By Libby Clark April 23, 2010 6 a.m.
Chuck Nokes didn’t seem to break a sweat on Wednesday night as he asked a roomful of strangers to invest $750,000 in his Vancouver startup. By pitching his business at PubTalk, a bimonthly event organized by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, the chief executive officer of REDpoint International hopes to make connections that will take his company to the next level.
By Libby Clark April 19, 2010 1:27 p.m.
Linear Technology is in early talks with Camas city officials about the possibility of adding a second, identical wafer fabrication plant to its campus at 4200 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd.
By Libby Clark April 17, 2010 6 a.m.
Imports and exports at the Port of Vancouver stayed mostly flat in the first quarter of 2010, in line with the port’s performance through 2009. The port handled 1.31 million tons of cargo in the first three months of 2010, up about 1 percent from 1.29 million tons a year earlier, according to the port’s monthly commodities report released Thursday. The first three months was roughly equal to one quarter of the total tonnage of 4.84 million that the port saw in 2009.
By Libby Clark April 16, 2010 6 a.m.
Earl Griffis had spent his entire 17-year career at one company, doing heavy industrial work on railroad cars with TTX Co. in Washington and California. That was until February of 2009, when he became one of 200 workers laid off from the Chicago-based company’s plant in Mira Loma, Calif. His life went from “complete security to complete insecurity” within a few short months, Griffis said. After exhausting all of his contacts in the railroad industry near Los Angeles, Griffis expanded his job search to the entire West Coast and began applying for jobs outside of his industry. Six months later, he responded to an Internet job posting for a materials manager in the wind energy industry, landed the job at Iberdrola Renewables in Portland and moved his family to Camas.
Fisher Investments is likely to start construction on its $30 million Camas campus within 30 days, the company and city officials said Wednesday. But Fisher still hasn’t committed to relocating its headquarters from San Mateo, Calif., to the 150-acre property near Southeast 192nd Avenue.
By Libby Clark April 13, 2010 6 a.m.
The Port of Camas-Washougal’s profit fell about $82,500 in 2009, largely due to the increased cost of battling developers over its canceled RiverWalk project. Even with stable income from its marine and airport operations and the addition of new tenants to its industrial park, the port’s net income fell to $895,100 in 2009, from $977,600 in 2008, according to the port’s 2010 Community Report released Monday.
By Libby Clark April 10, 2010 6 a.m.
Venture funding is still hard to come by for clean technology startups in the Northwest. But new funding opportunities do exist if companies know where to find them, said John Martin, operations chair of Cleantech Open Northwest. Cleantech Open Northwest is one organization that aims to help clean-tech companies find funding and hone their ideas in the process by holding competitions. The nonprofit organization, which started the competition in California five years ago and has since expanded to the Northwest, this year will hold its second competition for startups in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
By Libby Clark April 7, 2010 6 a.m.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., on Tuesday announced she will push federal lawmakers to create a national freight strategy that includes dedicated funding for port infrastructure projects, including the Port of Vancouver’s West Vancouver Freight Access project. In order to meet President Obama’s goal to double American exports within five years, multimodal freight transportation must become a national priority, Cantwell said during her visit to the Port of Vancouver on Tuesday.
By Libby Clark April 6, 2010 6 a.m.
Clark County semiconductor manufacturers are once again operating at full capacity after two years of falling orders, furloughs and layoffs, economic development officials and companies within the industry report. The turnaround, which started in late 2009, is now nearing a steady pace as consumer demand returns for computers, mobile phones and other personal electronics.
By Libby Clark April 4, 2010 6 a.m.
Money doesn’t flow as freely in Clark County as it once did, with unemployment above 14 percent, flat salaries, rising health care costs and depressed real estate values. It may come as a surprise, then, that one of the county’s fastest growing occupations is financial planning, an industry that sells advice on how to best spend or save cash. Though the industry remains small, the number of financial planning companies in Clark County has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years, according to the Washington Employment Security Department. And the pace of the sector’s growth has accelerated with the global recession, rising from 12 firms in 2000 to 33 in 2008 and 42 by September 2009.
By Libby Clark April 2, 2010 6 a.m.
Cindy Williams has seen some dramatic life changes over the past four years. In 2007, she was laid off from her job as an escrow assistant for a Vancouver title company, just one year after her husband had suffered a life-threatening bone infection that rendered him unable to return to work as an auto technician. To make do while Williams, 49, looked for work, the couple sold their home and their most prized possessions. Last spring, she finally found steady work as a janitor, making much less than she was accustomed to.
By Libby Clark March 26, 2010 6 a.m.
The Columbia River Economic Development Council in the past two months has courted 20 companies from outside the area interested in moving to Southwest Washington. That’s compared with 55 companies in discussion with the council for the entire year past year, Bart Phillips, president of CREDC told business leaders attending a quarterly luncheon event Thursday at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver.
