Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vote for Locals for PULSE Awards

The Puget Sound American Marketing Association's PULSE Award vote process is open - and you have the opportunity to "vote" for two locals for the South Sound Profit/Government integrated marketing finalists: 

The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation - Be the Spark Tacoma Public Utilities

The following flyer gives you the opportunity to "vote" for your favorite through attending the first ever event.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pulse Market Awards Open

Attend the first ever PSAMA Pulse Awards and VOTE for the best campaigns of the past year. Find out how the votes tally that evening, and see who takes home top honors as the Puget Sound American Marketing Association celebrates the area's best.

Wednesday October 5th, 2011 - 6:30 PM
Bell Harbor International Conference Center
Seating is limited. Go here for more information and for reservations.
If you wish to reserve a table please call: 206-623-8632

6:30 - 7:30 Reception and Voting
7:30 Seating and Dinner
8:00 Program Introduction: Kathy Cox, PSAMA President

PSAMA Legend Awards:
- Marketing Legend - Tom Vogl, REI Senior Marketing Vice President
- PSAMA Legend Award - David Kinard, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Enrollment Growth for Community Health Plan of Washington

The Pulse Award Winner Presentation:
-Market Engagement - Best Market Awareness Campaign
-Market Launch - Best Product or Brand Launch
-Demand Creation - Best Demand Generation Campaign
-Integrated Marketing - Best Blend of Media

9:30 Evening Concludes

Alaska's Future

Alaska is an attainable market for Tacoma-Pierce County firms. Why?
  1. Most cargo for Alaska moves through the Port of Tacoma.
  2. Alaska is the Port’s third largest trading partner.
  3. There is a lively group of local businesses promoting trade with Alaska.
  4. The Chamber works to support Alaska development.
  5. Historically, Tacoma has been a source for Alaska.
As part of the Chamber’s promotional effort, its Alaska Committee forms a trade delegation for the annual Alaska State Chamber Conference and Trade Show. This year, eight delegates traveled to Talkeetna to strengthen the economic partnership between our communities.

The Alaska State Chamber is unabashedly proactive seeking to develop their state’s resources. They recognize the need to diversify and strengthen their economy, currently overly dependent on oil. Hot on the Alaska agenda is the issue of lessening their state tax on oil. Flow through the pipeline is lessening. Development of proven oil reserves continues to be delayed and blocked, either by outside advocates or by a bureaucratic glacier.

This issue was highlighted during the conference’s teleconference with Cong. Don Young and Sen. Mark Begich. When asked about Washington’s Sen. Cantwell’s opposition to development of the Pebble Mine, Cong. Young said he would encourage the Senator to address instead the environmental challenges in her state at Hanford.
Along with many other panels and presentations about developing Alaska and helping its business environment, the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce supported the conference with excellence and kept the businesses downtown open past their tourist season for visiting delegates. Part of the fun is evidenced by the Talkeetna-chic themed annual dinner where delegates wore tuxes with duct tape bowties and fur caps and gowns with mukluks.

The Chamber is continuing its advocacy for Alaska’s development, as with the recent forum at the Transportation Club of Tacoma featuring Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell. You are invited to join the Chamber’s Alaska Committee. For more info, contact Gary Brackett or 256-682-1720.




Friday, September 23, 2011

Keeping Jobs – Growing Jobs

The most effective economic development tools for strengthening a local economy are keeping the jobs you have and growing your local businesses.

The Tacoma City Council is about to decide regulations that will jeopardize several dozen jobs at a local business and zoning that will affect the ability of other businesses to expand in their present locations. You have a stake in their decision as keeping jobs and local businesses either adds to or diminishes your own opportunities for success.

Right now, the Tacoma City Council is considering whether to amend or adopt recommendations sent to them by the Tacoma Planning Commission about the community’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update. You need to speak up for keeping jobs and local businesses in our community.

This Chamber needs its members to be active in this process. It is important for these jobs and local businesses. And most important, it is vital for ALL businesses, including yours.

