May 9, 2023

2022 snapshot: You help hold it all together

There was some big post-pandemic energy at the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College May 3. The EDB’s 2023 Annual Meeting brought together 300 business leaders who were ready to mix, mingle and celebrate economic development in the South Sound. It was the EDB’s 45th annual event.

While much has changed in the last three years, CEO Bruce Kendall reiterated that the EDB’s mission remains steadfast: to grow primary jobs and businesses by working with its partners to spur private capital investment, job creation, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Through the difficult times, your continued support allowed us to continue what we’re doing,” Kendall said. “You are the glue people. You’re the ones who knit things together in this community.”

The last five years

Most deals take more than a year to wrap up. That’s why the EDB measures results in five-year increments. Here’s a snapshot of 2018-2022:

  • 2,947 jobs recruited and retained
  • $24,157,454 in wages and salaries generated
  • $237,180,000 private capital investment
  • $10,000,000 Industrial Revenue Bond financing
  • $6,092,349 EDB revenue
  • $77 return per $1 EDB investment

While the numbers aren’t as robust as they were pre-pandemic (in 2018, the ROI was $1 to $184), Kendall was optimistic about where things are now and what’s ahead.

“I really look forward to showing an even bigger number next year,” he said. “But we’re still adding value, and you all should be pleased if you’re investors.”

Big wins, continuing successes and more

With support from private and public sector partners, here are some examples of what the EDB helped accomplish in the last year:

  • Recruitment: Direct outreach to 27 companies, including 17 in manufacturing. That brings the total number of companies in the recruitment pipeline to 40. The latest big win is Harbor Freight Tools. The tool manufacturer picked Frederickson for its new facility, which will add 800 new jobs and $30 million in private capital investment. (See the story in this newsletter.)
  • Retention and expansion: 22 ongoing projects. One great example of a project that keeps on giving is Niagara Bottling. The manufacturer’s Frederickson plant just completed its third major expansion.
  • Cluster acceleration work continues to help fill gaps in specific sectors of the economy. The Technology Cluster Acceleration Team offered several networking events in the last year, and the Trade-Logistics Cluster Acceleration team is working with K-12 schools and college campuses to raise awareness of the sector. A new team focused on general entrepreneurship is in the works.
  • DEI: The EDB continues its ongoing work with Rachel Askew and Grant Twyman of NEXT Consulting Firm. The duo is midway through a year-long project to understand the needs of BIPOC businesses and establish meaningful programs to support them. One idea in development is a mentorship program that will pair EDB board members with emerging leaders in the BIPOC business community. 

About those headwinds

Going forward, the EDB will continue to monitor and work with its partners on critical issues key to economic development, including:

  • The future of offices and downtowns.
  • Workforce issues.
  • Regulatory unknowns, including the Washington State tax code and the Tideflats Subarea Plan.
  • Industrial land scarcity.
  • Historically unrepresented communities.

Read the EDB’s 2022 Annual Report to learn more.


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