BeTech Newsletter | April 2016

Published by BeTech, Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce’s new committee for Business, Technology, and Education


It is with enthusiasm that I present to you the first issue of BeTech, newsletter of the Business, Technology, & Education Committee of the Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.

Every day we hear about the Pacific Northwest’s strength in technology, particularly in the fields of aerospace, defense, biotech, and computer science. Just look at a map of the Puget Sound with pins on Seattle, Redmond, Everett, Auburn, and Kent. Little Norway is not far from these giants, and we have our share of manufacturing and technology right here. Paladin Systems, Trulife, and Watson Furniture may come to mind. These companies have been Poulsbo fixtures since the early 1990’s. Other companies have come and gone. Either they could not find the right formula to make it work, or the climate was just not right. Perhaps both. Enter Western Washington University. Their collaboration with Olympic College to provide four-year degree programs in our area is a game-changer, and it demonstrates our city leaders’ commitment to help prepare our kids for the future, and they don’t have to leave home. (Okay, parents, maybe we should look into building dorms.) It is also an investment in a skilled workforce needed to support Poulsbo’s emerging cluster of businesses in the tech sectors. BeTech will showcase these organizations in an effort to promote awareness of what exists in our backyard and our capacity to welcome new players.

For the technically- inclined, I offer this formula:

quality of life = community + clean air, mountains, trees, water + economic strength + skills and education + strong infrastructure + leadership

Poulsbo, we’ve got it covered!

Anna Reyes-Potts

Anna Reyes-Potts, Chair of the BT&E Committee Board of Directors, Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing/Engineering Technical Advisory Committee, Olympic College

With a background in engineering, Anna has spent over 20 years in operations, manufacturing, R&D and marketing in the medical devices industry. Today she is general manager of TMF, Inc., a contract manufacturer specializing in precision CNC machining and mechanical assemblies for customers in the aerospace, defense, medical and commercial industries. TMF is located in Poulsbo’s Twelve Trees Business Park. Email Anna at: or go to for more information.




Olympic_College 350wOC’s Business & Technology Division, under the leadership of Dean Norma Whitacre, offers programs in Computer Information Systems, Manufacturing, and Technical Design, among many others. As a member of the OC’s Technical Advisory Committee, I see firsthand the commitment of Dean Whitacre and her department heads to provide a current, meaningful, and flexible curriculum. While the fundamentals are strong, the hands-on experience is even better. For example, the various faculties (precision machining, technical design, composites, welding, etc.) participate in the annual SAE Mini Baja competition. OC is the only two-year college to compete in this event. When the Composites Manufacturing Technology program was approved for the IAM (International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers)/Boeing Joint Apprenticeship program, OC immediately added a course in CATIA (Boeing’s preferred 3D CAD platform).

The following excerpt was written by Shawn Devine, director of communications and web services at Olympic College, for The View, “Spring 2016 Class Schedule.”

Careers in Engineering Technology set for takeoff as aerospace industry rebounds

If you are the type of person who likes to work with your hands or wonders how equipment like airplane parts, prosthetic limbs or snowboards are made, then Olympic College’s Engineering Technology Program is a great fit for you.

A graduate of the Engineering Technology program earns an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, with emphasis in one of five pathways: Manufacturing Composites, Manufacturing Machining, Technical Design Architectural/Civil, Technical Design GIS, and Technical Design Mechanical.

“This program is geared to give students a solid foundation in advanced manufacturing,” Composites Professor Guy Houser said. “We’re looking to make sure they have the hands-on technical skills to go beyond being a laborer to take on lead or supervisory roles.”

Today’s manufacturing jobs are not the low-paying, repetitive positions they once were. Advanced manufacturing is technology driven and in high demand. And companies have realized the importance of investing in their employees and typically offer great benefits, education, training support and clear pathways for advancement.

Faculty and staff collaborate with industry leaders to ensure that curriculum correlates closely with the job market. The College convenes several committees that review curriculum and suggest modifications. They also collaborate on internship opportunities that offer students experience and pay while going to school.

Colleges also teamed up with Boeing on a common course curriculum project to make sure our programs are teaching the skills that Boeing is recruiting for. One skill in particular that is taking flight is composites manufacturing.

OC and other community colleges in Washington state began focusing on composites in 2011 with the $20 million U.S. Department of Labor Air Washington Grant to expand aerospace training opportunities.

