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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

PLU alums tap Tacoma for high-tech careers

By Katherine Hedland '88

[image] Todd Ostrander
Todd Ostrander

[image] Lisa Ottoson
Lisa Ottoson

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 Tacoma.

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 nation.

Other alums are making their way through the Tacoma technology scene.

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 supply chains.

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.



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