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Posts tagged: Greater Spokane Incorporated

Ryan Arnold gets first GSI post as director of entrepreneurship program

Ryan Arnold has been chosen as Greater Spokane Incorporated's first director of its recently launched Entrepreneurship Program. The job is focused on adding energy and guidance for area entrepreneurs and startups.

Arnold has primarily focused his efforts in Kootenai County. He created a consulting firm in Coeur d'Alene,  Sightline Energy, which worked with architecture and engineering companies.

He also helped launch Innovation Collective, a North Idaho-based support organization for new businesses and entrepreneurs.

GSI's Startup Spokane initiative is a broad-based effort to provide education, networking and support. It's collecting resources and links at

GSI has GenPrime for Thursday, the Agora Awards next week

Two Greater Spokane Incorporated deals coming in the next week. To make reservations, go to the GSI events page.

Tomorrow (May 29)is the next GSI sponsored Executive Breakfast. It will feature Buck Somes and Darby McLean of Spokane company GenPrime.

It starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Spokane Club downtown.

GenPrime develops testing services to detect microbes and potentially harmful or illegal substances. It has also developed kits used by first-responders dealing with possible toxic materials.

The second event is the June 4 Agora Awards presentation. Here are this year's nominees. The awards are annually presented to recognize local business achievement. The event runs from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Small Business
Design Source, Inc.
Quality Inn - Downtown 4th Ave.
Red and Associates LLC.
U-District Physical Therapy

Medium Business
Asuris Northwest Health
Incyte Diagnostics
Lee & Hayes
USKH, Inc. (Soon to be Stantec)

Large Business
Coffman Engineers, Inc.
Numerica Credit Union
Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, LLC (PAML)
Wagstaff, Inc.

Small Nonprofit
Blessings Under the Bridge
Spring of Hope International
The First Tee of the Inland Northwest

Large Nonprofit
Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest
The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations

Rich Hadley gets ready for one more D.C. fly-in, as GSI looks ahead

Greater Spokane Incorporated President and CEO Rich Hadley is about to do his 20th, and final, GSI D.C. fly-in.

More details in this Saturday story.

Anyone who spends time around Hadley realizes he is, in fact, a marathon runner. He will keep going, keep running, until he hits the line.

The fly-ins are similar in focus. They don't produce quick results and press releases. They gradually produce successes, such as increased funding for the North Spokane Corridor, expansion and new construction at Fairchild Air Force Base, and funding to do studies, such as the one GSI got in order to protect the Spokane Aquifer from a possible power plant construction in North Idaho.

I've never been along for one of the fly-ins, but it would be fun to do a video tracking the delegation's three-day jaunt.  Maybe someone will do one soon.




GSI’s annual economic forecast starts Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. downtown

Tomorrow (Nov. 20) morning is John Mitchell's annual poetic forecast of next year's economic performance.

Mitchell, (pictured, and formerly of US Bank), has been a longtime provider of the annual forecast of economic conditions facing the region in 2014.

He and Grant Forsyth, formerly of EWU and now chief economist for Avista, are the two presenters in the annual economic forecast presented by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

The event starts with a breakfast at 7 a.m., at Spokane Convention Center, followed by the program running from 7:30-9:30 a.m.

The theme is “Tapering, Tepid and Transitioning.”  Hmm, I wonder if Mitchell is into hip-hop rhythms this year.

You can register online at for $50. Members can pay a lesser amount.

There's a hashtag for catching updates from the session, using #econforecast.




Mark your calendars for our 16th Annual Economic Forecast presented by Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Journal of Business.  See what's on the road ahead for your business as you listen to Dr. John W. Mitchell, Principal - M&H Economic Consultants, and Dr. Grant Forsyth, Chief Economist - Avista. Doors Open: 7:00 am.  Come early for coffee and make connections. Program: 7:30-9:30am

Mike Senske, of Pearson Packaging, takes over as GSI chairman

Michael Senske, president and CEO of manufacturing company Pearson Packaging Systems, is the new chair of the Greater Spokane Incorporate board of trustees. His one-year term started this week.

