GWATA hosted its annual Innovator Awards Luncheon Wednesday. More than 30 individuals and organizations were nominated in the five award categories.

WENATCHEE — Jeff Soehren, owner of Blue Spirits Distilling, was named GWATA’s 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year at the organization’s annual Innovator Awards Luncheon on Wednesday.

The Cashmere distiller produces more than a dozen varieties of spirit, including gin, whiskey and vodka. The company recently expanded to the Port of Chelan County’s new Cashmere Mill District Business Park.

Jeff Berry of FocusGeo, a geospatial services company, was awarded the Innovative Use of Technology in Business award at the luncheon, according to a Thursday press release from GWATA.

Debbie Gallaher and Bob Bauer of the Chelan County PUD were given the STEM Champion of the Year award for their partnerships with local schools.

The STEM College Student Innovator of the Year is Amanda Jeffries, who attends Wenatchee Valley College. Jeffries is launching the college’s first STEM club, which is designed to build community development, according to the release.

The Future Tech Leader of the Year award was given to team Galactic Farmers, a student STEM team from Amira, Coulee, Hartline Middle School.

This is GWATA’s 19th year hosting the Innovator Awards Luncheon, according to the release. Recipients in each education category received a scholarship in addition to their award. In total, GWATA awarded $3,690 in scholarship money.

Reilly Kneedler: 661-5213 or

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