Yakima County Development Association - Moving Our Valley in New Directions

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. 



Moving Our Valley in New Directions

March 01, 2011

New Vision made tangible strides in 2010 as we worked to strengthen our regional economy and position the Yakima Valley for economic success.  Our organization pursued business development opportunities and advanced exciting new initiatives that are producing big dividends.

David Miller and Mike Sheperd - 2010 New Vision Chairmen

Business development activities continued to feel the impacts of a tough international economy.  Inquiries from expanding businesses dropped significantly compared to the volume of prospect leads the New Vision office received in 2007 and 2008.  Visits from companies considering the region were also down substantially.

As a result of this challenging economic environment, our office put more emphasis on marketing the region.  We took prospecting trips to Los Angeles and Vancouver B.C. Plus we traveled twice to meet with real estate executives who represent large corporations when they are locating new facilities.  These trips along with other ongoing marketing activities helped us tout the region and put ourselves on the radar screen with expanding businesses and their key advisers.

Our efforts to support Yakima Valley businesses took an exciting turn as we focused on helping entrepreneurs.  New Vision€™s inaugural business plan competition, the Enterprise Challenge, helped us identify and assist over a dozen emerging businesses. It was thrilling to see companies like Tieton Farm and Creamery and ATP Wind Turbines mature as the contest unfolded.  We are confident that many of our contestants will succeed and along the way they will generate jobs and economic benefits for our communities.

We also mounted efforts to help local employers attract technical and professional employees to the Yakima Valley.  Our office offered training to over 60 local residents so they could serve as ambassadors when new people move into our region.  We also hosted receptions for new executives and professionals where they could learn about the Valley and meet local leaders.  And finally our lifestyle website, www.liveyakimavalley.com, continued to get better with outstanding pictures and scenic images secured through a photo contest we organized.

New Vision celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary this year.  As we reminisce about our association€™s activities and results we are especially proud of the teamwork borne from our efforts.  Hundreds of community leaders from all parts of the Valley have impacted our business development projects and helped bring them to fruition.  We discovered long ago that our people are the secret ingredient behind our successes.

Thanks to your ongoing interest and support, we are excited about the region€™s economic future.  We have weathered the current recession relatively well and your New Vision team is confident we can spur even greater economic improvement in the years ahead.

To download New Vision's 2010 annual report, click here


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"Doing business with the city of Yakima...they make things very easy. " - Pat Shields, Co-President, Shields Bag & Printing