Yakima County Development Association - Building Our Next Generation Economy

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 

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Building Our Next Generation Economy

Building Our Next Generation Economy

March 21, 2014

2013 Annual Report - Board Chair's Message

alt textOur association had an excellent year as we worked to grow our local economy and set the stage for future prosperity.  We implemented several initiatives to build local business, put energy towards recruiting new industry, and completed plans that will guide our efforts for years to come.   

New Vision was pleased to help GE Aviation and Cubcrafters complete customized workforce training projects.  Each company was able to enhance employee skills as a result of state funding we helped secure to implement tailored training at their facilities.

We also ran two successful supervisory training courses.  Over 40 employees from 13 local firms took part in our signature workforce training series.  Whether it is a supervisor refreshing their expertise or a new manager learning the ropes we are pleased to help local companies enhance skills for their key employees.

As the year progressed it was rewarding to see companies we have helped like Amtech, and Arvato Digital Services continue to grow.  These companies added over 200 jobs last year and they were joined by Costco (call center), Balebreaker Brewing Company and many others that also added to local payrolls. 

New Vision continued to market our region as a business location.  Through prospecting trips, investments in our websites, and other sales activities we were able to connect with over a dozen companies interested in our Valley.  We hosted six of these on site visits and at least a couple of these businesses are still very interested in our area. 

Our association also became a prime advocate for STEM education and raising educational attainment throughout the region.  We worked to craft a regional STEM plan with Educational Service District 105 and subsequently worked with Yakima Valley Technical Skills Center students to produce career orientation videos featuring Shields Bag and Printing and GE Aviation.  Building a talent pipeline for the future is one of the best investments we can make in our economic future.

We also reached out to our neighbors in Kittitas County and developed a new economic development plan that identifies how we can work on a broader geographic level to advance our regional economy.  By looking for partnerships beyond our borders we have discovered synergies that can leverage our work and vision. 

For most of the year my colleagues and I on the New Vision Board worked to prepare for our seventh fundraising campaign.  We ultimately adopted a thoughtful new plan to guide our association over the next five years.  This new initiative coupled with strong results over the past few years helped us raise over $1 million last year towards our campaign goal of $1.9 million.

It was a pleasure to serve as New Vision’s Board chair.  We have a fantastic group of people involved in the association who are committed to our Valley’s success.  We also enjoy a capable staff team who shares our passion to make a difference.  Thanks go out to all our investors and stakeholders as well.  Your support energizes us all and gives us faith that our efforts are on track and producing a great return on investment for the Yakima Valley. 

To read the rest of our 2013 Annual report, click here


Board Chairman Brad McDowell


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"If you want to move it, store it or source it - Yakima's central location can't be beat in the Pacific Northwest." - Ken Marble, President, Horizon Distribution