The owner of Senske Services in Kennewick received the Sam Volpentest Entrepreneurial Leadership “Sammy” Award at the Richland Rotary Club’s 22nd annual awards luncheon.
Chris Senske said he accepted the award Feb. 27 on behalf of his 500 employees.
“As an entrepreneur, you come up with the dreams of what you want to do and how you want to be — a success — but it is the people who really do the work that make it successful,” he said.
The Sammy — named in honor of one of Tri-Cities’ entrepreneurship pioneers — is awarded annually to a “community leader for providing support to entrepreneurs in this region,” said Diahann Howard, Rotary president.
Senske Services was founded in Spokane in 1947 and provides lawn, tree and pest control services throughout Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Since then, it has remained a family-owned company, with Chris Senske carrying on the legacy of his father, Bill, who started it.
Chris Senske became president of the company in 1974, then CEO in 1984.
Senske Services now operates 11 locations.
This year’s Sammy Award presenter, Dr. Gary Spanner, the 2006 recipient of the award, said Senske Services has been “very benevolent to the Tri-Cities community.”
The company has donated its services to local charities and stages an annual holiday lights show that raises thousands of dollars for the local food bank.
Senske’s “Decorated Soldier” program installs holiday lights for veterans and actively deployed military personnel pro bono, as well as for the Ronald McDonald House.
Chris Senske is also involved in several industry associations and civic organizations.
Richland Rotary’s entrepreneurial awards were created to “recognize the importance of entrepreneurial spirit in the community for future economic diversification,” said Howard, who added that a key Rotary value exemplified by award recipients is “service above self.”
“As we are proud of the entrepreneurs among us, we are also equally proud of the community spirit and infrastructure that fosters entrepreneurial success,” she said.
Nominated businesses are those that are “not fully mature, but show promise for the future,” Howard said.
Since the program’s inception in 1996, Richland Rotary has recognized 175 area companies.
Ten other local businesses were nominated for the award and recognized: Doug Perez of Clean Image Carpet & Restoration; Kara Vogt and Jessica VanDine of The Village Bistro; Ray Gonzalez of The Lawn Guy Complete Landscaping LLC; Heather Skinnell of Squeaky Clean Janitorial LLC; Porter and Kate Kinney of Porter’s Real Barbecue; Abel Campos of Three Brothers Moving; Aaron Stites, Zachary Stites and Megan Fehrenbacher of High Gear Coaching; Erik Ralston of LiveTiles; Paul Labrie of Labrie Glass Studio; and Brian and Beth McCance of B&B Custom Metals.
The selection committee was led by Scott D. Keller, executive director of the Port of Benton, and nominating organizations were the Tri-City Development Council, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Benton. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory served as a sponsor for the program.
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