CORVALLIS, Ore. - VanNatta Public Relations, Inc., Old Dominion Collision Repair Centers, Ltd., Lum's Auto Center, and Henningsen Cold Storage Co. are this year's winners of the 2010 Excellence in Family Business Awards, presented by Oregon State University's Austin Family Business Program.

The Oregon companies will receive the award, along with recognition for the seven finalists, at a ceremony to be held 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Towers. Marty Reser, of Reser Fine Foods, will serve as the emcee of the event.

More than 170 companies have received this recognition since the awards were first presented in 1988. In celebration of the 25th year of the program, Pat Frishkoff, the founding director of the Austin Family Business Program, will be recognized as a Family Business Professional of Distinction.

The awards recognize the achievements of family businesses in innovation, entrepreneurship, commitment and community involvement.

"These award-winning families in business can succeed for generations, even in tough economic times, because as businesses they are responsive to their customers and as families they are responsive to their communities," said Sherri Noxel, interim director of the Austin Family Business Program.

More than 100 family businesses were nominated in 2010. The nominees then must complete the application and a panel of judges reviews all applications to select the finalists. The second leg of the competition requires a presentation to the judging panel. A winner and two finalists are picked for each category to receive awards.

VanNatta Public Relations of Salem is the winner in the micro category, which is open to businesses with nine or fewer employees. The judges said the company's success has been based in part on the parents allowing the next generation the freedom to redefine the focus of the business to reach new customers.

ProWorks Corporation of Corvallis and Coelho Winery of Amity are the finalists in the micro category.

Old Dominion Collision Repair Centers of Eugene/Springfield won in the small category, which is open to businesses with 10-24 employees. The business was recognized for creating new ways of serving customers and incorporating a sophisticated level of strategic planning.

The finalists in this category are Olufson Designs of Corvallis and Second Glance & The Annex of Corvallis.

In the medium category (25-99 employees), Lum's Auto Center of Warrenton took the top prize. The energy and enthusiasm of this family business - along with its growth and support from the community - were cited by judges as key reasons for the award.

Ray Schultens Motors of The Dalles and ViewPlus Technologies of Corvallis will take home awards as finalists in this category.

The top large business (100 or more employees) this year is Henningsen Cold Storage Co. of Hillsboro. A four-generation family business, Henningsen Cold Storage is one of the largest public refrigerated warehousing companies in North America and was recognized for the company's foundation of customer care, employee satisfaction and sustainable practices.

"The application process for the Family Business Excellence Award is a good refresher and gives us the perspective and experience of other family businesses to guide us in areas we can improve," said Mike Henningsen, owner of Henningsen Cold Storage.

The finalist in the large category is NatureBake/Dave's Killer Bread of Milwaukie, Ore.

In addition to the family businesses recognized, the Dean's Leadership Award in Family Business goes this year to Neil Kelly Co. for leadership in innovation in the home building industry and in service to Oregon's families in need.

A student award will be given to Zachary Olson of Newberg. Olson is majoring in business administration entrepreneurship and is one of seven sons working in his family's second-generation business, Hiland Water Corporation. The faculty award recognizes Steve Lawton, emeritus faculty at OSU.

The Austin Family Business Program at OSU began in 1985 at the suggestion of Joan Austin of Newberg-based A-dec, Inc., and was endowed by Ken and Joan Austin in 1994.

More information and tickets to the awards dinner are available at 1-800-859-7609 or

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Sherri Noxel, 541-737-6019