25 Apr 2017 Annual Report
I continue to be bullish on the Tri-City economy as the region continues to outpace many other areas in the Pacific Northwest.
In September and October, the area unemployment rate hit a record low of 4.7%.
In October there were 5,500 more jobs than the year before, and because of seasonal hiring trends the Tri-Cities finished the year with 3,500 jobs more than the previous year—an increase of 3.2%.
Equally impressive, we have seen similar growth in each of the last four years.
Since December of 2013, Tri-City employment has grown by nearly 12% or over 12,000 new jobs.
Another indicator that our economy continues in the right direction is a study recently released by Policom Corporation that ranked the strength of the economies in each of the nation’s 383 metropolitan areas (MSA’s).
The Tri-Cities ranked 82nd and was the only Eastern Washington metro ranked in the top 100; Spokane was next closest at 161 and Yakima fell in at 233.
What does this have to do with TRIDEC?
TRIDEC is the only local organization that is singularly focused on growing the region’s economy.
Last fall, I had the privilege of participating in two celebrations marking completion of projects in which TRIDEC played key roles.
The first was the ribbon cutting ceremony for Lamb Weston’s expansion of their Richland plant.
TRIDEC assisted with the incentive package which helped keep the project in the community.
In November, I joined AutoZone’s CEO and management team in celebrating the grand opening of their newest distribution center in Pasco.
TRIDEC was the lead organization on this project and worked with the consultant and company representatives throughout the sixteen-month site selection process.
Combined, these projects represent 375 new jobs and nearly $250 million in new investment in the community.
When projects like either one of these happen the community shouldn’t lose site of the impact.
First, a variety of local companies benefit by selling services or products during construction and once the project is complete.
A perfect example is that while the general contractor on both projects was from out of town the vast majority of the construction work was done by local subcontractors.
A similar case can be made for local companies that benefit directly from additional federal dollars that TRIDEC lobbies for on behalf of PNNL and Hanford cleanup.
TRIDEC’s annual Congressional letter of request and our subsequent interaction with members of Congress has consistently resulted in additional Federal appropriations.
Hanford contractors subcontract nearly $500 million annually—most staying right here with local companies.
Every year is challenging as TRIDEC is out marketing the community for new investment and advocating for federal funding.
During 2017, and again in 2018, TRIDEC will target the food processing industry for new investment at industry events such as the Natural Products Expo West.
Locally TRIDEC will hold the 4th Annual FABREO Expo, connecting buyers and brokers with local food and beverage processing companies.
TRIDEC will continue to target companies in the energy sector for new investment at national trade shows such as PowerGen.
TRIDEC’s Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative (MCEI) will continue to advocate for local projects such as the 20-megawatt solar project north of Richland proposed by Neoen.
In 2017, TRIDEC began working with Whittaker & Associates to generate economic development leads in our target industry sectors.
This program is limited to only 10 economic development organizations nationally.
Based on detailed research conducted by a student at WSU Tri-Cities, TRIDEC has initiated a rifled approach to market the Tri-Cities to a small number of national companies believed to likely need distribution capabilities in the Pacific
TRIDEC continues to sponsor events at meetings of the Industrial Asset Managers Council (IAMC), a national association of corporate real estate executives, and was a major sponsor of the Site Selectors Guild Meeting in Seattle last fall.
In addition to our traditional economic development activities and advocacy for PNNL and Hanford, TRIDEC will continue to advocate for:
- Re-conveyance of Corps of Engineers land along the Columbia River;
- Support maintaining the Columbia and Snake River hydro-electric system;
- Renegotiation of the Columbia River treaty;
- Continued operation of Columbia Generating Station (Energy Northwest);
- Other issues as needed to protect and grow our region’s economy.
It is a privilege and honor to serve as TRIDEC’s CEO and I hope you, as TRIDEC investors, share the feeling that TRIDEC is making a difference for businesses and local governments throughout the region.
Carl F. Adrian, President and CEO