ETOP (Entrepreneur Of The Palouse) Award

Each year, the Palouse community has the chance to nominate local businesses and organizations for the Entrepreneur of the Palouse Award in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to giving back to the community and to making the Palouse a better place. The awards fall into three categories:

  • Business
  • Rising Star
  • Non-Profit

This year’s award recipients certainly live up to this standard

Business Category

The winner of the Business Category of the EOTP Award is Austin and Laura Storm. The Storms own several businesses in Moscow including The Storm Cellar and Hansel & Gretel, as well as self-starting the online service, Consign Cloud, and remodeling several spaces in Downtown Moscow. In addition to running several businesses in the community, the Storms also focus on giving back to countless local projects and supporting the arts. Austin Storm currently serves on the Moscow Chamber of Commerce Board.

Daniel Botkin, who nominated the pair for the award, said that they have created “beautiful and popular businesses appealing to tourists, students, and long-time locals alike” over the course of their five years in business ownership in the area. Austin and Laura storm focus in keeping money local, having a direct positive economic impact on the community, as well as encouraging reusing and recycling items.

Rising Star

This year’s Rising Star winner is Troy Zakariasen and his business, PACT EMS, the local private ALS-licensed ambulance company providing a variety of medical and non-medical services on the Palouse. Zakariasen started PACT EMS after his time volunteering with the Moscow Volunteer Ambulance Company and seeing that hospitals were in need of more ground ambulance access for patients who were in immediate need of transfer to a different care facility. PACT EMS currently provides critical transportation for regional hospitals, encourages higher education for their employees by putting them through paramedic school, and continuing to serve the patients of the Palouse with their timely and professional services. Zakariasen works to maintain highly-trained care professionals in the community by providing paying jobs for local EMS professionals to contribute to best serving patients in our community. PACT EMS is one of four private ambulance companies in the state of Idaho, and has made transporting critical patients when helicopters cannot fly a reality for local patients when it may not have been possible otherwise. In addition to serving the community at work, employees of PACT EMS are encouraged to volunteer at local EMS agencies in their off time, supporting the importance of accessible, quality transportation to help members of our community get the best care available.


The Non-Profit organization that has won this year’s award is none other than the Friends of Neill Public Library. FNPL focuses on providing volunteer assistance to help support the Neill Public Library, giving more than 1,000 hours last year to support the library’s wide range of programs and services, including the Summer Reading Community Literacy Program, assembling Literacy Packets for Pullman Regional Hospital for new parents and their children, and the public Book Sale. FNPL helps Neill Public Library to continue to serve our community through caring, hands-on support, as well as financial contributions, helping to extend its reach to the entire community regardless of age, race, gender, or economic ability. Joanna Bailey, nominator of FNPL, said that “this volunteer non-profit is a truly remarkable example of a community organization whose work is an investment by the community, for the entire community.” In the last year, FNPL donated nearly $6,000 to Neill Public Library, which helped to start highly-utilized services, including but not limited to providing printing from library computers and purchasing community-requested titles, including books that helped support local entrepreneurial efforts. The work of Friends of Neill Public Library is a direct example of the positive outcome of organizations working to maintain and better a well-loved local service.

It is businesses like these that help drive our community to be successful. By giving back to the community, and showing their commitment to maintaining a solid business while also lifting up our region, these organizations have shown that they are extraordinary examples of what makes the Palouse such a great place to do business.

Don’t miss the EOTP award ceremony on May 23rd at 7:00 pm at the U of I IRIC during the Palouse Pitch event. Register now to reserve your spot here.

%d bloggers like this: