The first installment of The Columbian's "Getting to Growth" series kicks off the search for a path to recovery, in part, by showing how one company came back from the brink. Columbia Vista's example also sheds light on the broader challenges the county faces as it struggles to effectively position its land, labor and capital.
The last remaining sawmill in Clark County found a way to thrive after the Japanese lumber market tanked in the mid-1990's. As its peers sold off their planers and disappeared, Columbia Vista reinvested in its workforce and found new markets. Columbian reporter Aaron Corvin interviewed Columbia Vista president Bob Lewis on video about the company's return to growth. "Anybody can do the things we did," Lewis said. "You just have to want to do them."
Just as Clark County's over-reliance on one industry for job growth -- housing -- would spur the worst local recession in more than a generation, Columbia Vista Corp.'s over-reliance on one line of business left it teetering on the verge of ruin. To save the company, president Bob Lewis resolved to transform it. A new business plan would undergird everything. Click through the gallery to learn more about how Columbia Vista succeeded.