Frank A. Blethen, Publisher & CEO, The Seattle Times, “The Seattle Times and America’s News & Information Crisis — Time for a Local Bellevue Start‑Up?”
Frank Blethen is publisher of The Seattle Times/seattletimes.com, the second largest newspaper/website on the West Coast. The Times is known for its strong local coverage and its aggressive investigative reporting. The Times has won ten Pulitzer Prizes and has been a Pulitzer finalist 15 other times since 1990. The Times was most recently awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting.
The Seattle Times is one of America’s last independent and locally-owned newspapers. It is a values-based journalism/community service family business in its 120th year of Blethen family stewardship. Frank is a member of the fourth family generation. Currently, there are eight members of the family’s fourth and fifth generations active in the journalism company’s management and governance.
Michael Parks has been studying, writing about, and speaking about the economy and companies of the Pacific Northwest for more than 35 years.
Parks joined The Seattle Times in 1967 and became the newspaper’s financial editor in the early 1970s. He moved to Marple’s Letter in 1977 and was owner, editor, and publisher of Marple’s Letter from March 1980 to September 2009, when he was named editor emeritus. The newsletter ceased publication in March 2013.
A serial entrepreneur with a proven track record and skill set that spans game and real-time 3D engine design, software and business development, crowdfunding, virtual reality technology, and web and back-end services development, Bob Berry has been a leader in the software industry for over two decades. Having founded and managed various gaming and game service companies, including Uber Entertainment and PlayFab, Bob is now onto his 4th company, with Envelop VR.
James Henderson, Economic Development Director & Jesse Canedo, Economic Development Manager, City of Bellevue, “City of Bellevue Economic Development Overview & Update”
James Henderson joined the City of Bellevue as the Economic Development Director in January of 2015. He oversees and coordinates economic development programs focused on business attraction, business retention and expansion, and technology startups.
Previously, James served as the Assistant Director for Economic Development at the City of San Antonio, where he managed development programs focused on business attraction, business retention and expansion, and international trade and investment.
Jesse R. Canedo is a technology advocate and global citizen. He believes in the ability for an internet-enabled, connected society to make science fiction’s boldest ideas a reality. His current role as Bellevue’s Economic Development Manager allows him to support the innovative spirit and technology-focused business community on the Eastside in bringing those ideas to life.
His support helps existing Bellevue companies to expand, retool, or enter new markets and also attracts new companies into the region.
Sharon Purcell, Marketing & Brand Management, Concure Oncology, “New Breast Cancer Treatment: The One-Time, One-Hour Ticket Back to Life”
Sharon has had a 25-year career in sales, marketing, business development and operations, working for both Fortune 100 companies like GE, as well as for start-ups. She has held leadership roles across multiple industries, and has a strong track record of driving business transformation and growth in highly competitive markets. She has dedicated the past five years to consulting with healthcare start-ups, leading brand management, sales, marketing, and communications.
Sharon has built business models and initiatives from the ground up, and has breathed new life into failing or stalled initiatives that led to explosive growth. In her 15 years with GE, she was responsible for contributing in excess of $1 billion to the bottom line. In addition to her primary responsibilities, she was a founding member of the GE Women’s Network, a business organization that fosters professional women’s development to attract, advance and retain successful women throughout the company. As a leader in the Network for 10 years, she helped fuel its growth, expanding the organization to 50,000 members globally where female leaders generated $50 billion in revenue.
William McDermott, Anti-Terrorism Specialist, Consultant, Investor & Mentor, “Terrorism Today and You”
Paris. Brussels. San Bernardino. Orlando. Istanbul. If you’re like most people, the names of these cities evoke images of the kind of terror that is sadly becoming all too common in our world. Our speaker, Bill McDermott, will share his unique perspective on terrorism today and how it affects you and me.
Bill worked for the Department of Defense for 17 years in a variety of roles. With the US Department of the Army, he served as a military police anti-terrorist specialist in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as special operations, nuclear weapons operations, and other security roles.
