Participant Testimonials

What Accelerator Participants are Saying

IDEA International IncIDEA International Inc.

Size (employee): 5
Industry: Aerospace Engineering Consultancy

Description of company: IDEA International Inc. is the premier trusted resource in aerospace design, stress analysis and certification, reducing cost and adding value for our customers with efficiency, quality and expert knowledge.

“The Small Business Accelerator Foundations Program surpassed all expectations that I had. I thought I knew the basics of running a business, until I was introduced to the proper techniques that are specifically tailored to small business.  Using the knowledge I have taken from this class I feel it will provide a stronger foundation for our company to exponentially grow and increase our bottom line.” – Scott Hill, Director of Engineering


Hill Street Cleaners

Size (employee): 15
Industry: Dry cleaning and tuxedo rentals

Description of company: Hill Street Cleaners provides quality dry cleaning & garment care services, free pickup and delivery, tuxedo rentals, alterations, and wedding gown preservation.

"The Program has helped me to rekindle my interest in my business." -- Eldon Bartellheimer, CEO

PlasmaLab International

Size (employee): 8
Industry: Collection and sale of source plasma

Description of company: PlasmaLab International is a major supplier of an expanding array of specialized human in-vitro products for distribution to diagnostic, regulatory, and research facilities worldwide.

"The Accelerator helps me to be accountable.  I have the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with other owners." -- Kay Hill, CEO

In the News: PlasmaLab International was featured on KOMO 4 TV about how they collect plasma from people with Allergic & Autoimmune disorders which contain disease associated antibodies.


Diamond Knot Brewing CompanyDiamond Knot Brewing Co.

Size (employee): 70
Industry: Brewery & Restaurants

Description of company: Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse have been featuring their own handcrafted ales in the Pacific Northwest since 1994. The handcrafted ales are served through out multiple states nationwide. Diamond Knot also operates three full-service restaurants in Washington. Locations include two in Mukilteo and one on Camano Island.

"We have restated our financial statements on advice from the group which help me qualify for a multi-million dollar loan for expansion.  We have subsequently sent a number of our managers to supervisor and manager training at EvCC." -- Bob Maphet, CEO


Pro Refrigeration, Inc.Pro Refrigeration, Inc

Size (employee): 54
Industry: Refrigeration and cooling systems

Description of company: Pro Refrigeration is the Manufacturer of the Pro Chiller System, a Packaged Glycol Chiller System for the Brewery, Winery, Dairy, Bakery, Beverage, MRI, and numerous other applications.

“The Class Sessions [allows me] to get such a vast experience base to share your successes, challenges, and of course your less than successful decisions is one of the most valuable aspects.” and “ I’m able to get into my company at a deeper level than I am with anyone outside my company and get some honest, straightforward input.”  – Jim Vandergiessen, President

Update: Pro Refrigeration is investing $4.9 million to create 85 new manufacturing jobs in Davie County, NC.  On Tuesday September 10, 2013, Pro Refrigeration held an open house at their east coast headquarters and manufacturing center in Mocksville, North Carolina.

In the News: The Piedmont News Station WGHP featured Pro Refrigeration opening for business in Mocksville, North Carolina. Attendees included North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, Pro Refrigeration CEO, Jim VanderGiesseen Jr., Pro Refrigeration President, Jim Vendergiessen Sr., and Terry Bralley, President of the Davie County Economic Development Commission.


Enginuity AdvantageEnginuity Advantage

Size (employee): 2
Industry: Staffing and recruiting agency  

Description of company: Enginuity Advantage is an engineering staffing and professional services firm that strategically matches the best and brightest candidates with top companies.

“It [The Small Business Accelerator] stimulates thoughts and forces you to work on your business. It changes your frame of mind. I didn’t expect that. There are stimulating conversations.” – Kelly Hatfield, Co-Owner


Display Manufacturing, Inc.

Testimonial: "It’s been tough getting through the recession.  I was feeling burned out.  Our meetings get me inspired again and I find support and focus." - Tina Sharp, CEO

Display Manufacturing, Inc.

"The Program has been a breath of fresh air.  Being a small business owner is difficult.  The Accelerator helps you focus on the important things.  I want to sell the business but it will take time.  I now understand what it will take to get it ready for sale." - Dave Sharp, VP

Penny Lee Trucking, Inc.

"The instructor is extremely knowledgeable and confident. We have a lot of questions, as business owners and the class answers them all." - Penny Gutschmidt, CEO

FastSigns of Lynnwood

"I like the program because it gives me a way to view my business from a new perspective that has uncovered important opportunities for improvement." - John Niemi, President

DVeStore, Inc.

"One of the best decisions I have ever made was enrolling for the SBA program. Since then I have been committed to implementing tracking mechanisms which have helped our business steadily grow - we went from $2M/yr and are headed to $4M+ since enrolling - truly staggering results! Meeting with other business owners has allowed me to see into their world and realize that even though we are in different industries, we are still the same and can learn from each other. Owner insights has allowed us to make decisions from banking, to hiring, to social media and SEO – all cutting edge, to the minute info that you can’t find anywhere else!" - Guy Cochran, President & CEO

Western Systems, Inc.

"Small business owners usually succeed due to one or two business strengths.  The Accelerator Program requires the small business owner to review all the business disciplines needed to grow and sustain a successful business." - Mike Smith, CEO

Althea’s Footwear Solutions, Inc.

"I wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for the Accelerator Program.  I will be sending a key manager to the program in the coming year.  This will be a person who I think will eventually buy me out in five years and she needs to have this training!" - Althea Schlumpf, President

Mirsky Electric, Inc.

"The Accelerator is helping me to figure out how to get back on track and focus attention on my business." - Darrell Mirsky, President

Vaughan Safety, Inc.

"Armed with more facts about my company, the bank tripled by line of credit to over $250,000 and dropped my interest rate 3%.  Now I’ve got adequate financing to continue my growth." - Jeff Vaughan, President

Gavilanes Law Firm

"I have been practicing law for over 30 years, but I don’t feel I understand the business side of my practice.  In the Accelerator I’m learning from the other business owners and applying those ideas to my practice.  With help from the Program, I expect the double the size of my firm in the next five years." - Diego Gavilanes, Owner

Camp Riley Drug Company, Inc.

We have 4 owners in this business. Today we are being pressed from all sides by much larger competition and our future is uncertain.  The Accelerator is helping us as partners talk to each other like never before to make the changes needed to be competitive.  The support from the group and our coach has been enormous." - Mike Skillen, President