City, Issaquah Chamber of Commerce honor innovators

February 28, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The most innovative businesses in Issaquah manufacture fasteners for airliners, use technology to treat autism, and rely on a tiny-but-talented staff to create slick productions.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce announced the Innovation in Issaquah honorees — Marketing Masters, Lakeside Center for Autism and Impact Studio Pro — at a Feb. 22 ceremony and luncheon.

The carbon-neutral community zHome also received a nod as the most innovative public-private partnership. The city spearheaded the 10-unit townhouse development from concept to completion.

Leaders from the chamber and City Hall recognized the entrepreneurs’ accomplishments through the Innovation in Issaquah contest, a showcase for local businesses offering unique services. Honorees demonstrate innovation in product development, services, systems or strategies.

Before the chamber and city announced the honorees, outgoing chamber Chairwoman Kristi Tripple said the contest presented a chance for Issaquah leaders to focus on accomplishments rather than economic doom and gloom.

Coming soon

Starting March 7, The Issaquah Press will feature the top businesses in the Innovation in Issaquah contest — Marketing Masters, Lakeside Center for Autism and Impact Studio Pro — in a three-part series called Issaquah Innovators.

The top choices in the contest represented a broad cross-section of businesses in Issaquah. Organizers considered more than 30 nominees for the honors.

“I’m glad I didn’t serve on the committee to have to select these award winners, because it must have been tough,” City Administrator Bob Harrison said.

The chamber announced the 2012 honorees before a crowd of more than 100 business and government leaders during a luncheon at Holiday Inn – Issaquah.

The honoree in the large business category, Marketing Masters, creates composite fasteners for Boeing and Airbus planes at a facility in the Issaquah business district.

“They provide the fundamental building blocks — the fasteners in every single Boeing and Airbus airplane,” Harrison said at the ceremony. “So, in short, what’s manufactured in Issaquah each day in a small light manufacturing facility behind Burger King provides a key construction piece for Washington’s largest exporter, Boeing, and its competitor, not to mention many other industrial applications.”

The honoree in the midsize business category, Lakeside Center for Autism, uses technology, such as the Microsoft Kinect, as a treatment for autism.

“Offering a unique multidisciplinary and holistic approach to serving clients and their families has distinguished this business as an innovator in an industry we don’t think about every day, but one that deserves increasing attention,” chamber CEO Matthew Bott said.

The top small business in the Innovation in Issaquah contest, video production company Impact Studio Pro, boasts deep roots in the community.

Impact Studio Pro “is a business that was started by a graduate of Eastlake High School and then Bellevue College, and is operated out of a small apartment in the Issaquah Highlands,” Harrison said. “They’re homegrown Issaquah innovators.”

Organizers launched the Innovation in Issaquah contest last year. The initial honorees included Democracy Live, Restorix Health, Applied Precision and the nonprofit Eastside Baby Corner.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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