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