Movers and Shapers

A Bright Vision for Innovation and Infrastructure

Meet the people and businesses sparking and building Bellevue's future.

Jared Axelrod
Senior Manager, Public Policy

Tell us about your work. Did you plan to be where you are today? 
Growing up in Bellevue, I saw first-hand Amazon’s growth in our region from its early days as an online bookstore. As I progressed through my career, I knew that it was not a question of if I would work for Amazon, but when. I take great pride in helping shape this portion of Amazon’s legacy in Bellevue, which started in a garage here in 1994.

What’s on the horizon?
My role has historically required a lot of in-person engagement: meeting people where they are, seeing issues first-hand, and showing up in the community. Downtown Bellevue has been home to a lot of events that foster a sense of community, like the 4th of July Fireworks and the Downtown Ice Rink, and I look forward to attending those again in the not-too-distant future.

How does your company connect with the community?
As we continue to invest in Bellevue, Amazon is committed to being a good neighbor and growing our ongoing support for the local community. We’ve partnered with a number of great organizations, including Bellevue LifeSpring, KidsQuest Children’s Museum, The Sophia Way, the Bellevue Farmer’s Market, and the Bellevue Botanical Garden, and we look forward to working with many more.

Imagine the city of Bellevue/Kirkland a decade from now. Any predictions?
I can’t wait to see Bellevue and Kirkland ten years from now. I predict a dense, urban downtown core with workers and residents side-by-side, easy access to frequent transit and bike/pedestrian connections, great urban amenities, and a thriving arts and culture scene. And in addition: dynamic and inclusive neighborhoods with great small businesses, cherished parks, and high-quality schools.

Do you have a little known hobby, obsession or superpower?
With a newborn at home, all of my superpowers are baby-related: one-handed diaper changing, karaoke to Disney songs, and the necessary eyes in the back of my head.

Jeremy Barksdale
Unity and City of Bellevue
UX Researcher and Bellevue City Councilmember

Tell us about your work.
In my professional UX Research role, my job is to help bring understanding about users into the organization to inform product development. In my Council role, I consistently advocate for thinking of ways to collect, integrate, analyze, and report data that can help us better understand community needs and inform policy.

Imagine the city of Bellevue a decade from now. What’s on your wish list?
I imagine a Bellevue that is even more diverse with greater representation from underrepresented groups. With broader racial and economic diversity comes even more cultural expression that enriches the overall quality of life in Bellevue. I envision more mom and pop shops made possible through affordable commercial spaces. Nightlife options that appeal to our diverse population would create jobs and opportunities for impromptu social connections, strengthen community, and spark innovation. Finally, I would like to see more services accessible within walking distance to where people live.

Do you have a little known hobby, obsession or talent?
I love listening to, and playing, music. Growing up, I sang in choirs, played the piano, trumpet and french horn in the band, and have since learned to play the drums and bass guitar. 

Is there a habit, motto or crucial life skill that helps guide you?
We are all part of systems that will need to change, as we grow, to accommodate the diversity of people that are within those systems. One of my favorite quotes, by Frederick Douglass, helps me gain perspective  as we face the challenges of adapting systems:

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Dr. Ali Ansary
Ozette Technologies
CEO and Co-Founder

Tell us about your work. Did you plan to be where you are today?
I am the CEO and cofounder of Ozette which is a Fred Hutch spin out in collaboration with the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2). I always knew I wanted to become a physician, I just never knew I’d be in this position to bridge incredible science with medicine.  

Talk about current trends shaping or changing the way you do business. What’s on the horizon?
In medicine we always talk about treating a patient and not the disease. Ozette enables us to do this exact thing, treat a patient, but at the molecular level. More and more we’re learning how we are able to leverage the immune system to treat difficult diseases such as cancer (within the field of immuno-oncology). We are  fortunate to be in a position with our early partners that is allowing us to use our technology to unlock discoveries that would have otherwise been missed using the traditional antiquated methods.

Do you have any Bellevue/Kirkland Lifestyle recommendations?
While we live downtown Seattle, getting out to Bellevue allows us to indulge in things that traditionally we can’t on the other side of the bridge. For my wife, that definitely means visiting The Container Store. I remember the first time she convinced me to go with her by mentioning there is a Leica store across the street (I love the history of the camera and enjoy the art of photography personally). Now, I make sure I never miss a Container Store run.

We recently discovered what is possibly Washington’s best kept secret, the Afghan Cuisine restaurant off NE 20th Street. You see, my family came to America as political refugees after the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in the early 80s. So when my wife and I stumbled upon the restaurant (after a Container Store run) and the cooking tasted like home, which is is very hard to do with Afghan food, we knew where to go to fill our stomachs and to warm our hearts. Ironically, the owners name also happens to be Ali, and I found out that he was actually a chef in Fremont, California which has one of the largest Afghan populations in the country.

Imagine the city of Bellevue/Kirkland a decade from now. Any predictions? What’s on your vision wish list?
With the extension of the link, I’m sure the area will reshape the area even further as an innovation hub. The continuous attraction between quality of life and professional development in the area will also contribute to an existing diverse population of families and culture.

