McMillin, Novakovich honored in Kennewick

KENNEWICK — A Tri-City contractor and a Kennewick businesswoman are the Kennewick man and woman of 2010.

Thomas McMillin and Shannon Novakovich received the honors at the annual banquet Monday night with nearly 200 people present.

Novakovich and her husband, Skip, were joined by family members who congratulated her following the announcement made at the Three Rivers Convention Center.

"This is really a surprise. I want to thank my husband who prods me on and my crew (at Esprit Graphic Communications, the familybusiness) who makes it possible," she said.

Cathy Merrill Holle, last year's winner, introduced Novakovich as someone who works behind the scene, "shy, but makes quiet contributions."

Novakovich's community involvement includes being president of the Benton Franklin Humane Society and volunteering with First Night Tri-Cities, the Downtown Kennewick and Columbia Drive Association, Bridge-to-Bridge/River to Railroad Committee, leadership roles at Calvary Chapel, the Benton Historical Society, Columbia Basin Badger Club and Benton-Franklin Mounted Sheriff's Posse, among other groups and interests.

She also was named Downtowner of the Year in Kennewick and received an appreciation award from the Mid-Columbia Education Alliance.

"Perhaps she is best known for the difference she makes in the lives of animals," Holle said.

Novakovich most recently helped the humane society toward its goal of raising $1.8 million in cash and in-kind support to build a no-kill animal shelter in Kennewick.

McMillin's half-century of service to the Tri-Cities brought him a standing ovation.

Paul Parish, the 2009 Kennewick Man of the Year, said McMillin has done so much, "we'd be here all night talking about it."

McMillin was president and co-owner of McMillin Brothers Constructors, and was involved in more than a dozen associations and committees, from the Audubon Society and Water Follies, to Campfire Girls, Boy Scouts and the Tri-Cities Veterans Memorial.

Parish said the memorial, which was he and his wife's last effort for the community, is "his enduring legacy."

With Joyce McMillin as the designer, Tom McMillin persuaded, cajoled and prodded for three years to obtain granite slabs from Hanford and get them erected as monoliths to be the regional memorial in Columbia Park.

Parish said the effort earned and received the "President's Citation," signed by Rep. Doc Hastings and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

McMillin's construction company did millions of dollars of work in the Tri-Cities, including the Washington State University Center for Graduate Study in Richland.

* John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; jtrumbo@tricityherald.com