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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
KNKX Connects to Skagit Valley

Friday, January 18, 2019

KNKX Connects comes to Skagit Valley this month for the fifth installment of the station’s year-long regional reporting project. The goal of KNKX Connects is to increase local and regional news coverage and expand KNKX’s role in communities across Western Washington by presenting deep, rich storytelling and live broadcasts from these communities on a regular basis. Much like Port Angeles, Centralia/Chehalis, Bellingham and Grays Harbor, KNKX Connects will highlight local issues and life in Skagit Valley, and present a wide range of stories that reflect what makes the community unique. We hope you can join us at two KNKX Connects to...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
Career Opportunities at EDASC

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) has just begun the search for two new essential team members who will shape important aspects of the region’s economic development program: a Communications/Community Engagement Specialist and a Coordinator of Business Development and Expansion. EDASC is located in the heart of downtown Mount Vernon. We are progressive and passionate about our intentional practice of improving economic well-being and the quality of life through a broad range of collaborative efforts designed to attract, create, and retain jobs and to foster a resilient, sustainable inclusive economy. ***To apply for either position, kindly send your resume and cover...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
Shopping Local is More than a Holiday Trend – It’s a Shift Towards Community Empowerment

Friday, December 21, 2018

Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, it's good to remember the small local businesses that add character to our community, and the many quality products and unique gifts that can be found in Skagit County’s downtown retailers.  We encourage shopping local for any last-minute holiday gifts and remembering to shop local year-round. The groundbreaking BALLE framework suggests acting local as a driver for building better, stronger and more equitable communities, stating, “The path to quality jobs, deeper connection and wealth-building for more neighbors is tied to the number and diversity of locally-owned businesses in a community.” There are several reasons for...
Article Photo
EDASC Now Hiring Communications / Community Engagement Specialist

Monday, December 17, 2018

Communications/Community Engagement Specialist   The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County is located in the heart of Mount Vernon, Washington.  We are progressive and passionate about our intentional practice of improving economic well-being and the quality of life through a broad range of collaborative efforts designed to attract, create, and retain jobs and to foster a resilient, sustainable inclusive economy. Our entrepreneurial team is looking for a doer, a technical expert who is a self-starter and an engaging people-person.  You are good at relationship building, an Experienced Communications/Community Engagement Specialist with a diverse skill set, including a record of accomplishment in dealing with...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
WSDA and EDASC lead Korea Outbound Trade Mission – February 2019

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), in partnership with the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), are considering conducting a trade mission to South Korea focused on specialty, organic, and value-added agriculture, during the mid-February 2019 time frame.  This trade mission would offer participants an excellent opportunity to conduct firsthand market research; meet with prospective buyers; and learn the lay of the land for doing business in Korea, one of Washington State’s most important international economic partners. This potential mission is ideal for Washington State farms and businesses in the value-added agriculture sector, and that are new to exporting...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
The Power of the Latino Leadership Initiative

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

  The Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) seeks to empower young Latinos to put them on a path to become leaders in their lives and their communities. In its fifth year, thirty students will graduate from the program from Skagit Valley College, Everett Community College and Edmonds Community College, which is a tribute to the overwhelming cooperation, engagement, acceptance and vision of our interactive communities. All of the sessions are experiential, with the focus on self-awareness and self-knowledge.  Multiple speakers offer mentorship and insight into topics most relevant to our participants, such as John Kim, Executive Director, Seattle Jobs Initiative, “Preparing to...
Managing Cash Flow is Critical for Growing a Business

Monday, April 16, 2018

For small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to launch a business, managing cash flow is critical to success. Learning how to manage a business’s finances is not as easy as it sounds. There are many factors, internal and external, that can influence business profitability and even whether a business has cash on had to pay suppliers and employees. Here are some cash flow basics that every business should know. Cash flow must be actively managed Many small business owners look at sales revenue as being the only thing that matters. They assume that if the sales numbers are good, there will be...
Article Photo
Spotlight on Skagit to Profile Local Businesses and Innovation

Friday, April 06, 2018

Spotlight on Skagit (formerly Schmooze Fair) has been northwest Washington’s premier business-to-business trade show for over a decade! Over 70 businesses and organizations are participating as exhibitors and the event is on track to exceed attendance counts from previous years. It is the place to be if you are looking to cultivate existing business relationships, engage prospective new clients, and learn about the diverse industries, businesses, and non-profits that contribute to Skagit County’s and the region's economy.   This year we are expanding Spotlight on Skagit’s focus to showcase the world-class innovation being generated right here in Skagit County! New to Spotlight on...
Article Photo
EDASC Brings CEO of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority to Present on Benefits of a Tourism Promotion Area

Friday, March 16, 2018

John Sternlicht, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), and Katherine Kertzman, CEO of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, presented to an audience of Skagit County Commissioners, mayors, city councilmembers, hoteliers, chambers of commerce, and business leaders on March 15. The presentation and discussion were held at the Skagit County Commissioners’ meeting room in Mount Vernon, sponsored by EDASC, to provide a forum for information on best practices and discussion regarding the establishment of a Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) for Skagit County. The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is responsible for competitively marketing the cities of Sea-Tac,...
Article Photo
3rd Annual Skagit Ag Summit

