April 2016

From this Issue

Like many of greater Seattle’s suburban commercial districts, Lynnwood’s is a tedious landscape of strip malls, parking lots and squat office buildings. As Gertrude Stein famously remarked about Oakland, California, there’s no there there.

There’s a good chance you work at a company that made the list pf most powerful Northwest brands. You may have strong opinions about who should or shouldn’t have made this list. You may feel proud, surprised, not surprised and relieved to see some of the names here. And, when you think about it, you may or may not be able to put a finger on why you feel the way you do.

On a recent visit to New York City, I said, “You’ll never catch me riding a bike around Manhattan.” Heck, you’ll never catch me riding a bike around Seattle.

Elena Donio became a Concur employee in 1998 when it acquired the company she was working for at the time. She became president of the Bellevue-based provider of travel-and-expense management solutions in 2014 when Concur was acquired by the multinational software firm, SAP.

Hope is returning to downtown Tacoma, thanks to a growing interest in the city’s affordable housing, a strengthening commercial office market and a downtown core filled with historic buildings primed for refurbishment.

Light rail in Seattle has been a disappointment. The train trip from downtown to the airport, for example, usually takes nearly twice as long as by car. But with two new stations opening up recently in hard-to-reach locations, commuters may finally begin to see value in the system.

The Seattle startup Arivale wants to make you feel better, but don’t call it a health care business. CEO and cofounder Clayton Lewis says Arivale sells wellness, a category distinctly different from health care.

“If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” I’m sure you’ve heard some version of this saying. You’ve read it in a dozen books; you’ve heard it in a dozen motivational speeches. (If that last part is true, congratulations on surviving a dozen motivational speeches.)

If Hatem Zeine has his way, you’ll never again have to worry about charging your smartphone. Or your iPad, TV remote, Fitbit. Zeine’s Bellevue company, Ossia, has developed a Wi-Fi-like smart antenna technology that can charge multiple wireless devices automatically within a 30-foot radius of its Cota charging station.

Let’s do a quick review of the list of service businesses that have been disrupted by the internet.Retailing? Thoroughly. Communications? No doubt. Media? We could tell you stories. Travel and tourism? They could tell you stories as well about how customers get information and book their own travel arrangements these days. Banking? Hmm, there’s an interesting one.

Becoming a tattoo artist was an improbable choice for Shannon Perry, the owner of Valentine’s Tattoo Co. ( on Capitol Hill.
“The funny thing is that I have a needle phobia,” Perry says. Fortunately, she draws a distinction between drawing blood and just scratching the epidermis.

The building boom that’s driving up real estate prices and jamming Seattle with housing and high-rises is also squeezing out and devaluing the city’s green, open spaces. That “progress” presents a paradox: “Hard assets” provide value temporarily during their “useful lives”; green, or “soft,” assets provide value forever.

The city prepares for its moment of (re)discovery.

Chris Antemann’s alluring porcelain scenes return to BAM.

No, thanks. Not until I can be sure I’m safe on the streets of Seattle.

Shepherding the Bellevue company from independent enterprise to corporate subsidiary while keeping an eye on growth.

An efficient light-rail system makes good sense for a Greater Seattle.

How to add a billion dollars’ worth of green to Seattle’s books.

If your business is doing things the way it’s always done them, you’re not just standing still; you’re moving backward.

These businesses drive commerce and culture in the Pacific Northwest.

Leroy Hood’s startup uses data from your blood, your genes and your digestive tract to coach you toward better health awareness.

How light rail will create new urban centers that reshape the region.