By Troy McClelland and Chris Knapp
All well-managed businesses regularly evaluate their core purposes, products, markets and goals to ensure they’re achieving what they’ve promised.
Economic Alliance Snohomish County is no different.
Since we began in 2011, we’ve focused on building a regional alignment of organizations, groups, businesses and people; becoming a catalyst for creating regional economic vitality; building stronger communities; increasing jobs; expanding educational opportunities and supporting infrastructure improvements.
We’ve helped existing businesses flourish and retained businesses that were considering leaving Snohomish County. For example, we worked with one local business looking at Salt Lake City. We kept the business and their jobs here by introducing them to our state aerospace incentives package and Snohomish County’s workforce development programs.
EASC is a leader in aerospace competitiveness issues, fostering training and education opportunities, improving logistics and infrastructure, promoting industrial diversity, identifying local business incentives, helping businesses grow through networking and staying informed on key issues.
So, how is EASC progressing?
We have become recognized as a critical regional partner supporting the development of health care, financial services, clean energy, maritime, aeronautics technology and aircraft manufacturing, medical equipment, and high-tech electronic instruments.
According to the Washington Department of Employment Security, year-on-year comparison shows that Snohomish County employment is up 3.7 percent, unemployment dropped from 6.8 percent to 5.3 percent and wages in the second quarter of 2013 were up 4.7 percent over the same period a year earlier.
Credit for our improving economy belongs primarily to business owners throughout Snohomish County, of course, but EASC has developed a successful supporting role, promoting our county as an economic center where industry, labor, government and nonprofits are partners with common interests.
So, while we think we are on the right track, what is more important is that many key leaders agree.
Mike McCoy, President of Esterline Control &Communication Systems said he is, “strongly in support of EASC and their recruitment and retention efforts … due in part to this type of business support, (we) chose to locate in Snohomish County.”
Dr. David Beyer, President of Everett Community College, said “EASC has become the place to collaborate with private and public partners … for our county’s economic health.”
Dale Newman, Industrial Massage owner, said, “I look to EASC to … meet potential clients (and) connect with resources that directly affect the success of my business.”
Congressman Rick Larsen said, “EASC is an established leader for economic growth and opportunity in Snohomish County and across the state. The Alliance’s efforts focusing on job creation, infrastructure development and innovation make a strong and positive impact on both the regional and statewide economies.”
Dr. Jean Hernandez, President of Edmonds Community College said the college “has embraced partnering with the forward-thinking EASC to … deliver students who excel in science, technology, engineering, and math careers.”
Crystal Donner, CEO of Perteet, Inc. said, “EASC has been our partner in navigating the complex channels of transportation planning and regulatory trends of local government, while providing networking opportunities to build relationships with decision makers.”
Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert said EASC provided “significant assistance … to secure a $1 million Washington State Department of Commerce grant that helped fund improvements to the city’s storm water system,” solving flooding problems in a 130-company manufacturing center. As a result, MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc. has confirmed expansion plans at that site and Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies has expansion plans in the development process.
One of EASC’s highest priorities is promoting state funding for Snohomish County road improvements, specifically in the North Puget Sound Manufacturing Corridor stretching north from Bothell’s concentration of advanced medical device manufacturers to Everett’s Paine Field and Seaway Center aerospace complex, and the emerging Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing &Industrial Center, a collaborative project that could become the county’s second largest employment center.
Maintaining and improving our economic environment and our transportation infrastructure will help us keep those great businesses we have, as well as attract new businesses. So while many states and countries are trying to attract our businesses, EASC continues to develop initiatives to keep businesses here and to diversify our regional economy.
Our success in doing what we promised to do has inspired our staff, our board members and our city and county agencies to continue working together to enhance our enviable environment for business growth, employment and quality of living.
EASC is always evaluating ourselves to be sure we are moving forward and making progress to our plan. There is still much to do, and with our partners we are up to the task.
Troy McClelland is President and CEO of EASC. Chris Knapp, Chief Legal Officer of The Everett Clinic, is EASC’s Board Chair.