Michelle Bradley, Executive Director & Co-Founder, EKARI Foundation, “EKARI Foundation’s Impact in Malawi, Africa”
In the summer of 2007, Michelle Bradley’s life was deeply impacted when she traveled to Malawi, Africa, for the first time. During this trip she met Father Joseph EKARI Makina, who impressed upon her his passion for education as a primary tool to break the cycle of extreme poverty among his fellow Malawians.
In May 2009 Joseph was in a serious car accident that left him in a coma. That same year Joseph’s brother, Elias Makina, and Michelle co-founded EKARI Foundation, in Joseph’s name, to carry on his vision. Michelle resigned from her architecture career in 2010 after more than 10 years, in order to pursue her true passion for international community development.
Brian D. Stading, President-West Region, CenturyLink, “Innovation in Telecom: Networks, Devices, Security”
As President of CenturyLink’s West Region, Brian Stading has ultimate responsibility for the operational and financial success of CenturyLink markets in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The West Region is one of four regions operated by CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the U.S.
An energetic and engaging speaker, Brian offers top-level insights into the telecommunications industry as he oversees data, voice, and managed services through CenturyLink’s advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers serving businesses and consumers throughout the region. Data services include high speed Internet broadband and video (including Prism TV). Voice covers IP, landlines, and long distance. Managed services include hosting and Cloud services.
Emory Thomas, Jr., has served as Publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal — one of the nation’s largest and most highly regarded city business publications — since July 2015. He was also Publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal from 2006 to 2011.
Under his guidance, PSBJ was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist and many times earned top commendations by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, as well as Sigma Delta Chi.
CDR Don Leingang is a Northwest native, raised in Tacoma, who graduated from Oregon State University in 1984, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He was commissioned an Ensign through the NROTC program in June 1984 and reported to Pensacola for flight school training in September. A helicopter pilot and former Commanding Officer of Navy Recruiting District Seattle, Leingang’s distinguished 24-year Naval career included leadership positions at the U.S. Naval Academy, Director of Air Warfare, Washington, D.C., and the Operations Officer at Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Mitch Friedman, Executive Director, Conservation Northwest, “The Amazing Recovery of Wolves & Other Carnivores in Washington”
Mitch Friedman is the Executive Director of Conservation Northwest, which he founded in 1988 after being an activist leader in efforts to save ancient forests. He was a founding board member of The Wildlands Network, Western Lands Alliance, and the Bellingham Bay Foundation, and is a widely recognized leader in nature conservation.
At Conservation Northwest, Mitch has led the effort to infuse landscape scale conservation biology into advocacy strategy. The success of this approach is evident in great gains protecting habitat connectivity between the North Cascades Ecosystem and wild areas to the south (Central Cascades, across the I-90 landscape), east (the Rockies), and northwest (BC Coast and Chilcotin Ranges), as well as recovery of native carnivores including wolves, fisher, lynx and wolverine.
William Smead, CEO/CIO, Smead Capital Management, “The Coming Housing Boom: What does it mean for U.S. Stocks & Bonds?”
William is the founder of Smead Capital Management, where he oversees all activities of the firm. As Chief Investment Officer, he is the final decision-maker for all investment and portfolio decisions, as well as reviewing the implementation of those decisions in the firm’s separate accounts and mutual funds.
William began his career in the investment business with Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1980. He left Drexel Burham Lambert in 1989 as First Vice President/Assistant Manager and joined Oppenheimer & Co., where he stayed until joining Smith Barney in 1990.
Author and Seattle native Steve Olson has written about some of the most interesting and important topics of our time, including genetics, race, human origins, evolution, climate change, education, talent, competition, and punk rock music. His latest book, “Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens,” focuses on the 57 people killed in the eruption and why they were so close to such a dangerous volcano, providing aspects of the eruption which have never before been written about.
King County Assessor John Wilson, elected in 2015, assumes office having earned the praise of people both inside and outside King County as one of the most innovative, forward thinking managers in local government.