Fueled by the success of its 777 and 787 Dreamliner, Boeing is starting construction on the 777x, the largest twin-engine jet in the world. The wings on this historic aircraft are made almost entirely from…you guessed it, composites. Those wings are being built in a massive 27-acre plant in Everett. In 2015, the Department of Energy published a report that estimates employment at Boeing Everett to increase by up to 3,000 jobs as a result of the 777x.

Because it only take two years to complete the Engineering Technology AAS, students will be on the fast-track to employment with good-paying jobs.

Another promising job sector is the maritime industry. Companies like Bremerton based SAFE Boats are constructing hulls, decks and other equipment from…you guessed it, composites. This is promising news for OC students like Gary Queen who recently completed two Engineering Technology AAS degrees in Composites and Machining.

“Once I started, it just sucked me in,” he said. “It’s having the ability to create high-tech parts from the ground up. I can come in and build a race car hood one day and an airplane part the next, how cool is that.”

Gary, a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, hopes to one day land in the custom parts industry. Whether by land, sea or air, the sky is the limit for OC Engineering Tech graduates.

Visit to get started in the Engineering Technology today!


City Hall 700wPoulsbo Elected Officials to Tour Twelve Trees

Mayor Becky Erickson is organizing a tour of Twelve Trees Industrial Park for the Poulsbo City Council in late April. In her six years in office, she has added “Chief Economic Developer” to her long list of duties, sometimes actively seeking out businesses to relocate to Poulsbo. Now, she’s looking at how to bring bigger industry into the city limits.

“It’s about what I call primary jobs,” explains Erickson. “All jobs are good, of course, but those jobs that offer a comfortable wage for families are a plus. That’s what industry and advanced manufacturing do, better than retail, better than service, and better than the professions that require advanced degrees.”

Kitsap is growing, fast. Bringing on industry also means bringing in outside money. As John Powers, KEDA Executive Director, notes, “Kitsap’s advanced manufacturing companies are building and creating products. Those products are creating jobs and wealth here because they are mainly sold outside our community.” To take that explanation one step further, service industries circulate existing (local) money; manufacturers generally bring in new money, because most goods are shipped to customers out of the area.

“Don’t get me wrong,” says Erickson. “I’m proud of our vibrant tourism industry. I love our downtown shops and restaurants, the newly revitalized Viking Avenue, and, of course, our main corridor of commerce along 305. Adding space for industry—especially as beautifully landscaped as 12 Trees—would simply add to the long-term economic health of our community.”

The tour will include visits to several Twelve Trees businesses, then an open discussion of pros and cons, hosted at Watson. The tour will be co-hosted by Christine Salo, co-owner of Twelve Trees, and Anna Reyes-Potts, GM of TMF and chair of the Chamber’s Business, Technology, and Education Committee.

Jan Harrison

Economic Development Liaison, City of Poulsbo


twelve trees signTwelve Trees, Part 1

Twelve Trees Business Park is located on Pioneer Way and State Highway 3, just three miles north of the City of Poulsbo. This ten acre park has over 600,000 square feet of office, warehouse, and light industrial space, along with an impressive view of the Olympics (on a clear day) and impeccable landscaping.

Twelve Trees Business Park is home of to a variety of businesses and specialty manufacturers, including metal fabricators, a specialty optics producer, an audio equipment specialist, renewable energy researchers, a medical device manufacturer, among other forward moving companies.

Shunyata Research

For over 15 years, Shunyata Research has been developing products that use explainable science, objective measurement and extreme parts-customization to improve the performance of electronics and audio systems. In a nutshell, Shunyata Research designs and manufactures high-end noise-reduction power cords, power-distributors, and other audio components. Their market includes audio enthusiasts and professionals in the recording and film industries.

Recently, Shunyata Research products have crossed over into medical applications, helping to improve the outcomes of delicate surgeries performed in hospitals and electrophysiology labs. The first test was at the Minnesota Heart Institute, where a system of Shunyata power cords and outlet power conditioners were found to prevent electrical noise from impacting the ultra-sensitive electronics and monitoring systems used in many heart procedures. Since then, Shunyata products have been successfully installed at a number of hospitals in the US.

Shunyata Research employees a staff of 16, and most of their products are manufactured and shipped worldwide (45 countries and counting) from their operations in Twelve Trees.

Shunyata Research 26273 Twelve Trees Lane NW, Suite D Poulsbo, WA 98370

Critical Materials

Critical Materials is a local distributor of composites materials with a niche business model. They purchase high tech material from larger companies like 3M, process the materials into kits, and store them in a room of walk-in refrigerators to ensure feasibility. Critical Materials services their customers with quick turnaround of their pre-kitted composite materials to support emergency repair of commercial and defense aircraft.

