Friday, September 17, 2010

VIDEO: Bob Potter discusses Southern California’s business climate

Southern California companies concerned about the state business climate have taken a conservation approach with their capital until the economy improves. While businesses wait, they are watching the state wrestle with questions about how to fund its massive pension fund and balance the budget. The state’s tax structure, regulatory issues, and workers compensation remain ongoing concerns regardless of economic conditions. Learn more about what Southern California companies are saying in this interview.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New aerospace facility to open in fall

Construction has begun on a new Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance and Painting Hanger facility at Spokane International Airport. Associated Painters, Inc. of Everett has signed a 20-year lease for the 41,000-square-foot facility. The hangar bay is designed to accommodate a minimum of two Boeing 737-900 aircraft, with adjoining shops, office and storage space.

The $6.5 million hangar will be the latest addition to Spokane’s healthy and growing aerospace industry. Funding for the facility includes $4 million from CERB, $300,000 from the state’s Economic Development Strategic Reserve Account and $2 million in airport money.

Spokane and the Inland Northwest are home to more than 60 manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and organizations – 8,100 workers and a $324.8 million payroll – that serve and support the aerospace industry. Aircraft parts and auxiliary equipment manufacturers represent the greatest industry presence in the Inland Northwest, which is also home to companies involved in aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leading the national ‘smart grid’ initiative

When the federal government released $45 million to begin work on the country’s largest “smart grid” demonstration project it also underscored the importance of the Inland Northwest clean energy companies. These home-grown innovators are generating solutions in energy efficiency for smart grid applications that will become key components of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

The $178 million federally designated smart grid demonstration project gets underway in the rolling fields of eastern Washington with a distinctly home-grown feel. The study will involve more than 60,000 metered customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming and make Pullman, Wash. the region’s first “Smart City.”

Much of the technology was developed within a 100-mile area that has quietly stepped to the forefront of energy efficiency expertise for smart grid application. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which grew into a worldwide business in Pullman, and Itron, a globally known company headquartered an hour away in Liberty Lake, Wash., are key partners in the demonstration project. Their solutions will be a big part of the devices, software and advanced analytical tools tested by the project.

Other partners include Avista Utilities the city of Pullman, Washington State University, Hewlett Packard and Spirae.