Inspirational Entrepreneurs

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What does it take to achieve success as a green business?  Entrepreneurs Mickey Blake from Floral Soil Solutions and Zach Wilkinson from Tidal Vision share their perspectives and answer your questions. How did they apply green chemistry and engineering to their businesses? What were their biggest obstacles? What advice would they offer to other green entrepreneurs?

ZACH WILKINSON, TIDAL VISION

Zach Wilkinson and Craig Kasberg founded Tidal Vision with the goal of inventing valuable and environmentally safe solutions for the billions of pounds of fishery waste Alaska produces annually. They’ve developed patent-pending methods for processing ocean byproducts into aquatic leathers and Chitoskin, and are currently selling salmon leather wallets.

Tidal Vision is a 2015 Safer Chemistry Champion Award winner.  This award from the Washington State Department of Ecology recognizes organizations that are taking significant steps towards producing safer products, using safer or less toxic materials, and using cleaner manufacturing methods.
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Zach’s extensive and diverse career experience includes retail, agriculture, byproducts merchandising, consumer finance, futures trading, technology transfer and commercialization, economic development with operational and management experience throughout. Zach has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Agricultural Business from Eastern New Mexico University. Zach is well networked from his previous work experience, which has been valuable to Tidal Vision’s development.

MICKEY BLAKE, FLORAL SOIL SOLUTIONS

Mickey Blake is the inventor of Floral Soil™ and the founder of Floral Soil Solutions LLC.  Floral Soil is an alternative to chemically derived flower foams that meets seven major goals: supports cut flowers, holds water, grows seeds, and is non-toxic, plant derived, biodegradable, and safe enough to eat.  Mickey is also the acting CEO of Mt. Baker Bio, an Everett, Washington-based life science company.  

Prior to starting Mt. Baker Bio, Mickey was a sales manager for a major molecular reagent manufacturer based in Europe and the USA. After several years working as a researcher and technical sales manager, Mickey recognized industry and the environment were headed for a collision course.  Mickey started Mt. Baker Bio out of frustration with the lack of sustainable infrastructure and solutions in industries heavily dependent on fossil fuel based consumables and hazardous materials.

Most recently, Mickey’s focus has been sustainable consumer product design where the entire life cycle is considered throughout the development stage. The next life of the product is developed first and promoted as equal to the initial intended purpose. Through this process, Mickey hopes to catalyze current and future makers to design for durability, recyclability and conservation of natural resources. 

Mickey’s scientific roots began at early age in the veterinary field where she developed a passion to not only to help animals but also to truly understand the foundation of the disease process.  Her primary research focus was with retroviruses in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Oregon Health Sciences University.

Mickey has received numerous honors and awards for her word at Floral Soil Solutions LLC and Mt Baker Bio, including the 2014 Safer Chemical Championship Award and both the 2012 and 2013 Washington Green 50, given to Washington's Top 50 Greenest Companies.  Additional awards include:

  • 2012 Sustainability Innovator of the Year
  • 2012 Sustainable Product Manufacturing Innovator of the Year
  • 2011 Washington Green 50 - Washington's 50 Greenest Companies
  • 2011 Mt. Baker Bio Wins Position in Wyoming Business and Technology Business Center Incubator