Thursday, March 01, 2018

EDASC's Director of Business Retention and Expansion Andrew Miller was recently given the opportunity to provide data and insight regarding the changing face of consumer interest in agriculture and value-added food as well as how those market changes and consumer interests may create economic opportunity for local farms and ag-based businesses at the 3rd Annual Skagit Ag Summit on February 16. Approximately 120 Skagit County and regional farmers, policy makers, and other ag and food stakeholders gathered at the day-long summit held at the WSU Research Center nestled in the farmlands west of Mount Vernon to hear ideas and to discuss...
Resources for Skagit County Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Friday, February 23, 2018

Entrepreneurs and business leaders have access to an unprecedented amount of information and resources in 2018. With the rise of the open source and sharing economy, many corporations have made business tools free, affordable and easily accessible. When combined with resources offered by EDASC and other community organizations, entrepreneurs and business leaders have a built-in support structure to promote and grow their business. EDASC encourages businesses in Skagit County to take advantage of business planning and strategy sessions, workshops, and networking events that will take place throughout the year. In addition, here are some of our favorite business resources available in...
Article Photo
Connell appointed to Board of Directors of the Washington State China Relations Council

Friday, February 09, 2018

The Washington State China Relations Council appointed Sean Connell, EDASC Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, to its Board of Directors on February 8.  The Council, which was founded in 1979 following the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, is the oldest nongovernmental organization advocating at the state level for increased trade connections with China.  The Council’s staff and board of directors regularly advise leaders from business, government and civic sectors on issues related to China, and the organization plays a central role in the attraction of direct investment from China...
Article Photo
GSBA visits EDASC to meet with Skagit County business and community leaders

Thursday, January 25, 2018

EDASC was pleased to host a luncheon together with the Greater Seattle Business Association, to bring LGBT and ally business and community leaders together. John, EDASC’s CEO, previously on the Board of Directors of the GSBA, united several LGBT businesses and community partners to explore new ways to take advantage of services offered by the GSBA and build new relationships through more opportunities to collaborate.   Representatives from PFLAG, HKP Architects, Skagit Valley College, Skagit Publishing, and various small businesses from across Skagit County attended the meeting. This group is open to any interested participants, so EDASC investors and interested Skagit businesses...
Article Photo
Staff Profile: Sean Connell

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What is your favorite thing to do or eat? As an avid hiker, getting in an extended hike to some of the greatest vistas around —such as Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm, and others in the North Cascades—then dropping by one or more of Skagit County’s microbreweries afterwards.   What can you suggest for someone new or familiar to Skagit County to try? Take a full day, and ideally more, to drive from Deception Pass in the west to Rainy Pass in the east, in order to take in the incredibly diverse environments and beauty of the county.   What were you doing before you started...
Article Photo
EDASC sees much promise in Washington Maritime Blue for local economy

Monday, December 18, 2017

EDASC recognizes the importance of Washington Maritime Blue, its significance to the economy of Washington State and Skagit County, and the opportunities this will create for local businesses and employees. On December 11, 2017, Governor Jay Inslee launched a long-term agenda to make Washington State’s maritime industry the nation’s leader in sustainable practices by 2050. The state will work with businesses, academic institutions, ports, Maritime Labor, Economic, and Workforce Development organizations to strengthen and maintain their leadership role in the maritime industry. The Washington Maritime Blue strategy will be supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through a grant of $500,000...
Article Photo
NextExec 2018 Schedule Announced

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Last year EDASC rolled out a revamped and reinvigorated format and program for NextExec and focused our attention on revisiting and discussing the principles and industry best practices foundational to world-class leadership and impactful strategy. In 2018 we will keep the momentum by shifting our focus to identifying ways to improve management and operations policies and practices. We have an open enrollment policy so you do not need to have completed Leadership & Strategy (2017) track prior to enrolling in the Management & Operations track (2018). We will return to Leadership & Strategy in 2019. Pricing and registration for NextExec can...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
Staff Profile: Audra Ramerman

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I think that the most important thing in my choice to come to EDASC from the private sector was that I see this as an opportunity to make a difference in my local community. During the last election there was a lot of talk about ‘we need jobs here! We need employment!’ and I feel that whatever is happening at the federal level, I don’t think it’s the President’s or Congress’ duty to bring jobs to my community. I feel that local politics and local organizations are what is going to effect change in their local communities. And coming to...
Article Photo
EDASC Launches Skagit County Community Conversation and China Seminar Series

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This November EDASC is launching two new series for discussion and community interaction on key issues in economic development for Skagit County and its communities:  the Skagit County Community Conversation, and the Skagit County China Seminar. The Skagit County Community Conversation series will launch on November 9, with a session on housing in economic development.  At this inaugural forum, Skagit Council of Governments (SCOG) Executive Director Kevin Murphy will present the findings of and discuss his thoughts on the recently published county-wide housing study commissioned by the SCOG board.  EDASC CEO John Sternlicht will discuss the housing needs of county employers and economic impact of available housing for economic...
Cindy Brooks Joins EDASC as SBDC Certified Business Advisor

