2019 Business Growth Awards

Business Growth Awards 2019

2018 Fastest Growing Company 1-5 Years

Patrick Ginn

Ginn Group

Starting in the real estate industry in 2006 as a real estate broker and transaction coordinator, Patrick Ginn has now developed more than $230 million worth of residential land, encompassing nearly 1,500 lots in more than 50 developments with a market value of more than $1 billion.

Ginn Group’s five primary operating divisions (Ginn Realty Group, Ginn Development, Boulevard Homes NW, Ginn Property Management and Central Oregon Building Company) employ 51 employees with annual revenues exceeding $50 million in 2018.

For 2019, Ginn Group is looking at target revenues of $75 million, annual net profits of $7.5 million, 10 new development projects and 2,000 housing units in the pipeline. The launch of a new operation division, Ginn Multi-Family, also happened this year in 2019.

“At Ginn Group, our core purpose is to make a difference by creating community,” said Patrick Ginn. “To me, being a Business Growth Award finalist is a huge compliment and direct reflection of the good work our incredible team is doing to positively impact Southwest Washington by designing and developing top-quality new communities and housing. Such recognition inspires all of us at Ginn to continue growing and increasing our impact. I am incredibly proud of the work our team at Ginn Group does each day to make a difference. I am also very grateful that we live, and are able to grow our business, in such a supportive and generous community here in Southwest Washington.”

2018 Fastest Growing 1-5 Years FINALISTS


Barre3 Felida

Former public school principal Amy Grabenkort was an unlikely candidate to own a fitness studio. But when she opened a barre3 franchise in a brand new and custom-designed building in the heart of Felida’s burgeoning business hub five years ago, it was – and continues to be – a dream fulfilled and a life suddenly balanced. Since that time, the studio, which is rooted in three fitness disciplines — ballet barre, pilates and yoga — has flourished.

“At barre3 Felida we are so grateful to our community who have allowed us to continue thriving and growing even after four-plus years in business,” said Grabenkort. “I attribute our success to a laser focus on our purpose in the community. My incredible team and I share the purpose of creating a place where clients can feel truly at home and safe in their bodies no matter their fitness level. By teaching clients to be balanced in the body, and empowered from within, we are redefining what success in fitness looks like and feels like. When the women in our community have that kind of power, the entire community is elevated.”

The studio offers the full range of barre3 classes and no experience is required to get started. In addition to a bright and comfortable practice space, there are lockers, showers, towel, toiletries, and best of all a play lounge with a babysitter available for every single class with a paid reservation.

Allie Magyar


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. The company allows all the stakeholders involved with planning an event to use a single intuitive system to deliver content to attendees.

In 2016, Hubb started the year with 14 employees, and by the end of the year in 2018, they had grown to 41 employees. The company’s revenue has went from $1.1 million in 2016 to $4 million in 2018. In February of 2019, Hubb expanded to a new office location in the historic Greely Building, located in the Esther Short neighborhood in downtown Vancouver. The move was made to meet the company’s rapid growth.

Founded in 2015 by veteran event management professionals, Hubb brings order to the chaos of the most time-consuming aspects of event management and provides data that improves decision making across events.

“We’re thrilled to learn that Hubb has been selected as a finalist for VBJ’s prestigious Business Growth Awards and grateful for the recognition from our local community,” said Allie Magyar, founder and CEO of Hubb. “Our company has grown a lot over the past year. We recently expanded into a new home in downtown Vancouver, which is helping us attract talent to our team.”

Riverside Payments

Riverside Payments

Vancouver-based Riverside Payments is not your grandmother’s credit card processing company. Started by two former hockey players and staffed by fun-loving creatives and professionals with roots in the community and expertise across varied industries, Riverside Payments is making its mark regionally and nationwide. Riverside Payments is primarily focused on restaurants, breweries, QSR/fast casual, cafes, vape shops, mobile processing, automotive repair, retail, ATM services, gift cards and e-commerce. Riverside Payments provides the latest POS Software that is EMV-Compliant.

The team attributes its 10% boost in net profitability last year to a “strong focus on sales, marketing campaigns and recruiting efforts” as well as “simplifying our procedures internally and for our clients.”

The company currently has 85 employees and more than 150 subcontractors across the country.

