Meet the Founders

A cohort of generous leadership donors has brought to life the Foster School’s brand new Founders Hall

As in that most iconic symbol of American collaboration, the barn-raising, many in the larger Foster School community contributed to the construction of Founders Hall. But none more so than a cohort of leadership donors—both individuals and institutions—who stepped up to provide significant financial support that enabled construction of this exceptional final piece of Foster’s world-class campus, built at a cost of $79 million.

These are the “Founders” of Founders Hall.

Charles and Linda Barbo

Chuck Barbo grew up in Seattle and earned a degree in history in 1963 from the University of Washington, where he was a Husky rower. He later graduated from the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School. 

Linda Knutzen Barbo was born and raised on her family’s farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley. She also graduated from the UW in 1963, with a degree in home economics education. 

The couple met on campus, married soon after graduation and, during many happy decades together, raised three daughters who blessed them with nine grandchildren. 

After beginning his career as a teacher, Chuck co-founded Shurgard Storage Centers, Inc., in 1972. He built the company to a portfolio of more than 650 properties across the United States and Europe before retiring as chairman in 2006 following Shurgard’s merger with Public Storage.

Chuck is a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Foster School’s Distinguished Leadership Award, and his name is enshrined in the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame and the Self Storage Hall of Fame. 

Following the legacy of her father and grandfather, Linda served on Pacific Lutheran University’s Board of Regents for nearly a decade and continues to work for PLU and her community. 

At the UW Foster School of Business, Chuck has served on the Advisory Board for many years, including as chairman from 2014 to 2016. The Barbos have been generous supporters of Husky Athletics and Foster.

Chuck and Linda have dedicated themselves to encouraging others in life and in entrepreneurial spirit. Their philosophy—with friends, family or business associates—is to address positive or negative situations by personally relating to others through sharing their own stories and experiences along the way.

a man and a woman

Arthur and Sue Buerk

Artie Buerk was born and raised in Seattle and graduated in 1958 from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Charlene “Sue” Weaver Buerk grew up in Bellingham and earned her BA in sociology and education from the UW in 1974.

Artie and Sue met on a blind date to his office Christmas party when he worked as the UW’s first director of development early in the 1970s. They married the following year.

A foundational Seattle entrepreneur, investor and builder, Artie served as president of Shurgard Storage and Northwestern Trust, and on the board of D.A. Davidson Trust. He fueled the growth of many more companies through Montlake Capital, the private equity firm he established in 1999.

Sue worked as a K-12 teacher and as an administrator for the Washington State Legislature. She directed development at KUOW, public relations at Foster & Marshall and the Goodwill Games, public affairs at King County and reunions at the UW Alumni Association.

The Buerks’ continuous and vigorous support of the UW and Foster School includes founding and follow-on investments in the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. Artie has long served Foster’s Advisory Board and is a former UW Foundation trustee, chair of the UW Development Fund and president of the UW Alumni Association. He has received the Foster School’s Distinguished Leadership Award, the UWAA’s Distinguished Service Award and the UW’s Gates Volunteer Service Award.

Artie and Sue believe that leaders are visionaries, proactive listeners and goal-setters who begin with an end result in mind. The paramount leadership ability is self-leadership—which requires knowing who you are, what you stand for, your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, your values and character, and your mission in life.

Their mission is to help others do well in their own search for a successful life.


Thomas and Christine Crowley

Tom and Christine Crowley grew up in Piedmont, California. After meeting in high school and beginning an extended courtship, both attended college in Washington state. Tom earned his finance degree at the UW Foster School of Business in 1985 and Christine earned her degree in fashion marketing at Western Washington University. After focusing on their careers, they were married in 1994.

Not long after joining Crowley Maritime Corporation, the family business founded by his grandfather in 1892, Tom was thrust into leadership at age 27, following the death of his father. As CEO, Tom expanded Crowley’s business with a focus on growth and building on the strong company culture. In time he navigated the company into new energy, logistics services, government solutions, petroleum transportation and engineering services.