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Cindy Brooks recently joined EDASC and the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), administered by Washington State University, as the new SBDC Certified Business Advisor serving Skagit, San Juan, and Island Counties.  Cindy is a lifelong resident of Western Washington and brings experience from two decades of small business ownership and entrepreneurial endeavors in the health and wellness industry.  She is a graduate of Presidio Graduate School, with an MBA in Sustainable Systems.  Please join us in welcoming Cindy to the Skagit County community!
Article Photo
Lieutenant Governor Habib Visits Skagit County to Discuss Economic Development Opportunities

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Washington State Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib visited Skagit County on October 2 to learn about local economic development initiatives, and to meet with businesses, organizations, and community members driving the economy to discuss priority issues and opportunities.  EDASC and Chinook Enterprises of Mount Vernon partnered to invite Lieutenant Governor Habib to Skagit County and coordinate his visit.  Lieutenant Governor Habib serves as "Washington's Chief Opportunity Officer," and his visit to Skagit County offered an opportunity to introduce him to the extensive regional partnerships working together to advance economic growth and create new opportunities for all members of the Skagit County community. In meetings with members of the EDASC...
Article Photo
Leadership Skagit Welcomes Class of 2018

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Leadership Skagit, a program of the EDASC Foundation in partnership with EDASC, Skagit Valley College and Washington State University Extension, welcomed thirty-four new participants in its Class of 2018 on September 15 with a kickoff session at Skagit Valley College.  Over the next nine months, these current and emerging community leaders will undertake an intensive curriculum combining leadership skill development with in-depth information, study, and discussion on topics important to the future of Skagit County, while working in teams to complete community service projects of lasting benefit. Members of the Class of 2018 are: Debbie Aldridge, Community Volunteer/Samish Indian Nation Head Start (Retired) Anne Basye,...
Article Photo
EDASC CEO Honored with Fellow Member Designation by International Economic Development Council

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) CEO John Sternlicht received the “Fellow Member” designation at the annual Recognition Dinner of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on September 18 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  IEDC is the world’s largest organization of economic developers and related businesses, with over 5,000 members spread principally across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia. IEDC designates selected members of long standing as Fellow Members if they have attained unusual stature in the field of economic development and made significant contributions to the profession.  In addition to service to IEDC through board and committee service...
Article Photo
Skagit STEM Network and EDASC Host Free Screening of Sundance-selected Documentary "Most Likely to Succeed"

Thursday, September 07, 2017

The award-winning documentary Most Likely to Succeed, which provides a visionary approach to transforming schools so that students can equitably succeed in the 21st century, will be shown at a free screening on Thursday, September 21, at 6:30 pm at the Lincoln Theatre, 712 South 1st Street in Mount Vernon. The Skagit STEM Network and the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) are hosting the event, which includes a 20-minute panel discussion with Skagit County School District Superintendents moderated by EDASC CEO John Sternlicht. "The purpose of this event is to foster a meaningful discussion about how current obstacles can...
Article Photo
CEO Corner: August 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One of EDASC’s most interesting and important ongoing projects has been partnering with the City of Anacortes and the Port of Anacortes in coordinating the development of a maritime economy strategy.  After setting up a framework with some broad goals, Mayor Laurie Gere, Port Executive Director Dan Worra and I have been conducting stakeholder meetings to find out their views on Anacortes’ strengths and weaknesses as a maritime location, as well as needs, solutions, and ideas for future growth.  We have heard from businesses and individuals in manufacturing, repair, sales and service of vessels, tourism, recreation, research, education, and training,...
Article Photo
Skagit County Drawing New Focus from Chinese Businesses

Monday, August 07, 2017

As Washington State’s economic ties with China continue to expand rapidly, Skagit County is increasingly receiving attention from Chinese businesses and local government counterparts.  Washington State is already the leading exporter to China among U.S. states, and is growing in importance as a location for Chinese businesses and investors looking to enter the U.S. market.  As this trade and investment continues to accelerate, Skagit County’s high-quality value-added agriculture, innovative manufacturing industries, strategic location between Seattle and Vancouver, and spectacular natural beauty are drawing more attention from the growing number of Chinese delegations visiting Washington State.    Skagit County was highlighted at...
Article Photo
CEO Corner: July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tourism in Skagit County In conjunction with area Chambers, hoteliers, and other supporters, EDASC is working to bring the Skagit Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) to reality. This is an opportunity for Skagit to shape our tourism destiny in a meaningful way, especially as Washington has been for several years the only state to not have a statewide tourism promotion agency. Tourism, a huge revenue generator for the State of Washington, and a meaningful one for Skagit County as well, could bring us more prosperity and community amenities, as increasing revenue from visitors supports our local economy and families. Washington state legislation permits...
Article Photo
People and Communities on the Move

Monday, July 17, 2017

Across the country there has been a shift towards people leaving the big cities and congestion for more peaceful, quiet and rural areas. Thanks to the ready availability of high-speed internet, easy transportation and ample job opportunities, Skagit County has become a serious contender for businesses and families wishing to live the good life in Washington State. Some of this growth has also been due to Baby Boomers looking to retire somewhere close to family and friends but more affordable than where they were living and working. This is one reason that western Washington has continued to grow. Since boomers also move...
Article Photo
The Grain Gathering Comes to Skagit County

