March 2018

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EDASC Brings CEO of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority to Present on Benefits of a Tourism Promotion Area

John Sternlicht, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), and Katherine Kertzman, CEO of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, presented to an audience of Skagit County Commissioners, mayors, city councilmembers, hoteliers, chambers of commerce, and business leaders on March 15. The presentation and discussion were held at the Skagit County Commissioners’ meeting room in Mount Vernon, sponsored by EDASC, to provide a forum for information on best practices and discussion regarding the establishment of a Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) for Skagit County.

Read more about Katherine's presentation here.

Skagit County Businesses, EDASC Participate in Industry Trade Shows

Skagit County was well represented at several leading international industry and trade shows during the month of March, including the JEC World Composites Show in Paris from March 6-8; the GLOBE Summit in Vancouver, Canada from March 14-16; and the Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit (ADSS) in Seattle from March 26-28.

Read more about how EDASC and local businesses are putting Skagit County on the map!

EDASC will continue follow up activities from these trade shows, and plans to participate in several more in the coming months.  For more information, contact Sean Connell, EDASC Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, at

CEO Corner: NW Washington Promise

It’s a place-holder name, maybe, but we will need something to identify our developing four-county foray into business attraction, covering Skagit, Whatcom, Island, and San Juan Counties. In some ways, this is nothing new – the four counties have cooperated loosely before, and in our new efforts to market Skagit County we have been advertising the advantages of our neighbors too. Now, however, the Northwest Ports have gotten involved to promote a regional effort, and the four counties and the Ports of Anacortes, Skagit, and Bellingham are exploring ways to share costs and leverage one another’s efforts for greater effectiveness in marketing.

Particularly in light of the efforts to regionalize economic development in the Seattle MSA (from Tacoma to Everett), the northwest counties of Washington on the north Puget Sound should be an identifiable region inviting to business locations and expansions, tourists, and those seeking quality products and services, whether manufacturing, agricultural, or professional. Even without pressure from the south, however, a transparent and practical approach to regionalism can save money and increase reach especially for less populous counties. Together, we can pool resources (human and capital) to acquire data, research and leads relevant to business recruitment, and travel in smaller groups to trade shows and events to promote the region collectively.

Together with our good neighbors in Island, San Juan, and Whatcom counties, our region presents a diverse economic and physical landscape of industry, tourism, technology, defense, natural resources, and agriculture to attract the right companies to our region. We cannot miss this opportunity, and are already exploring how we in Skagit can help meet our region’s needs collectively while addressing the individual goals of each county, city and town involved. As always, your thoughts are appreciated!

John Sternlicht

Local Businesses Recognized by Northwest Clean Air Agency

Several Skagit County businesses and EDASC Investors have complied with - and exceeded - the  Northwest Clean Air Agency's clean air requirements, earning themselves a Gold award. Congratulations!
  • Chemtrade Sulex Inc.
  • Dally's Auto Body
  • North Hill Resources
  • Sugiyo USA Inc.

The agency has awarded its top recognition, the Platinum award, to Hexcel in recognition of  their outstanding efforts to reduce their Skagit facility's air emissions and energy use. Hexcel makes lightweight materials at its plant at the Port of Skagit for the commercial aerospace industry.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency is responsible for enforcing federal, state and local air quality regulations in Island, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. More information about the awards to local businesses can be found on their website.

Changes in Regulations and Tariffs: EDASC Wants to Know How You Are Affected

With the recent announcements from the White House on steel and aluminum tariffs, and the Section 301 action related to U.S. trade with China, EDASC would like to hear from any Skagit County businesses that may be experiencing direct or indirect impacts.  If your business would like to share this information, please contact Sean Connell, EDASC Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, at
Along with the new threat of tariffs, businesses small and large are affected by regulations of all makings.  EDASC is interested in learning more about how local businesses and the economy are affected by current and proposed regulations. The information your business provides will help us in our efforts to understand and address challenges to the business environment in Skagit County. The survey can be found here. EDASC invites any business, investor or not, to share their experiences!
Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is conducting a survey of small businesses on regulatory burdens and impacts.Please click here to take part in this survey.

Spotlight on Skagit: More Exhibitors,
More Speakers, More Attendees!

Over 70 exhibitors have reserved spaces for the annual Spotlight on Skagit (formerly Schmooze Fair), northwest Washington’s premier business-to-business trade show! It is the place to be if you are looking to cultivate existing business relationships, engage prospective new clients, and learn about the diverse industries, businesses, and non-profits that contribute to Skagit County’s and the region's economy.