Christine began her career at Matson Intermodal before shifting her focus to raising the couple’s two children. A trusted informal advisor to Crowley Maritime for many years, she ultimately became a formal member of the company’s board of directors.

Tom, a recipient of the Foster School’s 2013 Distinguished Leadership Award, serves on the school’s Advisory Board.

The Crowleys’ generous philanthropic support has furthered the Foster School’s efforts to forge stronger relationships with alumni and companies in Seattle and beyond. They were drawn to the inclusive nature of Founders Hall—the endeavor of a diverse group of people who care deeply about the school and joined forces to ensure its future success.

Tom and Christine are guided by a simple suite of credos: treat others the way you’d want to be treated; be prepared to fail (and to let your kids fail) in order to learn, grow and build confidence; keep a sense of humor; don’t take life too seriously; and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

The Foster Family

The Foster family’s success story dates back to 1938, when Albert Foster co-founded Foster & Marshall Inc., a stock brokerage firm, as the nation was recovering from the Great Depression. A 1928 graduate of the University of Washington School of Business, Albert envisioned great opportunities in the region and committed himself to developing a financial framework for Seattle.

At the urging of his wife Evelyn, a 1932 UW graduate, the Fosters also became key figures in the emerging arts and cultural life of Seattle. Albert was the founding president of the Seattle Opera Association, and Evelyn worked for the founder of the Seattle Art Museum and supported the institution until her death.

When Albert stepped down as chief executive of the brokerage business in 1972, his son Michael took over the company. Together, they began to orchestrate an ambitious expansion plan. In a decade, Foster & Marshall grew into the largest regional brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest. After selling the company to American Express in 1982, the family established The Foster Foundation in 1984.

The Foster Foundation has a long history of supporting the UW and its business school. An initial gift created the AO Foster Endowed Fellowship Fund and the Michael G. Foster Endowment Fund. A 1990 gift underwrote construction of the Albert O. And Evelyn W. Foster Business Library. And a transformational gift in 2007 led to the naming of the Michael G. Foster School of Business.

Though the founding members of The Foster Foundation have all passed—Albert in 1986, Evelyn in 2002 and Michael in 2003—their commitment to the future of the Pacific Northwest, and especially the UW, lives on in the philanthropic work of the foundation they established.

Gary and Della Furukawa 

Gary and Della Furukawa grew up in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, met at Franklin High School and both graduated from the University of Washington.

Della’s undergraduate degree was in architecture, and Gary’s was in accounting from the Foster School of Business.

After graduating in 1981, Gary began his career as a CPA at Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, and Della worked at John Graham Architects in Seattle. After a few years, Gary shifted to the investment business and worked at EF Hutton and Salomon Smith Barney as a financial consultant.

In 1999, he founded Freestone Capital Management, which has become one of the largest wealth management companies in the United States. His angel investment in Amazon taught him the importance of luck in achieving financial success. Another word for it might be vision. Gary’s uncanny foresight—even and especially in economic downturns—has been the foundation of Freestone’s success.

The Furukawas have supported the Foster School for many years. In addition to their philanthropic gifts, Gary has served on the school’s Advisory Board, has been a guest lecturer in undergraduate and MBA investment courses, and delivered the commencement address to the class of 2018. He received the 2015 Distinguished Leadership Award from Foster.

Gary and Della share a suite of philosophies for leadership and life. They include a belief that exercise is the greatest free lunch (great benefits with no negative side effects!); curiosity and continual learning make life more interesting; humility is the key to business success; and personal relationships are the most important things in life and in business.

Mike and Lynn Garvey

Mike and Lynn Garvey met at the University of Washington and married in 1960.

Mike earned his BA in mathematics in 1961 and a law degree in 1964. While launching the firm of Garvey Schubert Barer after graduation, he taught a course on Business, Government and Society at the Foster School in the 1970s. He also invested with friends in a portfolio of ventures that included Ste. Michelle Winery, Hazleton Laboratories, K2 Ski Company (now K2 Sports) and Columbia River Farms.