By Libby Clark March 25, 2010 6 a.m.
Vancouver investment group Evans Renewable Holdings II LLC on Wednesday agreed to sell its majority share of PV Powered in Bend, Ore., as part of a $90 million cash-and-stock deal with a Colorado solar company. Evans Renewable Holdings, led by the principals of JH Kelly in Vancouver, were seed investors in PV Powered when the company got its start in 2003 designing solar inverters used in commercial-rooftop and ground-mount solar power systems. Evans increased its stake in 2009 to $10 million with a capital infusion that brought its share to more than 75 percent.
By Libby Clark March 24, 2010 3:57 p.m.
Vancouver investment group Evans Renewable Holdings II LLC on Wednesday agreed to sell its majority share of PV Powered in Bend, Ore., as part of a $90 million cash-and-stock deal with a Colorado solar company.
By Libby Clark March 24, 2010 6 a.m.
No yachts set sail from the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s largest-ever social event held Tuesday night at Christensen Shipyards. But the party’s 1,500 guests enjoyed a short getaway from the workplace, nonetheless. Guests wearing Hawaiian leis mingled in one of the Vancouver shipmaker’s bays to hear live music, eat, drink and wait in line for a land-locked trip on a $7.5 million, tri-deck Christensen yacht parked inside the bay.
By Libby Clark March 22, 2010 6:16 p.m.
First Independent Bank has received a $44 million capital infusion from its holding company, First Independent Investment Group, over the past nine months, according to the bank and federal regulatory filings. Mounting loan losses from the bank’s commercial real estate portfolio, paired with increased capital requirements from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. prompted the additions, said Stacey Graham, chief strategy officer at First Independent.
By Libby Clark March 22, 2010 6:03 a.m.
Clark County’s credit unions are strong and growing with many getting an influx of deposits after Bank of Clark County closed more than a year ago and bank customers sought out alternatives as the national financial crisis unfolded. Only one, Cascade Forest Products Credit Union in Vancouver, falls below the federal standard for “well-capitalized” institutions, according to state and federal regulators. The rest, including the county’s largest by total assets, Columbia Community Credit Union, commonly known as Columbian Credit Union, are considered “very healthy,” Linda Jekel, director of credit unions for the Washington state Department of Financial Institutions, said in an e-mail.
By Libby Clark March 19, 2010 6 a.m.
Kent Mitchell was a construction superintendent with Rockford Homes in Vancouver when the national recession hit in 2008. With the recession, Clark County’s real estate market crashed, taking with it the demand for new homes. As a result, Mitchell lost his job. After more than a year of picking up small construction projects here and there, doing repairs and remodeling work, Mitchell decided to put his skills to use in the growing energy efficiency market. He is now a founder of SwiftSure Energy Services, a Vancouver company that performs home energy audits, weatherization work and green verifications for builders.
By Libby Clark March 18, 2010 6 a.m.
Management Engineering Associates in Camas last week learned it’s on the list of contractors selected to receive recovery act contracts to retrofit federal buildings with energy efficiency improvements. The U.S. General Services Administration will sign the contract with a consortium of engineering firms that also includes Geo-Marine Inc. in Plano, Texas, Burns and Roe in Oradell, N.J., and George Butler Associates in Lenaxa, Kan. The agency has earmarked $5.5 billion total in stimulus money for energy efficiency measures in federal buildings.
By Libby Clark March 16, 2010 3:22 p.m.
February job losses wiped out much of the gains made in January as Washington employers cut 8,300 jobs last month, compared with a revised gain of 11,100 jobs the previous month.
By Libby Clark March 11, 2010 3 p.m.
Portland venture capital firm Pivotal Investments is recruiting Washington business leaders for a new network aimed at building the Pacific Northwest’s nascent clean-tech industry.
By Libby Clark March 11, 2010 6 a.m.
Washington businesses could soon start paying the same tax buying custom software that they shell out on a trip to the mini-mart. A tax bill under consideration in the final days of the legislative session this week, House Bill 3191, proposes to charge standard retail sales tax on custom software along with candy, gum and bottled water.
By Libby Clark March 10, 2010 6 a.m.
Great Western Malting is expanding its business at the Port of Vancouver, even as the company undergoes a reorganization and a massive seven-year construction project here.
By Libby Clark March 9, 2010 6 a.m.
Columbia Community Credit union hired Brad Bauges to be its new senior vice president and chief operating officer. The Vancouver-based credit union has undergone several management changes in the past year, since President and Chief Executive Officer Parker Cann left in April to join Boeing Employees’ Credit Union, Washington’s largest credit union, as a senior vice president and corporate counsel.
By Libby Clark March 6, 2010 6 a.m.
Washington State University Vancouver stands to gain more funding under the state higher education board’s new long-term strategic plan, headed from the legislature to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s desk in the coming week. But the plan directs those extra resources toward boosting undergraduate programs, while funding for graduate-level education and research would be concentrated at Washington’s two flagship campuses, WSU in Pullman and the University of Washington in Seattle, said Ann Daley, executive director of the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board in a presentation Friday at the WSUV campus.