Do you have a little known hobby, obsession or superpower?
It’s funny you ask. Although I grew up in Huntington Beach, California, my main sport growing up and now has been ice hockey. Needless to say, I have Kraken fever and high hopes for a Stanley Cup here soon!

Is there a habit or motto that helps guide you personally or professionally?
I truly contemplate my own mortality because of my medical training. As a result, the decisions I’ve made in my own life have been driven by a few quotes that come to mind. One being from Isaac Newton, though a few may have said it before him;  “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Another is by Louis Pasteur; “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”


Bill Pollard
Talon Private Capital, LLC

Tell us about your work.
I am the Co-Founder of Talon Private Capital, LLC. Talon owns over 3 million square feet of office, industrial and apartments in the Pacific Northwest. Our largest investments have been in Kirkland (Kirkland Urban Development) and Bellevue. I knew only two things coming out of college, 1) I wanted to be an entrepreneur and 2) I wanted to do something that allowed me to use my learned skills to achieve both financial prosperity and to add value for my clients/investors.

Talk about current trends shaping way you do business.
In Commercial Real Estate, the key is adopting the product (buildings) to the customer’s ever changing needs. The Work From Home environment has changed the paradigm and allows landlords, employees and employers to revisit the future of the work place. It’s exhilarating to be on the cutting edge of how, where and why people choose to work and live.

How does your company connect with the community?
Talon views its connection with the local community through the value our projects bring to the built environment. Every step of what we do, design, construction type, open space, sustainability, equality of not only access, but quality of the environment, ultimately defines how our buildings are cast within the community. We have revolutionized the practice of adding curated community programming to our fixed , such as bicycle rides, nature walks, outdoor health and wellness programs, art, meditation, etc..

Imagine Kirkland and Bellevue a decade from now. Any predictions? 
Vibrancy! It doesn’t come without the perfect combination of elements. Bellevue and Kirkland need to keep investing in schools, public safety, walking and bicycling, retail conducive zoning and all types of housing from modest to the luxury.

Do you have a little known hobby or obsession? 
Sunsets, I will travel great distances and make extraordinary efforts to see wonderful sunsets. No two are the same.


Deanne Wilson, Matt Deasy, and Joe Deasy
Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.            

Tell us about your work.
We spend our days supporting an incredible group of Eastside real estate professionals. Our goal is to be in service to them, just as they are in service to their own clients. We’re proud that Windermere East Inc. brokers have helped so many people fulfill their homeownership and lifestyle goals.

Did you plan to be where you are today? 
We were raised in the family business and eventually took it over from our dad and handle separate parts of the business so we don’t really trip over each other. We all love what we do and feel exactly where we were meant to be.   

Talk about current trends shaping or changing the way you do business.
The current trend is massive demand and record low inventory leading to the most imbalanced housing market we’ve ever seen. We always feel our brokers are the best in the business, but it’s nice to have the data showing they help guide their clients to successful outcomes more effectively than other options in this competitive market.

How does your company connect with the community? Do you have any Bellevue/Kirkland Lifestyle recommendations?
What we do professionally is by nature very connecting. “Home” has special meaning to everyone, and we have a deep relationship with our clients and communities because of it. 

We give back as a company in three primary ways. First, our Eastside brokers and offices are very involved with the Windermere Foundation, which supports low income and homeless families here on the Eastside. Over the last five years we’ve collectively given over $1,000,000 to entities supporting these families in need. Second, every year we take one day off to do needed projects at places likes shelters, community centers and parks. Finally, instead of an annual company-wide holiday party, Windermere East Inc. adopts 100 low income kids from Eastside schools and takes them shopping for gifts for their family members. This is usually their first opportunity to give presents, and in turn they each get a surprise. Our brokers and staff wrap everything while the kids have their photo taken with Santa. 

Imagine the city of Bellevue/Kirkland a decade from now. Any predictions? What’s on your wish list? 
The most obvious prediction is massive growth. Amazon’s expansion here will be the primary driver. Kirkland’s growth now, and in the immediate future, will be driven primarily by Google and by a strong culture of supporting smaller startups. Facebook and Microsoft also will drive growth in Bellevue and Redmond, while the Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts will continue to attract families from around the globe and will be nationally recognized for both their diversity and innovation. 

The top items on our wish list are continued support for Eastside economic diversity through housing, and new traffic solutions like enhanced transit. We’re all excited about Eastlink light rail and hope the same level of planning and problem-solving can be applied to the 405 dilemma.

Do you have a little known hobby or obsession or secret talent? 
I think I was born to be a race car driver.
Matt: I’ve biked around Mt. Rainier twice and regularly play duplicate bridge.
Deanne: I’m fascinated by apparel construction.

Is there a habit, motto or crucial life skill that helps guide you personally or professionally? 
We learned from our parents – and continue to learn from our brokers – that your mindset, skills, and action equal your success, and that success can only happen by putting relationships first.

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