In the early 1980s, Mike founded Saltchuk Resources, a privately held holding company composed primarily of maritime transportation businesses. In the 1990s, Mike and Lynn became primary owners and eventually transferred ownership to their three daughters.

The Garveys became major philanthropic supporters of the UW, convinced it is the most important institution in the Pacific Northwest—with a global reach.

Their significant philanthropy and active leadership have made a major impact on the Burke Museum, UW Medicine, the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Law, Husky Athletics and the Foster School of Business. The UW honored Mike and Lynn with its Gates Volunteer Service Award in 2011.

At Foster, Mike has been a steady hand on—and past chair of—the school’s Advisory Board. He served as the Edward V. Fritzky Visiting Chair in Leadership and as co-chair of the school’s $180 million “Creating Futures” capital campaign. In 2002, he received the school’s Distinguished Leadership Award.

The Garveys believe that working in business is a noble occupation that should give us all pride. For it is business that has been the overriding force that has created the continuing growth of the world’s prosperity.

James Jiambalvo

Jim Jiambalvo grew up in Chicago and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois in 1970. He is a first-generation college graduate. After passing the CPA exam and working in public accounting, he earned a master’s degree at the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1977.

While at Ohio State, he met his future wife, Cheryl. They were married just before Jim graduated, and have three children and eight grandchildren.

Jim joined the UW Business School in 1977. Over his career, he served on a number of editorial boards and was an associate editor of The Accounting Review. He also served as chair of the Department of Accounting.

In 2005, Jim was appointed dean of the UW Business School, a position he held for 14 years. While dean, the school was renamed the Michael G. Foster School of Business in recognition of gifts from The Foster Foundation totaling $50 million. Two buildings were constructed while Jim was dean (PACCAR Hall and Dempsey Hall), and funds were raised to construct Founders Hall. In 2018, Jim was named Dean of the Year by the influential business school news site Poets & Quants.

Under Jim’s leadership, the school had an unprecedented rise in national rankings, going from “second tier” to being among the top ten public business schools in the country. He attributes this success to a focus on fundamentals (outstanding faculty, staff, students and facilities), listening to the advice of highly accomplished business advisors, and the unwavering support of Cheryl.

Jim retired from the University of Washington in 2021. In recognition of his contributions, Jim was made a Founder through an anonymous gift from a generous Foster School Advisory Board member and supporter of the school.

Firoz and Najma Lalji 

Firoz and Najma Lalji were born, met and married in Uganda before immigrating to Vancouver and, eventually, Seattle after being expelled by the dictator Idi Amin.

Educated at the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School, Firoz founded Kits Cameras in 1975, and built a network of 225 stores across the United States and Canada. He followed up by co-founding Zones, LLC, in 1991. As chairman and CEO, he grew Zones into a global provider of IT solutions, including systems, storage, networking, security, software, virtualization, procurement and logistics.

After leaving Uganda, Najma completed her education at Seattle Pacific University, worked as a computer programmer and later as an accountant for the Fana Group of Companies, the family’s real estate investment and development company. She also headed up the vital work of raising their two daughters.

Firoz was inducted into the Minority Business Hall of Fame in 2014. He has served on the boards of US Bank of Washington and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and is a former chair of the London School of Economics (North American Board). He founded the Program for African Leadership and endowed the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa and the Firoz Lalji Global Hub at LSE.

The Laljis are longtime supporters of the UW Foster School of Business. Their philanthropy has focused on students, facilities and, especially, the efforts of the Consulting and Business Development Center to accelerate the growth of businesses owned by people of color. Firoz serves on the Foster School’s Advisory Board and is the recipient of the school’s 2018 Distinguished Leadership Award.

Firoz and Najma like to say they are living the American Dream, but that dream has been a team effort—it takes talented, engaged, empowered people with a shared vision to make your dreams come true.

Pacific Coast Banking School

Pacific Coast Banking School’s (PCBS) National Graduate School of Banking has been educating bankers and creating leaders in the financial services industry since its founding in 1938.

