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Business

Winter 2016

Call it the Urban Extension

The massive Oso landslide killed 43 people, caused extensive flooding, and destroyed a key highway north of Everett in 2014, pushing the communities of Arlington and Darrington to their breaking point.

For months, grieving residents and community leaders remained so immersed in the search and recovery demands that nearly everything else had to be put on hold. That’s why, when they were invited to participate in a national competition that could funnel up to $3 million or more toward desperately needed economic revitalization efforts, Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert was practically on the verge of tears, again.

“It was this rare opportunity but we had no … » More …

Pan roasted duck breast. Photo E.J. Armstrong
Winter 2015

Duck

Rediscovering a worldwide favorite

In a small northeast Washington field, a flock of 34 Ancona ducks—a white breed with distinct, mottled feathers—quack sociably as they waddle around Rebecca Cahill Kemmer’s farm. Sometimes they drop eggs while they follow their guardian geese and gobble up old apples and remnants of summer squash.

Cahill Kemmer and her husband Eric Kemmer started their Pend Oreille County farm, in Fertile Valley just north of Spokane County, in 2013, with education and assistance from WSU Extension’s small farms team. When they chose livestock, ducks were a natural choice.

“They’re very hardy,” says Cahill Kemmer. “Last winter, they liked to sit … » More …

Ed Schweitzer
Spring 2015

Schweitzer receives alumni award

Edmund O. Schweitzer III ’77 PhD received the university’s highest alumni honor, the 2014 Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, in a ceremony last November. He earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from WSU, where he also served as a faculty member. In 1982, Schweitzer founded Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to research and manufacture digital relays and other products to protect electric power systems. He is a fellow of the IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds 100 patents and the company he founded has been recognized as a global leader in improving the stability and safety of electrical grids.

Seely mint
Winter 2014

Mike Seely ’84, ’09—A passion for peppermint

During the August harvest, the smell of peppermint freshens the air over Clatskanie, Oregon, where third-generation farmer Mike Seely ’84, ’09 MBA is finding sweet success in a crop that once nearly bankrupted him.

“We’ve been raising mint forever,” says Seely, who paid his WSU tuition farming the fast-growing perennial. He first farmed near Vancouver before buying his home farm along the lower Columbia River where the moderate climate and rich soils are ideal for growing the flavorful crop. He earned his first degree in electrical engineering, but unlike his siblings he never strayed far from farming.

This year, the Seely’s peppermint patties and … » More …

Allison Helfen
Summer 2014

Allison Helfen ’89—A crush on local wine

While sweet Riesling and Merlot were once the foundation of Washington’s wine, you can tell, just by cruising the wood racks of The Wine Alley shop in Renton, that this is a whole new scene.

Our state’s offerings were already intriguing when Allison Helfen ’89 and her husband Scott started the shop nine years ago. “When we first opened, the hot thing was viognier. And Syrahs were everywhere,” says Allison Helfen. Today the shelves are even more diverse. “They have to be. People get bored,” she says. That’s why her stock has shifted to include inky Malbecs, sprightly Sangioveses, and rich Barberas.

The Helfens’ shop … » More …

Tom Norwalk
Summer 2014

Tom Norwalk ’75—Visit Seattle

Tom Norwalk’s office sits high above the Washington Convention Center and looks directly across the street to the guest rooms of the Seattle Sheraton. From another angle, Norwalk can see the two round towers of the Westin and the classic red brick Roosevelt then, just a bit to the left, the Hyatt. For the president and CEO of the city’s private nonprofit visitor marketing association, seeing those rooms in use every day is a good reminder of his job. Visit Seattle, supported by the convention center, hotel room surcharges, the mayor’s office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and a number of other sources, draws new … » More …

Legal Guide to Social Media cover
Summer 2014

Legal Guide to Social Media: Rights and Risks for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Legal Guide to Social Media cover

Kimberly A. Houser
Allworth Press, 2013

Millions of photos, links, and comments are posted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter every day, yet the legal briar patch of copyright, privacy, defamation, and more can snag both personal and business users. Houser, an attorney and clinical professor in Washington State University’s College of Business, wrote this book as a guide to some common legal risks of social media.

» More …

Nancy Gillett
Spring 2014

Nancy Gillett ’78—The business of science

When pathologist and researcher Nancy Gillett ’78 decided to leave Genentech, a major medical biotechnology firm, for a small contract research company, her colleagues called it professional suicide. But Gillett had made life-altering career decisions before, moving from being a practicing veterinarian to a research scientist and then to a top-level business executive overseeing 5,000 people at 13 sites around the world.

Gillett’s significant success as a researcher and executive has led to accolades, including the 2013 Regents’ Distinguished Alumna Award from Washington State University. Her path to the University’s highest honor started as the young student from Las Vegas, Nevada, came to WSU to … » More …