Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tacoma: The Premier Amateur Sports Destination of the Northwest

Tacoma is fast becoming the premier amateur sports destination of the Northwest. Recurring events, such as various high school state championships and the Hershey’s Track and Field Games, as well as other huge one time events, like the 2011 USA Men’s Gymnastics Region II Championships, take place in or near Tacoma. The list of past and current events is extensive.

Tim Waer, CEO and Executive Director of Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission, has worked enthusiastically to market Tacoma and the South Sound as the destination for tourism-generating amateur sports events.

This area, Waer told the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Subcommittee, is an ideal place for amateur sporting events. Tacoma has a rich sports history, diverse venues, large hotel inventory, close proximity to Sea-Tac Airport, access to I-5, university and community colleges, many local attractions, and is a medium sized city, which together form the perfect place to promote amateur sports.

Amateur sports tourism is the largest growing tourism area, and while the tourism industry witnessed an enormous downturn during the recession, amateur sports tourism either kept pace or increased. “It doesn’t matter how bad the economy gets, they just don’t cancel the state wrestling championships,” Waer said. As such, amateur sports hold many community and economic development opportunities for Tacoma. 

What is more, Waer discussed additional opportunities for Tacoma and the South Sound, such as multi-tribe indigenous games or adaptive sports, like the U.S. Paralympics or Wounded Warriors.

Waer noted that the industry touched enough sectors and provided such a huge return on investment that it needed to be a priority for the city. Moreover, while Tacoma has unique and versatile venues, such as the Tacoma Dome and the Convention Center, these venues need updating. Additional challenges include the loss of program funding and the lack of a cohesive strategy with community partners.

Council members in attendance, Marty Campbell, Robert Thoms, David Boe, Ryan Mello, and Lauren Walker, appeared largely supportive for Waer and excited over the great opportunities Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission brings to the area. Thoms noted the importance of recreational sport activities to his family and the community. Likewise, Boe expressed his desire that every high school athlete’s goal be to “Get to Tacoma”, because Tacoma is the place for high school state championships. Walker described her excitement for the Lakewood SummerFEST Triathlon, the first public triathlon in Pierce County.

Be on the lookout for upcoming events in our area. For more information visit the Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission website.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Economic Census of Businesses Still Due


but it’s not too late for businesses to respond! Businesses that were mailed a form, but have not responded to this mandatory survey, will be receiving a letter or phone call from the U.S. Census Bureau in the days and weeks ahead. This is not a follow-up with your organization, but rather a courtesy email to help you answer questions. 

Here’s some important information for the Chamber's members and other businesses:
•    It’s not too late to respond
•    Get help with forms and report online at: econhelp.census.gov
•    Learn more about the Economic Census: business.census.gov

Thanks again for helping us know more about local businesses - your response really does make a difference.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chamber Celebrates State Farm News

“We are thrilled about State Farm’s decision to expand their workforce in downtown Tacoma. This recognition speaks volumes about the talent and hard work ethic of our region's workforce,” said Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO.

“I commend State Farm's decision to invest in our community and welcome this tremendous opportunity. State Farm’s announcement continues a trend of positive economic news and job creation for our community—already this year there is over $1 billion of investment in Tacoma and Pierce County.”

2013 Job Creation List:
• January – Construction of the downtown Pacific Ave Streetscape Project - $10 Million

• January  – US Oil Expands Rail Operations - $20 Million

• February  – Targa Industries Major Expansion - $150 Million

• February  – Completion of the downtown Murray Morgan 11th Street Bridge - $50 Million

• February – Tacoma citizens commit to $500 million for Tacoma Public Schools construction

• March – Development proposal from Henry Group to build a $31.2 million apartment and retail project just north of the Highway 509 bridge across the Foss waterway tentatively approved by Thea Foss Waterway Authority
• April  – Puyallup Tribes expansion and upgrade of facilities - $200 Million

• April - YMCA/UWT begins selection and design process for new student center - $20 Million

• Today – State Farm Confirmation of 1,100 jobs – economic impact estimate over $200 Million

Chamber Joins Panel Advocating Transportation Package

Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO spoke on businesses’ behalf as part of the SR-167 Completion Coalition at the House Transportation Hearing today.

Speaking from his past experience both in the public and private sectors, Pierson stated, “There is no other project on the table today that can compete with the economic development potential of the completion of SR167/HWY509.”
Other points Pierson reiterated were that as proposed, the Puget Sound Gateway project meets businesses’ current needs and will meet the region’s needs far into the future; that the state Transportation Department estimates a completed SR-167 could create 80,000 permanent jobs, along with 948 direct construction jobs and up to 1,990 indirect jobs per year of construction.

“Our business community has thrown their support behind this project and necessary funding package because the projected benefits from this investment are vital to solidifying the competitiveness of our region,” Pierson said.

Pierson also pointed out that business and labor have come together for what they see as a common goal by deciding not to concentrate on what commonly divides them, but instead, being weary of the matter, decided to work on getting something built together. 

