Success Stories

Sandy Keathley and Ben Kinnebrew of Bellingham were not looking to open K&K Industries in 2004. The small business found them.

Keathley was working as an accountant at Western Washington University in the college of education. Her husband was working for a Canadian firm that had a metal fabrication shop in Ferndale, north of Bellingham.

It offered the only laser metal cutting between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle. When the Canadians closed the shop and moved the operation across the border, Keathley and Kinnebrew decided to buy a metal-cutting machine.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” said Keathley. “Between March and September of 2004 we operated out of our house. Ben would job-out the work, taking orders for laser cutting to be done in Seattle,” she said.

Keathley was keeping the books. At the same time she was meeting with a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counselor at Western Washington University, which hosts an office for the... Read More

For 60 years, the family owned and operated B&G Machine has specialized in remanufacturing diesel engines and component machining. From its start serving the timber industry, the company has broadened its client base to more industries and today, its engines operate in locations around the world, both on land and at sea.

Western Washington’s timber industry was the main source of customers for B&G engines until logging began to decline in the 1990s. Surviving meant modernizing the company’s operations and reaching out to new industries.

By 1998, the nimble B&G had expanded to mining, marine, power generation, oil and gas with customers throughout the western U.S. and Canada. The company’s state-of-the-art facilities in Seattle’s SoDo industrial district now include a new engine assembly operation with one of the largest engine dynanometers in the world.

Having reaped the benefits of diversification, the company next set its sights overseas... Read More

Danny Farrow created Farrow Concrete Pumping, Inc., in his home-town of Pebble Beach, Calif., in 1997. From its humble beginnings with a single concrete pump and pick-up truck, Farrow grew this business to a full-line of five pumps and vehicles of varying capacities and capabilities. He was so successful that a larger, frustrated competitor bought his company in 2003 generating $100,000 in after-tax profit. Investing these retained earnings Farrow relocated to Tacoma, Washington and created Farrow Concrete Specialties, Inc. (FCS. He began the company performing concrete pumping and quickly expanded to include concrete forming, placing, and finishing. Over the next few years, FCS grew in size and scope to move from small residential projects to heavy commercial and government infrastructure projects. In fact, in 2006, FCS was recognized by the University of Washington as the fastest growing minority-owned business in state of Washington. From here, FCS gained... Read More

SBA 8 (a) program offers Sustainable Floors mentorship, business assistance

Dana Pittman would tell any firm looking to enter into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8 (a) Business Development Program that it’s not about the number of sole-source federal government contracts the company can obtain, it’s the relationships that will develop and the high-level training that marks the program’s many benefits.

The 8(a) Business Development Program is an important resource for small businesses seeking business-development assistance. Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, this program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. It also helps these companies gain access to federal and private procurement markets. The 8 (a) program allows businesses many opportunities, including mentoring, counseling, training, financial assistance and surety bonding. Businesses can stay in the 8 (a) program for up to nine years.

The 8(a) program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned... Read More