Teanna Gentry
The crew at Uptime Technical Solutions.

Burien Seen

With Teanna Gentry

Stories of Triumph

Author Donald Miller once said, "Good stories must travel through conflict. And in epic stories, the conflict must become unbearable." This week on my travels around Burien, I stopped by two businesses that to me have epic stories. Both started from nothing, and created something amazing.

My first stop took me to Orphan Relief and Rescue where I sat down with Genae Lako, who is in charge of Donor Relations & Communications for this local non-profit. I asked her several questions about their organization to learn more about their business of helping people.

Q: Have you had any new hires recently?
A: ORR has experienced continued growth in our Anti-Trafficking program in Benin. To accommodate programmatic needs and the increasing number of kids joining our prevention program, we have hired a new anti-trafficking team member named Christiane. Locally we have been steadily growing over the past few years and will be adding to our team in 2017 as well.

Q: What special dates or events do you have coming up?
A: We’ve had a number of exciting dates in the Burien area, and have felt blessed and supported by the community here! In March the first annual Northwest Alefest was a tremendous success, and last weekend, Hot Feet Fitness put on a beautiful and relaxing evening at their studio to benefit ORR. We’ve also been blown away by support by a number of smaller fundraisers hosted by students at schools across the country – such as Shorewood school in West Seattle, Judge Memorial High School in Utah, and Noors Academy at the Muslim Association of the Puget Sound in Redmond. We also have exciting events coming up – our annual gala will be held on October 21st at the Museum of Flight, and next year we are hosting the Walk for Freedom in Burien on April 21st, 2018.

Q: Any special notes to add about the business or upcoming anniversaries/open houses?
A: ORR just celebrated 10 years of working in Liberia!

Q: What else is new and exciting at your business? Why should people come see you?
A: We love the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the community in Burien. We often have local volunteers who stop in to the office and help support the administrative staff. It is amazing to see the difference that the community here is making, not only in our hometown, but also the impact that they have halfway around the world when we work together.

Genae also said, "Our Anti-Trafficking Initiative has had the greatest recent impact and is growing exponentially. This program is empowering families and communities and preventing children from being trafficked into a lifetime of slavery performing forced labor, or worse. We are also launching Break the Silence in July. A new program that aims to prevent child sexual exploitation and trafficking in Liberia. We are partnering with the Liberian government, and it will be the only government run anti-trafficking and sexual abuse prevention hotline in the country. Not only does it educate children in schools and orphanages on their rights as it pertains to their bodies, it is shedding light on a culturally difficult topic and empowering children to get the help that they need to escape abuse."

If you would like more information on Orphan Relief and Rescue, check out their website at www.orphanreliefandrescue.org.

My next stop took me to a new Burien business called Uptime Technical Solutions where I was able to talk to the Founder, CEO, and Director of Technology Tyson Varosyan. His story about where he came from and what he has done is nothing short of epic. When I asked him about how the business started, he shared these highlights.

"I am a first generation immigrant that moved here when I was 11, alone with my single dad. Both of us came without English, as Political Refugees from the USSR. Despite a scholarship, I was unable to enroll in university due to my dad being suddenly laid off from Boeing in a massive layoff. After 2 years of working at another IT shop, I started the business with ~$1500 in my savings account and delivered pizza for first 6 months while getting things running. I never borrowed a dime to start or run my shop. I faced challenges learning ‘how business is done’, accounting, tax filing; we currently report to 8 different tax agencies!! Issues faced by small business owners. Additionally, to running UTS, I have done business coaching for other small business owners and others looking to start their own business."

At UTS they are not end-user facing, as they offer their services strictly to other businesses.

Q: Have you had any new hires recently?

A: We are moving 8 full-time positions to Burien and currently have 3 job openings that we posted on the TBB Group page; these are listed on Indeed. https://www.facebook.com/groups/takebackburien/permalink/1405634589511543/

Q: What special dates or events do you have coming up?

A: Our 16- year anniversary was back on April 1st.

Q: What else is new and exciting at your business? Why should people come see you?

A: They shouldn’t really, since we are exclusively business-facing. But we do have an excellent track record, references, and are planning on large-scale growth in the months to come!

If you would like more information on UTS, stop in to see them at 1800 S.W. 152nd St. Suite 100 Seattle, WA 98166. These businesses could not be more different, but to each of their founders and staff, they serve people and serve them well.

Teanna Gentry is a health and wellness guru from the Pacific Northwest who has a passion for helping people find freedom in movement. She was an all conference Track and Field athlete at Eastern Washington University from 2003-2007 and has since coached and trained athletes and clients of all ages in the greater Puget Sound area in running, yoga, speed/agility/quickness, and total wellness. Teanna is a certified yoga and barre instructor, as well as an avid lover of the outdoors. She is most often seen around Hot Feet Fitness or running around town with her husband and toddler.

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