“2018 has been a year focused on streamlining all of processes within the company,” said CEO Brandon Skinner. “Focusing on profitability, efficiency and ongoing employment training, we are finalizing our new office space in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will effectively double the employees of Riverside. We are forecasting that with this new expansion, we will double our sales agent workforce, ultimately doubling our revenue by 2020.”

In addition, Riverside Payments places an emphasis on giving back and sponsoring organizations that contribute to the community, including Dollar for Dollar, which is a Portland-based nonprofit that aids local families with overwhelming medical expenses, and the local Susan G. Komen affiliate.

Nom Nom Restaurant and Grill

Nom Nom Restaurant and Grill

Though just two years old, Nom Nom Restaurant and Grill has become a staple of the downtown Vancouver business lunch and dining scene, and has achieved profitability in a very short time. A fresh and seasonal blend of Thai and Vietnamese dishes are served in a bright and friendly atmosphere that brings in wave after wave of customers every day.

The company is also intertwined with many facets of Vancouver community life. At the 2018 Soup’s On competition hosted by Share Vancouver, the Chef’s Choice and People’s Choice went to chef Bob and Nom Nom’s  Kaopoon Nam Kai soup.

“Not only did our award winning draw new and existing customers in, our culinary blend of authenticity and freshness keeps people coming back for more. We pride ourselves on quality and service. Our dedication to community support and also supporting local businesses shows our commitment to helping downtown Vancouver grow,” said chef and owner Bob Rasaphangthong.

The restaurant has grown to 17 total employees, and the family managed to open up Nom Nom Express in the Columbia Bank Building at sixth and Main in October. Though plans are still unofficial, another two full-size locations are in the works, one in downtown Vancouver and one Camas. At press time, Rasaphangthong was “in Tokyo Japan doing some ramen research. Vancouver needs a good trendy spot featuring some authentic quality ramen,” he said in an email. “I’m looking for some unique trending menu items here in Singapore, Vietnam and Japan to introduce to Vancouver. I’m so excited to start cooking when I return to the states next week!”

2018 Fastest Growing Company 6-10 Years

Jeff McInnis-SmartRG


Based in Vancouver, SmartRG brings long-standing industry leadership and expertise in open-source software development, as well as a comprehensive portfolio of cloud-management, analytics, Wi-Fi-enabled residential gateways and its SmartOS software platform, according to the companies BGA submission.

SmartRG counts more than 3 million devices in service and more than 1.3 million devices under management in North America, the Caribbean and South America. The company expects to scale and drive growth through its differentiated software solutions as more customers shift from closed, proprietary options to SmartOS.

SmartRG has went from 26 total employees in 2013 to 66 in 2018. The company has grown its annual revenues over 50% from 2013 to 2016 to an annual run rate of over $24 million and is operating on a self-funded growth plan. In December of 2018, SmartRG was acquired by ADTRAN.

“This nomination (Business Growth Awards) is an endorsement of some of the sharpest technological minds in the Pacific Northwest,” said Jeff McInnis, VP, ADTRAN Subscriber Solutions & Experience. “SmartRG is no ordinary technology company and VBJ’s nomination of the SmartRG team, together with ADTRAN, showcases our continued growth in the Vancouver area.”

“It has certainly been a growth journey where SmartRG went from inception on May 1, 2012, to a $32-million business to eventually be acquired by ADTRAN – the third largest Telecommunications Access Equipment provider in the U.S.,” said Mei Wu, managing director.  “We’ve enjoyed all the support from the community in Clark County over the past seven years and look forward to increasing our footprint for ADTRAN in the Pacific Northwest.”

2018 Fastest Growing Company 6-10 Years FINALISTS

Empress Estate

The Empress Estate

The Empress Estate, a majestic venue with two unique venues on sprawling grounds, is situated among gardens and woodlands in North Clark County with views of the Lewis River. Available for corporate events, The Empress Estate offers space for team building meetings, staff retreats, workshops & trainings, conferences, fundraisers and parties complete with banquet services, an event coordinators and overnight accommodations.

Weddings, of course, are at the heart of The Empress Estate’s offerings. In addition to all of the above, weddings are offered exclusive use of the two venues onsite, as well as any needed rentals and an event specialist. Elopement packages are intimate and scaled-down to the unique needs of the couple.

Accommodations are also available as a bed and breakfast in Woodland, which is situated at the heart of the Lewis River Valley and within reach of dozens of regional attractions. The rooms are luxurious and decadently appointed.

