Vancouver Business Journal

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Introducing the Accomplished & Under 40 Class of 2014

Introducing the Accomplished & Under 40 Class of 2014

The Vancouver Business Journal is pleased to announce the Accomplished and Under...

East county bridge proposal causes contention within freight industry

East county bridge proposal causes contention within freight industry

After $200 million taxpayer dollars were spent on the botched Columbia River Cro...

Angels bringing ideas to light

Angels bringing ideas to light

Most new businesses come to being with a great idea. How to get that great idea ...

Vancouver-based children’s apparel brand sold to Utah investor

Vancouver-based children’s apparel brand sold to Utah investor

Oakiwear, a children’s apparel brand headquartered in Vancouver, has been sold t...

Creatives converging on Washougal

Creatives converging on Washougal

It’s hard to say exactly when it started, but the city of Washougal has quietly ...

Technology changing the work site

Technology changing the work site

From handheld apps to 3-D maps, high-tech innovations are changing how today’s c...

Banking & Money Management

Angels bringing ideas to light

Angels bringing ideas to light

Most new businesses come to being with a great idea. How to get that great idea from concept to marketplace reality is often what separates them.

Entrepreneurs can come into business with substantial investment and savings of their own, enjoy a low overhead-quick return scenario or be completely reliant on financial help.

“When you are in a position where you get to decide if you wish to seek ou...

Education & Workforce Development

WSU Vancouver: Enhancing the business community for 25 years

WSU Vancouver: Enhancing the business community for 25 years

25 years ago, Washington State University opened its Vancouver branch on the Clark College campus. From the very beginning, the university has been closely tied to Clark County’s business community, and those partnerships have grown even stronger over the last quarter-century.

WSU-Vancouver Chancellor Emile “Mel” Netzhammer joined the campus in July 2012, and has glowing praise for the relationsh...

News Briefs

Ed Lynch to be honored with Legacy Builder award

Ed Lynch to be honored with Legacy Builder award

The Vancouver Business Journal is proud to announce that Ed Lynch – philanthropist, businessman and World War II Veteran – has been selected to receive the Kyle W. Corwin Legacy Builder Award. The award recognizes one person annually who has spent their career leading, mentoring, building a business and giving back.

Spotlight

Dynamic Events finds success in service & technology solutions

Dynamic Events finds success in service & technology solutions

When you attend a conference or a large corporate event, you might assume that the registration process will be smooth, dinner will be served on time, and the speakers’ presentations will work flawlessly. But Allison Magyar, president of Dynamic Events, doesn’t take any of these details for granted.

“We provide complete meeting and event management and software, plus registration services and gra...

Driving development

County commissioners create new postition

Clark County’s board of commissioners last month designated long time staffer Kelly Sills to manage its economic development program.

Sills served as the board’s policy assistant for six years prior to his appointment, and recently spoke with the VBJ about the job that lies ahead.

County commissioners create new postition

Clark County’s board of commissioners last month designated long time staffer Kelly Sills to manage its economic development program.

Sills served as the board’s policy assistant for six years prior to his appointment, and recently spoke with the VBJ about the job that lies ahead.

In Sills’ years with the county, he was increasingly exposed to economic development and has seen an emphasis placed on it by the two boards he’s worked with.

"The new board really stepped up with this position to bring that focus up," he said.

Sills said his job is to help make the county business-friendly by laying the groundwork for economic vitality and creating solutions for businesses.

"When you’re talking about economic development, you’re really talking about the economy. Then what you’re really talking about is jobs, and that’s the magic of the thing – creating jobs. That’s the priority for the board."

Sills aims to make businesses feel like part of the county, and to promote diversity in every sense of the word.

"Economic development is a multidimensional thing," he said. "We need to embrace it from all points of view. We can’t progress until we change because change is foundational for improvement."

National industries are changing, he said. "We’re all part and parcel of this global council."

Sills grew up in Portland and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Portland State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University at Hayward.

Prior to working for Clark County, he worked for Alameda County, Calif., then spent two years in the city of Portland’s Office of Transportation managing the capital improvement program budget.

Sills and his wife Judy were living in the Bay Area when his wife was transferred by Kaiser Permanente to the Portland-area offices. When it came time to choose a community in which to live, Sills knew Clark County was the place, in large part due to its education system.

"I want to invest in my kids," he said. "A big part of economic development is that people have to feel comfortable with an educational system."

Although it seems primary and secondary education receive the bulk of the public’s attention and dollars, Sills said he thinks higher education is going to be a gold mine for the county.

"WSU Vancouver is going to be a huge driver for economic development in the future," he said. "The stronger it gets, the more the business community will benefit."

Sills said he sees technology as a significant driver of the county’s current and future economic capacity and supports WSUV’s "critical ability to enhance that capacity."

"Yale and Harvard didn’t start out with the reputations they have now," he said. "We’re going to see the university get a great reputation nationwide. As WSUV grows into a stronger university, it will start filling the technology vacuum and local business will grow."

Sills also will delve into learning more about public investment areas and the effect that Highway 99 is having on the county.

Daunting? It could be, but Sills said there is a very simple solution: "Don’t go it alone."

"That’s the whole point of the job, to work in partnership with others. The people who are out there running businesses, the state, the city, even the federal government. They all have areas of expertise they can bring to the table to make the economy thrive."

He added that the Columbia River Economic Development Council is doing a superb job of recruiting business to the area, and he will work closely with it.

"They can leverage opportunity through us and vice-versa," Sills said.

"With Clark County, let’s face a couple realities," he said. "In 160 years, we’ve come a long way. We have a successful, growing business community. And in all this success, I’m supposed to help make it better."

Opinion

Focus Column

Now is the time for apprenticeships

Now is the time for apprenticeships

There is much talk of the “skills gap” – the widening space between the technical skills that employers need and the ski...

Towne Square project is a win for the local workforce

Towne Square project is a win for the local workforce

Our economy continues in fits and starts to recover. Workers struggle to find employment providing a living wage. Famili...

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