It is important the City Council hear from the entire business community about these impacts. I realize it may seem odd for a business to speak out on an issue unrelated to its own business, but your voice may have a greater impact in two ways. First, there is strength in numbers: a large outcry about the general attitude of local government toward business will have weight. Second, the more diverse our voice is, the greater pause it will give elected members: a business speaking against regulations that do not directly impact them shows the enormity of any proposed actions.

Value the jobs and businesses you have more than the ones you don’t, and may never.

For help with specific issues or more background, call on your Chamber’s staff as your resource: Gary Brackett, 253-682-1720 or Mike Weinman, 253-691-7877.

You may write or comment:

September 27, 5:30 p.m.
Tacoma Council Chambers
747 Market Street, Tacoma 98402

Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Councilmembers
City of Tacoma
747 Market Street, Suite 1200, Tacoma, WA 98402

Can I count on your support?

Tom Pierson, President & CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

Tacoma Small Business Candidate Forum

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is teaming up with the Cross District Association, Go Local, and the Downtown Merchants Group to host a Candidate Forum focused on Small Business in Tacoma.
The event will feature Chamber member and small business owner David Printz of The Gurus as the moderator while Tacoma City Council candidates take questions on small businesses.  As Printz said, "We are at a point in Tacoma's history where entreprenuers and small businesses are taking the lead in the City's resurgence.  Ensuring they have a voice with electeds will allow them to continue to support growth in the City." 

The forum will focus on the four Tacoma City Council races covering District 1, North & West Tacoma; District 3, Central Tacoma & Hilltop; and the at-large, city-wide positions 7 & 8.

If you have concerns about the future of your small business in Tacoma or just want to hear from the people asking for your vote please stop by the forum. If you have any questions about the event or want to make sure your issue is addressed, please contact the Chamber’s Metropolitan Development Director, David Schroedel, at or 253.627.2175.

September 29th
Doors @ 5:30
Forum @ 6PM

Shakabrah Java
2618 – 6th Avenue, 98406

Written by David Schroedel, AICP, Chamber Metropolitan Development Director

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Downtown On the Go Gets People Moving Downtown

Downtown On the Go is downtown Tacoma’s transportation advocate and resource. Our Walking Maps have people walking all over Tacoma and starting Sept. 30, Downtown On the Go will host walks Fridays at noon through October. Each walk will cover a different walking map and take participants to downtown locations that they may have never seen before. Back by popular demand for a second year, the walks are designed to encourage downtown employees to get out and see Tacoma, while reflecting on their commute choices. See the Downtown On the Go website for more information and start locations.

In addition, Downtown On the Go recently helped Tacoma celebrate Park(ing) Day. Many downtown businesses and organizations created temporary parks in downtown to challenge people to rethink the way streets and urban space are used. The international event was created in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, and is in its third year in Tacoma. Check out the Downtown On the Go Facebook page for photos of the event and DOTG’s walk to each of the spaces.

But Downtown On the Go is more than just great events. Our Live Downtown Pilot Program really gets people moving downtown. Employers interested in partnering on the program can contact Downtown On the Go Manager Kristina Walker at 253-682-1739 or

Chamber Board Sets New Direction at Retreat

On September 16th, the Chamber held the 2011 Chamber Board Retreat at the Tacoma Goodwill Conference Center.

The Chamber Board of Directors, University Place-Fircrest Chamber Division Board, South County Chamber Division Board, and the Chamber staff discussed the Chamber moving forward, which was led by Tom Pierson, Chamber President & CEO. An unprecedented number of the Board of Directors attended and brought their enthusiasm and energy toward setting a new direction for the Chamber.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chamber Supports 9-1-1 Measure

The Chamber endorses and urges you vote “Approved” for Pierce County Proposition 1.


After the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress ordered improvements to the emergency communications system nationwide.

January 1, 2013 is the FCC deadline to switch from 25 kHz spectrum/bandwidth to 12.5 kHz technology. In 2016, Motorola will no longer support 700-800 mHz analog smartzone 4.1 radio systems including radios/controllers and repeaters.

Pierce County fire and police agencies currently have a mix of 10 analog and digital systems on different frequencies. Police and Fire generally operate on separate radio systems. This condition is known as radio “interoperability;” agencies cannot talk to each other without patches. A study last fall showed that 43% of Pierce County falls under a category of radio coverage that is described this way: “Speech understandable with repetition only rarely required; some noise/distortion.”

