Yakima County Development Association - Enterprise Corner

Jean Brown

Jean Brown

Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner.  It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.

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Enterprise Corner

Thermoforming Systems, LLC Expands To Meet Growing Market

Thermoforming Systems, LLC Expands To Meet Growing Market - December 13, 2016

Thermoforming Systems, LLC (TSL), established in 2002, is a plastics thermoforming equipment factory located in Union Gap, WA. The company manufactures the machines that are utilized by plastics manufacturers to produce cups, foodservice containers, and a variety of other disposable packaging used by food and beverage companies around the world. The growth in the food packaging industry has increased demand for the machines that TSL builds, and as result the company is currently expanding their ... Read More »


Roundtable Group Tours Toppenish Del Monte Plant

Roundtable Group Tours Toppenish Del Monte Plant - June 19, 2015

Thursday morning our Industry Roundtable enjoyed a tour at the Del Monte facility in Toppenish. The cannery has been a fixture in the area since 1886 for locally grown corn and peas. The industry giant maintains a strong commitment to the community. Its longstanding relationship with growers, suppliers and brand managers is clearly a source of pride for the Del Monte staff. Our visit Thursday showcased the processing of peas, which runs from May to July. Their high volume crop is corn, which ... Read More »


The World (of Exporting) According to Jim Foley

The World (of Exporting) According to Jim Foley - May 05, 2015

The Yakima County Development Association recently hosted an great seminar on developing international markets. Our instructor, Jim Foley, was fantastic. Is it easy to see why some of my peers call Jim Foley one of the best export trainers in the country. He is passionate about helping small business grow and one of the most experienced export coaches around. The day long course acquainted participants with general trade development lessons but it also provided a backdrop where companies ... Read More »


Motivating Employees for Peak Performance

Motivating Employees for Peak Performance - April 28, 2015

Diana Welch owner of Human Resources Management Solutions provides some great tips for motivating employees. She has assisted hundreds of companies with personnel issues, policies and practices. Welch reflected that the biggest step towards effectively managing and motivating employees is to have clear goals. Setting effective company goals is the first step towards getting the team on the same page. This allows supervisors to set specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive... Read More »


Cintas Welcomes Roundtable Group

Cintas Welcomes Roundtable Group - April 21, 2015

Cintas recently welcomed our Roundtable group to show off their Yakima regional headquarters. Cintas completed a $3.5 million dollar renovation at the Yakima facility - it's now the largest automated industrial laundry facility in our region. Yakima's operation supports customers over a whopping 50,000 square mile area including 18 counties in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The logistics and tracking of each piece of laundry is impressive. For example a shirt worn by Jeff from Pasco arrives ... Read More »


Leaders Eat Last:  Simon Sinek On Servant Leadership

Leaders Eat Last: Simon Sinek On Servant Leadership - March 27, 2015

Our association held its annual retreat recently and was captivated by a video featuring Simon Sinek . He has vaulted onto the public scene as a result of giving one of the most popular TED talks of all time. Sinek suggests that the "why" of organizations provides the most compelling rationale for believing in and supporting the company. An expert on leadership, Sinek profiles how great businesses inspire their employees and customers by translating the why of their companies into a powerful... Read More »


Local Expert Highlights Benefits of ISO Quality Management

Local Expert Highlights Benefits of ISO Quality Management - March 20, 2015

I had the opportunity to visit with Pete Morton recently about quality management. He is the plant and quality manager at Macroplastics in Union Gap. Pete is our community's go to expert on ISO certification and quality management. He is an ISO auditor and has over 30 years of quality management experience under his belt. JB: What is ISO 9001? Pete : ISO 9001 is an international standard for quality management systems. It provides a road map to an effective quality management system. It ... Read More »


Ace Is The Place In Moxee

Ace Is The Place In Moxee - February 27, 2015

This month our Industry Roundtable group toured Ace Hardware's distribution center in Moxee. At 880,000 square feet it is one of the largest buildings in Yakima County. It's easy to spot if you are heading out Highway 24. The facility is one of 15 Ace distribution centers in the U.S. It supports over 350 Ace retailers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Jeff Scott, Retail Support Manager explained that Ace is a cooperative owned by its retailers. Thus, the center is not just... Read More »


Tieton Cider Shows Off New Facility

Tieton Cider Shows Off New Facility - December 23, 2014

Our Industry Roundtable group had the chance to celebrate the season at Tieton Cider Works recently. Their new space on J Street has fast become a popular social spot for tasting and socializing. We enjoyed the seasonal ciders as well as mainstays like apple, cherry and apricot. With the October grand opening under their belt, the company sees a bright future in their new location. Fred Lopez the Cider Bar Manager explained that the larger facility gives them the ability to take advantage ... Read More »


Tool Kit:  Make it in Washington Initiative Helps Manufacturers

Tool Kit: Make it in Washington Initiative Helps Manufacturers - December 04, 2014

