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Local alliance ready to shape state health care reforms

Local alliance ready to shape state health care reforms

Backed by local industry leaders, members of the Southwest Washington Regional H...

Self-taught filmmakers driving local industry

Self-taught filmmakers driving local industry

Ask a local about the film scene in Southwest Washington, and you’re likely to b...

Legal marijuana sales underway in Washington state

Legal marijuana sales underway in Washington state

A year and a half after voters legalized recreational marijuana in Washington st...

New apartment complex breaking ground in downtown Vancouver

New apartment complex breaking ground in downtown Vancouver

Portland-based DBG Properties LLC will break ground next week on a new $17.4 mil...

Southwest Washington’s Innovation Advantage

Southwest Washington’s Innovation Advantage

What enables Southwest Washington to attract innovation giants such as Hewlett P...

Clark College introduces new technical program

Clark College introduces new technical program

Clark College has introduced a new technical program while adjusting some existi...

Buy Local

Self-taught filmmakers driving local industry

Self-taught filmmakers driving local industry

Ask a local about the film scene in Southwest Washington, and you’re likely to be met with a blank stare. We have a few movie theaters, and there are some places that make videos, but a real film industry? If we do have one, where is it?

Well, if we’re looking for a real film “industry,” we’re going to have to keep looking for a while. However, there are many more hobbyists making their own movie...

Education & Workforce Development

Workforce Development: A return to personnel investment

Workforce Development: A return to personnel investment

It is a common reaction to economic downturn: companies understandably tighten their budgets; non-essential or slow-to-return investments get nixed pretty quickly. During the Great Recession, this was the case not only in Southwest Washington, but throughout much of the nation, as investing in a company’s most valuable asset – their employees – fell victim to the reigning in of purse strings.

Wit...

Spotlight

Teamwork & training driving growth at Premiere Property Group

Teamwork & training driving growth at Premiere Property Group

Four years ago, Steve Borwieck, owner of Premiere Property Group LLC, (PPG) decided to launch his own brokerage.

“When you know something you should teach it, because when you teach it you master it,” said Borwieck.

But when he approached his boss with the idea of teaching some classes to brokers, they “brushed him off.” So, he said, “I rocked back in my chair and thought ‘I can do this as well’...

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

A long-term win for all

A long-term win for all

Becoming involved with workforce development is an opportunity for businesses to contribute to the economic health of ou...

Outstanding employees are standing by

Outstanding employees are standing by

In today’s competitive marketplace every employer wants to hire outstanding employees. While there continues to be a hig...

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