Friday, March 28, 2014

First 2012 Economic Census Report Released

Thank you! Last year, the Chamber encouraged you about the importance of your participation in the 2012 Economic Census. The first report is now available.

The 2012 Economic Census Advance Report is available on the Census website, and in American FactFinder.  This report highlights national-level data for over 100 industry groups, including number of establishments, revenue, payroll and number of employees. Visit the Advance Report page to view the data.

Additional releases of detailed industry and geography statistics will be released over a two-year period, through June 2016.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Port of Tacoma's Horse Race

The Port of Tacoma's annual breakfast will present attendees with news about unprecedented changes in the international container industry that is forcing ports and shippers to think and act differently.  Register here.

Legislature Mainly Says No

Sine Die – the 60th Day of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session has come to a close.  Here’s what happened and didn’t happen before midnight last Thursday.

The Legislature DID finish on time for the first time in five years. Yet, there was a lot left undone that needed to be finished.

1)    one tax incentive (SB 6440), classified natural gas to be taxed as a transportation fuel, supporting a potential economic development project in the port);
2)    no new transportation package of revenue, investment and reform;
3)    no new taxes except closing (SB 6430) a tax incentive/loophole on R&D Sales & Use Tax and B&O tax credits that will expire December 31, 2014;
4)    no higher education tuition increase (2 years running);
5)    no workers’ compensation reform;
6)    no teacher cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) (6 years running);
7)    no teacher mandatory evaluation so maybe no federal waiver (loss of approximately $40 million in federal dollars);
8)    no supplemental capital budget for the first time since 1996.

Guest Blogger: Michael Transue
Government Affairs Lobbying & Advocacy Services

Nominations/Applications for Business Environmental Award Opens

Earth Day is near and appropriately, the Chamber recognizes that there are many outstanding businesses in our community working hard to protect the environment and preserve our quality of life.

Do you know of a business that deserves recognition for surface water protection or restoration achievements? How about a deserving business that has achieved exemplary results in reducing waste dumped into area streams?  Who has the best air quality results?

The Chamber is accepting applications or nominations of businesses that deserve recognition for their exemplary environmental protection or restoration efforts. The selected nominee will receive a business environmental award to be presented.

Nominations or applications will be accepted no later than April 1. Please submit your nomination(s).

The Award will be presented by sponsor Taylor-Thomason Insurance on April 11 at the Chamber's Luncheon.  You may register here.

For more information about nomination criteria or to participate in the Chamber’s Earth Day event sponsored by Taylor-Thomason Insurance, contact Gary Brackett or at 253.682.1720. 

Consider in your application or nomination the full spectrum of your environmental stewardship efforts in addition to just highlighting one or a few exemplary efforts.  Here, as examples for you is a very brief synopsis of the spectrum of environmental stewardship efforts by the 2013 and 2012 Tahoma Business Environmental Award Recipients:

2013 Tahoma Business Environmental Award Recipient Targa Sound Terminal

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 in the 1960s, their small team pursued a vision that propelled their growth to 46 employees locally. Today, Targa continues to supply energy to the Pacific Northwest. Their vision is essential to keeping our port competitive, creating family-wage jobs and maintaining a commitment to Tacoma’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 they 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 the Tacoma community.

2012 Tahoma Business Environmental Award Recipient Richlite Company

Richlite Company pioneered the paper-composite surface industry at its manufacturing facility in Tacoma, beginning in 1943.  Richlite is made of paper.  It starts out as pulp, is turned into paper and is transformed
again into a dense, durable and attractive material that can be tooled like wood.

It’s a product base that ranges from cutting boards to countertops, exterior wall cladding to flooring, guitar parts and outdoor furniture – and event as outdoor skate ramp surfacing. It’s used for nearly any commercial or residential surface or design accent.

Richlite has always strived to produce a quality product – locally – while leaving a smaller footprint on the environment. In doing so, Richlite uses only sustainably-derived resources, pursues environmentally-sound manufacturing and business practices and works with partners who share in their initiatives to maintain a healthy planet.

