It’s been an interesting year for 425 Business, and we can’t believe it’s gone by so fast. Once again, we’ve encountered dynamic characters across the Eastside. We’ve met a female construction worker helping change Bellevue’s skyline, and startup founders who shared their stories of success in the face of opposition. We’ve traveled to every corner of the region (and sometimes beyond), where we climbed on Adventura’s rope course, toured Safeco Field with Root Sports Northwest, and kayaked with a scientist and his dog. That is why when it came time to decide our top stories of the year, we felt like a parent being asked to pick a favorite child. But we voted and concluded that these 20 stories are the absolute best 425 Business had to offer in 2016. Enjoy.


Humaira Abid. Photo by Rachel Coward.

Humaira Abid. Photo by Rachel Coward.

June 2016

1. Show of Hands

Not all Eastsiders work on computers in cubicles and crowded offices. Even in our tech-heavy climate, many people still pay the bills by working with their hands. We went behind the scenes with fashion designers, bee keepers, chefs, construction workers, artists, and musicians for a look into a day in their lives, and featured stories of eight individuals who pour passion and physical work into their crafts. — ND


July 2016

2. Soaring for a Century

425Business_July16_Cover_Lowres

In 2016, Boeing celebrated 100 years in business and its long history with Renton. Since 1941, when the U.S. Navy built a factory next to Lake Washington, Renton has been a vital part of Boeing’s success story. Over the years and as the company soared to new heights, Boeing helped put Renton on the map. The Renton plant was where the first 707 Air Force One for President Eisenhower was built and where more than 3,000 women worked during World War II.

Today, the Renton factory is where the 737 is assembled — one of the world’s most popular airplanes. — LF


September 2016

425Business_Sept16_Cover_Lowres3. 30 Under 30

Successful young employees bring passion, innovation, and energy to a business. The 30 Under 30 feature is a reader-generated list of top young, savvy, and inspiring professionals doing just that and more. From marketing specialists to chefs to software engineers, 2016’s group of overachievers works hard to stay ahead of the curve. “The extra mile is a place filled with potential and opportunities,” said Shiv Rai, 26, one of our honorees and senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. With these men and women in charge, the future looks bright, and we were happy to share their stories. — LF


Illustration by Mike Forbush

Illustration by Mike Forbush

February 2016

4. Chasing Green

This hefty cover story featured Eastside companies — like Bellevue-based Jadora — that have gone green by making environmental stewardship their business model of choice. Our team was able to illustrate concepts of companies giving a second life to waste using carbon offsets to preserve forests, helping wildlife thrive, and using nuclear fission as the next clean power source. — JK


Photo by Mio Monasch

Photo by Mio Monasch

May 2016

5. 405 Toll Hatred

We got out of the newsroom and onto the freeway to interview David Hablewitz, creator of the stop405tolls.org sign you may have seen hanging from an overpass. We took a rather dry topic — tolls — and put human faces with it, pairing that with an in-depth look at just how the I-405 tolls are faring (it turns out they’re doing what they were supposed to do). There’s also a shot of traffic from a drone that serves the package with an eye-catching introduction. — KM


Microsoft's original employees. Courtesy Microsoft.

Microsoft’s original employees. Courtesy Microsoft.

July 2016

6. The History of Geek Style

From the 1960s to today, geek style has evolved at the same speed as technology. Without knowing it, computer scientists and others in the tech industry curated an iconic style that has influenced the way workers dress today. In this article, we went back in time to the start of geek style, navigating through the roots of geekdom to modern times, where it’s now socially acceptable — and kind of cool — to dress like a nerd. — MG


20160318_Google_0510May 2016

7. Office Envy: Google

We took you behind the scenes of Google’s Kirkland campus, providing a glimpse into what it’s like to work for the multinational tech company. Through a series of dynamic photos, we took readers on a visual tour of Google’s chic and modern offices, ample green space, and on-site dog park. There’s even a trail mix bar, where employees can grab a quick, healthy bite to eat. — MG


Photos by Rachel Coward

Photo by Rachel Coward

March 2016

8. The Biz Kids

We visited Bellevue’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy to talk to local wunderkinds who are proving they don’t need to be adults to start a business. We learned about YEA’s success rate: In the three years that the academy had been helping teens refine their business acumen, every one of its graduates went on to graduate from high school. And an overwhelming 99 percent was eligible to enroll in secondary education. Not to mention that each class ends with a trip to City Hall to apply for a business license. Not too shabby. — JK


Photo by Rachel Coward

Photo by Rachel Coward

October 2016

9. The Root of It All

We went inside the controlled chaos of Bellevue-based Root Sports Northwest as it broadcasted Mariners games to its 3.2 million subscribers. During the season and each game day, long before players take the field, the Root Sports staff is hard at work preparing to broadcast games into local living rooms. When the Mariners are on the road, the Root Sports staff is, too. They will sometimes share trucks or RV-style vehicles with other regional broadcasters. The station broadcasts about 350 live events each year. — LF


425Business_April16_Cover_LowresApril 2016

10. Welcome Advice

The design of this article really made this staff project complete. We gathered all sorts of advice from across the Eastside and made it come to life. Tidbits included everything from startup advice to tips for work-life balance. Our design team arranged these parcels into an eye-catching 20-page spread that was fun to read. Featuring a mix of illustrations and photos, this package was unique and exciting. It’s always a pleasure as a staff to do nonlinear storytelling. — KM


