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.
Our association is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. New Vision, the Yakima County Development Association, was incorporated in late January 1985. At that time New Vision was the bright hope of many community boosters who wanted to see our Valley grow and prosper. Local leaders like Mel Wagner, Warren (Dean) Starr, Dick Smith, Gary Webster, Mel Lewis and Bud Snyder worked together to spin a new organization off of the Yakima Chamber of Commerce. The new association would be Countywide and work to diversify the local economy.
The new organization was launched after approximately 90 community leaders met at the old Holiday Inn to discuss community issues and the prospect of creating New Vision. With 89 out of 90 leaders supporting the cause, our founders then raised $1 million during our first capital campaign. Al Pruett was selected as the association's first Board Chairman and Tim McGree was hired as YCDA's first executive director in 1986.
At first the association put most of its emphasis on marketing and business recruitment. Early leaders envisioned New Vision recruiting a Boeing or Hewlitt Packard to town. As time went by the organization learned that helping local business expand and addressing community issues are important elements of a successful economic development initiative.
Since the organization's inception New Vision has provided material assistance to over 40 expanding businesses. These firms:
Companies benefiting from New Vision's assistance produce a $532 million economic impact each year. This translates into $64 of economic output generated for every dollar invested in New Vision's activities. We are very pleased with this payback and thank everyone that helps contribute towards New Vision's success. Economic development is a team sport and our accomplishments are the result of concerted efforts.