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Numerica is among the 2014 Agora Award winners announced by GSI

Five Spokane companies and two nonprofit organizations were winners Wednesday of the 2014 Agora Awards, chosen by a panel to recognize business excellence.

 They were:

  • U-District Physical Therapy (small business)
  • Asuris Northwest Health (medium business)
  • Numerica Credit Union (large business)
  • Blessings Under the Bridge (small nonprofit)
  • Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations (large nonprofit)
  • Quality Inn Downtown (community service award)
  • Lee & Hayes (entrepreneurial spirit)

 The awards were presented Wednesday by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

GSI sponsoring Thursday morning health care act overview for area employers

Greater Spokane Incorporated is hosting a health care symposium Thursday morning, starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Davenport Hotel. It's scheduled to end at 9:30 a.m.

The panel will present health and insurance professionals discussing the Affordable Care Act and what employers and individuals should know. Online registration is closed.  Registration will be available at the door.

For more details, check out the GSI link here.  Cost is $25 for GSI members, $30 otherwise.

The agenda online listed these presenters:

  • Compliance: what businesses need to know, do, how and when, and how's the rest of the country doing? With Heidi Alessi, Partner, K&L Gates/Seattle.
  • Washington's Health Benefit Exchange - updates for employers and how it aligns with the ACA. With Nelly Kinsella, Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
  • Dental care and the A.C.A - in or out and for whom?  With Sean Pickard, director of government affairs, Delta Dental of Washington.
  • The big picture from provider and insurance perspectives. With Kelly Stanford, Vice President, Spokane Development for Group Health.



Sunday Spin: Spokane delegation makes its annual trek west

OLYMPIA – A delegation of more than 80 Spokane-area folks arrived here last week with their annual “agenda” – some might call it a wish list – of things the Legislature could do to make life better for the state in general and the center of the Inland Empire in particular.

This annual trek to the capital sponsored by Greater Spokane, Inc., herds well-briefed leaders of business, political, education and civic groups through the marbled rooms and committee rooms and is the envy of many other cities and counties around Washington. It has prompted the sincerest form of flattery, imitation, from other communities but many legislators still say Spokane’s full-court press lobbying remains the best.

At least that’s what some tell members of the Spokane throng. Others offer recollections of their last visit to the city or Spokane Valley, or some other anecdote to show they are all paisans. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Prospects poor for highway package, GSI group told

OLYMPIA – Don't get your hopes up for new money to finish the North-South Freeway, a group of business, civic and political leaders from Spokane was told Wednesday.

The chances the Legislature will pass a package of big road projects paid by a gasoline tax are almost non-existent.

Some legislators blamed politics or the lack of support among Republican legislators from the Spokane area. Others blamed problems at the state Transportation Department. Some said a package can't make it out of the Legislature during the current abbreviated session. Others said any package that did would surely wind up on the ballot, where voters would reject it.

Together, they painted a bleak outlook for one of the top items – and by far the most expensive – on the Greater Spokane Inc. 2014 agenda as more than 80 local leaders arrived in Olympia for their annual three-day lobbying session. .  .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog. 

STCU, six other area firms win Agora Awards for business excellence

Seven Spokane area businesses or nonprofits won Agora awards Wednesday, an annual excellence in business designation presented by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

They winners and categories were:

  •  Two Wheel Transit (small business)
  •  Arbor Crest Wine Cellars (medium business)
  •  STCU (large business)
  •  Spokane H.O.P.E. School (small nonprofit);  
  •  Christ Clinic/Christ Kitchen (large nonprofit)
  •  Rosauers (community service award)
  •  VEBA Service Group LLC (entrepreneurial spirit award)

WA Lege Day 11: Spokane folks making the rounds

OLYMPIA — More than 80 people from the Spokane area — business leaders, public officials, health care professionals — are getting face time with state officials today.

It's part of the Greater Spokane Inc. annual “flyover”, a lobbying blitz for local issues. In some recent years, they've been looking for support on big projects, like the new med school at Riverpoint. This year, there's no huge “get”, although they do need about $5 million in operating funds for the new school.

They're getting briefings on health care reform, transportation projects and education. This afternoon they meet with what's being called the “six corners” — Gov. Jay Inslee, a leader from House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom.

In the days before the Senate was run by a coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, a standard leadership meeting was known as five corners. In other words, leadership in Olympia is now a hexagon, rather than a pentagon.

