2017 – A year of business in Southwest Washington

Year in Review lead

Take a look back at the year’s growing businesses, largest projects and accomplished professionals

Looking back over the past 12 months of 2017 in Southwest Washington, one will see a year of strong housing sales in a definite seller’s market, an abundance of economic development and construction projects, and a continued influx of new businesses in the area. In this special edition of the Vancouver Business Journal, we’ll take a look back at some of the year’s most successful growing businesses, notable projects and accomplished business professionals.

Business Growth Awards

Each year, hundreds of business professionals from around the Southwest Washington region join the Vancouver Business Journal in celebration of the area’s growing companies during our annual Business Growth Awards presented by Riverview Community Bank. The awards recognized growth in 2016 and included recognition of start-ups, innovators and growing businesses in Southwest Washington.

The awards were presented during a reception and showcase held on April 19, 2017, at the Heathman Lodge. Award recipients, and the categories they were recognized in, included the following companies:


Start-up of the Year

Amazingly enough, 76 percent of the 1.3 million business meetings and conferences held throughout the world do not use event technology – that represents a $4 billion market growing at 11.3 percent each year. This is a large and growing market that until now has lacked innovation – USA Today ranked meeting planner as the 5th most stressful job in 2016. Recognizing this situation as an opportunity, Allie Magyar founded Hubb in December 2015. The company’s success is predicated on the “power of connected content for meetings and conferences.”

Hubb offers a one-stop shop for meeting planners, including abstract grading, speaker management, session management, calls for content, sponsor management, task management and analytics, delivered through a web portal, mobile app and digital signage. Hubb allows all the stakeholders involved with planning an event to use a single intuitive system to deliver content to attendees.

The company markets Hubb to corporate meeting managers, association conference planners, third-party event agencies and tradeshow producers, and currently employs 31 people.

Finalists in this category: Plum Geek Robotics; Popcorn Cove

Business Growth Awards

Fastest Growing
Company 1-5 Years (TIE)

Riverside Payments


From five employees in a home office in 2014, Riverside Payments, a merchant service provider, has expanded to a full-time staff of 75 and also employs 125 independent contractors spanning 45 states. The company’s headquarters moved to a 3,500-square-foot office in Cascade Station (Portland) in early 2015, and then added an additional 4,000 square feet of corporate office space in Vancouver’s Park Plaza Towers before the end of that year. Additionally, the firm has corporate offices in Seattle, Ohio, and Texas, with plans to expand in the coming year; Riverside expects to double its staff and independent contractor numbers as the company’s client base continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.

Since its founding, the company has enjoyed a growth rate of 1,470 percent. Brandon Skinner, owner, credits the firm’s success to his company’s goal of “becoming the world’s best merchant service provider,” and keeping that goal at the forefront of every thought and action.

To maintain the company’s growth, Skinner intends to continue setting lofty goals at every stage, working harder than anyone in the business to exceed those goals, and providing his staff and sales reps with all the tools they need to succeed.

Finalists in this category: Reid Business Systems


CEO Henry Schuck
CEO Henry Schuck


DiscoverOrg has been a pioneer in the sales and marketing intelligence software space since 2007. Designed to reduce the time-to-direct-connection with targeted prospects, the firm’s platform provides sales, marketing and staffing professionals with both the contacts and context needed to sell and market more effectively. From startups marketing IT reliability software to enterprise market research organizations and cloud-based collaboration providers, DiscoverOrg helps companies across all verticals and stages fill their pipelines and improve their bottom lines. The company guarantees in writing that at least 95 percent of DiscoverOrg’s data is accurate.

In the last five years, DiscoverOrg’s sales have grown nearly 400 percent. The company was on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list in 2015, and has been on the INC 5000 list for sixth consecutive years. The firm’s staff has increased fivefold over the last five years, and growing from 114 employees in 2014 to 316 today (175 percent increase) caused the company to expand their Vancouver office in 2016; they also have offices in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The firm’s client base is growing steadily, garnering nearly 300 new clients each year from 2012 to 2015, and 600 new clients in 2016 – this growth has attracted significant external investment, most recently from Goldman Sachs.

