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Seattle’s Hall of Fame: Philanthropy, Sports, Transportation, Architecture, Technology and Business

By Seattle Magazine Staff October 31, 2016


This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Seattle magazine.

Above: Photographed September 8, 2016, in the Glasshouse at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. The museum, located in the shadow of the Space Needle, opened in 2012 and celebrates the work of iconic Northwest glass artist Dale Chihuly.


The McCaw familyphilanthropists: Bruce, Craig, John and their late brother, Keith, turned their father’s small 1960s Centralia cable company into a cellular phone empire (and became one of America’s wealthiest families in the process). The $20 million McCaw Hall is their highest-profile philanthropic contribution, but the brothers and their wives have supported a dizzying array of local institutions, from the Museum of Flight to Seattle Children’s Theatre to Seattle Public Schools.   

Becky Benaroyaphilanthropist, arts patron: Best known for funding the stunning Seattle Symphony hall that bears her name, Benaroya recently donated her renowned art collection and $14 million to the Tacoma Art Museum. 

Virginia Wright, cultural philanthropist and modern art collector: With her late husband, Bagley Wright, whom she met at a New York art gallery in 1951, she transformed Seattle’s modern art scene. The couple’s generosity continues to influence the city’s cultural fate through their institutional funding, art collection and her founding of the Washington Art Consortium.


Ken Griffey Jr., baseball player: Junior’s Hall of Fame induction in July capped an amazing 22-year professional career that featured 13 years with the Seattle Mariners, including the storybook 1995 season, which probably saved Major League Baseball in Seattle.

Edgar Martinez, baseball player: Possibly the best right-handed hitter of his generation and a Seattle Mariner his entire career, Martinez—now a hitting coach with the Mariners—gave life to the concept that integrity, perseverance and teamwork can create a community impact that transcends sports.

Pete Carroll, football coach: Although he’s only been here for a half dozen years, Carroll is the first coach to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl title, using an enthusiastic, motivational style to fashion a competitive football team that manages to galvanize community spirit year in and year out. 

Adrian Hanauer, savvy businessman, tech investor and soccer fan: The majority owner of the Sounders FC fell under the game’s magical spell at the age of 3 in his Bellevue backyard. Hanauer’s goal-oriented obsession is both profession- and community-based through the Rave Foundation and Washington Youth Soccer.


Jim Ellis. Illustation by Kathryn Rathke

Uber Influencial
Jim Ellis, Civic visionary no. 1: Created the Mountains to Sound Greenway system, saved Lake Washington from 7.3 billion gallons of annual sewage by creating Metro, fathered the Washington State Convention Center and, in 1968, pitched a transit system to voters bigger than Sound Transit at one quarter of the cost, with more than $10 billion (in 2016 dollars) in free federal funding. (Seattle voted no on that, so Atlanta got the cash.)

Joni Earl, former CEO, Sound Transit: Applauded for her transparent but tough leadership style, Earl rescued a sorely mismanaged light rail project in 2000, miraculously bringing in its first two phases on time and under budget—and changing the way Seattleites think about getting around.  


Jim Olson and Tom Kundig, principals/owners, architecture firm Olson Kundig: The architects and business partners have set the standard for modern residential architecture in the Pacific Northwest. Their award-winning homes continue to raise the bar in industrial/environmental design, and both have received some of the world’s highest design honors.

George Suyama, pioneering architect: He’s mix-mastered his Japanese cultural heritage with the natural sensibilities of the Pacific Northwest to design distinctive homes, many of which have won American Institute of Architects awards.

Dave Miller, founding partner, architecture firm Miller Hull Partnership: Projects such as the Bullitt Center, Seattle Public Utilities’ South Transfer Station and MarketFront (the multi-level expansion of Seattle’s Pike Place Market) have made Miller’s company one of the city’s most acclaimed public and mixed-use architecture firms.

Technology and Business

Paul Allen. Illustation by Kathryn Rathke

Uber Influential
Paul Allen
, Renaissance idea man: After cofounding Microsoft, he reinvented Seattle through investments in sports, transformative real estate (Experience Music Project, South Lake Union), the Emmy-winning Vulcan Productions, world-class art (Seattle Art Fair) and the $500 million Allen Institute for Brain Science. Next up: the  recently announced Upstream Music Fest.

Ed Lazowska, chair, University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Department: His research and teaching of high-performance computing and communications systems, and his service on countless advisory councils and boards helped shape Seattle’s high-tech economy and influence the future of information technology.

Rich Barton, founder, Expedia, Zillow and Glassdoor: “Disrupter” has become a cliché in Silicon Valley, but Barton is the real deal. The former Microsoft exec’s commitment to arming consumers with information changed the way we travel, hunt for homes and find jobs.

The Nordstrom family, flagships of fashion: Nordstrom has defined customer service, in Seattle and around the country, ever since founder John Nordstrom bet a $13,000 Klondike Gold Rush windfall on his first store. Four generations later, the expanding chain is still helmed by Nordstroms: Blake, Erik and Peter. The business is consistently ranked number one on Women’s Wear Daily’s list of favorite fashion retailers, and is the sole fashion company on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Also, the Nordstroms brought the Seahawks to town (before selling the team to Paul Allen).

Tom Alberg, managing partner, Madrona Venture Group: The Ballard native founded his venture capital firm in 1995 to invest in a still-unknown company called Amazon and then helped it go public. The bet paid off: Madrona is now the largest Puget Sound–area venture firm, and Alberg still serves as lead director on Amazon’s board.

Jeffrey Brotman, civic-minded discount maven, and Costco cofounder and board chair: Brotman, along with Jim Sinegal, helped make warehouse shopping a treasure-hunting adventure with membership privileges, and in doing so, created a worldwide retail empire.

Tomio Moriguchi
local publisher, civic leader and businessman: A onetime Boeing engineer, Moriguchi stepped into the family grocery business—Uwajimaya—to help out his parents. Uwajimaya achieved prominence as one of the nation’s best Asian markets during his 30-year tenure as CEO.

Bradley D. Tilden and William S. Ayerhomegrown airline executives: This duo took flight together, driving Alaska Airlines’ reputation for excellence in customer service and on-time rates while growing profits and routes. In 2012, Eagle Scout Tilden replaced licensed pilot Ayer as Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group CEO.

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