August 1, 2018

Pierce County represents at Farnborough Airshow

Pierce County delegation touts region at Farnborough Airshow

The EDB and other representatives of Pierce County took to the skies last month to attend the 2018 Farnborough AirshowJuly 16-22, in Hampshire, England, one of the biggest events in aviation. Approximately 73,000 industry professionals from around the globe and 1,500 companies attended the event. The trade show stretched over six exhibition halls.

Boeing was a big winner at Farnborough. The company added more than 530 orders and commitments to its 460 firm orders coming into the air show. Buzz about the company’s proposed New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) was palpable, although no additional details were revealed.

Think two heads are better than one? Imagine what six could accomplish. This year’s Pierce County delegation included Bruce Kendall, EDB president and CEO; Sarah Bonds, EDB vice president for business recruitment; Kevin Clegg, Pierce County

special assistant to the executive for business services; Doug Richardson, Pierce County Council chair; Greg Unruh, EDB chair and past president of the Franciscan Foundation; and Jason Whalen, EDB vice chair and partner at Ledger Square Law.
From left: Greg Unruh (back), Kevin Clegg, Sarah Bonds, Jason Whalen, Doug Richardson and Bruce Kendall.

The Pierce County team joined its Washington State partners to meet with industry leaders, connect with new and existing contacts, and spotlight the region’s assets and advantages to firms looking to relocate or expand operations. The 60-member Choose Washington team was the largest delegation to represent the state at Farnborough.

The slate was full with meetings with aerospace suppliers, including Pierce County-based  AIM Aerospace, Inc. and  Toray Composite Materials America, well as international players like Belgium aerospace company  SABCA and  ADZ Nagano, a German developer and manufacturer of electronic pressure-measuring transducers for industrial and mobile applications.

Farnborough by the numbers:

International companies contacted: 43
U.S. companies contacted: 37
Target companies identified: 68
Companies from 2017 Paris Air Show contacted: 12
Companies from Farnborough Airshow 2016 contacted: 14
Meetings scheduled: 10
Events attended by delegates: 17

Average daily steps logged: More than 20,000 per delegate, or over 10 miles

Learn more about the Farnborough Airshow.

BPI medical grows from backyard to booming business

If there ever was a story that warranted the term “humble beginnings,” this might be it.
In 1976, Ben Overmars Sr. founded Ben’s Precision Instruments, putting to use skills he honed in his native Holland to offer surgical instrument sharpening and repair from his backyard shop. Over the years, business boomed and expanded to include pneumatic and electric hand pieces and endoscopy repair.
Today, Fife-based BPI Medical manufactures, modifies, repairs, maintains and sells a wide span of medical instruments and equipment used in surgery centers and hospitals across the U.S. and the world. While the backyard shop long ago made way for progressively larger accommodations, the business is still all in the family. Overmars’ son, Bob Overmars, is now president and CEO.

The company’s most recent expansion is particularly significant. BPI Medical purchased its own 38-000-square-foot building that nearly doubles its previous space in Fife. With room to grow, the company will continue to expand to meet customer needs. That means adding more jobs to grow its current team of more than 40 employees.

Though only a few blocks from its former location, the move took a lot of planning and coordination. Along with a big helping hand from the City of Fife, Overmars credits the EDB for smoothing the way.

“We owe the EDB a huge thank you for all the support,” Overmars said. “They were there to help coordinate the process, connect us with the right people and provide a lot of helpful how-tos. They were incredibly professional and efficient.”

Overmars was quick to offer another nod to the EDB. Bruce Kendall, EDB president and CEO, and Maddie Merton, EDB vice president for business retention and expansion, connected him with Bill Robertson, president and CEO of MultiCare Health System. A deal between BPI Medical and MultiCare was inked in early July, bringing the business relationship full circle. MultiCare was the company’s first customer in that backyard shop more than 40 years ago.

While Overmars jokes that the new Fife location means he only has two stoplights to travel through to get to work from home, there’s much more to doing business with the city than the easy commute. “It’s a pleasure to work with the City of Fife,” he said. “They have always been helpful, fair and responsive.” That keeps BPI Medical in Fife and growing.

Plans are in the works to officially celebrate the new digs. A ribbon cutting is slated for later this summer. MultiCare’s Bill Robertson is expected to be on hand to do the honors.

EDB welcomes economic development partners

The EDB is pleased to welcome two new economic development power hitters to the South Sound.
As of July 2, Betty Nokes Capestany is the new director of the Pierce County Economic Development Department. Jeff Robinson came on board July 9 as director of the City of Tacoma Community and Economic Development Department.
Capestany comes to Pierce County from a 17-year career as president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. For the last decade, Robinson was community and economic development director for the City of SeaTac, and was formerly community and economic development director for the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association.

“The EDB partners very closely with these departments,” said EDB President and CEO Bruce Kendall. “We look forward to working with Betty and Jeff to keep and grow great jobs in Tacoma-Pierce County.”

In July, the EDB hosted a meet-and-greet at Tacoma’s 7 Seas Brewery and Taproom to welcome Capestany and Robinson. Around 70 EDB investors and friends showed up to welcome the South Sound’s newest economic development partners.

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