Richlite employs sustainable organizational practices.  The paper includes Forest Stewardship Certified paper that comes from managed forests, is 100% recycled from post consumer waste or is 50% recycled cardboard.

Richlite patented a manufacturing process (WE ((waste-t0-energy)) Technology) where its saturation equipment captures energy from the manufacturing process and recycles it back into the heating system.

And, Richlite began tracking greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, set and exceeded a five-year goal with a total of 32% decrease of CO2 emissions.

-    the first business in Tacoma to obtrain its Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Environmental Product Declaration;
-    one of the first businesses in Tacoma to receive a BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tacoma) award;
-    qualifies or LEED points in six categories;
-    Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certification;
-    Rainforest Alliance Certification.

Richlite’s community environmental leadership includes:
-    a member of Tacoma’s Green Ribbon Climate action Task Force;
-    a members of the Sustainable Tacoma Commission;
-    on the Steering Committee with our Chamber’s Environmental Business Alliance;
-    a member of the Seattle Metro Chamber’s Sustainability Committee;
-    and, a member of the Seattle Climate Partnership.

Tahoma Business Environmental Award Recipients

 1    2003    Kay Parks/Dan Meyer Auto Rebuild
 2    2004    Simpson
 3    2005    McFarland Cascade
 4    2006    Port of Tacoma
 5    2007    Totem Ocean Trailer Express
 6    2008    PLU
 7    2009    Carlile Transportation Systems
 8    2010    Walsh Construction
 9    2011    Waste Connections, Inc.
10    2012   Richlite Company
11    2013  Targa Sound Terminal

Monday, March 17, 2014

Grow Your Business Thru Trade with Mexico

Are you interested in building a trade and business relationship with Mexico. The Puget Sound Latina Chamber of Commerce is offering a workshop to Grow Your Business Through Trade.

Chamber Encourages Gov. Inslee to Sign for Law School

The greater Tacoma and South Sound community is working hard to raise the funds necessary to launch the planned law school at the University of Washington Tacoma.

The legislature stepped up in a bi-partisan way to provide seed funding in the state’s budget. Many are encouraging Gov. Jay Inslee to sign the budget inclusive of the $400,000 line item.

Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Is the local economy bubbling over, still filling or draining? According to the 2014 survey, given at the Chamber’s annual Horizons Economic Forecast event, the glass is definitely beginning to fill.

According to respondents, none feel their company’s economic fortunes will be worse in 2014 that in 2013.  Fully two-thirds believe their company’s fortunes will be better than the previous year.  Those feeling the same about prospects are almost unchanged, but the shift has been up in those feeling that way too. That’s a ripple shift of about 5 to 9 percent, depending on category, from 2013 to 2014.
There is also a markedly positive feeling about the prospects for their firms hiring more employees, with those expecting more employees up 18%.  That improvement has come almost entirely from the 2013 category of those feeling they would have the same employment levels that year.

These feelings are somewhat at odds with respondents expectations for their personal economic situation.  Almost 58% feel their prospects will be the same, a slight improvement over 2013, but the upward movement in this expectation has come almost equally from 2013 of both those expecting better and worse for the coming year.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Grants for "Made in America" Firms

Do you know of Washington companies with products or services that are “Made in America”?

Many U.S. companies are eligible to receive up to $75,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms Program, to help fund projects of their choice.

I have attached information on this program that I hope you will share.  If you are interested in discussing our program or if you know of any companies that might qualify, please feel free to contact:

Patrick Meuleman, Client Development Manager, NW Trade Adjustment Assistance Center
Phone:  208-343-6855;, Fax:  208-343-6856
223 North 6th St, Suite 300, Boise, ID 83702

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chamber Celebrates 130th Anniversary

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber today celebrates its 130th year anniversary with congratulatory messages from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and top chamber executives associations. 