Linda Elkin, Spokane Region President of U.S. Bank, was elected chair-elect and will be begin her term as chairman of the group, formerly the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, in 2014.

The board’s main focus for the next several months will be replacing Rich Hadley, the business development group’s CEO. Hadley will retire in April after serving in that job for 20 years.

Hit hard by the recession, GSI’s member list is bouncing back, Hadley says

Tuesday's main business story in the SR was the announcement that Rich Hadley, CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated, was stepping down in April.  That will mark a 20 year career at the helm of the region's largest chamber organization.

How large? Well, it was 1,400 business members before the recession, but then dipped notably in 2009 and 2010.

In recent years, according to an email from Hadley, the member list is back close to 1,300. Last year, for the first time in a decade, membership costs increased.  The base price is now $425, up from $400. The upper membership tier is priced somewhere above $1,000. (Checking to find what it is.)

GSI board members are doing an annual retreat this week. Among the issues being discussed is whether or not the group wants to push forward with a long-running economic development idea — trying to convince voters in Spokane County to create a port district.

It was tried once before and failed terribly. Our best guess is GSI will sponsor or pay for a public opinion poll and release the results. It will take a very positive poll result for GSI to take on the project of promoting a port district.

Former Coug, WSDA director Bud Hover will meet with ag leaders July 11

If the name Don Hover sounds familiar, you are either a farmer, or a dedicated NFL fan.

Donald “Bud” Hover, is Washington State's Department of Agriculture director. And he'll be in Spokane to meet with agribusiness leaders July 11 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at  the GSI offices, 801 W. Riverside.

Hover also graduated from Washington State University, later earned a master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington.

He also played middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins for two years.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Hover to the post back in April. This is, we're pretty sure, his first visit in his official capacity to Spokane.

GSI is hosting a reception for Hover along with the Far West Agribusiness Association and Northwest Farm Credit Services.

The WSDA is responsible for animal health, plant inspections, food safety, fruit and grain inspection and certification, weights and measures, pesticide registration and marketing the state's agricultural products regionally and nationally.

To register for the reception, contact Myrna O'Leary by July 8.

GSI, Congressional delegation, NW Mining Association credited for 12 jobs

Score one for Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The two Congressional fixtures for Washington state were key in rolling back some of the job erosion seen recently at Spokane's Mine Research Laboratory.

A story in Tuesday's SR summarized how that happened, noting that 12 jobs will be coming back to the lab, which is part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Another part of the solution, not mentioned in that story, is the role played by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

As an aide to Sen. Murray noted to us in an email, Rich Hadley and GSI were the point group that followed up after learning that NIOSH was losing jobs, starting about three years ago. The Northwest Mining Association contacted GSI and then GSI, formerly the Spokane chamber of commerce, began visiting Murray, McMorris Rodgers and other legislators, sounding the alarm.

It worked. While the lab has lost more than 50 jobs in the past nine years, getting 12 new ones will help soften that blow.

Agora Award winners to be announced on Wednesday

Can this really be the 26th year for the annual Agora Awards?  That long, really? 

This year's winners will be announced Wednesday by Greater Spokane Inc. in a ceremony starting at 7 a.m. at the Davenport Hotel.

Agora Awards are annual recognitions of business excellence in the Spokane area. The categories this year for “business rock stars” are in small business, medium business, large business, small nonprofit, large nonprofit.

Anyone can register for the awards at Individual tickets are $30 and $40.

To see the awards online Wednesday morning, go to and look in the Business category. We'll be publishing them shortly after being announced.

A modest uptick in Spokane County’s retail sales totals, and what that means

The retail and total sales tax number for Spokane County, for the first quarter, came out and they're at least positive. But the full story is: this is not yet a normal economy.

