Nice Work!


It’s been a rough year, the kind of year that makes CEOs wonder about their career choices and causes human resources executives to pray for miracles. But, even in the tough times, some companies never seem to miss a beat. It’s as if they thrive under adverse conditions, as if maybe they know the economy isn’t always going to be going gangbusters and that it would be prudent to have a contingency plan. As a result, management is prepared, employees are engaged. From small to large and east to west, these are the Best Companies to Work For. Companies like last year’s Hall of Fame inductee, MoneyTree Inc., which continues to top our survey among midsize companies. And The Everett Clinic, which approaches the art of communication with clinical precision. These companies and the 98 others on our list take pride in investing and reinvesting in human capital, knowing that satisfied employees are motivated employees.

Top 100 Companies List (pdf download)

Large Company Winners

Midsize Company Winners

Small Company Winners

Nonprofit Company Winners

Large Company Headquartered Outside Washington Winner


TOP 100 WINNERS (ranking by category)

Nonprofit Companies:

Valley Medical Center
Career Path Services
Pacific Medical Centers
Washington Technology Industry Association
Housing Resources Group
United Way of King County

Small Companies:

The CashLINQ Group
Buckland & Taylor Ltd.
Brightlight Consulting
Modern Dental Laboratory USA
Cook Security Group
206 Inc.
Adams & Associates/ADD Staffing
CFO Selections
Artitudes Design
Stratos Product Development
FSX Inc.
HPG (parent of Health Advocacy Strategies)
Ogden Murphy Wallace
Pentad Solutions
Noetix Corporation
Piraeus Data
Berntson Porter & Company
Bergstrom Aircraft
Wexley School for Girls
Image Source
MCM, A Meisenbach Company
Transportation Solutions
Conifer Specialties
TTF Aerospace
Pacific Continental Bank
Puget Sound Health Partners
IMCO General Construction

Idea Entity Corporation
Playhouse Design Group
BuzzBee Company
RealCom Associates
Brighton Jones
Chermak Construction
Chef'n Corporation
McKinley Irvin
Vista Engineering Technologies
Columbia River Carbonates
Soundair Aviation Services
Meier Architecture • Engineering
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Cornerstone Advisors
Paladino and Company
Red Arrow Logistics

Midsize Companies:

Baker Boyer National Bank
The Legacy Group
Sprague Pest Solutions
Concur Technologies
Slalom Consulting
ING Direct
Family Home Care & Hospice
Columbia Hospitality
Riverview Community Bank
Greenpoint Technologies
Evergreen Home Loans
Seed IP Law Group
Dade Moeller
Rhapsody International
Astronics AES
Super Supplements
Sleep Country U.S.A.
Rebound Orthopedics & Neurosurgery
InCyte Pathology
CellNetix Pathology & Labs

Large Companies:

The Everett Clinic
F5 Networks

Columbia Bank

Proliance Surgeons

Large Companies Headquartered Outside Washington:

West Monroe Partners
Weber Shandwick
Grant Thornton

On Reflection: Corporate Game Changer

On Reflection: Corporate Game Changer

Gamification software from a UW startup makes biz-school case studies more authentic.

Imagine you’re the CEO of an airline in crisis. Customers and shareholders are unhappy. Your employees have just gone on strike. What do you do? Give in to union demands? Hold your ground and negotiate? Fire all the employees? 

It’s the first of a cascading set of decisions you must make in The Signature Case Study, a new interactive game developed by Seattle-based Recurrence ( in partnership with the University of Washington’s Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking (CLST). Players take one of five C-suite roles and each player’s decision changes the options available to the others and affects their total scores based on employee, shareholder and customer satisfaction.

The Signature Case Study takes the case-study method, a paper-based system pioneered by the Harvard Business School, and uses game techniques to make it more entertaining and accessible while also giving students and teachers immediate feedback on the quality of their decision making.

Data on 19 variables derived from real airlines on things like lost luggage, fuel costs, stock prices and customer satisfaction are built into algorithms that drive the game and can result in thousands of academically validated outcomes.

CEO and co-inventor Brayden Olson named the company after Friedrich Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence, the notion that all life will repeat itself through eternity. The interactive case study, he says, allows people to learn from mistakes and develop critical thinking skills that improve their judgment so they won’t make similar mistakes in real life.

While traditional case studies depend heavily on the skills of professors to engage students, The Signature Game Study’s software uses game elements to require interactivity, says co-inventor Bruce Avolio, a professor of management at the UW’s Foster School of Business and executive director of CLST.

The game shows players how decisions made early on can narrow their course of action down the road. They also learn the importance of teamwork to overcome the toughest challenges. “Great games can be both more fun and more challenging,” says Avolio, who sits on Recurrence’s board of directors.

The product, released early this year, has already been adopted at more than 30 schools, including the UW, Stanford, Penn State, Johns Hopkins and the University of Texas, to teach leadership, organizational behavior and strategy. The cases sell for $47.50 per student; Recurrence is looking to add cases in areas such as operations, finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. It’s also working with the University of Alabama nursing school to develop a case study to teach such skills as diagnosis and health care management.

With more than 15,000 business schools in the world, Olson says the market is huge. He notes that publishers of printed case studies are selling 12 million a year, but they recognize that the interactive case study is the future and are looking for Recurrence’s assistance in developing them.