Expedia CruiseShipCenters Drops Anchor in Bellevue

Local Entrepreneur to Help Customers Plan their Perfect Vacation
Planning a vacation has just become a lot easier for families in Bellevue and Kirkland. With the desire and expertise to help their community find the right vacation, local entrepreneur, Elbert Stockberger, has opened his first Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise at 661 120th Ave NE, Suite 13B. 
Expedia CruiseShipCenters – part of Expedia Inc., one of the largest travel companies in the world – offers cruise vacations and much more through its 190 locations across North America.

Customers are able to choose from numerous vacation possibilities over land, sea and air, including customized trips, coach & rail tours and insurance – all at Expedia prices. In addition to the research and booking features available on their local website, Stockberger and his team offer personal travel consultations in person, through email or over the phone, so customers always have the freedom to book when, where and how they choose.

“I look forward to working with the community to help them find the cruise, land based vacation or adventure tour that is a perfect fit for their needs,” Stockberger, owner of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Bellevue, said. “The Internet can become overwhelming when trying to plan a vacation. With so many options available, customers really want to speak to an expert. Our team of Travel Consultants are experts at explaining the differences among ships and cruise lines to help our customers find the vacation that’s perfect for them.” 
Expedia CruiseShipCenters Travel Consultants are provided with extensive training and marketing support which allows them to become navigators of spectacular vacation experiences, even with no travel experience. “We are actively recruiting Travel Consultants to work full-time or part-time, with the flexibility to work from home when they are not in the retail center,” claims Stockberger. “Our agents have the freedom and flexibility to build their travel business on their own terms with the power of Expedia behind them.”
After spending most of his career in the technology sector, with high-level jobs at Coinstar and Naverus (now GE Aviation), Stockberger has discovered a way to combine his business management expertise with his passion for travel. At the age of 50, Stockberger has been on 10 cruises and traveled the world, including stops in France, Spain, New Zealand, Greece, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and more. Stockberger used his milestone 50th birthday as an opportunity to shift gears. He yearned for more than being a project manager and business systems implementation manager, and decided to follow his passion for cruising full time. From seeing firsthand how frequently the ships and routes change, Stockberger is pleased to provide a location for the people of Bellevue to come in and talk to a travel agent and cruise expert before going on vacation.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its cruise line members are projecting a positive year of growth with a 2015 passenger forecast of 22.2 million worldwide, according to data from Cruise Market Watch. To meet the growing demand for this high value vacation, cruise lines continue to invest billions, with seven new cruise ships expected to enter the market in 2015 in addition to the 14 ships that were introduced last year.
For more information or to research vacation options, visit www.cruiseshipcenters.com/bellevue or call (425) 822-7327.
About Expedia CruiseShipCenters
Named a fast-growing franchise by MSN Money, Expedia CruiseShipCenters provides exceptional value and expert advice for travelers booking cruises and vacations through its network of more than 190 retail travel agency franchises. As part of the Expedia, Inc. family of brands, the company’s 4,000 Vacation Consultants sell a wide range of vacation products including cruises, flights, hotels, vacation packages, tours, excursions and more. The company has been navigating spectacular vacation experiences for customers across North America for more than 27 years. For more information on Expedia CruiseShipCenters, visit www.expediafranchise.com.

Winetasting Fundraiser at The Bravern to Benefit the Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra September 19th

Sommelier Elton Nichols Leads Wine Auction and Fundraiser 

The Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra will hold its third annual fundraiser, a wine tasting at the The Bravern in Bellevue, on Saturday September 19th. The event will begin at 4:30pm with VIP tasting of 3 premier wines. General admission is from 5-7pm and includes a champagne welcome and 3 wine tastings paired with amuse-bouche.
The event, hosted by Advanced Sommelier Elton Nichols of Seattle’s distinguished Canlis restaurant, will feature a chamber music concert by LWSO musicians and a live auction. Patrons can bid on exciting auction items from Tesla, Teatro ZinZanni, Village Theatre and local wineries. 

The Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra’s September Wine Tasting Fundraiser is Saturday, September 19th in the South Tower Great Room at The Bravern, 688 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue WA. VIP admission, general entrance 5pm – 7pm. Tickets are $100 VIP and $55 general. 

Tickets are available by calling (206)307-7418, at the door (general admission only) or through Brown Paper Tickets,http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2162932. For information about the LWSO, see http://lwso.org.