Finalists in this category: Empire Hospitality; Executech Lease Group; Paul Davis Restoration


Jerry and Mary Sauer
Jerry and Mary Sauer


Jerry and Mary Sauer have owned Excavator Rental Services (ERS), which offers service, sales and rental of heavy and construction equipment, since 2005; the last few years have seen the company take off in a whirlwind of expansion.

By 2014, the company had sprawled into three locations, so they consolidated operations into new digs at the 64,000-square-foot Tidland Corporate Center in Camas. About six months later, ERS bought out Your Rental Center (a general contractor, homeowner, and event rental company in Hood River) and then opened Your Party & Event Center in Camas in December 2015.

The diversification into dishware, tables, chairs, linens, dance floors, casino games, audio/visual equipment, tents and lighting, as well as offering assistance with planning events, has created a new revenue stream for the company. In 2016, ERS opened its third store, located in Wilsonville. The branch offers contractor tools and supplies, heavy equipment rentals and a full-service department equipped with field service trucks. 2016 also marked the purchase of Abacus Event Rental.

Combined revenue from all locations increased 28 percent from 2014 to 2015, and another 33 percent from 2015 to 2016. Starting with 25 employees in 2014, the firm now employs 60 full-time staff.

On Line Support
On Line Support


Founded in 1998, On Line Support provides IT support such as technical helpdesk support, networking, security, computer support and technology consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses. Eric Olmsted, president and founder, said that the 24/7/365 monitoring they provide takes care of issues before they become a problem and reduces on-site visits by 90 percent.

Proactive IT support and avoiding costly on-site visits saves On Line Support’s customers money – something that they appreciate, as evidenced by the firm being voted Best in Business in the IT Service Provider category for the second consecutive year.

The company has been growing steadily; in December 2015, they employed eight full-time and two part-time staff. By the end of 2016, full-time positions had grown to 15. Also, net income jumped 66 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Finalists in this category: McCord’s Vancouver Toyota; NetRush; Opsahl Dawson

Business Growth Awards


Spirit Rover
Plum Geek’s Spirit Rover


From R2-D2 and C-3PO to the Terminator, we seem to be fascinated with robots. Kevin King has taken that fascination and turned it into a thriving business. King and his two children started Plum Geek in 2015 sort of by accident – they decided to build a small programmable robot they named “Ringo,” then decided to commercialize the project. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $80,000 in three weeks, they launched Ringo into the school system, where the robot teaches students how to write code.

Ringo has been followed by several other robots (and more Kickstarter campaigns), such as “Wink” and a line of miniature robots called “Spirit Rovers.” King said his goal is to design tools that help others understand electronics and programming and enable them to apply this knowledge to their own projects and further higher learning.

In their 2,000-square-foot shop near Pearson Airfield, Plum Geek’s three employees handle everything from design and prototyping to manufacturing and shipping. King said the company has some new ideas to explore this summer, and will be “right in the middle” of the continuously changing technology industry.

“I see a lot of growth for small businesses like ours going forward. It’s an exciting time,” said King.

Finalists in this category: Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt; United Home Technologies

Top Projects

On July 26, the Southwest Washington business community joined the Vancouver Business Journal in celebrating the accomplishments of area contractors, architects, engineers and other building industry professionals during the 2017 Top Projects & Building Excellence Awards, held at Columbia Precast Products in Woodland. The area’s top projects – commercial, residential, multifamily and public works – were then highlighted in the July 28 special print edition of the VBJ.

Here are the top three projects (ranked by construction cost) in each category:


The Waterfront – Vancouver, USA is a 20-block, 32-acre development adjoining downtown Vancouver, Wash., and situated on a half-mile of Columbia River Waterfront. Block 6 is situated in the middle of the development – front and center to the new Waterfront Park and Grant Street Pier. Block 6, will lead the way with bold and visionary design. There will be two buildings on Block 6: Block 6 Office, a seven-story 70,000-square-foot office building, will complement a six-story 63-apartment home residential structure. The street level of both buildings will showcase the Shops at Waterfront Way. Signed tenants include Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, MidiCi, The Neapolitan Pizza Company and Murdock Charitable Trust Foundation.