Owner Zoe Saleem said the organization has “experienced a growth of more than 350% in revenue over the last five years,” and that they are employing “up to 40 people during the busy seasons.”

Refreshingly, The Empress Estate publishes nearly all of their package prices on their website, so shoppers can easily get the information they need to make informed decisions about their events.

2018 Fastest Growing Company 10+ Years

Tim Runcie


Advisicon – a project, program and portfolio management company in Vancouver – works to transform an organization’s project management with a mix of methodology and technology that delivers results. The team specializes in technology implementations, application and workflow development, training and consulting.

In 2017, Advisicon had a total of 14 employees, which increased to 25 employees in 2018. In 2010, Advisicon purchased the 10,000-square-foot building that they currently occupy. At the time, they built out the upper floor and a portion of the ground floor. They now have a tenant permit and are working to complete the rest of the building for their expanding staff and growth of the business. This will give them approximately 4,000 more square feet of space to expand into.

The company’s revenue increased from $1,537,777 in 2017 to $2,464,418 in 2018.

“Advisicon moved its international headquarters to Vancouver because we believe in this community and the growth potential for this region,” said President and Founder Tim Runcie. “We are honored to be a finalist for the Business Growth Awards. For the last 25 years we have been developing and teaching technology and now as a Gold Microsoft Partner, we want to help our community attract more businesses, jobs and retain the amazing talent we have, in supporting both nonprofit and for-profit growth. This award would be something we would be very proud to share with our awesome team and partners. Vancouver is our home and we are excited for our future here.”

2018 Fastest Growing Company 10+ Years FINALISTS

Biggs Insurance Staff

Biggs Insurance Services

Vancouver-based Biggs Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency that has served the insurance needs of Portland/Vancouver Metro businesses and individuals for more than 70 years. The agency has grown to be one of the largest locally owned, independent agencies in Vancouver and Portland.

From 2017 to 2018, revenue grew by 14%, totaling more than $1 million of growth. Biggs has seen a continual increase of full-time positions over the last four years. The company had 40 employees at the end of 2015, and had 51 at the end of 2018. Biggs continues to focus on the expansion of services and offerings for niche markets, including construction, hospitality, manufacturing and transportation for all lines of coverage – Commercial Property & Casualty, Life & Health and Personal Insurance.

In 1935, two brothers began a locally owned and operated real estate and insurance agency, The Whitfield Company. In 1953, Don Biggs joined the brothers in their effort to grow their insurance agency in Vancouver. After many years of service to The Whitfield Company, Don acquired ownership and created Don Biggs & Associates. Today, Biggs is a staple on Main Street, located in the historic Elks Lodge.

“We are very pleased to be a Business Growth Award finalist for 2019, recognition that 2018 was a very good year for the agency,” said President Greg Seifert. “This is a great honor and I believe a reflection of the excellent team we have at the agency. Congratulations to our team.”

Eric Olmsted

On Line Support

In business since 1998, On Line Support was founded when the world was just getting on the web. More than 20 years later, the company continues to provide both hardware and software services, data and security services, a host of cloud computing solutions, as well as completely managed IT plans.

Owner Eric Olmsted believes IT support doesn’t have to expensive or frustrating. As a small business owner, he understands the pain of dealing with IT troubles, and connects with his clients in a proactive and personal way. He attributes this laser focus on customer care with the company’s long-term success.

“Everyone in our organization shares the same top priority – taking care of our customers,” Olmsted said. “It’s the reason we all come to work each day. This has been the catalyst for our growth. We continually ask customers to provide feedback on their experience with On Line Support to make sure we are exceeding their expectations. We feel exceptionally fortunate to have assembled an amazing team of dedicated employees who work to earn our customers’ business with each interaction.”

The firm’s staff has nearly doubled to 19 from 10 just four years ago, and has been named Best in Business: IT Firms by Vancouver Business Journal readers four years in a row.

Aaron Dawson

Opsahl Dawson

After 40 years in business, Opsahl Dawson shows no signs of slowing. The Vancouver-based accounting firm offers tax services, bookkeeping and financial statements to their business clients as well as various financial planning services to individuals.

