Awards for Employer and Employee of the Year were presented Tuesday night at the annual Downtown Washington Inc. membership picnic.
About 200 people were in attendance, representing 15 companies, according to Aimee Frey, event coordinator.
The dinner was held at the riverfront park.
The Employer of the Year Award went to Bryan Bogue, owner of Elite Survival Systems in Washington. He was nominated by his staff.
Bogue also serves on the Downtown Washington Inc. board as secretary/treasurer and heads the design committee for the organization.
Staff members described him as the “nicest man you’ll ever meet.” They also said he is very supportive of his employees.
“Sometimes working for Bryan feels too easy, even though much gets accomplished. I don’t know how many people can boast that feat,” staff members wrote on the nomination form.
Mary Beth Rettke, Washington tourism director, received the Employee of the Year Award. She was nominated by her boss, Mark Wessels, president and CEO of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce.
Rettke started working at the Chamber 20 years ago as a part-time secretary. Two years later, she was named full-time project coordinator, and then in 2008 she became office manager. Earlier this year, she assumed the role of tourism director.
“Mary Beth has never been afraid of new challenges and serves as a valuable resource for Chamber staff and patrons,” Wessels said, in nominating Rettke.
“Her knowledge of Chamber activities, community organizations and Washington in general is truly priceless.”
As director of tourism, Rette has served as a “wonderful ambassador,” he said.
The downtown organization also gave out prizes for best dressed table and group. The Chamber staff, dressed in Colonial outfits, won for best dressed, and the Bank of Washington won for best table decorations. The theme was patriotism.
Andy Unerstall, board president, welcomed the members and introduced board members and staff. Other board members gave updates on various committee work.