Top Innovators: Booshoot Gardens

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Jackie HeinricherIt took Jackie Heinricher and the scientists at Booshoot Gardens nine years to crack the bamboo code, but their research has led to the rapid propagation of bamboo through tissue culture, something no other company had done before.

Most of the world’s bamboo is grown in Asia, and despite the plant’s hardiness, it can be difficult to start a new crop from seed because of its infrequent flowering. The Booshoot method begins with cuttings from healthy bamboo plants, which are then sterilized and placed in a nutrient-rich gel of salts, plant sugars, hormones, vitamins and other nutrients to facilitate growth. By raising the plants here in the United States, Booshoot hopes to combat irresponsible harvesting practices and make bamboo more available to American manufacturers.

Booshoot started small, cultivating “bamboo that behaves,” or noninvasive ornamental bamboo for home gardens. It’s now expanding production to meet the growing demand for bamboo in textiles, wood products, soil stabilization and reforestation, which takes advantage of the bamboo’s ability to sequester four times as much carbon as a tree (bamboo is actually a kind of grass).

Heinricher’s research has given suppliers the option to purchase vigorous plants in a uniform size, and her stock may help to establish the first domestic agriculture market for bamboo. Booshoot has cloned more than 50 species of bamboo, and produces millions of plants a year.

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The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
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Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn › belshaw-adamatic.com
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
 
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
 
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
 
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.