Spurred by a cleaned up downtown, a strong economy and an economic
development push, more high-tech companies are calling Tacoma
home, and Lutes are filling key positions.
“We’re joining the ranks and are a strong contingent,” said Lisa
Ottoson ’87, president of TecHatch.
Ottoson worked for the Frank Russell Company for 12 years before
being coaxed away by what she calls a change of environment in
Her company works with start-ups or small-growth companies to
see if their ideas are feasible, and helps them put them into
action. More than 100 firms have applied to do business in Tacoma
in the last two years, and many are linked to technology.
“We see a real growth,” Ottoson said.
Coining itself America’s #1 Wired City, Tacoma has made a concerted
effort to recruit new businesses by promoting its Click!Network,
the largest municipally owned telecommunications network in the
Other alums are making their way through the Tacoma technology
Brandon Fix ’95 started Donation Depot, also located in downtown
Tacoma, to raise funds for charities, and recruited Matt Ashworth
’95, another PLU graduate, then later hired David Goodsell ’99
to head the marketing department.
“With all the Click!Network stuff, it was easy for us to get
wired,” Ashworth said.
He said Donation Depot is doing well and recently teamed up with
Sponsorvision to help get corporate sponsorship for charities.
“We really feel like we’re rolling,” he said.
Jennifer Wilson ’99 parlayed an internship she got through PLU
into a full-time job after graduation. She works in marketing
and public relations for ImprintStore.com, which comes up with
creative ways for companies to use em-broidered and imprinted
merchandise for promotions.
The Tacoma location has worked well for her company, which has
vendors all over the country.
“I think Tacoma is going to be a lot bigger,” Wilson said. “It’s
got a lot going on.”
Todd Ostrander is President and CEO of EssentialMarkets, a Tacoma
company that connects small and medium-sized com-panies with their
larger customers by conducting e-commerce through their entire
These are just a few of the many Lutes who have found jobs in
the high-tech sector away from Tacoma, from small startups to
the biggies like Microsoft and Intel to their own companies, proving
PLU prepared them well to work in the changing marketplace.