Profiles

40 years later, Frank Abagnale still banking on ‘Catch Me If You Can’ fame

Abagnale_FrankFrank Abagnale says it was pretty easy 40 ago as a kid to pull off his crimes — from forging checks to impersonating a PanAm airline pilot — later depicted by film director Steven Spielberg in the 2002 blockbuster “Catch Me If You Can.”

And today, with the internet and social media?

“Now it’s 4,000 times easier,” Abagnale told me as the coffee spoons were starting to clank just outside the Cascade Ballroom at the Westin Seattle Hotel on Tuesday.

90-year-old Arthur Pearson began selling Fuller Brush products door-to-door 70 years ago — he has no plans to stop

Arthur PearsonWhen Arthur Pearson was serving his country in the Pacific during World War II, the fighting took him to Saipan. And when the battle-weary Marines already dug in on the island found out that Pearson was a Fuller Brush man in civilian life, they got excited.

“Those kids wanted toothbrushes,” said Pearson, who arranged to have boxes of them shipped over for his fellow Marines.

Fastforward more than 60 years and Pearson is still selling products for The Fuller Brush Co., a job he said he has no intention of giving up.

“What would I do if I didn’t do this? I’d just sit around and do nothing,” he said.

 Meticulous and competitive, CEO Jim Sinegal stays focused on Costco’s expansion

SinegalIt happened 12 years ago, but the Rev. Stephen Sundborg still brings up the hot dog story when he talks about his friend and mentor, Costco CEO Jim Sinegal.

Sundborg was about to become Seattle University’s president. And Sinegal, already a university trustee of six years, announced he was going to park a Costco hot dog stand on the campus as a celebration after the Catholic Mass and before the formal inauguration ceremony at the Jesuit school.

“I’m a brand new president. I’ve only met the guy once I think, and here he is in the quadrangle with an apron on handing out buck-fifty hot dogs for free to everybody there,” said Sundborg.

“That’s incredibly hands on.”

 Tod Leiweke gets the customers — er, fans — on his team

leiwekePRTod Leiweke may be the CEO of Seattle’s pro football and soccer teams, but it’s a job that can transcend sports. Such was the case one sunny spring day in 2008 when Leiweke was called upon to introduce the Dalai Lama to 50,000 adoring people at Qwest Field.

Leiweke was standing with a group of young people as the Buddhist spiritual leader’s car pulled up. Security guards popped out, scanned the area and then tapped on the car window. The Dalai Lama stepped out, and made a beeline for the kids.

“It was absolutely beautiful,” said Leiweke. “The man is so inspirational. It was just thrilling.”

Thrilling, except for one small episode that still leaves Leiweke feeling a little uncomfortable.

“The translator referred to me as ‘landlord,’ ” said Leiweke. “I wanted to correct him. But I said to myself, OK. Not exactly the characterization you wanted for the Dalai Lama, but so be it.”

As CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment, Leiweke is in a sense the “landlord” of Qwest Field. But he doesn’t rule over billionaire Paul Allen’s sports empire like some feudal lord. Not his style.

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