2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award | George Allan
Yakima Valley College selected George Allan as the 2022 recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Allan is the former owner and current board member of Allan Brothers Fruit in Naches.
The award provides recognition to an alumnus who attended YVC for a minimum of three quarters, earning at least 45 credits, and has distinguished themselves in a positive manner. Established in 1982 and first conferred to Catherine May Bedell, the award has been presented to a variety of notable graduates of YVC. The selection is made by the President’s Office from nominations submitted by faculty, staff, students and community members.
Allan attended Yakima Valley College before transferring to Washington State University and earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. The opportunity to attend YVC helped provide a foundation of support that was crucial to his success.
“My brother and I bought a Junker orchard the first year I attended YVC,” said Allan. The ability to go to school for a couple of years at YVC was crucial. It allowed me to get an education and do other things that I was involved in. At YVC I learned the skills needed to succeed in business. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of instructors and the basic education helped me move on to the business of growing fruit.
The Allan family has a long and rich history in the agricultural and fruit packing business. Since its establishment over a century ago, the business has expanded over the years as innovation and needs of the fruit industry has grown. George Allan and brother David Allan along with son Tom Allan, nephew Travis Allan and company CEO Miles Kohl make up the third and fourth generations to lead the family business. Under the directions of this management team the company has expanded orchard production into newer and better varieties of apple and cherry, upgraded and enlarged the packing facilities, and has ventured into growing wine grapes.
Allan credits family values and the words of long-time YVC supporter Marvin Sundquist with helping to shape how he views community support.
“Marvin once told me that all of us that have had the opportunity to have a business in the Yakima Valley need to realize that the community has played a major role in our success by providing the people, we needed to help make our business successful. Good communities attract good people,” he said. “There forth, we need to give back to our community.”
With this perspective in mind, Allan has worked on several fruit industry and community boards including Washington State Horticulture Association, Washington State Apple Commission, US Apple Association, NORTHWEST Horticulture Council, Memorial Hospital and Yakima Valley Community Foundation. He also served for 29 years as a volunteer with the Gleed Fire Department, 12 of those years serving as the Commissioner of the Gleed Fire District. He also served on the Southwest Yakima Rotary from 1987-2020 and served as a Trustee of Wesley United Methodist Church.
“The fruit industry has for many years been viewed as a leader in Washington State,” continued Allan. “Back in the early 1910s leaders saw the value and need of bringing groups together. From this work many organizations were created. It was enjoyable to be connected with others in the industry [through these organizations].”
With a spirit of community, Allan has helped support the growth of the Naches area by donating land for the new elementary school, fire station and baseball fields. He is also especially proud of his support of a fundraiser for Cottage in the Meadow — Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s bereavement and hospice support center.
In recent years a fourth generation of the Allan family have assumed leadership roles and company ownership while the legacy of the Allan name, and George’s contributions to the Washington State tree fruit industry, continue to grow.