Lacey Food Truck Depot Receives Economic Development Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Submitted by City of Lacey

The Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA) recognized the City of Lacey (City) with the 2024 Economic Development Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Lacey Food Truck Depot at their Winter Conference.

At the conference, WEDA recognized seven awardees in the categories of: Project of the Year – Business Retention and/or Expansion; Project of the Year – Business Recruitment; Advocate of the Year; Emerging Professional; Innovation; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Economic Response & Recovery.

“WEDA’s Economic Development Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in economic development at the highest level,” said WEDA Board Chair Betty Capestany, who also serves as the Director of Economic Development for Pierce County. “There are leaders across our entire state working tirelessly to grow jobs and strengthen economic vitality in their communities. These awards honor leaders and projects that are excelling in this important work.”  

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award acknowledges organizations or individuals that have made strides in improving the diversity, equity, and inclusion within their work, communities, or organizations, including in innovative programs, projects, and partnerships.

With lower start-up costs compared to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks can be a more accessible pathways to entrepreneurship. In 2021, the City created a Food Truck Depot pilot program to help start-up businesses, many of which were minority- or women-owned. The City reduced multiple barriers to help these entrepreneurs successfully launch their businesses by providing a location, services, and assistance with understanding the requirements of operating a “mobile food unit” in Thurston County. By the third year of the project, six “resident” food trucks call the Lacey Food Truck Depot home, including minority- and women-owned businesses. Four of these six (67%) entrepreneurs are first-time business owners.

“We are humbled and very honored to receive this important award for this impactful project,” stated Wesley Nguyen, the City’s Economic Development Coordinator. “It’s a testament to the collective dedication of our City, community members, businesses, and leaders in championing diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are committed to creating a city where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to thrive.”

For more information on WEDA and the awards, visit the WEDA website.

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