Wilson served as Chief Deputy Assessor for four years, gaining a reputation for savvy development of mobile technology and public‑facing solutions that enhance customer service, while driving down costs. During his tenure, he rebuilt the department’s website, increasing traffic 10‑fold to nearly 4 million page views a month and led a team that developed a best‑in‑class mobile iPad application for field data collection that annually saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoided costs. He also spearheaded King County, launching an online property tax appeals platform that, after two years, is handling close to 60% of all appeals filed.
The Strideline story starts a long time before Strideline did. Riley Goodman and Jake Director were born in the same hospital, just a few hours apart, attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools, and studied at the University of Washington together. As early as they can remember, they dreamed of starting a company.
In the last two decades we have seen a dramatic increase in tech start-up activity and the allure of participating in the associated wealth generation. A lot of value has been created, and the role of tech start-ups in our world is becoming increasingly important. For investors and start-up entrepreneurs it is vital to understand the myths and realities of the tech start-up world. What worked in the past does not work anymore. Investment strategies, business models and success fundamentals are shifting rapidly.
Annette Clark, Dean and Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law, “Re-imagining Legal Education at Seattle University School of Law”
After receiving an M.D. with Honors from the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and her J.D. summa cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law, Dean Clark joined the School of Law faculty in 1989. In addition to her duties as a faculty member, she is a long-time administrator, having served for ten years as Associate Dean and then Vice Dean, overseeing the academic program, including the curriculum and centers and institutes, as well as the faculty. She was the Interim Dean at Seattle University School of Law from 2009‑2010, a Visiting Scholar at The George Washington University Law School for Fall 2010, and Dean and Professor of Law at the Saint Louis University School of Law from 2011‑12.
Jombi Kivuyo, sole proprietor of Tanzania Outdoor Adventures, was born in a small Maasai village in Tanzania. With his tribal initiation to manhood to become a Maasai warrior, he obtained extensive bush experience and expertise in animal behavior. After working as head safari guide with a large commercial company, he decided to offer clients a more personal African experience. He obtained the necessary education and training, and speaking four languages fluently, he began his own business.
Now, with 17 years of experience, he tailors private safaris to the interests, time, and budgets of his guests. Safari locales include all the parks in Tanzania, Zanzibar Island, with it’s rich history and beautiful beaches, and stunning Rwanda, to visit the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their own habitat.
Wilfred Moshi has teamed up with Jombi to offer a different and spectacular Tanzanian experience, through his own company Kili-Treks. A trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro, highest mountain in Africa, ranks among the greatest outdoor experiences available.
Wilfred is from the indigenous Chaga tribe and lives in Moshi, at the foot of Kilimanjaro, with his wife and two children. He has 18 years of experience leading groups to the top of the mountain on 5- to 10-day excursions. He has climbed the mountain more than 100 times and knows each route to the top. Porters handle the tents, food, and gear as the group makes a gradual ascent, camping along the way.
A fourth generation Puget Sound native, Kurt is an entrepreneur and investor with a track record for identifying and capitalizing on emerging business-to-business and consumer products trends. During his 16-year tenure with Print Northwest, Inc. (known as Quebecor Integrated Media), Kurt advanced through the organization, eventually becoming President/CEO. In this role, he led the repositioning of Print Northwest, Inc., from a regional commercial printer to a national software manufacturing and distribution company, resulting in significant growth from $2 million to $90 million in annual revenues.
In 1998, Kurt formed Sugar Mountain Capital LLC (SMC), managing portfolios in real estate, private equity, and public equity. Since its inception, he has held the role of SMC’s Chief Executive Officer, providing long-term strategic direction as well as management of its day-to-day operations.
Health care payment for service coverage and delivery has been a topic of deep debate and legislation in this country since the 1940’s. The latest iteration of federal policy in the form of the Affordable Care Act is an indication that access to health care for all people is now viewed as more of a right than a privilege, compared to the years just after WWII. How we pay for this “right,” both publicly and privately, and what value we expect for the national expenditure continues to be an issue of intense debate.