Arkitek Studios – Visualizations that drive discovery

In Who's Doing Cool Stuff? by Mark Sylvester

Discovering interesting companies and people is one of the main goals of the 805connect project. Hearing stories from these people is inspiring in many ways. Last week a new company joined and looked intriguing. ArkitekBanner Arkitek, does computer animation in a unique niche. They are focused on biomedical animation, helping show things that are not easily visible to the human eye. In these visualizations they provide insight to the viewer and an understanding of how complex processes work. They have done some amazing pieces for international clients. Take a look at their impressive portfolio here. Their story is similar to others that have moved to the region from a big city somewhere else. We asked Beth Anderson, co-founder of Arkitek, based in Paso Robles, to tell us her story so we could share it with you. Beth and her partner Doug Huff founded the company in 1997 in Seattle and recently moved to the area. Here’s her story:
“After over 20 years in the Pacific Northwest, we decided it was time for a change. No matter how good a particular area, or people may be, sometimes one just has to stir things up in a huge way to nudge the brain out of patterns it’s grown used to. Life in Seattle had grown complex, and extremely pressurized. We’d planned on moving somewhere for over 5 years prior to actually doing it, but hadn’t settled on where exactly, although we wanted it to be somewhere in mid or southern California. Here are the main things that drew us here:
  • Sunshine most of the time.
  • Less traffic.
  • People who weren’t really to explode or implode at a moment’s notice.
  • Room for our dogs to run around and actually be dogs, rather than uptight people in dogsuits.
  • Learn other skills that don’t require sitting in front of a computer.
  • Downsize our office footprint and work close to home (had a huge office, people etc. in Seattle).
  • Spend much more of our time outside! (we’d been at our desks from sun up to late in the evening most days of the year for many, many years).
  • Uber view – get a better work/life balance (summation of points 1-6)
And since we hardly ever meet our clients face to face anyway, there was nothing holding us in Seattle. We did wonder whether we’d be able to make the leap from large city life to small town life (and Paso isn’t exactly tiny, but neither is it a large town), but happily we haven’t missed it at all! We’re still completely fascinated with computer animation, and have gotten to a place where clients new and old value what we do. Being here enables us to focus more clearly on what we really like to do, without the noise and distractions that come with living around too many other humans. Since moving here we’ve been in a holding pattern because of the amount of work we’ve taken on, but we’re finally poking our heads out from behind our desks, and are looking forward to connecting with people from a variety of different disciplines and walks of life. I’m beginning to find out that this area is quite remarkable for the breadth and depth of experience in so many different areas. Distances, and the fact that up until now, there really hasn’t been a way to adequately collect data about who all these people and companies are, has made it appear less attractive to prospective businesses and people wanting to move to the area, but afraid that they might not find all the services they need. The main obstacle I see here to wooing business to the region is the lack of truly high speed, reliable internet. There are alternatives, but the fastest is roughly a quarter of the speed we received in Seattle, and that will be a huge stumbling block for any high tech company that might want to come here. We’ve made it work, somewhat, but have had to alter how and when we upload and download big files, and have had to implement backup systems in case the primary goes down. But all in all, that’s really the only issue I see.”
The Economic Vitality Corporation (EVC) in conjunction with their counterparts in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties started a collaborative effort to study the broadband issue that Beth described and are working hard at resolving this limiting issue. There’s a lot of attention being paid to this issue. — If you have a story about moving to the region and finding your own niche, send us a note to