Monday, July 10, 2017

Washington State University will be hosting the 2017 Grain Gathering in Skagit County, bringing people from all over the world together to "change how people eat, discuss grain nutrition, grain’s role in making the ancient state, and foodcare – caring for those we feed and those feeding us.” This remarkable event speaks to the incredible vision WSU has for finding and creating better ways to create and use our food resources. This three-day event, held July 27 - 29, brings together millers, farmers, wheat breeders, food writers, chefs, community leaders and activists, home and professional bakers, maltsters, distillers and brewers in addition...
Article Photo
Eddyline Kayaks Transitions Ownership

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Local business Eddyline Kayaks has been acquired by a new management team. Founder Tom Derrer and his wife Lisa are retiring nearly 47 years after forming the company. As part of the acquisition, Mount Vernon resident Scott Holley has joined the company as president. He joins the existing management team of Todd Keane, Tom Remsing, and Janet Sutton. Eddyline Kayaks is a leading manufacturer of kayaks, paddles, and related accessories. “From Eddyline’s earliest days, we have been at the forefront of innovative designs and processes, culminating with the industry’s first thermoformed ABS kayak. This transition is the result of several years of discussion and careful...
CEO Corner: June 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

In early June, I attended IEDC’s annual Economic Future Forum in Little Rock, Arkansas. This conference featured some of the most useful programming I have encountered. I gravitated towards sessions offering best practices related to items in EDASC’s strategic and work plans, including: creating successful cluster connections, expanding opportunities in agribusinesses, tourism development through destination marketing organizations, the importance of “placemaking,” and the challenge of integrating “trailing” spouses into new regions when their spouse is re-located for employment. On June 7, EDASC held its first Cluster Connections group meeting following many months of individual meetings among the 13 clusters important to...
Article Photo
Cluster Connections

Thursday, June 08, 2017

70+ participants from an array of industries joined us for a meeting about the Skagit Economic Clusters initiative on June 7, 2017.  Next steps include forming Action Teams to address the goals set forth in each of the 13 industry cluster sectors.  Read the Skagit Valley Herald article about the meeting, "EDASC coordinating growth among local industries." View the Skagit Economic Cluster Connections presentation and contact Andrew Miller to get involved. 
Article Photo
SBDC Hiring Business Advisor

Monday, June 05, 2017

Washington State University is hiring  a Business Advisor to be based in Mount Vernon and housed at the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County. The primary focus of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program is business development education through individual and small group advising. In addition to the instruction/advising component of the position, the Business Advisor performs significant outreach activities to engage the community through regular contact with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Councils, service clubs, community organizations and legislators in conjunction with the Lead Office staff. Click here to learn more about the position and apply online.
2017 Governor’s Smart Communities Award Winners Announced

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Governor Jay Inslee today announced winners of the 2017 Smart Communities Awards. Now in its 12th year, the program recognizes achievements by local leaders who promote smart growth planning and projects that contribute to thriving communities, a prosperous economy and sustainable infrastructure in Washington State. “These projects help create and sustain thriving communities. They facilitate the growth of local economies by creating ‘quality of place’ that can help retain and attract business and broaden the economic growth around the state,” said Gov. Inslee. Winners from Skagit County include:  Smart Vision Award – Comprehensive planning City of Anacortes included over 1,000 community members to create an exceedingly...
Article Photo
Apply now for Leadership Skagit 2018

Friday, May 12, 2017

Leadership Skagit, an initiative founded by EDASC, Skagit Valley College and Washington State University and operated by the EDASC Foundation, works to strengthen and transform Skagit County and its communities by developing a network of business and community leadership that is informed, inclusive and connected through shared learning experiences. Leadership Skagit’s intensive 9-month curriculum combines leadership skill development with in-depth information, study and discussion on topics critical to the future of our region.  The Class of 2018 will begin in September 2017 and end with graduation in June 2018. Completed applications with a non-refundable $50 application fee are due or postmarked...
Article Photo
Position Open: Finance and Administration Manager

Friday, May 12, 2017

Finance and Administration Manager position available with Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), a 501(c)(6) and (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing Skagit County’s quality of life through the creation and preservation of healthy businesses and good jobs. EDASC works to attract companies looking to locate in Skagit County, supports the expansion of existing businesses, and works to improve the economic capacity and quality of life for all residents. Primary responsibility is to manage the organization’s financial and administrative functions, including accounting, budgets, purchasing, handling funds, and HR (basic—payroll, benefits, compliance).  This position will report to and work closely with the...
Article Photo
CEO Corner: A time to reflect on this area's economic development goals

Thursday, May 11, 2017

This is National Economic Development Week, which provides an opportunity to think about what we’ve been up to the last couple of years. In late 2015, we the people of Skagit County conducted a strategic plan for economic development as a path to create long-term, equitable, sustainable prosperity for the entire community. As a result, here’s what we’ve done in Skagit County so far: Started a business retention and expansion program to support all existing Skagit businesses and important economic sectors, identifying and addressing obstacles to success, and helping them expand right here. Using an economic cluster approach, EDASC began convening 15...
Article Photo
Skagit County Celebrates National Economic Development Week

