Vancouver Business Journal

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County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

A learning experience. That is how both vineyard/winery owners and county offici...

Banner Bank to open Salmon Creek branch

Banner Bank to open Salmon Creek branch

Banner Bank, a Walla Walla-based financial institution with a branch in East Van...

Study: $7 billion investment in state transportation would yield $42 billion in benefits

Study: $7 billion investment in state transportation would yield $42 billion in benefits

A healthy ROI awaits the state of Washington if its leaders are willing to make ...

Downtown Vancouver cocktail bar readies for opening

Downtown Vancouver cocktail bar readies for opening

The owners of Grocery Cocktail and Social, a new cocktail bar/restaurant located...

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 Cla...

Maruichi Northwest to invest $30 million in port steel mill

Maruichi Northwest to invest $30 million in port steel mill

A new steel mill is coming to the Port of Vancouver USA’s Centennial Industrial ...

Health Care & Hospitals

Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington 2014

Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington 2014

Recognizing the employers who go above and beyond to create a healthy workforce

Studies continue to show that good health practices at work create a more productive and efficient environment with less absenteeism, proving that the “daily grind” doesn’t have to be a grind. From a Vancouver-based manufacturer to a regional law firm, these four workplaces are making the 9-to-5 a happier and healthie...

Food & Agriculture

County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

A learning experience. That is how both vineyard/winery owners and county officials seem to view the past few years, as they sought solutions that would encourage the development of wineries in the county while mitigating impacts to neighboring parcels. And, like many learning experiences, it was sometimes fraught with mistakes, misunderstandings and frustration. But Marty Snell, Clark County comm...

News Briefs

Riverview Community Bank posts $1.1 million in second quarter earnings

Riverview Bancorp Inc. reported this week that it earned $1.1 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, in the second fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2014. The second quarter results also included a $3.5 million reduction in nonperforming assets, an 18.6 percent decline.

Spotlight

ExecuTech Lease Group: Putting the personal touch into equipment leasing

ExecuTech Lease Group: Putting the personal touch into equipment leasing

Many restaurants and small businesses use a cash register and a separate terminal to handle sales, while another PC handles timecards and inventory management. But as the business grows, so does the need for a full-scale point of sale (POS) system. Such a system in a restaurant, for example, integrates everything from placing an order to a credit card swipe into one piece of equipment. But this ty...

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

How fitness makes you better at work

How fitness makes you better at work

In August of this year I had the opportunity to submit an article to the Vancouver Business Journal entitled “Healthcare...

5 Ways to win in workplace wellness

5 Ways to win in workplace wellness

In the building industry, you might not expect to need a fast horse in the race to win in wellness. Construction workers...

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