Due to the number of agencies involved and the huge cost, local authorities have been approaching the challenge piecemeal – and not making much progress. Current dispatch centers are too small, outdated and not equipped to meet national standards for critical infrastructure. Under the current system, police and fire agencies operate on different radio systems. Some can talk to each other, but others cannot without help from dispatchers.

The two dispatch centers are supposed to be redundant and support each other if one goes down; but there’s no room for redundancy. The Pierce County Sheriff was among those struggling to figure out how to pay for a mandatory radio upgrade that will cost millions of dollars. Lack of bandwidth limits ability to transmit GIS maps and other data to officers in the field.

The good news – combined dispatch centers could be implemented cheaper jointly than individually. Other jurisdictions should consider joining the system, which increases the economies of scale.

Pierce County leaders are asking voters to increase the sales tax to create a new, combined 911 dispatching agency and upgrade the police and fire radio system. The request is to raise the sales tax by one-tenth of one percent – or one penny on a $10 purchase – will be on the ballot in the Nov. 8 general election.

The ballot measure would create South Sound 911, which would combine three existing 911 call centers in Pierce County. They are the Law Enforcement Support Agency, which handles dispatching for 16 law enforcement agencies, including Tacoma and Lakewood police and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department; Tacoma Fire Communications, which dispatches for the Tacoma Fire Department and Central Pierce Fire & Rescue; and Pierce County Fire Comm, which dispatches for 15 fire districts, cities and towns.

The concept for the umbrella agency has come after two years of meetings. Leaders hail the idea as a breakthrough because it brings police and fire dispatchers together in one agency and puts them all on a radio system where they can talk to each other in case of a catastrophic natural disaster or major police incident.

Two new dispatch centers would be built – one for law enforcement and one for fire and emergency medical services. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will continue to operate as an EOC. It was not designed to be a large regional dispatch facility.

The radio system for police officers and firefighters would be upgraded to meet looming changes mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.

A data network would be built to enhance the ability of police officers to receive maps and other data in the field.

The bonds will be issued in two separate offerings. The first bonds will be for $75 million, will mature in 25 years and be used to construct the two new dispatch facilities. The second bond will mature in 15 years (10 year maturity is being considered) for $35 million to construct the regional 800/700 MHz digital radio communication system.

If done individually by each agency, the costs will be higher. Pierce County believes its cost to upgrade to a 700 MHz /Narrowband VHF system at $16 - $19 million. Tacoma’s cost could exceed $10 million. Fife could continue to use their narrow band VHF system, but would continue to carry multiple radios in their police cars and fire trucks to be able to communicate between police and fire. But if they choose to go to an 800/700 MHz system, their cost could run $3 - $6 million.

Public Comments on Shoreline Next Tuesday

Washington State, through its Shoreline Management Act, requires all jurisdictions to develop a plan for managing shorelines. Shorelines are the area from the waterline for 200 feet inland.

The local jurisdiction’s plan must meet certain guidelines but generally has wide latitude. The State mandates jurisdictions give equal weight to water-dependent uses, public access and no net loss of ecological function. Water-dependent uses are first priority over other water-related uses.

The State has mandated all jurisdictions update their Shoreline Master Program (SMP). Tacoma is in the final stages of that mandate. A public hearing will be held September 27, with written comments usually accepted for approximately one week after that. The vote for final adoption is scheduled for November 22.

Tacoma uses as its zoning plan a series of numbered shoreline districts where different uses and different standards are mandated. There are several issues and preliminary recommendations (adopted by the Tacoma Planning Commission) needing opposition or support.

The most critical issue is a Planning Commission recommendation to move the boundary between the S-6 District (for pedestrian and recreational use) to include lands currently in the S-7 District (for industrial and terminals use). That move will cause the Sperry Ocean Dock property, leased for MARAD ships, to become non-conforming use, subject to harmful constraints on future financing, leasing and permitting. You are urged to oppose this action and keep Sperry in the S-7 District.

