From the bodily depths of Mother Earth emanated the genesis of a small business on the way to become a company; from the volcanoes, from the earthquakes, from the floods, from the ravages of the Bering Sea, from the serenity of Puget Sound, from the cataclysms of Alaska and from the disasters of Enron, Exxon and BP.
How that small company came to be an innovative leader at an affordable cost with technical competence in building bridges into the global villages of the future for some Fortune 500, some international and mostly small, privately owned companies is the rest of the story…
It really began in 1953 when Sam decided to pack his family and belongings in a trailer behind an Oldsmobile sedan and head “North to Alaska.” Sam had been a television and appliance salesman for Paulson’s of Tacoma (his family had the first TV on their block in the late 40’s and the newest and best household appliances).
The adventure to conquer the daunting Alaska Highway began in Tacoma, Washington. All along the way were “Alaska or Bust” signs and remnants of goods too heavy to haul any further; pianos, washers, dryers, dressers, tires, autos, house trailers, utility trailers, etc.
To Sam’s 9-year-old son the mosquitoes looked as large as hummingbirds. The trail brought Willa Cather’s writings alive to the young reader. The days were long, sometimes as long as 30 miles a day. Conditions were sparse, primitive and hostile. Some days would go by where only one semi-truck or car was seen. It was desolate. Sam’s son read his books and watched in awe. After almost three weeks the family arrived in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska with dust, dirt and a paltry 25,000 people, including the two large military bases! The family found a slum apartment in which gypsies were the main occupants. Sam’s son loved the romance of the gypsies and eagerly learned all he could of their ways. Soon the family moved into a more suitable, family dwelling.
The years were filled with hard winters. Sam’s son learned how to live with Mother Nature in the worst of conditions. Sam’s son learned to be ingenious because broken down cars, broken down furnaces, broken down anything, which was frequent, often required instant learning and instant solutions to solve survival problems. This was the land where lettuce was never green, unless giant and from the Matanuska Valley in the summer, because it was picked so early for the shipping.
Alaska was a land where eggs were a month old (fresh), orange juice cost more than a burger (of what, who knows) and television was comprised of tapes from Seattle that were two weeks old as was the news.
Sam’s son, a reader, a lover of poetry and classical music, soon learned that intellectual penchants were considered feminine traits that threatened all life and were to be physically stamped out as soon as noticed. Sam’s son used his flashlight nightly, under the covers, reading economics, history, philosophy, biographies, literature and historical novels. During the day he sat out among the tundra scrub, alone, writing epic poetry and pining for the sounds of Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach and Khachaturian. He learned to hunt, fish, fight and kill. He learned to ask why we learn to hunt, fish fight and kill. Sam’s son wrote his first paper (5 pages) at 12 on solving the world hunger problem with a redistribution scheme using the World Bank. Sam’s son was very energetic, a workaholic and unable to stay with any one thing very long.
As the years went by Sam’s son entered the University of Washington where he received an undergraduate degree in business with a dual major; accounting and finance. He then went on to receive a masters degree in business; his thesis was about those laid off from Boeing in the early seventies that started their own companies. Many of those companies are prominent names in our community today.
During the years of formal education Sam’s son entered the Army and served in the White House under President Johnson where he learned protocol and etiquette (few know the difference between the two let alone how to apply them) and security. Sam’s son subsequently went to Harvard under scholarship for postgraduate work and Notre Dame for law school (he wanted to go where God and the law met). He attended Becherer CPA review and sat for his CPA examination.
He was Director of Unemployment Insurance for the State of Alaska (banking, payments and transaction processing) during the building of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. He was also a senior college instructor at the University of Alaska Southeast campus.
He studied for and passed the Washington State Real Estate Brokers examination and the U.S. Customs Broker examination. He became Coordinator of the Real Estate Department and an Instructor for North Seattle Community College (the largest program in the State of Washington) and an instructor. He also taught computers and business writing at the Seattle Vocational Institute.
He knew his clients and the marketplace needed a bridge builder and systems integrator qualified in International trade transactions. This was especially true given the 1995 and 1996 law changes that made exporters and importers personally liable, financially and criminally, for violations that used to be the liability of the U.S. Customs Broker. He knew the Internet was moving into the world of International transaction processing.
Sam’s son, while not a practitioner in law, accounting, customs brokerage and real estate became an educator, consultant and WEB site provider. His company focused on small companies (less than $10,000,000 in annual sales) who needed a “jack of all trades” at an affordable price with superior technical competence and experience honed in the “emergency room operations” of real life. Larger clients needed a “special team for in and out results” or a quiet point guard in risky markets.
