David Giuliani

| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

David GiulianiDavid Giuliani has been earning his successes ever since he
studied graduate-level electrical engineering and business at Stanford
University.

He didn’t have to go too far from college to get his first
opportunity. But after 12 years working with light-emitting diodes,
semiconductors and high-volume production at Hewlett-Packard, Giuliani moved to
the Northwest to try something new. Initially he was not happy, but his wife
told him, “Think of all the energy you are using being upset. Why don’t you use
it for a new product or a new job?”

He took her advice, first creating a 70-employee division of
a company called International Biomedics and later Optiva Corp., which came up
with the original sonic toothbrush, Sonicare.

Optiva was sold in 2000 to Phillips Oral Healthcare, but
Giuliani’s fascination with sonic technology remained. So he created a research
and development company, Pacific Bioscience Labs Inc. of Bellevue, better known
by the name of its primary product, an ultrasonic skin-cleansing device called
Clarisonic. The device would eventually be sold by doctors, aestheticians and
high-end retailers across the country. He also insisted that the product be
manufactured in the United States.

Never idle, Giuliani has served on the Washington Technology
Center board and, in an effort to get business involved in solving political
problems independent of political philosophy, he has established the Washington
Business Alliance.

Finalists:

Rick Steves

President, CEO, Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door
(Edmonds)

Rick StevesNobody’s going to get rich quick at Rick Steves’ Europe
Through the Back Door
, says its founder. But in terms of investing for the long
term, keeping employees and subscribing to a general philosophy of sharing the
wealth, it doesn’t get much better than this Edmonds-based travel company.

Steves has embraced the internet by developing travel
journals, blogs, podcasts, streaming radio programming and video. People,
Steves says, will come to the company for free information and be led in time
to his guides, baggage line, accessories and guided tours, which are the most
lucrative segments of the business. Promotion through his regular PBS program,
radio show and podcasts only adds to his reputation as the foremost authority
on European travel among Americans.

Hector Rivas Jr.

CEO, Thriftbooks LLC (Auburn)

Hector RivasHector Rivas has a strong work ethic and a talent for
selling. So when the founders of Thriftbooks gave him a job as the company book
buyer, he made the most of it. Thriftbooks sells used books online. Since Rivas
knew he needed to fill the warehouse with inventory if Thriftbooks were to
succeed, he developed relationships with charitable organizations such as Value
Village, the Salvation Army and Goodwill to procure books. Rivas provides collection
bins for a percentage of the profits. 

Rivas later became CEO when the company was in debt. He had
the IT department create software that automatically reprices books lower than
competing listings. Under Rivas’ leadership, Thriftbooks is profitable, has 230
employees and is Amazon.com’s largest third-party retailer.

Next: Media, Entertainment and Communications

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