business

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you're burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation's electric grid is changing. Power plants are increasingly turning to this low-cost, cleaner-burning fossil fuel.

Bill Pentak stands in the middle of a construction site, looking up at his company's latest project towering overhead — a new natural gas power plant.

Columbia Center Tower in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/David Schott

Ross Reynolds speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about the upside to Chinese investment in Seattle's real estate market.

Northwest sweet cherry experts are reporting that some orchards are having a hard time getting their fruit picked this year.

Oregon farmers could soon be more likely to use a mediator to help settle their disputes with neighboring farmers.

Cynthia Tee is the executive director of Ada Developers Academy, a coding school for women in Seattle.
Courtesy of Cynthia Tee

In a nondescript classroom in downtown Seattle, young women hunch over laptops, staring at lines of code.

These women, most of them in their 20s and 30s, are enrolled at Ada Developers Academy. This competitive program offers women free tuition and a stipend – all in the name of getting more women into the tech industry.

The marijuana industry has a pesticide problem. Many commercial cannabis growers use chemicals to control bugs and mold. But the plant's legal status is unresolved.

The grow room at Medical MJ Supply in Fort Collins, Colo., has all the trappings of a modern marijuana cultivation facility: glowing yellow lights, plastic irrigation tubes, and rows of knee-high cannabis plants.

"We're seeing a crop that's probably in it third or fourth week," says Nick Dice, the owner.

Northwest cherry season is upon us. And officials have just struck a deal to get more of those cherries to prime Asian markets like South Korea and China.

Workers sort through strawberry roots on a planter pulled behind a tractor at Sakuma Brothers Farm in Burlington, Wash.,
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

BURLINGTON, Wash. – On a recent morning at Sakuma Brothers Farm, eight Latino workers sat on a bench seat behind a tractor, planting strawberry roots that will bear fruit in a few years. Dust masks and goggles covered their faces.

There’s a good chance these field workers have joined, or work side by side, with a group calling for a union contract here.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Pike Brewing Company vice president Drew Gillespie about the company's new, 100 percent local terroir beer.

There's a serious problem in the American economy: Big corporations are doing well, but real household income for average Americans has been falling over the past decade — down 9 percent, according to census data.

"That's not good for America," says Harvard economist Michael Porter. "That's not good for America's standard of living. That's not good for our ultimate vitality as a nation."

Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with University of Washington philosophy professor Michael Blake about the ethics of proposals by companies in this region -- like Microsoft -- to hire more foreign workers.

A few short years after voice mail was developed in the late 1970s, it quickly became an essential business tool.

But in the past few years, its use has been in decline. And some offices have opted to get rid of it altogether.

After JPMorgan Chase said last week it was canceling voice mail for most of its employees, I sent the bank's public relations department an email.

A bit later, there was that familiar red light on my desk phone:

Selling seeds and pesticides used to be a sleepy, slow-moving business. That was, until about 20 years ago, when the chemical company Monsanto introduced genetically modified crops and started buying up seed companies. Ever since, companies in this industry have been maneuvering like hungry fish in a pond, occasionally dining on pieces of each other, hoping to survive through size and speed.

Nelida Martinez, one of the farmers growing their businesses at Viva Farms, a farm incubator project
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

  Strawberries, beware. Blueberries and raspberries are ripening early this year.

A warm winter has given way to a hot spring, which means berries are ripening early this year in the Pacific Northwest. That’s great for some growers in the short term – and the rest of us hankering for juicy fruit – but it’s also created competition among farmers.

business board room
Flickr Photo/Eric Dan (CC-BY-NC-ND)

More men named John, Robert, William or James run the boards of America’s largest companies than women do.

And in the Pacific Northwest, the numbers are worse than the national average.

Pages