By Libby Clark March 5, 2010 6 a.m.
Washougal will be the gateway to ultra high-speed Internet access for libraries and hospitals in the Columbia River Gorge as part of an $84 million federal recovery act grant awarded this week to the Northwest Open Access Network in Washington. Stevenson-based Internet service provider Sawtooth Technologies will receive $3.7 million of the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program grant to lay 1-gigabit-capacity fiber-optic cable to rural Skamania and Klickitat counties in the next three years.
By Libby Clark March 5, 2010 6 a.m.
Fore! Logitech International is expanding its presence in Clark County with a move from its longtime Vancouver location to a much larger space overlooking Camas Meadows Golf Club. The Swiss company, with U.S. headquarters in Fremont, Calif., has operated its audio division in Vancouver since it acquired Labtec Inc. here in 2001.
By Libby Clark March 4, 2010 6 a.m.
First Independent Bank on Wednesday unveiled the winning design in its poster contest commemorating 100 years of business in Clark County. The bank awarded three Clark College art students, out of a dozen finalists, a total of $1,850 for their designs. The art will be displayed in First Independent branches and other community locations throughout 2010, the bank’s anniversary year.
By Libby Clark March 3, 2010 6 a.m.
Clark County shed 500 jobs in January while the state as a whole added jobs for the first time since November 2008, indicating that hiring here will continue to lag behind other regions. Preliminary estimates place the county’s January unemployment rate at 14.1 percent, up from the revised December rate of 13.7 percent and a year-ago rate of 11.6 percent, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Washington state Employment Security Department.
By Libby Clark February 28, 2010 6 a.m.
Clean technologies could be the future of county employment
By Libby Clark February 28, 2010 6 a.m.
Hewlett-Packard Co.’s future in Vancouver may be uncertain, but the high-tech company’s presence here will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on the local economy. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has downsized its Vancouver Imaging and Printing Division from a peak of more than 3,000 workers in 1998 to an estimated 600 in 2009. With the sale of its 174-acre campus in east Vancouver to SEH America Inc. last June, there’s speculation within the community that HP would leave the area altogether.
By Libby Clark February 27, 2010 6 a.m.
Northwest Natural Gas Co. announced large bonuses for all of its employees after posting record earnings Friday of $75.1 million in 2009, or $2.83 per share. The Portland-based utility, which also serves Southwest Washington, saw an 8 percent increase from its 2008 earnings of $69.5 million, or $2.61 per share.
By Libby Clark February 25, 2010 6 a.m.
My Home Details was the only Vancouver startup named last week among eight finalists in a competition for $25,000 in seed money from Angel Oregon. Vancouver resident Ty Stober pitched his idea for My Home, an online social network and information management service to help consumers navigate the custom-home building or remodeling process.
By Libby Clark March 25, 2010 11:48 a.m.
Former Bank of Clark County executive David Kennelly on Friday pleaded guilty to a felony charge for scheming to hide unfavorable real estate appraisals from state and federal regulators in the months leading up to the bank’s failure last year.
By Libby Clark February 19, 2010 6 a.m.
A recession is not a good time to be a debt collector, despite increased demand for the business.
By Libby Clark February 12, 2010 6 a.m.
Former Bank of Clark County executive David Kennelly is facing a felony charge in connection with the failed bank’s record-keeping practices, according to federal documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
By Libby Clark February 12, 2010 6 a.m.
Getting green will put more green in the wallets of 47,000 workers in four Western states over the next 20 years, according to a plan approved by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. The council said up to 3,500 direct jobs will be created in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana in the next two decades as energy management companies and utilities hire technicians to meet demand for energy efficiency services. The council predicted that another 43,500 jobs will be created indirectly over that period as businesses take advantage of energy cost savings to boost their payrolls.
By Libby Clark February 10, 2010 6 a.m.
The Port of Vancouver Commission was divided Tuesday after a heated debate over who it should hire to mow, weed and treat the port’s lawn. The port would save roughly $15,000 per year on landscaping services by renewing its contract with Clark County Corrections in a deal that’s only available to public agencies and a handful of nonprofit organizations. The port, a semi-public agency, has used the county’s community service crews to clean and maintain its property since last May, adding $450 per week to the county coffers. That contract, worth $25,000 per year to the county, ended in December.
By Libby Clark February 8, 2010 6 a.m.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a budget hearing Wednesday to shift the Obama administration’s approach to increasing small-business lending by community banks. On the table is the president’s 2010 budget proposal, which includes a plan to use $30 billion in unused Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to provide loans to community banks.
By Libby Clark February 3, 2010 6 a.m.
Washington bank regulators are backing revisions to state law that would block the public’s access to state information on troubled banks.