Help is on the way for manufacturers in Yakima County as a result of a $3 million dollar grant awarded under the federal Make it in America Challenge . This initiative is designed to accelerate job creation and reshoring by helping rural Washington manufacturers and training local workers to meet the needs of these businesses. If you are a manufacturer in Yakima County you have an opportunity to build your business and improve your workforce at the same time. Make it in Washington partners ... Read More »


Servant Leadership Taking Hold At Local Companies

Servant Leadership Taking Hold At Local Companies - October 29, 2014

Servant Leadership: first it was Paragon Films, then it was Michelsen Packaging, and more recently it's Wilbur Precast. We discovered that these local companies are all working to instill servant leadership at their facilities. The concept is timeless - as Jesus Christ is typically cited as the original servant leader. You don't have to be a churchgoer though to instill this effective management philosophy within your business or organization. Robert Greenleaf really founded the modern ... Read More »


TOOL KIT:  Office for Regulatory Assistance and Innovation

TOOL KIT: Office for Regulatory Assistance and Innovation - August 17, 2014

If you need help surrounding development permits or business regulations the Governor's Office for Regulatory Assistance and Innovation can often help. Originally called the Permit Assistance Center, the office was created by Governor Locke to improve customer service, coordinate permitting activity, and implement projects that streamline state or local regulations. Governor Inslee added innovation to the office's name and mission to reflect his interest in advancing innovative solutions to ... Read More »


KARRASS:  Getting to Good Deals

KARRASS: Getting to Good Deals - July 24, 2014

It's always worthwhile to share best practices from KARRASS. This company runs seminars across the country on effective negotiation. Designed for managers, purchasing agents, owners and others in charge of procurement, KARRASS training hones skills and helps companies get the best deal possible. We offered KARRASS training in Yakima and found the fast paced, interactive course introduced a new approach to the way we enter into negotiations. The goal was clearly stated by facilitator David ... Read More »


TOOL KIT - Impact Washington Helps Companies Grow

TOOL KIT - Impact Washington Helps Companies Grow - July 10, 2014

A great resource for manufacturers in Yakima County and Washington State is Impact Washington . They are a one-stop shop focused on helping manufacturers modernize their operations. We routinely refer local companies to Impact Washington for help with lean manufacturing consulting, workforce training and other in-depth assistance. Impact Washington offers an array of consulting services at affordable rates - their staff also take extra steps to ensure companies get a good bang for their buck ... Read More »


Roundtable Group Learns About Manhasset Specialty Company

Roundtable Group Learns About Manhasset Specialty Company - June 27, 2014

Our Industry Roundtable group recently toured Manhasset Specialty Company. This special little Yakima company has been supplying high quality music stands to vendors all over the world since the early 1940's. This company's origins are especially interesting. In 1935 Otto Lagervall developed the Manhasset music stand because he was not satisfied with the music stand of the day. A few years later Otto relocated to Yakima. Lagervall was an inventor - he developed the Yakima Rack and dabbled ... Read More »


Jeff Charbonneau Tapped to Work On Business Education Partnerships

Jeff Charbonneau Tapped to Work On Business Education Partnerships - June 20, 2014

Our association is excited to welcome Jeff Charbonneau as our new STEM Coordinator. You may recognize Jeff's name, he is well known around these parts as the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. Our STEM team, managed by Educational Service District 105 (ESD 105), will get a few hours of Jeff's time each day to build partnerships with business and advance STEM education in Central Washington. New Vision is also contracting with work with the ESD to advance these business partnerships. We will ... Read More »


TOOL KIT:  Business Tax Incentives

TOOL KIT: Business Tax Incentives - June 13, 2014

Yakima County manufacturers are once again eligible for a significant sales tax credit when they construct or renovate buildings. Companies taking advantage of this program can essentially eliminate sales taxes normally due on facility construction or renovation activities. Local companies can take advantage of this incentive program starting this July. The state tax credit is available to companies engaged in the following activities: manufacturing research and development laboratories ... Read More »


Reshoring Trend Continues

Reshoring Trend Continues - May 23, 2014

Business is coming back to the United States especially for manufacturers. The Boston Consulting Group recently published survey findings that showed a third of manufacturers are considering "reshoring" back to the United States from China. The study cited that when companies took production offshore a decade ago they mostly did it to save on labor costs. Companies often overlooked other costs such as intellectual property, import/export costs and logistics challenges due to unpredictable ... Read More »


Business On The Go - Mobile Friendly Websites

Business On The Go - Mobile Friendly Websites - May 16, 2014

Let's face it - life on the go means most people are doing business over their phones. This trend is only going to increase so maximizing your marketing to these smartphone users, which by the way is more than half the population, is crucial. Chris from Invisible Ink web design says "the time is now to reach all those mobile customers through a mobile or responsive web design. If you're not mobile friendly, grab on to the tailgate and get on board because it's crazy to lose such a giant group... Read More »


