Amazon: Engagement

Software engineers are in great demand, especially those pioneering new work in AI and natural language programming. Amazon in Seattle wants to continue to attract the best and brightest to work in its Customer Engagement Technologies (CET).

We created a fast-paced 5-minute video based on extensive conversations with the Amazon team. These are scientists, researchers, and customer-obsessed team members looking for ways to perpetually improve the Amazon customer experience. These most esoteric of modern disciplines, known collectively as machine learning, are put to work enhancing the most basic of transactions, the browsing and buying on Amazon’s vast network. How do thousands of customer interactions help program a “chat bot?” That’s what we learned producing this program.

They say Amazon has the best data anywhere, and CET claims there’s is the best in the company. Who wouldn’t want to help them succeed?

Our Shared Future

In the booming town of Silverdale, on Washington’s pristine Kitsap Peninsula, they take their water seriously. As a result, they’ve been far ahead of their time planning and perfecting a sophisticated system of water recycling that’s downright revolutionary.

Because it relies on on aquifers and rainfall, with no natural glaciation or river systems, the Kitsap Peninsula is a “zero sum” water user. They can only use what they have, in perpetuity, despite a thirsty population growing relentlessly. Hence, recycling.

In our film for Silverdale Water District, we learn from thought leaders helping lay the “purple pipe’ that will carry recycled water when the entire system comes on line in a few years. By putting in the piping now, during other building projects and improvements, the District spares taxpayers the burden of digging it all up and installing it again later.

From the massive new Franciscan Medical Center to the soccer fields of North Kitsap High, recycled water is the name of the game in Kitsap. Saving money, saving water, and doing its bit in saving the planet.

Imagining Tomorrow

This pioneering film sets the stage for the movement now called “career-connected learning,” putting students in touch with real skills, real mentors and teachers, and real jobs.

Thanks to collaboration with Washington State University and especially with Spokane’s Itron Corporation, we spent six months profiling innovative programs across the region that are introducing high school students to the skill sets (and even the ability to fail constructively) needed for success in the 21st Century.

  • How do you fill the skills gap between what businesses need and schools provide?
  • How do you teach students the secrets of success at careers, not just filling jobs?
  • How do you make academic work relevant in a time of relentless change?

“Imagining Tomorrow’ helps answer these questions, focusing on school districts, educators, and innovators creating the pipelines for the next generation of truly successful learners and doers. Along the way we witness an extraordinary competition for young learners well on their way to Nobel Prizes. Or at least the careers of their dreams!

For the last four years Sustainable Media Partners has produced profiles of the finalists for the CleanTech Achievement Award, presented by the CleanTech Alliance to outstanding regional organizations and companies. Three semifinalist profiles highlight the CTAW Annual Meeting, and set up the grand prize Award winner announced at that event.

Sustainable Media Partners has a long history with McKinstry, filming a then-candidate Barack Obama announcing his clean energy vision there some ten years ago. McKinstry was also a lead sponsor of the piece “Evergreen: The Washington Clean Tech,” a Sustainable Media film credited by many as helping “put clean tech on the map.”

Choose Washington State

Washington State Department of Commerce

Sustainable solutions, like business legends, are built to last. We helped the State of Washington’s Commerce Department identify and profile tomorrow’s regional business legends in the making. As in our previous work with Commerce – supporting the Washington Export Initiative with a series of profiles of outstanding exporting businesses – we traveled the entire state, featuring the next trillion-dollar software firm, Avalara, new initiatives and talent at the Gates Foundation, and star agricultural exporters Anderson Hay and Grain, among others.

Participants appreciated our news / documentary style, nimble, efficient production approach, and building their unique stories from the ground up – on location, person-to-person, collegial and conversational.

Washington State Department of Commerce uses “Choose Washington – Where Else?” on its web site, as a recruitment tool for new business partners, and to solicit foreign direct investment in Washington State.

Green Healthcare

WSU College of Nursing and Providence Health

Healthcare is one of America’s most prodigious users of energy – up to five per cent of our energy national energy expenditures – and generators of waste. “Green Healthcare” profiled thought leaders making a difference regionally and nationally, while educating the next generation of nurses. Providence Health in Missoula, Montana, and the Washington State University College of Nursing share a unique resource: Sustainability Coordinator and WSU Research Professor Beth Schenk, a superstar in both these organizations. Beth’s team in Missoula generates research, implementation strategies and a vision / roadmap for a greener and more environmentally responsible healthcare system.

Meanwhile the WSU College of Nursing, with over 800 nurses in training, continues to generate new strategies for
greening the administration of patient care. We’d helped WSU publicize a number of worthy programs previously, including clean tech innovations at the School of Engineering and Architecture.

