- By Colin Anderson
Gig Harbor’s Finest Person of the Year: Pat Schmidt
For the past two years, Gig Harbor Living Local magazine has awarded businesses and community members that stand out with our ‘Finest Awards.’ Voted on by the community, dozens of awards were handed out this past fall including the winner of our favorite award, Person of the Year, recognizing individuals who positively impact the community. The readers cast their votes and Pat Schmidt was honored with the award. Let’s find out more about our Person of the Year.
Q. What were the reasons that brought you to call Gig Harbor Home?
A. I was born and raised in Seattle and started my professional career there after graduating from college. The company I had been with for years was gobbled up by a larger company. My parents and brother lived in Gig Harbor so I thought I would take a little time for an extended visit, and did, but just never left! I have a husband, 14-year-old golden retriever and a son who lives close by, so I am very lucky.
Q. You have chosen to be a very active member in the community. What inspires you to devote your time and energy to many different groups and causes in the area?
A. It is always the people who I am blessed to have in my life that makes volunteering special and fun. I have said this many times, if I lived in Seattle, the work we do would not make a significant difference. But here in the greater Gig Harbor area, we can make a difference in many lives.
Q. You were recently president of the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance. What are some of your proudest moments during your tenure?
A. During my tenure, we accomplished many milestones. The proudest are the partnerships that the Alliance has with the City of Gig Harbor, Pierce Transit for the Trolley, the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Gig Harbor. In a small community, these partnerships are vital to the success of our community. In 2017, I was recognized by the Washington State Main Street Program as the Volunteer of the Year.
Q. Do you feel the Downtown Waterfront Alliance is vital to the success of the local business community and if so why?
A. Absolutely. The first thing that people see when they visit Gig Harbor is our downtown. It makes the first and best impression for everyone. The Alliance is responsible for many of the events of downtown and also how beautiful it looks with the flower baskets. The Alliance mission is to bring the community together, to encourage economic vitality and to preserve our historic character.
Q. Can you describe a recent experience in your volunteer work that really stood out as something memorable and made an impact?
A. In 2017, just after Veterans Day, Jill Guernsey and I were discussing that Gig Harbor did not have an “official” Veterans Day event to honor our veterans. So we got together people who we knew would have the heart and desire to honor our veterans.
In 2018, we had an amazing Gig Harbor Veterans Day where we honored over 100 veterans at Ocean5 with lunch and a program. No detail was left out to honor our veterans. We had strong community support from Ocean5, Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, the Stearns Foundation, The Meacham Foundation, Knights of Columbus, AUSA, Gig Harbor Living Local and a steering committee who gave so much to make this be special.
Q. What can you say about the others you volunteer with and the impact they have on Gig Harbor.
A. I think that once people come to Gig Harbor, the best thing for their own happiness is to volunteer. You meet wonderful people, you have the opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference. It is all about connections, whether it is in the business world or for the community, I love connecting people together to make their lives better. I would not be the person I am today if I did not volunteer.
Q. You are a business owner in Gig Harbor. What does DPI Print do as a business to help improve the local community?
A. We are privileged to work with a number of nonprofits to help them with their events. We work closely to make their events as appealing as possible and to make them look marvelous! Again, it is a privilege to help them in their causes, so from feeding the hungry to adopting pets, we see how the heart of Gig Harbor makes this the best place to live. Our customers are our friends. We thank our customers for supporting our local business and for supporting all the small local businesses in the area. Without you, we would not be able to serve our community.
Q. Do you feel it is important for businesses in general to take a leadership role in improving their community?
A. It is imperative for businesses to be leaders in their communities. We are lucky to have a business in this community; everywhere we go, we see all our hard work making a difference.
Sometimes that leadership is being a sponsor for events, sometimes it is allowing their employees to volunteer during work days or giving them allowances to help in the community. Sometimes it is giving baskets, gift certificates and auction items. There are many ways that businesses can be leaders in our community.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. A big shout out to my fellow nominees, Lindsay Stover, Kurt Grimmer and Josh Sherwin. They all do amazing things for our community. And a big thank you to those who voted for me. It is very humbling that you feel that way. And to all, remember, we never know by showing kindness to one person the ripple effect has many opportunities to change lives. Choose to be part of the ripple, you will never regret it. Say yes!
Organizations Pat is a member of and/or volunteers with:
Downtown Waterfront Alliance (Immediate Past President)
Committees/Volunteer: Wine & Food Experience & Slip & Stroll,
Flower Basket Sunday Waterer (we start at 5am in the morning watering all the baskets downtown)
Downtown Veterans Banner Project
Volunteer: Gigging up the Harbor, Gig Harbor Farmers Market
Altrusa of Gig Harbor (Vice President)
Committee: Empty Bowls – a Fundraiser to help feed the kids of the Greater Gig Harbor Area. Empty Bowls brings our local artists to make bowls, our local restaurants to donate soup, and we have the community come to purchase bowls and have a simple meal of soup & bread – it reminds us that not everyone has enough to feed their families.
Alliance of Women Owned Businesses (Founding Member and Vice President Elect)
Rotary Club of Gig Harbor –
Member and on Auction Committee
Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce
Past Chairman of the Board
Gig Harbor Veterans Day Event
Steering Committee to honor our Gig Harbor Veterans
PenMet Parks - Volunteer on call
Midday Rotary-Volunteer on call