Baker Boyer Bank wins statewide family business award

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WALLA WALLA -- The family that banks together, ranks together. At least when it comes to Baker Boyer Bank's recent chart-topping award from Seattle Business magazine.

Baker Boyer Bank was chosen the "Gold Winner" for large firms with 150 or more employees in the publication's annual Family Business Awards. The Walla Walla institution was recognized a week ago in a ceremony attended by about 240 people at Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle.

The bank was one of 13 family owned businesses recognized in seven categories for their impact and legacy.

Also honored in the Large Firms category were Powell-Christensen Inc. and Oak Harbor Freight. Grandview-based Powell Christensen's family of companies includes R.E. Powell Distributing which has an office in Walla Walla.

Seattle Business reaches more than 75,000 executives across the state. It features numerous annual events tied to editorial coverage, including the Family Business Awards, Leaders in Health Care, Washington Manufacturing Awards, Best Companies to Work For and Green Washington Awards.

With 161 employees Baker Boyer's staffing is less than half the size of the two other companies selected in the Large Firms division.

The magazine piece marveled at Baker Boyer's roots dating back to Dorsey S. Baker's Walla Walla mercantile that supplied early settlers and gold miners "and became a trustworthy repository for buckskin bags filled with gold dust.

"Chartered soon after Washington became a state, the family owned community bank came through the Depression operating at 100 percent capacity, later opened the first drive-through window in town and was the first locally owned bank in its part of the state to open a branch."

Now led by fifth-generation Baker descendant Megan Clubb, the company is guided by board of 12 members -- eight of whom are family. Sixty-nine of its shareholders are family members, too.

In the piece by Seattle Business, sixth-generation executive Peter Allen said the family dynamic has been the stabilizing and unifying backbone to the company. It allows operators to take a "long-term approach" rather than focus on short-term returns, he said.

The list

Winners of Seattle Business magazine's 2012 Family Business Awards:

Small Companies

Winner: Dynamic Language, Tukwila

Silver Award: Parfitt Way Management Corporation, Bainbridge Island

Silver Award: Westport Winery, Aberdeen

Midsize Companies

Winner: Cascade Gasket and Manufacturing Co., Kent

Silver Award: Canlis Restaurant, Seattle

Silver Award: The Woods Coffee, Lynden

Large Companies

Winner: Baker Boyer Bank, Walla Walla

Silver Award: Oak Harbor Freight, Auburn

Silver Award: Powell-Christensen Inc., Grandview

Community Award

Displaying a steadfast commitment to giving back

Winner: Grounds for Change, Poulsbo

Transitions Award

Exercising a clear vision for family succession

Winner: Dishman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Spokane Valley

Best Practices Award

Perpetuating family governance

Winner: AAOA Healthcare, Kirkland

Legacy Award

Celebrating multiple generations of progressive management

Winner: Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan, Chelan

To see the article from "Seattle Business" go to ubne.ws/VkuCGV

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