2012: A year of business in Southwest Washington

The Source Climbing Center co-owner Michael Lary (middle)


Last year, four local businesses received Business Growth Awards (BGA) during the Vancouver Business Journal’s annual event, held in April at Pearson Air Museum. The awards, which recognized growth in 2011, were given in the following categories: Startup of the Year; Fastest Growing 1-5 Years; Fastest Growing 5-10 Years; Fastest Growing 10+ Years.


The Source Climbing Center co-owner Michael Lary (middle)THE SOURCE CLIMBING CENTER

Opened in November 2011 on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, The Source Climbing Center took home this year’s Business Growth Award for Startup of the Year.

Gym owners Michael Lary and Hanz Kroesen invested $1.6 million in the project, creating a facility that anticipated what their customers would want, and then over-delivered. On any given day, the gym is full of friends, individuals, couples and families who are looking for active recreation close
to home.

“When people don’t want to spend their money driving to the mountain to ski or driving to Sun River, a climbing gym becomes a good option for adventure,” said Lary.

Lary and Kroesen built The Source from the ground up, creating 4,973 square feet of bouldering and roped climbing areas, restrooms, a lobby and mezzanine. A state-of-the-art HVAC system pre-filters climbers’ chalk dust from the air and gives the Source the best air and light quality in the area, according to Lary.

One of the reasons Source has been so successful, according to the owners, is their friendly, helpful staff. Lary and Kroesen make it very clear to all employees that the business’s mission is “to provide a better climbing experience every day.”

Pacific Energy Concepts President Keith Scott (middle) with Melanie Harold, support services (left) and Tommy Allen, sales engineer (right). PACIFIC ENERGY CONCEPTS

Receiving the BGA for Fastest Growing Business 1-5 Years was one of many accomplishments for Pacific Energy Concepts in 2012.

The Vancouver-based energy conservation consulting business enjoyed steady growth in 2012 – a reflection of the company’s innovative approach to energy consulting, according to company President Keith Scott.

“It used to be, by the time the customer purchases something, they’re number four in the channel. We’ve gone out and found the best of the best manufacturers. We custom design a project, sell it direct, facilitate the customer bidding out the project, and ensure they get the best cost all the way through.” explained Scott.

Using this model, Pacific Energy Concepts helped other companies in the Pacific Northwest region maximize their energy use and efficiency while also finding ways to reduce their utility consumption and costs.

“We educate our clients about what products they’re currently using, what efficiencies are possible and the products that are available, and also what incentives there are for using them,” said Scott.

Since Pacific Energy Concepts was founded in July 2009, revenue and profits have increased notably each year. The company used some of those profits in early 2012 to invest in project management software and training, to help “increase our scalability as we grow,” according to Scott.

 Ryan Moor (far right) with a group of Ryonet staff during April’s Business Growth Awards ceremony.RYONET

Ryonet, the nation’s largest supplier of screen printing supplies, equipment and training, was awarded a BGA earlier this year in the category of Fastest Growing Business 6-10 years.

In nearly eight years of business, the Vancouver-based company has served tens of thousands of customers worldwide, teaching them to screen print and selling them top quality supplies to do so. They have seeded thousands of business throughout the U.S. and Europe, many of which are still thriving today.

Earlier this year, the company expanded to a 40,000-square-foot facility at 12303 NE 56th Street. The building contains offices, classrooms, warehouse and manufacturing space.

“Where we came from, where we are, and where we are going has and will continue to be led by these concepts: find, build, and serve,” said Ryonet CEO Ryan Moor, a Class of 2000 Battle Ground Columbia Academy graduate. “Find an idea, a need, a market, a product, a customer. Build a dream, a press, a website, a team, a company [and] customer relationships. Serve the team, the customer it serves, the community it’s in.

“Along the road the need may change,” he added, “but we will continue to build our team and company to service and, as a result, go anywhere it takes us.”


Taking home the BGA for Fastest Growing Business 10+ Years was Holland Partners Group, covering the spectrum of property development from land preparation to property management.

Headquartered at 1111 Main Street in Vancouver, Holland Partners has become a major player in the post-recession real estate world. The company’s residential division is now in the midst of investing $1 billion in housing throughout the Western U.S.

As owner Clyde Holland explained it, the company’s ability to lean on trusted relationships proved vital to growth during uncertain times.

“Through relationships I’ve had over the last 20 years with institutions, we financed eight projects, seven developments, seven joint ventures and one presale [in 2011],” said Holland, shortly before receiving a Business Growth Award. “We partnered with a lot of really good people and we were essentially able to re-assemble the band [post-recession].”

While investing in property development has been good for business, Holland Partners also takes pride in being good to the environment. The company’s green living commitments include: onsite recycling stations, onsite compost receptacle, recycling containers or reusable bags provided to the residents, installation of bio-bags in pet stations, Energy Star compliant office equipment and appliances, utilization of fluorescent bulbs and more.

top projects

Growing businesses weren’t the only thing changing the business environment in Southwest Washington in 2012. A number of construction projects began or came to fruition during the year. Here are a few that were recognized in the Vancouver Business Journal’s annual Top Projects Magazine:

 Farwest Steel’s new Port of Vancouver facilityFARWEST STEEL

This $40 million, recently finished project on 20 acres of Port of Vancouver land allowed Farwest Steel to consolidate some of its operations in the Portland metropolitan area into a single, 331,000-square-foot facility.

