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Success Stories

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

The story of how one woman hopes to empower an entire city through fitness

Many gyms feel monotone and vast; a large room cluttered with a bunch of equipment. There is the awkward smell of hundreds of other people who have come before you; no sense of real direction; everyone keeping quietly to themselves behind their headphones while treadmills, weights and other machines hum, buzz and clink indistinctively.

Then, there is Fuerte Fitness.

Adriana Medina Cagan, president and owner, started the business located just outside Seattle’s University District in 2007. With a degree in business administration, owning a gym wasn’t something she once saw in her future, but Cagan said fitness is what changed her entire life.

“I used to be heavier, I had lost weight and it really changed and empowered me,” said Cagan. “It helped create other opportunities in career and in life. I started thinking if I can develop that area of my physical life, what I can do with my... Read More

Nicole Pham, Owner of Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass Restaurants Bring Asian Cuisine to the Olympia/Lacey Area

“I never thought I would still be alive when we were on the ocean in that tiny boat. But I made it.”

1975. The Fall of Saigon forced an estimated 2.5 million people into “reeducation camps,” with almost 160,000 people dying in those camps. Of those who managed to escape the country, approximately 350,000 people died in small boats at sea.

But in 1980, Nicole Pham, now the owner of Lemon Grass Restaurants, with three locations in Olympia and Lacey, was one of the comparably few people who managed to successfully escape Vietnam to Hong Kong; forced to leave her entire family behind.

Pham has lived a life full of struggle and complications.

Escaping Vietnam at the age of 16 was her biggest feat. Coming to America and moving through three different sponsor families across the West coast before finally graduating college and beginning a career in accounting... Read More