40 Under 40 selected by (Tacoma, WA) Business Examiner – 6/23/03
Article by Paul Schrag
When more than three dozen “movers and shakers” gather in one place, you can expect the kind of energy that lights up a room, especially when the group consists of ambitious, younger standouts in the world of local business.
That was the case last week, when The Tacoma Club Young Executives and Business Examiner Newspaper Group hosted an event recognizing this inaugural class of 40 Under 40. The energizing power was awe-inspiring, even to older guests at the gathering, who came away with assured that the future of the South Sound is in quality hands.
On the pages that follow, you will have the opportunity to meet this stellar crowd — presented here in alphabetical order — and get to know a little more about what is important to them. Remember that there is far more talent here than can be adequately described in words. When you see them at work, at service or at play in the community, take the initiative to meet them — you will be as impressed. And plan right now to make your own nominations for the 2004 40-Under-40 List when it comes round next spring.
Minister of Marketing Affairs, Zhonka Broadband
Year of birth: 1970
As a managing partner and marketing director of an Internet service provider, Dave Olson does a lot of document writing, including business plans, proposals, agreements, contracts, press releases, marketing collateral, letters, technical FAQs and media articles. He also oversees corporate governance and company financing issues under his title as Minister of Marketing Affairs.
“Additionally, I organize and implement advertising campaigns, special events and promotions including the free community wireless access surfbreaks,’ customer appreciation parties and donated access,” he explains.
“I aim to help grow Zhonka Broadband into an innovative and profitable ISP serving communities throughout the Northwest region,” Olson says.
“I would also like to finish my elusive Evergreen degree and perhaps attend law school at UBC specializing in intellectual property, international trade and arbitration. One way or another, I hope to continue to travel internationally and perhaps make another documentary film or two,” he adds.
Olson’s role models and heroes have always been writers, artists, activists and adventurers such as H.D. Thoreau, Edward Abbey, Gary Snyder, Walt Whitman, Edmund Hilary, Thor Heyerdahl, Leo Tolstoy, Vaclav Havel, Leo da Vinci, etc.
Co-founder/Technology guru, Zhonka Broadband
Year of birth: 1966
As an entrepreneur in a high-tech small business, Zhonka Broadband co-founder and Technology Guru Jacob Stewart finds that he wears many different hats at different times as necessitated by circumstance.
“As a managing partner of the LLC, I am Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief (insert any adjective) Officer, salesman, network architect, government relations, customer support representative,” he continues. “I am also office supply clerk and, sometimes, janitor.”
He feels the real gratification comes when the business starts to flourish after putting in so much time generating business plans and standards of practice, finding investors for funding, networking with the local business community and marketing our business directly to the community.
“That is the most fulfilling part of my job,” Stewart says.
Stewart was also co-founder and Vice-president of Information Technology and chairman of the board for ISP, Oly.Wa.net and currently serves as vice-president of Washington Association of Internet Service Providers, which helped push through the state’s anti-SPAM bill. He also serves as chairman of the board of the Washington State Internet Lobby.
“In the next 10 years, I would like to see Zhonka Broadband grow to be a major player and shaper of the high speed Internet access market throughout Washington State and the Northwest,” he says. “Our business plan includes conservative, yet steady, growth of our geographic service area to 10 states in the Northwest and Midwest region.”
Stewart would also like to formalize his college degree by getting his credits transferred to one institution, so that he may graduate and continue graduate studies in management and the global economy.
He admits that he can’t point to any one person in his life who he tries to emulate or from whom he learned his business skills.
“I guess I feel my generation didn’t have a lot of heroes’ to emulate,” he explains. “We had to find inspiration on our own.
“I’d say that, if I wanted to point to someone as an inspiration to me today, it would be George Soros,” Stewart adds. “This international billionaire, financier, philanthropist, who grew up in Hungary during the harsh oppressive regimes of both the Nazis and the Soviet Union, has my respect.”
Stewart says his admiration of Soros stems from both his financial success and his advocacy of a civil “Open Society.”
“He had a philosophy that espoused openness,” says Stewart, “and condemns totalitarianism and tyranny in all its forms, in both the social and financial spheres of politics.”