Photos by Rachel Coward

Photo by Rachel Coward

September 2016

11. The Anywhere Office

Bellevue-based communications consultancy Carpool Agency decided to conduct an experiment called “office anywhere,” allowing its employees to work, well, anywhere for a month. Some workers even conducted business poolside. Overall, management deemed the experience successful, partly because of mediated communication. Employees used Facebook at Work to coordinate and relay information. However, some missed the social aspects of coming into an office every day. — LF


Jeffrey Vaughn, who has multiple sclerosis, often communicates with his ArenaNet colleagues via email and minimizes physical effort at the office. Photos by Rachel Coward

Jeffrey Vaughn of ArenaNet. Photos by Rachel Coward

May 2016

12. Disabilities in the Workplace

Despite the common misconception that costly workspace retrofits are necessary to make an office more accessible and inclusive, inexpensive tweaks often are all it takes. We looked at disabilities in the workplace and found that in Bellevue, for example, people ages 35 to 64 with disabilities make up 2 percent of the city’s population. — ND


amazonJanuary 2016

13. The Year Ahead

We glanced into our crystal ball to kick off 2016 with a series of predictions for the following 366 days (it was a leap year). Looking at the year ahead, we explored topics like Amazon’s position in the cloud computing market, the future of wearable technology, the possible purchase of T-Mobile, the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Eastside invasion of the $15 minimum wage debate, whether Apptio would go public or not (it did), and of course we hit the nail on the head when we predicted that Eastside traffic was going to continue to suck (it does). — JK


musemillennialhouseJune 2016

14. Want a House, Millennial? Save Up

Those tough house-buying decisions? They are not so tough for millennials — because most of them can’t afford to buy a house at all. Home mortgages might be cheaper than rent sometimes, but a survey of renters showed that not many millennials had enough money saved up for a standard 20 percent down payment. In our area, the average down payment for a starter home is roughly $50,000, while the average millennial savings totals only $4,500. — ND


© ABC/Michael Ansell

© ABC/Michael Ansell

January 2016

15. Surviving Shark-Invested Waters

We caught up with several Western Washington contestants from the ABC reality show Shark Tank to tell the story of their startups and see how they were faring after their swim in the tank. Win or lose, each business owner — You Kick Ass, Ice Chips Candy, Henry’s Humdingers, Drain Strain, Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles, and Wired Waffles — included its own nuggets of business advice for budding entrepreneurs. — ND


vrproblemspreadMarch 2016

16. Solving the VR Problem

It’s a challenge to turn someone wearing a headset into a captivating photo, but staff photographer Rachel Coward snapped a dreamy portrait of VRStudios CEO Charles Herrick wearing a VRCade headset for this feature, finding a way to elevate the story using portrait photography. The accompanying first-person story has it all, from fighting virtual zombies to the latest in virtual reality technology. After flopping in the 1990s, VR is on its way back. — KM


Illustration by Mike Forbush

Illustration by Mike Forbush

May 2016

17. Garbage In, Garbage Out? Microsoft Pulls Plug on a Bot

This is the story of Tay, the Microsoft Twitter account powered by machine learning that would respond to Twitter conversations like a millennial — complete with emojis. However, as anyone who has ever logged on to social media knows, there are a lot of trashy opinions, racism, homophobia, and misogyny out there, and Tay picked up just about all of it within a day, forcing Microsoft to pull the plug on the bot. It’s a fascinating story of how far machine learning has come and how far it still has to go. — KM


Photo by Rachel Coward.

Photo by Rachel Coward.

July 2016

18. Team Building That You’ll Enjoy

Building workplace camaraderie can bring employees together and boost overall morale, but some traditional team-building exercises often have the opposite effect. We went searching for fun activities that help build teamwork without invading personal boundaries. What we found was a plethora of activities that employees actually enjoy. From the ropes course at Adventura to the escape rooms at Conundroom, the Eastside offers several options for creating strong teams — and happy employees. — MG


425Business_August16_Cover_LowresAugust 2016

19. A Coding Reboot

Bellevue computer-programming school Coding Dojo claims it can turn anybody into an entry-level programmer in just 14 weeks, and teach its students three programming languages during that timeframe. There are more than a dozen similar coding bootcamps in the Seattle area. In the United States, there are coding bootcamps in 69 cities and 34 states, with 18,000 people projected to graduate from them in 2016, generating some $199 million in revenue. Coding Dojo saw $6 million in revenue in 2015 and estimates that sum will grow to $20 million by 2020. — ND


Photo by Rachel Coward.

Photo by Rachel Coward.

November 2016

20. Companies That Give Back

In our annual philanthropy issue, we highlighted Eastside businesses that go above and beyond to give back to our communities. What we found were inspirational stories that plucked at our heartstrings, like Stu Cordova’s tale of learning from his mistakes and helping others overcome the same hardships he endured as a troubled youth. We also learned about the different ways companies like Aboda and Microsoft give back, and provided an overview of Eastside charities and nonprofits worth knowing about. — MG


425business_dec16_cover_highresDecember 2016

21. SkyDoesLife

As a teenager, Adam Dahlberg was overweight, depressed, and unsure of his purpose in life. Fast forward to 2016, and the 23-year-old is a YouTube sensation. Dahlberg’s YouTube channel, SkyDoesMinecraft, has more than 12 million followers, and the young Bellevue resident is a self-made millionaire. His story is proof that hard work and a positive outlook can be life changing. — MG


 

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of “425 Business.”