“In this spirit, I would ask that the House Transportation Committee set aside any partisan issues and rally to support this package and the needed revenue to pay for it.  The time to act is now and we cannot afford more empty promises or good intentions.  We need this project built as fast as possible to meet current needs,” Pierson said.

Other representatives from the SR-167 Coalition who spoke at the Hearing were Todd Iverson from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Tacoma City Mayor Marilyn Strickland, City of Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis and Port of Tacoma CEO John Wolfe.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Targa Sound Terminal Receive 11th Annual Environmental Award

The Chamber annually recognizes entrepreneurial efforts that meet a high standard of excellence for environmental, preservation and protection accomplishments through its Tahoma Business Environmental Award.  

This afternoon, at the Chamber Luncheon, the 2013 award was presented by award sponsor Steve Thomason, Taylor-Thomason Insurance, to Targa Sound Terminal. 

Targa Sound Terminal employees enjoyed receiving the Tahoma Business Environmental Award. PHOTO (l. to r.): Linda Troeh, Jeremiah Jones, Bett Lucas and Justin Ranes.

Targa Sound Terminal focuses on safe, responsible, reliable and efficient logistics. Their goal is to be the best bulk liquid and petroleum logistic service provider in the Pacific Northwest.

With roots set in the 1960s, Targa’s small team pursued a vision that has propelled their growth to 46 employees locally. Their vision is essential to keeping the Port of Tacoma competitive, creating family-wage jobs and maintaining a commitment to the community’s clean and efficient future.

In 2007, they became the first wholesale truck rack in Washington State to provide renewable biodiesel blends. Their dock was the first to provide low-emission ultra-low sulfur diesel to local tugs and fishing vessels. In 2011, Targa began supporting local farmers by supplying Washington grown and produced canola biodiesel. In 2012, they started blending EPA emission control area fuel for Port of Tacoma businesses.

Targa Sound Terminal currently handles petroleum, petroleum products and renewable fuels. They are committed to using the best environmental control technology available to make their operation the best in the state. They have a history of being a good neighbor and are committed to contributing to the betterment of the Tacoma community.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

SR-167 Completion Coalition Endorses Funding Plan for SR-167, SR-509

For Immediate Release                      
Thursday, April 11, 2013

For more information, contact Tim Thompson: 253-879-1250 

SR-167 Completion Coalition Endorses Funding Plan for SR-167, SR-509

Tacoma, Washington – The bipartisan SR-167 Completion Coalition fully endorses the funding proposal for the Puget Sound Gateway Project, saying “we can’t wait another year or another day.” 

To demonstrate commitment, SR-167 stakeholders have pledged to bring their own funds to the table to complement the large effort made by the state. Together, those funding streams are sufficient to complete SR-167 in appropriate phases that will create jobs, meet freight mobility needs, achieve congestion relief goals, and create the best possible environment for the Port of Tacoma to remain competitive.

The Coalition, convened by Congressman Denny Heck, has been committed to working with House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn and the Washington State Department of Transportation to create a plan that fulfills a promise made more than 30 years ago by the state to complete SR-167. 

Congressman Heck believes they have done just that with the Puget Sound Gateway Project, “The Puget Sound Gateway Project and related revenue package are the single most important investments the State of Washington can make to retain and create jobs in the Puget Sound. The plan developed will provide a complete SR-167 and meet the goals set by the Completion Coalition. It is essential that we now support the State’s proposed revenue package to make sure SR-167 and projects like it are funded to completion.”

Technical teams from Pierce County and the Port of Tacoma led the redesign effort with the state Transportation Department.

“Together, we invested a tremendous amount of energy to find a solution that meets the Coalition’s needs,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “This revised SR-167 plan spends taxpayer money efficiently and effectively to keep our region competitive with ports in Mexico and Canada.”

Mayor Pete Lewis of Auburn mirrored the optimism of Congressman Heck when he stated. “This has been a collaborative effort between diverse groups to make sure the completion of SR-167 is a reality,” Lewis said. “I am calling upon the Governor, Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature to come together in a bipartisan manner as the Coalition did and pass a revenue package to build this project.”

The state Transportation Department estimates a completed SR-167 could create 80,000 permanent jobs. It would also create 948 direct construction jobs and up to 1,990 indirect jobs per year of construction.

Hundreds of business, labor, environmental, tribal and government organizations have advocated for the completion of SR-167 for years, said Tacoma Port Commissioner Dick Marzano, co-chairman of the Coalition. “It’s time to get this done.”


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

City of Tacoma Approves (some) Local Purchasing

A couple of weeks ago the Chamber gladly supported the City of Tacoma's Ordinance No. 28140, "to ensure, in appropriate situations, the inclusion of and consideration of locality and sustainability factors in the evaluation and award of City contracts."

The key words for the Chamber were "consideration of locality."  This means that in (some) contracts the City will be able to give some nominal preference to local vendors.  The Chamber has been supportive of this issue for some time, including the last time it came to a Council Committee about a year ago.

