March 27, 2024

2023 snapshot: A can-do spirit that sets us apart

When the EDB Annual Meeting was last held at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center four years ago, attendees were just beginning to master the elbow bump and conversations centered around rising COVID cases. It was the last large gathering in Pierce County before the pandemic shutdown.

This year’s return to the Convention Center for the 2024 EDB Annual Meeting brought together more than 450 leaders from more than 90 organizations across the region to celebrate, reflect and share solutions vital for economic development in Tacoma-Pierce County.

“Heading into today I asked myself, ‘What do I like most about our work together in this community?’,” EDB CEO Bruce Kendall said in his welcoming remarks. “We take on big, difficult jobs and don’t back down. With even the biggest challenges, you never lose the can-do spirit that sets us apart.”

The last five years

Because most deals take more than a year to wrap up, the EDB measures results in five-year increments. Here’s a snapshot of 2019-2023:

  • Jobs recruited and retained: 2,255
  • Wages and Salaries Generated: $129,425,344
  • Private Capital Investment: $74,380,000
  • EDB Revenue: $6,168,964
  • Return per $1 EDB Investment: $33

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 2023:

  • Recruitment: Out of 27 new projects, 18 were manufacturers looking for a new site to produce goods. Harbor Freight Tools selected Frederickson for its new facility, which will add a projected 800 new jobs and $30 million in private capital investment.
  • Retention and expansion: 21 ongoing projects. In 2023, SeaTac Packaging finalized plans to expand in Frederickson and American Structures & Design relocated to Sumner. Collectively, the projects retained more than 130 positions and brought 40 new jobs to Pierce County.
  • Cluster acceleration: The new Entrepreneurship Cluster kicked off in 2023, bringing together more than 60 business support service organizations. The Trade-Logistics Cluster Acceleration team continued to strengthen its partnerships with K-12 schools across Pierce County, and the Technology Cluster Acceleration team partnered with the UW Tacoma School of Engineering and Technology to present the South Sound Technology Conference. To further expand entrepreneurship in tech, the EDB landed the Small Business Innovation Fund Grant and provided passthrough funds to multiple subrecipients.
  • DEI: Continuing work included strategic outreach to the BIPOC community via informational webinars, technical assistance pilots, and renewal of a partnership contract with Rachel Askew and Grant Twyman of NEXT Consulting A survey and report provided additional clarity for strategic engagement.

That’s only part of the story. You can read more in the EDB’s 2023 Annual Report to learn more.


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