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Entrepreneurs

SafeShot device
Summer 2017

Healthy innovators

A safe and sterile needle seems to be a basic idea when preventing infections. But how that needle is sterilized, especially in places where reuse is a common practice, spurred a good idea for a pair of Washington State University student entrepreneurs.

Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein came up with the idea of SafeShot, a lid that sterilizes a needle each time it enters the vial of medicine, as part of an entrepreneurship class. The two students started a company, won a health business contest last spring, and headed to Tanzania early this year to research how their product could be used in a real … » More …

Faster drop for a new crop
Spring 2017

Faster drop for a new crop

Water and time are money if you’re a farmer. Trees are especially slow, and to get a new apple variety growing at a commercial scale can take years. It not only takes a couple of years after planting for fruit production to start, but it’s a long time just getting trees to plant.

The number of trees needed to plant a commercial-scale orchard is daunting. Even a small orchard of 100 acres needs nearly a quarter million trees to get going. And while it might take only a couple years to “raise a few rootstocks, thousands can take many years,” Washington State University apple breeder … » More …

Fall 2016

Upside down on the mountain

On a sunny Saturday in Leavenworth, Holly Fiske ’06 and Leah Hemberry set out to work on the mountain.

They dig through the back of Fiske’s SUV and pull out a backpack and yoga trapeze from under a paddleboard, snowboard, and other outdoor accessories. They hike up Icicle Ridge trail and, after a few switchbacks, Hemberry spots a picturesque backdrop.

Fiske drops her bag and sticks a handstand into one of the many yoga poses in her repertoire. Hemberry captures the moment with photos that Fiske will share with her more than 100,000 Instagram followers.

When Fiske née Robertson graduated from Washington State University … » 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 …

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 …

Summer 2011

Kristine (McClary) Vannoy ’87—The facts of fudge

“I’m easy to spot. I’m six-foot-two,” says Kristine (McClary) Vannoy, as we plan our meeting at an upscale grocery in Seattle. But when she appears, it’s not her height that’s eye-catching, or even her long red hair. It’s the packages of freshly-made fudge that fill her hands.

Vannoy (’87 Comm.) is the founder, owner, and main employee of Fat Cat Fudge, a company that makes three different varieties of fudge sold in 20 grocery stores in the Puget Sound area.

“It’s a fresh fudge,” she says. “It’s not meant to sit on a shelf for six months in a candy aisle. That’s why I … » More …

Spring 2011

Learn and use

Most days, Bryan Saftler ’08 looked much like any other student, shuttling between classes in Todd Hall, taking notes, water bottle close at hand. But away from campus, the outgoing Seattle native was a budding businessman, supplying his Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and the rest of the WSU Greek system with custom apparel, everything from triple-thread-count lettered sweatshirts to weekly date dash tee-shirts. His company, Free Inke, set up operations in the basement of Saftler’s house on Campus Street; he and his partners worked before class, after class, and in-between to fill the ever-growing number of orders.

Despite his local success, Saftler knew he had … » More …

Spring 2011

Digging the new EcoWell

Students and faculty develop a mighty thirst after working out at WSU’s Student Recreation Center, and now they have a new, healthy, and environmentally friendly option to quench it.

The EcoWell vending machine’s slick iPhone-like touchscreen lets users choose their water (purified, carbonated, or hot), add any percentage and mix of juices, and include energy supplements if desired. But thirsty patrons better have their own bottles. An EcoWell machine only dispenses drinks, not disposable containers.

EcoWell grew from the minds and efforts of Reid Schilperoort ’10, Brian Boler ’09, and Andy Whitaker ’09, now at MIT graduate school, when they were students in the … » More …

Summer 2003

Adjusting to life during college and after

By the time he graduated from Washington State University, Terry Arndt (’93 Horticulture) had accumulated $20,000 in student loans, $5,000 in credit card bills, and car payments.

Fortunately, he found a job right away, and a financial advisor. She suggested he pay off his high-interest credit cards first. Then he began making extra payments on his student loans, some with a 10-year payback period. There were other budget considerations. Health insurance premiums. Income tax. A vacation. A year after marrying Melissa Segars (’94 Music), he enrolled in the University of Florida’s M.B.A. program. More expenses.

Adjusting to life after college was not the smooth transition … » More …