Facing a field of over 300 nominees, Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys, whitewater rafting outfitters in the Columbia River Gorge, was declared Washington State's Family Business of the Year by the Family Enterprise Institute at Pacific Lutheran University.
A panel of academic experts at PLU's Family Enterprise Institute judged each applicant on the multiple criteria of innovative business strategies and practices, planning for succession, expressing the family's values in the business, family-business linkage, contribution to the community and industry, number of generations involved, and business growth and viability.
Five awards were given in categories ranging from large to small businesses, new business, and longevity. "Of the five winners, Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys was the only business to receive unanimous voting by the panel of academics," said Professor Dr. Catherine Pratt, Director of the Family Enterprise Institute.
Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys was nominated by the Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce via a tip from Hood River County Commissioner Carol York.
"What an honor to be recommended by local tourism leaders" said Mark Zoller, current company president. "While having this trophy sit on my desk feels real nice, it pales in comparison to the joy of waking up every morning to the knowledge that God has surrounded me with an incredible community that cares for each other. We are blessed!"
An outdoor adventure company spanning three generations of family operation, Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys is the largest whitewater outfitter in the Columbia River Gorge.
Pioneers of commercial rafting on the Klickitat and White Salmon Rivers, Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys recently purchased rights to multi day floats on the Snake River through Hell's Canyon, North America's deepest gorge.