Data show that Spokane say retail taxes up 2.7% and total sales up 2.1% compared to the first quarter one year ago. The number are actually from November through January 2011, but since the state holds back tax receipts for two months, the data is reported as “first quarter.”

Those numbers were cited in a regular Greater Spokane Incorporated email update. The person quoted by GSI on those numbers is Grant Forsyth, an Eastern Washington University economics professor.

Forsyth's take is that the spurt in sales in the traditionally soft first quarter comes from higher gas and fuel costs. It's not something we should celebrate too loudly.

“Until we see a return to regional income growth, taxable sales will be muted,” Forsyth said.

Real income growth is the challenge, as employers and small business operators keep a tight lid on costs. It's way too soon to see a rosy tint on the economic horizon, though some numbers are improving.

GSI's “Business Barometer” also cited comments by state Labor Economist Doug Tweedy, who said “The number of people employed in Spokane County has increased for three straight quarters. Everything is recovering slowly and we are not getting the bounce that usually comes after a recession. But the economy is generating jobs in the private sector, which is a positive for the future.”

Spokane County retail sales fell in 2010; economist sees modest gains in 2011

Spokane County reported total 4th quarter retail sales were up by a tiny 0.66 percent, compared with the year before.

That's the first fourth-quarter retail sales gain since 2008.

For the full 2010 year, Spokane County retail sales fell  2 percent. Avista Economist Randy Barcus said that's fairly impressive, since the previous year, 2009, was 10 percent off the year before.

“I expect consumer spending will have modest increases in 2011,”  Barcus predicted in a newsletter from Greater Spokane Inc.

At the same time,  Barcus said rising gas prices may pull consumer spending down somewhat.


Mayor Verner’s seven 2011 resolutions: Be more business-focused

Mayors 2011 State of the City AddressSpokane Mayor Mary Verner is looking to burnish her relations with the city's business community.
Last week her honor released a list of “Seven in Eleven” action steps the city intends to follow this year.

Those came from a survey sent to city businesses, followed by comments from city staff and Greater Spokane Incorporated.

One goal, simplifying a complex administrative process when a business changes its “use,”  was described in a recent SR story by Jon Brunt.

We spoke with city Economic Development Specialist Andrew Worlock and got some insight into the why and how of the whole effort.

The main point, he noted, is that much of this is “inward-facing” work to refine and improve they city's business-related processes.

One example is the No. 1 item on the list of seven: improving a “Surviving Construction” plan to help business owners disrupted by road or street work.

The city needs to do “a better job” of developing a toolkit and an online resource list to help affected businesses push through those disruptions, Worlock said.

One first step, he noted, is a city-sponsored workshop called “Open for Business, Making the Best of Rough Road Construction.”

That free workshop will be March 24 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., at Spokane City Hall. It will be recorded and broadcast over City Cable 5.

We'll do another blog entry and business section story on that business workshop next month.

Other projects on the list of seven are creating a permitting checklist for small businesses and improving online access to business license and permitting information.

A Valentine’s Day date with the tax man

The Washington Department of Revenue will visit with local business owners in Spokane on Monday (yes, Valentine's Day) to get input on how the agency can simplify the tax process for small businesses.

The visit to Greater Spokane Incorporated's offices, 801 W. Riverside, Suite 100, is part of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s executive order last October to make it easier to do business in the state.

This event is free and open to any businesses, not just GSI members. It will be from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Information and registration:

Mayor Verner to deliver State of the City address at GSI breakfast on Friday

This Friday's Good Morning Greater Spokane event features Spokane Mayor Mayor Verner giving an annual state of the city address.

The Greater Spokane Inc. event starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Spokane Convention Center. It is expected to run until 9 a.m.

Tickets are $25 for members and $55 for nonmembers. The rate for members goes up to $30 on Feb. 9.

To order or find more information, here's the link.

