Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Receives $500,000 Grant to Build a Bioscience Cluster in the Spokane Region
This is a press release from Greater Spokane Inc., released on March 14, 2022.
(SPOKANE, Wash.) – The Washington State Department of Commerce has awarded a $500,000 Innovation Cluster Accelerator grant to Evergreen Bioscience Innovation (Evergreen Bio) to build a bioscience innovation cluster in the Spokane region. The successful team is led by Greater Spokane Inc. in partnership with SP3NW. Washington’s Innovation Cluster Accelerator is one portion of work supported by a $15 million CARES Act Investment by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
The grant dollars will grow an industry-led business development organization and drive initiatives to build a world-class health and life science contract service industry in the region. Evergreen Bio’s mission is to make the Mountain Northwest and Washington State a magnet for companies providing and consuming expert life and health science contract research, development, and manufacturing services. They will do this by promoting industry “co-opetition,” prioritizing projects to address industry needs, and acquiring, developing, and retaining top talent.
Multiple organizations and key champions have been instrumental in the success of this award, including SP3NW, Katrina Rogers Consulting, Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County, Clear Solutions Biomedical, VectorPoint Ventures, Johnston Engineering, and Alturas Analytics/Needham Scientific.
“This is a very exciting opportunity that is building on a lot of the community’s great work. Evergreen Bio is what comes next from VISION 2030, the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, SP3NW, and new investments from Jubilant HollisterStier and Selkirk Pharma. Contract services across the region has been identified as a gap and Evergreen Bio can lead the economic advantage of local supply chain sourcing for pharmaceutical and medical device contract services companies. We will have the opportunity to catapult our community into one of the leaders in life science services,” said Stacia Rasmussen, Health & Life Science Business Development Manager of Greater Spokane Inc.
Evergreen Bio is focusing on five key initiatives to promote bioscience innovation including a Thriving Industry, Total Mountain Northwest Supply Chain, Global Entrepreneurship Hub, 21st Century Talent, and a World-Class Cluster. Evergreen Bio will be the home for synergistic regional initiatives across these focus areas.
“Growing life sciences in Spokane requires a strong entrepreneurial community supported by financial opportunities. SP3NW is proud to be a part of the team bringing Evergreen Bio into existence. We already have strong interest from the private sector, entrepreneurs, finance, government, and education from current work with parallel aims of the FIRE grant programs. The grant will give us the ability to grow on this success,” said Michaele Armstrong, Associate Director of SP3NW.
About the Evergreen Bioscience Innovation
Evergreen Bioscience Innovation (Evergreen Bio) is a corporate industry-led, member-based organization that includes partners from the five economic segments of government, capital, academics, entrepreneur, and corporate. The mission of Evergreen Bio is to make the Mountain Northwest and Washington State a magnet for companies providing and consuming expert life and health science contract research, contract development, and contract manufacturing services of medicines and medical devices, by enhancing workforce development and services to pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Evergreen Bio’s purpose is to develop and promote collaborative relationships facilitating regional business growth by prioritizing and assisting in funding projects that increase our collective value as an integrated biosciences supply chain, which will expand name recognition and awareness of contract services provided within our region.
About Greater Spokane Inc.
Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) is the Spokane region’s business development organization. GSI creates the place where organizations come together to advocate for the region, drive strategic economic growth, and champion a talented workforce. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including over 800 private-sector members; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Medical Lake, Millwood, Newport, and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information visit GreaterSpokane.org.
About SP3NW and the FIRE grant programs
SP3NW is an early-stage, life sciences incubator located in the University District of Spokane. In alignment with the land grant mission of WSU, SP3NW supports the bench-to-business and business-to-consumer paradigm. Through the four programs of our EDA-supported Flexible Infrastructure for Resilient Entrepreneurship (FIRE), we help to grow companies with innovative new products across Washington, Idaho, and Montana. For more information visit sp3nw.org.
The Idaho Manufacturing Alliance (IMA) has released their 2021 Manufacturing Economic Impact Report for the State of Idaho.
This is a report of the economic footprint of Idaho’s manufacturing sector for the year 2020. The sponsor is the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance and authored by the Vandal Impact Center. The student authors are Jacob Spence, Christopher Giddings, Josh Gehring, and Keegan Opdahl. The faculty advisor is Steven Peterson, who has conducted over 150 studies on nearly every Idaho industry in his career1. The study was completed in November 2021.
IMA partners with the University of Idaho and Alturas to fulfill a long-time organizational goal of formally highlighting how important manufacturing is to the Idaho economy. IMA’s three main activities are to connect, support and promote manufacturing.
