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Success Stories

Earl Overstreet, Founder of GMI

From Printer Parts to the Cloud:
8(a) Contracting Helps Business Evolve, Thrive

Earl Overstreet, General Microsystems Inc (GMI)

Today most of us carry a high capacity digital storage device in our pocket or purse every day.  The device, a smartphone, can store over eleven gigabytes of our favorite photos, music, and other digital content.

Thirty years ago, that kind of storage capacity was rare and extremely expensive.

Earl Overstreet, owner of General Microsystems Inc. (GMI), describes how the need for high capacity digital storage created an opportunity for his firm.  “The University of Washington Applied Physics lab bought a computer system to take to the Arctic for some oceanographic experiments.  The project hit a snag when they realized they would be collecting eleven gigabytes of data.  No storage device existed in 1984 that met their requirements.  They turned to GMI, a business that had only been around for about a... Read More

Two Grannies in a Garage

Beverly Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary started numerous businesses prior to forming Ice Chips Candy.  They experienced moderate success many times but agree, “Even a blind pig eventually finds an acorn,” when discussing the phenomenal growth of their healthy candy company. 

Vines-Haines and Clary have known each other since their now grown children were in school together in 1986. The two had many joint and solo ventures before finally beginning a natural skin care products line that began taking off regionally.

“We started hearing the buzz about Xylitol (Zie-leh-tall) a natural sweetener unlike the many artificial products available today,” Clary explains. “We thought ‘oh my, we have got to make a candy out of this for the grandkids’ because it is safe for teeth, really good for their mouth issues.”

The two began experimenting with Xylitol. They bought a few existing products and didn't like the taste.  Eventually they realized they would have to do it... Read More

Web John Cole

SEATTLE - From four miles below the Earth’s surface to the outer layers of the atmosphere, there are very few places where the products of Silicon Designs are not already in use.

John Cole, founder and owner of Silicon Designs, also a U.S. Army veteran, got his start by making then classified components under a Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grant for the U.S. government in his basement in 1983.

The SBIR grant, which comes in three stages, allows a qualifying business with a technology-based idea the means to commercially develop it. The grant is also sometimes known as “seed funding,” as awarded monies have historically provided innovators like John Cole a direct means to see their technology concepts grow into trusted industry solutions.

Back then in 1983, John’s R&D and manufacturing operations were conducted in a basement spare bedroom of the Cole family home. Today, Silicon Designs is a state-of-the-art 59,000 square foot sales,... Read More

Sunnyside Preschool

A Safe Environment for Kids to Learn and Thrive

Cindy Petosa Brengman is a fairly well-known name throughout Snohomish County. With about 25 years in early learning as the owner and director of Sunnyside Preschool; she has become a local expert on not only early learning, but child and family safety as well; and is also well-known for her amazing volunteer and donation efforts.

“One of our favorite events is Santa’s Cause, where the children donate toys to families in need,” Brengman explained. “Santa shows up with his giant toy bag and the kids get to fill it, over and over again. It’s a big success every year and helps to serve over one hundred families in the community.”

Brengman began her preschool for her own children, but said once they were into public school she realized the need was still there; so she filled it.

“I was able to offer something that I felt wasn’t there at that time,” Brengman said. “A safe and productive... Read More