Inslee has a press conference at 11:30 a.m., which will be carried live on TVW. Republican leaders and Tom have a press conference at 12:30 p.m., at which they will likely be asked to respond to things Inslee says.

The Spokane delegation caps off their day with an evening reception at the Governor's Mansion, and apparently with nightcaps at their hotel, if yesterday's Q and A session with Inslee's policy director Ted Sturdevant is any indication.

There's also a full day of committee hearings, covering everything from wholesale liquor sales to subversive activities to ballot design. A complete list of  hearings is inside the blog. 

GSI’s Thursday session explains some impacts of new health care law

Greater Spokane Inc. has scheduled a “Calculating New Health Care Costs” session for area groups or businesses, starting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. It's at the GSI offices at 801 W. Riverside.

Mark Patrick, a partner at Spokane's Moloney+O'Neill, will discouss how the new laws will affect company heath care costs. The GSI press release also says: “This is vital information for nonprofits, for-profits, HR reps, business owners and others.”

The program starts at 8 and runs to 9:30 a.m. Cost is $20 for GSI members, $35 for others.

Register here.

Sunday Spin: Gov campaign heads for Spokane

Spokane will be in the political limelight Tuesday as Washington’s first gubernatorial debate of the season takes the stage at the Bing Crosby Theater.

The Association of Washington Business and Greater Spokane Incorporated are co-hosting the premier head-to-head between Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee at 3:30 p.m., the second debate on a two-event card. Two guys who want McKenna’s current job of state attorney general, Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson, are the warm-up debate at 2 p.m.

Usually the AWB waits until the field is winnowed to two by the primary, but this year they wanted a draw for their quarterly meeting in Spokane. Of the seven other gubernatorial hopefuls, the only person who has a semi-legitimate complaint of being shut out is Shahram Hadian, a Republican from Mill Creek who has a full-fledged if underfunded campaign but the misfortune not to be the person his party thinks can put them back in the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1984.

The two business groups have given away all their tickets for the debates, but the four campaigns each got 100 tickets and might have some left, AWB spokeswoman Jocelyn McCabe said.

The Inslee campaign scheduled a debate watch party at the Saranac Public House, 21 W. Main Ave., and Republicans will likely have one, too, although at press time they hadn’t picked a venue. Check with them early this week at (509) 838-6162.

Or watch from home or other favorite location on TVW, which will carry both forums live, with several political reporters offering insightful comments before and after the debates – and me trying not to say anything too embarrassing.

The debate has been an ongoing source of political fodder for months. .  .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog

Shaun Higgins to provide GSI members with economic overview on Friday

Longtime Spokane economic “handicapper” Shaun O'L Higgins gets on stage tomorrow, May 11, for another in his annual forecasts for the region.

Higgins, formerly marketing and circulation manager for The Spokesman-Review (now retired), will go over the upticks, downsides and unlikely indicators that provide guidance on how the economy is doing.

The presentation is sponsored and presented by Greater Spokane Inc. and starts at 7:30 at the Marie Antoinette Room of the Davenport Hotel.
Prices, if you haven't registered yet: $30 for GSI members; $55 for others.
To register, go here.

GSI topic: Spokane’s role in aerospace industry

Spokane's role in building the regional aerospace industry will be discussed Wednesday morning at an event sponsored by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

Members of the Washington Aerospace Partnership and the Spokane Aerospace Initiative for Recruitment Team also will present information from the recent Washington State Competitiveness Report.

It begins at 10:30 a.m. at Greater Spokane Incorporated, 801 West Riverside Ave., Suite 100.

GSI site gives voters a way to contact legislators, voice support for the MAC

State voters and taxpayers who want Washington's legislators to keep funding the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) can find a quick link to an online letter form at the Greater Spokane Incorporated's YourPolicyVoice.org.

The letter is a quick form that allows people to support the MAC, which faces possible closure due to major cuts proposed by the governor's 2011-2013 biennial budget. The message there will be forwarded to legislators based on selections the letter-writer chooses in the online form.

The MAC is dependent on state funding, plus grants, private support, memberships and exhibit sponsors.

The museum houses the Inland Northwest’s largest art and history collections, exhibitions, and historical records. 

GSI's Yourpolicyvoice.org site gives citizens quick ways to contact elected officials on important policy decisions.