Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Inland Northwest Partners Honors Economic Development Contributions of Area Communities and Individuals

For more than 25 years, the Inland Northwest Partners (INP), a regional non-profit economic development organization, has recognized deserving individuals and organizations with Hometown Hero Awards for their contributions to the economic growth of communities in the Inland Northwest. The INP honored the 2015 Hometown Award winners at the organization’s annual meeting on Nov. 12. The Hometown Awards, which are voted on by INP board members, were given to recipients in one of four categories: Community, Partnership, Hall of Fame and Hometown Hero 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 Town of Fairfield, Wash. was recognized for its creation of a Community Advisory Board to promote and support a well-connected, vital community that fosters healthy eating, active living and economic development. The town developed a framework for community action that included creating a caring and supportive community with a vibrant economy, a quality education system, recreational and cultural opportunities for all ages, and safe and diverse neighborhoods.

During the advisory board’s first year, it has installed new playground equipment in the local park, completed the gardening season with a community garden that benefited senior citizens at the local care facility, and will soon have a digital reader board installed. By creating a shared vision through this collaborative effort, the Community Advisory Board generated momentum toward a stronger town and neighborhoods where people feel welcome and a part of the community.

Jeannie Jesseph, a member of the Community Advisory Board, accepted the award on behalf of the entire community.

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

The Palouse Knowledge Corridor was recognized for its work helping make area communities more resilient and connecting entrepreneurs to resources to grow and expand jobs. The Palouse Knowledge Corridor was established in 2007 to unify economic development efforts on the Palouse through the collaboration of Washington State University and the University of Idaho, the private sector, economic development agencies and governments in the Cities of Moscow and Pullman, and Whitman and Latah Counties.

The organization promotes creativity and innovation, and works to find solutions to shared challenges, such as workforce development, transportation issues, funding, retaining the companies that grow out of university research, and training entrepreneurs to establish successful businesses. The group’s Fall and Spring Business Showcase events give entrepreneurs a platform to highlight their business ideas to community members and potential investors, and its highly successful annual Be the Entrepreneur™ Bootcamp offers training and practical experience in establishing successful businesses.

Palouse Knowledge Corridor co-chairs Marie Dymkoski and Robin Ohlgren accepted the award.

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.

Dr. Gene Merrell, associate vice president for economic development and chief technology transfer officer at the University of Idaho, was the receipt of the Hall of Fame Award. In his collaborative role at the university, he has made tremendous contributions to the local economies in the region. Merrell oversees the Office of Technology Transfer, which is responsible for the management of the University's intellectual property portfolio. He serves on the Clearwater Economic Development Association's Board of Directors, Business Development and Finance Council and its Operations and Finance Council. He is also the University's representative on the Board of Directors of the American Manufacturers Network and the Palouse Knowledge Corridor.

Prior to joining the university, Merrell was vice president for research of the Process Chemicals and Energy Chemicals subsidiaries of BetzDearborn, Inc. He was with the company for 19 years and is listed as inventor on seven U.S. patents. He received his B.A. in chemistry and physics from Houston Baptist University and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Washington State University.

The Hometown Hero Award recognizes individuals or families that have played a key role in the economic development efforts of a community or region.

The Jacklin Family was the receipt of this year’s Hometown Hero Award. For over a half-century the Jacklin name was synonymous with the grass fields that stretched across North Idaho. The Jacklins grew the family business, started in 1935, into one of the largest grass growing business in the nation with international markets and up to 200 employees. The Jacklin’s influence over the years has gone beyond their family business. Their generosity has touched all parts of the Inland Northwest through numerous donations to the arts, education and veterans. The Jacklin Family was recognized as a true Hometown Hero for not only its support to the City of Post Falls and Kootenai County, but to the entire Inland Northwest region.

Duane and Don Jacklin accepted the Hometown Hero Award on behalf of the Jacklin family.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

City of Rathdrum Purchases Site for Future Facilities

The City of Rathdrum has purchased 30 acres for $650,000 as a site for future city facilities. City hall, the police station, the parks and recreation department and public works are nearing their capacity. The land will be developed to house the city facilities over the next five to 10 years.

Read the Coeur d’Alene Press article for more details.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Walla Walla Community College Building $5.1 million Workforce and Business Development Center in Clarkston

Walla Walla Community College is building a $5.1 million Workforce and Business Development Center in Clarkston. The facility is expected to open in time for the 2017 school year, offering training in manufacturing maintenance, fabrication and related fields.

In order to meet the immediate demand for skilled workforce, Walla Walla Community College has partnered with the Clarkston School District and is currently conducting industrial maintenance classes in the high school shop. This program will offer students a certificate in industrial maintenance technology. Other programs will include welding and fabrication, along with precision machining. Ultimately, students will be able to earn an AA degree in advanced manufacturing.

To learn more, visit www.wwcc.edu.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Alorica Inc. to Add 350 Jobs in Spokane

Alorica Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based company that bought call center operator West Corp.’s client agent services operations earlier this year, plans to hire up to 350 new employees in Spokane by next year. Last March, Alorica announced its acquisition of West Corp.’s client agent services for $275 million. Alorica has a base of about 450 employees in Spokane.

To learn more, read the Spokane Journal of Business article.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Kootenai Health to Create up to 150 Jobs With Expansion

Kootenai Health’s expansion project on the main campus in Coeur d’Alene is over halfway complete. The three-story expansion will provide a family birthing center, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), 10 percent more patient rooms, a new hospital entrance and registration area and expanded visitor waiting areas. The facility is expected to open in late January 2016 and is estimated to add between 100 and 150 new jobs. To learn more, visit www.kh.org.