Eliot Burdett Offers Blueprint for Success
NEW YORK, AUGUST 27 — Building a sales team from scratch is one of the most difficult and important tasks of a CEO. Generating revenue through sales, especially as start-up capital diminishes, can make or break a company’s success. However, hiring the wrong salespeople costs dearly in time and treasure. Fortunately, there is a well-defined formula for success. 

CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting Eliot Burdett has spent 25 years building sales teams and has 9 steps proven to build a successful sales team from scratch:
1)   DON’T BUILD TO SOON: Any entrepreneur yearns for revenue streams but if the product is not ready, the offering is shifting, the budget for an industry leader is not there or the appropriate management support is not in place, hiring salespeople can be a waste of limited resources. This is because the salespeople won’t have enough stability to be successful. Furthermore, prospects will want to speak to founders that have high domain knowledge and the authority to reduce the fear of risk associated with a young company. When these conditions stabilize, the time is right to start the recruiting process.
2)   DEFINE SALES TEAM STRUCTURE: Before hiring can commence, clearly defining the structure of the sales team is critical.  Will a rep handle everything from prospecting to closing or will there be separate teams for new business versus inbound leads? It is critical to define the process in advance so selling behaviors are aligned with the sales structure and strategy.
3)   ASSIGN TERRITORIES: Defining sales territories focuses selling efforts and prevents employees from targeting the same accounts and cannibalizing their efforts. Territories can be defined by geography, sector, or business size.
4)   MAP OUT INDIVIDUAL SALES GOALS:  Identify the goals used to measure success for each sales rep. These should include not only revenue goals but also the sales activity required to achieve the revenue. To derive these, work backwards, start from the desired output divided by the number of sales to arrive at the target number of sales wins, then determine the number of prospects, calls and amount of time required to win each sale. It is important to be realistic.
5)   DETERMINE BASE AND COMMISSION: Sales compensation plans vary widely across industries and companies, but as a rule of thumb, new business development positions pay a 50/50 split of base salary and commission. The compensation plan may need to be adjusted to provide fair reward for the effort and risk assumed by the salesperson, but more importantly, make sure it is high enough to attract the right sales people from competing employers.
6)   HIRE BASED ON SALES DNA AND NOT RESUME: Ideally, hire a candidate that has a proven track record of selling in startups. However, more important is to measure their sales DNA which we define as key traits of successful sellers such as ambition, perseverance, confidence, optimism, sense of urgency, desire to influence others, flexibility and ability to deal with uncertainty. The right DNA is the biggest predictor of sales success.
7)  FOCUS ON THE THINGS THAT ATTRACT TOP SALES TALENT: With limited funds, attracting top salespeople is difficult for startups, but not impossible.  The key is to make eye catching job ads, offer a viable and well defined career as opposed to just a job, get compensation offers right, and focus on attracting gainfully employed sales people, since the best of the best are always progressing well in their career. 
8)  IMPLEMENT A STRUCTURED ONBOARDING PROGRAM: The first 90 days of a sales rep’s employment is a critical time. Each day should be mapped out in terms of training on the product/service, the market and customers, and the selling approaches, systems and tools. Territory and account plan development and various other tests should be used to gauge learning progress and knowledge retention.  Companies that take the time to invest in onboarding reap the rewards down the road.
9)  MEASURE SUCCESS: It is critical that a new sales hire’s performance be monitored and measured closely. This is easy to do in companies with a shorter sales cycle, where it will be reasonable for a sales person to generate sales very quickly. In companies with a longer sales cycle, the focus needs to be on activities such as calls, meetings and pipeline of qualified opportunities. In either case, failure to monitor the activities can lead to poor habits, poor results and a failed hire which has awful consequences.
Building a sales team from the ground up is no easy task, but when done properly, it will lead to a powerful sales force that delivers strong and consistent revenue.
About Eliot Burdett:
Eliot Burdett is the Co-Founder and CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, a leading B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006. 
Under his direction, the company leads the industry with a success rate 50% higher than the industry average, working with a wide-range of clients including boutique, mid-size and world-class companies including P&G, Gartner, Deloitte, Merck, Western Union and others.
Prior to Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies by recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software) and served as Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.
Eliot received his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.  He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast.