Along the way Sam’s son was constantly drawn to clients and customers who had run out of money, run out of hope and had few if any helpers. They had built their businesses on sweat. Their front office had been their nursery, living room, and family center. They had provided many a holiday and income to their employees. Sam’s son became the “emergency room doctor” operating against all odds. After years of such experience he decided that a life with those moving into the future and those open to the dynamics of a world at large would be a better opportunity to add value, make a profit and feel. He also perceived such a world as more exciting.
Through out the years as a consultant, real estate broker, teacher and small business appraiser Sam’s son gained much more in the way of local market and international experience. Trips to China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Eastern Russia for clients by the company in recent years added even more to a treasure trove of experience.
Along the way Sam’s son operated a premiere firm with as many as 14 consultants and agents. Few had the integrity, work ethic or operational savvy to perform at the competence level that Sam’s son required. Even fewer were willing to produce the quality expected at the lowest of market rates. Very few had the integrity necessary by Sam’s standards. Sam’s son enjoyed eight years as a member of the Better Business Bureau for Western Washington without a single complaint.
As Sam’s son recognized the incursion of the Internet into business and life he spent virtually thousands of dollars and hours as restructuring himself for small business of the future. Sam’s son realized the future was global, Internet and Word Wide Web based and that few businesses were prepared to go into the future.
Sam’s son had helped to introduce Word Perfect and Novell to the Pacific Northwest as well as other software and hardware. Sam’s son was one of the founders of the largest manufacturer of personal computers in the Pacific Northwest. He had also helped design and manufactures one of the first IBM PC clones. He had been trained by Allen Michaels; the co-inventor of the 8080 Intel chip architecture at Fairchild. Sam’s son had experience and training from IBM, Xerox, Savin, NBI, Convergent Technologies, Victor and Hewlett-Packard. He understood technology but was neither the best nor very efficient at implementing technology.
Sam’s son knew that any international transactions required a U.S. Customs License and that importers and exporters were going to be held accountable for all U.S. Customs covered transactions. An improper system of communications and interaction would deplete importers and exporters wallets or send them to jail!
Sam’s son knew in the early 1990s that few understood a digital age transition into the future.
Sam’s son knew that most were risking more money than they had by spending far too much far too soon on WEB sites.
Sam’s son knew that the middleman was being eliminated daily by the WEB site and that producers were going direct to world markets.
Sam’s son knew that the World Wide Web was expanding mail order while killing the industry as manufacturers went direct and continue to go direct.
Sam’s son knew that Washington State companies with over 50% of their revenue from outside the State of Washington were generally making money.
Sam’s son knew all too well that those with the majority of their revenue from within the State of Washington were suffering serious cash crunch, margin depletion and increased costs that could not be transferred to higher sales volume with lower margins.
Sam’s son knew that there was no competitor with operational skills, technical skills, U.S. Custom House Brokerage skills, real estate skills, education skills, accounting skills, legal skills and diplomatic training that could help the smaller practitioner into the future.
Makemi’s clientele were those who could not afford a team of experts to build multi-million dollar international divisions; who could not afford expensive e-commerce and merchant server WEB sites but needed on-line transactions.
Sam’s son knew that their clients, existing and potential, needed to integrate existing resources but could not afford new data bases.
- Makemi’s clients do not have the reserves to take unnecessary financial risks.
- Makemi’s clients take change a step at a time.
- Makemi’s clients need to have their initial investments protected.
Makemi is the bridge builder from the past to the future in respect to internal operations and external marketing and sales.
My name is Roger Harman, I am Sam’s son. Makemi is my company.
Behind us we have a vast network of outsource professionals that we call on to help us when needed. Now you know the rest of the story…
We would like to add you to our list of satisfied clients and friends. We hope that you will refer us to your friends and associates. All we ask is the opportunity to compete for the business.
Few heeded the Internet or the loss of the middleman; insurance, travel, booksellers, computer sellers, stockbrokers, real estate agents, U.S. Customs House Brokers and many others. Take heed now. Don’t become one of the terminal remnants of the industrial age. Move into the future with Internet participation on a global scale. Call, make Makemi your partner for success in the new global, digital age and new post melt down economy.
Thank you for your time and attention. We are honored to be a part of this gathering of the new age, the new dawn…the new beginning. Remember today is the first day of the rest of our lives and it is exciting!