By Kurt Batdorf The Herald Business Journal
LYNNWOOD — Economic Alliance Snohomish County wrapped up its second full year in business with an annual update on the organization’s progress.
About 320 registered EASC “investors” and guests filled a hall at the Lynnwood Convention Center on Thursday to hear alliance CEO Troy McClelland extol the work of his staff in setting up the organization’s business model and finances and the support of EASC’s board of directors.
“We were blessed,” McClelland said of the board.
The EASC board’s top priority is adoption of a new business plan, which sets goals to attract new investment to the organization, respond to employer needs, improve the quality of place, respond to employer needs and connect regional leaders.
“Companies tell me, ‘Troy, I’m here for the cost structure, but we have to attract more investment to Snohomish County,’” McClelland said.
EASC’s goal in the year ahead is to ensure the rest of Washington and the Legislature recognize the role Snohomish County plays in driving the state economy, he said.
“Snohomish County’s business environment is of statewide significance. It must be seen and nurtured,” McClelland said. “Snohomish County has been the leader in (Washington’s) recession recovery.”
He said other objectives for EASC in 2013 include developing and attracting “tomorrow’s talent,” achieving world-class infrastructure and solidifying Snohomish County’s aerospace leadership.
“We have to streamline regulatory requirements to keep the county’s competitive advantage,” McClelland said. “We want the 777X and future planes from Boeing built here.”
EASC also intends to strengthen the county’s military sector by attracting more defense contractors, he said. Some 11,000 jobs in the county are tied to the military in some way, with an annual economic impact of nearly $500 million.
McClelland said EASC has been telling the Legislature about the importance of directing money in the pending transportation budget into Snohomish County’s high-tech manufacturing corridor. EASC lobbied for state dollars for roads, mass transit and passenger and freight air service at Paine Field, and Donner said those efforts had some success before the Legislature’s regular session adjourned.
EASC and The Herald Business Journal also gave awards to the county’s business leaders.
EASC presented Bill Tsoukalas, executive director of the Boys &Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, with the 2013 John M. Fluke Sr. Community Service Award. Tsoukalas has worked with the Boys &Girls Club since an injury in 1973 ended his professional baseball career.
Rick Cooper, CEO of The Everett Clinic, was named The Herald Business Journal’s Executive of the Year and EASC’s Henry M. Jackson Citizen of the Year.
Paul Archipley, owner of Beacon Publishing Inc. and publisher of the Mukilteo Beacon, Edmonds Beacon and South Everett Beacon, was named The Herald Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year.