Winner - Small Firms: Ozone International, Bainbridge Island
Most of us have heard of ozone. Fewer know what it is: a gas molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. Fewer still know what it can do. Father-son combo Jim and Jon Brandt started with ozone’s known qualities as a sterilizing agent. They came up with a system in which low-pressure, ozone-infused cold water is sprayed on food as well as the conveyor systems and equipment it comes in contact with during processing. A companion system uses a similar low-pressure ozone spray and a high-pressure water system to clean dirty equipment during non-production times. Result: increased shelf life for food while controlling illness-producing pathogens, reduced treatment time and labor, and elimination of most sanitation chemicals and hot water.
Founded in 2003, Ozone International has grown to 43 employees and nearly $7 million in annual revenue. More than 350 clients in 20 countries use its WhiteWater ozone systems. The company has been on the acquisition trail, too, adding the cold storage division of Purfresh, which should expand the market of applications for Ozone International’s systems.
Silver Award Winner: All American Marine, Bellingham
Washington’s boatbuilding industry has endured the recession in reasonably good shape, thanks to companies like All American Marine, builder of catamaran passenger vessels used as ferries and as tourism, research and work boats. One of its vessels, the Rich Passage 1, was built for Kitsap Transit to test a new hull that minimizes the wake on a narrow portion of the Bremerton-to-Seattle run while maintaining operating and fuel efficiency; the boat combined aluminum and composite fibers. That ferry and a 134-foot catamaran doing survey work in the Gulf of Mexico both placed in the top 10 for most significant vessels of 2012 at the International Workboat Show.