Download full report here.
March 9, 2022 (FAIRFIELD, Wash.)—Inland Northwest Partners (INP) is accepting registrations for their 2022 Spring Webinar. Philadelphia author and urban planner, Jeff Siegler, will be sharing a new approach to help restore people’s relationship to their town and foster a sense of pride in their communities. The webinar, “Civic Apathy and Civic Pride”, is Wednesday, March 23 from 9:00 am-11:00 am. Cost is $20 for INP members and $30 for non-members. Register at www.inwp.org.
“Regardless of a town or city’s size, residents’ apathy can be a challenge. Too often, it is the same people who show up and address their community’s needs”, says INP Executive Director, KayDee Gilkey. “This webinar will provide small, simple steps that can be taken by communities to increase civic pride.”
Jeff Siegler grew up in a struggling rustbelt city and understands the devastating cost of civic apathy. After obtaining his Masters in Urban Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University, Siegler went to work on Main Street, first as a downtown manager and Business Improvement District director, and later as the Ohio Main Street State Coordinator.
Now a consultant, Siegler travels nationally and internationally to assist communities in their efforts to restore civic health. He places the focus on making our towns into places residents can be proud to call home rather than on economic development and tourism. Siegler founded the civic pride consulting firm, Revitalize, or Die and is a co-founding partner of Proud Places. He is currently in the process of writing his first book, titled Your City is Sick.
INP members meet quarterly to share common economic challenges and solutions within the eastern Washington and northern Idaho region. Topics can include technology, financing community initiatives, forging regional partnerships, civic capacity-building, business expansion and retention strategies, and talent attraction. INP often partners with local chambers or state organizations for value-added training.
For more information about INP meetings or becoming a member, visit inwp.org or email [email protected].
Inland Northwest Partners (INP) is a non-profit organization focused on enhancing the long-term vitality of a two-state region through its core offering of educational meetings, programs, and seminars. More than 300 business and community leaders from eastern Washington and northern Idaho are members. INP is also part of a regional collaborative known as the Inland Northwest Economic Alliance (INEA), a consortium of fourteen economic development agencies. To learn more, visit inwp.org.
February 11, 2022 (FAIRFIELD, Wash.)—Inland Northwest Partners (INP) is pleased to announce that a new executive director has been appointed. KayDee Gilkey comes to INP with more than 30 years of service to nonprofit boards on a local, regional, and state level, and is former two-term mayor of the Town of Fairfield, Washington. Gilkey is the economic development organization’s second director and assumed her position earlier this month. She succeeds Sharon Matthews, who held the position for 25 years. Matthews retired at the end of 2021.
Gilkey will concurrently remain as Directory of Industry Relations for the Washington State Beef Commission. She currently serves on the Liberty Community Education Foundation Board of Directors and serves as chapter advisor to WSU’s Alpha-Gamma-Delta chapter.
“We are so pleased to have KayDee joining us at the INP. Her expertise in non-profit leadership coupled with her passion for economic and community vitality is the perfect combination to help our organization succeed and support our mission, notes INP Board Chairman and Avista Regional Business Manager Paul Kimmell.
Inland Northwest Partners originated in 1986 as an in-house Avista economic development program and became an official non-profit corporation in 1996. In 2004, the organization developed the Inland Northwest Economic Alliance to better support community and economic development professionals from across the Inland Northwest. INP members meet quarterly to share common economic challenges and solutions within the eastern Washington and northern Idaho region. Topics include technology, financing community initiatives, forging regional partnerships, civic capacity-building, business expansion and retention strategies, and talent attraction. INP often partners with local chambers or state organizations for value-added training.
“Sharon was the consummate professional leading both organizations effectively for so long. Our Board and the entire region deeply appreciate her efforts and the positive economic impacts she helped foster here,” Kimmell said.
For more information about INP meetings or becoming a member, visit inwp.org or email [email protected].
Inland Northwest Partners (INP) is a non-profit organization focused on enhancing the long-term vitality of a two-state region through its core offering of educational meetings, programs and seminars. More than 300 business and community leaders from eastern Washington and northern Idaho are members. INP is also part of a regional collaborative known as the Inland Northwest Economic Alliance (INEA), a consortium of fourteen economic development agencies. To learn more, visit inwp.org.
Northeast Washington to plan for tourism as state tries to replicate success of other PNW communities
During the pandemic, while some out-of-the-way outdoor recreation areas saw visitation plummet (such as Denali National Park in Alaska), many other parks saw an influx of new and returning visitors anxious to get out of the house.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in northeastern Washington, for example, got 160,585 more visitors than in 2019, with a near record 1.5 million total visitors in 2020, according to parks data that goes back to the 1940s.