GSI launches new site to gather input on key business issues

Greater Spokane Incorporated, the area's main business advocacy group, has launched a satellite website to gather comments and opinions from area constituents.

It's, and it launched in concert with the recent visit by GSI and about 90 business people to  Olympia last week to speak to legislators about Eastern Washington issues.

The goal is to have easier ways for users to submit letters to public officials on key issues. Site users can also use GSI's agenda summaries, legislative data and outlines of relevant public policy topics.

“This site allows our membership and the public to have a strong voice in issues related to them and their business,” said Rich Hadley, President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated. “What goes on in Olympia, and what goes on in D.C. affects every business. Our hope is that this site becomes a valuable resource for everyone.”

GSI hosts session Dec. 14 on health care tax hikes and impacts

Greater Spokane Incorporated on Tuesday (Dec. 14) is offering a seminar on health care reform and its implications for area businesses.

Greg Stewart, CPA and founder of Stewart & Associates PS, will talk about tax impacts, employer penalties, new requirements, differences for non-profit and for-profit, and other topics.

The session will be 8 a.m to 9:30 a.m. at the GSI Building, 801 W. Riverside. To register, go here.

GSI sponsoring a primer on social media

Greater Spokane Incorporated is sponsoring Social Media 101: Engaging Social Media for Beginners and Skeptics.

It runs from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 21 at the GSI office, 801 W. Riverside. Presenters will be Andrei Mylroie and Emily Easley of Desautel Hege Communications. It’s $15 for GSI members, $30 otherwise.

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare …. if those mean nothing to you and you’re looking to broaden your company’s message to potential customers, social media might be an option.

Business website shout-out:

ONE of an ongoing series of posts about useful area business websites.

Spokane and Inland Northwest business leaders and economic development folks are right in boosting the green economy that’s blooming in this area.

You can find a very healthy consortium of industries and researchers tackling clean energy, all the way from Itron Inc., to a number of promising startups.

The website — — is worth looking at to get an overview of efforts among members of that group.

The acronym stands for Consortium of Leading Energy Efficiency Northwest Companies. Area businesses are encouraged to visit the site and add their names to the directory.

We liked the site’s clean organization. The Spokane Web team of developed the site for Greater Spokane Incorporated, which is taking the manager role for SiteCrafting provided the work pro-bono, through a Gear Grant, awarded to nonprofits in town as a way to give back to the community.

2010 Agora Award winners announced

Seven area organizations on Wednesday were given Agora Awards during an annual ceremony hosted by Greater Spokane Incorporated. Winners were:

  • Small Nonprofit: Spokane Humane Society
  • Large Nonprofit: YMCA of the Inland Northwest
  • Large Business: Advantage IQ
  • Small Business: Catered for You
  • Medium Business: Nystrom Olson Collins, Inc. 
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit Award: Stewart and Associates.
  • C. Michael Archer Community Service Award: Moss Adams accounting firm.

The awards recognize  business and community excellence. Independent judges consider company growth, employee environment and other factors. FOR JUDGES’ comments on the winners, go to the next page below:

Agora Award finalists announced

A clinic, a cellar, and a caterer are among the finalists for the 2010 Agora Awards announced today by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

For small non-profits, the finalists are Christ Clinic, Spokane Humane Society, and Tincan.

Among the large non-profits, Catholic Charities of Spokane, The Salvation Army of Spokane, and YMCA of the Inland Northwest are the remaining contestants.

Caffe Paradiso, Catered for You Inc., Design Source Inc. and Stewart & Associates PS are the finalists for the small business award.

In the medium business category, the finalists are Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, Coffman Engineers Inc., DeVries Business Services and Nystrom Olson Collins Inc.

And the large business group contains Advantage IQ Inc., CH2M Hill Inc., Inland Empire Distribution Systems Inc., and Moss Adams LLP.

The winners will be announced at a June 2 breakfast. 

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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