Shultzie Willows takes top prize at event honoring young professionals

By BBJ Staff

They are the future of business in Bellingham. Winners of the Top 7 Under 40 Award were celebrated Thursday at an event held at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building.

Of the seven winners, Shultzie Willows, community engagement director of Lydia Place, walked away with the top prize. The win means she’ll also be awarded the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year Award at an event later this month.

At Lydia Place, Willows helps the nonprofit in its mission of ending homelessness for Whatcom County families. She also volunteers on committees for the Downtown Bellingham Partnership and ReUse Works, a local nonprofit. She also curates the art at the Honey Salon and Gallery in downtown Bellingham.

The other winners of the 2017 Top 7 Under 40 Award are Ray Deck III, founder of Skookum Kids; Allyson Farrar, human resources manager at Scotty Browns Restaurant Group; Brian Hulsey, manager of the South Whatcom branch of the Whatcom County Library System; Courtney Rambo, co-founder of Intellitonic; Natalie Ransom, owner of Pozie By Natalie; and David Vitt, founder of Kulshan Brewing Company.

This was the second annual Top 7 Under 40 Award, which is the product of a collaboration between the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Whatcom Young Professionals and The Bellingham Business Journal.

The awards event began with remarks by BBJ Advertising Sales Manager Robyn Gett, and included speeches by Alivia Jelinski of WYPs and Guy Occhiogrosso of the Chamber. Troy Wills, area manager and vice president at First Federal, the title sponsor of the event, announced Willows as the winner.

The event is the culmination of a months-long process to determine the Top 7 winners. In September, community members sent in their nominations, and a panel of judges has determined the top seven for this year. The judges considered each nominee based on their character, community involvement, initiative and tenacity, leadership, professional accomplishments, selflessness and vision.

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