Your Chamber staff celebrates the organization's 130th anniversary.

“The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has been in the instrumental fabric for our city, region and state over these past 130 years. Today we are a fierce fighter for businesses, convener for community solutions and the truth teller to public policy makers.  We are the voice for all businesses, from a family-owned bakery, to the many cornerstone companies throughout Pierce County,” said Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO Tom Pierson.

“We congratulate the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber on 130 years of service and support to the area’s business community,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize the vital role businesses of all sizes across the country play in helping the economy grow and communities thrive. As a voice for the county’s business community, the Tacoma-Pierce Chamber has helped its members do just that for more than a century.” 

“Whenever you find a vibrant local economy and a livable community, you’ll usually find a strong chamber of commerce leading the way. Congratulations to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber for 130 years of leadership,” said Dave Kilby, President & CEO, Western Association of Chamber Executives.

“When the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) was celebrating its inaugural event in 1914, the Tacoma Chamber was already 30 years old,” said ACCE President Mick Fleming.  “On behalf of the board and membership of ACCE, I congratulate the Chamber on its impressive 130th anniversary.

At the first ACCE convention, founder Christy Mead of the New York City Chamber told the members assembled in St. Louis that the ‘modern’ chamber of commerce reflects ‘co-operation and co-ordination of effort on the part of chamber members for greater efficiency in the accomplishment of results beneficial to the community.’

That statement of purpose reflects the ongoing legacy of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber in growing the economy, advocating on behalf of businesses, and providing a vibrant business network so critical to a successful region.  Onward!”

130 Years of Promoting Commerce:

On March 4, 1884, the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on principles that still hold strong. “It is a good many years since it was first discovered that there was strength in union; we must depend on each other if we expect to help ourselves...there is in this community a spirit of improvement, and with union there can be accomplished what no individual, or hundred individuals, acting separately from themselves, can accomplish.”

-    General J.W. Sprague, Tacoma’s first mayor and first President of the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce, at the initial meeting to organize the Chamber of Commerce.

From its very first actions, raising $4,000 to build a wagon road connecting Tacoma to Puyallup and instituting a steamer operation for the farmers living on the islands near Tacoma, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has enjoyed a storied history.

A brief snapshot of historic Chamber select highlights:

Strong education supporters: In the 1880s - Pledges $13,000 for construction for the Charles Wright School for Boys and raises $75,000 for what would become the University of Puget Sound.

Early advocates: In the late 1890s and early 1900s the Chamber sends a representative to advocate for creating a park at Point Defiance—a precursor to the U.S. government transferring ownership of Point Defiance Park to the City of Tacoma; backs a $2 million voter-approved bond to purchase 70,000 acres of land for the building of a military training center to be known as Camp Lewis (then Fort Lewis, now JBLM); and leads an effort to create a public utility to manage Tacoma’s water supply.

Exercises foresight:  In the 1910s, 20s and 30s the Chamber helps raise $52,000 to commission a plan for the Commencement Bay waterfront that seeds ideas for the Port of Tacoma; hires a bridge architect to design a concept bridge over the Narrows; and successfully lobbies for the transfer of a Pierce County airfield to the U.S. military, which would later become the site of McChord Air Force Base (now McChord Field/JBLM).

In 1950 the Chamber opens a visitor’s center along Highway 99 then continues its advocacy efforts throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s: finding a solution to Interstate 5 bypassing downtown Tacoma, in the form of the Tacoma Spur, aka Interstate 705, providing freeway access to downtown; addressing the feasibility of a domed civic center, eventually leading to the voters approving the construction of the Tacoma Dome; and helping build a growing community voice to advocate and win the Tacoma campus of the University of Washington.

Today, the Chamber continues the exercise of foresight by tirelessly advocating for the completion of SR-167, which will not only answer the region’s freight mobility needs but bring economic development opportunities, including 80,000 jobs to Pierce County and entire South Sound region.