NEWS

EDASC co-sponsors Korean business mission

Thursday, February 28, 2019

SEOUL, South Korea – In partnership with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, EDASC co-sponsored a mission to Korea recently promoting agricultural exports of local products. EDASC was represented by former EDASC Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness Sean Connell. Connell had been developing this mission for two years, so it was fitting he represented EDASC despite recently being named Vice President of Government Relations for LAVLE in Anacortes. The goals of the mission were to introduce Skagit County’s value-added agriculture, facilitate introductions with potential buyers, facilitate learning opportunities and learn about Korea’s innovative practices. Connell was joined locally by Port of...
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EDASC hosts annual Economic Forecast Night

Thursday, February 28, 2019

EDASC held its Economic Forecast Night on Feb. 6 at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, featuring an exciting announcement from CEO John Sternlicht, and talks from keynote speakers on the county’s economic trends and its relationship with Canada. About 325 attended the annual event. Keynote speakers included Dr. Laurie Trautman, director of the Western Washington University Border Policy Research Institute, and Dr. Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional economist for the Employment Security Department. Sternlicht’s opening remarks included a surprise announcement that aerospace company VT Volant is expanding to a facility in Burlington. The multi-million dollar expansion will bring an estimated 125 new family-wage jobs...
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EDASC hosts Norwegian business leaders for tour of maritime industry

Thursday, February 28, 2019

ANACORTES -- EDASC on Jan. 30 and 31 hosted a group of Norwegian business leaders for an in-depth look at Anacortes’ maritime industry, including its boat builders, clean technologies, training opportunities and more. The Anacortes tour was planned by EDASC and a Norwegian-funded organization called Innovation Norway, which seeks business opportunities for its companies overseas. The delegation travelled from Vancouver to Anacortes before leaving for Seattle on a three-city tour. The fact Innovation Norway visited Anacortes along with the two internationally prominent destinations speaks volumes to the city’s strong maritime industry and its attractive expansion opportunities. It was the first stop for...
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Spotlight on Skagit set for April, admission now free

Thursday, February 28, 2019

BURLINGTON – Spotlight on Skagit, to be held 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at Van Zyverden’s Bulb Warehouse, is for the first time offering free admission. The change will ensure even more traffic through the exhibit hall, meaning even more exposure for your business or organization. Spotlight on Skagit, formerly Schmooze Fair, is northwest Washington’s premier business-to-business trade show, providing the opportunity to cultivate existing business relationships, engage with prospective clients, and learn about the diverse industries, businesses, and nonprofits contributing to Skagit County’s economy. The event regularly draws over 500 attendees and about 90 exhibitors. Since last year, EDASC has...
EDASC welcomes Communications & Community Engagement Specialist

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

MOUNT VERNON – The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) has hired Aaron Weinberg as its Communications & Community Engagement Specialist. Weinberg joins EDASC with over seven years of combined nonprofit and journalism experience in Skagit and Whatcom counties. As a former business reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald, Weinberg is deeply familiar with the county's economic landscape. “I’m thrilled to join an organization I’ve always admired,” Weinberg said. “I’m eager to share stories not only about EDASC’s incredible range of projects and programs, but also about the innovative businesses that call Skagit County home.” Weinberg earned his B.A. in journalism from...
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Blueprint for Anacortes Maritime industry approved

Monday, February 25, 2019

ANACORTES -- The Anacortes Maritime Strategic Plan, a blueprint to strengthen the maritime industry in Anacortes over the next decade while preserving its authentic maritime culture, was approved Feb. 25 by the Anacortes City Council. The strategy was developed by EDASC, the City of Anacortes and the Port of Anacortes. Its approval by the council marks a significant milestone after nearly three years of planning, which included interviewing more than 50 local marine businesses. The strategy includes a framework of tasks and deadlines to accomplish major goals over the next 10 years. Anacortes offers one of the most competitive locations in the...
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Apprenticeship Roundtable Demystifies Opportunities

