Bellevue En Bref
Everything you didn't know you needed to know about PMI Bellevue Squash Classic

Rob Harris,
A Humanist Squash Fan

Rob Harris has always been entrepreneurial.

In grade school, he set up a retail store in his parentsí garage. In high school, he was the kid selling ďadult beveragesĒ from the trunk of his car.

In college, he ran a thrift store. Harris started Pacific Market International ó PMI ó in 1983 with roughly a thousand dollars and an abiding curiosity about international trade.

His passion for squash went to another level in 1981 when he met Yusef Khan, father of Shabana and Latasha Khan. But let's talk first about his journey to create PMI, then about his inconditional love for squash.


 I grew up in Summit, New Jersey, with two sisters and a devoted stay-at-home mom. My father was a sales-and-marketing guy with Westinghouse Electric Corporationís Lamp Division, so I grew up walking stores with my dad, looking at retail displays, and talking to store managers and consumers about product, price, promotional opportunities and displays.

My father was forever talking at dinner about management, leadership and people development. I learned a lot from him about being a good listener ó to employees and customers.

In college, I spent summers leading outdoor trips for boys in New England ó teaching them to climb mountains, canoe, kayak and sail. After an extended road trip across the country, I landed in Seattle and have called it home since 1980.


I have a masterís degree in counseling psychology and worked as a therapist in a short-term crisis psychiatric hospital right out of graduate school.

When I settled in Seattle, my first job combined my love of social work and inclination toward business as the business development guy for Northwest Center. In this role, I saw containers of goods coming in and out of the Seattle port and thought to myself, ďThereís big opportunity in buying and selling. And I can figure out how to do it better.Ē

With $1,000 in my bank account, I bought my first container of goods. They were ceiling fans that had been abandoned by the company that imported them. I found a buyer and began the initial formulation of what would later become PMI.

thanks to

& John Levesque
for their sources



source Wikipedia


Nortwest Center


We want to revolutionize the way people enjoy food and beverages everywhere they go.

We create high-quality drinking and eating experiences, through Stanleyís iconic hot beverage bottle and Aladdinís water bottles, the best ones in their categories on the market today; and through Migoís lunch containers, which are available in China, a key strategic market for PMI.

Stanley's Website

Aladdin Website

Migo Website


I had three principles on founding PMI:
  • growing the company from profit rather than debt;
  • not having any partners (to keep decision making fast and efficient)
  • and buying only what my customers had already ordered, that is, no inventory, tooling or product development risk.

I worked my way around the city, securing sourcing contracts with companies like Nintendo and set off for my first visit to China to forge partnerships with factories, some of which we still do business with today.


Itís naive to think that a product that comes from a particular region of the world is either good or bad. There are good and bad factories all over the world. What matters is either owning or working with only good factories that treat their workers well and are environmentally friendly.

Itís a huge source of pride and accomplishment for me that PMI has changed the lives of tens of thousands of workers in China by the way we run our factories or insist that our partners run theirs.

We own an injection molding operation in China that is a clean and green factory. We have water recycling throughout the plant and solar panels on the roof. This is one of the better factories ó from an environmental standpoint ó in the world.

All of our products are a commitment to sustainability, simply because they replace disposable food and beverage containers with beautiful reusable ones. Many of our specific products are made from recycled materials.

It is a priority in our product design process to look for ways to incorporate sustainable materials, implement sustainable processes and minimize our impact on the environment.

"Squash says we are human beings on this planet, weíd better find a way to get along together, we have more in common than we have different.

And the game of squash really promotes that."

Rob Harris


Iíve been playing about 40 years. I started playing on the East Coast, at University, Syracuse in NY, and then played around in the NY area. Then moved to Seattle in 1980.

And in 1981, I met Yusef. He taught me the game, and from his teaching I learned to love the play. I actually relocated my office nearer the squash club so I could run out of the office at lunch time, run across the street and play!

I used to play 5 days a week for many many years. Thatís actually a great break from work during the day because as you know, if you are on the court, you are not thinking of everything else.


When you play squash, You are not distracted, you are not hang on whatever the stresses are in the middle of the day, you are 100 % present in the game. Thatís whatís incredible with the game, you donít get that in golf, you donít get that with any other sport. But when you are on that court, youíd better be not think about anything else because if you do, you are going to lose.

Itís a chess game and itís a game for somebody that wants to think about nothing else than the game. Squash is a great meditation in the middle of a very busy day. You could say I'm more of a "Squashfulness" than a "Mindfulness"!


I began sponsoring Shabana and Latasha as they pursued their careers playing squash, so they travelled on tournaments around the world, that was in the mid late 90ís. Prior to that, I had also sponsored local tournaments, I really donít know how many, probably about 20, 25 tournaments, also the Women World Championship when they came to town a long time ago.


What Yusef teaches is a game of respect as well, not just how to win but how to win respectfully and with integrity. And I was like that. Thatís another element to the game that is so crucial.

Thatís why I think squash fits very well into my life, the ethics of the game are similar to the ethics of my life, and Yusef taught us all that. His students are all around, he preached integrity, sportsmanship, and you see that with these players too. This is a very competitive game, it gets realy tough, on a tiny little court, and yet there is a lot of respect between the players.


There is another reason why I sponsored the last world event and this one is that it does fit in with what I think about being my own responsibility on the planet, itís the global nature of the game, putting people together from all over the world, particularly, there is so much misconception and misunderstanding with the Middle East.

Itís all about breaking down misunderstandings, bring people together from all over the world.

The game in a small way contributes to expose people to different cultures, different religions, different foods, different ways of living.

It says we are human beings on this planet, weíd better find a way to get along together, we have more in common than we have different.

And the game of squash really promotes that.

Latasha Khan with Yasmin, Shabana's daughter