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Economic Development Week, which runs from May 8 through 13, is a national-level initiative to raise awareness about local programs across the country that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and increase the quality of life. It offers a good opportunity to take stock of the Skagit County economy and some of our amazing communities, businesses, and assets that support our region’s economic vitality and contribute to exciting prospects for sustainable future growth. Did you know that: Products made in Skagit County are core components of everything from commercial and military airplanes, NASA space exploration vehicles and the new James Webb Space Telescope, to naval...
8 Founders on the Turning Points That Changed Their Businesses

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Hard work can pay off -- if you know how to seize the right moments. Every entrepreneur has the moment -- that time when hard work finally pays off, when a long-desired opportunity presents itself and the entrepreneur has to decide how to react. The moment can be stressful, and for good reason. It can be a turning point for any business, but only if it’s seized properly. And as the eight founders here can attest, it isn’t always clear what the right move is. Success takes guts. It takes sweat. It takes a lot of hard work -- first to have reached the moment, and then to prepare for what happens...
Article Photo
WMF Releases 2017 Maritime Economic Impact Study

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Economic Impact of the Maritime Industry in Washington State. The 2017 Washington State Maritime Cluster Economic Impact Study builds on the success of the 2013 study and capitalizes on the increased understanding of the industry that has been, in large part, facilitated by the creation of the Washington Maritime Federation. Through increased dialogue the Federation has fostered, we are better able to capture the nuances within the various sub-sectors and quantify the total impact of the maritime industry and its contributions to the state economy. Visit WMF's website to view some of the study’s key findings. 
May is Community Action Month in Washington State

Monday, May 01, 2017

Local Community Action Agencies celebrate decades of service alleviating poverty and strengthening communities OLYMPIA, WA – Washington state is celebrating Community Action Month, dedicated to recognizing the success of the national Community Action Network that fights poverty across the United States. Commerce manages the Community Services Block Grant program in Washington state, distributing funds to 30 community action agencies. Learn about Skagit County's community action.  “Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” stated Merritt Mount, Executive Director of the Washington State Community Action Partnership....
Article Photo
Maritime Industry in Skagit County: Facts You Should Know

Monday, April 17, 2017

Skagit County has a rich maritime history with generations of ship builders, fishing families, and marine conservationists calling this area home. With a natural deep water port in Anacortes, the county hosts major ship building and repair facilities and is a key destination for import and export businesses, and recreational boaters. Ship Building and Manufacturing Skagit County is home to several large ship builders and marine manufacturers. Dakota Creek Industries employs over 400 people and is a complete shipbuilding and repair facility for steel and aluminum vessels up to 400 feet. TRANSPAC MARINAS designs, manufactures and installs custom floating docks and wave...
Article Photo
CEO Corner: April 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

With the arrival of this year’s beautiful daffodils, and the Tulip Festival fast on their heels, the mind invariably turns to … tourism! There are several reasons why tourism is important to Skagit County. First, and most obviously, the spending that happens when people come here, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, sleep in our hotels, visit our attractions, and enjoy our festivals. Second, tourism has a positive impact on both location decisions and demand for Skagit products.  Research shows that more and more, consumers want to know the provenance of their food, and have more of a “relationship”...
How GIS Planning Tools Can Help You

Monday, April 10, 2017

By offering free GIS planning tools, the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County is making it easier to obtain the information you need to make important business and relocation decisions. Finding the ideal property for your business makes it possible to realize your vision of relocating to the beautiful, affordable, and convenient Skagit County. How GIS Planning Tools Can Help When you visit our website to conduct a property search, you will have access to far more detailed information than what you can find by searching on a standard real estate website. To start, you can view properties that aren’t even listed. For businesses, or...
Article Photo
EDASC Builds Connections with Global Composite Manufacturers and Researchers

Friday, April 07, 2017

As part of its business promotion and attraction efforts, EDASC participated in the Washington State delegation to the JEC World Composites Show in Paris, France, from March 14-16.  This annual trade show is the most comprehensive international event focused on the complete composites value chain, connecting end-users, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, designers, educators and investors.  Skagit County businesses participating at JEC this year included Janicki Industries and Hexcel.  Over the course of two and a half days at JEC, John Sternlicht, EDASC CEO, and Sean Connell, Director of Business Recruitment, met with more than 20 businesses, research institutions, and economic development organizations...
Article Photo
Come to the Tulip Festival

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Famous throughout Washington State, the annual Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon is an event you do not want to miss. Imagine brilliantly colored tulips of all shades and varieties as far as the eye can see.  Vibrant colors seem to leap off the fields as the mountains in the background provide the most stunning of visuals and ideal spot to pose for a family photo. Since 1984, people have come from the Pacific Northwest, all 50 states, and over 93 countries to witness this spectacular site, enjoying our community hospitality and 30-day festival in the process. The Tulip Festival is truly...
Article Photo
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,...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
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’...
Article Photo
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...
Article Photo
Workshop Highlights Strategies for Marketing to Latinos

Friday, April 06, 2018

The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), NW Agriculture Business Center (NABC), Skagit Valley College and EDASC Foundation’s Leadership Skagit Program hosted a Symposium on the Secrets of Marketing to Latinos on April 3, 2018.  NABC Executive Director, David Bauermeister EDASC CEO, John Sternlicht, and Director of Leadership Skagit, Kathryn Bennett provided opening remarks and then turned the program over to facilitator, Dr. Diana Morelli of EDASC, Director of Latino Business Retention and Expansion. Presenters from various industries, focused on specific, experiential examples of how to develop trust and establish Latino loyalty; the most effective channels to reach Latinos...
Article Photo
Speaking their Minds: Conversations about Advancing Leadership and Economic Opportunity for all Women and Girls