Thursday, December 27, 2018

On Friday, December 7, more than 60 leaders in business, education, and government gathered at the Northwest Career and Technical Center in Mount Vernon for an Apprenticeship Roundtable convened by the Career Connect NW team, which includes the Northwest Workforce Council, Skagit STEM Network, and EDASC, along with others.  Keynote speakers Suzi LeVine, Commissioner of the Washington State Employment Security Department, and her husband, entrepreneur Eric LeVine, set the stage by reviewing their experience with the Swiss apprenticeship system while Suzi served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland.  This experience led to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s recent mission to Switzerland...
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New Maritime Strategy Charts Forward Course for Anacortes

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The City of Anacortes and Port of Anacortes, together with EDASC, have been working over the past two years to develop a new comprehensive strategic plan for promoting and expanding a sustainable maritime economy in Anacortes and Skagit County, while preserving the authentic maritime culture of Anacortes. Anacortes offers one of the most competitive locations in the Pacific Northwest for sustained and future growth of the maritime industry, with an established, diverse range of businesses and unique, superb assets.  At the same time, challenges including difficulties employers face in finding skilled workers; the regulatory environment and burdens on existing businesses; and infrastructure...
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NextExec 2019: Sign Up Online for Skagit-based Management Training

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

On January 29, 2019, EDASC will begin a new year of the well-received NextExec local management training program, for people moving up in their company structure who want to learn more about the business of their business without having to travel to Seattle or further.  The 2019 NextExec program will be held every fourth Tuesday of the month from 7:30 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. and includes breakfast as part of the session. NextExec 2019 consists of four modules, each focusing on a different area:.  Winter quarter looks at Strategy and Organizational Leadership, with programs on personal productivity, and team and organizational...
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EDASC Fosters New Connections for Skagit County in China

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held November 5-9 in Shanghai, an event bringing together more than 3,600 foreign businesses and exporters to meet with potential Chinese buyers and importers.  A high priority for the Chinese Government, this inaugural CIIE was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 5 at an event that also included Bill Gates and other world leaders and business executives.  Washington State participated in CIIE with the largest delegation from any U.S. state, with particular focus on the aerospace and agriculture sectors.  EDASC’s Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, Sean Connell, participated in...
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Successful Investor Appreciation Celebration Showcases EDASC Investors and MoNA

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

EDASC held its third annual Investor Appreciation Celebration November 5 at the Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) in La Conner.  The event, attended by over 125 EDASC investors and guests, was extremely successful, affording the opportunity to make new business acquaintances, discuss various projects and deals, and become acquainted with a museum that is a treasure of Skagit County.  Attendees networked and enjoyed delicious food and drink from La Conner Seafood and Prime Rib House and music from the North Stars Chamber Quartet while perusing the thought-provoking Surge exhibit at MoNA, exploring the intersection of art and science as it...
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Staff Profile: Diana Morelli-Klima

Monday, November 19, 2018

How long have you lived in Skagit County? I live in King County, but I have made the 120 mile round-trip since 2004.  It’s a beautiful drive, enhanced by years of “books on tape.” What is your favorite thing to do or eat? I love to read, fish, teach, exercise, cook, eat good food and spend quality time with my family. What can you suggest for someone new or familiar to Skagit County to try? Meet the warm-hearted, engaged people of Skagit and participate in the community. What were you doing before you started working for EDASC? I’ve been teaching on the college level since the age...
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Local Caregivers Bind Together to Create Heartsong Health Cooperative

Thursday, November 01, 2018

As the population continues to age, the need for caregivers in Skagit County is increasing.  The question of what type of care to provide an aging parent and where to find that care is a struggle that many local families will face.  Most people want to stay home as long as possible.  Some families are able to accommodate the changing needs of a family member over time.  Eventually, for most, some assistance is required.  Local caregivers are filling the gap by providing in-home care to elderly who are bedridden, and those who simply need someone to spend time with.  The...
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Staff Profile: Sunny Siers

Monday, October 29, 2018

How long have you lived in Skagit County? Don’t tell anyone, but I actually live in Snohomish County and grew up in the Greater Seattle area! What is your favorite thing to do or eat? Artichokes are my favorite food on the planet.  That’s my go-to dinner at least once a week.  Not only are they delicious, they are also so good for you! What can you suggest for someone new or familiar to Skagit County to try?  I’m still getting to know Skagit County, but with our office located just down the street from the Skagit Valley Food Co-Op, I end up shopping there...
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Energy Storage and Marine Tech Manufacturer LAVLE USA Establishes Headquarters in Skagit County

