Valley business is Railroad Building's first tenant

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SNOQUALMIE - The first tenant in Snoqualmie's newest building is a local business based just down the street from its future office.

Verner and James, a "non-destructive testing company," will be expanding its office to occupy the top floor of the recently completed Railroad Building that sits between Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano and The Falls Pharmacy on Railroad Avenue.

The company will take up the entire 5,000-square-foot second floor of the 10,000-square-foot building that was completed earlier this year by Issaquah-based Admiral Enterprise.

"It's a local business, so it's a win-win situation for everybody," said Admiral Enterprise president Voyislav Kokeza.

The business, which is one of only half a dozen like-businesses in the nation, helps shut down nuclear power plants during dips in their use. Engineers from the company use non-destructive methods of inspection, such as X-rays, to gather data that is analyzed in Snoqualmie and used at the plant to ensure that it is shut down safely.

"We're not handling any nuclear material," said Jeff Siegel, applications and systems design manager. "It's computer related data analysis."

The company's roots go back to 1993 when it was founded in Bellevue. The technology the company uses has Northwest ties as it was developed at the Battelle Northwest Laboratory in the 1960s. Other companies that use the technology are mostly located in the west, although a vast majority of the nation's power plants are in the east.

After Microsoft purchased the building that Verner and James previously occupied, the company decided to move to Snoqualmie to take advantage of the reverse commute and what is a comparatively better real estate market. In 2001, it moved to its present location at 8224 Railroad Avenue, a small two-story building next to the city's only gas station.

"The kind of business they have really didn't matter if they had proximity to Seattle or Bellevue," Siegel said. "A lot of people live out in this direction so they thought this would be a good town to be in."

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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