OTHELLO, Wash., May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In the competitive world of business recruitment, communities usually compete against each other to recruit new companies. Four economic development groups are taking a different approach by working together to collectively market a five-county region of Washington State.
Eastern Washington Economic Development Alliance members believe business and industry will find the region appealing. They also agree marketing the merits of the region provides companies with choices, a broader selection of land sites and cities that offer a variety of attributes.
The team formed in the fall of 2015 and consists of Adams County Development Council, Grant County Economic Development Council, Port of Pasco and Yakima County Development Association (New Vision).
Each agency is actively following economic development strategic plans in their respective counties. Much of their work is close to home, assisting existing businesses, lending critical support to startups and entrepreneurs or tackling workforce-training challenges.
Business and industry recruitment is just one facet of a comprehensive economic development effort. It's often the most expensive, long-term exercise.
"Our main goals are to increase jobs and tax base in our communities," said Gary Ballew, director of economic development and marketing for the Port of Pasco. "This means growing companies that are already here, but we also try to bring in new companies. These new companies not only bring in new investments, they provide different job opportunities."
Alliance members represent diverse counties with one major common denominator — the region is an agriculture mecca. Grant and Yakima Counties lead the state in the value of production for both crop and animal agriculture. The result? A wealth of food processing in multiple clusters throughout the five county region.
Manufacturing, technology, aerospace, distribution and logistics and research and development already have a strong and growing presence in the region.
"A cornerstone of our strategy is to improve the economic climate of the region to make it a top of mind location for food processing, manufacturing, and high tech production and employment," said Jonathan Smith, President of Yakima County Development Association.
Emily Braunwart, business recruitment manager for Grant County Economic Development Council, believes the Alliance better serves the companies considering the region.
"When a business wants to locate in an area, they don't look at a map and see boundary lines. These companies are going to be looking at a larger area that will fit all their needs," she said.
When company leaders meet with economic developers, they're looking for specific nuances that set a specific location or region apart from all the other sites the company is considering.
"By marketing together we can increase interest in our region by offering more opportunities for a company to land. I use a peanut butter analogy," Ballew explained. "How much would you like to shop at a store that sells only one brand of peanut butter? Maybe a lot if that's your brand but what if it isn't?"
To accomplish business recruitment, the Alliance has identified trade shows and industry specific expositions to attend.
"In terms of shear numbers, the Alliance has made direct contact with more than 70 companies since launching the collective effort," explained Stephen McFadden, Adams County Economic Development Director.
For Adams County, with a brand new business recruitment effort, the Alliance offers critical support.
"This focused, targeted business recruitment effort is a vital new venture for Adams County. As we implement the county's economic development efforts, we benefit greatly from the Alliance," McFadden said. "The collective experience of the members creates a dynamic sales team capable of promoting the Eastern Washington region."
Braunwart sees value in the Alliance effort, even when Grant County is unable to take part in a specific recruitment effort.
"This is such a huge perk of our Alliance," Braunwart said. "This year, the GCEDC, was short staffed. Because of this, we were not able to make it to all the shows we would have liked to. But since we have the Alliance, we have been able to sleep easy knowing that our partners are still getting our story out there."
The Alliance, via targeted outreach, effectively combats a common myth.
"While Seattle gets a lot of attention, you will find bright, hard-working people throughout the state and definitely here in Eastern Washington," Ballew said.
Gaining an audience with more companies, improves the odds. The Alliance members can triple the amount of outreach achieved in a given year. For each member, the ultimate goal is to land a brand new employer.
"These efforts make sure we communicate the benefits of the region and it allows us to have more conversations than any of us could individually," Smith concluded.
For additional information, contact Stephen McFadden through email or 509-331-2025.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eastern-washington-economic-development-alliance-brings-five-county-region-together-for-business-recruitment-300264919.html
SOURCE Adams County Development Council