They came for the lifestyle and the workforce
WHEN ROD RASMUSSEN AND LARS HARVEY co-founded cybersecurity firm Internet Identity (IID) some 18 years ago, Rasmussen, a Washington native, had to convince Harvey that relocating from the San Francisco Bay area to Tacoma was a good move.
“There were two main factors that brought us here,” Harvey said. “Lifestyle and cost of living, and the promise of the University of Washington Tacoma to provide a workforce that would suit our needs when the time came.”
When the company began growing in earnest in 2005, IID was able to draw talent from UW Tacoma, as well as the University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, Bates Technical College and other regional educational institutions. A research partnership with UW Tacoma focuses on developing products to prevent cyber attacks and provide students with real-world experience.
Years later, those two factors are what IID sold in its package to Infoblox, which acquired the company last year for $45 million. Silicon Valley-based Inflobox provides network services worldwide, but the Tacoma office is focused on cybersecurity research, threat intelligence and engineering. And when Infloblox was purchased in November 2016 by Vista Equity Partners, the same selling points that brought IID to Tacoma aligned with Vista’s model. That enabled Infoblox to accelerate plans to add more jobs in Tacoma. The company is more than doubling its workforce by hiring or relocating more than 50 additional employees to fill high-tech and sales positions in its Horizon Pacific Center offices at 21st St. and Pacific Ave. During a three-day relocation event in February, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland joined several local organizations to provide a warm welcome to help encourage Infoblox staff to consider a move to Tacoma.
Going forward, Infoblox is particularly focused on recruiting “high-potential entry level” local talent. “We’re partnering with UW Tacoma, UPS, and PLU to educate students about our products, company growth and potential career paths in Tacoma,” said Infoblox corporate recruiter Zachary Neiman. “Our goal is to build pipelines at each school and establish ourselves in the community as one of the premier companies to work for in the South Sound.”
Brewery boom just one more reason to love us
JUST A FEW DAYS AFTER ITS MID-FEBRUARY OPENING, Rhein Haus Tacoma posted a Facebook note about running out of food because the place was so darn popular. The German beer hall had “prepped and cooked as much food in the last five days as our Seattle location does in two weeks.”
The happy crush at Rhein Haus is just the latest indicator that the brewpub/brewery thirst in Tacoma-Pierce County is surpassing expectations and sending a message that there’s a big demand in this market. More local craft beer makers and distilleries are expanding operations and distribution, and new ones are diving into the market. Expansion and growth means more dollars in Tacoma-Pierce County, more cool places to go, more quality craft beverages to enjoy, and more incentives that attract workforce and businesses.
Here are just a few examples of what’s brewing:
- In December 2015, Gig Harbor-based 7 Seas Brewingpurchased and moved into its second location, an 80,000-square-foot space in the historic Heidelberg Brewery in downtown Tacoma. They began brewing at the location in April 2016 and opened a taproom a few months later. In addition to expanded production and distribution to solidify its strong northwest regional presence, 7 Seas has retail enhancements in the works, including the addition of a rooftop deck in 2018 at its Tacoma location. In a few months, 7 Seas will add brewing production in Gig Harbor.
- Later this year, Pacific Brewing and Malting will move production to a pair of buildings in Tacoma’s old brewing district. American Brewing Co., purchased by Pacific in 2015, will also move production from Edmonds to the new buildings on Jefferson Ave. The ample space will allow for a future taproom and room to grow.
- On the spirits front, Gig Harbor-based Heritage Distilling Co. expanded operations from being a local retailer to an international exporter.
“It’s great to see the resurgence,” said 7 Seas president and co-founder Mike Runion. “This area used to be a regional center for beer production, and now it’s coming back in a big way.”
In addition to the industry’s economic viability, Runion said there’s also a big community focus around breweries and tremendous sense of pride tied to quality local brands. “We love that our cans and brand carry Gig Harbor and Tacoma pride out to a larger audience,” he said.
EDB welcomes Jenn Adrien, EDB communications VP
The EDB is pleased to welcome Jenn Adrien, the EDB’s new communications VP.
Adrien, a fifth-generation Tacoman, comes to the EDB from the world of academia. She was most recently manager of operations for the University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility, and looks forward to bringing that lens to the EDB.
Adrien will lead the EDB’s communications efforts via social media, website optimization, story development for media outlets, event coordination and more to tell the world the South Sound is the best place to grow and create jobs.
Karl Anderson receives Milgard Lifetime Achievement Award
The EDB congratulates Karl Anderson, chairman of Tacoma’s Concrete Technology Corp., and recent recipient of the University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business Lifetime Achievement Award.
“This honor doesn’t come as a surprise,” said EDB President and CEO Bruce Kendall. “Karl has spent his life working tirelessly and quietly behind the scenes to get things done for this community.”