Titans of Tomorrow: F5 Networks

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F5 nearly collapsed during the dot-com bust when the biggest customers for its software started going bankrupt, one after the other. The company reinvented itself and now has more than 3,000 employees and over $1 billion in sales. It builds software and hardware which, when placed in a client company’s computer network, helps  data to be processed more efficiently and applications to work more effectively. Customers such as Facebook use hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of F5 equipment. The company now has a 60 percent share of the application delivery controller market. Rival Cisco acknowledged F5’s dominance when it pulled out of the market last September. F5, as the market leader, should win over a big share of those Cisco customers as they turn to new suppliers, and F5 has bolstered its sales team to make sure that happens.
The company could benefit greatly from several technology trends. “We are in the sweet spot of lots of global developments in technology, from virtualization and cloud computing to mobile,” says John McAdam, CEO.

F5 expanded into the mobile space with the acquisition early last year of Israel-based Traffix Systems, a strong player in supplying technology that helps mobile systems communicate over fourth-generation mobile networks. Consequently, F5’s software now plays a key role in helping the world’s mobile service providers better handle the growing load of data traffic passing through their systems.

But those markets are only worth a few billion dollars. What makes F5’s future really promising is its move into the $15 billion market for providing network security.  Because of F5’s deep knowledge of how its customers’ networks operate, it can add security features more efficiently and without slowing down the transfer of data. At least one city police department uses F5 software to encrypt data traffic. And many enterprises want to offer employees and customers the opportunity to tap into their corporate computer systems without compromising security.

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
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Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn › belshaw-adamatic.com
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
 
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
 
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
 
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.