“Surprised and humbled.” Those are the words from Edmonds resident Craig V. Olson on his nomination for the Emerging Leaders award.
Olson is one of 12 Snohomish County people who have been nominated for the annual award, launched by The Herald Business Journal in 2016 to recognize the next generation of leadership for the county. The award will be presented remotely via Zoom this Thursday night, July 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.
Esperance resident Courtney Wooten was also nominated for the award. Alicia Crank of Edmonds will be the keynote speaker for the event.
Olson, 31, is the third generation in ownership at privately-owned Washington Energy Services, which focuses on retrofit contracting, equipment replacement, service and maintenance for residential customers. Olson started at Washington Energy nine years ago, just after graduation from Washington State University.
He’s worked on company field crews, in its call center, conducted energy audits, and worked with the service department and in marketing. He settled in with the sales department three years ago, and says he loves it.
Olson credits two loving parents for his opportunities. He says he is especially grateful to his mom, Rose, for sparking his community involvement. “She’s the one,” he says, “who inspired me to get involved and give back to the community.” She led by example, he adds.
Olson is also involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County. Since January, he has sponsored his “little brother” — an 11-year-old — with whom he meets every week.
Last year, Olson began helping the Lynnwood nonprofit Clothes for Kids, which provides free school clothing to lower income students in the Edmonds School District. It furnishes clothes twice each school year — one wardrobe in the fall and one in the spring.
That partnership came about after Clothes for Kids lost heat in its building, and Washington Energy donated a new HVAC and air conditioning system. He also helped lead a coat drive for the charity.
He has also volunteered as the emcee for the Stanwood/Camano Island Resource Center’s fundraising efforts. The resource center offers housing help for families in crisis as well as youth services.
“If I can, I love saying ‘yes’ to people,” says Olson, who lives in Edmonds with his wife, Courtney.
The full list of this year’s nominees are:
Julio Cortes, Senior Communications Officer, City of Everett
Courtney Wooten, Community Organizer, self-employed, Suburbia Rising/Stories of Self & Self Solidarity.
Christine Stansfield, Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator, Sno-Isle Regional Libraries
Dustin DeKoekkoek, Civil Engineer, Perteet Inc., Everett. (Read more on Dekoekkoek, who lives in Mountlake Terrace, here.)
Craig Olson, Vice President of Sales at Washington Energy Services, Lynnwood.
Natosha Gobin, Language Teacher, The Tulalip Tribes
Ambar Martinez, Self-employed, strategy development and equity strategy work with the state and other organizations
Neil Weiss, Attorney, ABC Law Group, Everett
Nicole Amor, Director of Individual Giving at Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County
Alexander Lark, Philanthropy Manager, Housing Hope, Everett
Randy Bolerjack, Director of Public Affairs, Marketing and Communication Washington State University Everett
Chester Curtis, Purchasing Manager, McKinstry
— By Bob Throndsen