Young Bellevue | The new generation of movers and shakers
By Lindsay Larin | Photos By Chad Colman
The voice of Bellevue is changing.
Built on an empire of high-tech giants like Microsoft, Expedia and Yahoo, the young city is making a name for itself, growing from a small whisper to a steady expression of individuality. The skyline continues to expand as new businesses open shop, designer brands shape a credible fashion scene and trendy restaurants begin calling the Eastside home. Bellevue is gaining its voice.
The city is alive with a new breed of movers and shakers made up of the young and inspired- determined to shape the voice of their ever-evolving community. From the blogger who shares his passion for Downtown Bellevue through social media or the young cardiologist at Overlake Hospital who spends his days sharing his wealth of knowledge with his patients to help them better their lives and ultimately, the community as a whole. Take a peak into the life of a busy mom who splits her time between a family life, a full time job and running her own eco-friendly clothing line.
These are just a few examples of the new generation that is shaping this cities identity through hard work, passion and a love for the Eastside.
The Finance Kid
Jeff Otis | Evergreen Capital Management
Breakdown: Born and raised in Redmond, Otis graduated with a business marketing degree from George Fox University in Oregon. He worked in real estate and the insurance industry, prior to settling in at Evergreen Capital Management in Bellevue. He recently embarked on a trip to Sierra Leone, Africa where he helped build a new playground for a small village of orphaned children.
What’s the scoop? “Working at Evergreen Capital Management, I feel like I am surrounded by very talented and brilliant people and I’m allowed to do what I do best- which is working with clients face to face. I can see myself working here for the next 20 to 25 years.”
What are the challenges? “I am one of few young people in this firm. It’s exciting to be able to work in this industry being this young, but I do think clients take my age into account. It’s a hurdle I have to overcome.”
Do you like working in Bellevue? “I love downtown Bellevue. I live in Kirkland, so the commute is easy and it’s fun to see how vibrant Bellevue is becoming.”
Favorite spots? “I go to Joey’s a lot and I think Pearl has the best happy hour in town. I also want to make it over to Grand Cru because my family’s in the wine business and I think John Howie is doing a really good job over at The Bravern.
You also volunteer? “This past December, I traveled with a group of 13 people through Eastlake Community Church and the Children of the Nations organization to Sierra Leone. We spent our days building a playground set for orphans living in a small rural village. To watch the kids play on the toy set we built and to see their smiles and laughter, it made it all worth it.”
Final thought? “I want to go back. I was very impressed by the organization. I think they maximized their resources and it’s amazing to see the tangible impact you have on the kids.”
Michael Brandt | Downtown Bellevue Network
Breakdown: Brandt has called Bellevue home his entire life, attending Newport High School and later the University of Washington where he earned his marketing communications degree. He splits his time between a full time position at Eddie Bauer and as the founder of Downtown Bellevue Network, an online blog focused on the happenings in the heart of Bellevue.
What’s the scoop? “I have lived in Bellevue my whole life and I haven’t gotten far, but I haven’t wanted to get far either. Bellevue is where I call home. The fact that I live and work in Downtown Bellevue allows me to stay up to date with what is going on in the area and I wanted to key everyone else in too. I always wanted to start a Bellevue focused Website and so late one night, I just went out and did it.” (Downtown Bellevue Network launched May, 2007)
What’s the buzz about? “The blog started as a one man show. I put all my own energy, money and time into creating this blog. The site focuses on a small niche of people who work, live or play in the downtown area. I put a lot into this, but being a part of and running the site is less about work and more a part of my lifestyle. It’s literally fun for me. I enjoy building a community.”
Why Bellevue? “One of the most fun aspects of this area, is that Bellevue is like a startup with a lot of capital. Everything is new, but qualified. There is so much happening.”
Favorite Bellevue spots? “I really love Boom Noodle for lunch and Barrio. I enjoy the fun atmosphere and they cater to the lifestyle of Bellevue. I also think Lucky Strike has built a really fun spot. You can go for the traditional bar experience, bowling with friends, and now you can play arcade games. They have it all.”
Ronnier J. Aviles, M.D. | Overlake Hospital Medical Center
Breakdown: Originally from Belize, Aviles met his wife, Jennifer, at medical school while he was training to be a cardiologist in Minnosata. Inspired by his father, the young doctor joined Overlake Hospital in 2007 and lives in Kirkland with his wife and new baby.
Why this area? “I have been married to the Eastside for about ten years because my wife and her family are originally from this area. We wanted to start a family ourselves so we decided to come back here.”
How has technology changed medicine? “Being in cardiology affords a lot of interesting opportunity to work with technology by using it to improve the things we already do and use it to treat in ways we haven’t been able to treat before. Medicine is an ever changing field that renews itself every few years.”
Then and now? “When I started training the thought of replacing a valve that was damaged in some way through a non-surgical approach was really non-existant. The standard care was to do open heart surgery to replace a valve. Now we are researching clinical trials that are looking at replacing a valve through a small cathider through the growing without doing any open heart surgery. Where we are compared to where we were in the medical field not to long ago is just incredible.”
