Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wildfire-fighting Company Aero-Flite to Relocate to Spokane International Airport

According to an article in the Spokane Journal of Business, Aero-Flite Inc., a Kingman, Ariz.-based wild land firefighting company, is in the process of relocating its operations to a hangar on the south side of the airport, next to the air traffic control tower.

The company’s relocation is the subject of an aerospace business recruitment announcement scheduled to be held today, Nov. 20, by the Spokane Airport Board at Spokane International Airport and attended by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee.

Aero-Flite is taking over a lease-and-operating agreement formerly held by JetTech Aerospace for most of the 70,000-square-foot, airport-owned hangar. Aero-Flite will occupy 30,000 square feet of floor space and an additional 20,000 square feet of office and maintenance shop space, says airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washington Grain Commission announces $5 million gift to advance grain research at Washington State University

The Washington Grain Commission announced a $5 million gift to expand facilities and advance grain research at Washington State University. The new facility will complement the existing 34,000-square-foot wheat research growth facility on the Pullman campus and provide WSU and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists with space and technology to conduct groundbreaking research. It will include innovative controlled environment growth rooms, greenhouse spaces and laboratories where plant scientists will address some of the biggest challenges in agriculture and climate.

The initial phase is projected to construct 9,500 square feet of greenhouse space on two levels. This phase will also introduce 10,500 square feet of indoor space for research and equipment. Phase 1 will be completed in 2015. For more information, visit http://wsu.edu.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Inland Northwest Partners Recognizes Communities and Individuals for Economic Development Achievements

Inland Northwest Partners (INP), a regional non-profit economic development organization, honored local communities and individuals with Hometown Awards at the organization’s annual meeting on Nov. 14.  For more than 25 years, the INP has recognized deserving individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond in supporting the economic growth of communities in the Inland Northwest.

The Hometown Awards, voted on by INP board members, were given to recipients in one of four categories: Partnership, Community, Hometown Hero and Hall of Fame Award.

The Partnership Award recognizes communities, persons, agencies or regions that have achieved significant economic development accomplishments through innovative partnerships.

The Grant County EDC and the Port of Moses Lake, along with all of their other partners, were recognized for their outstanding commitment to economic development. The partnership is considered a shining star of business recruitment and expansion, playing key roles in the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation project, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers expansion and AstaReal Technologies manufacturing plant project. The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation project, which will result in more than 80 high-paying aerospace engineering positions, is putting the region on the global map as a location of choice for future aircraft certification and testing activities. SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers plans to triple the capacity of its carbon fiber plant, funded by an investment of $300 million, making it the world’s largest carbon fiber plant and creating jobs for 200 people. The AstaReal Technologies manufacturing plant project is a $30 million investment with 45 permanent local jobs created. In addition, the county is home to new data centers of global companies, including a planned Microsoft data center in Quincy. Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Grant County EDC and Richard Hanover, director of business development for the Port of Moses Lake, accepted the award on behalf of the group.

The City of Post Falls, the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Post Falls Urban Renewal District were honored for their integral role in many of the economic development activities occurring in North Idaho, including the Interstate 90 overpass at Greensferry Road. The project intends to ease congestion, create economic development and improve connectivity, traffic mobility and emergency response between the business districts and residential areas north and south of the Interstate. When completed, the project will feature two lanes in each direction, a center turn lane, bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides that connect to the Centennial Trail. The overpass, estimated at $15 million, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2015. Without a partnership between the URA, the chamber and the city, it is doubtful that this much-needed project would have ever happened. Post Falls Mayor Ron Jacobsen, City Administrator Shelly Enderud, Post Falls Chamber President and CEO Pam Houser, Post Falls URA Chairman Jerry Baltzell and URA Executive Director Tom Lien accepted the award.

The Community Award, honoring a community that has successfully implemented an effective recruitment, retention or community development strategy that has made a positive impact on the community’s economy.

The City of Moscow, Idaho was recognized for its efforts to help keep EMSI in the community. EMSI, a private company and employer of more than 100 that provides web-based economic modeling, demographics, workforce and occupational analysis for clients across the globe, was quickly outgrowing its rented space at the Alturas Technology Park. The Wintz Company, a local real estate development company, had recently acquired the former Daily News Building in the downtown area and renovated the property for EMSI. Because the property lies within the Legacy Crossing Urban Renewal District, the City of Moscow and the urban renewal district were able to participate in some of the redevelopment of public infrastructure. Because the city and urban renewal district had a retention strategy in place, EMSI was able to remain in the community with minimal disruptions to their productivity. The city gained an attractive new commercial property within the urban renewal district and the local payroll and workforce continues to be positively impacted. Mayor Bill Lambert, City Supervisor Gary Riedner, Community Development Director Bill Belknap, City Council members Walter Steed and Tom Lamar, Wintz Company President Mark Wintz and EMSI Account Manager David Wallace accepted the award on behalf of the entire community.