Friday, April 06, 2018

With over a hundred in attendance, local women leaders held a wide-ranging conversation on key issues facing women and girls at a March 28th bi-partisan panel event held at McIntyre Hall. Working moms brought daughters. Skagit Valley College Latino Leadership Initiative students brought their sisters. Leadership Skagit grads brought their fellow classmates. What brought them from Anacortes, Bellingham and Sedro-Woolley? On this evening, they came to hear from women who have lived the issues. In response, Laura Cailloux, Vice President, Skagit Valley College; Shirley Yap, General Manager, Shell Puget Sound Refinery; Laurie Gere, Mayor, City of Anacortes and Erin Long, President,...
Skagit County Businesses, EDASC Participate in Industry Trade Shows

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Skagit County was well represented at several leading international industry and trade shows during the month of March, including the JEC World Composites Show in Paris from March 6-8; the GLOBE Summit in Vancouver, Canada from March 14-16; and the Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit (ADSS) in Seattle from March 26-28.   JEC’s annual conference in Paris is the most comprehensive international event focused on the complete composites value chain, connecting end-users, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, designers, educators, and investors.  Skagit County businesses participating in JEC this year included Janicki Industries, Hexcel, and Fiberglass Supply.  Additionally, Skagit Valley College’s partners at the University...
Article Photo
Port of Skagit Sells Surplus Property, Acquires Property for Industrial Park

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Port of Skagit recently sold undeveloped property adjacent to Skagit Regional Airport to truck maker Paccar Inc. The $8.4 million, 121.5-acre sale comprised of approximately 76.5 acres of wetlands and approximately 45 buildable acres. In 1980, the Port sold 240 acres of surplus property to Paccar Inc. for the construction of their truck testing facility. The recent land acquisition brings their total land ownership in Burlington to approximately 365 acres. Additionally, the Port of Skagit has acquired 123 acres of land for a new industrial park on Bayview Ridge. This new development will include light manufacturing and processing facilities. The development of new industrial lands will...
EDASC Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness Named to National-Level Positions on U.S.-Asia Relations

Friday, March 02, 2018

Sean Connell, EDASC’s Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, was recently named to roles with two national-level organizations active in U.S.-Asia relations, and at the regional level to the Board of Directors of the Washington State China Relations Council.   On January 30, Connell was named a Senior Fellow of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, a leading U.S. organization that promotes understanding and cooperation in U.S.-Asia relations.  The Foundation honors the work and legacy of Mike Mansfield, the longest-serving U.S. Senate Majority Leader and longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and Maureen Hayes Mansfield.  The Foundation sponsors exchanges, dialogues, and publications...
Port of Skagit and EDASC Promote Broadband Access Measure

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Championing countywide access to fiber is a leading priority for EDASC and part of its 2017-2018 business plan. On January 17, Sean Connell, Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness at EDASC, and Sara Young, Director of Planning and Facilities at the Port of Skagit testified before the Washington State Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee in support of Senate Bill 6426. This bill will allow more port districts the ability, which the Port of Skagit currently has, to construct dark fiber networks for expanded fiber access in rural areas.  Previous regulation in effect since 2000 has allowed public utility districts...
Article Photo
Latino Leadership Initiative Orientation

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Latino Leadership Initiative seeks to empower young Latinos to put them on a path to become leaders. The LLI Orientation on December 16 at Edmonds Community College was a tribute to the overwhelming cooperation, engagement, acceptance and vision of our community.  This year, a record number of forty-two students are participating in the program from Skagit Valley College, Everett Community College and Edmonds Community College, resulting from the passion of students seeking inclusion as well as the outstanding recruiting efforts of Alison Fernandez, Diana Bustos and Rosario Reyes.  Leadership Skagit stepped up to the challenge (Kate Bennett and Erin...
Article Photo
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...
Email Security Tips

Thursday, November 30, 2017

EDASC has been notified of two incidents recently where someone has received a fraudulent email claiming to be from Skagit.org.  Our IT consultant has confirmed that EDASC’s systems have not been compromised.  Someone appears to be using the name Skagit.org to convince recipients to open suspicious attachments.  Please use caution when opening emails.  Here are some tips to keep in mind: Make sure you recognize the sender’s actual email address.  Anyone can easily set up an email address to display another name.  The actual email address often follows after the displayed name.  You can also hover your mouse over the display...
Test

Friday, November 10, 2017

Washington State Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib visited Skagit County on October 2 to learn about local economic development initiatives, and to meet with businesses, organizations, and community members driving the economy to discuss priority issues and opportunities.  EDASC and Chinook Enterprises of Mount Vernon partnered to invite Lieutenant Governor Habib to Skagit County and coordinate his visit.  Lieutenant Governor Habib serves as "Washington's Chief Opportunity Officer," and his visit to Skagit County offered an opportunity to introduce him to the extensive regional partnerships working together to advance economic growth and create new opportunities for all members of the Skagit County community.
Article Photo
EDASC is Hiring: Program Support Coordinator

