Emerging Manufacturer of the Year

April 13, 2012

Bill Virgin


Method Homes, Seattle

The term prefabricated doesnt have a good connotation when it comes to housing. But the residences Method Homes prefabricates look nothing like the stereotype of a doublewide. Instead, theyre straight out of the pages of an architectural magazine modernistic, even daring. Many of Method Homes projects are cabins (hardly rustic in design) for remote locations, but it has also done homes for in-city sites.

Method Homes builds its modular components in Ferndale. Constructing them indoors cuts down on mold, other contaminants and work that might otherwise be rushed in bad weather. The result is a sturdier, healthier custom home built in a third the time, and with less than 10 percent waste in materials (versus more than 30 percent with some site-built homes). The components are delivered to the site 80 to 95 percent complete and can then be lifted by crane onto their foundations.

Its a formula that seems to be working. In the midst of a brutal housing recession, Method saw its revenue jump from $1.1 million in 2010 to more than $4.6 million in 2011. The company added two new product lines in 2011, boosting its total to six. It also offers custom designs and commercial buildings.


Perfect Blend Biotic Fertilizers, Bellevue

Using chicken manure as a fertilizer isnt an original idea. Perfect Blends twist on the concept is a patented refining process to produce a material that helps accelerate production of beneficial microbes in the soil, contributing to growing and healthy plants. Perfect Blend makes its fertilizers in Othello; its products are used on farms, golf courses and for commercial landscaping. The company had a 12 percent increase in revenue in 2011. Perfect Blend has its eye on much more. In 2012, it hopes to license at least two manufacturing facilities overseas and more in succeeding years. It also wants to set up Centers for Biological Agriculture that would not only produce biotic fertilizer but also provide education and research on their use.

General Biodiesel, Seattle

Biodiesel has long been an intriguing idea for an alternative fuel, but getting to commercial viability has been a bumpy road for many producers. General Biodiesel, which was formed in 2006 and launched its production plant in 2009, did its part in 2011 to make the fuel a true alternative. It produced six times more fuel in 2011 than in 2010, and product-sales revenue rose 200 percent. General Biodiesel accomplished that growth entirely locally. Its feedstock is primarily used cooking oil from restaurant deep fryers, and sales were local. In keeping with the green theme of the company, General Biodiesel reduced use of one chemical in its production by 20 percent, and recycles a byproduct in an anaerobic digester, producing methane gas used to generate electricity. One employee benefit: Five Gallon Fridays, during which employees can fill their cars tanks with the fuel they made.