General Contractor: Robertson & Olson Construction
Project Owner: Gramor


The Waterfront – Vancouver, USA is a 20-block, 32-acre development adjoining downtown Vancouver, Wash., and situated on a half-mile of Columbia River Waterfront. Grant Street Pier Restaurants (Blocks 9 & 12) is a planned restaurant complex consisting of two two-story buildings with space to house up to six restaurants overlooking a 90-foot cable stay pier on the Columbia River. Block 9 is intended to evoke a modern pavilion feel, with extensive glass and an iconic soaring roof. It will offer over 15,000 square feet of space on two floors. WildFin American Grill is a signed tenant. Block 12 is designed for up to four full service restaurants and features more than 28,000 square feet on two floors. Simple horizontal roof lines with sliding doors and an expansive second floor waterfront view deck offers abundant outdoor. Tenants include Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar and Ghost Runners Brewery.

General Contractor: Robertson & Olson Construction
Project Owner: Gramor

Top Projects


Columbia Precast Products manufactures concrete products for drainage, sewer, water and utility systems. This facility totals more than 60,000 square feet of space. It is the first precast concrete facility in the United States to have received SMaRT (Sustainable Materials Rating Technology) certification through the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability. In addition, CPP has received the highest level, Platinum, of any buried infrastructure product in the United States.

General Contractor: RSV Building Solutions
Project Owner: Columbia Precast Products LLC


The Highland Crossing Apartment project is located in the greater Brush Prairie neighborhood area of Clark County. Highland Crossing Apartments is a multifamily apartment development with 30 apartment buildings totaling 332 units.

General Contractor: Highland Crossing LLC
Project Owner: Highland Crossing LLC


This project, situated at the intersection of Main Street and McLoughlin Boulevard at the south end of Uptown Vancouver, is a six-story, 167-unit apartment complex with one level of retail and one level of underground parking. This project will add 174,500 square feet of housing and 7,900 square feet of retail to Vancouver’s west side.

General Contractor: Robertson & Olson Construction
Project Owner: The Uptown Living LLC


The project is located in downtown Washougal, close both to shopping and the Columbia River Gorge. At completion, there will be thirteen buildings, with 97 residences, each having its own garage. New street frontage, sidewalk and associated site improvements are also being installed. The three-story buildings will feature amenities such as rear decks with a view, quartz countertops, oak cabinets, upgraded floor coverings, air conditioning and built-in microwaves. In addition, there are exercise and open courtyard amenities.

General Contractor: Jackson Contracting LLC
Project Owner: Main Street Village LLC

CONSTRUCTION COST: $14,615,394.99

The WVFA Grain Track Unit Train Improvements Phase B project is the final expansion of the Port of Vancouver’s rail corridor by demolishing existing structures, removing multiple short yard tracks and constructing three full unit train length track approximately 22,000 feet in their place. Additionally, a dedicated south lead track will be constructed to connect Terminal 5 to the Port rail access point. It is expected to be completed in early 2018.

General Contractor: Rotschy Inc.
Project Owner: Port of Vancouver

Top Projects


Two dry-bulk commodities with distinct handling characteristics are accommodated by completion of this project. A unique combination of industrial building-, civil-, and rail-construction was used. Rotschy Inc. pulled together a multidisciplinary team to facilitate delivery of the project on time and on budget. Key project elements included shored excavation depths exceeding 25 feet, 40,000+ cubic yards of excavation, over 1,000 feet of 24-inch bored casings and interior-welded 12-inch pipeline, 6,000 of HMA asphalt, 10,000 track feet, including dedicated rail yard and 12 rail turnouts.