New to Spotlight on Skagit in 2018, the Innovation Speakers’ Forum highlights local businesses with exciting innovations and projects that are changing the world and the way we do business. Our speakers include:

  • Adam Foy, Vice President of Business Development, Skagit Valley Malting
  • Jorge Lozada, Senior Project Engineer, PACCAR Technical Center
  • Sara VanTassel, President, Janicki Bioenergy
  • Andries Breedt, Owner & Chief Engineer, Breedt Production Tooling and Design
And did we mention some fantastic door prizes and raffle drawings? Be sure to bring a stack of business cards to participate!

Online sales close April 18. Tickets will be available at the door or now on our website.

Thank you to our Title Sponsors, Interpreting Technology and Swinomish Casino and Lodge for your ongoing support of EDASC and Skagit County's business community.

Workshop Highlights Strategies for Marketing to Latinos

EDASC, the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC), Skagit Valley College, and EDASC Foundation’s Leadership Skagit Program hosted a Symposium on the Secrets of Marketing to Latinos on April 3.  NABC Executive Director, David Bauermeister, EDASC CEO, John Sternlicht, and Director of Leadership Skagit, Kathryn Bennett provided opening remarks and then turned the program over to the facilitator, Dr. Diana Morelli, EDASC's Director of Latino Business Retention and Expansion. Presenters from various industries, focused on specific, experiential examples of how to develop trust and establish Latino loyalty; the most effective channels to reach Latinos in Skagit County; understanding the cultural values that most affect the buying habits of Latinos; and how and why Latinos select specific products and services.

Learn more about the symposium here!

Governor Inslee Signs Broadband Bill

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation extending existing telecommunications authority to all ports in Washington. Port of Skagit Commissioner Steve Omdal and Community Outreach Administrator Andrew Entrikin joined Gov. Inslee to celebrate the signing of Substitute House Bill No. 2664.

The bill Inslee signed will facilitate public-private partnerships in wholesale telecommunications services and infrastructure. The Port’s existing fiber infrastructure serves 48 businesses with 7 internet service providers.

During the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, EDASC's John Sternlicht and Sean Connell both testified together with the Port of Skagit on behalf of this bill.

Speaking their Minds: Conversations about Advancing Leadership and
Economic Opportunity for all Women and Girls

With over a hundred people in attendance, Skagit County women leaders held a wide-ranging conversation on key issues facing women and girls at a March 28th panel event held at McIntyre Hall.

The speakers, Laura Cailloux, Vice President, Skagit Valley College; Shirley Yap, General Manager, Shell Puget Sound Refinery; Laurie Gere, Mayor, City of Anacortes and Erin Long, President, Soroptimist International of Burlington shared the personal and professional challenges they encountered while achieving their goals in education, business, industry and public office.

In organizing the panel event, Leadership Skagit, a program of the EDASC Foundation, continued its three-year grantee relationship with the Women’s Funding Alliance. The WFA works state-wide to provide opportunities for women and girls to expand their leadership skills and contribute more fully to their communities.

Read more about the event here.

Viva Farms Supports Farmers Through Its Summer CSA

Want to support the next generation of Skagit Valley Farmers?

Join Viva Farms 2018 Summer CSA to enjoy weekly delivery of fresh, certified organic produce grown by Viva farmers. Pick up Wednesdays from June 13 to September 12 at various Skagit locations. Small and Large shares available depending on your household size.

Sign up TODAY at:

Questions? Call Anna Chotzen at (360) 969-7191 x 3 or email:

Looking for a volunteer opportunity for Earth Day?

Join Viva Farms on Earth Day for a day of planting, weeding, beautifying, and celebrating an organization that prioritizes sustainability on this lovely planet!

Snack, tools, and gloves will be provided. Dress for the weather! Scheduled for rain or shine. 

When: Sunday, April 22nd from 11am – 3pm 

Where: Viva Farms
Located on the corner of Higgins Airport Way & Ovenell Rd. Mount Vernon, WA 98237 

For more information, contact Angela Sullivan at or (360) 969 – 7179 x807

Skagit County Economic & Employment Data Update

According to the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD), Skagit County’s unemployment rate was 6.3% in February 2018 (not seasonally adjusted).  This is an increase from the unemployment rate of 6.1% in January 2018, and a decrease of .2% from February 2018 unemployment levels. Skagit County’s unemployment remains higher than the state unemployment rate of 4.7% (seasonally adjusted) and national rate of 4.1% (seasonally adjusted) in February 2018. 

Skagit County’s civilian labor force totaled 58,375 in February 2018, which was a decrease of 0.65% year on year. Of this total, non-farm employment totaled 54,697 (not seasonally adjusted), a slight decrease from the previous month and an increase of 215 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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