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When Dan Foster started Orion Commercial Partners in October 2010, colleague reactions ranged from "What?!" to "That's genius!" He compares going out on your own to going off the high dive when you're a kid: "It looks really scary when you're standing on the edge, but once you do it it's not that bad."
Cary Adams, Lezlie Plastino, Mel Morgan Jr. and Dan Foster at SAM
We snapped Dan with Adams Commerical Group's Cary Adams, Kidder Mathews's Lezlie Plastino, and Washington Capital Management's Mel Morgan Jr. at last week's Bisnow Tech Summit at the Seattle Art Museum. Apparently going it on your own was a good idea even in 2010, when the waters of financing were running rather shallow. "Sometimes the best companies start at the worst times," says Cary, who formed Adams Commercial Group on the first of this year after a dozen years in business.

Richard Branson
At SAM, Dan was most intrigued by another company founder: panelist Dan Ivanoff, the man responsible for Schnitzer West. "It's like listening to Richard Branson," he says. "He just doesn't have that big mane of hair." (Dan Ivanoff laughed when we told him about the comment.)
Matt Steiner, Walt Niehoff, Mark Stillwell and Kay Travis at SAM
Behar VP Matt Steiner, LMN partner Walt Niehoff, Foushee's Mark Stillwell, and NBBJ's Kay Travis were all very chummy for 7:30am, prompting us to ask whether it was the coffee or the company. Turns out it's the company—Matt, Walt, and Mark all worked together on 401 Broadway a number of years ago, and Mark and Walt are back working together on a remodel of 1800 9th Ave. Meanwhile, Matt tells us he's getting under way with a medical office building to be located next to Valley Hospital. The 100k SF structure, which will be called Valley Medical Office, is pre-leasing.
Jason Dardis and Greg Mummy at SAM
DLR Group's Jason Dardis and GSG Group principal Greg Mummy are all about the acronyms—"we cover almost all the alphabet," Jason notes. He tells us he's working on the Westin Hotel's $30M renovation downtown: all new paint, finishes, furniture and bathrooms. Prep yourself for a weekend getaway: completion is expected later this month.
Kelly Beckley at SAM
Above, pre-panel schmooze time at SAM. Note the only person cognizant of the camera is BDP Design president Kelly Beckley, who is always ready with a smile—even at 7am.