Friday, January 4, 2013

Titan Spring, Inc. on Relocating to the Inland Northwest

In 2007, Jim Glenn, president of Titan Spring, Inc. relocated his company from Southern California to Hayden, Idaho. What prompted the move and how is life today? We sat down with Glenn as he shared his thoughts on doing business in the Inland Northwest - and on his relocation experience.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Regional interdependence brings opportunity for innovation

It’s been said that with great struggle comes great opportunity.

According to Public Management, our current economic strategists are following this “glass half-full” anthem, and creating new approaches to overcome the lack of industrial expansion that has threatened each citizen’s livelihood in the past few years. Innovative new pathways, including talent development and utilization, are promoting growth and opportunity.

“What had been an almost exclusive focus on marketing and industrial recruitment is being augmented by approaches that emphasize homegrown sources of economic activity—efforts that develop entrepreneurial skills, creativity and talent, and promote innovation,” Public Management wrote.

Economic emphasis is now being reorganized to focus on the development of trades and skills that will contribute to the health of each region. This, in turn, will create employment opportunities for those looking to try their hand at a new, highly-specialized occupation.

Additionally, continued globalization is furthering the process of state, local, and regional interdependence. Reliance upon one another is becoming vital to survival and good for business. A high-level of community knowledge and skills ensures a healthy, thriving and stable economy that can equally support economic expansion of the others.

Boat builders in Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Wash. are a great example of the partnership potential. The region’s consortium of welded-aluminum jet boat manufacturers has formed the Snake River Boat Builders Export Program to develop viable foreign markets.

Regional performance, according to Public Management, is no longer based solely on company recruitment and populated commercial buildings. Under the “half-full” methodology, communities that collectively embrace varying skill sets and innovative occupational possibilities have a lot clearer outlook.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Study advises entrepreneurs to look to Washington state

In a time of economic uncertainty, many aspiring professionals are no longer looking for a company to belong to, but rather searching for a place to create one.

According to a recent study by economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research and Department of Economics, Washington state ranks second for entrepreneurial activity.

The State Entrepreneurship Index, a compilation and analysis of each state’s entrepreneurial activity, took into consideration a number of vital components when pinpointing performance, including “a state’s percentage growth and per capita growth in business establishments, its business formation rate, the number of patents per thousand residents, and gross receipts of sole proprietorships and partnerships per capita,” according to an Albany Business Journal story.

Washington fell directly behind New York, and led Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon. According to the survey, South Carolina fell in last place.

The rankings were based on “states performance compared to the nationwide average,” the Albany Business Journal wrote.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Increased optimism, new business priorities

Unsteady economic conditions have forced widespread reconsideration of what matters most. Individuals and families have made tough choices relating to household expenses and lifestyle. Companies have adjusted their business practices to be competitive in today’s evolving marketplace.

All operational aspects have been scrutinized as part of that process. Everything from building design to process efficiency to facility location has been considered in the interest of gaining a competitive advantage. In some cases, that means better positioning to seize market share during tough economic times. In more extreme – and unfortunately, not uncommon – instances, companies are fighting to stay in business.

Every year, Area Development magazine surveys corporate executives about their business plans. The survey delves into how current economic pressures impact priorities. The magazine concluded from its most recent survey that, “The economy’s gradual recovery has resulted in increased business optimism, a rise in new facility plans, and some changes in site selection priorities.”

A few additional noteworthy observations from the survey:

• Focus on product. Nearly three out of four new facilities will serve a manufacturing, warehouse or distribution purpose.
• Job growth is modest. More than three quarters of new domestic facilities will create fewer than 100 jobs, although at 77 percent that number represents a slight improvement over last year’s 80 percent.
• Get goods to market. Cost effectively. Highway accessibility traded places with labor costs as the most important factor, but both are still among the three top considerations along with tax exemptions.
• Think sustainably. Sustainable development is on the rise. High numbers of executives are making energy-saving modifications to existing facilities (85 percent), recycling or reusing waste products (59 percent), changing supply and distribution methods (28 percent), and seeking LEED certification for new or existing facilities (23 percent).
• Market reactivity desired. Shovel-ready or pre-certified sites, which speed the development process, were cited as important nearly half the time.
• Clustering matters. Businesses generally want to locate near others involved in similar activities.