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Mar 4, 2014 | Updated Apr 25, 2021

Made in Seattle: Speaker Series & Gallery Opening

Join us in the Seattle Waterfront area for two lively presentations and an artist’s reception. The theme of the evening is Made in Seattle.

Thursday, April 3rd
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Made in Seattle

Join us in the Seattle Waterfront area for two lively presentations and an artist’s reception. The theme of the evening is Made in Seattle. Three speakers from successful start-up companies that were born and raised in Seattle, tell us how they achieved amazing success and what the future looks like. Bring all your questions for Brian, Kurt, and Emily.

Wine, cheese, and beer will be served. RSVP at the bottom of the page.


  • 5:00pm Artist Reception: Emily Rieman, photographer, Best Friend Photography
  • 6:00pm Presentation: Brian Thomas, co-founder of Kvichak Marine
  • 7:00pm Presentation: Kurt Beecher Dammeier, founder of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Brian Thomas, Presenter

Co-founder of Kvichak Marine Industries, Inc.

Presentation at 6pm


Ever think you’d like to get a ride on one of those high-tech Seattle Police boats? Ever noticed the Coast Guard vessel practicing search and rescue in Elliot Bay with the helicopter? Ever visited Fisherman’s Terminal or watched the fishermen head up to Alaska in the spring? Then you have seen Kvichak Marine (pronounced Kweejack).

In a single-car garage in the early 1980s, Brian Thomas, Keith Whittemore, and Jim Meckley founded the Kvichak Boat Company. In 1983 they had already doubled in size and moved the company to a two-car garage. By 1998 they really stepped it up and moved to a new facility on the Ballard ship canal. Today, they have built and delivered over 500 aluminum vessels to Alaska, Russia, Uruguay, Italy, Iceland, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and you can see them everywhere you look on Seattle’s waterways. In 2010 Kvichak won Seattle Business Magazine’s Manufacturer of the Year award.

Come to Blink UX on April 3rd, and hear Brian tell the amazing story of Kvichak’s history and more excitingly, what the future looks like for Kvichak. Hear about the risks, ideas, the ups and downs, and see some super, super cool boat pictures. Also make sure to ask Brian how he makes all this happen and still finds time to sailboat race and golf in Mexico.

Kvichak Marine's has recently combined with Vigor Industrial to draw larger projects and more jobs to the Northwest. To learn more now, visit Vigor Industrial's website.

Kurt Beecher Dammeier, Presenter

Founder of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Presentation at 7pm

Kurt Beecher Dammeier

Ever order the cheese plate on Alaska Airlines or get mac and cheese to go for your flight at SeaTac? If you have ever strolled through the world-famous Pike Place Market and watched them making cheese right in front of your very eyes, then you know Beecher’s. You might already have a favorite; No Cry Woman is mine.

Beecher’s Cheese was founded by Kurt Beecher Dammeier in 2003, and opened in the Pike Place Market after Dammeier obtained a rarely-available storefront lease in the Market. A second location opened in 2011 in Manhattan. For Kurt, Beecher’s fulfilled an ambition of his beyond just making great cheese. He has long felt passionately about eating food free of harmful additives and preservatives, as well as believing that people should know more about the food they eat – where it comes from, what goes into it, and how it is made. When Beecher’s encountered problems in guaranteeing the standard flavor of the milks they were using, the company bought its own dairy cattle herds and farms to ensure control of the cheese products from beginning to end.

Dammeier and his company’s cheeses have been featured on national television, including The Martha Stewart Show twice and once on Oprah, with the “World’s Best” Macaroni and Cheese featured as one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things.” Dammeier has a cookbook, Pure Flavor: 125 Fresh All-American Recipes from The Pacific Northwest, and sponsors the Beecher’s Flagship foundation and Pure Food Kids project, an educational program to teach children in the Seattle public schools system about healthful diets.

Come to Blink UX on April 3rd, and hear the history and future of Beecher’s by the storyteller, Kurt himself. You might even get a sampling of the best cheese you’ll ever taste.

To learn more now, visit Beecher’s Handmade Cheese site.

Artist Emily Rieman, Artist

Founder, Best Friend Photography

Photographs will be on exhibit at the Blink Gallery until August 2014.

Surfing photo (of Emily) by Darcy Rant

Emily Rieman grew up sitting next to her father in his tiny, basement darkroom watching him make black and white prints. When she was 15 he gave her a Canon SLR and she began taking pictures of everything around her. She went on to study photography at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the University of Washington in Seattle, earning a BFA in Photography.

While at SVA, Emily was primarily interested in a photojournalistic style of photography, not giving her full attention in studio class. When her instructor told her the most difficult thing to light is black fur, Emily responded, “Um, … and when will I ever have to photograph black fur?”

When she started her pet photography business Best Friend Photography in 1997, Emily bought a studio lighting kit and figured out how to light black fur. She’s been doing commissioned pet photography ever since. Her work has been published both commercially and editorially.

Emily lives in Seattle with her husband Mark, their dog Lily and cat Stella. She teaches Intermediate Black and White Film and Darkroom at Youth in Focus, and volunteers for the Seattle Animal Shelter, Seattle Beagle Rescue and Big Sisters of Puget Sound. She also surfs as often as possible and never, ever misses a Sumo tournament on TV Japan.

Come to our artist’s reception and hear how Emily can get a cat to sit still and pose for the camera, not to mention a dog and a bird. Learn how she can capture every single whisker on a cat’s face, and how does she light black fur anyway?

Get a preview of Emily’s art on her site at Best Friend Photography.

Event Details

Space is limited, RSVP early

The event is open to the public and free of charge.
Please RSVP at our Eventbrite page. RSVP Now

Location: Blink UX
Waterfront Building.
1011 Western Ave. Suite 810
Seattle, WA 98104