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Sean Connell: Hiker, Japanese Speaker, and Director of Business Recruitment and Global Competetiveness

What is your favorite thing to do or eat?

As an avid hiker, getting in an extended hike to some of the greatest vistas around —such as Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm, and others in the North Cascades—then dropping by one or more of Skagit County’s microbreweries afterwards.


What can you suggest for someone new or familiar to Skagit County to try?

Take a full day, and ideally more, to drive from Deception Pass in the west to Rainy Pass in the east, in order to take in the incredibly diverse environments and beauty of the county.


What were you doing before you started working for EDASC?

Most recently, I served as Snohomish County’s director of trade and economic development. Prior to that, I worked for many years in Washington, DC and overseas on projects related to U.S. economic and trade relations with Asia, particularly Japan and South Korea.

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Port of Skagit and EDASC Promote Broadband Access Measure

Championing countywide access to fiber is a leading priority for EDASC and part of its 2017-2018 business plan. On January 17, Sean Connell, Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness at EDASC, and Sara Young, Director of Planning and Facilities at the Port of Skagit testified before the Washington State Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee in support of Senate Bill 6426. This bill will allow more port districts the ability, which the Port of Skagit currently has, to construct dark fiber networks for expanded fiber access in rural areas. 

Read more on our website

The birds have taken off

EDASC has worked with many community partners to organize the Birds of Winter campaign into a county-wide and seasonal movement that is attracting the attention of local businesses, farmers, and birders, while highlighting the beauty of our region and bringing attention to migratory birds and their role in our agriculture and outdoor recreation industry.

As a major partner since ideation, we helped the Birds of Winter team explore options on how to communicate the campaign's benefits to local residents and how to communicate proper birding etiquette - and respect for residents - to tourists.  

So far we are seeing positive, increased media exposure to Skagit County and local businesses:

Skagit officials hope birds will help economy take flight - King 5 News

New festival to promote Skagit Valley birds and businesses - Skagit Valley Herald

Birds of Winter settling in as new Skagit Valley experience - La Conner Weekly News

This campaign has spurred an overwhelming response from many organizations to take part by creating bird-themed events:

Jan 20 - Junior Duck Stamp Bird Observation & Art Workshop

Jan 20 - Savvy Seals and Sea Lions of the Northern Hemisphere

Jan 27 - Swans in the Skagit Valley with Martha Jordan

Jan 27 - Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls

Jan 27-28 - Strictly for the Birds: The La Conner Birding Showing

Feb 3 - Introduction to the Hawks of Skagit

Feb 3 - Bald Eagles Talk at Rockport State Park

Feb 3 - Flight of Fancy Exhibition Reception (Edison)

Feb 10 - Birds of Winter Art Walk (Mount Vernon)

Feb 11 - The Messenger at Lincoln Theatre

Feb 16 - Why So Many Hummingbirds? (Anacortes)

Feb 16 - Upland to Bay to Skagit Flats: Winer Birds with Libby Mills (Padilla Bay)

Feb 17 - Skagit Audubon Winter Birding Cruise

Feb 17 - Winter Visitors: Birding the Greater Skagit Delta (North Cascades Institute)

March 8 - Winter Birds of the Salish Sea

January 2018

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EDASC Events & Workshops

Feb 7 - Workforce Development Monthly Workshop: Employer Law Update
Feb 8 - Economic Forecast Night 2018
Feb 12 - Learning@Lunch: The Experience Economy
Feb 15 - Ideas@Work: Business Transitions
Feb 15 - NextTech Tech Talk Monthly Meetup: Open Source Projects
Feb 28 - Contracting and Marketing Government Essentials
Mar 7 - Workforce Development Monthly Workshop: Managing a Diverse Workforce Part 1: Self Examination 
Mar 22 - Ideas@Work: Cash Reigns Supreme with the National Development Council
Apr 4 - Workforce Development Monthly Workshop: Managing a Diverse Workforce Part 2: Organizational Examination

Community Announcements

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Feb 8 - State of the City - Anacortes Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon

Feb 8 - Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition | Homeland Security Innovation Summit(Seattle) 

Feb 13 - Protecting Ideas and Intellectual Property in the Global Market (Seattle)

Feb 14 - Knowledge NOW - So Over Branding. Not! @ Mount Vernon Chamber

Feb 16 - Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce Industry Tours - Sierra Pacific Industries

March 26-28 - Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit(Seattle): Export Vouchers Available

March 31 - Skagit Farm to Pint FEST tickets are on sale now!

April 7 - Spring Wine Festival in Anacortes

April 21-22 - Free Anacortes Earth Day Celebration - FutureFest 

April 23-27 - Hannover MesseIndustry 4.0 Showcase in Germany.

May 17-20 - Anacortes Boat and Yacht Show

Skagit County in the News

WSU's Bread Lab has received a $1.5 million endowment from Clif Bar and King Arthur Flour.

Construction has helped to boost employment in Skagit County last year, contributing 400 jobs out of the 1000 added over the year.

The Port of Anacortes approved the first stretch of funding needed to replace decaying fenders at Curtis Wharf.

Guemes Island may be getting an electric or hybrid ferry - a first in the nation - as soon as the county secures funding for it.

Talks over banning Atlantic salmon farms at the state level continue, as well as talks over the responsibility the aquaculturist should bear after state's investigation led to a $332,000 fine.

Residents of certain Anacortes neighborhoods could buy internet access from the city or its partner as soon as this summer.

Dunlap Towing adds a new member to its fleet, the "Sigrid Dunlap". This modern addition should be safer for workers and more environmentally friendly.

Do you have an idea for how to reduce fishing bycatch? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it is providing about $2.4 million for relevant projects.

Skagit County Economic & Employment Data Update

According to the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD), Skagit County’s unemployment rate was 5.8% in December 2017 (not seasonally adjusted).  This is an increase from the unemployment rate of 4.8% in November 2017, and a decrease of .9% from December 2016 unemployment levels. Skagit County’s unemployment remains slightly higher than the state unemployment rate of 4.5% (seasonally adjusted) and national rate of 4.1% (seasonally adjusted) in December 2017. 

Skagit County’s civilian labor force totaled 59,715 in December 2017, which was an decrease of 1.85% year on year. Of this total, non-farm employment totaled 56,270 (not seasonally adjusted), a slight increase from the previous month, and an increase of 1611 workers on a year on year basis. 

More detailed information on current employment in Skagit County is available through ESD, the Northwest Workforce Council, and EDASC's website.
Copyright © 2018 Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County, All rights reserved.

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