General Contractor: Rotschy Inc.
Project Owner: Port of Vancouver USA

CONSTRUCTION COST: $12,318,980.49

Work involved in this project includes the removal of existing in-water piling, dolphins, trestle and gangway, and the installation of in-water piling for use as falsework support; earthwork; construction of cofferdam with permanent ground anchors, cast-in-place concrete abutment with drilled shaft piling; backstay foundation with micro piles. Construction of cast-in-place concrete and MSE gabion retaining walls; 3,480-square-foot cable-stayed pier consisting of cast-in-place concrete, steel mast, cables, wood decking, storm drainage, railings and lighting. Plaza construction consists of a cast-in-place concrete base with a stone and concrete paving unit finish, cast-in-place walls, terraced wood seating and site furnishing.

General Contractor: Rotschy Inc.
Project Owner: City of Vancouver


The Ridgecrest Subdivision is located in the Ridgefield Junction Neighborhood within the city limits of Ridgefield. Phases 1 and 2 consist of 129 single-family homes. The total project includes 339 lots in the coming years.

General Contractor: Rotschy Inc.
Project Owner: Ridgecrest JV LLC

Ridgecrest SubdivisionWHIPPLE CREEK VILLAGE

The Whipple Creek Village subdivision is located in the Fairgrounds neighborhood, just east of I-5 and just south of Northeast 179th Street. It proposes to subdivide the five parcels into 141 single-family attached and detached lots.

General Contractor: Boulevard Homes NW
Project Owner: Patrick Ginn/Whipple Creek Village LLC


The South Creek Meadow Subdivision proposes to subdivide approximately 7.86 acres total into 38 single-family detached lots in the North Image Neighborhood.

General Contractor: Inland Company
Project Owner: Ryan Zygar/Tieton Homes LLC

Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington

Multiple studies have shown that good health practices and access to healthy options at work create a more productive and efficient environment with less absenteeism.

In October, the Vancouver Business Journal recognized several different companies and nonprofit/public sector organizations for their commitment to employee wellness with our annual Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington awards.

Award recipients, and the categories they were recognized in, included the following companies:

Healthiest Companies lead
Courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital


The Clark County Food Bank promotes workplace wellness with their 18 employees through communication education, nutrition and physical activity. Activities used for communication education include Waffle Wednesday, a bi-monthly activity hosted for all employees as a way to encourage and support interpersonal communication; Stall Street Journal, a monthly publication posted in the bathrooms that includes health-related tips and recipes related to physical activity, nutrition and mental health; a safety committee; a wellness committee; civil rights training; wellness-related seminars; and staff/board activities that are strategically scheduled for all staff and board members to promote interpersonal communication as well as provide encouragement and relationship building.

Several physical activity options are offered to promote workplace wellness at the Clark County Food Bank, including an exercise program, a bike rental program, an onsite bike rack, onsite shower, standing desks and an annual walking competition that consists of two staff teams, and encourages daily and weekly step tracking.

“At Clark County Food Bank (CCFB), our vision is to inspire and grow a network of community health,” CCFB wrote in their submission. “One aspect of this vision is to be a workplace that promotes healthy, happy choices for our staff, so they are ready and equipped to serve our community.”


Clark County, made up of 1,600 employees, works to keep their employees informed through communication education in several ways, including their Clark County Living Well committee that meets monthly and actively communicates wellness resources and activities through numerous channels. Educational information is also delivered to employees through the committee and through the county’s weekly e-newsletter, which carries articles, flyers and announcements of wellness events or educational materials.

Employee Assistance Program orientation sessions are held for employees countywide in order to provide education on the breadth of well-being services available through the program.

Physical activities used to promote workplace wellness include lockers and showers available in some buildings for employees; sit-stand work stations available to some employees, and desk stretches are promoted through flyers and posters; local fitness facility discounts that are provided to employees; “Walking Wednesdays” are promoted to encourage employees to take a walk during breaks or lunch hour for whatever length they choose; a “take the stairs” campaign that will roll out this month and more.


