Giving thanks this holiday season

In this recessionary economy, it can be challenging to realize just how much we have to be thankful for. After all, many of us have had to pare down staff and send excellent workers to the unemployment lines.

So with all due respect to David Letterman (and no attempt to match his humor), here is our take at the top 10 things we should be thankful for as a business community.

#10: Surviving the last two years. 

Unfortunately, many businesses aren't around to give thanks for surviving a crushing recession and the inability to access financing that compounded it. Those that managed to hold on this far are leaner and wiser as a result.

#9: Return of value to the stock markets. 

We have opined in the past that the stock markets aren't the best measure for the well being of local businesses. While we still believe this to be the case, the return of investor worth in the markets should have a positive trickledown affect locally – a signal that we've not only reached the bottom, but are on the way back up.

#8: Columbia River channel deepening. 

The decades-long effort to approve and then complete the Columbia River Channel Deepening Project assures the region of a place on the world import/export stage.

#7: Developments at the ports of Southwest Washington.

From the Port of Camas-Washougal to the Port of Longview, these organizations exist to create jobs and have succeeded in doing so the last few years. Infrastructure projects like the rail access project at the Port of Vancouver and the new dock and grain elevator at the Port of Longview have provided much needed work during the recession. In addition, these projects will bring permanent jobs to the region for years to come.

#6: Pub Talk. 

This recently adapted program from the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network has been a roaring success. The program gives startup companies an opportunity to pitch ideas and to meet with potential funders in an informal setting. Companies like RedPoint International are the future of jobs and innovation in this region and Pub Talk gives them the needed, targeted exposure to launch successfully.

#5: Land Here, Live Here. 

This grassroots campaign aimed at putting Vancouver on the maps of corporate site locators is taking hold and will only get stronger. Already incorporated into promotions for a number of organizations, cities and ports in Southwest Washington, it is now being considered for use by governments and economic development organizations south of the Columbia.

#4: The Defeat of Measure 1098.

More than a few companies making plans to move to the region had put those plans on hold until after the votes on Measure 1098 were counted. Look for a few hundred more jobs to be announced next year that would not have come had this initiative passed.

#3: Vancouver Waterfront development.

With infrastructure funding finally in place and construction poised to begin, the creation of what some call the front door to Vancouver and the state of Washington will provide jobs and commerce for decades to come.

#2: Growing local companies.

In spite of these rough economic times, companies like Smith-Root, ClearAccess, US Digital and others have grown by reinventing, reorganizing and staying close to their customers. They are leading our business community out of the recession.

#1: Our employees. 

From large corporations to small businesses, employees across the board have been asked to take on responsibilities once held by co-workers who are no longer on staff. These individuals make up the backbone of our businesses and for them we give great thanks.

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