Switchfly Labor Day Study Names Nassau #1 Destination

Data released today from Switchfly show people squeezing in one last weekend of beach time before Autumn hits
Switchfly, Inc., the technology company powering travel search, booking and loyalty point redemption solutions for travel booking companies, today released its Labor Day Travel Study about U.S. travelers’ preferred Labor Day destinations. The data was obtained through Switchfly’s platform which powers Orbitz, Expedia, and many other travel booking companies. The Switchfly Labor Day Travel Study ranked Nassau, Bahamas the first choice

for American Labor Day travel, followed by San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Orlando, Florida.

“What we really have here is a short-list of the best beaches that are easy to reach from the major U.S. hubs,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of Switchfly, “Cancun is about a 4-hour flight from LAX and Aruba is a 4-hour flight from JFK. You’ve got people from the West Coast flying to Mexico, people from the East Coast flying to the Bahamas, and people from all over the U.S. are flying to Florida because it’s close and it’s inexpensive.”
The top ten Labor Day destinations are as follows:
1. Nassau, Bahamas
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
5. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
6. Cancun, Mexico
7. New York, New York
8. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
9. Oranjestad, Aruba
10. Miami, Florida
Farrar continued: “It’s no surprise to see New York and Las Vegas on the list, as they are top travel destinations year-round. Number 11 on the list – Santiago, Chile – is a bit more difficult to explain. With September temperatures in the mid-60s and travel times from any U.S. airport clocking in at well over 14 hours, it’s not the warm weather or the cost of airfare that sees an uptick in Labor Day travel to this South American city. It must be the Shiraz.”
Switchfly, Inc. is a global technology company that powers travel shopping and loyalty redemption solutions for some of the world’s most recognizable brands across airlines, hotels, financial services and ecommerce. World-class products delivered via a flexible software-as-a-service platform let clients easily launch and maintain a complete omnichannel travel and loyalty experience superior to any online travel agency. Tailored to their customer needs while maintaining a full brand match, Switchfly solutions drive customer engagement, enhance brand loyalty and increase profit. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in San Francisco, the Company generates more than $1.25 billion USD in revenue for its clients annually and facilitates the redemption of more than 35 billion reward points and miles annually. The company’s global client roster includes American Airlines, Emirates, JetBlue and LAN Airlines; IAG Avios, Lufthansa Miles & More and United MileagePlus; InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels; Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Groupon. For more information, visit http://www.switchfly.com.


New dual balloon technology proven to provide more than twice the weight loss of diet and exercise alone

Seattle Weight Loss is one of the first in the U.S. to offer the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System, an FDA approved, first-of-its-kind non-surgical weight loss procedure for people with mild to moderate obesity. ReShape provides a new option for adults with a BMI of 30-40 and a related health condition who haven’t succeeded at diet and exercise alone and do not want or do not qualify for bariatric surgery.

“For years a significant gap has existed in treatment options for obesity with limited, effective therapies available,” said Ross McMahon, MD, Seattle Weight Loss. “We often see patients who are clinically obese and in desperate need of medical intervention to help them lose weight, when diet and exercise alone have failed and surgery is not an option. ReShape provides this group of ‘in-between’ patients with access to a non-surgical, reversible option to encourage new habits and lasting results.”

The ReShape Dual Balloon is inserted in the stomach during a short outpatient procedure, where it remains for six months, serving as built-in portion control so people may feel full and less hungry. It does not change or alter the natural anatomy of the stomach in any way. During this time and for the six months after removal, patients receive frequent in-office diet and exercise coaching sessions and access to the ReShape Patient Portal, an online support resource that provides tools and information to help patients track weight loss, diet, and exercise, and an on-line community where they can interact with each other.

More than 78 million adults in the U.S. are obese. In June 2013, the American Medical Association officially classified obesity as a disease. Clinically defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30, obesity can lead to numerous, serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
In an FDA clinical study of 326 patients conducted at eight sites in the US, patients with ReShape experienced 2.3 times more excess weight loss at six months compared to those who had the diet and exercise program alone.  In the clinical trial, patients lost up to 72 pounds in 12 months.

For more information contact Seattle Weight Loss at www.seattleweightloss.com or visit www.ReShapeReady.com.

About Seattle Weight Loss
In 2006 Dr. Ross McMahon collaborated with Swedish Medical Center to develop a multi-disciplinary Bariatric program in the Northwest. He saw the need to create a program that was able to provide a full service weight loss surgery program that was not yet available in local practices. His vision for this unique program was a bit ahead of its time. 
Ten years later, Dr. McMahon decided it’s time to get back to the fundamental practice of offering patients a program with a personal touch and quality care approach.  This led him to open a new Bariatric program to serve the Northwest region, Seattle Weight Loss. 