Sister companies, Dynamic Events and Hubb work under one roof. Dynamic Events is a corporate event planning company that specializes in providing strategic event management and direction for a Fortune 500 client base. Hubb delivers software solutions for conference management and mobile applications for mid-market and enterprise clients. Together, they are re-inventing the way attendees engage and interact at corporate and industry events.

Made up of 30 employees, Hubb is a fairly new company that has been around for about two years. Every new employee receives a first-day on-boarding sessions with the company’s People Champion who explains all benefits and options, including those related to health. Some of those benefits include free onsite yoga classes during work hours; free onsite personal training during work hours; free use of the onsite gym during and outside of work hours; unlimited vacation time with a required two-week minimum usage; 100 percent employer-paid healthcare plans for employees; health foods and snacks in the kitchen; and all employees are encouraged to take breaks and walks on the nature trail right outside the office during work hours.

Hubb/Dynamic Events’ onsite personal trainer runs sessions about nutrition and weight management, and also hosts the company’s annual weight loss program.

Finalists in this category: TriStar Family Chiropractic; Natural Grocers


LSW Architects’ 41 employees work for a company described in their submission as “a cool place to work, a learning organization, operational excellence and financial strength.” This year, the LSW team was asked to focus on being hungry, humble and smart, pushing everyone at LSW to lead by example in the community of Southwest Washington.
Employees receive communication education through quarterly meetings, financial health class, Design CoMission, Share House and more.

To encourage their employees to stay hydrated, filtered water has been made more accessible at LSW with the addition of a Brita Filter in the café. The past community candy bowl has been removed and the office is supplied with a variety of fruits and veggies, hummus, whole wheat and rice crackers, rice cakes, popcorn, snap pea crisps and string cheese.

Finalists in this category: Northwest Staffing Resources; Biggs Insurance Services; Opsahl Dawson


Banfield Pet Hospital was selected as the Healthiest Company for a large employer. Banfield launched a comprehensive well-being communications campaign to support and showcase the company’s well-being benefits offerings and educational opportunities, and position Banfield’s commitment to the health and well being of their associates.

A comprehensive content hub on the company’s intranet, Fetch, enables associates to go to one place to access anything and everything related to well being. The company also regularly produces and distributes well-being content to employees.

Education to support stress energy management through regular exercise and physical activity at work supports Banfield’s holistic approach to well being.

Finalists in this category: Corwin Beverage


Made up of 309 employees, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP received the Healthiest Company award for a company headquartered outside of Southwest Washington. The company’s principles call for employee health, and among their core values are those having to do with personal health.

Employees at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn are provided incentive and motivation to participate in various workplace wellness programs and plans. Policies at the company also support healthy living.

Nutrition and weight management is a focus through healthy food options at meetings and events, healthy vending machine offerings and healthy beverage offerings.

Accomplished & Under 40

AU40 lead

To conclude this year in review, we must recognize the Vancouver Business Journal’s Accomplished and Under 40 Class of 2017. Honorees are selected each year by a panel of Accomplished and Under 40 alumni after being nominated by members of the community.


  • Sierra Eckman, Opsahl Dawson
  • Mandy Davis, Instructional Technologies,
  • Christine Humphrey, Partners in Careers
  • Andrea Kelm, Partners in Careers
  • Erik Morton, Erik Morton-State Farm Insurance Agency
  • Sam Newell, SGW Design, LLC
  • Sean Philbrook, Identity Clark County
  • Amber Rush, Navigate Law Group
  • Bryce Sinner, Landerholm
  • Brandon Skinner, Riverside Payments
  • Michelle Smith, Haute Madre Boutique
  • Evan Strandberg, iQ Credit Union
  • Jenny Thompson, Police Activities League -Vancouver
  • Jessica Tijerina-Turpeinen, A Merry Heart Events

The class of 2017 was recognized during a luncheon on Nov. 14 at Warehouse ’23.

Best in Business 2017Here are the winners of the Vancouver Business Journal’s 2017 Best in Business Awards.

The Best in Business Awards recognizes companies and business professionals in over 80 categories. The list of winners was determined by Vancouver Business Journal readers who cast their votes for the companies that they prefer to do business with. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to those who voted!