The intervening time has been used by attorneys to rework the language and approach to make it consistent with state law.  The result of the legal work has been a policy that still allows for local consideration, but with plenty of caveats.  With so many qualifers, it's clear that the City may not be using the local preference option much - but getting it in the municipal code is a start.

Monday, April 8, 2013

View Updated Public Officials Guide

The Chamber’s newly updated Public Officials Guide is out, reflecting the numerous changes brought on by last year’s exciting election.

A key aspect of the Chamber’s mission is to use its collective voice as well as those of individual Chamber members to advocate for a strong business climate in the region. The updated Public Officials Guide works to accomplish this by empowering our members to coordinate their efforts and provide opportunities for members to engage with civic leaders on issues relevant to their business and community.

Additionally, the new guide is more comprehensive in scope and includes local school district boards and superintendents, as well as local City Managers.

To locate your public officials, visit the Chamber’s website.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Annual Maritime Day Luncheon Announced

(click on image for a larger view)

Tacoma Surveys Website Users

Tacoma invites additional input through a survey on its website usage and content development.

The City of Tacoma has been working to overhaul its external website to better serve the needs of Tacoma's residents, businesses and visitors.

As part of its efforts to fully integrate a more modern design with improved ease of navigation and citizen engagement, the City's Media and Communications Office invites everyone to provide additional input through a brief web usage survey here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tacoma Power IRP 2013 Process

Tacoma Power started the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process for 2013. IRP is a strategic planning process electric and gas utilities use to estimate short and long-term growth and decide on the best mix of resources to address that growth.

The primary purpose of IRP’s is to “[a]ssess whether there is a need to acquire additional resources to meet projected retail demand”, as well as to “[d]etermine the combination of new resources that are the most cost-effective and impose the least risk” (Metcalf, 2013, p.2). IRP’s also include the plan’s programming, implementation, and evaluation, and must be updated by September 1 of even years according to RCW 19.280.

Tacoma Power serves more than 160,000 customers, stretching beyond Tacoma across Pierce and King Counties, to University Place, Fircrest, portions of Fife, Lakewood, Federal Way, Steilacoom, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and as far south as Roy. Tacoma Power’s primary resource for electricity generation is hydropower, which made up over 93 percent of its fuel mix in 2011 (Metcalf, 2013, p. 10).

Tacoma Power’s 2013 IRP focuses on three critical areas. First, how much conservation should Tacoma Power pursue in 2014/2015? Next, what approach should Tacoma Power take for complying with Tacoma Power’s 2016 and 2020 I-937 Renewable Portfolio Standard Requirements? And finally, what future energy and capacity portfolio best conforms to the needs of the utility and consumers?

While hydro is a renewable resource, unfortunately it is not considered an “eligible” resource for Washington’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, I-937. Therefore, Tacoma Power must seek alternative, eligible, renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, incremental hydro, biomass, landfill gas, ocean (wave/tidal), bio diesel, or renewable energy credits (REC’s).

In this year’s first public meeting, Tacoma Power staff informed stakeholders of the IRP process and sought stakeholder input. There will be additional opportunities for public involvement in May, September, and October.

Metcalf, T. (2013). 2013 IRP stakeholder presentation 1. Tacoma, WA: Tacoma Power.

Full Room for Chamber's Leg Day 2

It was a full room at the Chamber's second 2013 Legislative Advocacy Day. Despite busy schedules during the last weeks of the State's regular session, Chamber members and Pierce County legislators met to discuss important business issues.

The completion of State Route 167 was the primary focus and Representatives Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) and Hans Zeiger (R-Puyallup) gave a brief transportation update. Fey suggested passing a transportation package and completing SR 167 would create jobs and help keep Washington competitive. Zeiger noted the greatest barrier to a transportation revenue package that would include SR 167 was an increase in “unnecessary taxes.” Zeiger described the 167 Completion Coalition as being one of the strongest coalitions in the state, but argued for more grassroots campaigning that included daily constituent phone calls to their legislators regarding SR 167.

Education was another hot topic. Legislators and members discussed a wide range of issues, from higher education and the University of Washington, Tacoma, to the McCleary decision, and current veteran education bills.

Members were also given the opportunity to discuss issues especially relevant to their business. Louise Bray of Schnitzer Steel asked legislators for their support on key bills regarding the heavy haul corridor and metal theft. Moreover, Monique Trudnowski of Adriatic Grill articulated how the implementation of the state’s new liquor tax has put a heavy burden on small businesses.

In addition to Fey and Zeiger, legislators in attendance included Rep Linda Kochmar (R-Federal Way), Senator Steve Conway (D-Tacoma), Rep David Sawyer (D-Tacoma), Rep Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard), Rep Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), Sen Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma), and staff for Rep Cathy Dahlquist (R-Enumclaw) and Sen Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island). 

The Chamber continues to advocate on behalf of members and Pierce County businesses. Upcoming advocacy events include the Washington-to Washington, D.C. trip May 6-8 and the Chamber Luncheon Featuring the Legislative Session Wrap-Up June 14.