What’s IT?

August 12, 2010

This is both a real question and a question my grandfather would ask…of course, until last year he was still using Web TV as his internet. But enough about Poppy Irv.

What counts as IT is a major question as we head into the next Regional Economic Strategy and our comprehensive economic analysis. And I’m not sure I know the answer. Read the rest of this entry »


Let’s Talk Ag

June 23, 2010

When it comes to economic development, Prosperity Partnership has always recognized the importance of working not only regionally but also statewide.  That’s why we have WSU President Elson Floyd as one of our co-chairs, it’s why we run cross-state bus tours, and it’s why so many of the organizations we help launch – Aerospace Futures Alliance, Washington Clean Tech Alliance, etc. – are statewide. Of course, the most important reason is that we actually share a lot of industry clusters: clean tech, aerospace, IT, life sciences, trade, tourism and military all have big roles in both the central Puget Sound economy as well as the state’s. But there’s one thing we don’t mutually focus on: agriculture. Or do we? Read the rest of this entry »


Wow, This Region Is So Defensive

May 3, 2010

Assuming that “defensive” is the adjective describing a region with a lot of defense-related contracting activities…

The news about UW’s big defense contract got me thinking about all the defense-related contracting that goes on in our region. Obviously, Prosperity Partnership has been focused on that topic a lot since the creation of our Military Cluster Strategy in 2008, but for those of you who haven’t picked that up in a while, we’re talking $3.7 billion in contracts in the four-county Puget Sound region.  A lot of those come from aerospace and engineering related activities, as well as your basic procurement for things like construction, janitorial, and medical services, and other base support services. Read the rest of this entry »


Stop Labelling Me!

March 16, 2010

No, this is not a post about someone who keeps using one of those old school label makers to affix label stickers to me. It’s additional musing on yesterday’s super-wonky post in which I mentioned that industry cluster labels can get in the way of understanding how core goods and services in the economy can be used cross-sector. The example I used was aerospace machine shops being used to make wind turbine replacement parts: how would we know that we’re a region that has the capacity to be the center of wind turbine replacement part manufacturing if we didn’t look at a mix of occupational and cluster data? Read the rest of this entry »


Live by the Sword

December 26, 2009

Speculation, elation and hope were rampant Thursday when a forecast from Election Data Services (EDS) predicted that Washington would gain a 10th Congressional seat due to probable results from the 2010 Census.

(The U.S. House of Representatives is set at 435 members.  Population growth results in reallocation of those seats among gaining and losing states to achieve equal representation.)

Such enthusiasm here (despondency elsewhere) is most understandable given the power of Congressional representation and the allocations of federal dollars based on population.

However, a quick review of the EDS forecast and the underlying U.S. Census’s American Community Survey (ACS) engenders concern.  The EDS news release’s tables contain the notation:  “No Military Overseas factored in.”  The issue of this seemingly obscure note is that the Census Bureau allocates the count of deployed soldiers to their home of record, an adjustment that takes place later in the population allocation.  Read the rest of this entry »


How to Build a Cross-Base Highway

December 4, 2009

Pierce County’s long awaited and continually delayed Cross-Base Highway (SR 704) keeps looking for a solution to a need long overdue. For a project that started with a donation of right-of-way worth millions of dollars by Ft. Lewis, that head start in funding hasn’t made much progress against other state-wide projects that keep bumping the Cross-Base Highway.

As Fort Lewis is a work site that has gained 13,000 workers in the last demi-decade and seen a daily increase in thousands of vehicle trips, soldiers taking housing outside the post are continuing to seek housing in Thurston County as closer Pierce County housing is inaccessible via the congestion along the Pacific Ave.-SR 512-I-5 route, located in Parkland-Spanaway. Who hasn’t noticed the increase in congestion on I-5 south of the post as soldiers commute back and forth to Thurston County?

But is our challenge so unique that we must create a solution, or is experience available elsewhere. Of course! We are not unique! Others have solved this problem! Read the rest of this entry »


Who’s On First

November 9, 2009

It might surprise many in this region to know that the Defense industry sector of military installations, has been an unqualified growth sector. Can you name one job site that has gained 13,000 jobs since 2004?

If you’re having trouble naming just one, here it is: Fort Lewis.

Just last week, a delegation from Washington composed of members from the Governor’s office, the Pierce County Executive’s office and Economic Development Dept. as well as the City of Lakewood and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber attended the Office of Economic Adjustment’s (OEA) Partnerships for Success conference.

Among many matters of import learned and exampled at the OEA Conference was the Executive Order 12788. In addition to setting up a Defense Economic Adjustment Program and an Economic Adjustment Committee composed of the Secretary of Defense and inclusive of virtually all the cabinet positions as well as major executive branch offices and administrations, the act mandates a prioritization among communities:

Sec. 5. (b) (2) Afford priority consideration to requests from Defense-affected communities for Federal technical assistance, financial resources, excess or surplus property, or other requirements that are part of a comprehensive plan…

The City of Lakewood is now lead for a regional effort to develop a plan to address the impacts associated with the growth at Fort Lewis.