NEWS

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...
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...
Fall 2018 NextExec Explores Next-Level Management Skills

Monday, September 24, 2018

This fall, EDASC's NextExec professional development program will focus on next-level management topics, including effective negotiation strategies, the implications of emerging technologies including blockchain, and corporate social responsibility.  These sessions will feature presenters recognized as leaders in their fields, who will share their experiences using these skills and information as a core part of their profession. In October, EDASC CEO John Sternlicht will present on how to reach common ground in negotiations through collaboration to understand the perspective of the other party.  The presentation will draw from the book Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want by Curt Carlson...
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...
Skagit County Revolving Loan Fund Offers Competitive Opportunities for Financing your Business

Friday, August 31, 2018

For Skagit County small businesses searching for funding to support growing and expanding their operations, the Skagit County Revolving Loan Fund offers affordable financing opportunities to purchase equipment or real estate, refinance expensive debt, or improve your business space to attract new clients.  Revived by the National Development Council (NDC) earlier this year, this longstanding program is now featuring loans for up to $500,000 at competitive interest rates for eligible businesses--offering another tool for helping grow your business. For more than 30 years, the Skagit County Revolving Loan Fund Program has supported job retention and creation in Skagit County, while leveraging...
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...
6 Tips for Growing Your Business

Monday, August 13, 2018

Business growth is critical for long-term success. Still, achieving sustainable business growth is not easy. It requires a strategic plan, being well-prepared, and being nimble enough to adjust to changing market demands. Locally, Cindy Brooks is an excellent resource for businesses needing help in this arena. Through her work at the SBDC, she helps Skagit County businesses and entrepreneurs to plan and achieve sustainable growth. We encourage using her as a knowledge resource and for help with any of the below suggestions. In the meantime, here are some tips that business owners can implement today. #1 Stay on top of finances During...
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...
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...
Should I Hire Employees or Contractors?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Many businesses in Washington State are faced with the question of hiring employees or starting people out as contractors. This is especially relevant for start-ups or businesses who are in the growth phase. When cash is tight, there may be little option other than to hire people as contractors. However, this is not always the right decision from a legal and taxation perspective, nor is it always the right decision from a business one. A business attorney and CPA can provide specific advice. As a general rule, here are some things to consider - Contractors must work independently This is where a...
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...
4 New Techs For Easier Business Finances

Monday, May 14, 2018

New technology is making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs and small business owners to manage their finances. We recommend working with EDASC’s resident SBDC advisor to create an initial budget, financial projections, and to learn how to manage cash flow. Afterwards, it becomes important to manage these plans on a daily and monthly basis - something that is not always easy for small business owners and entrepreneurs. As a company grows it can hire a full time accountant, controller, or CFO. In the meantime, some new tech is making it easier for entrepreneurs and small business owners to manage...
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...
EDASC Explores Opportunities for Skagit County in Japan and Korea

Friday, December 01, 2017

Japan and South Korea have been identified as promising export markets for Skagit County value-added agriculture products. EDASC visited these markets to explore opportunities and introduce Skagit County and northwest Washington to key counterparts in both countries. Organic agriculture and craft brewing present positive opportunities in these markets for Skagit County products; agriculture technology and agritourism also present potential areas for information sharing and engagement. As part of its activities to promote Skagit County’s economy, EDASC actively explores opportunities to build global connections through export promotion, investment attraction, and mutually beneficial partnerships.  With value-added agriculture an important and growing economic sector for Skagit County, EDASC...
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...
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...
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...
Tackling the “Sticky Topic” of Homelessness in Skagit County—A Civil Discussion

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Contributed by Wende Sanderson, Member of the League of Women Voters of Skagit County, and Certified Mediator with the Skagit Dispute Resolution Center The League of Women Voters of Skagit County and the Skagit County Dispute Resolution Center completed their 2018 Civil Discourse series on October 6 with a Community Conversation on homelessness.  This event was made possible by generous support from Skagit County Board of Commissioners, EDASC Foundation, and Skagit Publishing. The event featured independent dispute resolution professional Mary Dumas as the facilitator, guiding participants through an exploration of the topic of homelessness in Skagit County.  Participants discovered the many ‘tracks’...
Latino Leadership Initiative and Latino Computer Training Course Thrive

Monday, October 29, 2018

This fall marks the beginning of the sixth year of the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI), an initiative of the EDASC Foundation's Leadership Skagit Program, and the second consecutive offering of the Beginning and Intermediate Computer Training Course for Latinos.  These programs and their enthusiastic participants are thriving.  A record number of 28 students from Skagit Valley College have registered for the computer course, which is offered in Spanish, and both computer classes are filled.  The computer training course provides a solid foundation in basic computer concepts, motivates participants to continue their education and start a business and to become more...
Upcoming Consultation and Trade Mission Offer Skagit County Businesses New Growth Opportunities

Thursday, August 30, 2018

With more than 95 percent of all consumers located outside the United States, exports and international trade present significant potential growth opportunities for manufacturers, farmers, and services providers.  Skagit County is a leading exporter in its own right, as the source of 25 percent of global supply of cabbage and beet seeds, along with other agricultural crops, advanced machinery, and other manufactured goods sold and shipped all around the world.  Supporting Skagit County businesses and communities in reaping the economic benefits available through exporting is an important priority for EDASC, and three upcoming activities offer excellent opportunities to explore new...
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...
Recognition of Board Members’ Service

Friday, December 15, 2017

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, EDASC marked the occasion of three board members’ final board meeting and presented plaques to Gregg Davidson, Julie Blazek, and Anthony Young. They are leaving the board after many years of dedicated service. Gregg Davidson, former Skagit Regional Health President and CEO, served on EDASC’s board for 21 years. Although he will be dearly missed, he will still be active volunteering for EDASC and other community members while enjoying his hard-earned retirement. Julie Blazek, Partner at HKP Architects, LLP, served as Board Chair for 2016, and has been with EDASC for four years. She has resigned from...
Consider a Career in Advanced Manufacturing

Thursday, December 07, 2017

  Advanced manufacturing jobs are abundant in Skagit County. With our maritime, aerospace, petroleum and other manufacturing sectors, there is an incredible need for people who have the skills necessary to operate machinery, serve as engineers (and engineering technicians) and to ensure that our manufacturing sector continues to thrive. The advanced manufacturing businesses located in Skagit County, include: Shell Puget Sound Refinery Andeavor Anacortes Refinery (formerly Tesoro) Janicki Industries Hexcel PACCAR Technical Center Team Corporation Snelson EDCO, INC. Rothenbuhler Engineering Many small and mid-size companies   Advanced Manufacturing Requires Workers to Have Advanced Skills   These are not manufacturing jobs designed to have employees complete the same routine tasks over and over again. A far cry...