly just so he could boast that he could silence 600 business leaders and a dozen politicians “to shut up and not say a word for five seconds."

A video encomium featuring other business people mentioned that he buys Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" by the case and that he is a persuasive debater.

"Relatively boring yet, I hope, humble" (in his own words) State Treasurer Ted Wheeler remarked that the video showed the room was full of people who believe Holwerda was worthy of the recognition.

"The fact that we can still make fun of the man says a lot about him,” said Wheeler. “He serves as an example for the younger people in this community, as an example of the different kinds of leadership you can provide, the kind based on him following his heart. The reality is he loves the community and the state of Oregon and he's made a huge commitment to the community."

In the large ballroom at the Portland Art Museum, the big screen also showed music video of Holwerda’s high school-age daughter, Sina, rapping about what a good father he is. The daughter, who has a YouTube presence as a rapper called Wynne https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFF1TEANc4KjvIuB_VLIlg mentioned his mechanical banks and being a good shot, to the surprise of the audience.

To illustrate how the “PBA creates harmony between the business community and government,” he took a piece of rope, cut it in two, knotted it, and then magically removed the knot, leaving a single piece of rope again.

Nike’s Clare Hamill talked about the story of Nike, its passion for innovation and research, dedication to top athletes and commitment to women athletes. Her biggest inspirations are the marathon runner Joan Benoit and the US Women’s Nation Team that won the 1999 World Cup.

Steve Holwerda's award was to recognize exceptional leadership and service to the business community. It is named in honor of Bill Naito.