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Extra Fizz: Nickels' Top Fund-Raiser Joins Biochemical Firm

By Erica C. Barnett December 11, 2009

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: Underwood says he is not leaving the political fundraising world, but "just branching out. Still raising political and nonprofit money. Getting ready for the 2010 [legislative] session."

Colby Underwood (dubbed "one of Seattle's most revered political fundraisers" by Seattle Weekly), whose primary client since 2001, Mayor Greg Nickels, was defeated in the August primary, has joined a company called Blue Marble Energy, which focuses on "producing biochemicals and biomaterials from organic feed stocks," according to an email Underwood sent out to friends and clients yesterday.

"Over the past few years, I have become more and more interested in the world of clean technology. We all know that one day, we will deplete the Earth’s resources. What will we do when that happens? We must begin developing the answer today, not tomorrow," the email says.

It's unclear what prompted the move, or whether Underwood's new venture will be full or part-time; Underwood was out of town and unavailable for comment today.

Several folks in the political consulting world suggested two possible reasons: First, the fact that Underwood just lost his longest-standing and most reliable client; and second, the fact that the fundraising field has become increasingly crowded in recent years, with a half-dozen professional fundraisers working locally (including Underwood's former employee McKenna Hartman, whom Underwood sued when she went into business for herself).

Underwood and Blue Marble will host an open house next Tuesday, December 15 to debut "one of the first ever fragrances produced using carbon neutral, certified organic biochemicals" and talk about the company's goals.
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