The firm was founded in 1979 by George Opsahl in Longview, and in 1998 the Vancouver office opened. When Opsahl retired in 2011, Aaron Dawson & Jen Dawson acquired the firm. Five years ago in 2014, the company purchased a new building near Vancouver Mall. After the firm settled into its new location, it quickly acquired Marshall H. Waldman, CPA, in 2015, Thompson and Associates, CPAs, in 2016, Houck and Associates, Inc., in 2017. Last year, Opsahl Dawson moved into a new building on Northeast Greenwood Drive, and Sierra Eckman was promoted to Shareholder.

Aaron Dawson insists there is no special secret to their success. “It’s about doing the right thing every day,” he said. “Opsahl Dawson is proud of our team and our service, we have been offering cutting edge tax advice since 1979.  We are proud to celebrate our 40th year in business this year. Thank you to all of our staff and clients who have helped our firm become the industry leader we are today.”

2018 Innovator of the Year

Tidewater Cove

Tidewater Cove Marina

The newest marina on the Columbia River, Tidewater Cove was recently completed in phases with the final phase completed in April 2019. It was constructed with a number of innovative, state-of-the-art systems not previously used in existing marinas.

Some of these innovations include:

Innovative pressurized sewer system in order to provide city of Vancouver sewer to “each” of the marina’s 90 slips.

Floating restrooms have been installed with a very innovative light passing floor system, reducing the footprint in the water to help support the Columbia River fishery.

State-of-the-art composite decking and spacing, allowing the docks the maximum light passage, to help support the underwater river ecosystems.

Innovative fire suppression system built into the entire marina to allow greater support to firefighters in the event of potential boat fire.

State-of-the-art designed dock ladders made from a non-metals material design in a way to keep steps out of the water until needed, reducing slippage due to algae growth as one exits the river.

“We are so excited to be chosen as a Business Growth Awards finalist,” said Marina Manager Wendy Jacobs. “As business owners and operators we must lead by example. To be leaders we must look for innovative ways to take care of the people and the environment around us, better than we did yesterday.  We are proud to have built the Marina with this in mind and proud to be an example that any industry, with innovation, can make change for the better. We appreciate this recognition from the VBJ.”

2018 Start Up of the Year

WellHaven Pet

WellHaven Pet Health

First launched in July of 2017, WellHaven Pet Health purchases existing animal hospitals and builds new veterinary practices providing support services, including management consultation, business development, leadership, human resources and other support specifically tailored for each individual practice.

WellHaven intends to initially target small-to-medium-sized pet hospitals across five states. They will identify and partner with hospitals employing at least two doctors. WellHaven’s goal is to gradually build a network of hospitals that are owned and managed by WellHaven Pet Health and will be led through a unique model called Principal Plan.

The Practice aims to help veterinarians and their teams succeed both personally and professionally. They focus on personal growth, practice support and life balance.

WellHaven’s evolving Corporate Responsibility Strategy includes WellHaven Pet Health’s partial ownership by the Skoll Foundation. The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems.

“We are humbled and honored by the (Business Growth Awards) nomination,” said CEO John Bork. “We absolutely love Vancouver and are so proud to call it home. We are so appreciative to the CREDC and the Chamber of Commerce for their help in making this all happen. Without question, we would not be here without the big hearts and minds of our doctors, technicians and support staff. This award is a great recognition to the quality work they do, each and every day.”

Nonprofit Achievement Award

Mother and son sharing a meal

Share Vancouver

Share Vancouver is a multifaceted nonprofit organization that exists to improve the lives of individuals and families who face hunger, are homeless or struggle to find affordable housing. Though the organization began 40 years ago with just one shelter for single men and a daily free hot meal, today Share provides a spectrum of services from the Outreach team on the streets and at the Vancouver Navigation Center, to emergency shelters and free nutritious meals, to the Backpack program feeding hungry children, to subsidized housing for low-income individuals and families, to a matched savings program and much more.

In 2018, Share added an astonishing 26 new positions, and expanded its Strategic Engagement Committee, which draws on the expertise and connections of community influencers. In the volunteer department, Share secured an additional four Share Ambassadors. In total, 2,884 volunteers contribute 28,302 hours of service in 2018.

“Share celebrates its 40th anniversary milestone this year,” said Executive Director Diane McWithey. “Our organization has grown tremendously over those years, through visionary leadership that has allowed our organization to sustainably grow, evolving our programs based on the needs of our community. While we have been a fierce advocate for change, we’ve not done it on our own. Healthy communities thrive through partnership. By connecting multiple systems and movements, and bringing more players and voices to the table, Share has fostered and created a brighter and healthier future for generations to come.”



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.