The Hometown Hero Awards, which recognize individuals who have played a key role in the economic development efforts of a community or region, were bestowed on two recipients. These two are selfless individuals who are truly dedicated to seeing their communities succeed. 

Margie Hall, executive director of Lincoln County EDC, was recognized as a Hometown Hero for her outstanding efforts in promoting economic and community development for the county. The Lincoln County EDC provides traditional EDC services and also serves as the Visitor & Convention Bureau. In a county that is the seventh largest in the state, but with less than five people per square mile, Hall secured funds from the Washington Department of Commerce and pulled together a team that addressed broadband issues and opportunities across the county. Hall offers social media and other online presence training for the local business community. She is an active member of the Washington State Rural Pathways to Prosperity Conference planning team and hosted one of the most successful sites during the last conference. Hall’s high energy, positive attitude and planning expertise have gained her many supporters and partners within the county and across the region.

Jim Hammond was honored as a Hometown Hero for his efforts promoting economic development for the City of Post Falls, the region and the State of Idaho for decades. Hammond’s career in public office has included serving as Mayor, State Senator, City Councilor and City Administrator. He has also served on numerous boards and organizations. Hammond is currently serving as the interim executive director of the Panhandle Area Council where he served on the board of directors for 20 years, and will soon be taking over as the new city administrator for the city of Coeur d’Alene. Over the years, Hammond has supported and often led the charge to recruit new businesses, retain existing business and develop public infrastructure to support new growth. His early vision and leadership helped make Post Falls one of Idaho’s fastest growing cities and home to industries such as manufacturing, research, medical, robotics and international companies. His support of economic development tools such as urban renewal districts, tax increment financing and the STAR bill helped bring businesses such as Cabelas, Sysco, Flexel and Buck Knives to Post Falls and strengthened the public infrastructure.

The Hall of Fame Award goes to individuals, communities, agencies or companies that have provided substantial support to economic development efforts in the Inland Northwest region.

Terry Lawhead, business development manager and CERB liaison for the Washington State Department of Commerce, was honored with the Hall of Fame award. Lawhead provides statewide technical assistance in infrastructure investments and renewable energy projects as well as collaboration on
special initiatives. He thoroughly enjoys working closely with the businesses and residents of the diverse communities located throughout the state. Born and raised in Washington with a journalism degree from the University of Idaho, he brings an eclectic mix of experience to the position, including stints in logging, ranching, farming, construction, corporate relations, downtown revitalization and publishing. He is an IEDC certified economic professional, licensed farrier and wrote several books on native Hawaiian history, banking, the origins of tourism and a travel guide for parents with children. He has represented Washington State in international forums and assisted with the first U.S.-held international conference by TCI in a unique partnership with Oregon.

Tom Stroschein, Latah County Commissioner, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Stroschein has served on the Latah County Board of Commissioners for the past 12 years. His resolve for supporting a countywide economic development organization, the Latah Economic Development Council, was unwavering. He has been an active supporter and participant with the Potlatch River Ridge Redevelopment effort, Latah Food Innovation Resource Center study and value-added agricultural strategies, Palouse Basin water development issues, and building strong collaborative partnerships with the City of Moscow and the University of Idaho.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CERB Approves Funding for Infrastructure Projects for Steel Suppliers

The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) has approved a loan and a grant totaling $538,000 to construct infrastructure to expand one steel supplier and bring another supplier to the Inland Northwest market. The city of Airway Heights will match CERB’s investment with $187,000 in local funds to complete the infrastructure projects.

Seaport Steel is a family-owned, Seattle-based company with a satellite operation in Airway Heights. Seaport Steel plans to construct a 60,000-square-foot building where it will expand. Brown-Strauss, a century old, Denver-based company, plans to occupy an existing facility being vacated by Spokane-based Scafco Corp. Scafco is expanding into new facilities in East Spokane. Together, the companies will invest $5 million in construction and improvements and bring more than 20 new jobs to Spokane County.

For more information, read the Journal of Business article – www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/state-loan-grant-fuel-w-plains-job-growth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Major Capital Improvements for Colfax Airport Approved

The Port of Whitman County’s Board of Commissioners approved a series of major capital improvements for the Colfax Airport, including a $2.3 million runway reconstruction project. The project, which includes new runway lighting, drainage and electrical work, is scheduled for completion in 2015. A $170,000 taxiway and apron pavement rehabilitation project is also scheduled to be completed next year. Read the Lewiston Morning Tribune article to learn more http://lmtribune.com/northwest/article_bdbd18ce-5c09-5de5-b9c6-b82d9cd7975e.html.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital Expanding Adult Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital is expanding and remodeling its adult cardiac intensive care unit to meet the needs of the region for highly specialized cardiovascular inpatient treatment. Construction began this summer and will be complete by spring 2016. The $19.2 million project will take place in two phases: one to build out new space and another to remodel existing space.

To learn more about the expansion, go to http://washington.providence.org.