In partnership with the University of Washington’s Business School, PCBS was established in response to the Great Depression as a means of equipping bankers with the skills they need to anticipate and respond to the demands of a rapidly changing industry and support its successful future.

As the country’s premier national graduate school of banking, PCBS is dedicated to delivering an outstanding graduate-level banking and leadership education delivered by a world-class faculty, including many of the finest at the Foster School of Business.

PCBS has attracted the best and the brightest students from across the country and the banking industry since the first class attended the school on the UW campus. Thousands of students have successfully completed the program and have gone on to become influential leaders in the financial services industry.

Like the timbers in Founders Hall, the PCBS partnership with the University of Washington and the Michael G. Foster School of Business is strong and made to last. PCBS leadership is honored to support the UW as a Founder of Founders Hall, and proud to share a mutual vision of preparing responsible and accountable, financial business leaders to help build a bright future.

Wayne and Christine Perry

Wayne Perry was born and raised in Bellevue and graduated from the University of Washington in 1972 with a BA degree in finance. He then earned a law degree and an advanced law degree in taxation from New York University.

Christine Fitzgerald Perry grew up in Bellevue and earned a BS in psychology in 1972 from the UW.

Wayne and Christine met in an art class at Sammamish High School and were married while in college.

After working as a tax attorney, Wayne became general counsel and then president of McCaw Cellular Communications, negotiating many of the deals that turned McCaw into the prime mover of the nascent mobile telecom industry. He served as vice-chairman of AT&T Wireless Services following its merger with McCaw, then CEO and vice-chairman of NEXTLINK Communications before co-founding Edge Wireless. He received the Foster School’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2000.

Christine taught in the UW Experimental College and Portland Public Schools and raised, with Wayne, the couple’s four sons, all Eagle Scouts and graduates of the UW—three of them Foster grads.

Wayne and Christine have been active volunteers in church, schools, Little League and, significantly, the Boy Scouts of America. Wayne has served in many roles, from scoutmaster to BSA national president to chairman of the World Scouting Foundation. Christine’s national leadership in scouting facilitated the full entry of girls into all aspects of the BSA program.

Because Wayne is an avid pilot, the Perrys are able to serve as volunteers nationwide and around the world.

At Foster, Wayne and Christine have generously provided philanthropic and advisory support for many years because of the school’s dedication to delivering the highest scholarship and developing character and leadership—while fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that so benefits the community.

Roy and Frances Simperman

Roy Simperman was born and raised in Butte, Montana, and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Carroll College (minoring in physics, philosophy, English and history) and a master’s in physics from the University of Nebraska.

Frances Simperman grew up in New York but spent most of her adult life in the Pacific Northwest after earning a bachelor’s degree in special education from Seattle University and a certification in cytology from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Following years of work as a general laborer, a Teamster, a musician and a teaching assistant, Roy joined The Boeing Company in the mid-1960s. There he designed flight simulations for its Lunar Orbiter program and directed a destructive test program for missile warhead fusing compatibility.

In 1970, while working at Boeing, he earned his MBA from the UW Foster School of Business. Afterward, he worked for a consulting firm building regression equations designed to predict educational performance of migrant children. He designed and built economic impact simulations for Weyerhaeuser’s High Yield Forestry program. He was majority owner of AudioControl, a designer and manufacturer of audiophile equalizers and signal processors. And he co-founded the first company to sell digital photography over the Internet. In 1995, he founded Semaphore Corporation, an engineering firm that designs, maintains and operates worldwide networks.

Frances taught special education and directed cytology at Northgate Hospital before founding Printex Press, a commercial printing company that she led for four decades.

The Simpermans have been staunch supporters of education at every level, from O’Dea and Butte Central High Schools to Carroll College to the Foster School of Business, where their gifts have underwritten new facilities and student leadership development.

Roy and Frances believe that the key to effective leadership is trust. And trust requires integrity, good judgment and common sense.

Founders images by Advent.

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array of people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.