CORVALLIS - Seven family firms are being recognized with the Oregon Family Business of the Year Award by the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University.

"Family business awards recognize the contributions that family-owned businesses make to their industries and to their communities," said Patricia Frishkoff, Austin Family Business Program director. Winners include three firms from Portland, one from Albany, one from Astoria, and two from Salem.

Family businesses employ more than half of the national workforce.

"In Oregon, more than 90 percent of businesses are family owned," Frishkoff said. "We established this program more than 10 years ago to honor these amazing families."

A panel of 49 family business owners served as judges to select the winners from 51 applicants. Criteria for the awards are business development, family-to-business linkage, contributions to community and industry, innovative business strategies and pra ctices, succession preparedness, and except for the "new" category, multi-generational family business involvement and longevity.

Old Family Business of the Year honors were earned by the Rogoway family, owners of LaRog Jewelers of Portland. The New Family Business of the Year award went to the Yoshida family of The Yoshida Group of Portland.

The Neilsen family, owners of Neilsen Manufacturing, Inc. of Salem, won the Large Family Business of the Year category, with Medium Family Business of the Year going to the McGuire family of McGuire Bearing of Portland. Small Family Business of the Year h onors went to the Conser family of Albany for Conser Homes, Inc.

The Lum family, of Lum's Auto Center of Astoria, earned Minority Owned Family Business of the Year, while the Pine family, of the O'Neill Pine Co. of Salem, won the Women Owned Family Business of the Year award.

Sponsors for the awards include U.S. Bank; Perkins & Co., P.C.; Tarlow, Jordan & Schrader; and Mass Mutual.

The mission of OSU's Austin Family Business Program is to help family businesses prosper. For information about the program, call the Austin Family Business Program at 800-859-7609 or 541-737-3326, or visit the program website.

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Maureen Reeves, 541-737-6014