Thursday, October 25, 2018

LAVLE USA, Inc., a joint venture of Japanese battery company 3DOM and Anacortes-based Ockerman Automation, announced on October 17 the establishment in June 2018 of its headquarters in Anacortes.  LAVLE combines advanced energy storage technologies from 3DOM with the world-leading marine engineering, design, and systems integration services of Ockerman Automation, offering products and services to the defense, renewable energy, and marine transportation industries.  The company’s establishment comes at a time of accelerating trends towards electrification in the global marine transportation industry, with the goals of increasing efficiencies while reducing costs and environmental impacts.      In LAVLE’s press release, CEO Dr. Jason Nye...
Business Showcase Gives Skagit County Agency in Deciding Who We Want to Be

Monday, October 01, 2018

What if our investments helped to transform our community?  Instead of investing in corporations without a personal or economic connection to the community, it is possible to “invest in community businesses and social enterprise” (Balle, 2018).  This movement is based on the concept of creating an ecosystem where local residents can invest in businesses and social enterprises that stimulate the economy and create jobs, but just as importantly, become part of a community’s fabric and culture. Ultimately, place-based investing gives investors greater agency over how they invest and the impact they can make with that investment.  Local lending groups have been...
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CEO Corner: September 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

The EDASC Board of Directors just held its semiannual retreat at the conference room at Peace Health/United General Hospital in Sedro-Woolley.  In addition to the regular (but abbreviated) monthly meeting, the Board heard presentations from individual board members and focused on the theme of “Economic Development in a Time of (Virtually) Full Employment.”  These semi-annual retreats, which we started three years ago, give the board the opportunity for a deep dive into particular issues of importance to EDASC and the local economy. First, board members from the health care/insurance, manufacturing, and construction sectors presented in a “forces of change” panel.  Board...
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Staff Profile: Cindy Brooks

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

How long have you lived in Skagit County? One year. What is your favorite thing to do or eat? Both, like eating huckleberries along the trail while hiking. What can you suggest for someone new or familiar to Skagit County to try? Slow down and look around, get outside, visit the parks, like Howard Miller Steelhead Park, the Cascade Trail, or Kukutali Reserve. What were you doing before you started working for EDASC? Finishing an MBA in Sustainable Systems. Why is economic development important for you? I’ve owned and run small businesses most of my adult life. Through this experience I’ve come to understand that the entrepreneurial mindset is...
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CEO Corner: August 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

One of EDASC’s popular NextExec sessions this spring focused on Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution. Many different topics figured in to this discussion on individual and group communication, including emotional intelligence, empathy, inclusiveness, giving difficult feedback, and resolving interpersonal conflict. These are all complex topics that deserve more detailed treatment on their own, but they will be presented serially and in summary form here. Conflict: Always endeavor to turn conflict into a win/win, a constructive rather than destructive outcome. If only a destructive outcome is possible, conflict should be avoided or at best managed. Sometimes conflict is necessary, sometimes it is to...
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Staff Profile: Annette Pankey

Sunday, August 05, 2018

How long have you lived in Skagit County? My wife Roz and I arrived in Anacortes on May 1, 2011. What is your favorite thing to do? I’ve played sports all my life and absolutely love playing golf!  The mechanics of golf are challenging, but it’s balanced by just being out in nature.  I always try to appreciate the surroundings of the courses I play on. What can you suggest for someone new or not familiar to Skagit County to try? Tour around the whole county.  There is so much to see and do year-round.  Start up conversations with strangers.  You’d be surprised how much...
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CEO Corner: July 2018

Monday, July 30, 2018

We have recently completed the season of graduations and inspiration – including Leadership Skagit and two graduations for the Sternlicht family.  Aside from pride, excitement, satisfaction, and hope, these events can energize us to work for improvements and greater causes for our communities.  I hope you will permit me some personal observations on this theme.  I found that kind of inspiration on attending my son David’s graduation this spring from the Haas Graduate School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.  The class was filled with the next generation of brilliant, hard-working people who want to make the world a...
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Skagit County, Northwest Washington Promoted to Global Investors at SelectUSA Summit