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), a 501(c)(6) and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing Skagit County’s quality of life through the creation and preservation of healthy businesses and good jobs, has a position opening for a Program Support Coordinator.  This position supports EDASC's investor relations activities and the EDASC Foundation's Leadership Skagit’s programmatic activities and events. Click here for a summary of primary job responsibilities and desired qualifications.  To apply for this position, please submit resume and cover letter to office@skagit.org.
Outdoor Tourism and the North Cascades Institute

Monday, August 07, 2017

Summer is in full swing in the Pacific Northwest, and now is an excellent time to explore the incredible nature around us. Whether you live in the hustle and bustle of Seattle or are from out of state, we invite you to visit Skagit County to experience the true beautify of the Puget Sound and all that our area has to offer. The North Cascades Institute can help you to do so. North Cascade Institute: Connecting people, nature and community since 1986 The North Cascade Institute has been connecting people with nature for over thirty years through hands-on tours of the Cascades...
Article Photo
EDASC CEO explores Skagit partnerships in Nantes, France

Friday, April 07, 2017

After the conclusion of the JEC World Composites show in Paris on March 16, EDASC CEO John Sternlicht joined a business delegation from Washington State traveling to Nantes, France, a Seattle sister city two hours southwest of the French capital. Along with Radi Simeonova, Business Development Manager for the WA Department of Commerce, delegates included representatives of the Composite Recycling Technology Center in Port Angeles, and Composite Solutions of Renton. The delegation was accompanied for the day by the Economic and Commercial Attaché of the US Consulate for western France, Eric Beaty. Nantes and Seattle have a 35-year history as sister...
Article Photo
Register for Schmooze Fair 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Schmooze Fair: Spotlight on Skagit on April 6 is the place to be to cultivate existing business relationships, engage with prospective new clients, and learn about the diverse industries, businesses and non-profit organizations of Skagit County.  
Article Photo
Latino Leadership Initiative Update

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Second Retreat for the Latino Leadership Initiative was held on Saturday, March 25, hosted by Edmonds Community College.  There were four main program highlights during a very stimulating day, the first being a stunningly personal presentation by Dr. Roberto Peña on the impact of the synergy between “Leadership and Self-Esteem.”  This was followed by the Assistant Director of Student Life from Shoreline Community College Angel de Jesús-Gonzalez leading the group in an introspective discussion of “Listening vs. Hearing: The Key to Being a Good Communicator in Leadership.” After a working lunch and a presentation by Juan Peralez on the progress of good...
CEO Corner: March 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

It has been just over a year and a half since I began my happy tenure as CEO of EDASC. During that time, we have set priorities both as the county’s economic development organization (EDO) and as EDASC internally.
Article Photo
Applications for Economic Development Grants Due April 14

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Skagit County is seeking applications for Economic Development Grant projects Up to $2,000,000 in grant funding is available for economic development projects in Skagit County that create or retain family-wage jobs in the community. Applications are accepted beginning Tuesday, Feb. 21, and must be received by 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 14. Grant awards are limited to no more than $500,000 per project or project phase. Preference is given to projects that match county grant funds and that create or retain long-term, sustainable jobs. Funds must be used for construction. For more information, visit the Skagit County Budget and Finance Department webpage.   
Article Photo
Reflections from the IEDC Leadership Conference

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

It was my privilege to represent EDASC and Skagit County at the annual Leadership Conference of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world’s leading professional association for economic developers. The conference welcomes CEOs of economic development organizations, certified economic developers (CEc.D’s), and IEDC Board members — so it’s a triple for me. The programming at the event tends to bring lots of great tips and opportunities to talk with colleagues who face some of the same challenges as we do. Aside from board and committee meetings, I added to my reading list, and participated in some great discussions on regional...
Article Photo
EDASC to Promote Skagit County at JEC World International Composites Event

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

EDASC will participate in the Washington State delegation to JEC World 2017, the largest international gathering of composites professionals, which will take place from March 14-16 in Paris, France.  This annual trade show is the most comprehensive international event focused on the complete composites value chain, connecting end-users, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, designers, educators and investors.  With advanced composites a significant and growing component of Washington and Skagit County’s economy, JEC will present opportunities to promote local manufacturers and businesses in the composites value chain to potential international partners, and to introduce Skagit County to global manufacturers and research institutions as an...
Article Photo
2017 Skagit Business Guide

Monday, January 30, 2017

The 2017 Skagit Business Guide is now available.  The guide features information about the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County, regional business profiles, and a current EDASC Investor Member Directory.  View the Business Guide online or contact EDASC to receive a hard copy: call (360) 336-6114 or email office@skagit.org. 
NextExec Professional Development

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Recognizing and sharing the community-wide interest in championing management development for Skagit County businesses, non-profits and civic organizations, EDASC has launched an expansion of the popular NextExec professional development program. The NextExec program was created in partnership with Skagit County area chambers and local businesses to provide ongoing professional development and networking opportunities for emerging business and civic leaders.  NextExec is an ongoing professional development program providing leadership and management curriculum, workshops, and mentoring. Participation in NextExec 2.0 includes monthly (12) workshops, program materials, online resources, quarterly tours and regular networking opportunities. We are excited to partner with Skagit County's current and future leaders. Visit the NextExec...
Article Photo
Latino Leadership Initative

