Computer network

An uncanny number of Loggers gravitate to Seattle-area IT company

By Tod Jones

You’re entering a zone of mystery and imagination, of hardware and software, of marketing and sales and Internet technology, an eerie UPS parallel universe where Logger graduates and soon-to-be grads fill the hallways and cubicles.

You’ve entered … the Alumni Zone.

Actually, you’ve entered Zones, the rapidly growing Renton, Wash.-based reseller of IT hardware, software and services to business markets across the United States.

But in addition to moving products and services, Zones has also turned into an importer of sorts, becoming a recognized repository of Logger alumni.

The ranks swell and diminish from year to year, reaching as high as a dozen, dropping down to just a few, but since it was founded in 1986, there has always been a UPS presence. Of the 600 or so Zones employees, there are currently eight former and current students of UPS—Jeff Cagle ’86, Michael Ross ’90, Jessa Santeford ’95, Carol Lang Semenchuk ’94, M.A.T. ’95, Suzanne Richman ’96, Jaimeson Filer ’98, Sara Lesser ’00, and Jennifer Carr ’02—roaming the halls of this outfit, working in jobs as diverse as marketing, merchandising, finance and human resources.

What would cause such a preponderance of Loggers to end up in the same place? Chance? Fate? The famed Zones cafeteria food? Or is it a classic case of the Logger network in action?

“I got here through a chain of people who knew each other,” says Santeford, a senior financial analyst. “Kristina Fatur, Class of ’94, brought me in. Kristina Bowman-Grenz of ’93 brought her in. We just sort of spawned.”

“I do think the alumni network makes a difference,” says Richman, who was brought into the company by Santeford. “That’s precisely what worked for me. Being an alum absolutely opened that door. Jessa and I didn’t know each other, but we knew a mutual alum. We got together at a party. She asked for my resume, recommended me, got me an interview and within two weeks I had a job.”

“Two of my SAE fraternity brothers and fellow UPSers that worked at Zones (Dan Freeman ’89 and Jeff Myers ’86) helped me get the interview and I took it from there,” says Cagle, vice president of merchandising, who has been working at Zones for almost nine years.

However, they all believe that the Logger network is just one of several reasons why, at any given moment, there are enough of them in the company to start their own baseball team or seriously intimidate any PLU alums who dare enter their sanctum.

“Zones is a pretty great place to work,” says Richman. “There is a sense of community and family that is familiar if you were at UPS—a sense of pitching in. Although it’s big, it still feels like something of a small community. You know the people you work with. It’s a great working environment.

“And the cafeteria food is pretty good, actually.”