With campsites and trails in the area also proving popular, Pend Oreille, Ferry and Stevens counties got a taste of how tourism can benefit surrounding towns.
“We have hundreds of lakes and huge waterways, and we know that those activities are well used,” says Shelly Stevens, who runs regional marketing for the Tri County Economic Development District, which covers all three counties. “One of the results of the pandemic has been this huge influx of people that maybe weren’t outdoor enthusiasts prior.”
However, not every community has been able to manage the flow. Moab, Utah, once a uranium mining community, successfully rebranded in recent decades as a massively popular outdoor destination for hiking and biking. But with nearby Arches National Park so popular that it’s full all the time, vacation rentals driving up the cost of living, and illegal camping and dumping of human waste in the area causing issues, NPR reported this summer that the city is now trying to pump the brakes on tourism.
Luckily, there are ways to plan ahead and design destinations that are welcoming to visitors while limiting their impact. From offering free shuttles to avoid overflow parking on busy roads to designing trail systems that provide great views while discouraging people from trekking through wilderness areas, many communities have designed creative workarounds for the problems that can arise.
Now, Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille will start planning for the future in hopes of avoiding the pitfalls other regions have seen, as the first region in the state to receive a rural tourism support grant from the nonprofit Washington Tourism Alliance.
“The timing of this project is great because we want to get ahead of that increase in tourism to the area,” Stevens says, “so that we don’t turn into a Moab or Jackson Hole or something where all of a sudden the locals can’t afford to live here.”
When Washington became the only state in the country to close its tourism office in 2011 (amid ongoing budget concerns following the recession), the Washington Tourism Alliance stepped in to maintain some of the efforts to attract people to the state. After the state reopened the office a few years ago, the alliance became a contractor for the state, continuing its work to encourage visitors while making sure impacts are managed responsibly.
“We want to not only provide marketing for the state, but also try to build infrastructure and create tourism ecosystems that are not only great for visitors, but also for residents,” says Mike Moe, director of tourism development and strategic partnership for the alliance. “We hired a consultant who helped Oregon put their program together and we’re very excited to pilot this in northeast Washington. We have so many amazing assets up there.”
The three heavily forested counties are sparsely populated: There are only seven people per square mile, and it’s hard to throw a rock and not hit a piece of land owned by a public government agency or tribal government. Stevens County is 62 percent privately owned, Pend Oreille County is 34 percent privately owned, and Ferry County is just 18 percent privately owned, according to GIS data from the Tri County Economic Development District.
“Outdoor recreation is an asset that’s, for the most part, sitting there and is available,” Stevens says. “One of the exciting things about this program is that it’s very much based on public outreach and participation, and people coming to the table and helping decide what they want tourism to look like in a decade.”
Consultant Kristin Dahl, who runs private company Crosscurrent Collective, formerly worked for Travel Oregon, where she created a process for developing tourist destinations and addressing issues in areas that are already visited regularly.
“The Oregon tourism folks have it figured out,” Stevens says. “They have done a fabulous job especially with outdoor rec and mountain biking.”
For example, when communities along the Columbia River Gorge went through the process, they were able to create car-free travel itineraries, launch an express shuttle for visitors, open a new trail segment and park, and more.
Dahl says other communities that went through a similar process developed things like food tours, expanded trail systems, or maps of local points of interest.
“It runs the gamut,” Dahl says. “Sometimes what our communities will do is also look at their heritage, whether that’s Indigenous or industrial heritage, and look at a way to bring that history to the forefront.”
Through a series of workshops, Dahl asks communities what they want to look like in 10 years, with a “steering committee” of local leaders picking the starting points for those conversations.
The public workshops in northeastern Washington could start in March. The region has already established its committee with representatives from the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Spokane Indian Tribe and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, as well as regional business leaders and recreation-oriented experts. As the process wraps up, that group is meant to be the backbone that ensures projects actually come to fruition, Dahl says.
Through the process, community members will also be asked to address any tensions around tourism that already exist or that may come up in the future.
“You can’t stop the flow, unfortunately, but you can manage it and use tools to up-play or downplay when you want visitors to come,” Dahl says. “How do you continue to develop visitation in places that aren’t seeing as much so you can kind of spread the love?”
Stevens says it will be great to get the process going and to continue building the relationships that have already started to take shape in recent years in the region.
“We want to be thoughtful about the growth and what that’s going to look like,” Stevens says. “The most important thing to remember is to make improvements for the people that are already here, and enhance their quality of life, and by virtue of that others will enjoy it, too.” ♦