Friday, July 27, 2018

From June 20 through 22, EDASC was part of the Choose Washington delegation at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC.  This summit, organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the highest-profile event promoting investment in the United States, bringing together global companies and economic development organizations to share investment opportunities from across the country. The 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit drew more than 3,000 participants, including participants from 66 international markets, more than 1,200 global business investors and economic developers from 50 U.S. states and territories. EDASC was represented at SelectUSA by Sean Connell, Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, who conducted several meetings with...
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Five Census Tracts in Skagit County Designated by Governor as Opportunity Zones

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has designated five census tracts in three Skagit County cities as Opportunity Zones. The tracts are part of a new program enacted by Congress under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that aims to encourage private-sector investment into economically distressed U.S. communities.   Investors in Opportunity Zones may benefit from federal capital gains tax deferments and reductions. EDASC anticipates that Skagit County’s five newly designated Opportunity Zones will encourage investment in Anacortes, Mount Vernon, and Sedro-Woolley, and result in more family-wage jobs and expanded housing opportunities. EDASC will work with municipalities and potential investors to bring...
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EDASC seeking Coordinator of Business Development & Expansion

Friday, March 01, 2019

UPDATE: The job posting is now closed SUMMARY The coordinator of EDASC’s Business Development & Expansion program is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing business retention, attraction and expansion strategies based on target sectors and a thorough knowledge of best practices related to economic development. Under the supervision of EDASC’s CEO and in coordination with staff and outside organizations, the right candidate’s expertise will include the ability to establish sincere rapport with our team, stakeholders, clients and company officials in order to successfully recognize, develop and cultivate leads through research, local/international business connections and trade groups. No supervisory responsibilities at this time. Core Responsibilities Develop,...
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EDASC partners for inaugural WE Ignite Women’s Conference

Thursday, February 28, 2019

ANACORTES – The inaugural WE Ignite Women’s Conference was held Feb. 8 at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, in partnership with EDASC. The conference provided business education opportunities for women through keynote speakers, panel sessions, skill building and networking opportunities. About 225 attended. The WE Ignite Women’s Conference is the brainchild of Erin Long, a prominent Skagit County community member and 2016 Skagit Women’s Alliance and Network Woman of the Year award recipient. EDASC partnered with Long during the planning stages of the conference when she ran into administrative issues preventing her from accepting donations or making payments. The problem was that WE...
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Skagit Valley College accepting applications for BASAM program

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Skagit Valley College is now accepting Fall 2019 applications for its Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management (BASAM) program. The program has its own admission process, with applications only available by attending an information session at the college. The program is a two-year, career-oriented degree combining upper-level managerial and general education courses. It provides students with business skills and knowledge for advancement to managerial-level positions or to operate an entrepreneurial venture. It is designed for students who have completed an associate’s degree. It is flexible, affordable, and designed to accommodate working adults who want to build management skills and advance...
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Sternlicht discusses keeping agriculture sustainable in Skagit County

Thursday, February 28, 2019

MOUNT VERNON -- EDASC CEO John Sternlicht spoke Feb. 8 about the ongoing need to push for value-added agriculture and other ways to keep agriculture and agriculture land economically viable during the annual Skagit Ag Summit at the Washington State University Research and Extension Center. Value-added agriculture, put simply, involves increasing the value of an agricultural product. Local examples include Skagit Valley Malting paying farmers premium prices for commodity crops and the recently-unveiled “Genuine Skagit Valley” certification brand strategy created through the Innovation Partnership Zone. More Skagit County farmers want to become price makers, or those who set the prices of their...
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Alternative Lenders Roundtable Event Connects Small Businesses with Resources

Monday, December 24, 2018

Small businesses are critical to Skagit County’s economy. They provide important products and services, create jobs and are a tool for wealth creation.  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 99.9% of U.S. businesses are small businesses. These small businesses in aggregate employ 47.5% of all U.S. employees.[1]  Surprisingly, four out of five are single employer businesses.[2] Here are just a few of the reasons small businesses are important to our local economy: Small businesses are a significant contributor to the character of a place by adding vitality and vibrancy to a community.  The character of a place is important to...
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Foundations for the Future: An Interview with Skagit STEM Network

