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10/31/2006 - Terabyte Triangle Welcomes Ponderosa Capital

Ponderosa Capital moved to Spokane from Prescott, Arizona in July. Ponderosa Capital is an investment management firm owned by Michael and Janie Strasser. “We manage money,” says Strasser. Ponderosa, in addition to managing public market portfolios, helps form, develop, and fund private companies. Michael Strasser holds a BS in Finance from Arizona State University and a University of Chicago MBA, and Janie Strasser has an MBA from Arizona State University and is also a CPA.

Ponderosa’s investment strategies make them unique. They will look at almost any product or company with a good idea and excellent growth potential – not just technology. To make portfolio decisions in the public equity space, Ponderosa looks at the company’s management structure, track record and growth potential. For public market decisions, they employ the Chicago School’s Fama/French three-factor model as well as a number of top down, macro-economic tools. They have funded companies in the retail, health care, and technology sectors.

Ponderosa Capital’s current office is in the Patsy Clark Mansion in Browne’s addition. However, the long-term goal is to buy a building, perhaps even a vintage house, in Spokane for future headquarters. “I’d like to be able to bicycle or walk to work,” says Strasser.

Why did an already established company with international reach relocate to Spokane? According to Strasser, “the business allows us to be almost anywhere in the world, but we chose Spokane based on life-style issues.” To aid their choice in selecting their new home city, Strasser built a spreadsheet and made a model that included all of the factors and issues important to the family. The Strassers have four children, so their study had a lot of emphasis on schools, youth activities, and sense of community. Spokane won, based on good schools, plenty of outdoor activities, sports, music and arts, and extracurricular activities for their children.

“In addition,” says Strasser, “there is a good community feel – people are pulling together; trying to make things better. There are universities of all sizes, a substantial and significant creative class, and to top it all off, a nice small airport with good connections when I need to travel -- which is often.”

Both the Terabyte Triangle and Gonzaga basketball factored into the Strassers choosing Spokane. As big basketball fans, the Bulldogs' fame was hard to miss. In researching Spokane, Strasser found the Terabyte Triangle via the Internet and subscribed to the newsletter. Using the newsletter as a point of contact, the Strassers met with a group from the Terabyte Triangle board, and a few months later moved to Spokane. According to Strasser, “People here should be proud of what they have here. They should embrace it and mold it. We’re happy to be here, appreciate the warm welcome we’ve received, and look forward to becoming a bigger part of the community.”

Ponderosa Capital can be reached at, or call (509) 747-3798.

Billie Moreland
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