Deby Kohlwes Honored with 2016 E.R. "Rusty" Young Memorial Award

At our 2016 Scholar-Athlete Awards, Deby Kohlwes was honored with the E.R. "Rusty" Young Memorial Award.

Deby KohlwesIn 1991 Deby Kohlwes and her husband, Greg, founded The Grounds Professionals, a Landscape and design business. Deby provided the marketing and operational support and full design services. The Grounds Professionals went on to win, over a dozen Washington Environmental Awards for Renovation, Installation, Color in The Landscape, Special Projects and specifically for Deby’s Designs. She has been a featured Designer in The Seattle Flower and Garden Show and is often a Speaker at Garden Clubs and on the radio with her advice on creating the “Outdoor Living Space of your Dreams”.

After funding her way through Western Washington University, managing retail, Deby, began her career in marketing, advertising and special events. She served as Marketing Director of University Village and after starting her own consulting business, assisted several Downtown Business Associations, including Bothell, with their revitalization efforts. It was there she met E.R. “Rusty” Young, owner of Worthington Insurance. They formed a lifelong friendship and she provided the marketing for Worthington Insurance and later, under the direction of his son, Dean Young, Lovsted-Worthington, for the next 20 years. Deby credits “Rusty” for cementing her belief “in giving back to the community you live and work in.” Through his example, she was inspired to a career of giving back. It was also “Rusty” who asked her to assist the NFF with their program. Something Deby still does today, 20 years later, in his honor.

Deby was instrumental is the building of a one-million-dollar Skate Park while chairing The Mukilteo YMCA Board. She ran school auctions to build a new playground. As Chapter President of the Washington Association of Landscaper Professionals she helped build an outdoor space for a homeless teen facility and arranged yard care services for Military Families with spouses serving overseas. She assisted the Redmond Rotary with their Anniversary Redmond to Spokane Bike Ride to raise more money than ever. It is her hope that, through her example, others will realize how small efforts of giving back can touch the lives of thousands.

Deby and her husband of 35 years now live on Whidbey Island and continue to operate The Grounds Professionals. Their adult children Curt and Kelsey still live in the Puget Sound area and carry on their Mother’s commitment to giving back.



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