The Planning Commission has also recommended changing a district boundary that presently bisects an industrial property, NuStar Terminal. The business is presently split between an S-10 District (industrial and terminal uses) and an S-8 District (mixed development). You are urged to support this recommendation to have NuStar all within one district, the S-10 District.

The Planning Commission did not change the boundary of the S-10 and S-8 Districts along the east bank of the Foss Waterway so that other industries there could be in an S-10 District. You are urged to support extending the S-10 District to the Murray Morgan (11th Street) Bridge.

The Planning Commission did recommend removing a restriction designed to force out its undesired industries along both sides of the Foss Waterway. That present restriction did not allow existing businesses to expand. The new recommendation does. You are urged to support this new regulation so existing business can expand.

You may write or comment to:

September 27, 5:30 p.m.
Tacoma Council Chambers City of Tacoma
747 Market Street, Tacoma 98402

Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Councilmembers
747 Market Street, Suite 1200, Tacoma, WA 98402

Public Affairs to Consider Ballot Issues


Tuesday, September 20, 8:00 a.m.
Chamber offices, Simpson Community Room
950 Pacific Ave., Ste. 300, Tacoma 98402

Meeting Agenda

- This issue was tabled at the August 28, 2011 meeting.
- ACTION: Determine if this item should be reopened, discussion, further action.

- “con”: John Guadnola, Protect Our Communities
- “pro”: Confirmed, Yes on 1183 Coalition
- ACTION: Determine a policy recommendation for the Chamber’s Board.

- “con”: Confirmed, Vote No 1125
- “pro”: Invited, Voters Want More Choices
- ACTION: Determine a policy recommendation for the Chamber’s Board.

- Mike Weinman, Chamber manager for local and federal issues will update all on the current status and need for action.
- ACTION: Determine involved action needed and instigate it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Port of Tacoma seeks input on strategic planning, branding

The Port of Tacoma is reaching out to its business partners, customers and community members to encourage them to take part in an online survey by Sept. 16 to provide input toward the Port’s strategic planning and brand identity.

A major West Coast port handling that handles containers, grain, logs, autos and breakbulk cargoes, Tacoma is developing a strategic plan to guide the organization in its next chapter of economic growth and business success. The plan will guide actions over the next five years toward a longer-term vision.

Hand in hand with strategic planning, the Port also will also examine its brand and identity to make sure it reflects the Port’s unique strategic advantages.

The online surveys are available from the Port’s website at

The Port will also host open houses in the Tacoma-Pierce County area in the future to review the draft strategic plan before it goes to the Port of Tacoma commission for adoption in March. To learn more about the process, subscribe to the Port’s strategic planning mailing list.

For more information, please contact:
Rod Koon, Senior Manager, Communications

About the Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma is an economic engine for South Puget Sound, with more than 43,000 family-wage jobs in Pierce County and 113,000 jobs across Washington state connected to Port activities. A major gateway to Asia and Alaska, the Port of Tacoma is among the largest container ports in North America. The Port is also a major center for bulk, breakbulk and project/heavy-lift cargoes, as well as automobiles and trucks. To learn more about the Port of Tacoma, visit

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chamber Presents Alaska Governor

Monday, the Chamber presented Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (pictured) at the Transportation Club of Tacoma meeting.

Gov. Parnell praised the long economic partnership between Alaska and Puget Sound, noting that 80% of Alaska’s products and services for development and its people’s comfort and sustenance come through the Port of Tacoma.

Gov. Parnell focused on the economic opportunity Alaska represents and invited local businesses to invest in Alaska, saying it’s a better investment than the stock market. Gov. Parnell went on to say that Alaska is a resource state – fish, oil, timber, minerals – needing development. He said it will be better for American consumers and our nation’s security to develop the resources of Alaska rather than depend on other countries.

Gov. Parnell was asked about Sen. Maria Cantwell’s announced intent to block development of the Pebble (gold) mine. Parnell said that project is just entering its permit development stage. Scientifically-based information and the input of public opinion are still ahead, he said. His administration will not make a premature determination on the permit until the facts are known, he promised.

