Economic Forecast 2015

Clark County, economy hailed at forecast breakfast

Tease photo
Jan 22, 2015
Keynote speaker Ken Fisher focuses on quality of life

One of America’s wealthiest men brought a dry sense of humor and a deep appreciation for Clark County’s rural and suburban communities to The Columbian’s 2015 Economist Forecast Breakfast on Thursday.

Koenders: Take advantage of technology

By Jason Koenders January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

As the New Year begins to come into view, it's the right time to review your business strategy to ensure you're aligned with achieving your goals.

Rudi: Transportation drives employment

By John Rudi January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

Thompson Metal Fab Inc. is a fabricator of large infrastructure projects with markets throughout the Western United States and the Pacific Rim. Like any large manufacturing business, TMF requires an efficient and competitive transportation system. Transportation access is not only critical to move our products, it allows efficient access by our workforce and the thousands of suppliers who support TMF.

Bagherpour: Skilled workforce vital to community

By Ben Bagherpour January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

Jobs in manufacturing have historically been the key to providing unskilled American workers with stable, living-wage jobs. These unskilled jobs, however, no longer exist. Automation, higher quality standards and other factors in the shifting economy have resulted in fewer opportunities for unskilled workers.

Blom: Residential real estate: Three things to watch in 2015

By John Blom January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

Three trends will shape the residential real estate market in 2015, both nationally and locally.

Hurley: People, planet & profit keys to thriving business community

By Ryan Hurley January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

What makes a thriving economic community? The answer is simple: "thriving businesses."

Fuller: Commercial real estate market improving

By Eric Fuller January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

The commercial real estate market in 2014 was the third year of a continued recovery from the post-recession years. As jobs, population and retail sales matrix improve in 2015, all commercial real estate fundamentals will follow with positive leasing absorption, increasing rental rates and, eventually, new construction for commercial real estate projects.

Helmes: Signs encouraging for new homes market

By Kelly Helmes January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

As we look into 2015 and prepare our business plans, there are three areas that stand out: New neighborhoods are now ready for construction of homes, more buyers are coming back into the new-home marketplace, and energy-efficiency and green construction practices are continuing to gain momentum.

Bomar: 3 keys to ensuring economic growth

By Mike Bomar January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

It is an exciting time to be in economic development in Southwest Washington. We currently enjoy strong partnerships between the public and private sectors, along with positive momentum and collaboration among the various business organizations that represent Clark County's key industries. Thanks to the excellent vision and strategic investments of our predecessors, we are also positioned to attract a significant amount of new investment into our area in the coming years and beyond.

Dennis: Camas & Washougal: Signs of recovery abound

By Paul Dennis January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

The Camas-Washougal area has attracted significant development attention recently, with major announcements such as Integra Telecom completing its 500-employee headquarters move, Banfield starting on its 20-acre headquarters and research facility and Fisher Investments finishing its second five-story office tower, spurring even more development opportunities.

Brent: Hospitality industry can feed county growth

By Russell Brent January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

I am bullish on the hospitality industry in Clark County. I expect to see the number of eating and drinking establishments grow by 15 to 20 in the next year. Recent openings of Willem's on Main and The Grocery Cocktail & Social in downtown Vancouver are very encouraging to me. Both establishments were startups created by folks with experience from the other side of the river.

Sisson: Local businesses enhance community & economy

By Mary Sisson January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

When even Wal-Mart starts promoting "local" in its stores, it's time to step back and take a look at the heart of the "shop local" message and what it truly means for independent businesses in our community.

Preisz: Making high-tech connections

By Eric Preisz January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

In the middle of the GarageGames office is a 4-by-8-foot air-conditioned server room. Four years ago, I wouldn't have looked at an office space that didn't have a room like that; today, I can spin up more cloud servers than I could fit in my entire office with just an hour's investment and a credit card.

Brum: Eight pieces to make the whole

By Teresa Brum January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

In economic development, does place matter?

Helgerson: Maintaining standards amid growth

By BRYCE HELGERSON January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center has experience unprecedented growth for the past 18 months, hiring more than 200 new staff, increasing our annual number of baby deliveries from 2,200 to more than 3,000, and increasing our emergency room visits from 50,000 annually to more than 65,000 this past year.

Valenter: Higher education a value proposition

By Lynn Valenter January 22, 2015 10 a.m.

Economic benefits abound for college graduates. More education also translates into healthier, longer lives — not only for graduates, but for their children and for their children's children.

Presented by

Ken Fisher
Founder and CEO
Fisher Investments (Keynote Speaker)
Scott Bailey
Regional Economist
Washington State Employment Security Department (introduction)
Kelly Love
Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (moderator)
Lee Rafferty
Vancouver's Downtown Association (Moderator)

Eric Preisz
Garage Games

Betsy Henning

Mary Sisson

Russell Brent
Mill Creek Pub

Jeanne Bennett
SW WA Workforce Development Council (Moderator)

John Rudi
Thompson Metal Fab

Bryce Helgerson
Legacy Salmon Creek

Ben Bagherpour
SEH America

Jason Koenders

Linda Reid
US Bank (Moderator)

Ryan Hurley
Hurley Development

Eric Fuller
Fuller and Associates

John Blom
Hasson Company

Kelly Helmes
New Tradition

John McKibbin
Identity Clark County (Moderator)

Mike Bomar
Columbia River Economic Development Council

Teresa Brum
City of Vancouver

Paul Dennis
Camas Washougal Economic Development Association

Lynn Valenter
Washington State University Vancouver

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