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.
Olwen Morgan retired from Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Redmond facility on February 18, 2016. She has been at the rocket factory for 37 years, initially as a Development Engineer at Rocket Research Co., and more recently as a Business Development Manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
She started work after Voyagers 1 and 2 spacecraft launched, but worked some of the support tasks, such as testing the thrusters on the ground when the camera was temporarily stuck on Voyager 2, just prior to the Uranus fly-by, and Magellan, which included refurbishment of spare Voyager hardware for the mission to Venus.
Steve Mylett, Bellevue Police Chief, “Building a Modern Bellevue Police Department for the 21st Century”
Chief Steve Mylett was sworn in as Bellevue’s Chief of Police in April 2015, after an extensive national search. Chief Mylett joined the Bellevue Police Department from Texas, where he led the Southlake Police Department from 2011 until early 2015, following 23 years with the Corpus Christi Police Department. During Chief Mylett’s tenure at Southlake, property crimes decreased by 30 percent.
Doug MacDonald served from 2001 to 2007 as Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), leading the delivery of billions of dollars of transportation projects and also building national recognition for WSDOT in environmental stewardship, habitat conservation, and preservation, as well as infrastructure facility construction, operation, and maintenance.
Brendan Benzing, Co-Founder & CEO, MyNeighbor, “The Sharing Economy: What is it? And What Will It Become?”
Brendan Benzing is Co-Founder and CEO of MyNeighbor, a Seattle-based start-up facilitating the borrowing and lending of goods and the accessing of services between neighbors. As an early adopter of the collaborative or sharing economy, Brendan embraced ventures like AirBnB, Lyft, and RelayRides in the early days. He started MyNeighbor because he felt the time was right for a dedicated platform to help neighbors borrow and lend — a concept as old as mankind.
Stuart Vander Hoek is President of Vander Hoek Corporation, an independent family-owned real estate development and property management company specializing in retail, office, and multifamily properties, located in the heart of Old Bellevue. Now in its fourth generation, the Vander Hoek family is recognized for its stewardship to promote a thriving business environment in Bellevue and throughout the Eastside.
Vander Hoek Corporation currently owns and manages more than 30,000 square feet of commercial space in Old Bellevue—the city’s oldest shopping district renowned for its eclectic collection of independent shops, boutiques and restaurants.
Susannah Frame, KING 5 Chief Investigative Reporter, “How Investigative Journalism Impacts the Northwest”
Susannah Frame is the Chief Investigative Reporter at KING 5. Her stories have exposed many wrongs, including cases of government waste, real estate fraud, homeland security breaches and the mismanagement of nuclear waste. Frame’s investigations have led to changes in public policy, congressional investigations, federal indictments and created new state laws.
Bryan Mistele is the co-founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of INRIX, a leading provider of real-time traffic information, connected car services, and analytics worldwide. INRIX is at the forefront of connecting cars to smarter cities and serves more than 450 blue-chip customers in more than 40 countries around the world. The company leverages big data analytics to reduce the individual, economic and environmental toll of traffic congestion.
Amber Busch, CPA, Clark Nuber, “Keeping This Year From Being Too Taxing: What You Need to Know About Your 2015 Tax Return”
As a principal in the Clark Nuber’s tax practice, Amber uses her extensive experience to manage and solve a wide range of tax compliance and consulting issues for privately owned mid-market clients, focused on the healthcare, senior living, real estate, and hospitality industries. Prior to joining Clark Nuber, Amber spent time at a Big Four accounting firm, a large regional firm, and most recently was with Clothier & Head in Seattle.