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Fostering workforce talent and attracting human capital is at the core of economic development.  Ensuring that all students in Skagit County have access to opportunities and resources to develop the skills, knowledge, and capabilities to thrive and succeed in an increasingly competitive and technology-driven employment environment is an important priority.  In support of this goal, EDASC works closely with the Skagit STEM Network, whose mission is to provide resources and a collaborative environment for educators, administrators, and community-based organizations that better enable them to help Skagit County students acquire the knowledge and skills required to meet the challenges of the...
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An Economy for All

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

This time of year calls for reflection.  Skagit County has historically been a place of great natural beauty and bountiful resources.  Acknowledging the natural forces that have shaped the landscape and the diversity of life that inhabits the valley informs who we are becoming.  How do we sustain quality of life and connection to our sense of place in times of growth and change?  Nurturing a healthy and equitable local economy is key.  This is the foundational concept of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) framework.  Using the BALLE framework key principles as a guide, we reflect on...
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Strong Skagit Presence at Pacific Marine Expo

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Pacific Marine Expo, which is the largest annual commercial marine trade show on the West Coast, took place in Seattle from November 18-20.  The show featured several Skagit County marine industry businesses and institutions, including the Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Technology at Skagit Valley College, Mavrik Marine, Rozema Boat Works Inc., Industrial Resources Incorporated, Olympic Propeller Company, Cold Sea Refrigeration Inc., Maritime Fabrications Inc., and Pacific Marine Center.  EDASC walked the floor at the Expo to connect with businesses and learn more about the latest trends in this important industry sector for Skagit County’s economy, as...
Annual IEDC Conference Advances Inclusion in Economic Development

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This year’s annual conference of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), held in Atlanta, Georgia from September 29 to October 3, turned out to be the largest ever.  Over 1,600 economic developers and related service providers gathered to explore the theme of “Inclusion in Economic Development.”  In addition to the basics of economic development, business retention, expansion, and attraction, many of the areas discussed focused on issues of inclusion, diversity, prosperity for all, housing, workforce, early learning, the opioid crisis, and other areas in which our community and EDASC in particular are closely involved.  The conference provides an excellent opportunity...
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Bringing Skagit Ideas and Inventions to Life: An Interview with the NW Innovation Resource Center

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Skagit County has long been fertile ground for innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs.  Homegrown companies such as Janicki Industries, Rothenbuhler Engineering, Eddyline, and Skagit Valley Malting—just to name a few—are today internationally-renowned in their fields.    Fostering and supporting new entrepreneurs that will create Skagit County’s future business success stories, and ensuring that they can maintain and grow these businesses here, is an important priority for EDASC in its economic development strategy.  To accomplish this, Skagit County, the Port of Skagit, and EDASC partner with the NW Innovation Resource Center (NWIRC), which assists entrepreneurs and inventors from throughout Skagit County create the strategies...
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CEO Corner: October 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Things are busy here at EDASC.  First, we are getting ready for our third annual Investor Appreciation Celebration, Monday November 5 at 5:30 at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner.  If you are an EDASC Investor at whatever level, please go to our website and register (at no cost) right away!  The link can also be found here.  We look forward to hosting you for a fun evening of networking and talking about the successes enabled by your investments! Also coming up very soon: the 2019 Skagit Business Guide, including the EDASC Investor Directory.  Please be on the lookout...
Fundamental Computer Course Supports Skagit County Latino Entrepreneurs

Monday, July 30, 2018

On May 26, thirty-six Skagit County participants graduated from the Basic and Intermediate Computer Course for Latinos, an innovative business preparedness course coordinated in partnership by Skagit Valley College, the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC), and EDASC's Latino Business Retention and Expansion Program.  These classes, which were held at Skagit Valley College across eight Saturdays, provided students from Skagit County's Latino community with a solid foundation in fundamental computer skills--including operating Microsoft Office Software utilizing databases, spreadsheets, word processing, PowerPoint, and an introduction to the Internet--within a Spanish language environment while using English as the computer language.  This basic business course provided much needed knowledge for...