Critical Materials, Inc. 26273 Twelve Trees Lane NW, Suite L Poulsbo, WA 98370



Composites - saddleComposite simply means made up of different parts. In manufacturing, composites are materials that are created by combining different types of materials. The individual materials usually have different properties, and when combined the new composite material achieves increased strength or other desired characteristics. Composites manufacturing has been around for hundreds of years. Papier-mâché, most commonly used in arts and crafts, is a form of composites combining paper and glue. Concrete is another form of composites. The composites that have become a buzzword in modern manufacturing are mostly carbon fiber or fiberglass that has been reinforced with some type of resin to create a high strength, lightweight material with the ability to build flexibility into the final structure. We see this used in industries and designs in which the product’s strength to weight ratio is critical: aerospace and defense, high-end prosthetic feet, and sporting goods (golf shafts, fishing rods, bicycles, rackets, hockey sticks, snowboards, skis, …). The process is additive, where composite materials are added layer by layer or inserted into a mold. The materials cure, and the result is a product that is lighter and just as strong, or stronger, than it would be if it were made of metal.


A snapshot of local trade events.

PNAA logo 350wAnnual Aerospace Conference, Feb. 9-11, Lynnwood Convention Center

Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) is a non-profit organization that promotes the growth and success of the aerospace industry in our region. In early February, PNAA hosted their 15th annual conference. In attendance were over 600 attendees representing 10 nations, 26 states and 5 Canadian provinces, and 355 companies, including one manufacturing company from Poulsbo.


  1. The Pacific Northwest cluster — Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Canada — has reached its maturity, but it is still going strong. 94% of the aircraft delivered in the U.S. will be assembled in our region. A growing hotspot is the Southeast, which has a business-friendly reputation.
  2. A major challenge in our region is the shortage of skilled employees; that is, workforce development is not keeping up with the pace of our local economy. Of course, the needs of the job market have changed. Our community colleges will need to play a stronger role if we are to support the trends in engineering and manufacturing.
  3. 3D printing of flight parts is gaining traction. Advantages are reduction of material usage and time savings. However, the barrier to entry is high; the equipment alone starts at $2M.
  4. Design software is becoming even more robust and consolidated, combining solid modeling, database, and ERP functions in a single package.

Alliance Northwest, Mar, 9-10, 2017 Washington State Fairgrounds, Puyallup

Alliance Northwest logo 350wAlliance NW is premier event for small companies doing business with the federal government. It sounds broad, but the participants, both exhibitors and attendees, came with very specific goals. The exhibitors included the Hanford prime contractors (Bechtel, CH2M Hill, Washington River Protection Solutions) and the governmental organizations (U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers). The attendees were primarily small businesses looking to land contracts with these titans.


  1. Government agencies are working hard to make it easier for small businesses to navigate the playing field. Local to federal groups offer various forms of assistance, from education and training to connecting. In addition, efforts are underway to simplify and declutter the numerous online resources.
  2. The federal government has set a goal to award a sizeable portion of federal contracts to small businesses.
  3. Opportunities abound.

The Alliance NW is an annual conference coordinated by the Thurston Economic Development Council in partnership with the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), federal agencies, and prime contractors to provide businesses opportunities to connect with government buyers and prime contractors. Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) in Bremerton is the PTAC office serving North Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties.

PTAC logo 350w(360)377-9499


West Sound STEM Showcase

Date: April 30
Location: Kitsap Mall
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 P.M.

The Showcase will present science, technology, engineering, & mathematics principles at a fun, interactive event. The goal of the STEM Showcase is to inspire students, parents, teachers, and the general public with STEM activities/projects and show how they are applicable in everyday life.

Job Fair, Olympic College

Date: May 4
Location: Student Center, Bremerton Campus
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Representatives from 50 or more agencies will be on hand to network!

Keyport Industry Day

Date: May 17-18
Location: Naval Undersea Museum Auditorium
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The objective of this event is to enhance government-industry communications, conduct market research, and increase competition in support of NUWC Keyport’s technical requirements. This event will provide an opportunity for meetings between industry and MUWC Keyport technical personnel.

WSTA Quarterly Briefing

Date: May 19
Location: Olympic College Poulsbo
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Voices for Innovation discusses cloud privacy and LEADS

CoderDojo for Kids 8-18

Date: Saturdays
Location: WWU Center, Olympic College, Poulsbo
Time: 10:30 – 2:30

Learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology in an informal and creative environment. In addition to learning to code attendees meet like-minded people and are exposed to the possibilities of technology.