Adventurer RV Showcases Operation for Industry Roundtable Group

Adventurer RV Showcases Operation for Industry Roundtable Group - April 25, 2014

A group of local business managers and key employees visited Adventurer RV recently as part of New Vision's industry roundtable initiative. We learned that the company has grown from a small regional operation to an international industry leader in the RV industry. Their Yakima plant designs, engineers, and constructs all the company's recreational vehicles right here in the Yakima Plant. Adventurer relocated their production facility to Yakima in 2008. Their headquarters remains in ... Read More »


A 3D Twist to Traditional Manufacturing

A 3D Twist to Traditional Manufacturing - April 10, 2014

Three-dimensional (3D) printing, which involved making products and components from a digital model, is revolutionizing manufacturing operations across the country. Similar to an office printer, a 3D printer creates components by depositing thin layers of material according to a digital blueprint. There are many value added applications for 3D printing (aka "additive manufacturing"). Additive Manufacturing (AM) itself is not new, some of its rapid prototyping technologies have been used for ... Read More »


TOOL KIT - Financing Resources for Established Businesses

TOOL KIT - Financing Resources for Established Businesses - April 03, 2014

As our economy continues to bounce out of the recession many companies are faring better and poised to expand. Some firms can support their growth with profits alone but most companies need to access outside financing to build their business. It is very challenging to get a loan as a start-up business but as firms get past their third year and establish solid accounts and records there are more financing options available. Companies need to carefully evaluate their funding needs and match ... Read More »


Employees and Independent Contractors:  The Difference is Important

Employees and Independent Contractors: The Difference is Important - February 28, 2014

I was out visiting a local business who raised a pertinent question. He wondered whether it would be better to hire an employee or an independent contractor for an upcoming job. It all depends, was my answer - because this is an area of employment law where you need to be careful. Classically, employees go to work at set hours while independent contractors set their own. Employees follow orders, while independent contractors don't. Employees receive regular paychecks while independent ... Read More »


Lean Manufacturing Helps Industry Rebound - January 07, 2014

Our office is seeing quite a few local companies doing well these days thanks in part to lean manufacturing. Local production companies have rebounded substantially from a few years ago due to favorable national economic trends. According to Kevin Hall with the McClatchy Washington Bureau, the overall manufacturing sector is still at best, only about three-quarters of the way back. Manufacturing represented about 21 percent of the U.S. economy in 1980. Today, it's closer to 12 percent, and ... Read More »


Manufacturing Jobs:  Impacts Bigger Than Ever Before

Manufacturing Jobs: Impacts Bigger Than Ever Before - December 09, 2013

New evidence strongly suggests that manufacturing is way more important to our local economy than ever before. In the article, The Multiplier Effect: There Are More Manufacturing Related Jobs Than You Think ," authors Keith D. Nosbusch and John A. Bernaden point out that manufacturing's true impact is understated. As manufactured products and processes become more complex, they support significant skilled jobs in logistics and transportation, customer service, technical support, regulatory and... Read More »


New Vision Collaborates on STEM Industry Videos

New Vision Collaborates on STEM Industry Videos - September 16, 2013

New Vision is the midst of collaborating on a STEM project (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) with ESD 105 to develop videos that showcase the types of skills Valley businesses need from employees now and in the future. The goal of the video project is to build bridges and create awareness and understanding between students and employers. Businesses are looking to our students as their future workforce and the "Virtual Industry Tours" concept is a great way get kids to see real jobs ... Read More »


Yakima Maker's Space Perks Innovation and Entrepreneurship - August 13, 2013

Yakima has a cool new group called Maker Space which is promoting innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Maker spaces are popping up all over the United States and abroad. They have grown out of the spontaneous collaboration found among computer coders and evolved to focus on knowledge sharing. Maker spaces typically provide space for members to work on their individual projects, or to collaborate on group projects with other members. They may also operate physical tool lending ... Read More »


What's Kaizen and Why Do I Need It? - April 19, 2013

The Kaizen philosophy is a Japanese term meaning "improvement", or "change for the better" and can be applied in business to practices that focus on continuous improvement as it relates to processes in manufacturing, engineering, processing and business management. Kaizen, a systematic approach and problem-solving tool adopted from the Toyota Production System (TPS) that is aimed at quickly implementing low-cost improvements that result in measurable impact. While Kaizen traditionally and ... Read More »


Meal & Rest Break Laws - What Employers Need to Know - April 05, 2013

Recently Gary Lofland, with Halverson Northwest spoke to our Industry Roundtable group on the topic of meal and rest break laws due to recent court cases close to home and across the U.S. He explained that all employee's need rest and meal breaks during work hours and the law stipulates standards for these breaks, including whether your employees should be paid for them or not. Here's what you need to know: The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act of the U.S. Department of Labor and State of ... Read More »


At a Glance - First Impressions Make or Break You - March 15, 2013

We've all heard that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. What if you only have ONE second to make that impression? One second, really? I just sat in on a website development webinar and the instructor said it can take a visitor as little as one second to determine if a visitor will stay on your site. Yikes! I also just finished an article on presenting and communicating and it noted that first impressions are created in seven seconds. One or seven, either way, that is ... Read More »



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"We are a community in transition, we are hungry...seeking to draw new business." - Dave Edler, City of Yakima