The Best and Worst of Business 2009

Remembering the good news and bad in a year we won’t forget.
By Leslie D. Helm, Chris Winters, Talia Schmidt, Kate Vesper, David Volk, Randy Woods, Elizabeth Economou and Art Thiel |   December 2009   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Illustrations by Mark Brewer

helped fund a stadium, it would host soccer matches along with football.

"People asked us for a long time, 'When is it going to happen?'" Leiweke, a 26-year veteran of pro sports administration, notes. "I would often say, 'When we do it, we will do it right, so that it has a chance to succeed for the long haul.' Now, when you look at this partnership between [majority owner] Joe Roth, [part-owner and general manager] Adrian Hanauer and Paul Allen, you can check the box that we put the right partnership together." —Art Thiel

Photo by Hayley Young


Best Leader in Education: James Jiambalvo, Dean, Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, and the Kirby L. Cramer Chair in Business Administration

Jim JiambalvoSchool rankings may not be a perfect measure of success, but there's no doubt they raise an institution's profile. As head of the UW's Foster School of Business, Jim Jiambalvo, 60, has been instrumental in improving that school's ranking on the U.S. News & World Report list of full-time public school MBA programs, up from 13th in 2008 to eighth in 2009. It's just one measure of success for this public-accountant-turned-professor (he taught at the UW for three decades before becoming dean), who nabbed the school's top spot after a nationwide search.

Jiambalvo has also re-energized the business school's capital campaign, pulling in some $65 million in major gifts during the campaign's final year in 2008. And he's credited with re-envisioning the school's new home: Paccar Hall, a $95 million, state-of-the-art facility set to open for classes in fall 2010. "It may be the single most important aspect of us becoming a successful school," he says.

"Our ultimate goal is to be the best public business school in America," he adds. "I don't think that means being ranked number one. It's about creating futures and changing the lives of our students; that's the ultimate goal." —Elizabeth M. Economou


Best Business Expansion: Express Credit Union moves into low-income housing

About four years ago, long before the current economic crisis, Tricia McKay was looking for a way to address the fact that a shocking 20 percent of Puget Sound-area residents, mostly in the low-income bracket, had no access to banking institutions. "Far too many low-income people in the county had nowhere else to turn except to predatory lenders like payday-loan and

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