Auto dealer – Dick Hannah Dealerships
Maintenance provider – Gaynor’s Automotive
Rental & leasing – A List Limousine
Towing company – Chappelle’s Towing
Commercial Trucking – Dietrich Trucking

Business Banking & Finance

Business bank – Riverview Community Bank
Credit union – Columbia Credit Union


Design-build contractor – RSV Building Solutions
General contractor – TEAM Construction
Home builder – New Tradition Homes
Remodeler/Renovator – A.C.T. Builders LLC
Site preparation company (roads, utilities, etc.) – Nutter Corporation

Food & Drink

Bakery – Bleu Door Bakery
Bar/Pub – Mill Creek Pub
Brewery – Heathen Brewing
Feral Public House
Caterer – Simply Thyme Catering
Coffee shop – Compass Coffee
Happy hour – Main Event Sports Grill
Restaurant – Warehouse 23
Winery/Vineyard – Rusty Grape Vineyard

General Services

Event planning – We Plan It
Fitness/Athletic facility – NW Personal Training
Golf course – Camas Meadows Golf Club
Hotel/Motel – The Heathman Lodge
Meeting facility – The Heathman Lodge
Moving/Storage – Big Al’s Specialty Movers
Travel agency – Caribbean And Beyond


Electronics – ControlTek
Machine – Columbia Machine
Metals – Thompson Metal Fab
Paper/Packaging – Georgia Pacific Camas Mill
Plastics – Rex Plastics, Inc.

Professional Services

Accounting firm – Opsahl Dawson
Architectural firm – LSW Architects
Business consulting (TIE) – RJL Business Services; – Salsbury & Co., LLC
Commercial printer – Columbia Litho
Dry cleaning & laundry – Clark County Cleaners
Employment agency – Innovative Services NW Employment Services
Engineering firm – Robertson Engineering
IT firm – On Line Support
Insurance agency – Biggs Insurance Services
Investment firm – Riverview Trust Company
Janitorial services – Innovative Services NW Janitorial Services
Landscape design firm – Olson Engineering
Landscape management – GRO Outdoor Living
Law firm – NW Legacy Law Center
Marketing firm – Webfor
Office Accessories & Décor – Reid Business Services
Office Equipment & Furnishings – Reid Business Services
Pest control company – Pioneer Pest Management
Phone Hardware – On Line Support
Phone Service – Skyetel
Photographer – Aevum Images
Security company – Global Security & Communication
Sign company (TIE) – Security Signs; – Soha Sign Co.
Urban planner (TIE) – BergerABAM; – Olson Engineering, Inc.
Video production – Ametsa Media
Web consulting – Webfor

Health & Wellness

Acupuncturist – Dr. Julia Mortlock, ND, LAC
Assisted living – Glenwood Place Senior Living
Audiologist (TIE) – Costco Hearing Aid Center; – Evergreen Audiology;
– The Vancouver Clinic Audiology
Chiropractor – TriStar Family Chiropractic
Dental care provider – Harmony Family Dentistry
Eye care provider – Vancouver Eye Care
Home health care – Elfin Services Inc.
Medical care provider (clinic) – The Vancouver Clinic
Medical care provider (hospital) – Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
Massage therapy – Self Balance Massage
Naturopath – Dr. Julia Mortlock, ND, LAC
Veterinarian – Mountain View Veterinary Hospital

Real Estate

Appraisal company – Hansen Appraisal Services
Commercial real estate agent/broker – Jim West
Commercial real estate company – Eric Fuller & Associates, Inc.
Property management firm – Zenith Properties NW
Real estate developer – MAJ Development Corp.
Residential real estate agent/broker – Sam Mikel
Residential real estate company – Real Living The Real Estate Group
Title company – Clark County Title

Retail & Wholesale

Apparel/Clothier – Willows
Barber/Salon – The Barbers
Florist – Stem Floral Design
Grocery – Chuck’s Produce
Jeweler – Erik Runyan Jewelers

Joanna Yorke-Payne
Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.

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