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Names MacEwan Interim CEO

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board recently took action to appoint Pam MacEwan CEO until such time a new CEO is named. She will be replacing outgoing CEO Richard Onizuka who announced he was stepping down from the role on August 28.

“I deeply appreciate the support provided me by the Board, Exchange leadership and our dedicated staff,” said MacEwan. “I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that come with running our Exchange and serving the people of Washington.”
MacEwan has been with the Exchange since the August 2012 in the role of Chief of Staff and has played an integral role in leadership of the Exchange and management of the organization. Prior to joining the Exchange she served as Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Governance for Group Health Cooperative. She directed Medicare & Medicaid program performance and strategy, government relations, public policy, communications, and consumer governance serving on Group Health’s leadership team. MacEwan also served as a Commissioner with the Washington Health Services Commission implementing the Health Services Act.
“Pam’s work on the Exchange to date has been invaluable,” said Ron Sims, board chairman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Our board members recognized that her recent and past experience made her the right person to take the reins as we move forward.”  The Board will launch a formal search for a permanent CEO after 2016 open enrollment.
Since going live on Oct. 1, 2013, nearly 2 million people – one out of every four Washingtonians – have used Washington Healthplanfinder to secure health insurance coverage at low or no cost. A recent Gallup Survey found that the state’s uninsured rate has dropped more from 16.8% to 6.4% since the opening of the Exchange – the fifth highest such decline in the nation. Washington Healthplanfinder has also secured more than $400 million in federal subsidies to help consumers pay premiums and reduce costs of hospital and provider visits.
About Washington Healthplanfinder
Washington Healthplanfinder is a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. The next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 1, 2015 for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2016. The open enrollment period will extend through Jan. 31, 2016.


On Aug. 31, Google and Kirkland residents will celebrate a new, highly-anticipated recreational space along the Cross Kirkland Corridor next to Google’s Kirkland campus. The $3 million project transformed a section of the abandoned rail corridor into a public open space with new recreational opportunities for Kirkland’s residents, as well as Google employees.  The new area features

a sand volleyball court, basketball court, Crossfit/TRX fitness section and zip line. Open for everyone in the community to enjoy, and interview Google spokespeople and local leaders.

·         Darcy Nothnagle, Head of External Affairs for NW Region, Google
·         Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen
·         Members of the public invited to take part in the celebration
WHEN: Monday, Aug. 314:30-6:30 p.m. Speaking program begins 5:15 p.m.
WHERE: Cross Kirkland Corridor in front of new Google Building

Bellevue College names new VP of Economic and Workforce Development

Position will provide business, industry and economic leadership on Eastside campus
Bellevue College has appointed Albert Lewis, Jr. as Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development.  In this role, he will work to expand the college’s outreach in the business, industry and economic development sectors while responding to local economic development and training needs for both credit and noncredit programs. 

“Economic and workforce development is a vital component of our college,” BC President, Dr. David Rule said. “Al’s contributions to this campus will not only shape our campus but the entire Eastside community for years to come.”
Mr. Lewis, who will start at Bellevue College on Sept. 8, comes to BC from Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL where he is the dean of corporate, community and continuing education. 
“People seek education and training to improve their lives, both personally and professionally,” Mr. Lewis said.  “I am excited to be joining the Bellevue College team and I look forward to working together to ensure that Bellevue College is the provider of choice for continuing education options for business, industry and the community at large.”
Mr. Lewis brings over 18 years of experience in higher education with a focus on workforce and business development.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in speech broadcasting from Marshall University, an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Akron and is currently studying for his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University. 

Mr. Lewis currently serves as a mentor for Beating Odds Shattering Stereotypes (BOSS) for African-American Male Students at Moraine Valley Community College, and serves on several boards, including the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, Old Plank Trail Community Bank, and the Calumet Area Industrial Commission (CAIC).

Is the American Dream Dead?

by Douglas Obey
The American Dream couldn’t be more alive but there are those promoting class warfare who are certainly trying to kill it off. The derogatory articles and reports about the wealth of the top 1% or the enormous gap between the wealthy and the poor, seem endless. It’s called “wealth inequality” as if everyone should have the same or close to an equal amount of wealth. I’m not denying the wealth gap exists.