Thanks to the interest in “Green Healthcare” regionally and nationally, our Case Study Video / Book / Study Guide combination became the first custom “standalone” offering from Sustainable Media Partners – a single case suitable for shorter, intensive introductory and training sessions.

Introducing edg3 FUND

Kitsap Bank

Kitsap Bank chose Sustainable Media Partners to help launch its edg3 FUND competition: promoting and sustaining its community and its customers. Over 70 small businesses applied for a cash grant from the bank and a wealth of networking, publicity and visibility. Once the five finalist companies were chosen, each prepared a business pitch for a bank of judges – “American Idol” style – which culminated in a live event at Kitsap Conference Center.

We produced five “commercials” for the finalists – 60-second, on-location video introductions filmed with each company, which became theirs to keep for their own marketing communications. In addition, Hal served as MC for the live Finals Event in November, and provided two additional video pieces highlighting Kitsap Bank’s vision of building a more sustainable community.

The edg3 FUND winner? An Olympia-based company called Olykraut, producers of world-class pickles and sauerkraut, as well as an ethos of localism, healthy eating, and regional business success.

Renewing Brew

Energy Trust of Oregon &  Worthy Brewing

Bend, Oregon is a hotbed of craft brewing: putting the right stuff in the suds combines sound business and sustainable use of resources. Worthy Brewing is one of dozens of craft brewers now epi-centered in the Bend area of central Oregon. And this being Oregon, of course, quality of life and respect for the environment are huge considerations for any business, let alone one that relies so heavily on the bounty of the earth, air and water.

Highlight of our trip was a visit to Goschie Farms and roaming among the towering hops. Gail Goschie is a second generation hop farmer, entirely at home both as steward of her family business and energy innovator. Gail and her family have pioneered practical ways to cut their energy bills and overhead: Energy Trust of Oregon is helping them save both money and power.

In downtown Bend, Worthy Brewing has created a hands-on environment both for brew connoisseurs and sustainability geeks – a magnificent pub and tasting room married to demonstrations projects, tours, and public education. Our 2:00 film has given Worthy a big push regionally and proved among the most popular in our ongoing partnership with Climate Solutions.

The Tao of Green: Clean Tech in China

Sustainable Media Partners

A trade mission to China revealed an extraordinary, booming infrastructure and cities built on a scale that dwarfs any we’ve seen. Beijing itself is 6500 square miles in area – by contrast Los Angeles is around 350 square miles. And although we looked for clean technology, we found instead a competitive mindset that wants to dominate world production of wind, solar and thermal power, not necessarily apply it to a population gagging on smog and sickened by water pollution.

Hal and business Partner Thom Kroon spent 8 days in Shanghai and Beijing, shuttling between delegation meetings and traditional sights such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City – truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Our twelve minute film – “The Tao of Green” – took advantage of the expertise and access of our fellow delegates and unprecedented on-location filming with Chinese thought leaders and officials. The result is a spectacular, but sobering, look at this phenomenal country which aspires both to lead the world in clean tech manufacturing but has yet to apply these innovations to its beleaguered population – smog-beset and enduring nothing less than an environmental / public health crisis.

Building: Watson Furniture

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance

A groundbreaking Kitsap County company combines 21st century tech and old-school integrated manufacturing: supplying state of the art office suites for Nike, Boeing and the company next door. Watson Furniture attracts corporate buyers and artisanal craftspeople to its wooded campus near Poulsbo, Washington. Design and manufacturing are literally integrated, with raw materials in one door and finished suites of state-of-the-art office furnishings out the other.

Our creative approach capitalizes on the success of our “Kitsap Connected” media campaign, now in its third year. For this new round of updated video profiles, we feature first-person conversations blended with dynamic location b-roll of people and processes. There are now over fifteen produce pieces in the “Connected” series, linked through KEDA’s substantial web presence and the social media contacts among its membership.

The “Fourth County” in the burgeoning Puget Sound Region economy, Kitsap exceeds even it booming brethren – Snohomish, Pierce, and King – in quality of life, cost of living, and educational and workforce advantages.

The Living Building

The Bullitt Foundation

It’s the world’s first inter-urban, rented-out, energy-budgeted “living building.” The Bullitt Foundation asked Sustainable Media Partners to chronicle its design, building, and birth, with status reports on how it’s meeting the Living Building Challenge. This five-minute introductory piece is used to orient first time Seattle visitors, and communicate with a worldwide audience of interested builders and environmentalists.

A personal highlight: spending time with Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes, known by many as one of the Founders of Earth Day, but more specifically someone who share’s Hal’s southwest Washington roots. “After apologizing to this environ-God that I was in fact a Longview ‘Lumberjack,’ he replied in kind that as a Camas ‘Papermaker’ he’d traveled some distance as well from the old ‘resource extraction’ economics and ethics.”