As one of the leading distributors, processors and fabricators of specialty steel products in the Northwest, Farwest wanted to bring its services to customers more efficiently. According to the company, the Port of Vancouver site is allowing them to do just that.

“We believe the Northwest will continue to grow and add infrastructure to steel and steel products,” said John Worstell, Farwest’s vice president of operations. “If we take care of our customers as we have for the last 56 years – and this facility will allow us to do that in a more efficient and timely manner – we will continue to participate in that growth.”

In July, Worstell estimated the new facility would bring 225 jobs to Clark County over the next two years. Those jobs pay, on average, about $40,000 a year with benefits, he said. The project also employed about 500 construction workers.

 Southwest Washington’s first standalone synagogueCONGREGATION KOL AMI SYNAGOGUE

Finished in the late summer of 2012, Congregation Kol Ami is the first stand alone synagogue built in Southwest Washington.

Located at 1006 Northeast 146th Street in Vancouver, this new home for the 125-family congregation includes a sanctuary, social hall, kitchen, library, education wing and offices. With a construction cost of $5 million, the facility is poised to add significant numbers of additional families as it serves the local Jewish community.

Richard Brown Architects designed the sanctuary and offices to frame views across the neighboring wetlands to distant mountains. Exterior materials included ground faced block and wood, pervious paving and stainless steel. Interior materials included wood, cork and polished concrete floors.


Stage 4 of the Salmon Creek Interchange ProjectSALMON CREEK INTERCHANGE

At $133 million, the Salmon Creek Interchange is perhaps the year’s most significant public project. The multi-stage operation aims to reduce congestion and improve safety in the rapidly growing Salmon Creek community.

For the past year and a half, WSDOT and prime contractor Rotschy Inc. of Yacolt have worked to widen the I-5 corridor, add a lane to the I-205 exit ramp to Northeast 134th Street and install sound walls on both sides of the interstate.

The final stage of the project, which is currently underway, involves the construction of a new overpass and interchange at NE 139th Street. This $43 million phase will ease access to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center – something that business owners on the west side of I-5 are already looking forward to.


Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High SchoolHENRIETTA LACKS HEALTH & BIOSCIENCE HIGH SCHOOL

At three stories high, tucked away in a residential neighborhood and glistening with glass, Evergreen School District’s new Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School (HeLa High) is nearing completion on the southwest corner of NE 92nd Avenue and NE 9th Street near PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Though the facility took shape in 2012, this 69,000-square-foot magnet high school is well-positioned to impact the local business community for many years to come.

Opening next year, HeLa High will give students hands-on experience for careers in bioscience and healthcare. The school’s 26 classrooms will eventually accommodate a total of 500 students.

Local general contractor Skanska USA broke ground on the project in October 2011.

“It’s really exciting,” said Sue Steinbrenner, director of facilities for Evergreen School District. “I like the openness of the design, with lots of glass, and Skanska has been fabulous to work with.”

The school features fully-operational nursing stations, lab benches, vacuum hoods and exposed concrete floors with in-floor heat. The project also meets the standards for Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol, which is similar to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

John Deeder, Evergreen School District superintendent, said HeLa High has been a decade in the making, starting with a state grant ten years ago to determine what careers had worker shortages.

“The health and medical profession will continue to get bigger as our population ages,” said Deeder. ”We see HeLa High as a natural way for our kids to get a head start if they have an interest in those areas.”

Steinbrenner said Evergreen School District partnered with local industry and higher education players, including PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, Legacy, Clark College and Washington State University Vancouver, to “figure out what programs we need to provide to better serve the community.”


AU40 Class of 2012Our look back at the year in business would not be complete without recognizing a group of working professionals that have helped Southwest Washington grow.

In November, the Vancouver Business Journal named 22 individuals as members of the 2012 Class of Accomplished & Under 40:

Rebecca Barnett,Rebound Orthopedics and Neurosurgery

David Cole, Partners in Careers

Adrian Cortes, Setroc RE Servicing and Holdings LLC

Scott Cozza, At Your Place Senior Care

Mike Dalesandro, Columbia River Logistics

Allen Gabriel, PeaceHealth

Amit Gosalia, Audiology Clinic Inc.

Patrick Ginn, Patrick Ginn Real Estate

Ginny Gronwoldt, Umpqua Bank

Dawn Johnston, PeaceHealth

Jennifer Kampsula, Fort Vancouver National Trust

Bonnie Moore, CREDC and SWWDC

Derek Nesland, Courts For Kids

Kami Olszewski, Infinity Internet Inc.

Colleen Peterson, Clark Public Utilities

Brandon Posey, Pacific Continental Bank

Deanna L Rusch, Stahancyk Kent and Hook PC

Ara Serjoie, Clark College Foundation

Scott Sneer, Alpha Ecological Pest Control

Brinda Thimmappa, PeaceHealth

Megan Vaughn, Second Step Housing

Casey Wyckoff, LSW Architects

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