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Business

Mikal Thomsen
Summer 2012

Scoring position: A man buys his hometown team

In the 1970s, when Mikal Thomsen ’79 was a budding business student at WSU, he earned his tuition by compiling the stats for the football, basketball, and baseball teams. The job not only let him parlay an interest in numbers and sports into an entertaining occupation, it gave him free admission to all the games. With primo seats. During the football season, he had a bird’s-eye view from the press box. During baseball, he travelled with the team as the official scorer.

Thomsen liked being in the thick of things, following the minutiae of the games, getting a sense of the players. Today, as a … » More …

Rebecca Portnoy, Mike Morgan, Katie Witkiewitz eat lunch at WSU Vancouver
Summer 2012

The company that eats together

Rebecca Portnoy started thinking about shared meals and came across a memory of closing time in a particular restaurant.

“I had been at a Seattle sushi restaurant at the end of the night, and the leftover sushi was being moved to a communal table for a staff meal,” says Portnoy, an assistant professor of management at WSU Vancouver. “I had worked at restaurants and I was baffled and amazed that they were going to take the time at the end of their shift to eat together.”

When she worked as a waitress, Portnoy usually saw people take off right after their shifts. She wondered, what … » More …

Doug Forseth ’71
Spring 2012

Doug Forseth ’71—Snow business

Doug Forseth ’71 believes in “management by skiing around.”

He is kidding, kind of, playing on the concept of the popular business book Management by Walking Around. But the senior vice president of operations for the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is serious about the skiing.

“It is where our guests are,” he says from his office, which looks straight at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. Those runs, and the lifts, and the mountaintop restaurants are things he needs to see regularly. Whether it’s testing the powder on the Ridge Runner, soaring down Sunset Boulevard, or cruising his favorite run, the seven-kilometer Peak to Creek, … » More …

Indaba founders Bobby Enslow ’06, ’08 and Ben Doornink ’07
Spring 2012

Indaba Coffee

Spokane’s Indaba Coffee is not your typical café. With a Zulu name that loosely means a gathering of tribal leaders to discuss important matters, the spot just north of the Spokane River is a resource for locals. The business has bulletin boards on the ceiling and space shared with a small nonprofit bookstore. It serves residents of the affordable housing project just upstairs as well as the attorneys who work at the county courthouse down the street.

It’s the lively atmosphere founder and owner Bobby Enslow ’06, ’08 MBA is trying to brew up. “This is a place where successful people can gather and … » More …

Dunlap tugboat
Winter 2011

Jim Dunlap ’70—Tugs, tides, and time

Jim Dunlap ’70 says he learned the family business “from the mud up.”

Today one of several Dunlaps in the water transportation business runs a tugboat and freight company with ports in Everett and LaConner. But his first job working for his Uncle Gene’s towing business came in the 1960s when Jim was just a teen.

His task was to “dog” deadhead logs mired in the mud flats around Fidalgo Island. At low tide, young Jim would wade out and chain empty barrels to the logs. When the tide came in, the barrels would float to the surface and pull the logs loose. Then at … » More …

Illustration David Wheeler
Winter 2011

Collegiate Athletics in the 21st Century

“Just Win, Baby!” was the motto made famous by legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. His philosophy was that simple. Along the way the Raiders gained a reputation as one of the dirtiest, most penalized, but successful teams in professional football. Collegiate athletics seems to have adopted Davis’s philosophy as compliance and education are threatened by the very big business of college sports.

In Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America, I contend that the system of college athletics no longer works for the realities of the 21st century. There is simply too much media exposure and money at stake. For example, … » More …

Winter 2011

The lost and found flourmill

Steve Fulton grew up in the 1960s with his uncle Leonard’s flour milled with a process called Unifine. Fulton ate whole wheat bread baked by his mother Lee x’38 from the flour. His father Joseph x’39 promoted and delivered the flour all over the Northwest. But the Spokane area mill closed in 1986.

So in 2008 when Fulton started researching the family mill—built at Washington State University—he was surprised to learn that Oregon company Azure Standard was using the Unifine name for its flour.

He emailed Azure Standard’s president, David Stelzer. “David called my cell phone and said, ‘I know where your uncle’s mill is,’” … » More …

New and Noteworthy
Winter 2011

New & noteworthy

 

Standing above the Crowd
by James “Dukes” Donaldson ’79
Aviva Publishing, New York, 2011

Donaldson mines his experiences as a former Cougar basketball and NBA star, entrepreneur, mentor, and community leader not just to tell his own story, but to motivate readers in achieving success and confidence in their own endeavors. A profile of Donaldson appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of this magazine, and a web-only story in 2006.

 

Eliminate the Chaos at Work
by Laura Leist ’91
John Wiley and Sons , Hoboken, NJ, 2011

Noted organizational consultant Laura Leist offers proven techniques to tame … » More …

Fall 2011

Darnell Sue ’02—A girl and her power

This thing called Girl Power is at work well before the scheduled hour of 6 p.m. A peek into Bellevue’s Pure Barre gym one evening in May offers a view of more than a half dozen women in dresses and high heels setting up tables, filling swag bags, and arranging food and cocktails for a crowd. In the middle of the whirl is Darnell Sue ’02 in a dress of black and hot pink, her signature colors, her hair twisted into a chignon, a notepad under her arm.

This is the set up for Girl Power Hour, a “stylish networking event” held the third Thursday … » More …

Fall 2011

The Docks

docks

Bill Sharpsteen ’80
University of California Press, 2011

In my sailing days on Puget Sound, I got used to watching for the fast-moving container ships that could overtake my little boat in a matter of minutes. One day, I found their schedules on the Internet and saw the outline of a huge, economically powerful engine tying together goods from around the world.

In The Docks, Bill Sharpsteen ’80 shows us this world by peering … » More …