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Pacific Lutheran University

PLU Family Enterprise Institute


Washington Family Business of the Year Awards

Previous Winners - 2007

2007 Washington Family Business Award Winners

Small Business:

Dynamic Language Center is the Northwest’s leading provider of professional language services. Founded in 1985 by Ricardo and Maria Teresa Antezana, their children, Sandra Dupleich and Rick Antezana, have since joined them in the business, along with other family members. Dynamic Language Center is a pioneer in the translation and interpreting industry. They provide training for interpreters and translators, and offer translation, interpreting, technical publication, and graphic design services in over 100 languages.

Medium Business:

Air Van is based in Kirkland and has 10 full-service facilities throughout the Northwest and Alaska. This family owned transportation firm redefines the moving and storage business in a technological age. Remo Galvagno joined Air Van as a partner in 1982 and bought the company in full in 1994. Today, led by sons Steve and Marc, Air Van continues to customize services to become a valued business partner with each client. With more than 200 employees, this company is committed to honesty, reliability, and innovation.

Large Business:

R.D. Merrill Company & Merrill Gardens of Seattle was founded by Richard Dwight (R.D.) Merrill, a timber pioneer and family man. He had a vision to build a business that would last for generations. In the 1890s, R.D. Merrill started harvesting timber and was one of the first to adopt the practice of sustainable harvesting. Today, Charles Wright III is the fourth generation Merrill to run the business. In 1983, in the family’s spirit of entrepreneurial and forward thinking, he launched a diversification into the retirement community business. They now operate 53 retirement communities across eight states with the capacity to serve over 6,700 residents.

New Business:

Real Estate Marketplace NW, Inc. was founded in 1999 by real estate brokers Jim Palmer Jr. and Jim Palmer Sr. This Deer Park firm is a full service real estate company. The firm includes 20 independent contractor agents and office staff. Real Estate Marketplace NW currently sells more property than any other firm between north Spokane and the Canadian border. Future plans include opening up several more offices in neighboring towns in the northeast corner of Washington.

Heritage Business:

Hama Hama Co. of Lilliwaup began over 100 years ago and was formally incorporated by Harry Robbins in 1922 as a logging company. In 1957, son Richard Robbins began harvesting and then selling Pacific oysters to Seattle area restaurants. He began the branding of oysters and promoted serving in the shell oysters, which are now the norm. Over time, the oyster business grew and by the mid-1980s, second-growth timber had matured. In 1985, David Robbins took over management and set up a sustained-yield timber harvest rotation. Today, the Hama Hama Co. has 42 family shareholders, continues to sell oysters and clams, both wholesale and retail, and harvests approximately 40 acres of timber a year.