40
arches
spring
2013
Chris Beets Nazarenus ’88:
Pedal to the metal
Ya just never know when
your life is going to make a
scary but screamingly fun
four-wheel drift into an un-
expected turn.
I had built a ca-
reer around digital asset
management,” says Chris
Nazarenus—“the storage,
retrieval, and distribution
of videos and digital photo-
graphs—just as the Internet
was changing everything.
As the VP for a $500 million
company, I had signed a deal
with a Fortune 100 company
in Chicago that asked me
to go to the Indy 500 and
help the Speedway archive
more than 80 years of racing
history.
It was fascinating. Not
about the cars so much. It
was more about the people
and the commitment and dedication the racers have. I wanted to do
more.”
So she wrote a business plan—Jerry Maguire-style on the red-eye
home—for her employer. When it was rejected Chris started her own
stock-photography company called Artemis Images, which grew into one
of the world’s largest motorsports archives.
Immersing herself in the car community, she met Hollywood’s top
stuntman, Greg Tracy (
The Bourne Ultimatum, Talladega Nights, Spider-
man 3
),
who owned the domain name “mylifeatspeed.com” and wanted
to do something with it. Meanwhile, the arrival of free social media was
having an impact on Artemis due to the increase in easily accessed pho-
tos, so Chris sold her business and brainstormed with Tracy. She had a
solid foundation in building and managing a company. Tracy knew cars
and motorcycles and other conveyances that tend to make people hoot
like crazy. They agreed to take a chance and in February 2011 launched
MyLifeAtSpeed.com, which showcases audio, images, and written docu-
mentary about all things rapid.
The site grew, well, fast, presently clocking more than 700,000 page
views per month. Says Chris, “We tell stories—why people in motorsports
do what they do. I don’t care who won the race, I care about the guy who
got there and did what was needed to be in the race.”
Kris Parfitt
See some of Chris’ videos, accomplishments, and blog posts at
.
Wheels
Jill Eastes ’85:
Still truckin’
Each new generation has to prove itself when taking over a family busi-
ness. As a woman in an industry dominated by men, Jill Eastes faced a
double challenge.
Jill is president of Seattle-based Lee & Eastes Tank Lines, a trucking
company that hauls jet fuel, gasoline, diesel, lube oil, and asphalt around
the West. Her grandfather and a partner started the business with one
truck in 1923. Now it has 40 and about 55 employees.
Jill majored in business at Puget Sound and joined the company right
after college. It was tough at first; she was a dispatcher, and sometimes
drivers would insist on talking “to one of the men.” She put in extra ef-
fort to win over the doubters. “I decided a long time ago that if I’m going
to run the company I should know how to do everything,” she said. “The
guys have a little more respect for you if you make an effort to understand
what’s going on.”
Her father, who still drops in daily, made her the boss 10 years ago. Jill’s
office is filled with toy models and photos of Lee & Eastes trucks of various
types and vintages. Visitors to the headquarters receive thorough scrutiny
from two enthusiastic golden retrievers who are unpaid members of the
human resources department. “That’s how I tell if I like a driver or not—
if they like dogs or if my dogs like them,” Jill says. “That’s the first test.”
Will there be a fourth-generation Eastes at the wheel some day? Right
now Jill is just thinking 10 years down the road, to when the company will
celebrate its centennial.
They always say that the third generation kills a business, so I’m try-
ing to disprove that!”
Actually, Lee & Eastes is ahead of the game. Professor Jeff Matthews
in Puget Sound’s School of Business and Leadership shared a study that
found most family businesses don’t even survive the second generation,
and only 10 percent get through the third. Familial squabbling too often
gets in the way. Jill feels that being open to change is what has kept things
going at Lee & Eastes.
My father had to reinvent from my grandfather, and I’ve changed
some things since my father,” she says. “It’s a small-enough company, and
we all work together for the good.”
Jill enjoys skiing and boating, and spending time with her family
and the dogs. But mostly she has a lot of fun keeping the business going.
When I see one of our trucks out there it gives me a good feeling,” she
says.
Greg Scheiderer
MOVING WITH THE TIMES
Jill is the third in her family line to head Lee &
Eastes, a liquid commodities haulier.
IN FAST COMPANY
Chris with Indy 500
winner Helio Castroneves in 2002.