July 2017

From this Issue

C-suite confidential with Todd Humphrey, cofounder and COO of League.

Part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal connecting Puget Sound to Lake Union and Lake Washington, the Montlake Cut became a reality on August 26, 1916, when engineers opened a coffer dam and released water from Lake Union into the cut, above.

When you climb the hill at Bothell’s Cascade Business Park to the world headquarters of Seattle Genetics, the cluster of beige buildings doesn’t scream edgy science. But in the lobby of Building Three, you’ll see a green triangular sculpture that might win the company some geek cred. The sculpture, seemingly made of Lego bricks, is a simplified model of a human antibody. 

Shortly after the steamer Portland docked in Seattle in 1897 with a reported “ton of gold” from the Alaskan Klondike, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce hired Erastus Brainerd, an itinerant journalist, to establish Seattle as the best departure point for prospectors. Brainerd did such a good job of promoting “Seattle, the Gateway City to Alaska,” that thousands flocked to the city. 

Seattle is a growing tech hub with a deepening talent shortage. As startups and big tech companies continue to populate the market, they face a dwindling pool of prospective hires. And with many Bay Area giants expanding into the Puget Sound region, recruiting tech talent may become an even bigger challenge.

A truck breaks down by the side of the highway. The mobile-repair mechanic has been dispatched to the scene, but he needs one crucial part to get the truck running again, one he didn’t bring with him.

No problem. Just send an aerial drone with the part to the scene. No long delays waiting for part delivery. No towing the truck a long distance for repairs.

In the summer of 2013, dry, new-school Washington rosé was in the early, buzzy stages of its emergence. In the subsequent four years, that buzz has turned into a roar, as Seattleites have been treated to a flood of crisp, dry, delicious pink wines.

Perhaps you have heard. Twenty-one people want to be mayor of Seattle.

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If there’s a hierarchy in the world of knife making, Bob Kramer Knives occupies a top rung.

Buy dinner or supplies and put it on the company card. This employee convenience can also be a vexation for company budgets as casual expenses mount. A Bellevue startup, Center (, thinks it has the right solution, and the track record of its founders suggests it might.

When Donald Trump came to power, he did it by railing against “the establishment,” encouraging disruptive behavior that polarized the nation and is now making it difficult for leaders to reach consensus on difficult issues.

Since John Gabbert created PitchBook Data in 2007, the company's database has become indispensable to venture capitalists, equity investors and a broadening base of customers that includes consultants and salespeople.

Restaurateur Rich Komen began his extraordinary career in 1961 by securing the sports concessions contract at the University of Washington. In the ensuing 56 years, Komen opened more than 40 restaurants, founded and sold Restaurants Unlimited (think Cutters, Palomino, Palisade) and, with his crack executive team, created Cinnabon.

Data is king. (Or is it data are king? Darn those Latin-derived plural nouns.) Data will cure disease, make us safer, win elections, run businesses and government more efficiently and effectively, and simultaneously allow us to sell more stuff to more people who are making smarter, more informed decisions about what they’re buying.

Steve Vissotzky, managing director of Hyatt Olive 8 and Grand Hyatt Seattle, says the hospitality leader is open around the clock. And not just for guests. “In our 24/7 business,” Vissotzky says, “our doors are always open to our guests and … to our colleagues. We have an open-door policy and colleagues are encouraged to speak to anyone at any level within the organization.”

Although health care is serious business, Accolade — a health care concierge for employers, health systems and health plans — doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not uncommon for product releases and birthdays to be celebrated with mariachi bands or magicians.

An online marketplace for entrepreneurs, Bonanza offers a benefits package that’s comparable to other technology companies that tend to be a lot bigger. Employees don’t pay monthly premiums for health care. They receive generous stock options, as well as three weeks of vacation and another week or two of holidays.

Sustainable Interiors is a small business, but its benefits package includes a SIMPLE IRA in which the company matches employees’ contributions dollar for dollar up to 3 percent of their salary. The interior-finishes contractor also offers incentives similar to commission-based sales.

Axon’s discretionary paid time off is built around a simple concept, says VP of People Operations Gretchen Mastellon. “We hire adults and we want to treat them like adults.

Committed to contributing to humanity through high-impact artificial intelligence research and engineering, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2, often finds itself competing for talent with companies such as Google and Amazon.

Where do sports teams go to celebrate victories? Disneyland, of course. So it makes sense that this past February, Pushpay flew its 200 employees down to the “happiest place on earth” to celebrate the company’s hitting its goals. “We strive to operate like a professional sports team,” says Weston Belkot, Pushpay’s director of learning and development.

When it comes to benefits, Stacey Klimek, VP of people at PayScale, doesn’t think the company’s unlimited personal time off is that unusual. What is unusual is how people use it, she says, noting that the most appreciated perk is the company’s flexibility.

Who wouldn’t want to work for the best of the best, the top of the heap, the cream of the crop? (Ok, you get the idea.) That’s why we do the research and list the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Washington.