A host of partners and participants also use our film, especially the legions of subcontractors and suppliers who subscribed to the rigorous terms of the Living Building Challenge. They’re now applying those win / win innovations in their own businesses: Goldfinch Brothers of Everett have become 21st Century glass people.

Eco Capitalists

Green Canopy Homes

This Pacific Northwest company buys and retrofits classic homes – fixer uppers – with a competitive edge: making them energy smart can add 5% to 10% to their market value. Green Canopy Homes brings a background in finance, real estate, and money markets to their innovative business model, not just environmentalist credentials. The hybrid creates a powerful business model with real bottom-line results.

We visited three projects, shooting on-location process video from energy audits to demolition to a realtor open house showcasing a pristine finished product. Company founder Aaron Fairchild proved a real kindred spirit – he was one of the first to step onboard for the then-fledgling “Solutions Stories” project – and benefitted greatly from the film debut at the Climate Solutions’ Annual Breakfast.

Since its inception, “Solutions Stories” has profiled over a dozen enterprises in the Northwest putting together bottom-line focused energy and environmental improvements.

Export Success: Swype

Washington State Department of Commerce

We all live moment-to-moment with our electronic devices and their keyboards. We profiled a company that’s invented a faster way to input information, and cut down that keyboarding time. Swype is now exporting that remarkable solution worldwide, and was awarded the “Exporter of the Year” award by Washington State Department of Commerce for sending its innovative software solution around the world.

We asked the Swype team to show us more than just their imaginative culture: staging a face-off between Swype input technology and conventional keystrokes; setting up timed relays among employees; gathering for a wacky group photo; probing for “how’d you get this far this fast” commentary from inventors and executives.

“Export Success Stories” assembled these two-minute videos into an influential campaign highlighting this critical sector of the state’s economy: Washington State is in fact the largest percentage exporting state in America, and a vital gateway to overseas markets. Our survey of top companies spanned the entire state, from agricultural to composites manufacturing.

Plant Nerds

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA)

The largest agricultural business in the State of Oregon isn’t wheat or hops or even wine grapes: it’s the nursery business – ornamenting the indoors and outdoors for Northwest green thumbs. The care and feeding of select species takes loving care, water, and a lot of energy.

When we showed up in Central Oregon we found hills carpeted with exotic plantations, greenhouses, and potted greenery. We also found a huge demand for energy: moving water to the nurseries, distributing it among the plantings, and monitoring its use all require substantial amounts of electricity. Thanks to a coalition of nurseries, and a helping hand from NEEA, a series of efficiency improvements now save not only the green thumbs, but the electrical ratepayers, substantial money and power.

One of our top five favorite sound cuts of all time came from Whitney Rideout of the Oregon Association of Nurseries: “Yeah, I’m a plant nerd.” The special bond between Whitney and Bob Terry of Fisher Farms made for great pictures and a warm-hearted tone to the entire piece.

Kistap Connected: Work + Life

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance

The Central Puget Sound is booming, and one of its premiere economies, Kitsap County, offers unmatched quality of life, cost of living, and the prettiest commute on the planet. Working closely with the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) we’ve produced profiles on more than fifteen businesses and organizations which demonstrate Kitsap’s vital role in this dynamic economy.

A project over 18 months in the making, “Kitsap Connected” began with a two-day Board of Directors retreat organized by KEDA’s dynamic Executive Director, John Powers, and featuring in-depth discussions of how the County and its businesses might best tell their story. The retreat resulted in a consulting contract and proposal, then a series of filmed conversations over the next six months. The final results were spectacular, and won a national marketing award for KEDA: a series of introductory films and a spate of profiles allowing Kitsap businesses to share their own stories and successes.

Currently, we’re working with KEDA to revise and update its suite of existing videos, and have already added six additional companies to those sharing in the fruits of the “Kitsap Connected” campaign.

Live, Work, Play: Port Orchard

Port Orchard Washington

It’s both picturesque and practical – a village of 13,000 souls set on Puget Sound and making its living both through traditional business and from its unmatched quality of life. We told the Port Orchard story via conversations with a choice and colorful collection of locals.

Who knew…that one of the largest selling contemporary authors in the world – Debbie Macomber – makes her home, and takes much of her inspiration, from Port Orchard? Who knew…that bonsai gardener and guru Dan Robinson has assembled a world-class collection of ornamental trees and plants there (he’s the one that likes it a little gnarly, by the way)? Who knew…that inventor Rick Flaherty might be pioneering LED lighting solutions that will revolutionize energy efficiency and housing design?

Our approach to Port Orchard was, as usual, getting to know its people and facilitating their stories. With the behemoth Puget Sound Naval Shipyard looming across the salt water, Port Orchard offers the best of both worlds: a cozy enclave, picturesque in the extreme, at the heart of a vital economic lifeline for the state and the nation.