Next week, members of the Chamber's Alaska Committee will journey to Talkeetna, AK as registrants and speakers at the annual Alaska State Chamber of Commerce Conference and Trade Show.  This long standing effort by the Chamber seeks to enhance the economic partnership between Alaska and Tacoma area companies.  For more information, contact Gary Brackett, 253-682-1720.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boeing Receives the Chamber's 23rd annual George Francis Train International Business Award

On September 8th, the Chamber's 23rd annual George Francis Train International Business Award will be presented at the Bicentennial Pavilion at Hotel Murano.

The award, this year, will go to a local company for making a significant contribution to the international business community of Tacoma-Pierce County: Boeing. If there is a single reason why Washington is the nation’s most trade dependent state, it surely is the Boeing Company.

The award commemorates George Francis Train, a legendary Boston Yankee who had a special place in his heart for Tacoma. Train was the most prominent promoter in the groundbreaking for the transcontinental railroad in Omaha and claimed credit for the selection of Tacoma as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, coining the appellation “City of Destiny.”

This award was developed in recognition of the tremendous importance in international business locally and for its significant economic and cultural contribution to our community.

Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners such as the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner and military aircraft combined.

Additionally, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems.

Boeing also provides products and support services to customers in more than150 countries and is one of the largest U.S. exporters in terms of sales.

Being a Global partner, global markets are important to the Boeing Company, here are just a few telling examples:
  • 40 percent of total company revenue now comes from customers outside the United States.
  • Non-U.S. carriers and leasing companies that do business globally combine to account for nearly 90 percent of Boeing’s current commercial airplane backlog, by dollars.
  • International sales currently contribute almost 14 percent of Integrated Defense Systems overall revenue, and the plan is to increase this to 20 percent in the years ahead.
The company works with over 2,000 businesses, and 2,800 suppliers to create jobs and economic opportunities within the Puget Sound.

Boeing has a proven record of contributing innovative products and services to the world, applying that expertise and spirit of innovation to address community needs.
For example, in 2010 the Boeing Employees Community Fund (ECF) funded a total of $1.3 to United Way of Pierce County and direct grants to Pierce County nonprofits. In addition, Boeing employees designated an additional $731,000 directly to Pierce County nonprofits.

Boeing employs more than 165,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries. In Washington State, there are over 73,500 employees and 59,000 retirees. Many thousands of our fellow Pierce County residents commute daily to one or another of the Boeing facilities in Puget Sound.

It is our good fortune that the leading edge of Boeing technology is located in Pierce County, its Frederickson Fabrication plant. The Frederickson site is the 4th largest employer in Pierce County and employs 1,750 employees. This evening, Gary Bartnes, director of the Skin & Spar manufacturing business unit at Boeing’s Frederickson site will accept the 2011George Francis Train International Business Award.

New Home for Goddess of Commerce Statue

On August 31st the new Goddess of Commerce was unveiled. Tom Pierson, Chamber President & CEO, spoke at the dedication ceremony, along with other community members such as Mayor Marilyn Strickland and long-time community organizer and fund-raiser Griselda “Babe” Lehrer.

The original statue, which was built in 1885, was placed on top of the 3 story Chamber of Commerce building at 12th and Pacific in downtown Tacoma. Designed by C. Augustus Darmer, the statue exhibited symbols of commerce for that time in 1950. Due to a fire, the Commerce Building was demolished, along with the 7-foot copper statue.

According to Lehrer, today’s Goddess of Commerce statue, now located on 6th and St. Helens, which was built by Marilyn Mahoney, depicts Tacoma’s current industries. Her earrings are cranes, which symbolize the Port of Tacoma and the fishing industry is represented down her back. In her right arm, she cradles the model of the city of Tacoma as it is today; Art, architecture, and the construction of spaces for modern commerce are represented by the familiar facades of buildings such as the Tacoma Glass Museum, Tacoma Dome, & Old City Hall. She also holds the model of a container ship representing maritime of today in her left hand.

“We are excited that the community worked and gathered together in order to re-dedicate the statue,” Pierson stated. “The statue is more about recognizing the power of the community and the economic strength of the region.”

The project, which was funded and endorsed by the Theater District Association, the Tacoma Historical Society, the Port of Tacoma, and other generous donors, stands proud overlooking the port of Tacoma.

The once homeless Goddess now has a place to call home.