In early 1994, Eldec was about to be acquired by Crane Company. When the deal was done a lot of people were laid off, including our neighbor and friend, John Vicklund. This was a recurring pattern that had happened to other Snohomish County companies. I was irritated and asked various people for suggestions about what we could do to improve the life expectancy of Snohomish County companies. There were painfully few suggestions. Most regarded takeovers by outside companies as a fact of business life. I also asked Greg Heberlein at the Seattle Times why the Times had dropped its North Index, which had included 4 Snohomish County companies. He said that maintaining an index with only 6 companies was just too difficult. Greg is a friend, but I told him that he had said the wrong thing. He had put a challenge in front of me. From that challenge began the Abarim Snohomish County Stock Index. (ASCSI) The first problem was to identify Snohomish County companies which would qualify for such an index. No one knew exactly how many companies were in Snohomish County. Greg was the biggest help. I ultimately found 6 companies. The original 6 companies were: ATL, Carver Corp., Cascade Financial, CellPro, Fluke, and ICOS Corporation. On November 21, 1994 the Abarim Snohomish County Stock Index came into being. It was started as a promotional index intended to improve the visibility of Snohomish County companies. It has become a valid tool for measuring the progress of Snohomish County public companies.
The ASCSI's first press release came 3 months later; the Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) was the first publication to carry information about the ASCSI. Rami Grunbaum at PSBJ gently poked fun at an index composed of only 6 companies, but the article also carried the names of all 6 companies. That was the 1st success. The ASCSI has grown and been featured elsewhere, including the Seattle Times, KRKO (1380) radio, the Everett Herald, the Edmonds Enterprise, the Eastside Journal, the Herald Business Journal, KOMO (1000) radio, the Edmonds Beacon, KOMO (channel 4) television, and KCTS (channel 9) television.
Because Snohomish County is in the shadow of Seattle and King County, the ASCSI provides an extra vehicle to give visibility to Snohomish County companies. It is our hope at Abarim that this small measure of additional publicity will help these companies grow and thrive. This hope has been justified. The number of companies in the index has changed over time and so have the rules for inclusion. The number of companies in Snohomish County and the market capitalization in Snohomish County continue to grow. ICOS Corporation, on February 28, 2000 became the first Snohomish County company to ever exceed $3 billion in market capitalization; ICOS has since sold out to Eli Lilly. 4 other companies in Snohomish County have reached a market capitalization over $1 billion each - Intermec was the 2nd, Frontier Financial was the 3rd, Zumiez the 4th, and, in 2009, Seattle Genetics was the 5th. Snohomish County has suffered through the down market since 2007; actually the ASCSI started down in December 2006. Combined Snohomish County market capitalization reached a low of two billion dollars in March 2009, well above the 800 million dollars for all 6 companies in the original index, but far below the 9 billion dollars reached in December 2006.
Snohomish County has grown into a biotech/biomedical center; Seattle Genetics is the 2nd most valuable biotech in the Northwest. SonoSite is the most valuable medical device company. .
As of November 2, 2009 11 companies compose the Abarim Snohomish County Stock Index. They are:
Neah Power Systems
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