Cougs FirstApparel, wine, getaways, mobile car detailing, and professional services are among dozens of products and services that will be showcased at the second annual CougsFirst! trade show. The free event, open to Washington State University alumni and friends, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash.

Bill Moos, a WSU alumnus and business owner, is the keynote speaker and will be among the exhibitors. He and his wife, Kendra, own Special K Ranch in Eastern Washington and produce grass fed, hormone free, USDA certified Angus beef raised in a sustainable environment.

Unlike some collegiate networking groups, CougsFirst! is operated as a standalone nonprofit organization. The volunteer initiative is the creation of six alumni who believe the bond Cougars share around academics and athletics should also extend to the business arena.

“Our goal is to use special events, social media, advertising and other marketing so WSU alumni and friends can network and interact in a positive business environment,” said Jack Thompson, one of the CougsFirst! founders.

The April 23rd trade show includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar, and is the second such event since the launch of CougsFirst! Last year’s inaugural show drew 40 exhibitors and more than 500 attendees. Thompson said more than 100 Cougar owned, managed and affiliated businesses are expected at the upcoming event, including lead sponsor Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC, plus Howard Wright’s MTR Western Group and Griffin MacLean Insurance, owned by former WSU and Seahawk center Rob Tobeck.

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