My contention is that these reports suggest there is something inherently wrong with this, that the top 1% are not paying their “fair share” or that they are somehow responsible for keeping the poor, poor and for shrinking the middle class. Nothing could be further from the truth and these reports promote socialism at best and, in the worst of cases, promote jealousy, resentment and hate.

Let’s take some examples of the top 1% and determine what’s to “hate” about them. Let’s take the founders of Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook, arguably some of the most “egregious” of the one percenters, obviously all living the American Dream. They dared to not only dream of the technology but actually created the technologies that improved the lives of people all around the world. Their technologies help us all to be more productive and efficient. The companies they’ve built directly or indirectly employ millions here and around the world. Those millions of employees use their incomes to provide for themselves and their families and most, if not all, are living their own American Dream. It looks like the founders of these companies, and others like them, are adding to the middle class of this country, not responsible for the shrinking of it. But they are still the top 1%. I’m just not understanding what there is to “resent” or “hate” about them, yet.
So maybe it’s that they don’t pay their “fair share” of income taxes, as the reports suggest, that we can resent or hate about them. Well, let’s see. Based on the latest data reported in the Wall Street Journal for the 2014 tax year, 83.9% of all federal income taxes collected were paid by the top 20% of earners. The next 20%, assumable the upper middle class, paid 13.4% of all federal income taxes collected. That leaves 2.7% that was paid by the other 60% of working Americans. This is because we have a progressive income tax system in the United States which taxes those who earn more at higher rates. This eases the tax burden on those earning less than $79,500 and shifts it to those earning more but taxes those earning over $134,300 the most, forcing them to shoulder 83.9% of all the federal income taxes paid. It seems more than “fair” to me, so I don’t see how we can resent them for paying the bulk of the taxes that the government uses to provide the myriad of services most of us take for granted.
Now let’s take a look at what this 1% group does with all their money aside from living a deservingly affluent lifestyle. They give enormous amounts to charity. They build wings on hospitals. They fund research that finds cures for diseases or new technologies that help make all our lives better. Taken right from the Gates Foundation web page: “Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.”  Hmmm! I still can’t find a reason to resent or hate these folks.
Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t those with ill-begotten wealth. And they should certainly be vilified, but the vast majority of those “high earners” are actually “high achievers” and deserving of the wealth they’ve acquired and there is simply no reason for resenting or hating them for their accomplishments. That’s just Un-American.
So the next time we want to malign those “one percenters,” let’s instead be grateful for the creativity and vision these people had and their ability to compile the resources and brain power to create some of the most dynamic companies in the world. Let’s use them as an example to each and every one of us, showing us that even coming from modest means, as most of them did, we can reach for the American Dream and acquire it for ourselves like they did for themselves and millions of others.
Doug Obey has over 30 years experience helping people as a financial planner and investment advisor and is the author of Money and the Human Condition. Obey is also a self-made, successful entrepreneur and business owner who has acted as CFO and advisor to many other business owners. Learn more about Obey at http://www.dougobey.com/

Thirty-seven students graduated from The Construction Industry Training Council of Washington

The Construction Industry Training Council of Washington (CITC) held its 2015 graduation ceremony June 19th at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. There were 37 graduating students representing four of CITC’s state-approved trades: Carpentry, Electrical, Heavy Equipment Operator and Plumbing.

“The number of students enrolling in CITC’s programs is increasing since the economy has rebounded,” said Halene Sigmund, president and CEO. “All 37 of these graduates will have a myriad of opportunities due to the strong economy and a continued worker shortage caused by attrition and retiring baby boomers.”
CITC anticipates enrollment of 500 students for the fall quarter. First year classes (new students coming into the programs) have increased to 220 students, which reflects both the economy and the fact that CITC has opened a new facility in Spokane.
In lieu of a keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony, CITC showed a video celebrating its 30thAnniversary.
About CITC

CITC provides state-approved apprenticeship and craft training in the carpentry, commercial electrical, residential electrical, low energy electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, heavy equipment operator, laborers, painting, plumbing, and sheet metal trades.  CITC also runs continuing education classes for license renewal for plumbers and electricians. The program is dedicated to training, developing and retaining a skilled labor force for the construction industry and is both a nationally accredited and state-approved apprenticeship training program. CITC is headquartered in Bellevue and has training facilities and programs throughout the State.