Best part of the job? “The best part of the job is connecting with patients and forming long term relationships to motivate them to make changes that are going to improve their health. One of the gratifying things i do, is somebody comes in with a heart attack in the middle of the night and it’s a life threatening situation and within twenty minutes we are able to change that around with a relatively minimal procedure, and save a life. I can’t put the way that feels into words.”
How do you find balance? “It’s difficult to balance work, family and play because at times I can work anywhere from 55 to 85 hours per week. One of the things my wife and I talk about is that the job demands that I work hard, but you also have to play hard. When you have the opportunity to go away, you do. I try to take a day off during the week to have family day.
Best advice you have been given? “The best advice I ever received comes from a person I admire a lot, my father in law. Ten years ago he said to me “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” You really have to have a passion for what you do and I have that.”
Sara Seumae | Spun
Breakdown: The creation of Spun, an eco-friendly clothing line, sprouted from a local mom’s desire to find affordable, organic fashion. Seumae came up with the idea for Spun in 2007 and after months of research and prompting from her father, she decided to move forward with the concept. With no prior fashion design experience, Seumae listened to her gut (and her father) and launched Spun in February, 2008.
Why organic clothes? “I started Spun because I saw a need and I wanted to create affordable organic clothes. I wanted fashionable, eco-friendly clothes that I could afford. I figured there were probably others out there that felt the same.”
Did you have prior experience? “I knew how to sew, but I am not a trained fashion designer so I approached this like a business. I spent a year researching online and in magazines. I finally just decided to launch in 2008 and went to Seattle Trend Show that year in April. Since then, I’ve been following my dreams with it and trying my best.”
How do you approach design? “I don’t design something as a piece of art, but instead I design practical, everyday pieces of clothing that I would want to wear. I want it to sell and I want others to really like the fit, color and the organic nature of it. I’m a mom and getting ready in the morning, with 4,000 interruptions in between, I need to be able to put on an outfit and be confident in the way I look and feel. I focus on a lot of solid prints with cuts that are flattering for women. At the end of the day, I design pieces that I like and hopefully that translates to other women just like me.”
Are the clothes made locally? “The clothes get made in a sewing house in Los Angeles. I use certified organic cotton in all of my pieces. I knew I wanted to do organics, there’s bamboo and soy, but I am drawn to organic cotton. I would love to have my designs made in a sewing house in Seattle so it’s local, but I have yet to find one yet.”
You also work a full time job? “I juggle a full time job, a family and spend six hours a day on Spun, from marketing, planning, designing, to the social media aspect including the website and blog. I’m busy, but I make it work.”
What’s next? “The next phase is to find a partner or an investor who understands my vision and can support Spun as the company moves forward.”
Casey Robison | Barrio Restaurant
Breakdown: Robison grew up on the Eastside, calling Issaquah home. He relocated to the Seattle area where he has spent his year’s bartending. His resume includes the Can Can in Pike Place Market, Smith pub and Café Presse. He has now returned to the Bellevue area as the bar manager of the new Barrio Restaurant.
How has the Eastside changed? “I went to high school about nine blocks from here and grew up here on the Eastside. It’s astounding the way Bellevue has changed over the last few years. It’s really intense. Hopefully the influx of restaurants and bars will bring more of a late night crowd.”
When did you join Barrio? “I’ve been with Barrio since day one. The Seattle Barrio opened in December 2008 and I officially got hired about a month prior. I was approached by the owner about a new restaurant concept. He wanted to hire me as a bartender and over a couple of months the bar manager position opened up and I took it. Now I divide my time between Barrio’s two locations in Seattle and Bellevue.”
How do Bellevue and Seattle compare? “I like working at both places. Seattle has a little bit more of a late night crowd and is a little more evolved because it has had more time to really adapt. Bellevue is rather new, but I”m lucky with my bar staff here because they are all really good and we work really well together as a fluid team. The Bellevue bar is a really hard bar to work behind because of the overall shape of the bar, the amount of products and the drinks are not necessarily the easiest in the world to churn out in volume, but its all in an effort to raise the level of service.”
Are you the mix master? “I do typically write the cocktail menus, but this last round I brought in my bar staff and had them come up with drinks to put on the menu to have them personally invested in what they are doing. Of course if a drink suck, at the end of the day, it pretty much comes down to me.”
Restaurant verses bar setting? “This is the first company I’ve worked for and I’m not really a corporate person, but I enjoy working here because even though this brand is becoming really successful they are still approachable. I have a real say when it comes to the bar and how we shape the cocktail menu.”
Drink remix: “I try to change up the drink menu once every three months to add fresh tastes based on a seasonal thing.
For April I’m going to gear the drinks towards spring. It’s fun to be creative and receive feedback from customers.
I’m playing with a new drink of reducing beer and make it into a syrup and mix it with tequilla. It’s really good and its kind of weird- but super cool.”
Drink to try: The Good Shepard- I made it spefically to go with the pork loin al pastor. It is made with mount gay eclipse, lucid absinthe, regan’s orange bitters, lemon, pineapple, fresno chile, agave, guava soda.