Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Business

Winter 2005

What I've Learned Since College: an interview with Theodore Baseler

Ted Baseler is president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. The interview with Hannelore Sudermann took place in his second-floor office at the Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville in late July. Journeying from advertising and marketing into the world of wine hasn’t been the easiest trip, but certainly one worth making, he says, as he now steers Washington’s largest wine company ahead. Baseler graduated from WSU in 1976 with a degree in communications. His wife, JoAnne, is also a Cougar (’75 Ed.), as is his daughter Andrea, who started at WSU this fall.

Look for what you want.

I took a job in advertising … » More …

Winter 2005

Brewing Up Business

The Small Business Development Center celebrates 25 years of success.

Mark Burr and his business partners, Nina Law and Skip Madsen, dreamed of owning their own beer brewing business. After a visit to Port Townsend a few years ago, the trio began to investigate buying the historic Town Tavern and turning it into the Water Street Brewing and Ale House. During the course of his research, Burr discovered the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by Washington State University, and made an appointment with Kathleen Purdy, business development specialist with the Olympic Peninsula Regional Center of the SBDC.

The SBDC is designed to help small … » More …

Spring 2005

Just Buy It! Ty Bennett capitalizes on your impulse

A shopper in the ice cream aisle pulls out a tub of mint chocolate chip and hesitates as she notices ice cream scoops hanging from a display on the freezer door. Ah ha, she thinks, it would be nice to have a real scoop instead of always using a spoon. Into the cart goes a scoop, along with the ice cream.

Shoppers don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on items that aren’t on the list, and that’s what Ty Bennett, 1995 Washington State University alumnus and pioneer in the impulse buying business, counts on.

“We didn’t invent [impulse buying]. We just reinvented it,” says … » More …

Spring 2005

The Best of All Worlds

“Never judge a person by the way they are dressed,” says Erianne Pearson. “People are people. We treat them with respect.”

That philosophy has kept Pearson in business since 1983, when The Best of All Worlds, her upscale gift and decorative accessories store, opened. One of four original partners, she’s been the sole owner for nearly 13 years. The store is on the corner of Sixth and Union streets in the heart of Seattle’s busy retail business district.

“Eriann’s a bit of a pioneer . . . certainly a survivor by independent small-business-owner standards,” says friend and client Marcia Garrett of Washington State University West.

» More …

Summer 2009

Interesting times

We were having a long midweek dinner at Le Pichet in Seattle, a sort of anticipatory wake for the Seattle P-I, where my friend Tom had worked as a reporter for 20-some years. Tom’s pretty crusty and tends to brush even the most irksome things off with a joke.

But being a fifty-something journalist facing a post-newspaper era in a town awash in laid-off reporters, reality had started to sink in. Even so, referring to the demise of his employer and the economic times in general, at one point Tom gestured outside to First Avenue and said, “But this is no crisis. Somalia has a … » More …

Summer 2009

Ramping up in rural Washington

If you drive for 45 minutes up the back road from Goldendale toward Trout Lake in Klickitat County, you’ll pass through Glenwood, set in its scenic valley at the base of Mount Adams, where the pastures begin to give way to pine trees, some 35 miles north of the Columbia River.

If you pass through in June, you might catch the local rodeo, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year over Father’s Day. Maybe you’ll stop at The Shade Tree for gas, that being the name of the biggest business in town, a combination hotel/cafe/gas station/convenience store. There’s a post office and a small grocery, and … » More …

Summer 2009

Conexión rises to a burgeoning market

Where demographers see change, Lauri (Smith) Jordana ‘88 sees opportunity.

Jordana is the founder of Conexión Marketing in Seattle, which is dedicated to marketing companies to the rapidly growing Hispanic/Latino market.

When Jordana graduated from Washington State University in foreign language and literature, she immediately left for Spain, which she’d fallen in love with during her year abroad, intending to spend the rest of her life there. But her life plans were pre-empted when she got homesick and returned to Washington after a year.

Back home, with fluent Spanish, she embarked on a series of positions with various companies, helping them reach Hispanic consumers. She … » More …

Spring 2009

Jason Ambrose ’99 – Counting beans in Costa Rica

Jason Ambrose learned to drink coffee as a college freshman. “Then it was more about function than flavor,” he admits.

These days, Ambrose starts his morning with a French press. He heats milk for his son Jackson, who is not yet two, and water enough to make two big mugs of Ethiopian-grown coffee for himself and his wife Julie (Dertinger, ’94).

It’s a far cry from the cafeteria cups he first sampled back at WSU, he says.

Moving to Seattle after graduating from Washington State University in 1999, Ambrose couldn’t help but get caught up in the coffee culture. Today the 33-year-old Starbucks employee has … » More …

Winter 2008

Joey Nelson – What he saw

In the rough-hewn world at Columbia Vista Corp.’s lumber mill near Vancouver, the sight of Joseph “Joey” Nelson ’00 pushing spectacles into place might invoke visions of Clark Kent there among the conveyor belts and screeching saws.

But if the workers around him knew that it’s Nelson’s laser-scanning equipment–technology he started developing as a high school kid–enabling their mill to convert raw logs into perfect lumber within seconds, they’d recognize a technological Superman in their midst.
Nelson founded his company, JoeScan, from his dorm room in Washington State University’s Streit Hall in 1999, the year before earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

A … » More …