Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hopes for 2010

With the tragic deaths of 5 local law enforcement officers and the recent announcement of the Russell Company’s decision to relocate to Seattle, 2009 has ended on an economic and civic sour note. There is no denying that for many individuals and businesses this year has been the “worst of times.”

However, just as the year 2000 opened positively after Y2K fears subsided, so might 2010 open a new period of constructive change and opportunity.

As I take a few moments at my desk as the new year begins to reflect on the past year, I offer my top 10 hopes for a more prosperous and peaceful 2010!

1. Top of mind in the business community is the urgency of an economic offset for the departure of the Russell Company. The cachet of an internationally known headquarters will be hard to replace, but a recent announcement by DaVita that they would stay and expand in downtown Tacoma, the stunning new platinum LEED Pacific Plaza project and several business relocations to the Puyallup/Sumner areas give credence to Pierce County being the right place for quality firms.

2. Also of significance to the regional economy is the hope for continued healing of the domestic economy and increased global trade and accompanying shipping activity at the Port of Tacoma. Buoyed by recovering consumers, feeling confident enough to shop again, the automotive and retail sectors of our community would receive a needed lift. A new Port Executive will doubtless see new opportunities to leverage our Port’s capabilities.

3. A stabilized housing market would give confidence to both first-time buyers and those wanting to move up and would help clear the inventory of condos and lay the groundwork for dormant and new projects.

4. Elected and public officials at all levels should use the economic crunch as an opportunity to examine their priorities, look at new ways of delivering services, perhaps radically revisiting long-held practices, but without resorting to increasing taxes and fees at a time when many individuals and businesses are already financially stressed.

5. The news of outstanding neighborhoods, civic participation and the goodwill of Pierce County citizens will outweigh the recent negatives of isolated criminal acts.

6. The growth and health of our public and private universities and our community and technical colleges will continue. They are key to preparing our citizens for the jobs of tomorrow.

7. The cooperation and commitment to opportunity and achievement in our K-12 system as exemplified by the new Skills Center, will inspire more collaborative efforts, more passion for keeping students in school until graduation and pointing them toward potential careers.

8. The vital role of transportation infrastructure will become more evident as I-5 commuter lanes are built and commuter rail line service to Lakewood takes shape. A hope is that the economic benefits of being a transportation center will begin to drive additional economic planning and benefit for our community.

9. Small businesses have perennially been the backbone of our area’s economy. A hope is that renewed energy and resources will be placed in not only encouraging and nurturing start-ups and entrepreneurs but that existing smaller enterprises will also discover that resources are available to them.

10. Our military will continue to play a huge role as our top economic influence in 2010. These good neighbors not only provide an economic “shot in the arm” during recessions, but the military families and individuals who are our involved neighbors and friends sacrifice a great deal for the nation. A hope for 2010 is that the status of global conflicts will permit more troops to return safely to their homes and loved ones.

We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas of the nation and to have so many economic and physical resources close at hand. Despite economic setbacks and occasional civic “black eyes” the area generally works collaboratively toward positive outcomes. That’s a good thing because it will take all of us working hard to turn “hopes” into reality and opportunity. Here at the Chamber, we are committed to a more prosperous future and are taking steps to make that happen. I look forward to celebrating our area’s progress on December 31, 2010.

Guest Author: David W. Graybill, President & CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

No comments:

Post a Comment