By Jennifer Baker,
Just over a year ago, I began this incredible journey leading the CREDC team and I continue to be blown away by the thriving business ecosystem, the unparalleled quality of life and—what I believe makes us so unique—the strong commitment from private and public sector leaders to accelerate economic growth in the region. Overall, it has been a year full of learning, new opportunities and wonderful connections, and I thank each of you for that!
As we continue executing on our strategic goals, wanted to take a moment to reflect on key milestones accomplished together during my first year at CREDC:
In our efforts to Expand the Existing Business Base, we outperformed our 2019 goal with a total of 132 business visits. And, in partnership with public and private sector partners, we helped secure four recruitment wins and supported 11 expansion and growth wins, resulting in over $114M in capital investment and 908 projected new jobs. As we look ahead, the future looks bright for Clark County-based companies, with ZoomInfo continuing to experience phenomenal success and Slumberkins ($2.8M), AbSci ($15.4M), Blokable ($28M), RealWear ($100M+) and others securing significant new funding to continue fueling their growth.
Over the past year, we’ve doubled down in our efforts to promote an ethical and just society through an intentional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion—a key objective under our Support People goal. To that end, we began inventorying resources available across K-12 and higher education, and we will continue to focus in this area in 2020.
As part of our Create Place strategy and in partnership with the County, our three ports (Vancouver, Ridgefield and Camas-Washougal), cities (Vancouver, Ridgefield, Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal and La Center), NW Natural, Clark PUD, Clark Regional Wastewater and Clark County Realtors Association, we began the work to update our 2016 Employment Lands Study. The update, which we expect to wrap up in Q1, will build on CREDC’s existing employment land inventory (56 sites), determine site-specific changes to development-readiness and enhance our ability to utilize and keep the data up to date. I look forward to sharing results later this year.
Overall, through the work of the CREDC Lands for Jobs and Policy & Legislation committees, we supported a total of nine transportation and infrastructure investments, yielding over $43.4M in new funding across Clark County.
Our signature events—the CREDC Luncheons and GROW Clark County Series—drove a total of 540 attendees who joined us for conversations on key topics impacting our region, including: how diversity drives innovation showcasing best practices from Banfield Pet Hospital, LSW Architects and Umpqua Bank; the importance of thinking global to foster an attractive business climate; human factors in workplace design led by Workplace Resource of Oregon; the future of transportation with state and regional experts spotlighting trends and workforce mobility needs; and driving sustainable growth featuring a Q&A with ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.
Lastly, we were thrilled to welcome five new investors—Ginn Group, RYD, David Evans & Associates, Columbia Commercial and CFM—to our network of over 140 private and public sectors leaders at the forefront of business and policy trends.
We’re kicking off 2020 with a bang. We officially moved into our refreshed office space at 805 Broadway, where we’re co-located with our partner Workforce Southwest Washington, and we’re thrilled to welcome nationally recognized economic developer Larry Holt as our Chief Operating Officer, strengthening our capacity on the business development front and round out our rockstar team.
With signs of continued growth on the horizon, this is an exciting time to live, work and play in Clark County. Together we will realize our vision to make Clark County one of the most inclusive, healthy and amenity-rich communities in the country. I am honored and energized to be on this journey with you.