2010 Finalists and Recipients

Northwest Natural Gas – 2010 Business Recipient

Northwest Natural Gas Company, Inc. (NW Natural) distributes and stores natural gas for the people of 107 Northwest communities, making it one of the largest businesses in Oregon. NW Natural demonstrates a commitment to all stakeholders through ethical, sustainable and environmental practices.

The mission of NW Natural is “…to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy in an environmentally responsible way to better the lives of the pubic we serve.” NW Natural expresses a real sense of corporate social responsibility, and in 2008 contributed roughly $985,000 to more than 360 projects and organizations.

Environmental stewardship is central to NW Natural’s present and future strategy. Employees, customers, and competitors are incentivized to practice environmentally-sustainable behavior. NW Natural’s CEO sets the tone at the top by being active in environmental protection and regulation by serving on the Oregon Environmental Council and working with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. As part of nonprofit coalition the Lower-Willamette Group, NW Natural has contributed millions of dollars towards the cleaning and restoration of the Willamette River.

NW Natural’s employees express that NW Natural is a family where everyone is treated with respect. Employees feel that they are fairly compensated, listened to and justly managed, even when it is not financially optimal for the organization. NW Natural continually posts healthy profits and strong growth, but does not place their bottom line ahead of any stakeholder – adhering to their core values of integrity, service ethic, caring, safety, and environmental stewardship.

Mountain Rose Herbs – 2010 Business Recipient

Since its inception in 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has committed to focusing their operations on respect for people and environmental integrity. Mountain Rose Herbs has since become one of the leaders nationwide in both the bulk and medical herb industries, supported by core values of transparency, efficiency, honesty, respect, enjoyment, and community involvement.

Located just south of Eugene in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, Mountain Rose Herbs’ philosophy is “Mission first, money follows.” Mountain Rose Herbs’ employees are encouraged to donate a significant amount of time to the community during different outreach projects, and the company also donates a significant amount of money toward 14 different sustainability organizations. Though the bulk and medicinal herb industry as a whole is very environmentally conscious, Mountain Rose Herbs takes steps beyond the industry norm to promote innovation and creativity in environmental stewardship. They’ve taken steps to eventually establish themselves as a “zero-waste” organization, already dropping from producing 3000-5000 gallons of waste a month to only 70-80 gallons a month. Mountain Rose Herbs has also taken steps to reduce toxic emissions by converting the entire fleet of company cargo vehicles to vegetable-based bio-diesel. The company’s commitment to excellence and quality has carried over to their suppliers and customers, due to increased interest in partnering with environmentally sustainable organizations.

Mountain Rose Herbs’ three locations and 64 employees all share the mission and values of personal and environmental respect that have been instilled into the culture of the organization. 

Neil Kelly Design/Build Remodeling – 2010 Business Recipient

Founder Neil Kelly started in the construction industry as an exterior contractor in 1947, took on design work in the 1960s, and started his own design/build firm, Neil Kelly Design, in the 1970s. Currently Neil Kelly Design has home repair, custom home and cabinetry divisions in addition to its core design/build remodeling group, and has been the recipients of numerous industry awards for their 21,600 completed projects.

To differentiate itself from other companies in the industry, Neil Kelly Design became one of the first companies to implement environmentally friendly practices in the company’s day-to-day operations. The company also educates the community about benefits of having environmentally-friendly houses through its showrooms and by holding seminars about that type of housing. They also have special environmentally friendly requirements for products from suppliers. Neil Kelly Design works closely with its suppliers to fulfill that requirement and provides assistance to suppliers if needed. The company is also involved in helping the community. It supports such organizations like Meals on Wheels, the Native American Youth Association, and local schools. Neil Kelly Design employs approximately 140 designers, carpenters, managers, and administrative, accounting, and sales personnel in its offices in Portland, Lake Oswego, Eugene and Bend, and has developed a culture of giving back that encourages employees to voluntarily participate in their community.

Community Warehouse – 2010 Not-for-Profit Recipient

Community Warehouse’s origins extend back to the early 1990’s, where local charitable groups donated household items to refugees arriving in Portland following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A warehouse was established to store and distribute the donated goods, and with assistance from local business and legal experts, Community Warehouse was formally opened in 2001.

Although there are a large number of not-for-profit organizations that accept donated furniture and household goods, Community Warehouse is the only organization between Vancouver, Washington and Corvallis, Oregon that distributes donated goods to people in need free of charge. Due to the efforts of employees and volunteers, support from governmental agencies and the public at large, Community Warehouse currently serve an average of 60 families a week, with seven full time employees and 70 regular volunteers.

People frequently referred to the Community Warehouse are usually women escaping domestic violence, individuals and families who have been homeless, elderly persons on limited incomes, people with mental and physical disabilities, refugee families, and individuals recovering from substance abuse. These people have little money and few other resources to get furniture. Children cannot do well in school if they are sleeping on the floor with no bed or blankets to keep them warm. Without pots or pans, families cannot cook food and are forced to purchase expensive prepared foods, eventually running out of money and having to go hungry for days at a time. Community Warehouse effectively invests and empowers people with tools and supplies to improve their quality of life.

Gregory Saliba – 2010 Individual Recipient

Gregory Saliba is proof that an ordinary individual can do extraordinary things. He runs Taurus Capital Management, a firm that donates all of its profits to numerous charities in the Portland area. He is a vice president at Capital Pacific Bank, a professor of finance at Portland State University, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Saliba demonstrates his ethical behavior in small yet important ways every day, and reinforces the fact that one does not need to donate millions of dollars to have a positive impact on the community.

“Ethics isn’t the big things, it’s the little things that no one sees,” says Saliba. “Ethics is what you do when no one is looking.”

Saliba is not one to tout his own accomplishments – in a sentence, Saliba would describe himself as an ordinary person trying to do the right thing. He makes cash donations to more than twenty causes, and teaches, mentors, and guides anyone who asks for his help. Because of his work, he has been recognized as one of the top 40 executives under the age of 40 by the Portland Business Journal.

Saliba is a firm supporter of efforts to preserve the environment. He has donated time at Village Gardens, planting crops for low-income individuals, and makes a conscious effort to reduce his carbon footprint. In his capital management firm and at the bank, he issues e-statements to cut down on paper waste, and he has been offering “green” portfolios to investors to help them invest in sustainable companies.

Saliba’s actions have had a profound impact on multiple organizations, charities, and individuals throughout the area. He is an exceptional individual, and a positive force in his community. 

 

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2010 Finalists

Businesses

Northwest Natural Gas – Recipient
Mountain Rose Herbs – Recipient
Neil Kelly Design/Build Remodelers – Recipient

Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union
Sokol Blosser Winery
Joseph Bernard Investment Real Estate
Atiyeh Bros. Rugs & Carpeting
Country Natural Beef

Not-For-Profit Organizations

Community Warehouse – Recipient
Junior League
Casa de Belen
Oregon Community Foundation

Individuals

Gregory Saliba – Recipient
Victoria Trabosh