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Latino Leadership Initiative Kick-off Event at Skagit Valley College The LLI Orientation was held on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at Skagit Valley College, marking the fifth successful year of the Latino Leadership Initiative.  It was a remarkable event in terms of the content of the program as well as the first-rate community support received from Leadership Skagit and Leadership Snohomish. Presentations were made by each of the program founders, including Rosario Reyes of the Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI), Dr. José García-Pabón of WSU, Dr. Diana Morelli of EDASC and President Jean Hernandez and Diana Bustos of Edmonds Community College. An engaging team-building...
Article Photo
Register for the Economic Forecast Dinner

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Online registration is now open for the January 26, 2017 Economic Forecast Dinner at Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes. The Economic Forecast Dinner provides a year-in-review and look ahead to the economic trends that shape Skagit County and the world's economy. This popular event sells out each year and is attended by nearly 500 regional business leaders, elected officials, and community representatives. Tickets are $100 per person or $900 for a table of 10. Table Sponsorships are available for $1,500 and includes a premium table of 10 and listing on the program, slideshow and sign! Visit the event page to learn more and...
Welcome to the new skagit.org

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Welcome to our new website. Whether you are looking to locate your business in Skagit County, or you are a long-time resident, you will find a multitude of business resources and community information here.  We invite you to explore and learn about our unique and diverse region. Please let us know if you have feedback or contact us with any questions about living, working, or visiting Skagit County, Washington.
Article Photo
SCOG Revolving Loan Fund offers Financing Opportunities

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Skagit Council Of Government (SCOG) Revolving Loan Fund programs offer affordable financing options to help local businesses create and/or save long-term family wage jobs in. Loans are available to qualified businesses looking to retain existing jobs or to grow the business and create new jobs. The three available loan programs are designed to help businesses grow and increase employment in Skagit County. Visit the new Skagit Loan Fund website for information.
Article Photo
2017 EDASC Investor Campaign

Monday, September 19, 2016

Join with us for the 2017 EDASC Investor Campaign to ensure local economic vitality today and for generations to come. As an EDASC Investor member, your investment will fuel innovative and collaborative programs to: Create and sustain good jobs in Skagit County by supporting our existing business community; recruiting companies to diversify and strengthen our economy; assisting start-up and small businesses; developing infrastructure, talent, and tourism; and promoting prosperity and success county-wide. Convene diverse interests to accomplish shared goals for the long-term prosperity and well-being of our communities and promote Skagit business interests to local, national, and international audiences. Connect industry leaders, public agencies, community organizations, and individuals with...
Article Photo
Official Notice of Proposed EDASC By-Laws Revisions

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The main revisions involve nomenclature changes: Association to Alliance: As brought forth in the strategic planning process, Alliance evokes people united in common purpose moving towards specified goals, whereas Association evokes individuals whose main purpose is to associate, or network. EDASC has articulated goals through the planning process and will achieve them through alliances with other organizations, with municipalities, with business and industry. Executive Director to CEO: current common practice is that economic development organizations (EDOs) have CEOs and general non-profits (foundations, museums, etc.) have Executive Directors. Typically the businesses with which EDOs operate understand and relate to the CEO model better. Board President to Board Chair: fits more appropriately with the CEO...
Article Photo
Take the 2016 Business Climate Survey

Thursday, September 01, 2016

As part of EDASC's strategic plan we are seeking to establish a business environment baseline for Skagit County. We invite you to please take a few minutes and complete an online Business Climate survey. It is an anonymous survey, and if you would like to have your organization’s identifiable information included that will help us shape a follow up dialog, AND we will enter you to win a personal feedback session over lunch with EDASC CEO John Sternlicht at the Skagit County restaurant of your choice (his treat).  If you would rather just pick up the phone and talk, or have questions...
Article Photo
Area businesses step up to benefit Skagit County’s economy

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In response to a new strategic plan and direction, companies represented on the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) Board of Directors are increasing their annual contributions to boost a coordinated local economic development effort. Fully 100% of the Board-represented businesses increased their Investor commitments, including Heritage Bank, PACCAR, Skagit Publishing, Shell Puget Sound Refinery, Dakota Creek Industries, Peoples Bank, Construction Unlimited, Hotel Services Group, Landed Gentry Homes & Communities, McGregor Benefits, HKP Architects, Sakuma Brothers Farms, and Young International Business Consultants. Building upon the momentum started earlier this year with a new strategic plan and a name change from...
Article Photo
EDASC Fills Three Positions

Thursday, March 10, 2016

For Immediate Release  March 10, 2016 CONTACT: John Sternlicht, Executive Director (360) 336-6114 Economic Development Association of Skagit County Fills Three Positions Mount Vernon - The Economic Development Association of Skagit County (EDASC) is proud to announce that three new highly skilled, experienced and credentialed professionals have joined our team, dedicated to strengthening the economy of Skagit County to the benefit of all residents. For those of you keeping score, we now boast proficiency in five foreign languages (French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese) with some skills in two more (Korean and Hebrew). In addition, we collectively have earned a half dozen graduate degrees, a CPA certification and an economic development certification. Andrew Miller begins...